December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas

To all my followers and "drive-by" readers.  May the spirit of the season overflow in your household and bring you and yours happiness and good tidings!

See you in the New Year!


[PS: The current price for the Edward Coffey Project CD and DVD will remain through Dec. 31.]

December 21, 2012

Albert and Sarah Goodnight Coffey

Albert was the second eldest son of the Rev. Reuben A. and Martha "Polly" Dowell Coffey, born Feb. 22, 1810 in Wilkes Co., NC.  Albert married Sarah Goodnight in Monroe Co., IN on Dec. 5, 1833.[1]  Sarah was born c1803 in Shelby Co., KY.

Albert died in Jan., 1837, just a few years into his marriage with Sarah, and leaving her with two young children to raise.  The first was Julia Ann, born in Aug., 1836 followed by Wesley W., born Dec. 13, 1837 in Owen Co., IN.  Sarah never remarried and died c1880 in Spencer, Owen Co., IN.  Daughter Julia married William R. Stogsdill in Owen Co. in 1856 and Sarah lived with them in Owen Co. for almost 30 years.

Sarah's son Wesley married Laura Joseph Howe in Owen Co. in 1865.[2]  Laura was the daughter of Amon Price and Harriet C. Thatcher Howe and was born in IN in 1843.  Together, they had three children, only one of which married and has descendants.  That was Bryon Howe, born in 1866, Owen Co., died 1945 in Los Angeles, CA.  He was their first born, followed by Hallie H. in 1874 and Albert Price in 1876.  Laura was the mother of four children but only three survived to become adults.[3]

Hallie and Albert never married and pretty much lived with their mother, or with each other, from birth to death in Los Angeles.  Albert died in 1936 at age 70, and Hallie died in 1969 at age 95.  I have not found their burial places.  In the 1941 city directory for Wilmar City in Los Angeles Co., Albert gave his occupation as "musician." Hallie reported her occupation as "stenographer."

Byron married Nellie Branham in Owen Co. in 1894.[2]  She was a daughter of Laroes and Susan Amanda Halbert Branham, born in Indiana in Sep., 1873.  She died on Jul. 4, 1962 in Los Angeles.

There were four children born to their marriage, all in Spencer, Owen Co.:

Thatcher Howe, born 1895, died 1956 in Los Angeles.  Thatcher married Lessa Leona Freeman in Riverside Co., CA in 1919.  She was the daughter of Fletcher and Margaret McClellan Freeman, born in Oct., 1899 in Iowa, died in Los Angeles in 1979.  I believe that Thatcher and Lessa had just one child, a daughter named Mary Jane, born in 1920.  She married John Batterso and they both lived with her parents in LA in 1940.

Thatcher's sister, Naomi Josephine was born in 1896 and died in LA County in 1970.  She was married to Karl Keeler in Marion Co., IN in 1916.[2]  They had at least two children, Lois Karlyn, born c1919 and Karl, Jr., born c1921.  Lois married a Mr. Teters and died in LA County in 1990.

Byron's third child was Cecile Louise, born 1897, died in LA County in 1946.  She married Joseph Adolph Iverson c1927, probably in CA.  He died in Chatsworth, LA County in 1986.  She died well before that, in 1946, LA County.  This may be the same Joseph who was buried at Oakwood Memorial Park in Chatsworth, LA Co.  His bio at Find-A-Grave reads:  "Son of Carl Johan and Augusta Matilda (Wagman) Iverson. Husband of Louise and Iva. Brother of Carl Jr and Aaron Iverson, Anna Foss and Sena Baker. Joe was the owner, along with brother Aaron, of the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth, famed filming place of many American westerns of the 1930s through the 1960s, including The Lone Ranger series and numerous episodes of Bonanza."  I know of no children born to his union with Louise but, a website devoted to the ranch and some of the history, has a photo of Ed Iverson, reported there to be the one of "the owner," which could be Aaron's son..

Coffey Sprinkler
Click for larger view

The fourth child and second son was Jule Hubert, born in 1899, died in LA County in 1979. He married Harried Ellen Johnson c1925. She was born in Ramsey Co., MN in 1899 and was the mother of at least two children: Harry, born c1927 and Priscilla H., born c1931. Jule held numerous patents during his lifetime, including US 3088677 for the "Oscillating Arm Pop-Up Sprinkler," seen on many lawns across the US.  To be sure, others have made "improvements," but the basic concept remains Jule's.

He was a 1924 graduate of CalTech and died in Clarement, CA in 1979.  His daughter, Priscilla Coffey McKenna wrote to the alumni newsletter that "he was retired and had been living in Claremont, California....He lived a long and exceedingly useful life and we will miss him very much."[4]

Malcolm Carnegie McKenna
While searching for Jule's daughter Priscilla, I found that she married Malcolm Carnegie McKenna, son of Donald Carnegie and Bernice Caroline Waller McKenna.  The McKennas were a family of philanthropists; Donald being a Pennsylvania industrialist and the namesake of Clarement McKenna College in CA.  Malcolm and Priscilla were married in Claremont on Jun. 17, 1952.  He died on Mar. 3, 2008 in Boulder, CO.  Before his retirement, Malcolm was Frick curator of vertebrate paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History and professor emeritus of geological sciences at Columbia University.

[1]Indiana State Library Genealogy Database: Marriages through 1850, Indiana State Library online [], accessed Sep.,2005.
[2]Indiana Marriage Records Index, 1845-1920;.Index to Marriage Records Indiana: Indiana Works Progress Administration, 1938-1940.
[3]1900 Owen Co., IN census record
[4]Caltech News, June 1979, California Institute of Technology ( : viewed 21 December 2012), Vol 13, No. 4, Page 8, Obituaries.

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.

December 18, 2012

Clara Coffey Gilbert

Clara remained unmarried and caring for her father, Ebenezer Rice "Eben" Coffey until his death in Austin, Delta Co., CO in 1935.

 Eben was a son of James Asbury and Louisa Adelade Ferris Long Carnahan Coffey. Louisa was only 20 when she married James Asbury leading me to believe that she was married but once, and that her parents did give her that unusually long name. She, born in Wayne Co., KY, and James, born in Gallatin Co., IL were married on Dec. 27, 1849 in Saline Co., IL.

 Eben married Iola Kreigh in about 1887, where I do not know. He was born in Harrisburg, Saline Co., IL c1851, she in Iowa in Feb., 1862. With the exception of one brother, their daughter Clara and all of her siblings were born in OK.

 Clara was almost 40 years old when her father died. She must have been on the courting end of a relationship with Harry Gilbert, an Englishman born there in about 1883 because they were married and had their first child, a daughter named Iola in 1935 or 1936. Their second child, a son named Harry was born c1937, both in Colorado. They had been married just a couple of years when Harry died in 1937.

After waiting all those years to marry then losing her husband after about two years, must have been devastating for her. Clara remained a widow for the next 59-60 years. In 1940 she appeared in the Delta, Delta Co., CO census with her children. A neighbor was her brother Oscar Kreigh Coffey and family. Clara died at age 100 in 1996 in Delta Co. and was buried at Cory Cemetery in that town. Husband Harry is buried there with her.

Eben and Iola's other children were:

 James Luther, born Jun. 16, 1889.  I lost him after 1900 in Benton Twp., Beaver Co., OK.  But, I believe he is the James L. Coffey in the 1910 Pueblo Co. census as a patient in the "Woodcraft Hospital and School for the feeble minded."  I believe also that he was the James Luther Coffey who was registered for the WW1 draft in CA on Dec. 31, 1918 (late registration).  He was then apparently a patient in some CA institution.  He was part of those "Indians, Prisoners, Insane, in Hospitals" who were registered late.  He signed the card in his [apparently] own hand as James Luther Coffey.

After James came Sarah Louise, born in Aug., 1891.  She lived with her parents until she was 18 and then disappeared from the census.  Brother Eben Ruble, born Nov., 1894, remained with his parents until 1920 and then disappeared.

Oscar Kreigh, born Aug. 28, 1898 in KS, bird May 30, 1982 in Delta Co.  Oscar married Mary E. Neff on Mar. 23, 1921 in CO.  She was born in MO in 1902 and died in Delta Co. in 1972.  The two children that I know of are Robert L., and Roy.  Robert L. died in Colorado in 1981 and is buried at Cory Cemetery.

The last child was Mary A., born May, 1900.  She was with her parents until 1920 and then disappeared.

Updates and/or corrections welcomed.


December 14, 2012

Margaret Josephine Coffey Farley (1936-2012)

Margaret Josephine Coffey
I first met Margaret when she wrote to me some years ago, offering information about her Coffey family of western North Carolina.  I soon learned that Margaret knew more about Coffey families in that part of the state than just her immediate ancestry.  She once sent to me a large box of newspaper articles, and some very old and yellowed obituaries and photos that she had collected over the years. She included photos of her family and stories that only someone who had lived them could relate.  Margaret was very proud of her family and never missed an opportunity to tell me about her brothers who had served so proudly in the Marine Corps, and her several sisters who had preceded her in death.

She loved North Carolina and especially the western part in Watauga and Caldwell counties. She often talked of Coffeys Gap, the people who lived there and, their old home places that no longer exist.

She was the third of seven children born to Clayton McDonald "Mack" and Lany Esther McCroskey Coffey, born Apr. 27, 1936 in Princeton, Mercer Co., WV.  She married twice, first to Kinney Eugene Ellis and second to Vivian Edward Farley, Jr. in 1972.  Mr. Farley died in Princeton in 1976 and Margaret never remarried.

A few years ago my wife and I were returning to Louisiana from a Coffey Cousins' reunion in VA and decided to go visit with Margaret in Winston-Salem.  She welcomed us with a home cooked meal and we got to meet Steve.  She gave us a tour of her modest home, filled with antiques and other treasures that she had collected over her lifetime.

We had remained in contact on Facebook and e-mail.  Now and again she would send me obituaries that she had found on line about Coffeys and related families in western NC.

I will miss her very much.

Her obituary:
Margaret C. Farley Posted Date: December 13, 2012
(April 27, 1936 - December 13, 2012)
Margaret Coffey Farley, age 76, of West Acadia Avenue, Winston-Salem, and formerly of Blowing Rock, went to be with her Lord and Savior Thursday, December 13, 2012.
Born April 27, 1936 in Princeton, WV, she was the daughter of the late Clayton McDonald and Esther McCroskey Coffey. Margaret was a devoted and loving wife, a good sister, and a wonderful aunt and friend to everyone.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Eddie Farley; sisters, Bertha Mae Akers, Nellie Aileen Coffey; and brothers, James Edward, Lonnie Ray, and Clayton Coffey.
Mrs. Farley is survived by survived by her special nephew, Steve Coffey; sister, Gladys Virginia Coffey Bailey; six step-children; eleven step-grandchildren; four step-great grandchildren; and sisters-in-law, Dorothy McBride, and Jewell Nelson and husband, Charles. A number of nephews, nieces, great nephews and nieces, and special little ones 'Waylon' and Justin.
Services to celebrate the life of Margaret Coffey Farley will be conducted Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 2 PM at the Austin & Barnes Funeral Home Chapel, officiated by Rev. Max West. The family will receive friends Sunday from 1 until 2 o'clock at Austin & Barnes.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at the website
Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Farley family.
Rest in peace Margaret.  Your earthly work is over and it is now time to rejoice in that place which Jesus has prepared for you.


December 13, 2012

Elijah Melvin & Elizabeth Quinn Coffey

One of our Coffey cousins, born and raised and who had lived in Gentry Co., MO since birth, somehow decided it would be nicer if he and his family moved to North Dakota,  Now, I know winters are cold in MO with highs in the mid-40s and lows in the mid-20s but, in ND winter temps typically drop out the bottom of the thermometer!

Elijah Melvin Coffey was the 17th child and 10th son of Jesse H. Buchanan and Dorcas Lucinda Burpo Coffey.  He was born Apr. 22, 1867 in Alanthus Grove, Gentry Co., MO and married Elizabeth Quinn of that county on Mar. 27, 1891.  He was 23, she was 18.

Their first two children, Ves B. and Seth Rastus were born in Gentry Co.  Ves was born in Dec., 1892 and Seth in May, 1896.  Melvin, their third child was not born until 1909 after the family arrived in ND.  The family lived and farmed in Burt Township, near Minot from c1908-09 until at least 1940.

Ves Coffey Death Certificate
Their son Ves lived with them at least through 1917 when he registered for the WW1 draft.  He was described on the registration as being tall with a medium build, gray eyes and black hair.  At the time he was already a private in the state National Guard at Minot.  By 1923 he was unmarried and living in Williams, Coconino Co., AZ where he was employed as Chief Clerk for the US Forest Service.  He was struck by the Santa Fe Train on Apr. 7, 1923 and died on Apr. 25 at the Williams Hospital. His body was returned to Stanberry in Gentry Co. for burial.

Seth registered for the draft in Ward Co., ND on Jun. 5, 1917. He was described then as being tall with medium build, blue eyes and black hair. He was 21 yrs. old, born May 9, 1896 at Alanthus [sic] Mo.  He was single and a farmer employed by E. M. Coffey of Burlington, Ward Co., ND.  Seth eventually married twice.  His first wife was Cora B. [LNU] and they were wed in about 1920.  At least two children were born to this marriage: Dorothy born c1922 and Betty Jean, born c1931.  Cora apparently died before the Apr., 1940 census because only Seth and Betty Jean were enumerated as family.  Their housekeeper was a 21 year old Theda G. Olson.  She and Seth would be married later that year or, perhaps not until 1941.

This seems to be a bit odd to me:  On Dec. 9, 1942[1], Mrs. Theda O. Coffey enlisted in the Womens Army Corps, branch code:  Inactive Reserve as an Aviation Cadet.  Place of enlistment was Minneapolis, MN.  Minneapolis is 500 miles from Minot and, she reported that she was a housekeeper for a private family.  Could she and Seth been separated or divorced?  I also wonder if she ever learned to fly and what her role was in the WAC during WW2.   Theda died on Feb. 8, 1999 and was buried at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Minot.  Seth died about 32 years before her, in Sep.,1967.  He is also buried at Sunset.  I do not know if they had children.

The third son, Melvin, born c1909 after the family moved to ND.  He married a young lady by the name of Vivian, born c1921 in ND.  They appeared in the 1940 census in Minot as a newly wed couple. Melvin worked on road construction with the WPA and they had no children at the time.  I have not found any additional information on this family.

Additions and corrections welcomed, especially the burial location of Elijah, Elizabeth, Ves and Melvin.


[1]Name: Theda O Coffey Birth Year: 1919 Race: White, citizen (White) Nativity State or Country: North Dakota State of Residence: North Dakota Enlistment Date: 9 Dec 1942 Enlistment State: Minnesota Enlistment City: Minneapolis Branch: Womens Army Corps Branch Code: Inactive Reserve Grade Code: Aviation Cadet Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law Component: Womens Army Corps Source: Civil Life   Education: 4 years of high school Civil Occupation: Housekeepers, private family Marital Status: Married Height: 65 Weight: 181

December 9, 2012

Joseph, Jr. & Louvada Martin Coffey

Merry Christmas
Joseph and Louvada were married in Wayne Co., KY in 1902.  He was born there in 1886 to Joseph, Sr. and Louisa J. Jones Coffey.  She was a daughter of James and Sarah Jane Roberts Martin, born Wayne Co. in 1884.  Jr. died c1924 and she in Nov., 1945 and both are buried at the Dobbs Cemetery[1] in Coopersville, Wayne Co.

Louvada and Joseph had at least 9 children but I have only been able to locate a few of them that grew to adulthood.

Roscoe, born 1907, died 1988 at Coopersville.  Married to a lady named Ruby c1933 and had at least two children:  Geraldine, c1834 and, Velta, born c1938.  They are in the 1940 Wayne Co. census.[2]

Frank O., born Jan., 1909, married Sarah Jane Gregory, born c1911, in about 1930.  They had children Anderson, Othal, Stanley Estel and Audrey.  Frank died in 1973 and is buried at Elk Spring Cemetery in Montecello.

Joseph, born Apr., 1911, likely died young as did Elmer, born Feb., 1912 who died on Jun. 1913.  He is buried at Kidd Cemetery in McCreary Co.  Another son, Maynard, born Feb., 1914 also may have died young.  I have found no records for him.

Everett, born 1916, died in Pulaski Co. in 2007.

Inman, born c1919, died in Oct., 1965.

There appears to have been another son named Joseph, born in 1923 but I have not been able to conform that.  The last child I know of was Adina, born in 1925 for whom I have found no info.

Martin-Maher Marriage Record
Louvade had an older brother, Joseph Gilson Martin, born Jul. 2, 1875 in Wayne Co., died in Hampshie Co., MA in 1965.  Joseph left KY when he was a young man, probably in his mid-20's and joined the military.  In 1903 he was a soldier at Fort Ethan Allen in Chittenden Co., VT where he was married on June 6 of that year to Mary Agnes Maher.  They were both 27 years old.

Mary Agnes was fairly consistent in census records, telling us where he father was born.  In 1920 she reported his birth in French Canada.  In 1930 he was said to have been born in English Canada.  She was not as consistent with her mother's birth place.  In 1920 she said her mother was born in NY state and, in 1930 she told us her mother was born in VT.  We can be fairly certain that the father was Canadian and her mother was an American.  After leaving VT, the couple migrated to Northampton in Hampshire Co., MA where they lived for the remainder of their lives.  I have not however, found them in the 1910 census.

Gilson WW1 Draft (front)
Gilson WW1 Draft (rear)
They were in Northampton in Sep. 12, 1918 when Gilson Martin registered for the draft.  He made no mention of his prior service.  He was described as being tall and stout with blue eyes and "bouzs"[3] colored hair.  That year he was a cabinet maker for the Florence Furniture Co. in Florence, MA.  He and Mary lived at 18 Plymouth Ave. in Florence.

In 1920 they lived at 16 Plymouth Ave., and Joseph was a casket maker.  Mary was a spooler in a local silk mill.  In 1930 they lived at 258 West St. in Northampton and Joseph was a painting contractor while Mary was still spooling.  By 1940 they were residing at 58 Front St. in Northampton.  Mary was retired and Joseph was a laborer working on park improvements in Northampton.

Mary died in 1960 and Joseph in 1965.  Both are buried at Saint Mary Assumption Church cemetery in Haydenville, Hampshire Co., MA.  They had no children.

I feel a touch of sadness for both, but especially for Joseph.  He likely never returned to KY and probably never saw his parents or any of his siblings again.

Additions and/or corrections welcomed!


[1]Coopersville is a "wide spot" in the road, about 8 miles SE of Monticello.  Follow KY 92 from Monticello to Coopersville.  The cemetery is behind the Canada Creek Baptist Church on KY 92.  Geo coordinates are 36° 45' 32.81" N 84° 44' 8.55" W

[2]1940 KY, Wayne Co., ED 116-8, Sheet 10B, Coopersville to Sinking road, dwelling 171, rents, $1, Coffey Roscoe, head, male, white, age 32, married, 2d grade, born KY, same place, farm labor; Ruby, wife, female, white, age 24, married, 4th grade, born KY, same place; Geraldine, dau., female, white, age 6, born KY, same place; Velta [sic], dau., female, white, age 2, born KY

[3] I have studied the card closely and it still appears to be "bouzs" colored hair.

December 8, 2012

Just My Opinion

Did any of your ancestors own slaves?

None of my CoffeE ancestors did but, suspected CoffeY ancestors did own some.  How should I feel about that?

I read a blog this morning entitled "Coming to Terms with Slave-Owning Ancestors."  Now, just reading the title might infer that the writer - unidentified as far as I can determine from the website it appears on - believes some people might be deeply troubled and seek some sort of atonement for the fact that a colonial era ancestor owned slaves.

Reading further, I noted that the author did come away with a very strong, personal reaction after finding a slave owner in her ancestry.  The author wrote that it was necessary:
" understand the historical climate of the day. Sadly, slavery was a fact of life in this time period of Virginia. In your research you will find slaves, and your ancestors may have owned them, or may have been them. But as a woman in the 21st century, seeing the names, ages and prices evoked a strong visceral reaction. I felt sick. Even though most of my family left the South before the Civil War because of their abolitionist ways, some had still owned people."

Finding out that your parents had sex* might cause a visceral reaction, even sickness, because you could never want to picture that in your mind. But, having such a strong reaction to something you knew existed (slavery) that began at the end of the 17th century and ended in 1862, might be an over reaction.  Perhaps however, the author never even suspected that her ancestors might have been slave holders.

Knowing that some of my people were slave owners makes little difference to me. I am certain that the knowledge has no profound effect on who I am. It was something people did then.  Without slaves, we would likely not have advanced out of the colonial era.

Blacks were not the only slaves in that era. Many plantation owners grew their land holdings by importing indentured servants who, if they had no special skills, worked alongside slaves in the tobacco fields.

Edward Coffey researchers know that he was an indentured servant.


*Please forgive the analogy to parental sex, but it's the first thing that came to mind that might evoke a visceral and sick reaction in a child when it finally realizes that it got here because the parents had sex. I would be interested in any reaction readers might want to share after finding their ancestors were slave holders. You can leave comments here or, drop me an e-mail.

December 5, 2012

Alfred Alphonso and Julia Ann Dawkins Cofffey

By his own hand, Alfred wrote that he and Julia were married in 1857. He would have been about 26 years old at the time, having been born in Wilkes Co., NC in 1831.  and, according to his autobiography, had lived a very adventurous life up to then.

Julia was the daughter of John and Mary Wheeler Dawkins, born in GA in Feb., 1838 and was about 20 years old when she married Alfred.  The Dawkins lived "in Habersham County [GA], 4 miles south of Tallulah Falls on Panther Creek."

The Coffey family appeared in the 1860 census at Rabun Co., GA with one child, a son, Newton Walter Coffey, born in July, 1858.  He and Julia had another child, Mary Angie, born in Sep., 1860.  By 1861 Alfred was off on another adventure, this time as a soldier in the 52d Georgia Infantry[1].  He survived the war and from about 1862 through 1882 they added another eight children to their family.

The family moved around a bit during those years.  In 1870 they were in Rock Spring, Walker Co., TN.  In 1880 and 1900 they were in Hamilton Co., TN.  Julia died in Mar., 1906 and by 1910 Alfred was an aged gentleman who sought shelter with his son Starlin [sic] in Marion Co., TN.  Alfred died in Dec., 1915 and was buried near Julia at Forest Hills Cemetery in Chattanooga.

All of their children were born in GA, and probably Rabun Co. specifically.

Their son Newton died in Rabun Co. in 1860 but, his burial site is unknown.

Mary Angie or, Angie as she was known, married Judson Buchanan of Monroe Co., IN in 1883 in Hamilton Co., TN.  He was a Coffey descendant as well.  His father was John Hamilton Buchanan and his mother was Miriam Coffey, the daughter of Rev. Reuben A. and Martha "Polly" Dowell Coffey.

Alfred A., probably Jr., was born c1862 but nothing else is know.

Starlin Pinkston was the fourth child, born in Apr., 1864.  He married Emma Raulston, 1879-1945, daughter of Robert and Anne Beene Raulston in Hamilton Co., c1898.  Children, all born in Marion Co., TN, were Earl Leonard, Vesta V., Stella, Ethel Mae (died at age 2), Willie May (died at age 11) and Charles.  Starlin died in Marion Co. in 1941.  Emma died in 1945 and both are buried at the Bean-Raulston graveyard in South Pittsburg, Marion Co.

Jackson Lafayette Coffey
Ellie Horton
Jackson Lafayette, born in 1865, married Ella Mahle "Ellie" Horton, daughter of W. A. and Annie Gibson Horton, c1886 in probably TN.  They raised at least 10 children:  Clara, Charles Clifton, George Clinton, Lillie Mae, Nellie G., William Dewey, Julia Ann, Robert Lee, James Cornelius and DeWitt Clifton [sic].  Jackson and his family were in Marion Co., TN in 1900 and by 1910 they were farming in Navarro Co., TX.  They remained in that county until 1920 when they were in Henderson Co., TX but back in Navarro by 1930.  Jackson died there in 1946; Ellie lived until 1956.  They are both buried at the Hamilton-Beeman cemetery in Retreat, Navarro Co.  It appears that most of their children lived and died in Navarro Co. and are buried there.  Son George Clinton "Clint"  Charles Clifton "Cliff" died in Chattanooga and was buried there in 1974.

Elizabeth Adeline "Addie" was born in 1867 and died in Chattanooga in  Jan., 1941.  She married William Henry Waldron in TN in 1887.  He was a native of Virginia, born there in 1858. He died just a few days before Addie, in Jan., 1941.  Both are buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Chattanooga.  I know of two children:  Mae Virginia, born c1890 in AL, married Conrad Fred Stier of GA in 1908, Jefferson Co., AL; and a son, Carroll, born Oct., 1892.

Sylvester A., born 1870, married Minerva "Minnie" Richards c1892 in GA.  Minerva was born in GA in 1874.  They had at least 10 children:  Charles, Mary J. (Eunice?), William Armstrong; Aldred A., Ross, Cathleen, Donald, James and an infant that was born in Feb., 1917 and died in June of that year.  Sylvester died in 1930 and is buried at Chattanooga Memorial Park.  I have not found Minnie's death record.

Talullah Virginia "Lula," born 1874, married William Norval Taggart on Hamilton Co., in 1899.  William was a native of Missouri, born there in about 1874.  They had at least two children, Julia, born c1895 and Norvell, a son, born c1897.  William died in 1958, Lula in 1958.  Both are buried at Greenwood in Chattanooga.

David Lee, born 1876, married Martha Hyatt, date unknown but probably close to 1900.  She was a native of NC, born there in 1883.  They had at least one child, Robert Lee, born 1903, died 1977.  All are buried at Greenwood.

Last but not least is Effie Thelma, born 1882.  She married George Thomas Ogburn c1902 in TN.  They had at least two children, a daughter Merita, born c1904 and a son, Junior, born c1907.  Nothing more is known.

More detailed information is available on the CD and DVD.

Corrections and additions welcomed!


[1] "Georgia Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865"

December 1, 2012

Rev. Adolphus Coffey 1836-1909

Adolphus was born Sep. 16, 1836 in North Carolina, just a few months following the fall of the Alamo in March of that year.  He was a son of Larkin and Catherine H. Wilson Coffey.  Larkin descends from Edward through Thomas and Sarah Fields Coffey.  Adolphus was the next to youngest of at least seven children born to Larkin and Catherine.

Sometime after about 1830 and, before 1850, Larkin and Catherine left NC and went to Morgan Co., IL where they appeared on that county tax rolls in 1840[1].  By the 1850 census the family was in Monroe Co., IN where they stayed until around 1870 when some of the family was found in Owen Co.  Larkin died in Owen Co. in 1881 and was buried at the Coffey Cemetery in Ellettsville, Monroe Co., IN.  Catherine died in Jun, 1857 and is also buried at Ellettsville.

On Sep. 26, 1860 Adolphus married Susan Harriet Miller [2], a native of New York, by having been born there in Jan., 1838.[3]  In 1870 this couple was in Tuscola, Douglas Co., IL.  In 1875 (perhaps) Susan died in Owen Co. and was buried at a Coffey family cemetery in or near Ellettsville.  During their short marriage of 15 years, Susan gave Adolphus five children:  H. Walter, born 1862, IN; Homer Ernest, 1863-1841, married Ina Sproul and had numerous children; Minnie, born c1864; Ezra M., born 1865, married Geneva R. Oakes in CA on Aug. 27, 1896.[4]  Their last was Katie, born 1868 in IL.

After Susan Miller Coffey died, Adolphus married another Susan, Susan Frances Stoneman, the daughter of Henry and Fanny.  The Stoneman mother and father and their first three children (George, Henry and Charles) were all born in England.  They arrived in NY on May 31, 1836 aboard the ship Lord Ramsey.[5]
Susan was age 30 when she and Adolphus married.  She can be found with her parents first in Putnam Co., IN in 1850 and later in 1860 and 1870 in Owen Co.  She was the mother of at least three children with Adolphus before she died in 1927.  Her children were Fanny, 1876-1939; Anna Lois, 1877-1944 and H. Reul, 1878-?.  Anna married Niles Roy Mossman in Owen Co. in 1913.  She died rather tragically when a hunter’s bullet found her as she walked in a field near her home.

Adolphus served with Co. H, 13th US Infantry Regiment, Indiana during the Civil War.  He died on Mar. 20, 1909 at the Illinois Soldier and Sailor Home in Quincy, Adams Co., IL.  He was returned to Ellettsville and buried at the Coffey family cemetery.

[1] Charles Blanchard, Editor, Counties of Morgan, Monroe and Brown, Indiana. Historical and Biographical (Chicago, IL: F. A. Battey & Co. Publishers, 1884), Page 502.
[2] Indiana Marriage Records Index, 1845-1920;.Index to Marriage Records Indiana: Indiana Works Progress Administration, 1938-1940.
[3] Unsourced
[4] California County Marriages, 1850-1952, index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 7 June 2012), Ezra M Coffey, 1896.
[5] Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897 and Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957.  Also arriving on that date and ship was the John Stoneman family from England. John was 45, his wife Ann, age 40. Children were Mary, Phillip, William, Ann, Joseph, Thomas, and John. Children ranged in age from 19 to 6.

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