Cornelius was born to McCaleb and Sarah “Sally” Hayes on Apr. 22, 1840 in Watauga Co., NC. When he was about 21 years old, Jones, as he was called, enlisted on Sep. 18, 1861 in Co. E of the North Carolina 37th Infantry Regt. He was wounded on Aug. 29, 1862 at Manassas, VA but, returned to duty on Jan. 15, 1963. He was “accidentally” wounded in the foot on July 16, 1863. In November, 1864 he was transferred to Co. E, same regiment. However, another record reports that he was “retired to the Invalid Corps by reason of disability from his wounds.”
On July 1, 1866 he was married to Martha Jane Gragg in Yadkin Valley, Caldwell Co.1 and together they had at least nine children: Thomas Herndon (1867-1946); Emma Irene (1868-1947); Simms (c1871-?); Elbert (1872-1900); John Finley (1877-1953); Walter Gwyn (1878-1945); Charles Burton (1882-1960); Hattie (1883-?) and Rufus Monroe (1886-1965). Martha died at Shulls Mill, Watuaga Co. in 1900 and was buried at White Springs Cemetery at Blowing Rock.
On April 20, 1907 in Watauga Co., Jones was married to Sara Caroline Hodges, a daughter of Jesse and Nancy Storie Hodges.2 They are known to have had only one child, Junie Irene (1908-1982).
Cornelius died of heart failure on Feb. 10, 1917 at Shulls Mill and was also buried at White Springs. Sarah was remarried on Apr. 23, 1920 at Lower Creek in Caldwell Co., to Calvin Hodges.3 Although there is likely to be some kinship between Sarah and Calvin, I am unaware of any.
The following April 25, 1918 The Watauga Democrat4 published the following legal notice:
"NOTICE North Carolina, Watauga County, Sarah Coffey, widow of C. J.Coffey Deceased, and Junio [sic] Coffey, by her guardian, W. D. Ashley, VS, Thos Coffey, Emma Gragg and her husband, John Gragg. John Coffey and wife, Francis Coffey, Gwin Coffey and wife Julia Coffey, Charley Coffey and wife, Amanda Coffey, Hattie Stocks [Stokes?] and husband Charlie Stocks, Rufus Coffey and Emma Coffey.
Marriages: Thomas Herndon married Annie Marilda Pendley on Nov. 19, 1900; Emma married John Alexander Gragg on Dec. 19, 1887; Simms Coffey is thought to be a child in this family but not proven. If he was, then he was deceased by the time of his father's estate sale. Elbert Coffey married Margaret Simms on Feb. 14, 1892. Could this be where a child named Simms Coffey might have entered the family? John Finley married Frances F. Holloway on Jul. 14, 1894. Walter Gwyn married Julia Hayes on Jul. 4, 1896. Charles Burton married Amanda Louise Misemore c1918. Hattie married Charles Stocks or Stokes. Rufus Monroe married Emma Eliza Robbins on Oct. 27, 1906."By virtue of an order of the Superior court in the above entitled action, appointed the undersigned a commissioner to sell the lands of C. J. Coffey, I will on the 6th day of May 1918 sell to the highest bidder for cash the following described lands to wit: Being the land on which the said C. J. Coffey lived at the time of his death, and being bounded on the north by the lands of the Boone Fork Lumber Co and W. S. Whiting, on the west by Roby Coffey on south by Gwyn Coffey and on the east by Rufus Coffey and Rufe Baldwin Con. about 150 acres. Said sale will be made subject to the dower right of the said Sarah Coffey, widow of C. J. Coffey, deceased, and allotted by T. L. Critcher, T. F. Greer and W. L. Holshouser, commissioners appointed by the court, to which reference is hereby made for more complete description of said dower. This 23d day of March 1918. T. E. Bingham, Com."
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Civil War Deaths: Jone's brother, Thomas Ninevah Coffey, born 1839, died May 3, 1863 at Chancellorsville in Spotsylvania Co., VA. Another brother, Jesse Finley, born 1842, died Mar. 7, 1863 at Big Creek Gap in Campbell Co., TN. Brother John E., born 1844 is thought to have died on the same date as his older brother Thomas and also at Chancellorsville.
1"North Carolina Marriages, 1759-1979", index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F89P-JLW : accessed 04 Apr 2014), C. J. Coffey and M. J. Gragg, 28 Jun 1866; citing Caldwell, North Carolina, reference bk 2; FHL microfilm 590345.
2”Historical Studies, Appalachian State University, Department of History” (Editors Evelyn G. Shepherd and Brenda M. Greene), compiler, Marriage Register of Watauga County, North Carolina 1873-1954 (Boone, Watauga Co., NC: Dept. of Hist., Appalachian State Univ., Boone, NC, 1995).3"North Carolina Marriages, 1759-1979". index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F895-TZX : accessed 04 Apr 2014), Calvin Hodges and Sarah Coffey, 23 Apr 1920; citing Lower Creek, reference ; FHL microfilm 590350.
4”The Watauga Democrat”, Apr. 25, 1918, page 2, col. 4 (http://tinyurl.com/nywde9x)