March 28, 2014

John Cleveland & Elizabeth Coffey

The Cleveland family is neither short on research nor controversy.  Very little of what I will write here has been personally researched.  Instead, I have depended on several sources that many readers will very likely recognize.

I'll begin with at controversy I faced when I wrote on 2004 that Alexander Cleveland, born c1670 in Orange Co., VA, married Mildred "Milly" Presly [sic] in that county c1694.  According to the source, Alexander may have married twice.  A grandson, Henry Wilson Cleveland, Alexander married "Margaret Doolittle, of Irish descent."

Shortly afterward I received email from a reader that Alexander did not marry Mildred.  That reader assured me that they "have thoroughly researched that family and come to the conclusion that it is simply impossible. Presley researchers do not include her in their genealogies and there is nothing to tie that family to Gloucester Co."  After a couple of exchanges the writer refused to continue with the contact.

So, for what it is worth, this is what I have recorded in the Edward Coffey Project about Alexander and Mildred Presly Cleveland:

The couple married c1694 in Orange Co., VA and very likely had several children.  I have recorded only two:  John, born Jul. 31, 1714 in Gloucester Co., died Nov., 1778 at Blue Run in Orange Co., VA and, Grace, born Sep. 1, 1716 in Gloucester Co.

John Married Elizabeth Coffey in 1734.  She was the daughter of Edward and Anne Powell Coffey, born c1714 in Essex Co., VA, died 1770 in Orange Co.

They were parents of at least nine children:

Mary, born c1736 - no further information

Benjamin, born May 26, 1738 in Prince William Co., VA, died Oct. 15, 1806 in Tugalo Valley, Oconee Co., SC.  This is "the" Benjamin Cleveland of King's Mountain fame.  Marvin Coffey wrote that Benjamin was "probably the oldest son," and that he "spent some time in Pittsylvania co., VA where he became known as a mighty hunter."  in about 1768 the family moved to NC, first to Surry Co. (created from Rowan Co. in 1770) and later settled on the upper Yadkin River in Wilkes Co.  Benjamin married Mary Graves c1761 and they were parents of at least two sons, Absalom and John.

Pages upon pages could be written - and have in numerous books - about Cleveland.  Check the following sources for further research:

New River Notes at; Cleveland Family Chronicles at; Ashe, Samuel, Biographical History of North Carolina, 1906; Crouch, John, Historical Sketches of Wilkes County., Wilkesboro, NC, 1902 and, Kings Mountain Men, White, K.K (Katherine Keogh), Gen. Pub. Co., Baltimore, 1977

Rev. John Cleveland, born c1740 in Orange Co., said to have married Mary McCann.  No further information.

Elizabeth "Betty," Cleveland, born 1742, died 1828 in Scott Co., KY, married David Gillaspy between 1760 and 1765. The family moved to Madison Co., KY c1802. No further information.

Robert Cleveland, born 1744 at Blue Run, died 1812 in Lewis Fork Twp., Wilkes Co., NC.  Married in KY to Alice "Aley" Mathis, born 1750 died 1791.  At least two sons:  Jesse, married Mary Blassingame and parents of Dr. Jesse F. Cleveland who married Caro [sic] Zimmerman.  Robert and Alice's second child was Capt. Jeremiah Cleveland.  Robert may be the same that was in Pittsylvania Co., VA before arriving in Wilkes Co.  There is a 1799 land entry in that county for a Robert Cleveland as well.  Source cited is Deed Book 5, page 91.  Robert was a captain in the Revolutionary War, and was at King's Mountain.  He is said to have sired 17 children by two wives.

Jeremiah Cleveland, born 1746 at Blue Rn, died 1806 in VA.  No further information.

Photo by Vanessa Neal
Photo by Vanessa Neal
Larkin Cleveland, born 1748 in Orange Co., died 1814 in Giles Co., TN.  Larkin was probably as "famous" as his older brother, Benjamin.  He married Frances Wright, born 1756, died 1836 in Dallas Co., AL.  Larkin has a DAR monument at Buford Station Cemetery [aka Lane Cemetery] in Lynnville, Giles Co., TN which gives his rank as a Lieutenant.  An older headstone, likely placed shortly after his death, records his rank as Colonel.  Frances is said to have been buried at the Old Govan Cemetery at Selma in Dallas Co., AL.  A message found in a genealogy forum reads:  "The 1989 version of the Central Alabama Genealogical Society's book, Vital Data from Cemeteries of Dallas County, Alabama shows the following: Frances Cleveland, wife of Larkin Cleveland, b. 6 Aug 1756, d. 26 Mar 1836, bd. in the abandoned Govan family cemetery, located west of route no. 41 near Sardis, east of the intersection of county Rd 77 and Co. Rd. 30, Township 16, Range 11, Section 31."

Martha "Patsy" Cleveland, born c1759 in Orange Co., VA, married James Smith in that county in 1775.  No further information.

The last child of John and Elizabeth Coffey Cleveland is said to be Reuben, born 1752 in Blue Run, Orange Co.  Little or nothing is known of Reuben.  He was mentioned in his father will and may have died prior to 1792.  He is thought to have had a son named John.

Please note that many of the birth dates given for these children are - as far as I am concerned - speculative at best.  Most are from the compilation of data by Edmund West and found mostly on as part of the "Family Data Collection - Births."  As I understand those records, they are compiled from information given in what are often termed "controversial" family histories found on Ancestry.  Personally, I have little faith in those histories unless more reliable sources are provided to back up given claims.



Cleveland, Edmund James, The genealogy of the Cleveland and Cleaveland families , Page 3_2056.

George A. Martin, Virginia Cleveland Ancestor Discovered, National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 46, Sept., 1958)

Men of Mark in South Carolina, Vol. III, a collection of biographies edited by J. C. Hemphill and published in Washington, D.C. in 1908.  This collection contains the biography of Dr. Jesse Franklin Cleveland of Spartanburg, SC.

Original Immigrant of Southern Clevelands, Vikki L. Jeanne Cleveland,

Three Centuries in America: Thomas Machel of Middlesex County, Virginia, L. C. Edwards, 1999

King's Mountain and Its Heroes: History of the Battle of King's Mountain, October 7, 1780 and the Events which led to it, Peter G. Thomson, 1881; Lyman C. Draper LL.D., Editor

The Long Journey: A Family History 1687 to 1991, Thomas Lee Hair, Ft. Walton Beach, FL, 1992

James Bluford Coffey: His Ancestors and Descendants in America, Vol I and II, Coffey, Marvin Dale, privately printed, 1984.  See also This book likely available on microfilm from the Family History Library at Salt Lake City.

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