This data in the form presented here is 1998-1999 by Jack Coffee, and Coffey Cousins' Clearinghouse. It may not be copied or reproduced for presentation in any other form intended for sale, profit or for display at any location on the World Wide Web, except by the Author, Timothy E. Peterman.

by Timothy E. Peterman
December, 1981

My intent in writing this essay is to express my reasons for believing that Chesley Coffey and Jane Cleveland were the parents of Joel Coffey (d. 1789), Salathiel Coffey (d. 1784), Chesley Coffey (1755-1818), Nebuzaraden Coffey (1757-1797), and Nathan Coffey (1760-1823). During the 1790's, the families of these men moved from Wilkes County, North Carolina to Madison County, Kentucky and then to Green County, Kentucky. Their residences in Green County were located in the portion of that county that became Adair County and finally Russell County, Kentucky. The only record found thus far pertaining to the elder Chesley Coffey is a piece of paper now in the hands of Calvin Reese Porter, on which his grandmother, Eliza (Coffey) Porter, a granddaughter of Joel Coffey (d. 1789), wrote that the said Joel was a son of Chesley Coffey and Jane Cleveland. To date no other evidence has been found that even hints at the existence of the elder Chesley Coffey. Therefore, this essay will not contain a clear cut proof that Joel, Salathiel, Chesley, Nebuzaraden, and Nathan were sons of Chesley Coffey, but rather will contain an analysis of the families of Joel, Salathiel, Chesley, Nebuzaraden, and Nathan Coffey and an analysis of why they were probably brothers. This essay contains an assumption that if the five were brothers and if Chesley Coffey and Jane Cleveland were the parents of Joel Coffey, then they were the parents of the other four as well. At the end of this essay there will be a brief discussion of how Chesley Coffey and Jane Cleveland probably relate to the rest of the Coffey and Cleveland families.


Joel Coffey died in 1789 in Wilkes County, North Carolina. His Will was proved in July, 1789 and is as follows:

In the Name of God Amen-I, Joel Coffee, of North Carolina and County of Wilkes tho weak in Body yet perfect in mind and memory Constitute this my Last Will and Testament, I give my soul to God my Redeemer and my Body to Buried in a Descent manner and after my just Debts are paid I Dispose of my Worldly Goods as follow, to wit, I give to my wife, Martha, the plantation whereon I now live and all my Household furniture and Two Negroes namely, Harry and Teg, and all my Stock of Horses, Cattle, Sheep and Hogs Enduring her natural life or Widowhood, I also will that as much of my Land be sold by my Executor to pay my Debts. The Remainder of my Land to be Equally Divided among my sons, Cleaveland, James, Joel and Nathan And the Rest of my Negroes to be Equally Divided among all my Children to wit, Cleaveland, James, Joel, Nathan, Caty, Jane, Sealy, and if my wife is at present with Child, for it if it Live to share an equal part with the Rest and at the Death or Marriage of my Wife for what I give her to be Equally Divided among all my Children my present Estate to be Improved and kept together till my Youngest Child come of Age or Marry. Nebuzaraden Coffee and my son Cleavland Coffee Executors. I acknowledge this my Last Will and Testament made this 27th Day of April 1789-

Joel Coffee (his mark)

A number of things can be learned from this will:

1. Martha, wife of Joel, was expecting a baby in April, 1789. If we assume that she was no older than 50 at the time, 1739 would have been her earliest possible birthdate. Fifty is an extreme upper limit for childbearing years and she was probably a few years younger, born no earlier than 1745.

2. In naming his executors, Joel Coffee referred to Cleveland as "my son Cleavland Coffee". He referred to Nebuzaraden only as "Nebuzaraden Coffee". Considering that this Nebuzaraden was not named in the Will, nor referred to as "my son Nebuzaraden", it is quite unlikely that he was a son of Joel Coffee. If he had been disinherited, chances are Joel would not have named him Executor.

3. Chances are that Cleveland Coffee was the eldest son. Because he was an executor, we can assume he was born in 1768 or earlier. If his mother were born in 1745, he was probably born no earlier than 1760.

4. If Cleveland were born in 1768, his mother, Martha, was probably born no later than 1753. His father, Joel, was probably born no later than 1750. We can be reasonably certain that Martha was born between 1745 and 1753. If she was born in this time period, her husband, Joel, was probably born between 1740 and 1750, although he could have been born much earlier.

5. The children named in the will were probably born between 1760 and 1790. A critic might argue that the children were considerably older, because Joel did leave land to his sons. However,we must remember that this was Joel Coffee"s last chance to have any say on the division of his land. Joel implied later in the Will that at least some of the children had not attained their majority.

A woman named Eliza (Coffey) Porter (born March 10, 1825) left some notes written sometime before 1900, which refer to the family of Joel Coffey:

My Father was Nathan Coffey, son of Joel Coffey. His Mother's maiden name was Martha Step, daughter of Joseph and Katherine Step. His grandmother's maiden name was Weatherspoon.

My Fathers Brothers were Joel, James, Cleavelin, and Nebuzaridan. His sisters were Katherine, Jane, and Celia.

In these records we find a family that is exactly identical to the family found in the Will of Joel Coffee, with the exception of Nebuzaraden. Considering that Martha was expecting a baby at the time of the Will, that baby could have been Nebuzaraden.

On a paper entitled "Family Record of Nathan Coffey", we find written:

Nathan Coffey, son of Joel and Martha S. Coffey was born January the 10, 1788 in North Carolina

Sarah M. Coffey his wife was Born Oct 26, 1789 North Carolina

The notes of Eliza (Coffey) Porter identify Sarah M. Coffey as the daughter of Daniel Meredith.

Nathan Coffey and his brother, James Coffey, owned a Bible dated 1814. The following are some excerpts from it:

Nathaniel Coffey and Sally Coffey were married November 13, 1806

Nathaniel Coffey was Borne January the 10th 1788

James Coffey borne March 13, 1774

Betsey, his wife, borne May 12, 1781

Marthy Coffey, Mother of Nathan Coffey, Died September 25, 1816

Cleveland Coffey Died October 29, 1814

James Coffey Died May 5, 1826

Nathan Coffey Died Sept 19, 1834

Descendants of Nebuzaraden Coffey give his birthdate as August 29, 1790. However, because his father died prior to July, 1789, his birthdate was probably August 29, 1789.

The 1810 census of Adair County, Kentucky shows Cleveland Coffey as born between 1765 and 1784. This narrows his birthdate to 1765-1768.

James Coffey married Betsy Coffey in about 1806. She was supposedly the daughter of Nathan Coffey (1760-1823). The birthdates of his older children suggest that he was married once before. He might have been the James Coffey who married Sarah Coffey on August 30, 1794 in Wilkes County, North Carolina.

Many genealogists have claimed, without proof, that Joel Coffey (d. 1789) was born in 1730. They also claim that his wife was a Martha Sealey born in 1737. As shown earlier, we can be fairly certain that Martha was not born as early as 1737. We can be certain that Joel Coffey (1730-1789) and Martha Sealey are identical to Joel Coffey (d. 1789) and Martha Step (d. 1816), because the same Will was used as evidence for the names of the children in both cases. The genealogists who claim that Joel was born in 1730 also claim that he was the father of Nathan Coffey (1760-1823). It is interesting to note that both birthdates are round numbers exactly 30 years apart. Both dates were probably estimates that became accepted as fact. Those who initially estimated Joel's birth year as 1730 probably put the year of his birth that early to account for a son born in 1760. In reality, Joel Coffey was probably not born that early.


Joel Coffey -born 1740-50 -married 1765-68 -died before July 1789 in Wilkes County, N.C.

Martha Step -born 1745-53 -died September 25, 1816


1. Cleveland Coffey -born 1765-68 -married Jane Witherspoon on February 11, 1794 in Wilkes County, North Carolina -died October 29, 1814

2. James Coffey -born March 13, 1774 -married Betsey Coffey about 1806 -died May 5, 1826

3. Joel Coffey -born 1774-88 no further information

4. Nathaniel Coffey -born January 10, 1788 -married Sarah Meredith on November 13, 1806 -died September 19, 1834 (or 1835)

5. Nebuzaraden Coffey -born August 29, 1789 -married Elizabeth Easley on September 11, 1810 -died January 20, 1867

6. Katherine Coffey -born between Cleveland and Nathan no further information

7. Jane Coffey -born between Katherine and Nathan, she might have been the Jennie Coffey who married Joel Coffey, son of Nebuzaraden (d. 1797)

8. Celia Coffey -born between Jane and Nathan she might have been the Celia Coffey who married Fielding Coffey

Eliza (Coffey) Porter mentioned in one of her notes that there were nine children of Joel Coffey (d. 1789), rather than eight. The other child was Joseph, considering that he was not mentioned in Joel's Will, he probably died before 1789.


Salathiel Coffey died in 1784 in Wilkes County, North Carolina.

The County Court Minutes reveal some interesting facts:

28July 1784-It is ordered by the court that Letters of Administration be granted Elizabeth Coffee on Estate of Salathiel Coffe, dec'd. Joel Coffee and Nathan Coffee, securities.

29 July 1784- Inventory of Estate of Salathiel Coffee returned by the Administrix and ordered recorded.

26 October 1784- It is ordered by the court that the Perishable Estate of Salathiel Coffe be sold by the sheriff according to law.

Elizabeth Coffee was evidently the wife of Salathiel. Though no children were named in the above records, this does not preclude the possibility of there being children. If he had any family, it is quite possible that his family would have moved to Green County, Kentucky with the rest of the family.

There were three siblings, Newton, Eli, and Elizabeth "Graney" Coffey, who settled in Green County, Kentucky during the 1790's, along with the rest of the Coffey family. The father of these three was probably one of the five Coffeys suspected of being brothers or possibly a sixth brother. Considering that the names of any possible children of Salathiel Coffey are not known, it is interesting to consider the possibility that he was the father of Newton, Eli, and Elizabeth "Graney" Coffey. Before I proceed any further, I will reveal the identities of these Coffey siblings:

Newton Coffey was born in 1773 in what is now Wilkes County, North Carolina. In 1802, he married Sarah Muridith (Meredith) in Adair County, Kentucky. Between 1810 and 1818, they settled in what is now Montgomery County, Illinois.

Eli Coffey was born May 8, 1775. On March 22, 1801, he married Mary Coffey, a daughter of Nathan Coffey (1760-1823), in Green County, Kentucky. According to tradition, they were first cousins. Eli Coffey died on July 18, 1833.

Elizabeth "Graney" Coffey was probably born between 1775 and 1784. On March 17, 1801, she married Rutherford Coffey, a son of Nathan Coffey (1760-1823), in Green County, Kentucky.

The marriage bond and consent for Rutherford Coffey and Elizabeth "Graney" Coffey reveals some interesting relationships:

1. The bond was between Rutherford Coffee and Eli Coffee.

2. The consent for "Graney" was given by Elizabeth Coffey, Newton and Eli Coffey.

Because the full name for "Graney" was actually Elizabeth "Graney" Coffey, we know that the Elizabeth who gave consent was probably not a sister. Because she could not have given consent for herself, we can conclude that the Elizabeth who gave consent was her mother. Newton and Eli must have been brothers. Because consent was given, "Graney" was probably younger than age twenty.

Eli named a son Newton Eli Coffey. One of Newton Eli Coffey's sons, Robert Coffey, married Sarah Coffey, a granddaughter of the elder Newton Coffey. According to tradition, the two were 2nd cousins. The name "Newton" is peculiar to the families of Newton and Eli Coffey and was not used by any of the other Coffeys of Adair County, Kentucky. We can conclude that the name probably came form the family of Elizabeth, mother of Newton and Eli.

The probability of Newton, Eli, and Elizabeth "Graney" being children of Salathiel Coffey (d. 1784) is strengthened by the fact that Newton named a son, Cleveland Salathiel Coffey and that Eli named a son Salathiel Coffey.

If Salathiel were the father of Newton, Eli, and Elizabeth "Graney", he was probably born no later than 1755, because Newton was born in 1773. Elizabeth was probably born no later than 1758.


Salathiel Coffey (or possibly another Coffey brother) -born before 1755 -married before 1773 -died before 1801 and probably in 1784

Elizabeth ______ -born before 1758 -died after 1801


1. Newton Coffey -born 1773 -married Sarah Meridith 1802 -died 1858

2. Eli Coffey -born May 8, 1775 -married Mary Coffey March 22, 1801 -died July 18, 1833

3. Elizabeth "Graney" Coffey -born 1781-1784 -married Rutherford Coffey March 17, 1801

There were probably other children between Eli and "Graney".

See page 13 on ADDITIONS.


Chesley Coffey was born on November 19, 1755. He married Margaret Baldwin (one of seven sisters with bad tempers). They moved to near Knoxville, Tennessee during the 1780's. They moved to Adair County, Kentucky in the vicinity of the rest of the Coffey family, between 1800 and 1810. In 1811 or 1812, they moved to Maury County, Tennessee. Chesley Coffey died there on September 18, 1818. He had nine children:

1. Nathan Coffey -born August 13, 1780 -married(1) Elizabeth Gilbreath (2) Euphy Stockard

2. Polly Coffey -married John McClain

3. Isaac Coffey -murdered 1799 in Stockton Valley.

4. Gracie Coffey -born 1785 -married on December 12, 1802 to Andrew Turnbow -died January 13, 1859 Erathe County, Texas (Barbee Cemetery)

5. John Coffey -married Sallie Brown

6. Joel Coffey -married Sallie Mackey

7. Felicia Coffey-born March 3, 1787 -married James Turnbow -died May 18, 1865

8. Jake Coffey -married Annie Kelsey

9. Landon Coffey -born 1794 -married Polly Pate (or Tate) -drown


According to most reports, Nebuzaraden Coffey was born in 1757. In about 1780, he married Elizabeth Hayes. In 1794, he moved to Madison County, Kentucky, where he died in 1797. His Will was proved on March 7, 1797. The children listed were: Joel, Sary, Polly, Fieldin, Sail, Nias, Hays, Betsy and Ruth. Most of these were nicknames. The proper names were probably: Joel, Sarah, Mary, Fielding, Salathiel, Ananias, Hayes, Elizabeth and Ruth (or Rutherford). The order of birth is undetermined. According to another report, there were two other sons: Louis and James.

1. Joel Coffey married Jennie Coffey. She was probably a first cousin and might be identical to the Jane Coffey, who was a daughter of Joel Coffey (d. 1789). They might be the Joel Coffey and Jane Coffey who married August 22, 1793 in Wilkes County,N.C.

2. Sarah Coffey- She might have been the Sarah Coffey who married James Coffey on August 30, 1794 in Wilkes County, N.C.

3. Polly Coffey married Joe McDowell McMillian on March 14, 1801.

4. Fielding Coffey married Celia Coffey. She was probably a first cousin and might be identical to the Celia Coffey, who was a daughter of Joel Coffey (d. 1789).

5. Salathiel Coffey married Anna Lynch on August 19, 1813

6. Ananias Coffey was born 1785,married Jane Hindman, died 1828.

7. Hayes Coffey was born 1793,married Mary Burkett, died 1860

8. Betsey Coffey married James Lester on December 14, 1819

9. Ruth Coffey- no further information (maybe Rutherford ?)

10. Louis Coffey married Cassey Coffey

11. James Coffey-no further information.

If Joel Coffey married as early as 1793, he was probably born no later than 1775. This would put the marriage date for Nebuzaraden Coffey and Elizabeth Hayes in the early 1770's. If this was the case, Nebuzaraden might have been born a few years earlier than 1757.


Nathan Coffey was supposedly born in 1760. He married Mary Saunders, supposedly just before 1785. She was supposedly born in 1770. They moved from Wilkes County, North Carolina to Green County, Kentucky during the 1790's. Nathan Coffey supposedly died in 1823 in Jackson County, Alabama.

According to DAR records, Nathan Coffey was a son of Joel Coffey (d. 1789). As mentioned in the section on Joel Coffey, this idea has been entirely discredited.

The children of Nathan Coffey were:

1.Mary "Polly" Coffey-born December 7, 1785. However, the Family Bible of Eli Coffey reveals the date as December 7, 1780. She married Eli Coffey on March 22, 1801. She died in Russell County, Kentucky on March 10, 1872. (The 1785 birthdate seems more likely when one considers that her youngest son, Reuben was born in 1830.)

2. Rutherford Coffey was supposedly born in 1786. If Mary was born on December 7, 1785, then he must have been born in late 1786. He married Elizabeth "Graney" Coffey on March 17, 1801. If the year of his birth is correct, he was only 14 years old at the time of his marriage. He was probably born in the late 1770's or early 1780's. Some reports show him married to a Celia Coffey. The 1830 census of Jackson County, Alabama gives Rutherford Coffey a birthdate between 1770 and 1780.

3. Absolem Coffey was supposedly born in 1788. He married first to Mary Lusk and second to Nancy Chadwick.

4. Joel Coffey was supposedly born on August 3, 1790. In 1817, he married Mary Knox. He died in 1850.

5. Elizabeth Coffey was supposedly born in 1791. According to some reports,she was the Betsy Coffey who married James Coffey, son of Joel Coffey (d. 1789). However, the Family Bible of the Nathan and James Coffey reveals her birth date as May 12, 1781. If her sister, Mary, was born December 7, 1780, there is no way that she was born on May 12, 1781. One or the other is wrong. Elizabeth died in 1837. 6. Grace Coffey was supposedly born in 1793 and married a Marlow.

7. William Saunders Coffey was supposedly born in 1795. He married Elizabeth Schuyler. 8. Nancy Coffey was supposedly born in 1797. She married Richard Lockett. 9. Catherine Coffey was supposedly born in 1799. She married John Baxter. If Mary, Rutherford and Elizabeth Coffey were born as early as records suggest, then Nathan Coffey must have married Mary Saunders in the late 1770's. Nathan Coffey was probably born between 1755 and 1760. Mary Saunders was probably born between 1760 and 1765.


1. Geography- The five came from Wilkes County, North Carolina and their families all lived in close proximity in Adair County, Kentucky.

2. Each of the five used the same names in their families, some of which are quite unusual. These names are: Chesley, Nebuzaraden, Salathiel, Cleveland, Nathan and Joel.

3. Joel Coffey named Nebuzaraden Coffey as his executor. The only Nebuzaraden of age in 1789 was the one who died in 1797. This is a strong clue that they were brothers.

4. Joel Coffey and Nathan Coffey were both securities for the estate of Salathiel Coffey. The only Joel and Nathan who were of age in 1784 were Joel Coffey who died in 1789 and the Nathan Coffey who was born about 1760. This is a strong clue that the three were brothers.

5. Regardless of whether Joel Coffey (d. 1789) was the son of Chesley Coffey, the fact remains that his descendants carried a tradition of having a Chesley in the family. Therefore, Chesley was indeed a family name in the Joel Coffey family. This suggests an affinity to Chesley Coffey (1755-1818). Considering that Chesley Coffey (1755-1818) was born into the same generation as Nathan (1760-1823), Nebuzaraden (1757-1797) and probably, Salathiel (d. 1784) and Joel (d. 1789), chances are that if indeed there is a kinship between Chesley (1755-1818) and the other four, that kinship is brotherhood.


Eliza (Coffey) Porter left another note entitled, "History of Nathan Coffey":

Nathan Coffey was the son of Joel Coffey and Martha (Step) Coffey, was grandson of Chesley and Jane (Cleveland) Coffey, natives of Virginia. But the grandparents removed to North Carolina in an early day and settled on the Yadkin River where the parents of our subject was born and raised and married.....

This note is not proof that Joel Coffey was the son of Chesley Coffey, because the note was written almost one hundred and fifty years after Joel Coffey was born. Yet, this note is a strong implication that Chesley Coffey and Jane Cleveland were the parents of Joel. In the other notes left by Eliza (Coffey) Porter, her memory was quite accurate. There are other reasons to believe that Chesley Coffey and Jane Cleveland were the parents of Joel, Salathiel, Chesley, Nebuzaraden and Nathan:

1. Cleveland became a very prevalent name within this Coffey family and has been carried forward for many generations. Considering the degree to which this name was used, it seems very likely that the name was actually the maiden name of a common ancestor.

2. The fact that Chesley Coffey (1755-1818) carried the name "Chesley" makes it easier to believe that his father could have been a Chesley Coffey.

If Joel Coffey (d. 1789) was the eldest brother and was born between 1745 and 1750, then Chesley Coffey was probably born between 1720 and 1730. Jane Cleveland was probably born between 1725 and 1735.


Chesley Coffey -born 1720-30 in Virginia -married 1740-50 in Virginia -died after 1760 in North Carolina?

Jane Cleveland -born 1725-35 in Virginia -died after 1760 in North Carolina


1. Joel Coffey -born 1745-50 -married Martha Step 1765-68 -died 1789 in Wilkes County, N. Carolina

2. Salathiel Coffey -born 1745-55 -married Elizabeth ____ 1765-73 -died 1784 Wilkes County, North Carolina

3. Chesley Coffey, Jr. -born November 19, 1755 -married Margaret Baldwin 1775-80 -died September 18, 1818 in Maury County, Tennessee

4. Nebuzaraden Coffey -born 1750-57 -married Elizabeth Hayes 1770-80 -died 1797 in Madison County, Kentucky

5. Nathan Coffey -born 1755-60 -married Mary Saunders 1775-80 -died (?) 1823 in Jackson County, Alabama


There was another Coffey family that moved from Wilkes County, North Carolina to south central Kentucky (Wayne County). This family, headed by James Coffey, was probably closely related to the Chesley Coffey family.

James Coffey was born around 1728. He died September 1786. He married Elizabeth Cleveland in the late 1740's. They were from Orange County, Virginia. In 1750, they moved to Albemarle County, Virginia. In 1764, they moved to Amherst County, Virginia. In 1776, James and his brother, Thomas, moved to Wilkes County, North Carolina. That same year their brother, Benjamin Coffey, moved to the area that became Burke County, North Carolina in 1777. James Coffey became a Baptist missionary in 1757.

The family of Chesley Coffey was also quite involved in the Baptist Church. So strong are the parallels between the two families that someone once suggested that Joel Coffey (d. 1789) was a son of James Coffey. The only problem with this theory was that James' son, Joel, was born in 1769.

Chesley Coffey was NOT a brother of James Coffey. James was the eldest of nine children. The others were: William, John, Edmund, Reuben, Winnefred, Elizabeth, Thomas and Benjamin. These were the children of John Coffey and Jane Graves.

Chesley Coffey was NOT a brother of John Coffey. John Coffey was the son of Edward Coffey and Ann Powell (daughter of Thomas Powell and Mary Place). Edward Coffey died in 1716 in Essex County, Virginia, leaving five Children: John, Edward, Martha, Austin and Elizabeth. There is a possibility that John and Edward were twins. They were born between 1700 and 1705. Martha and Austin were born between 1705 and 1712. Elizabeth was born about 1714. This family migrated up the Rappahanock River, eventually settling in Spotsylvania, Orange and finally Albemarle County, Virginia.

1. Edward Coffey married Grace Cleveland.

2. John Coffey married Jane (Jean) Graves.

3. Martha Coffey married Joshua Stapp. It is possible that they were relatives or even ancestors of the Martha Step who married Joel Coffey (d. 1789).

4. Austin (or Austus) Coffey married a Shenault.

5. Elizabeth Coffey married John Cleveland.

If Chesley Coffey was born between 1720 and 1730, there is no way that Grace Cleveland (b. 1716) could be his mother. Therefore, we can rule out Edward Coffey as the father of Chesley Coffey, unless Edward was married before his marriage to Grace Cleveland. Austin Coffey could have been the father of Chesley Coffey , but there are no records that indicate anything about the family of Austin Coffey. Chesley Coffey was, nonetheless, probably somehow related to Edward Coffey (d. 1716 in Essex County, Virginia).


According to a letter written by Rice Coffey (1766-1853), a son of Elizabeth (Cleveland) Coffey, his grandfather was an Alexander Cleveland. The identity of this Alexander Cleveland has never been proved beyond doubt, with regard to his relationship to the Cleveland family of Virginia.

There is much information on the Clevelands in an article entitled, "Virginia Cleveland Ancestor Discovered", by George A. Martin. This article was published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 46, Number 3, September 1958. Beginning at the second paragraph, it was written as follows:

Roger Cleveland, the ancestor of the Clevelands of Virginia, came to America prior to 16th of November 1670 and settled in Gloucester County,Virginia. Concerning his English background, nothing is known, as a check of over seven hundred printed English parish registers at the Library of Congress failed to reveal any record of his birth or baptism.


Elizabeth Cleveland, baptised 31 Oct 1684

Alexander Cleveland, baptised 31 July 1687


1. Alexander Cleveland, Jr, baptised 25 May 1712

2. John Cleveland, born July 31, baptised 24 August 1714

3. Grace Cleveland, born September 1, baptised 30 Sept 1716

4. William Cleveland, born February 23, baptised 22 March 1718

5. Benjamin Cleveland,born November 21,baptised 28 November 1721

The fact that the above John Cleveland married Elizabeth Coffey and that Grace Cleveland married Edward Coffey make it quite likely that either Alexander Cleveland, Sr. or Jr. was also the father of Elizabeth (Cleveland) Coffey.

Jane (Cleveland) Coffey could not have been the daughter of Alexander Cleveland, Jr. or John Cleveland, because neither named her in their Wills. William and Benjamin Cleveland would have been too young to have been the father of Jane Cleveland. The more likely possibilities are that:

1. Jane Cleveland was a younger daughter of Alexander Cleveland, Sr., whose baptism was not entered into the parish registers of Gloucester County, Virginia.

2. Records hint that Roger Cleveland has a son, John, born before baptism records were kept in Gloucester County. Perhaps John was the father or grandfather of Jane Cleveland.

The Clevelands moved from Gloucester County to Spotsylvania County, Virginia prior to 1734. If the Clevelands made this move in the mid 1720's, Jane and Elizabeth Cleveland could have been born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia and likewise omitted from the Gloucester County parish registers. They could very possibly be younger daughters of Alexander Cleveland, Sr.

The families of Chesley Coffey and James Coffey were apparently close on a social basis. Yet, the kinship between Chesley and James could have been no closer than first cousin. However, the social bond between the two families would have been a lot stronger if Jane and Elizabeth were sisters.


1. Our goal should be to establish a complete list of descendants of Chesley Coffey, Sr., through at least five generations.

2. We must try to acquire as much information as possible on Chesley Coffey, his children and grandchildren, exhausting all sources, even the obscure ones. The relevant counties are:

Essex,Caroline, Spotsylvania, Orange, Albemarle and Amherst in Virginia; Surry, Rowan, Anson and Wilkes in North Carolina; Greene, Knox and Maury in Tennessee; Madison, Green, Adair, Russell and Pulaski in Kentucky; and Jackson County in Alabama. We should thoroughly research the following sources: Court Records (federal and state)-Plaintiff, Defendant and Criminal; Property Records; Probate Records; Minutes of County Courts; Marriage Bonds and Consents-for each Coffey marriage; Baptist Records (unfortunately, there are not many); and Fraternal Records-many Coffeys might have been Masons. After exhausting these, we should try to locate any other records that might exist for the above localities.

3. We should try to locate other children of Chesley Coffey, Sr. Chances are he had a few daughters and maybe other sons.

4. We should try to find records on the families of Austin and Edward Coffey.

5. The author would appreciate copies of any information or documents that could either strengthen or disprove the contents of this essay.

6. All information should be analyzed and eventually published, along with any ideas or theories concerning this branch of the Coffey family.


1. There was a Salathiel Coffey, who married Polly Blair on 25 Oct 1808 in Adair County, Kentucky. He was supposedly born in North Carolina in 1781. With a name like Salathiel, he must have been a member of the "Chesley Coffey, Sr. Family". He could not have been a son of Joel (d. 1789), Chesley, Jr. (1755-1818), or Nathan (1760-1823). Nebuzaraden (1757-1797) did have a son, Salathiel, who married Anna Lynch in 1813. Salathiel (b. 1781) might have been a son of Salathiel (d. 1784). If not, Salathiel (b. 1781) must have been the son of a brother to Joel (d. 1789), etc., whose identity is undetermined.

Copyright Coffey Cousins' Clearinghouse, 1998. All rights preserved for the Author