Life in Texas and Oklahoma Indian Territory
My name is JOAN COFFEY. My husband SAM COFFEY, is the Grandson of DANIEL WEBSTER COFFY, born Feb. 14, 1858 and died Apr. 24, 1928. When we started to research the family tree, we found out that we didn't know much about my husband's Grandfather or his family at all. We first started talking to relatives and then I started looking for anything I could find that had to do with him and his family. I first went to the cemetery records to look up his date of birth and death. From there I found his wife's name, LEE ANN COATES, as listed on the obit was born Dec. 5, 1861 and died Jun. 24, 1928. I then went to the courthouse and found her listed as MAGGIE L COFFEY on the 1900 census, therefore; I decided her name was MAGGIE LEE ANN. I later learned her name is MARGARET LEEANN COATES. In old newspapers the following is some of the things I found about the COFFEY Family and DAN COFFY in particular.
DANIEL WEBSTER COFFY is the son of ELIZABETH ANN MOORE who married in 1848 at Somerville, Morgan Co., Alabama, WILLIAM COFFEE, born April 15, 1826 in Alabama and died September 13, 1885 in Dexter, Texas. DANIEL was best known as UNCLE DAN COFFY or simply DAN W. COFFY. It is believed that his father came to Texas first and the rest of the family followed. Around 1882 or 1883 Daniel W. Coffy and family, along with his Mother and older brothers John James Coffey, Joel William Coffee, and their family's took a train from Alabama to Decatur, Texas, where they settled before moving to Dexter, Texas and then to Oklahoma Indian Territory.
I'm going to start at the end of his life with a couple obituaries' to give you and idea of how well he was thought of by the people who knew and worked with him. This first one was in the form of a letter to the editor, and the second seems to be an editorial.
April 1928: "FROM CONGRESSMAN M'KEOWN "Mr. C.C. Galloway, editor Johnston County News, Tishomingo, Oklahoma. My dear friend: I was indeed sorry to learn of the death of Uncle Dan Coffey. He was a unique character and a man for whom I had a strong affection. It always made you feel good to meet him because he was always, like many other pioneer of Oklahoma, happy and hopeful. He was a good citizen, a loyal friend and a real democrat. He will be missed by his friends, and the world is better for his having lived in it. With good wishes, I am, Cordiall and sincerely, TOM D. McKEOWN."
April 1928: "A PIONEER PASSES AWAY: Dan W. Coffy, the well known citizen
of Ravia, died last Wednesday, the 25th, at the Hardy sanitarium at Ardmore,
from the effect of injuries received from a fall from a motor truck two
days before. He was buried at the Ravia cemetery Thursday afternoon,
attended by a large concourse of old friends and neighbors. The funeral
was conducted by Rev. John J. Stobaugh, who delivered an eloquent and touching
sermon. "Uncle Dan" was a native of Alabama. He went to Texas when he was
a young man and for years was a noted peace officer there. He came to this
country over thirty years ago. Although 70 years old at the time of his
death he remained well preserved and active and by his jovial spirit and
kindly nature everybody was his friend. Little boys and girls were his
special pets. He was a man of good
information. As a peace officer he was absolutely fearless. As a friend he was true and unselfish. A bigger-hearted man never lived and he was ever ready with his timely assistance to the poor and distressed. He leaves a widow and a large family of children and grandchildren to mourn his loss. We will all miss "Uncle Dan" Coffy."
I found three Chattel Mortgage's for D.W. COFFY the first dated April
21, 1905, "showing he mortgaged his cattle, horses, wagons and an old stump
and grub puller for the sum of $122.50 for six months at 8%. The mortgage
was in the Chickasaw Nation Southern Judicial District, Indian Territory.
The First National Bank of Tishomingo, Tishomingo, Indian Territory held
that the mortgage to be due and payable 21 Oct 1905."
The second one in May 5, 1906, "D.W. COFFY mortgaged one Hawkeye Stump and Grub puller, 2 Horsepower in good running order to Mr. A.N. Hooser for the sum of $25.60 due Oct. 1, 1906 at 8% from maturity."
The third in Nov 1905, "D. W. COFFY of the Southern Judicial District,
Indian Territory, party of the first part, is indebted to the First National
Bank of Ravia, Indian Territory, party of the second part, upon One promissory
note as follows: $131.50 date Nov 20th 1905 due Feb 20th 1906 interest
8% from maturity. And in consideration of said indebtedness, and in
contemplation of future indebtedness, the first party hereby sells to the second party the following described personal property situate in the Southern Judicial District, Indian Territory, to wit: Six cows of different colors from 3 to 8 yrs old Branded (crossed T) on the left side Five calves belonging to cows branded (crossed T) on left side Two Red Steers coming 2 yrs old
Branded (crossed T) on left side Two 2 yr old Heifers Branded (crossed T) on left side Two Heifers coming 2 yrs old Branded (crossed T) on left side This covers my Entire Stock of cattle And increase One Roan Horse 5 yrs old 14½ hands high Branded ( C ) on left Shoulder One Yellow Mare 4 yrs old 14 hands high Branded (crossed T) on left Shoulder One 2¾ in
Studebaker wagon one year used Bought of Dudley Monk Hdw. Co One Hawkeye Stump and Grub puller 140 ft of wire cable Two Sling lines 16 ft Each Said above Stock located 4 miles north from Ravia Farm of C D Bynum lease and known as the Cox place."
The following will be articles from the Ravia Herald and Ravia Tribune, the dates ranging from August 1904 through 1911. I will put the date of the paper that each article was found in followed with the quote and all the mis-spelled words.
The first one I found was in the Ravia Herald dated August 4, 1904: "Dan Coffey's little granddaughter was quite sick this week." (This had to be Willie Lee's or Blanche's daughter because of the date.)
August 25, 1904: (Ravia Tribune) "Ravia's first bale of cotton consisting of 1505 pounds seed cotton was brought in Saturday by Dan W. Coffey, and was bought by H.A. Martin for $3.70 per hundred pounds. Mr. Coffey secured the $25. Premium made up by the business men of Ravia for the first bale of cotton brought in."
October 13, 1904: "J.J. Coffee ( Dan Coffy's brother) renewed his subscription to the Tribune."
January 19, 1905: "Married Sunday Jan 8, at the home of the bride's parents, Mr. J.D. Coffey and Miss Janie Lane, both live at Bullet Prairie." (Dan Coffy's nephew, son of John James)
January 27, 1906: "Dr. Baum reports the arrival of a son and heir to Mr. and Mrs. John D. Coffee on Bullet Prairie on Sunday night."
April 20, 1906: "Dan W. Coffey has leased his blacksmith shop to J.M. Wadill and will give his attention to the iron fence business."
Feb 22, 1908: " Through the courtesy of D. H. Ward Contractor Combs and the editor had the pleasure of a drive out to the Granite Company's works last Sunday evening. "Uncle Dan" Coffey, who is in charge out there. Extended to us every courtesy and showed us over the grounds and buildings, and said from the best information he had the works would start up about the first of March. Before the panic closed the works. The rock is a crystalized granite that is easily crushed and makes a fine ballast for railroads and street grading purposes, in that it cements after being spread. The re-opening of these works means better times for Ravia. The company has about $25,000 invested."
March 7, 1908: "Uncle Dan Coffe was at Ardmore Monday conferring with the granite quarry people and he says they talked like work will begin at the quarry about the 15th. This is certainly good news."
April 4, 1908: "The Herald and Texas Farm and Ranch, the best agricultural
and stock paper published in the South, both one year for $1.75. "Uncle
Dan" Coffey sends The Herald to his daughter, Mrs. Willie Hill, who lives
in and is teaching school at Neinda, Texas." "Uncle Dan" Coffey returned
from Ardmore Thursday in the best humor, the Ballast Company having
raised his wages ten dollars per month. "Uncle Dan" says he hasn't anything to divulge this time, but remarked that the skies were beginning to brighten."
May 4, 1908: "CITY ANNOUNCEMENTS", Election May 4th, 1908, For City Marshal: J.A. Walling, Dan. W. Coffy, and T.J. Anderson. "Uncle Dan" Coffy comes before our readers this week as a candidate for city marshal. "Uncle Dan" has had experience in this line, is well qualified and if elected will do his duty." (This article leads me to believe that Dan had been some kind of Law officer before coming to Oklahoma. Possibly in Dexter or Decatur, Texas.) I found in the May 30th paper that T.J. Anderson won the City Marshal election.
May 16, 1908: "Mrs, Blanche Smith, daughter of Uncle Dan Coffey, who has been quite sick for several days, is improving."
May 30, 1908: "THE PICNIC COMMITTEES", At a meeting of the general committee
of the Farmers' Union Warehouse picnic, the following sub-committees were
appointed: Beef-- H. E. Fagan and J. W. Craig. Bread--J. F. Pate and M.
E. Robertson. Ice--B.M. Sharrock. Soliciting--J. H. Wilkinson, W. C. Holland
and J. M. Johnson. Arrangements--C. S. Mudd, W. H. Pittman, Dr. S. E. Cummings,
C. D. Bynum and ?. G. Guptill. Barbecue--D. W. Coffy. Stands--J. R.
Chitwood and Clide Wilkinson. Program--R. T. Wilkinson, J. H. Anderson, R. C. Johnson and J. F. Garner. Dinner--Mrs. W. S. Webster, Mrs. Lee Parker, Mrs. Hays, Mrs. Mudd, Mrs. W. A. McAllister, Mrs. Tom Morrow, Mrs. Maude Herrin, Mrs. F. J. Baum, Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. Scrimshire, Mrs. T.A. Caperton, and Misses Roxa Leeper, Addie Langston, Edith Merrill, M.
Martin and Sue Parham. Marshal of the Day--Bud Moore."
April 4, 1908: "A partical list of businesses in Ravia Spring 1908: First National Bank of Ravia; R.T. Wilkinson, President - J.H. Anderson, Cashier - D.K. Hathorn, Bookkeeper. Merrill - Houston Lumber Company; W.C. Hooser, Dry Goods - W.H. Pittman, Drug Store. McAllister Grocery; Coffey Blacksmith Shop.
July 4, 1908: "James, the son of Dan Coffey, was bit on the hand by a moccasin snake Tuesday night while fishing on Pennington. The boy was reported to be getting along nicely when last heard from." (It was from this article that I discovered a son that I had not known the name of. We knew that he had had a son that was burned to death in a fire but had never known his real name. He had always been known as Skinner.)
August 8, 1908: "Uncle Dan" Coffy will please accept the thanks of every member of the editor's family for a fine string of channel cat fish."
August 15, 1908: "Born, Aug. 8, 1908, to Mr. and Mrs. Sam Toone, near Troy, a fine girl. It is now Grandpa Coffy and not "Uncle Dan." (This is Marie, Della and Sam Toones eldest daughter.)
September 12, 1908: "R. R. Coffy, of Province, Okla., was here this week visiting his brother, Uncle Dan Coffy." (Discovering this brother was a real break through as it allowed me to narrow down which Coffey family was our line and a starting place to go further in researching the family.)
September 26, 1908: "Mrs. Willie Hill and children, of McCauley, Texas, are visiting Mrs. Hill's father, Uncle Dan Coffy."
October 10, 1908: "A telephone message was received from Maryetta Thursday morning by Uncle Dan Coffy stating that Mrs. Toon was dying. Sam Toon, her son, left on the evening train for Maryetta to be at his mothers's bedside."
October 17, 1908: "Sam Toone's mother died in Marietta last week on Thursday. She was buried in Marietta, Ok."
December 12, 1908: "Dr. Baura had his household goods auctioned off last Saturday. Uncle Dan Coffy was the auctioneer. Those who bought got a real bargains."
Between December 1908 and September 1910 Ravia changed papers several times and I didn't find any more articles about Dan until October 1910. If I remember correctly these next articles were in the Ravia Tribune. Also some time during this period Dan was elected City Marshal for the Town of Ravia, but I wasn't able to find out the date of just when.
October 7, 1910: "Improvement on Main Street, D.W. Coffy city marshal, informs us that he will soon begin hauling the gravel to Main street. As we have the finest quality of gravel just at the edge of the corporation, we may expect to see Main street put in fine shape this fall."
October 14, 1910: "Uncle Dan landed one Saturday night in the cooler; got something to make him halloo until 12 o'clock--don't know what it was."
"Uncle Dan, the city marshal, landed another in the cooler Wednesday night. He was drunk and down. When he waked up Thursday morning he was surprised to find himself caged. It was feared he would arouse in the night and try to walk on the railroad tract and be run down by a train."
"Dan W. Coffey ordered the News sent to his daughter, Mrs Willie Hill of Frances, Ok. Mrs Hill writes that it is just like getting a letter from home each week."
October 21, 1910: "City Marshal Uncle Dan Coffy put a man in the cooler
Saturday night. He paid his fine and was released Monday morning. Drunk
and disorderly, against the peace and dignity of this respectable city,
was the charge against him, filed by the Honorable City Marshal, who had
to hit the disorderly man on the head with a six shooter in self-defense
as the man
" George T. Clay of Weleetka, an old-time friend of the City Marshal, Dan Coffey, was in town last week, and paid the News a short visit. He and Uncle Dan were raised boys together. Mr. Clay says Ravia has made quite a change since he was here last."
November 4, 1910: "A man came here from Tishomingo last Sunday evening and tanked up on bust-head and red-eye, and Uncle Dan, the City Marshal, collected the usual fee, as it was an insult to the peace, sobriety and dignity of this town."
November 18, 1910: "Richard Tyoby Killed, While in a drunken brawl on
Thursday afternoon of last week near Troy, Jeromo Brown shot Richard Tyoby.
One shot hit him in the face and the other in the bowels, which proved
fatal. Tyoby died Friday afternoon. Both men were Indians. A message was
received here by City Marshal Dan Coffy, who proceeded immediately to the
scene and arrested Brown one mile east of where the shooting took place.
He brought the prisoner here on the night of the killing and locked him
up in the calaboose, and he phoned for the Sheriff. The next morning Sheriff
Simmons came from Tishomingo and Uncle Dan turned the prisoner over to
him, took him to Tishomingo and incarcerated him in the county bastile.
Brown waived preliminary examination Tuesday and was remanded to jail without
bail to await the action of the
Grand Jury at the next term of court."
"Mr. Polk Toone of Van Alstyne, Texas is here visiting his brother Sam Toone." (Son-in-law of Dan Coffy)
December 16, 1910: "Uncle Dan Coffey finished his job of laying tile and sewer pipe near the Depot just in time to carry off the surplus water of the winter. You can go to the depot now almost dry-shod."
Ravia Weekly News; W.S. Payton, Editor and prop.
January 13, 1911: "Sam Toone has moved to Troy and will do a general blacksmithing business at that place."
February 17, 1911: "D. W. Coffy was kept busy Saturday grinding corn for the farmers who had come to town."
February 24, 1911: ************* FOUND DEAD ***************************
A Man Found Dead Near the Frisco Depot
"Last Saturday morning about 8 o'clock an unknown man was discovered
dead, lying about 100 yards south of the depot, by the train crew coming
in from the south. The city officer (Dan Coffy) took charge of the body
and an inquest was held later in the day and the jury decided that the
deceased died from causes unknown to the jury. There were no papers or
which he could be identified. He was about 50 or 55 years old, and very large, weighing upwards of 250 pounds. He was wearing a pair of blue overalls, black coat and dark gray vest. In his pockets was found a Dax watch, a knife with iron handle, a pair of spectacles, a pipe, tobacco and 10 cents in money, and the most important thing found was a rural Delivery lock and
keys, Number 19j3. How came them to be in his possession and where were they used? If this can be found out then his identity may be established. The body has been embalmed and will be held in hopes that some one may come and claim it."
March 17, 1911: "City Marshal Coffey has kept busy answering letters of inquiry in regard to the man found dead on the18th of February."
April 21, 1911: ****** RELATIVES OF THE UNKNOWN FOUND ****************
"The identity of the man who was found dead here on the morning of February
18, has at last been made known. Last Saturday a man giving his name as
Catey, came here from Anthony, Kansas, and stated that the description
given was that of an uncle of his, who had been missing since sometime
in January. After seeing a photograph, which was taken soon after the body
found, Mr. Catey was sure that it was that of his uncle, George Bennett Stevens. Mr. Catey went to Denison, where he secured the services of experts, who came here Sunday morning and had the remains disinterred and placed in a metallic vault and shipped to Anthony, Kansas, for burial. Mr. Catey left here feeling very grateful towards the people of Ravia for the services bestowed upon the dead. Mr. Catey, while not very talkative on the subject, left the impression that there was to be some investigations made regarding the mysterious death of his relative. The deceased and another stranger came here on the 17th of February, and was inquiring for a man named Carter. They were around town all day, and the next morning about 8 o'clock the body of the old man was found lying about 100 yeards south of the Frisco depot. The other man has never been
heard of since they were seen together the evening before at an old empty building in the south part of town. Here is the mystery now. Who was this companion, and what caused his sudden flight? Was the old man murdered? If so, as is generally believed, how and for what purpose? There was no evidence of violence found, but some claimed that there was signs of
carbolic acid. If so, it had been weakened to such extent that it left no evidence in the mouth of its victim."
April 4, 1911: "CITY ELECTION", "Town Election Tuesday, April the 4th, 1911: For Town Marshal: Dan W. Coffy, Rock Blount, T. H. Bryant." In the same paper it gave the results of the election which was: "For Town Marshall: Dan W. Coffy, 20, Rock Blount, 1, T. H. Bryant, 38, T. H. Blount, 1." (Showing that Dan lost his job as Town Marshal.)
Between April 1911 and April 1928 I found a few articles that seem to suggest that he held a job as some kind of law officer in Tishomingo, in that he had the authority to execute warrants. I found several that he signed off on.
In summery it is appropriate to end here with this his final obituary
from the Capital Democrat found on page one dated, April 26, 1928. "DAN
COFFEY DIED TUESDAY", " Uncle Dan Coffey, died at a sanitarium at Ardmore
Tuesday from injuries received when he fell from a truck near Ravia last
Sunday. Mr. Coffey was probably the best known man in Ravia,
having lived there since statehood, and reared a large family. He has for the past few months operated a ferry across Washita river, while the new concrete bridge was under construction. Uncle Dan was progressive and devoted his time to the building of good roads in the county. He leaves several children to mourn his death. He was buried at the Ravia Cemetery Wednesday
afternoon, a large crowd attending the funeral.