May 10, 2015

Edward Coffey (c1700-c1776)

Very little factual information is known of Edward Jr., a son of Edward and Ann Powell.  He is "said" to have been born c1701 in Essex Co., VA and, died in Albemarle Co., VA after 1774.  He married Grace Cleveland, a daughter of Alexander and Mildred Presley¹ Cleveland sometime between 1737 and 1740.

Marvin Coffey wrote in his ancestral work on James Blueford Coffey, a descendant of Edward and Ann, that he had found no proof of the children of Edward and Grace.  He speculated that Cleveland, Coffey, who married Elizabeth² is one of their sons.  Or, he might be the Cleveland Coffey who entered land in Burke Co., now Caldwell Co., on Zack's Fork, in the year 1778.

Marvin thought that Edward Jr. might be a twin of the better know John who married Jane Graves. John is thought to have been born between 1699 and 1700 followed soon thereafter by Edward Jr., with perhaps less than a year between the births.

No proof of the names of Edward and Grace's children has ever been found.³  Marvin, again speculating and, based on time and location, thought that Benjamin, born in VA in 1763 and on the Burke Co., NC census from 1790 to 1850 (Caldwell Co. in 1850) was the son.  He married Leah, born c1760 in VA.  A Leah Coffey who married Francis Hickman in Jefferson Co., TN in 1798 might be their daughter.

Other possible children were James, on the 1785 census in Botetourt Co, VA and William in Montgomery Co., VA from 1781 to 1785.  They could also have been the children of Peter and Susannah Coffey of Prince Edward Co., VA. The William found on tax lists in Buckingham Co., VA from 1783 to 1797 is likely to have been a son of Peter.

Jesse Cleveland Coffey found in Wilkes Co. up to about 1786 could be the same found later in Pendleton Co., SC in 1790 and 1800.  He was the father of Cleveland, Edward, Joel, Elijah, Elisha and John.4  

Jesse is found in the Pendleton District, South Carolina census of 1800.5 6  He married Nancy Alexander, probably before 1766.

I have been in recent contact with descendants of Jesse and Nancy.  Their ancestor was Jesse's son Joel who married Martha "Patsy" Cobb.  For the most part, descendants of Joel remained in Rabun Co., GA all of their lives.

Joel and Martha had at least four children, the first being John Coffee, who is often referred to by the title of Reverend.  He is buried as "Elder John Coffee." He married Lavinia Carter in that county on Dec. 31, 1833 and died c1835, likely in childbirth. and later married Martha Singleton on Feb. 4, 1837.  With Martha, they raised 11 children.  John died in 1886 and Martha in 1887.  Both are buried
at the Clayton Baptist Church Cemetery in Clayton, Rabun Co.

The second child of Joel and Martha was Mary Frances, born c1818 in SC, died 1873 in GA.  She married Silas B. Price on Mar. 19, 1835 in Rabun Co. and were parents of at least five: Nancy Elizabeth, Martha, William J., and John R.

William Rowland was third and his wife was Ruth M. West, born 1851.  They married on Aug. 25, 1879 in Habersham Co., GA.  William was born on Nov. 4, 1834 in Rabun Co., died in GA in 1909. Ruth died in 120.  Both are buried at Head of Tennessee Baptist Church Cemetery at Dillard in Rabun Co.  Their children were Mable, Georgia, John Benjamin; Franklin, James Clinton and William H.

Jesse Leonard was the last known child.  He was born on Oct. 10, 1828 in Rabun Co. and married first to Nancy O. Singleton on Sep. 2, 1845.  She was born c1828 in GA.  Their children were Terrel, Mary M., Jemima, John E., James Jefferson, Lucinda and Martha, all born between 1847 and 1860. These children remain a work in progress.  More is known of the children by his second wife, Arzelia P. Thomas, born 1839 in Rabun Co.

Those children were Sarah B. "Sally," born c1863, married James A. Canup on May 4, 1886 in Rabun Co.  Robert Douglas, born Dec, 1866, married Martha Hazeltine Bowen on Dec. 10, 1888 in Towns Co., GA.  Joseph T., born c1869, no other information.  Rachel L., born c1872, married W. Virgil Bowen, no other information.  Franklin Alexander, no further information; Naoma Callie, born c1875, married Anderson Eller on Apr. 8, 1900 in Rabun Co. and lastly, Genela F., born Jun., 1877, married Martin Baker on Aug. 25, 1895.


¹ Some Cleveland researchers reject Mildred Presley as the wife of Alexander and name an anonymous "Mary" as the mother of his children.  My source for her name is the work of  Marvin Coffey whose source appears to be by tradition. I consulted The Genealogy of the Cleveland Families, Edmund James Cleveland, 1899 and Virginia Cleveland Ancestor Discovered, George A. Martin, National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 46, Sep., 1958. Cleveland's work appears to me to mix two different Cleveland families and, is the source of the Presly surname.  I have not made a study of the Cleveland line and have only those two references to go by.

² Elizabeth is suspected to be the daughter of a man named Benjamin Franklin of Albemarle Co.  He had a daughter named Elizabeth who is known to have married a Clifton or Cliff Coffey and to have lived in Albemarle Co.  Marvin believed that Cliff or Clifton was a nickname for Cleveland because Joel and Martha Stapp Coffey had a son named Cleveland and nicknamed Cliff.  According to Tim Peterman, Elizabeth Franklin Coffey was the mother of Grace Coffey who married Rutherford Coffey in Green Co., KY in 1801.

³ At least by any Edward Sr. researcher that I know.

4 According to Marvin Coffey.  Others name his wife as Nancy Alexander and children as Cleveland, Bathsheba, Edward, John, Joel, Nancy and Elisha. Some descendants continue to spell their name Coffey while others, up through about the middle of the 20th century began spelling their name Coffee.  It appears now that practice ended and descendants have once again accepted Coffey as the correct spelling.

5 Attenpt to reconcile family members: 3 under 10 males: Edward, Joel and Elisha; Male 16-25, Cleveland; Male 45, Jesse; Female under 10: Nancy; Female, 10-15, Unknown; Female, 45, Nancy.  John should be here, born between 1786 and 1822.

6 Some family researchers claim that Jesse was born c1855 in VA and died c1807 in the Pendleton Dist., SC.  Some write that his parents were Joel Coffee [sic], and Martha Seely, and that he married Nancy [lnu] and was the father of Joel, born c1799 in the Pendleton Dist., and married Martha "Patsy" Cobb.  Joel is said to have died Sep. 15, 1849 and is buried in the Old Kingwood Cemetery.  The only reference I have found thus far to any Kingwood cemetery, places it in Preston Co., WVa.

Sources used were Rabun County Marriage Records; Census records, and family histories of Karen Coffey Galanski and Victoria Isham.  Heavily relied on for early Edward and Ann Powell research is credited to Marvin Dale Coffey and his work, James Bluford Coffey, His Ancestors and Descendants in America, and Vol. II, privately printed in 1984, second printing in 1994.  See for more information about this book.

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