January 17, 2015

George Washington Coffey (1862-1918)

George Washington Coffey
George married Mary Elizabeth Lewis, a daughter of Jackson and Lucinda Maltba Lewis in Alexander Co., NC in 1878 and by 1900 was the father of nine children and ranching in Dedman, Union Co., New Mexico. He was a son of Calvin and Serena White Coffey.

On May 12, 1918, George, Mary and one unnamed grandson were motoring across the "famous hill" known as La Bajada Hill near Santa Fe, NM.  According to news reports of the day, he was retired and heading to San Juan, NM to live.  Other news reports say the family was "touring the state."

In any event, when they arrived at the hill, Mrs. Coffey and the grandson stepped out of the car to walk while George guided the car downhill.  He lost control of the car on the second turn and plunged over the embankment, instantly killing him.  He was 55 years old.

George's remains were returned to Dedman, and later laid to rest at Mountain View Cemetery at Raton in Colfax Co., NM.  Mary lived until 1935 and passed away in Blaine Co., OK where she was laid to rest in the Canton Cemetery.

View La Bajada on Google Maps, earth view.  Quite impressive!
"Dedman Rancher Killed in Accident on La Bajada Hill
"The Santa Fe New Mexican in a recent issue, reports the death of G. W. Coffey, a Dedman rancher, in an auto accident on La Bajada Hill, near Santa Fe.  The Union County man, with his wife and grandson, were touring the state in a car.  Coming to the famous hill, Mrs. Coffey and the grandson got out of the car to walk down.  Mr. Coffee [sic] followed with the car.  At the second turn the car became unmanageable and plunged over the embankment.  Mr. Coffey was killed instantly.  He is survived by his widow, a son and daughter at Dedman, and three sons living near Kenton [sic] [Canton], Oklahoma.  The remains were shipped to Dedman for burial." [The Clayton News, Clayton, NM http://1.usa.gov/1ufb4WY, Page 1, Col. 3]

The news item on the left appeared in the "Gateway to OK History" and is from the Canadian Valley Record, Vol., XIII, No. 51, Page 1 in Canton, Blaine Co., OK on 23 May 1918.

Click either image to enlarge.

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