February 9, 2015

Hugh R. Blunt


Hugh R. Blunt was born Sep. 11, 1822 in Louisiana to Nelson and Elizabeth Blunt.

There are two inconvenient facts lacking in this family's research.  First, Hugh is not a proven son of Nelson, and second, Nelson is a not a proven son of James Blunt and Pembroke Powers.  It is only their proximity in time and place that makes me believe they are closely related.

James' son Hugh R. Blunt, born c1776 in North Carolina, married Euphemie "Pheme" Powers on Aug. 21, 1806¹ in Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, LA. Hugh Blunt died Feb., 1827 in Iberville Parish.  By 1830 his widow is found on the tax rolls of St. Helena Parish.²

A Nelson Blount [sic] disappeared from St. Helena Parish in c1812³ and a family with Nelson as head appeared in the Natchitoches Parish, LA census of 1820, "age to 45." Given the birth year of Hugh R., Nelson's age would have him born in the late 1770s, close enough for me to suspect them of being brothers.  By 1830, Nelson lived in Claiborne Parish, LA which had been cut from Natchitoches Parish in 1828.  He likely died before 1840 because he does not appear in that or any later census record.

The names Hugh and Nelson often appear in a number of my North Louisiana Blunt families.

Back to Hugh R.

James R. Bishop and his wife Peninah Walker had eight children, all daughters.  Hugh R. married two of them.  His first wife was fourth born, Mary Ann Bishop.  They married on Feb. 11, 1850 in Claiborne Parish.4

That union resulted in the birth of two children, the first being James Bert "Jim" Blunt on Mar. 11, 1851 in Columbia Co., AR.  The second born was Frances "Fanny: on Apr. 22, 1852 in Bossier Parish, LA.  Mary Ann is known to have died around that period and it seems reasonable to believe that she died giving birth to Fanny.

Living with Hugh and Mary Ann then was Beneta [sic], James and Peninah's youngest daughter, born Jan. 5, 1839.  Beneta continued to care for Hugh's children over the years until on Jan. 25, 1857 she married Hugh in Lafayette Co., AR.5

Together they had three children:

Martha Ann, born 1858, died 1927, married James C. "Tiny" Johnson in 1881.

Amanda M. "Manda", born 1859 in Rusk, Cherokee Co., TX, died 1936 in Minden, Webster Parish, LA.  She married James Monroe Braley on Aug. 19, 1881.

Hughriah Nelson "Hugh" Blunt, born 1863 in Bossier Parish, LA, died 1939 in Bossier. Married Labicey Etta "Et" Leonard on Jan. 8, 1883 in Louisiana.6

Amanda and Hugh

James Monroe Braley was the son of the German emigrant Johan Frederick Braley.  Braley appears to be an Anglicized spelling; I believe the original surname was Brahle.  He arrived in Sag Harbor, Suffolk, NY on board the vessel Markus in May, 1832, having embarked at Amsterdam.7

Johan Frederick, or Meckie as he was known to his family, wandered around somewhere in the US until 1850.  That is when he first appears in Claiborne Parish, LA, married to the widow, Elizabeth Edwards who had two daughters of her own, Sarah, born ca 1833 and Elizabeth, born c1835, both in Louisiana.

Meckie and Elizabeth had five children of their own, all boys!

James Monroe Braley
Amanda Blount Braley &
Ora Elizabeth Braley Coffee
James Monroe was the second born.  He arrived on Aug. 19, 1849 in Claiborne Parish and married Amanda on Aug. 19, 1881.  They settled down in Webster Parish, formed from parts of Bienville, Bossier and Claiborne Parishes in 1871. All of these Parishes were once part of Natchitoches Parish.

On Jan. 7, 1893 James homesteaded 159.97 acres in Twp. 23N, Range 10W in Webster Parish.  They remained in that area for the remainder of their lives.  Six of their seven children survived to adulthood including a daughter that would eventually become my maternal grandmother,

Ora Elizabeth Braley was born second on Jan. 14, 1884, one year to the day after the first child, also a daughter, was born and which died in Aug., 1884.

J. M. Braley Homestead

Ora, content to remain single, did not marry until she was 25 years old.  She was very likely of considerable help to her mother Mandy who had five younger children.

Ora was the third wife of my grandfather, Albert Lilburn "A. L." Coffee.  He was 11 years older than Ora when they married and had lost his first two wives to death.

Della was his first wife and she gave birth to two children; Ora May West Coffee in 1894 and Carl Glenn Coffee in 1896, both in De Ann, Hempstead Co., AR.  Della died in 1898 and A. L. married Ida Lee Timberlake in 1899 at De Ann.  They had two children as well:  John Timberlake "Jack", Coffee - for whom I was named, my real name being Jack rather than John - born Mar. 5, 1900 and Ruby EcElvy Coffey, born 1902, both in Hempstead Co.

Children from the first union lived to adult hood and have a considerable number of descendants.  Jack did not marry until 1927 when he married Katie Louise Johnson, a native of Newton Co., MS, on Aug. 4, 1927 in Natchez, Adams Co., MS.  Katie lived in Natches with her family.  Jack was employed repairing levees along the Mississippi.  In 1928 Jack died of pneumonia without having produced any children.  Ironically, Katie later married a Mr. Blount and moved to Wood Co., TX where she died in 1966.  I have not yet learned who Mr. Blount was.

Ruby never married and died in Minden, Webster Parish in 1985.

By marrying A. L., Ora took on the task of raising his motherless children while giving birth to six of her own.  Her first born was my father, Frank Hurley Coffee (Frank to me, Hurley to his nieces and nephews).

Frank was born in De Ann in 1910 and died in Jefferson, Marion Co., TX in 1976.  I never knew him as anything more than the man that had sired me.  I had met him on several occasions, the last time right after I took my discharge from the US Army in 1968.  He never impressed me in any way other than an alcoholic and an "old five and dimer."  My mother was his second wife.  By the time he had passed away in 1976, he had been married at least six times.  Fortunately, he sired only two of us; the second by his fourth wife.

I have photographs of  him that I refuse to publish.

Sources:

¹Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records, 1804-1819, Vol. 3, Page 114.  Although non-Catholic, Spanish rule demanded all residents of the territory to record births, marriages and deaths with the Catholic church

²Ernest Russ Williams, Jr., Genealogical and Historical Abstracts of Legal Records of St. Helena Parish, LA, 1804-1870 (1995), p171. The document shows she was farming 160 acres along the Amite River in the parish of St. Helena, and owned 3 slaves. Total state and parish tax for the year was $4.80. Phamy's property was described as being "east of the Seuttfield Tract." Next door to her was James Blount [sic] who was farming 640 acres, owned no slaves, and paid $1.25 tax in 1830.

³Conveyance Book B, St. Helena Parish, LA, April 9, 1812; James Norton deputy Sheriff, sold property of Nelson Blount [sic], "lying on Spring Creek, above where William Wells now lives", to A.L. Osborne for $100; to satisfy a judgment against Blount in favor of William Boykin. Wit.: Matthew Steward.

4Dodd, Jordan R, et. al. Early American Marriages: Louisiana to 1850. Bountiful, UT: Precision Indexing Publishers, 19xx.  Spouse 1: Bishop, Mary Ann Spouse 2: Blunt, Hugh Marriage Date: 11 Feb 1850 Marriage Location: Louisiana Claiborne Parish

5"Arkansas County Marriages, 1837-1944,", index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FQLC-6WT : accessed 24 Oct 2013), Hugh Blunt and Benetia Bishop, 25 Jan 1857.

6 Etta Leonard Blunt Family Bible (Thomas Nelson & Sons, 381-385 Fourth Avenue, New York, NY)Etta's Bible has been an invaluable source for dates and places.

7"United States Index to Passenger Arrivals, Atlantic and Gulf Ports, 1820-1874" , index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-22118-3356-49?cc=1921756 : accessed 13 Aug 2014), Boyl-Bran > image 4740 of 6297; citing NARA microfilm publication M334.



















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