Monday, January 30, 2017

An Unknown Father: Ernest Coffman 1879-1934

Ernest Ellsworth Coffman, Sr. 1879-1934

One of the things that haunts me about my Uncle Ernie Coffman's memories of growing up is the fact that he did not really have a father.
Was that hard not really knowing your Dad very long? Did you have a surrogate Dad? =      Hell's bells, Nick! I didn't know my dad at all. I was too young to know him. My mother re-married somewhere along the line and I had a step-dad, who tried to be a male influence on me, but he and I had our squabbles, etc. 
My own experience contrasts sharply with Ernie's.  My father is still living and despite the fact that he is on the Left Coast and I am on the Third Coast, we are very close.  I love him dearly and I know that he loves me too.  To not have that in your life has to have been hard.  I am really looking forward to my next visit with my father.

Anyone who has any love for genealogy knows that life is unpredictable and missed opportunities to have learned from our elders abound.  I wish that I could have known both of my grandfathers better. I never got to meet my paternal grandmother.  Perhaps that is a bit of what inspires me to search their ancestry.  It is also what motivates my wife and I to be as close as possible to our grandchildren.

One of the beautiful things about DNA is that whether you knew your father or your paternal grandfather well or not, you carry their genetic inheritance in your chromosomes. Both your autosomal-DNA and y-DNA carry the essence of your paternal lineage.  The y-DNA is especially significant:
The Y chromosome is transmitted from father to son. Testing the Y chromosome provides information about the direct male line, meaning the father to his father and so on. The locations tested on the Y chromosome are called markers. Occasionally a mutation occurs at one of the markers in the Y chromosome. Mutations are simply small changes in the DNA sequence. They are natural occurrences and take place at random intervals. Overall, they are estimated to occur once every 500 generations per marker. Mutations can sometimes be valuable in identifying branches of a family tree.
Each marker has a name assigned to it by the scientific community, such as DYS#391, DYS#439 or GATA H4. The scientists classify these markers as Short Tandem Repeats.

 While we await the test results from Ernie's y-DNA test, we will step back one generation each week on the Coffman Family Tree. Today we feature Ernie's father and namesake, Ernest Ellsworth Coffman, Sr. 1879-1934.  It is somewhat ironic that Ernie's father died in 1934 and my father was born that same year.

Modified Register for Ernest Ellsworth Coffman

First Generation

      1. Ernest Ellsworth Coffman  was born on 22 Jul 1879 in La Harpe, Hancock, Illinois. He died on 17 Sep 1934 in Oakland, Alameda, California. He was buried on 28 Sep 1934 in Mountain View Cem, Oakland, Alameda, California.
Ernest married (1) Mae Blanche Moss  daughter of John Moss and Anne B. Lanstein on 5 Feb 1907 in Oakland, Alameda, California. Mae was born on 19 Feb 1882 in Galveston, Galveston, Texas. She died on 9 Nov 1963 in Oakland, Alameda, California. She was buried on 11 Nov 1963 in Sunset View Cemetery, El Cerrito, Contra Costa, California.

They had the following children:
               2 F         i.  Elaine Blanche Coffman  was born on 29 Aug 1910 in New York, New York. She died on 7 Jun 2010 in Concord, Contra Costa, California. She was buried on 25 Jun 2010 in Sunset View Cemetery, El Cerrito, California.
Elaine married (1) Engel True Mayne  son of Joseph Hanson Mayne Rev. and Anna Elizabeth Banford on 16 Jun 1928 in Oakland, Alameda, California, USA. Engel was born on 18 Mar 1899 in Verona, Preble, Ohio. He died on 11 Feb 1967 in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, California. He was buried on 17 Feb 1967 in Colma, San Mateo, California.
Elaine married (2) George William Kelly  son of John Caesar Kelly and Annie Marie White on 24 Oct 1937 in Reno, Washoe, Nevada. George was born on 21 Jul 1911 in Tacoma, Pierce, Washington. He died on 8 Oct 1991 in South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado, California.
Elaine married (3) Warren Campbell De Guire  son of Arthur Henry Deguire and Irene Anna Campbell on 4 Jun 1994 in South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado, California. Warren was born on 23 Jun 1911 in San Francisco, California. He died on 19 May 1997 in South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado, California.
Elaine married (4) Richard Thomas Gross  son of Paul Joseph Gross and Gladys Martha Cody Burcha on 9 Sep 1999 in Zephyr Cove, Douglas, Nevada. Richard was born on 22 Oct 1933 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He died on 11 Sep 2003 in Arizona, USA.
               3 M        ii.  Male Coffman  was born in 1912/1914 in , , New York or New Jersey.
               4 F        iii.  Vivian Lucile Coffman  was born on 24 Jan 1916 in Edgewater, Bergen, New Jersey. She died on 12 Oct 2011 in El Cerrito, Contra Costa, California. She was buried in Sunset View Cemetery, El Cerrito, California.
Vivian married Louis Henry McGrath  son of Walter James McGrath and Stella Johanna Swedberg on 4 Jul 1937 in , , California. Louis was born on 11 May 1916 in , Alameda Co., California. He died on 30 Apr 2002 in ,

Alameda Co., California.

Ernest married (2) Mildred Jane Loveless  daughter of Joseph De Fayette Lovelace and Lenora Bozeman on 22 Oct 1931 in Alameda, California, USA. Mildred was born on 11 Aug 1898 in Fresno, California, USA. She died on 16 Apr 1989 in Hollister, , California.

They had the following children:
               5 M      iv.  Ernest Ellsworth Coffman Jr.  was born on 24 Dec 1932 in San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
Ernest married Joanne Carol Larson  daughter of George Gustave Larson and Alma Ethel Zwicker on 19 Dec 1958. Joanne was born in 1935 in California.

Despite the fact that Ernest died in 1934 we can trace his life through the following genealogical records:

!CENSUS:1880 San Joaquin Township, Sacramento Co., CA;Vol 8, E.D. 112,Sheet 14, Line 39  !

!RESIDENCE: 1901 Sacramento City Directory: Coffman E E employed Southern Pacific Co., resides
Fifth Ave. Hotel, his father is also listed at the same address and same employer.  

!RESIDENCE: 1902; Oakland City Dir. Ernest E employed O G L & H Co (Oakland Gas, Light and Heat Co.), resides 304
24th p. 311 GAS COMPANIES, Oakland Gas Light and Heat Co., John A. Britton, President, A.T.
Eastland, Secretary and General Manager, office 13th nw cor Clay, Tel Private Exchange 1, Works cor
2d and Washington, 2d and Grove and 1st and Grove.  

!RESIDENCE: 1903-1907 Oakland City Dir.
Ernest E , residing at 798 46th. Occupations listed as follows: 1903 collector, 1904 not listed, 1905 clerk
1906 bookkeeper, 1907 collector.  

!MARRIAGE:1907 Alameda Recorder's Office, Book 38, Pg. 439.
Witnesses: Mr. J.E. Hughes of Oakland (Uncle Jim, David's brother) and Miss Norma Roebles of
Alameda City. Service performed by Henry H. Wintler, Clergyman.  

!MARRIAGE: 1907; Oakland Tribune5 Feb 1907; Marriage Licenses That Were Issued: Ernest E. Coffman, 27, Oakland, and Mae B. Moss, 23 San Francisco  

!RESIDENCE: 1908 NY City Dir. Ernest E manager 67 W 125th Room 22, home 538
Lenox Ave.  

!CENSUS:1910;110 W. 138th Street;Manhattan Borough, NY, NY;16 April 1910;E.D. 528, p.
225;film#1?75034. 1910 United States Federal Census about Ernest E Coffman Name: Ernest E
Coffman Occupation: Manager of Gas Governor Company Age in 1910: 30 Estimated Birth Year: abt
1880 Birthplace: Illinois Relation to Head of House: Head Father's Birth Place: Illinois Mother's Name:
Harriet Mother's Birth Place: Indiana Spouse's Name: Mae Home in 1910: Manhattan Ward 12, New
York, New York Marital Status: Married Race: White Gender: Male Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members: Name Age Ernest E Coffman 30 Mae Coffman 26 Harriet Coffman 57  Source
Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1021; Page:
7A; Enumeration District: 528; Image: 1046.   

!RESIDENCE: 1911-12 NY City Dir. Ernest E manager 17
E 125th. 

!RESIDENCE: 1913 NY City Dir. Ernest E manager 17 E 125th home Edgewater NJ. !

!RESIDENCE: 1915 NY City Dir. Ernest E branch manager Gas Consumers Assn. h Edgewater NJ
(Bergen County). 

!RESIDENCE: 1918 NY City Dir.  no listing for Ernest E.  1916 and 1917 not on the shelf at Sutro.  Database: World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918  December 25, 2005 5:36 PM Name: Ernest Elsworth Coffman Residence: 742 46th Street City: Oakland County: Alameda State: California Birth Date: 22 Jul 1879 Race: White Roll: 1531208 DraftBoard: 2 Registration Date: Sept. 12,1918 Age: 39 Occupation: Salesman Nearest Relative: Wife, Mae Coffman Registration Place: Oakland Height: Medium Build: Medium Color of Eyes: Brown Color of Hair: Brown  Source Information: Ancestry.

!CENSUS:1920 CA VOL 4, ED 52, SH 19B, LN 64; Resided with David Hughes 742 46th St
Oakland; OCCUPATION: Salesman Automotive Tires.  

!RESIDENCE:  Before Ernest and Mae purchased the Aileen Street house they rented a little duplex on 46th Street three doors from West.  

!OCCUPATION-RESIDENCE: 1921 Oakland City Directory; Coffman Bros. (E E and O L) auto tires 278
12th; Coffman Ernest h 814 46th; also listed is Ernest E (Coffman Bros) r 742 46th which was his sister
Viola's residence; also listed is E. E. h 716 Castro  

!LAND: Date Filed: Dec 28 1922; Series Number: 247640; Grantees: Coffman, Ernest E.; Grantors: Elias Berger; Title: Deed; Vol 313; Book: Official Records; Page 365; For Sum of Ten dollars, Being all of lot # 3 in Block E Map of Kenwood Park Oakland, California.  This property is 885 Aileen Street.  

!OCCUPATION-RESIDENCE: 1923 Oakland City Directory; Coffman Bros. (E E and O L) auto tires 285 12th; Coffman Ernest E (Coffman Bros) h 716 Castro; he is no longer residing with Mae.  

!RESIDENCE: 1924 Ernest & May(sic) 885 Aileen; Oakland City Directory;  the Great Register of Voters for the same year lists Ernest as a salesman and a Republican.  Mae is not listed.  

!OCCUPATION-RESIDENCE: 1925 Oakland City Directory; Coffman, EE imp (did not look up this abbreviation) Brask Bros, resides 682 19th.  Harriet Coffman was also at this address.  Brask Bros. is listed as Automobiles & Repairs; Chevrolet Motor Car Dealers with locations at 2264 E. 12th and 2905 E. 14th.  

!DIVORCE: 1925 Alameda County Judgement Book 152 page 291; Blanche Coffman vs. Ernest E. Coffman Copy #80250 Dept. #8 Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County of Alameda.  Final Judgement of Divorce; Rudolph Hatfield, 288-289 Bacon Building, Attorney for the Plaintiff.  Entered on the 20th day of January 1925.  Divorce granted on the grounds of extreme cruelty.  Custody care and support of the minor child, Elaine Coffman be awarded to the plaintiff and the custody care and support of the minor child, Vivian Coffman be awarded to the defendant.  Defendant is to keep Vivian Coffman in the care of Mrs. Viola Hughes or if Mrs. Hughes fails to care for Vivian then she should be placed in the care of some party mutually agreeable to plaintiff and defendant.  done in open court this 25th day of January 1926. James G. Himm (sp?) Judge of the Superior court of California. Document in the possession of Vivian McGrath, El Cerrito, CA  

!OCCUPATION: about 1926-???? Worked for Cochran and Celli, Chevrolet dealers in Oakland selling
cars.  Confirmed by Oakland City Directory for 1926 however there is no listing for Ernest.  He is listed
incorrectly as C. E. Coffman with Cochran Celli, resides 682 19th Street.  

!BIOGRAPHY: 1927 Interview with Elaine Coffman Kelly by Nick Cimino 4 Nov 1989 Ernest used to meet Elaine occasionally in San Francisco near where she worked for lunch.  She was 17 at the time and working for Gorman-Kayser.  

!RESIDENCE-OCCUPATION: 1928 Coffman, E E h 885 Aileen ???? did he move back in with Mae? 

!CENSUS: 1930; Coffman, Ernest; Age: 51; Birthplace: Illinois;  Enumerated with his mother, Harriett;
Relationship: Son;  Race: White; Roll: T626_102; State: California; County: Alameda; Township:
Oakland; ED: 33; Page: 19A; Image: 0416; Place of Abode 700 block of 45th Street; rented for $15
month; marital status: divorced; occupation: adjuster with the gas company  

!OCCUPATION-RESIDENCE: 1930 Coffman, Ernest E collector Gas Consumers Assn r 730 1/2 45th  

!BIOGRAPHY: Interview with Vivian McGrath by Nick Cimino 10 Nov 1989;  Ernest and Otis Coffman had their
business at 616 55th and they bought the house at 614 55th.  They had a community driveway going up. 
These houses were right next door to the Masonic Temple where Vivian went to Job's Daughters.  The
houses still stand today.  

!RESIDENCE: 1932 at Ernie Jr.'s birth 511 Waller Street. 

!DEATH: 1934 CA Death Certificate;Local Registered No. 2311;Place of Death Alameda Co. Hospital; Residence 730 46th
St., Oakland; Mountain View Cemetery Records transcribed 11 Nov 1989; Cause of death: pneumonia.  

!OBITUARY: Oakland Tribune Tuesday, Sept. 18, 1934 page C 35 Vital Statistics COFFMAN-In Oakland,
September 17, 1934, Ernest E. Coffman, beloved husband of Millie J. Coffman, loving father of Mrs.
Engel Mayne, Vivian and Ernest Coffman; son of Archibald and Harriet Coffman, brother of Viola N.
Hughes and Otis L. Coffman; a native of Illinois, aged 55 years, 1 month, 25 days.  A member of
Oakland Lodge No. 171, B.P.O.E.      Friends are invited to attend the funeral at the Cathedral Chapel of 
the Grant D. Miller Mortuary, 2850 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, Wednesday, September 19, 1934, at 2
o'clock p.m. Inurnment.  

!BIOGRAPHY:  From Ernest Coffman, Jr. April 2000- My dad-Ernest Sr. passed away when I was a toddler, so I don't remember him at all. From my calculations, I was 1 yr. 8 mos. and 13 days old, give or take an hour or so. The death certificate says that his trade was a Collector & Adjuster, but I heard from his brother-my Uncle Otis Coffman Sr., that he was also in the tire business, with him, down on Broadway, in Oakland. It was near the big Presbyterian church, if I recall, for I remember stopping there to see Uncle Otis, when I was a little sprout. On his death certificate, it indicates that he died of "pyelitic uremia 133." Whatever that is. Also, other contributory causes were: "Acute bilateral pyelitia suppurative 133," and the doctor Theldore E. Schwarz, treated him from 9/11/34 until his demise 9/17/34, which in today's modern medicine, they probably would have given him some antibotics and sent him home. There was no operation and there was no autopsy.      

My folks, and me, too-I guess-lived just up the street from Aunt Viola-his sister-and Uncle Dave. As I read further in this
death certificate, it indicates that the above job ended in 1931, before my birth, so...the tire industry does make sense. It also states that he worked there for 24 years, being a collector and adjuster. Wonders of wonder. No 401-K or Soc. Sec. back then. sad Our friend, down in San Jose, is a teaching-nurse and indicated that the above diagnosis was "a problem with his kidneys, possibly a severe kidney infection, abscess, or similar condtion, which did, or ultimately would have, led to renal (kidney) failure. An added " P.S. was 'bilateral indicates both kidneys were affected. the number 133 may have been a medical record number or diagnosis category, but probably isn't significant to the cause of death.'" It's also noted that he died at the Alameda County Hospital, so...that to me, is Highland and was there because of the cash situation, I guess, seeing that that was the depression era.       

As for things my mother shared. Ha! Nada! At least not much of anything super-duper. She was a very quiet person when it came to sharing things of personal nature. Right up until the end. I do recall that she said that my Dad drove her to a park in lower Alameda County, which was quite popular back then. I believe that was near Sunol, but I couldn't prove it.   I do have a couple of neat pictures of Dad. One, when he was a dapper 21, I guess. And, the other is of him with a duster and his automobile, which I guess he took pride in. End of history lesson for now.  

Family pictures From: Ernie and Jo ( Sent: Fri 4/16/10 3:41 AM
To:  Nick Cimino ( Hi Nick, I didn't go to Mountain View cemetery as a child, but
did go when I was about when I was 17, 18, or 19 I believe it was. Maybe before, since I used to go over
to Alice and Wesley's to mow their two lawns--front and back yards. Maybe I was in my mid-teens. Most
difficult to recall. No one took me there! I went on my own and asked at the office where my dad was, I
believe. Something rings a bell that Aunt Viola--dad's sister--told me where he was, but not the exact

place so that's why I went to the office. Regards, Ernie

Here are a few images related to Ernest Coffman Sr.:

Marriage Index page for Ernest and Mae in 1907 toward bottom of this cropped page
Ernest Coffman dusting off his 1928 Dodge
Marriage Certificate for Ernest and Millie 1931
Death Certificate of Ernest Ellsworth Coffman; cause of death was kidney failure

Next week we will feature Ernest Sr.'s father, Archibald Wilson Coffman 1850-1935.

Related posts: Uncle Ernie Coffman- His Story and his DNA 

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