Biography of Andrew J. Coffey
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ANDREW J. COFFEY. Ozark County, Missouri, is well known for the richness of its soil, and among those industrious farmers who have assisted in making this section the rich agricultural district that it is may be mentioned Andrew J. Coffey, who was born in Ashe County, N. C., in 1833, of which State his parents, Cleveland and Susan (Hayes) Coffey, were also natives.
During the early boyhood of Andrew J. Coffey, he was taken by his parents to Hawkins County, Tennessee, and soon after to Granger County, where the mother died some fifty years ago. Mr. Coffey remarried afterward and then returned to the Old North State, where he died about 1866, having been a farmer and mechanic throughout life. He was a man of much industry, led an active and upright life, and in religion was a Missionary Baptist. His father, Jesse Coffey, was an early settler of North Carolina and breathed his last in Burke County when Andrew J. was a small lad. He was of Irish ancestry, a farmer by occupation, and was a minister of the Primitive Baptist Church. The children born to Cleveland and Susan Coffey are as follows: Andrew J.; William, who was a soldier of the Confederate Army and was killed at Mission Ridge; Thomas was a Federal soldier, but nothing has been heard of him since the war; Martha died young; Susan E. is the wife of Aaron McGinnis, of Ozark County, Missouri
The education and rearing which was given the average farmer’s boy of his day was given to Andrew J. Coffey, and in 1849 he came to the conclusion that “it is not good for man to live alone” and led to the altar Louisa, daughter of Jeremiah Hutchinson. She was born in East Tennessee, and died in Ozark County, Missouri, in 1871, having become the mother of eight children: Athela M., widow of Z. T. Maritt; Mary J., who died young; Thomas J., who died after reaching manhood; Susan J.,who died in early womanhood;James T.; Andrew J., Jr.; Cleveland and William W. who died in infancy. January 11, 1872,
Mr. Coffey took for his second wife Rachel, daughter of William and Mary Ann Imes, who were Tennesseans, in which State the father died, and from which the mother emigrated to Ozark County, Missouri, her death occurring in this region. Mrs. Coffey was born in Tennessee and by Mr. Coffey has become the mother of the following children: Joseph Ambrose, Louisa, Mahala, Avarilla, Robert (deceased), Charley, John A., Francis M., Etha, Melissa and Albert. In November, 1854, Mr. Coffey arrived in Ozark County, Missouri, the journey by wagon from Tennessee occupying twenty-six days. He rented land for one year after his arrival here, then lived on Little North Fork until the opening of the war. During the great struggle between the North and South his family lived in Douglas and Webster Counties. Mr. Coffey served in the Home Guards until the fall of 1861, when he joined Col. John S. Phelps’ regiment of six months’ troops and was stationed at Rolla the most of the time. At the end of his term of enlistment he served again in the Missouri State Militia, after which he was in the Sixth Provisional Regiment until the spring of 1864, when he was detailed home to raise a corps, and in the fall of that year joined the Forty-sixth Missouri Infantry as second lieutenant of Company 1, and was thereafter in Ozark County and at Springfield the most of the time. He was a brave and faithful supporter of the Union cause, and after the war was made sheriff of Ozark County, and at the election of 1866 was elected to the office for two years and again in 1874. In 1884 he was elected to the Legislature on the Democrat ticket and served on the Committees on Retrenchment and Reform, County Boundaries, etc. Up to 1892 he had been a supporter of Democratic principles, but since that time he has cast his lot with the Republican party. His first presidential vote was cast for John Bell, in 1860. Mr. Coffey is a member of Robert Burns Lodge No. 496, of the A. F. & A. M., at Gainesville, and of the G. A. R. He was left a widower February 21, 1892, his wife having been an earnest member of the General Baptist Church, as is he. He has lived on his present farm since 1869, which comprises a fertile and well-tilled tract of 247 acres, about four miles below Gainesville.