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Source: Caldwell County Heritage
Submitted by Lois Heun of NC
Many of the Coffey families of Western North Carolina seem to have descended from John Coffey and his wife, Jane Graves. It is believed that John's father, whose name is unknown1, was the immigrant and that he came from Ireland. John had two brothers and two sisters: Elizabeth who married John Cleveland; Patsy who married Joshua Stapp; Anister who married ___? ___ Shenalt; and Edward who married Grace Cleveland.2
The children of John Coffey and his wife Jane Graves are: James (1726-1813)3 who married Elizabeth Cleveland (1728-1828); John who married first Dorcas Carter and second Nancy Richardson; Edward who married Nancy Shenalt; Thomas who married first Eliza Smith and second Sallie Fields; Reuben who married Sally Scott; Benjamin who married Polly Hayes; William who married Elizabeth Ausborne (or Ashburn); Elizabeth who married Thomas Fields; and Winnefred who married Nicholas Moran (or Morrison).
The most extensive research has been done on the family of Thomas Coffey. Thomas was married first to Eliza Smith and they had six children.
Betsy, the oldest child married David Allen and settled about one mile north of Patterson, but moved to Owen County, Indiana about 1828.
John, who married Hannah Wilson, also moved to Indiana.
Thomas, who married first a Coffey and second Nancy Pendley, settled about two miles above Patterson.
James, who married Delilah Ferguson, settled about three miles down the river from his father's plantation. He died at the home of his son in King's Creek about 1840.
Polly who married a distant relative William Coffey and settled about eight miles away on Buffalo Creek. She died about 1828.
Smith who married Hannah Boone, a niece of the legendary Daniel, lived in the section that is now Lower Creek. Many of his family moved to Cherokee County.
Thomas and his second wife, Sally Fields had eight children. They are:
Martha, who married James Dowell, settled first on Mulberry and later moved to Indiana.
William who married Annie Boone, a sister to Hannah n October 18, 1804, was born November 27, 1782. Annie was born July 26, 1785. They settled on Mulberry where he died May 21, 1839 and she died January 16, 1876. They are buried in the Dowell Family cemetery.
Reuben, married Polly Dowell, and built a home on her father's place. Reubin was born September 15, 1785. About 1832 Reuben and his family moved to Indiana.
Elijah, who married Polly Hull, and first settled about two miles above Patterson. About 1835 he moved to Georgia.
Sallie married Thomas Stewart and settled on John River.
Lewis who married Harriet Powell moved to Owen County, Indiana.
Larkin, who was born February 18, 1800, first bought David Allen's farm about one mile above Patterson, but in 1833 he, too moved to Owen County, Indiana, where he died January 12, 1881.
McCaleb, born August 22, 1803, married on February 5, 1828, to Elizabeth Collett (March 8, 1809 - July 9, 1887), and settled about one mile above Patterson. He died February 17, 1881 and both he and his wife are buried at Harper's Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery.
Sources: Coffey, Lawrence, Thomas Coffey and His Descendants, Arthur, J. Preston, History of Watauga County.
1 Son of Edward Coffey and wife, Ann Powell
2 Ann, or Annister(s) husband is not known; Austin, or Austes married a Miss Shenalt.
3 Dr. Marvin Coffey reports dates as b 4 Jul 1729, d Sep/Oct 1786, and Elizabeth b Feb 1726/27; d 1826/27 in Bedford Co., TN. Dr. Coffey cites a xerox copy of a Bible record from David A. Strange in San Rafael, CA giving those dates. There appears to be some doubt as to the veracity of the source, however. Addresses of both researchers are available upon request to CCC.