The Coffman Family
By Lt Col Edward E. Sampson, USA Ret
An early writing stated that three Coffman brothers came from Holland early in the 17th century. It is not known what happened to two of the brothers, but Abraham Coffman, Sr. was supposed to have been a son of the third brother. If this is correct, the third brother was Jacob Coffman.
It appears the original spelling of the name was Kaufman or Kauffman, which means "Trader" in German (in Dutch it would be Koopman). The early Kauffmans are believed to have been Mennonites, residing in Switzerland as early as the 1300's. They left there due to religious persecution and went first to Germany, then Holland. Some of them migrated to America, and settled in Pennsylvania. From there, Jacob Kaufman moved to Virginia and settled in Augusta Co., where he anglicized his name to Coffman. He resided in Hampshire Co., VA in 1753, and in Hardy Co., VA in 1785.
In an early account, Jacob was listed as doing business with the store of Mr. Hopewell in Hardy Co., VA. He was also listed as a resident of Pansy-North Mill Creek in Hardy Co. along with the Van Meter, Yokum, Westfall and Judy families. Jacob was dead by 1791. A court case in Hardy Co., VA identifies Jacob as the parent of Abraham Coffman and Catherine (Coffman) Smith (his other child, Susannah, was too young to enter the lawsuit).
Abraham Coffman, Michael Smith and wife Catherine, late Catherine Coffman children and heirs of Jacob Coffman vs. Leanah Coffman Mannus Alkire and John Westfall: In debt. Award between the parties was returned in dispute between the heirs of Jacob Coffman, dec'd and Magdalene Coffman, Executrix and John Westfall, dec'd and Hermanus Alkire, her securities find justly due the legatees 32 pounds 11 shillings, being 2/3 the appraisement of the Jacob Coffman estate. Given under our hands and seal this day, Isaac Van Meter, Abel Seymoure and Vincent Williams. (Records of Hardy Co., VA Mar 8, 1791)
No relationship was given to Magdalene Coffman, the executrix of his estate.
I. Abraham Coffman was born in Virginia on Jun 1, 1763. He married Ann (Anna) Thursby probably about 1784 in Hampshire Co., VA. (Note: Because of the repeated use of the name Thursby in the Coffman line, it is felt that Ann's maiden name was Thursby. There was a Hannah Thursby, probably a widow, listed as the head of household with six whites in Hampshire Co. in the 1782 heads of families of Virginia.) Ann was born Oct 1, 1765 in Virginia. The Coffmans moved to Bourbon Co., VA and entered land on Flat Lick Creek about 1787. In 1821, they moved to Monroe Co., IN just after these lands were opened by treaty with the Indians. Abraham and his older sons went to Putnam Co., IN and entered and cleared land about 1821, and in 1822-23, they moved their families to Monroe Twp, near Greencastle, Putnam Co. Abraham died in Putnam Co. ca. 1843 (date of will probate), and Ann died between 1845 and 1850. The location of Abraham and Ann's graves is not known. They may have been buried on the old homestead, or in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Putnam Co., where other members of the family are buried. Many of the stones in this old cemetery have been damaged through the years and are unreadable.
II. Catherine Coffman married Michael Smith on Aug 25, 1788 in Bourbon Co., VA. At some point they moved to Bath Co., KY, where they lived the remainder of their lives. Catherine and her husband entered with Abraham Coffman in the lawsuit in 1791 in Hardy Co., VA for their rightful share of their father's estate. Michael died ca. 1842-1846 in Bath Co., KY and Catherine died there ca. 1846.
III. Susannah Coffman was born ca. 1771 and married Samuel Hornbeck (Hornback) in Bourbon Co., KY on Jan 24, 1792. They were living in Hardy Co., VA when he was called for Revolutionary War service in Apr 1781. They moved to Jefferson Co., VA (now Bullit Co., KY) in 1784. Samuel died Jun 2, 1835 in Bullitt Co., KY and Susannah apparently died there sometime after Feb 1843.
1. Mary Magdelene (Maudline) Coffman was born Mar 22, 1785 in Hampshire/Hardy Co., VA. She married Benjamin Wilson in Bourbon Co., KY on Feb 8, 1810 and they had ten children. Mary died between 1830 and 1837. After her death, Benjamin married Prudence (Green) Scott, widow of Aaron Scott.
2. Elizabeth Coffman was born Feb 10, 1787, probably in Hardy Co., VA. She probably died prior to 1837, as there is no marriage record for her in Bourbon Co., KY, Monroe or Putnam Co., IN, and she was not named in her father's will of 1837.
3. Jacob Coffman was born Feb 17, 1788 in Bourbon Co., VA (became KY Jun 1792). He married Nancy Earp in Bourbon Co., KY on Apr 26, 1810. On the 1820 Census, Jacob was in Jefferson Co., IN, and the rest of the Coffmans were in Monroe Co., IN. Jacob and Nancy had seven children before Nancy died. After Nancy's death, Jacob married Malinda (Gorham) Purcell Sep 3, 1833 in Putnam Co., IN and they had two children. Malinda died Sep 24, 1867 and Jacob died Oct 25, 1868 in Putnam Co. They are both buried in Old Union Cemetery outside of Fillmore, IN.
4. Susannah Coffman was born Feb 1, 1791 in Bourbon Co., VA (became KY Jun 1792). She married William H. Hedges on Jun 10, 1824 in Putnam Co., IN and died prior to the writing of her father's 1837 will.
5. Solomon Coffman was born Nov 26, 1792 in Bourbon Co., KY. He married Nancy Parker on Jan 17, 1817 in Bourbon Co., KY and they had three children. Solomon died Aug 3, 1869 in Putnam Co., IN and Nancy died there in Sep or Oct 1874. They are both buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Putnam Co.
6. Rachel P. Coffman was born Dec 25, 1794 in Bourbon Co., KY. She married James Edward Garner on Jan 24, 1822 in Monroe Co., IN and they had seven children. Land office records show James Garner as a resident of Putnam Co., IN on Feb 4, 1826, when he purchased land. The Putnam Co. Tax 1845 tax list shows James with 120 acres, value $450; $600 in personal property & $250 in improvements in Greencastle. On Nov 12, 1856 James & Rachel sold 120 acres, more or less, to William N. Crow for $3,000. They moved to Posey Twp, Clay Co., IN, and purchased 160 acres for $3,200 on Jan 1, 1857. Rachel died Apr 22, 1863 in Clay Co., and James died there Jul 19, 1870. They are both buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Putnam Co., IN.
7. Hannah Hornbeck Coffman was born Dec 25, 1796 in Bourbon Co., KY and married William Arnold on Apr 11, 1822 in Monroe Co., IN. In 1842, William was a member of Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church in Floyd Twp, Putnam Co., IN. William & Hannah moved to Marion Co., IA ca. 1848 and William entered 160 acres Feb 1, 1849. Hannah's brother, Abraham Coffman, Jr. & his wife Nancy may have migrated about the same time and were found in Marion Co. on the 1850 census. At least one of William's brothers, Bernard Arnold, also went to Iowa. The following paragraph is from an early writing in Marion Co.:
"An early settler in the Tong Settlement was William Arnold, known far and wide as the "Sweet Singer." He was a real artist in the manner of rendering miscellaneous melodies as well as hymns and the popular songs that were widely sung for years in that section. He brought with him a family of one son, grown, & five bouncing lively girls, with ever ready voices to help their father in things musical. Each of the girls found a husband among the beaux of the neighborhood."
Hannah and William had eight children, and William died Apr 7, 1855 in Marion Co. Hannah became blind some 28 years before her death, on Aug 1, 1888, also in Marion Co. William and Hannah are both buried in Bellefountaine Cemetery, Tracy, Marion Co., IA.
8. Nicholas R. Coffman was born Nov 5, 1789 in Bourbon Co., KY and married Lavina Dicks on Dec 23, 1824 in Putnam Co., IN. They had six children. Nicholas died Mar 22, 1878 in Putnam Co. and Lavina died there Jan 18, 1898. They are both buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Putnam Co.
9. Mary (Polly) Coffman was born Oct 19, 1800 in Bourbon Co., KY. She married Noble James Myers on Feb 24, 1820 in Bourbon Co., KY and they had seven children before Mary's death about 1836 in Putnam Co., IN. After her death Noble married Sarah Hodges on Feb 14, 1837 in Putnam Co. Noble died April 1851 in Putnam Co. and Sarah died there in Apr or May 1895.
10. Abraham Coffman, Jr. was born Jul 25, 1802 in Bourbon Co., KY and married Nancy Keith on Dec 14, 1826 in Putnam Co., IN. They had five children. Abraham Jr. was not included in his father's will of 1837, supposedly because he had received his portion earlier. The Putnam Co. Deed Book shows "Abraham Coffman Sr. and wife Anna for love to Abraham Jr. the east half of SE qtr of Section 2 Twp 14 North of Range West" (Putnam Co. Deed Record Bk F, 28 Jun 1837 page 433). On the 1850 Census of Lake Prairie Twp, Marion Co., IA (a large Dutch community), Abraham Jr. appears with his name spelled Abraham Kaufman, age 49, and Nancy Keith, both names spelled in full, age 45 and their children. Abraham died prior to Mar 2, 1878.
11. Ann Coffman was born Feb 2, 1804 in Bourbon Co., KY. There is no marriage record for her in Bourbon Co., KY, or Monroe or Putnam Co., IN. She was not mentioned in her father's will of 1837 and is presumed to have died before then.
12. Henry Coffman was born Nov 6, 1805 in Bourbon Co., KY and married Elizabeth Mallory on Dec 17, 1827 in Putnam Co., IN. Henry and Elizabeth had five children. It is not known what happened to Elizabeth, but on Aug 4, 1839 Henry married Catherine Hulett in Putnam Co. Henry and Catherine had six children. Henry died in Marion Co., IA on Jan 27, 1856 and is buried there in the DeWitt Cemetery.
13. Catherine Coffman was born Feb 16, 1808 in Bourbon Co., KY. There is no marriage record for her in Bourbon Co., KY, Monroe or Putnam Co., IN, and she is presumed to have died prior to her father's will of 1837.
14. Sarah Coffman was born Jan 10, 1812 in Bourbon Co., KY and married Joseph Siddens in Indiana ca 1829. Sarah and Joseph had eight children before her death in 1842 in Putnam Co., IN. Joseph moved to Johnson Co., KS in 1865, then Pottawatomie Co., KS, where he died Jan 31, 1879. He is buried in the Moodyville, KS Cemetery
15. Mourning Thursby Coffman was born Dec 6, 1814 in Bourbon Co., KY and married Daniel Keller on Sep 14, 1837 in Putnam Co., IN. They had nine children. In 1850, they lived in Jackson Twp, Fountain Co., IN. This must have been a major area of Kellers, as there are 161 Keller marriages recorded on early marriage records there. About 1860 they moved from Indiana to Iowa, and in 1870 & 1880, they lived in Decatur Twp, Decatur Co., IA. Mourning died Mar 8, 1887 and Daniel died Jun 14, 1894. They both died in Decatur Co. and are buried in the Shy Cemetery, Long Point Twp, Decatur Co., IA.
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