CHESLEY COFFEE GRAVES-MAURY COUNTY
The above markings on this map are the places needed to look to find this cemetery. The first mark is a red cross at the upper left corner of the map. That is the location that USGS maps say the cemetery is located at 35 Degrees 28.12' North by 87 Degrees 9.43' West. That is not exactly where I found this stone in 1996. It was further south along a ledge that runs above the level of the land below where the creek runs north/south. I believe this ledge does not span true north/south but slants in a northwest direction. I placed yellow pointers on this map indicating places along that ledge in an attempt to precisely map the location. If the terrain is still as it was in 1996 the stone could be found under one of the tips of those yellow arrows. I have marked off the driveway Address as #1828 where I believe the best prospects are for relocating this grave and show with the green arrow where I think the grave will be found. When I was there in 1996 there were no trees lining the Scotts Creek as the above map shows.
I am not accusing these people of destroying my ancestors grave but it sure has that appearance. I would love for them to come forward and prove to me that the Chesley Coffee Gravestone was not destroyed by their bulldozers and in fact is still there. Under the new laws of Tennessee I cannot be denied a visit, but I was because of mean dogs and silent people.
It is time to inject the difficulty and confusion of finding a lost graveyard even the third time after going there twice before. That is even after making a video and showing a photo here of the grave stone on this site. I went there originally about 1994 and was taken to the little stone beside the decaying Maple Tree stump by the land owner. That was before any houses were in this area except farm houses. At that time there was only the owners house down the road. I went back later with my sister Joyce and showed her the place and I went directly there and made a movie of the stone with a Cam Corder. That was back in 1996 or 1995. Several years later or about 9 years later I went back and tried to tie the details down with modern GPS mapping relating to any land improvement changes. This to tie the location down in a way that could never be refuted again. What I found was shocking to my efforts to locate the little stone. Trailers had spring up all along that road in the area in front of the ledge that contained the graveyard. Since the terrain had changed I could no longer be certain of the exact grave location. I went back even later again thru there and found that a bulldozer had cleared a long place along the ledge in back of the trailer. To the best of my judgment that ledge contained the graveyard. The grave was up the ledge and back on the plateau about 50 more feet from the edge of the ledge.
When I drove into the lane of the trailer home to ask the owner about all this several vicious dogs met me and set up territorial yapping. I never trust a dog that looks like a Pit Bull dog. I parked there in the driveway a moment and no one came to the door. Being a polite southerner I did not blow my horn because of the possibility of awaking someone who was a night shift worker nor did I want to risk having to assault the seemingly vicious dogs, so I left with no conclusion.
This map shows the area where I found that tombstone in 1994 and again in 1996. As I recall looking at this map I walked from Terrapin Branch Road (due west) down to the creek and the creek was not immediately next to the road. So maybe that was a hundred feet or more from the road to the Scotts Creek. After crossing I traveled across a field and came to the ledge. I estimated in the distance from the creek to the tree-line & embankment as 50 yards. After climbing the embankment to the plateau (probably 30 feet high) I traveled again in the woods some distance (maybe 80') before seeing the stone and at that time a rotting maple stump on its left.
I have been told that was the old Tillman Knox place and though the road name I have is Terrapin Branch Road that road name doubles as the Screamer Road. It terminates on Hwy 166 at Screamer and begins just south of Scotts Mill at Southport Road and runs by that Chesley Coffee grave about half way down.
I would be delighted to meet you folks in another attempt to locate that grave. Maybe something has changed with the dogs or other that allows a better look today. Everyone wants to go there in the summer, but it is much better to go in the winter when the chiggers, Poison Ivy & snakes are gone. However, I have finally found a solution for those pest. I wear knee high top rubber boots and that eliminates the chiggers and snakes and even the poison Ivy if I don't bend over and touch the stuff. The chiggers that find their way higher are rare and snakes never bite higher than the knees. With all the increasing rain in recent years poison Ivy is as bad as I have ever seen it here. We need a six months drought to kill the stuff back. Instead all we get is more rain every few days which has something green covering every spot not mowed and that kills the visibility for finding lost gravestones.
If my suspicions are correct we will need money to add a stone somewhere nearby because I think that grave has been destroyed. Maybe we could add it to the Ebenezer Cemetery north of there a mile +.
I also remember you rightly questioned if my placement and photos were that for the Chesley's grave. I cannot offer absolute proof since there was no inscription remaining, but many bits of evidence do add up which I won't detail again here. One though was that I remember asking the gentleman to take me to the Chesley Coffee Grave stone and he did as was in his mind. That place was already based on other's directions to the location who had connections to the past which I was following that day. It was such a brush thicket initially I had a hard time finding it by myself.
The Maury Co Archives has that GPS on file as the Chesley Coffee Graves. Also Mr. Fred Hawkins gave explicit directions that match the location I am referring to. Also other maps in the past has placed the grave location. There were some other lost graves in that area that I found and quickly marked, so I don't believe there are any others now since I have tromped around in that area several times in the winter when one can see 150 yards before bushes blanks out the vision. I also had many on-line discussions with Mr Douglas Baker who grew up on that road and lives here in Huntsville. We had many E-mail exchanges about all the lost graves in that area. He grew up rural (like me) and knew every rock & cranny for five miles within his home as a teenager.
From: Linda Munroe <email@example.com>
To: Wayne Austin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Sat, May 12, 2012 10:23 am
Subject: grave of Chesley Coffee
I have attached a letter that L.M. had.
Notice the date....it references the grave of Chesley Coffee on the Tillman Knox
Property on Screamer Road.
Is this the same place you found when you took a pix of Chesley's grave?
I would like to go to this spot one day. Have you been back?
1982 letter from Bob Hackney about the connections of other coffee kin in that area to Chesley Coffee's.
R. L. Hackney
1209 W. Jefferson
Naperville, IL 60540
2 January, 1982
Thank you so much for your recent letter and the information in it. It was thoughtful of you to take the time to reply so
promptly and with all the charts. I was specially glad to get the explanation of the change in the spelling of the surname.
that we're related -- see the enclosed "relationship finder." That's on the
assumption that I am correct in thinking
that Calvin was Nathan Coffee's son. He (Calvin was mentioned in Nathan Coffee's will as a son. The will was dated 5 Aug 1856 and
was proved July 1858 see Will Book F, Vol 1, page 147-149 Maury Co., TN.
Calvin Coffee's will -- dated 10 Mar 1886 and recoded in Will Book G, pages
249-252 -- mentioned: William F. Coffey, a
grandson and son of Isaac H. Coffey; Wm F. Coffey, a deceased son's widow and children; Nancy L. Douglas, a daughter; Catherine
C. Wilcoxson, a deceased daughter's children; Wm W. Coffey, a brother and William Nathan Wilcoxson, another grandson.
Isaac H. Coffee's will, recorded in WB F, Vol. 1, page 336, refers to Calvin Coffee as his father and Emily Coffee as his wife.
It would seem
logical that this is the same man shown on your sister's pedigree chart as Maj.
I. Hamilton Coffee.
I found the will of an Emily F. Coffee, probated 22 Sep 1874 in Giles County, that named a son William F. Coffee and requested
that he be put under the personal care and management of her mother, Manerva A. West. Also, that her brother, Homer R. West, be
her son's guardian. So, it looks as if this William F. could be the one and same as the William Finis Coffee (1868-1954.) shown
on the chart.
While in Maury Co. early this fall I also ran onto a record of a Chesley Coffey (1755-1818) who is buried on the Tillman Knox property, on Screamer Road. His wife's name was Margaret - see WB C-1, page 341. It appears that he was Nathan Coffee's father as both Nathan and Margaret were appointed administrators of his will- see Minute Record, Book 5, page 274. Admittedly, this is not proof but it seems very logical.
ask for all of this information in return and may already have it, but, if
you're interested, there it is. Thank
again for your help.
Maps by Topozone and Googles modified for this site by Wayne Austin 12 May 2012. Commentary and efforts by Wayne Austin 12 May 2012.