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Biography of Col. J. N. Coffey

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COL. J. N. COFFEY. This worthy old pioneer deserves the most honorable mention within the pages of this volume, for he has ever been a representative of the honorable, industrious and law-abiding class and has done his full share in helping to make Arkansas one of the most favored States in the Union. He was born in Lincoln County, Tennessee, April 15, 1819, a son of John and Margaret (Boskin ) Coffey, both of whom were born in South Carolina, the birth of the former occurring in Lancaster District.

It is supposed that three brothers of the Coffey family came from Ireland and settled in this country prior to the Revolution, and it is a family tradition that John Coffey, the paternal grandfather, was a member of the Colonial Army and took part in that struggle. John Coffey, father of the subject of this sketch, was a participant in the Florida War, was an early settler of Williamson County, Tennessee, afterward of Lincoln County, and later removed to west Tennessee, dying in Fayette County in 1843 at the age of seventy years. After his death his widow removed to Woodruff County, Arkansas, in 1848. Both were members of the Presbyterian Church and throughout a well-spent life he followed the occupation of farming. Their children are as follows: Elizabeth, Hugh, David P., James, Jonathan N., Jerome, Susan, Isabel, Margaret, and three children that died young.

The subject of this sketch is the only one of the family that is now living. He made his home with his parents until he was twenty-three years old, grew up on a farm and received such education as the primitive schools of his day afforded. He was married in Tennessee to Miss Parmelia Cloyd, a daughter of John Cloyd, who died in Tennessee, after which he came to Arkansas and settled in Woodruff County, where he made his home until 1850. He then spent six years in White County, twelve years in Newton County and then moved to the farm where he now lives, containing 100 acres three miles southeast of Harrison, on the Springfield road. When he first came to the State he entered some Government land at $1.25 per acre. He has been successful from a business standpoint, was engaged for some time in the tannery business in Newton County, but has always followed the occupation of farming. He was elected to represent Boone County in the State Legislature in 1874-75 and has always been active in the support of the men and measures of the Democrat party, with the exception of the time that he was an old-line Whig in an early day. He is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, is an elder in the same, is active in all church and school work, and all moral measures are heartily and substantially supported by him. By his first wife he became the father of the following children: John, Tondy, William B., David and Spencer, and after the death of his wife in 1863 he in 1864 wedded Elizabeth McPherson, a daughter of Mrs. Freeman, of Newton County, to whom six children were given, three of whom are living: Oscar, Garland and Leno L. In 1879 the second wife was called to that borne whence no traveler returns and for his third wife he espoused Mrs. M. A. Wynns, a native of North Carolina and a daughter of William and Anna (Spencer) McCarver, both of whom are dead. The present Mrs. Coffey came to this county from Texas in 1865 with her first husband, Joseph Wynns, who died in Boone County in 1867. They had four children: Bird, R. B., Fannie A. and J. C., all residents of this county.


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