December 20, 2012

Liston Pancoast Coffey

Liston Pancoast - an odd combination of names - was born to Albert G. and Elizabeth F. Goodhue Coffey on Feb. 7, 1869 in Russell Co., KY, a descendant of the alleged-to-be-mythical Chesley Coffey.  About 1885 in KY he married Jennie Louise Morris, the daughter of Elijah P. Morris.

Elijah's wife and Jennie's mother was Nancy Coffey[1], a daughter of George W. Coffey of Russell Co., KY.  George is also believed to be descended from Chesley through Chesley's alleged (there's that word again) son, Joel who married Martha Stepp, or Sealey.[2]  Joel and Martha's son Cleveland, who married Jane Witherspoon was George's father.

Liston and Jennie moved to the Oklahoma Territory sometime before 1900 and can be found in the McElroy Twp, Pawnee Co. census that year.  I haven't located them in 1910 but, in 1920 they were in Idabel, McCurtain Co., OK.  Liston is said to have died in Paris, Lamar Co., TX on Dec. 15, 1930.  According to Harris[1] he was a resident of Idabel at the time of his death.  I have not been successful in locating his burial site but, he is likely buried with Jennie.

Jennie was born in KY in 1861 and died in Antlers, Pushmataha Co., OK on Feb. 20, 1958.  She is buried at the Odd Fellows cemetery in Antlers.

There were at least four children born to the union of Jennie and Liston:

Edith[1], born Mar. 5, 1891 in Burnside, Wayne Co., KY, died Nov. 26, 1949 at Antlers.  She married John J. Ledford of Bucktown, Hardin Co., TN is about 1914. Children were Lenore, James Morris and Kenneth Thurman.

Ruth[1], born Sep. 22, 1895 in Pawnee, Indian Territory, OK.  She married Walter Henry Baker, born 1894 in Carter Co., OK, on Nov. 8, 1920 in Idabel.  He died in Logan Co., OK in 1988.  Ruth died in Paris, TX in 1939.  Children:  Kathryn Elizabeth and Gwendolyn, both born in Carter Co., OK.

George Leighton[1]. born 1899 in Pawnee, died in Idabel in 1927.  He married Vida Valerian Russell of Bodcaw, Nevada Co., AR on Nov. 8, 1920 in Idabel.  George is buried at Greenhill Cemetery at Muskogee, OK. Sometime before 1940 Vida remarried.  Her second husband was George R. Orenbaum of TX.  Children with George were:  George, Jr., 1921-2006; Bessie Jeanne, born 1923, married Homer Cantwell and Vida Lucille, married Jack Ernest Collier.

The fourth child born to Liston and Jennie was Liston, Jr.[1] on Oct. 133, 1902 at Pawnee.  He married Mildred Vera McDonald on May 17, 1928 at Idabel.  She was born to Elmer and Florence McDonald in 1908 at Octavia in Le Flore Co., OK.  Liston, Jr. died on Dec. 12, 1976 in Bryan Co., OK; she on Oct. 7, 1884 at Pittsburg Co., OK.  Both are buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Antlers, OK.

According to Mildred's obituary, she and Liston owned and operated the Coffey Funeral homes in several counties in SE Oklahoma.  Apparently, the family moved from time to time to the towns where the businesses were located, not staying long in any town.  In 1948 they moved to Antlers where they remained until death.  Their children were Wallace, Liston Ray, Frances, Patsy Ruth and Charlotte Kay.

Corrections and/or additions welcomed!


[1]Descendant Report, Jan. 3, 2005, Cheryl Harris to Fred Coffey (, cc: Jack Coffee.  Cheryl wrote:  "I haven't had success tracking siblings and half-siblings of Liston Pancoast Coffey. There is a family photo circa 1910 with a man reported as 'Uncle Fred' who has a strong resemblance to Liston. But, except for a James F. brother, no explanation for 'Fred' and only vague reference to him moving to Eddy, Texas (although there was an Eddy, Oklahoma very close to where the family was living in Pawnee, Oklahoma at that time)."  Cheryl also commented that Liston, Sr. may have been married prior to Jennie.  She reported that he had sired an unnamed child about 1875 in KY and cited a 1918 death date for the child.

[2]Joel and Martha are mentioned in The Georgians, Genealogies of Pioneer Settlers, by J. H. Austin.

Joel's will (probate) dated 1789 Wilkes Co., NC.  Children listed as James, Joel, Cleveland, Nathan, Katy, Jane and Celia.  See North Carolina will book C, page 321.

A Joel Coffey was named as one of the buyers from the estate sale of Robert Patrick in Surry Co., NC in Feb., 1778.  Robert Patrick apparently died between 1774 and 1777.  He was on the 1774 tax list of Benjamin Cleveland and again in 1775.  He was not listed on the 1777 tax list.

Marvin Coffey wrote in his work that DAR has always listed Joel as born 1730, and married in 1753 to Martha Sealy, born 1737.  Nebuzaradon, their youngest son, was born in 1780 meaning that Martha would have been aged 52 at his birth.

A number of researchers have theorized that Joel married Martha Sealey who died, and he then married Martha Step.  Others have the opinion that Joel married a widow by the name of Mrs. Martha Step Sealey while another group has said that Sealey was a nickname for Celia which was the middle name of Martha.  Another thought is that Joel was born much earlier, about 1750.

Joseph is not listed in Joel's 1789 will (Wilkes Co., NC Will Book I, p260) but does appear in other researcher's work.  He could have been born to Joel's first wife and died before the will was made.  Joseph has also been reported to have gone to Kentucky quite early, and already otherwise provided for by his father thereby not making the will.  And, even if Joel had only one wife, Joseph could still have died quite young.  Marvin noted that there was a Joseph Coffey on early tax records of Adair Co., KY.

Martha Step's father was named Joseph so it appears logical that Joel and Martha would have given a son that name.  A daughter Celia was referred to as Sealy in Joel's will.  Marvin's research did not uncover any Sealy families in the same county that the Coffeys lived in Virginia or North Carolina.

As far as can be determined, a record of Chesley and Jane Cleveland has never been found.  Researchers should be aware that much controversy exists over the existence of Chesley and Elizabeth Cleveland Coffey.  Additional controversy surrounds their child Joel.  Family information contained here should be taken lightly, and independent research used to confirm or refute connections.

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