February 13, 2013

Elias "Eli" Coffey (1775-1833)

Elias Coffey
Will & Probate
This Elias "Eli" Coffey is said to be a son of Salathiel and Elizabeth Gore Coffey,  Salathiel is said to be a son of the thus far mythical Chesley and Jane Cleveland Coffey.

According to one researcher, Eli was born on May 8, 1775 in Wilkes Co., NC.  We know from Green Co., KY marriage records he married Mary "Polly" Coffey, a first cousin and daughter of his uncle Nathan Coffey and wife Mary Saunders, the marriage having occurred on Mar. 22, 1801 in that county.

Eli and Mary had at least 12 children, all born in KY, some in Logan Co. and, some in Adair and Russell Counties.  There are a few we do not yet have an exact place of birth but suspect some of their older children were born in Greene Co.[1]

Eli died in Russell Co., KY in Jul., 1833, leaving a will dated Nov. 10, 1832.[2]

"In the name of God amen.  I Eli Coffey of Russell county and State of Kentucky, calling to mind the uncertainty of human life and knowing that all men have got to die to [sic] make this my last will and Testament in the following manner and form

"My will and desire is that all of my property such as are land and stock of all description and house furniture and farming interests to belong to my wife Poly Coffey during her natural life and at her death an equal distribution to be made of all my property of any kind among my children  My will and desire is that as my sons come of age for my wife to give them one horse briale [sic] [bridle] and saddle apiece and I appoint Acillis [sic] Coffey my sole execution of this my last will and testament  In witness where of I herewite [sic] set my hand and seal this 10th day of November 1832"

Eli signed with his mark.

Nebuzaradan Coffey and William Payne were witnesses.

By the time the will was probated on Dec. 9, 1833 at Jamestown, the witness Nebuzaradan was deceased.  A person who appears to be Will F. Patterson made his testimony that the signature of the deceased Nebuzaradan was genuine.

I do not know who this Nebuzaradan was.  Salathiel and Elizabeth are not known to have had a son by that name.  But, then we do not know with any certainty how many children they did have and all of their names.  The same researcher mentioned in paragraph 2, above, tells me Salathiel died intestate and his wife was named administratrix of his estate.  No children were named in the paperwork that followed.  Later, the wife and children moved to Adair Co., to what was then Green Co., KY, about 1799-1801.  Some of the children later migrated into the Illinois territory.

I am aware of at least three men named Nebuzaradan Coffey.  The first is said to be a son of Joel Coffey and Martha Stepp, Joel being another son of Chesley and brother to Salathial.  This is the Nebuzaradan, said to have been born in 1789, died in 1867 at Marion Co., OR.  His wife was Elizabeth Easley.[3]

The next I know of was born in Jun., 1831 to Willis and Violetta "Lotty" Haynes Coffey of Russell Co., KY.  This Nebuzaradan married Anna Leach "Annie" Baxter on Apr. 8, 1868 in Buchanan Co., MO.  Annie was born to Joseph and Frances George Baxter in MO in Sep., 1844.  She died in Denver Co., CO in 1934.  Her spouse preceded her in death in 1901.  Both are buried in the Fairmont Cemetery in Denver.  They were parents of at least seven children, all but one born in MO.  The last, Hattie, was born in CO.

And finally, the third Nebuzaradan was born c1757[4] in Albemarle Co., VA to Chesley and Jane Cleveland Coffey.  I believe earlier researchers more or less assigned some children to Chesley based on time and place.  I have not seen any documentation which confirms Chesley existed, much less had certain named children.

In any event, by tradition, Nebuzaradan moved to Madison Co., KY c1794[5].  He made his will in Madison Co. on Oct. 1, 1796 and was probated on Mar. 7, 1797.[6]  Again by tradition, his wife was Elizabeth Hayes, born c1760, died c1830.  A marriage record has not been found.

So, who was the Nebuzaradan Coffey who witnessed the will of Elias "Eli" Coffey?



[1] More information is available in the Edward Coffey Project or, via private email.

[2] Kentucky Probate Records, 1792-1977, familysearch.org 

[3] "Nebuzardan Coffey, born in North Carolina in 1790, moved to Kentucky, where in 1810 he married Miss Easley, 14 days older than himself. He removed to Illinois in 1831, and came to Oregon in 1847. He died at his home in Marion County on the 20th of January, 1867, leaving his wife, who with him, had borne the vicissitudes of 57 years on the frontier." The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, Vox. XXIX [Vol I, History of Oregon 1834-1848 citing the Salem Unionist of Feb. 11, 1867.

[4] Birth year could have been earlier.  If his son was the Joel who married Jane Coffey in Wilkes Co., NC on Aug. 22, 1793, then Nebuzaradon was born earlier than 1780.  First name could be Isaac as suggested in the Coffey Cousins' Clearinghouse newsletter of March 1997 by Donna McDonald of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  She also suggested he was born in Wilkes Co., NC.  Birth year must have been earlier.  If 1757 is close to accurate, he was 13 yrs. old when he married Elizabeth, who if born in 1760 would have been ten years old at her marriage!  It's rather obvious their birth and/or marriage dates of way off.

[5] No records found dated prior to 1796

[6] Julia Spencer Ardery, Compiler, Kentucky Court and Other Records, 2 Vols. (Baltimore, MD: Genealogy Pub. Co., 1979). Coffey, Nebuzarden - To wife, and all chdn. viz: Joel, Sary, Polly, Fieldin, Sail, Nilas, Hays, Betsy and Ruth; property divided when youngest child comes of age. Extrs.: Joel Coffey, Jas. Coffey, Fieldin Coffey. Written Oct. 1, 1796. Wts. Allin, Cleveland Coffey, Marthy Coffey. Probated March 7, 1797.  See also Junie Estelle Stewart King, compiler, Abstract of Early Kentucky Wills and Inventories (: Heritage Books, 2001), p. 162.

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