Bedford County TN Biographies


Farmer and merchant, was born March 17, 1814, at Wartracc, Bedford County, Tenn,; son of Rice and Sallie (Bradford) Coffey, the former a native of Pennsylvanla. born in 1786, who moved to North Carolina and became a gunsmith when a young man, married there, and returned to Tennessee in 1801, settled on a farm of one thousand acre, of land which he had bought from Gen. Jackson, and on which his son was born, and died in 1863, his wife having preceded him by thirteen years; grandson of James Coffey, who raised a large family, of whom all the older sons served in the Revolutionary War. His grandmother was a sister of Col. Benjamin Cleveland, who commanded a regiment at the battle of Kings Mountain. He spent bis early days on a farm attending the common old-field schools. When he was thirteen years old be entered a high school st Shelbyville Tenn. and remained there for a year, after which be went to Alabama, located at Bellefonte without a dollar in his pocket or an acquaintance in the county, and became clerk in a store. When he waa twenty-two years old, he established a mercantile business of his own in that village, continuing it for ten years, until 1846. He was elected sheriff of Jackson County in 1840, and at the outbreak of the Mexican War enlisted in the U. S. Army in a company commanded by Capt Richard W, Jones. He afterward acted as lieutenant, lieutenant-colonel and major-general in tbe militia; went to Mobile to organize the First Alabama regiment; was elected its colonel; and as such participated in tbe siege of Vera Crux. After the war with Mexico he became a general of militla. He had returned to his farm, and devoted his attention to its cultivation until 1853, when he moved to Stevenson and engaged in the mercantile business. He continued in that line until tbe beginning of the War of Secession, then closed his store, and went back to his farm of four thousand acres on the banks of the Tennessee River. In 1861 he was elected a delegate to the convention which passed the ordinance of session. He was bitterly opposed to that ordinance, but being overpowered, submitted to the will of the majority, and afterward gave moral and substantial support to tbe cause of the Confederacy. He was a Methodist; and a Mason.

Married: January 21, 1849, Mary Ann Cross, who died September 6, 1887; daughter of Col. Charles and Eliza (Clark) Cross, of Jackson County, natives of North Carolina, who came to Alabama about 1826, the former a soldier in the Indian wars, who was drowned in tbe Tennessee River, about 1848; granddaughter of Maclin Cross, who was in the battle of Nick- a-Jack, Indian Nation, and Robert Clark, who fought in the Revolutionary War, and died from a wound received in battle at Eutaw Springs; great-granddaughter of Col. William Maclin, an officer in the army of Independence.

Children: six. of whom four grew to maturity; l. Eliza, m. William J. Tally; 2. Sallie B. m. C. W. Brown, chief clerk in the office of tbe state superintendent of education; 3. John Benjamin; 4. Clark Melin. Last residence: Fackler, Jackson County.

Source: History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography, Volume 3
By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen

NOTES: Judy K. Brantley has his listed at Find-A-Grave buried at Center Point Baptist Church Cemetery with his wife Mary Ann (Cross) Coffey. Birthdate is listed as 27 March 1814 - died 21 May 1896. The birthdate listed on his biography is 17 March 1814. Mary Ann is born 28 Dec 1831 and died 6 Sep 1887. John Benjamin Coffey b 10 Feb 1855 and died 23 Jan 1884 is the s/o John and Mary Ann. Col. Charles Maclin Cross 25 Apr 1812 - 20 Jan 1864 (father of Mary Ann)

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