|Nick Cimino at his 4th Great Grandparents Gravesite 1993|
Hillsborough Cemetery, McDonough County, Illinois
We knew that some of Alfred Coffman's family had been buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery before he moved to California. We had hoped to find Jacob and Eary Coffman and William and Elizabeth Coffman there too but were very disappointed to find that they were not in the same cemetery as the family of Alfred Coffman so we just kept driving around. The kids were starting to weary of the endless rows of corn. Something told me to turn down the road by Hillsborough Cemetery. I am not sure what it was that led me down that road. I really felt at the time that my ancestors wanted us to find them. I still do.
Hillsborough Cemetery, McDonough Co., IL; corner of 100 E and 2150 N; Section 19 Blandinsville Twp. Inscriptions: Eary, Wife of J. Coffman, Died July 25 1855, Aged 70 yrs. 6 mos.; Jacob Coffman, Died Mar 26, 1852, Aged 71 yrs. 5 mos. 11 days.
The Coffman family saga continues this week with the pioneer of Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri, Jacob Coffman 1780-1852. The vital information for Jacob Coffman and his wife and children is presented below:
No image of Jacob Coffman is known to have survived so his gravestone serves as his profile image on my Cimino and Harrington Ancestors Tree at Ancestry.com.
Tom Tucker of Port Townsend, Washington took this photo while visiting Blandinsville in 1985, he and his wife cleaned the headstones for Jacob and Arey. JACOB COFFMAN DIED Mar. 26, 1852 Aged 71 yrs. 5 Mos. 11 ds.
My notes on Jacob Coffman are 1) a compilation of research by other genealogists, 2) transcriptions of original records and 3) some of my musings and analysis on both of the above.
NOTES FOR JACOB COFFMAN 1780-1852
!BIOGRAPHY: History of Sacramento County, 1890, by Winfield J. Davis, CA State Library #qc979.453 D2; mfm#C115 #13 Book 2382; p. 479 From sketch of his son, Alfred Coffman: "The father Jacob, a native of Germany, came to this country when four years old  and settled in Kentucky, where they subsisted by digging the ginseng and selling it, and hunting deer and dressing their skins. He was well acquainted with Daniel Boone."
"He moved to Illinois, and was there during the Black Hawk war , in which he took part. He was the first man to settle in Burlington, Iowa, which place he found while swimming the Mississippi River after Indians for whom he had a deadly hatred. [I have found no record to substantiate this claim, however Isaac Crenshaw, a neighbor and son-in-law of Jacob's, did lead a party of Illinois settlers to the Burlington area. I have not yet checked early land claims but the histories of the area do not mention Jacob Coffman.]
"When sixty-two years of age  he moved to Missouri, to a town called Jamestown, five miles from St. Joseph [Buchanan County]. He became so fond of frontier life that he followed it until his death, which occurred in Illinois, at the age of seventy-two years. He shot his last deer in Illinois, while on horseback, shortly before his death. His son Alfred has the old rifle with which he killed the deer. Seven of the children of Jacob Coffman are living, the youngest [Alfred Coffman] being sixty six years of age."
CHRONOLOGICAL RECORD OF THE LIFE OF JACOB COFFMAN
!BIRTH: Recollection by Edith Lucile Stewart Venning, 1903-1994. "The Coffmans must have come to America quite early, my great-great-grandfather and my great-great-grandmother being born in Virginia before 1800."
Perhaps the best source that we have on the birth date and birthplace of Jacob Coffman is the 1850 census wherein it was recorded that he was age 70. By subtracting 70 from 1850 we are able to approximate a birth year of 1780. The 1850 census also says that he was born in Virginia. However, it is not uncommon for people that were born in Europe to claim that they were born in the U.S.
A conflict regarding Jacob's own account of the birthplace is found in this 1890 account from his son, Alfred Coffman: "The father Jacob, a native of Germany, came to this country when four years old and settled in Kentucky..."
The Alfred Coffman version of the story would place his arrival in Kentucky about 1784 but keep in mind that this story is in conflict with Alfred's own account of his father's birthplace as Kentucky in the 1880 census.
The 1880 census for the second daughter Nancy Coffman Kelly does not have an entry in the parents birthplace column.
The birthplace given by the other children for their father in the 1880 census are as follows: Elizabeth Coffman Lathrop - Germany, Mary Coffman Crenshaw - Germany, Leroy Coffman - Virginia, Thomas Coffman - Virginia, Dorcas Coffman Duncan - Virginia, and last but not least Alfred Coffman - Kentucky.
The confusion between Virginia and Kentucky might be explained by the fact that Kentucky originated out of Virginia. When Jacob Coffman was born in 1780, the thirteen colonies had declared their independence and were still in the middle of the revolutionary war. The first permanent white settlement was established by James Harrod in 1774 near the present city of Harrodsburg. Daniel Boone settled Boonesborough in 1775. In 1780 Kentucky County, Virginia had been divided into Fayette, Jefferson and Lincoln Counties but they were still part of Virginia.
|SOURCE: Interactive Kentucky Formation Maps|
The only other source that we have for the birth date is the grave marker in Hillsborough Cemetery which states: Died Mar 26, 1852, Aged 71 yrs. 5 mos. 11 days. Using a date calculator in Personal Ancestral File, we arrive at a birth date of 15 Oct 1780 which is the date that I am currently using on his profile at Ancestry.com.
These two records support a birth year of 1780.
Very little is known of the early life of Jacob Coffman. Alfred Coffman's account of his father's early life states: "settled in Kentucky, where they subsisted by digging the ginseng and selling it, and hunting deer and dressing their skins. He was well acquainted with Daniel Boone." So it appears that Jacob Coffman and his father were living the life of a frontier family in Kentucky.
Jacob Coffman's granddaughter gave this account of the early life in Kentucky:
"...The grandparents of Mrs. DeWitt, Jacob and Ezra (Fowler) Coffman, were born in Kentucky, and he was a son of Jacob Coffman, a native of Germany. When Jacob Coffman, Mrs. DeWitt's grandfather was three years old the family started for Illinois, and when they reached the Illinois side of the Ohio River they were attacked by the Indians and old grandfather was killed. His wife, two sons and a negro servant escaped, fled to the woods and kept on traveling until the crow of a rooster told them they had reached a white settlement. They finally made their way to McDonough County, where they entered land from the government, but none of the survivors ever forgot their terrible experience with the hostile Red Men."SOURCE: Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois & History of Hancock Co. Scofield Vol. 11; pg. 1186 Sketch of Aaron DeWitt.
The wife of Aaron DeWitt was Sarah Coffman, daughter of William Fowler Coffman and Elizabeth Wilson. Sarah was a sister of my second great grandfather, Archibald Coffman 1850-1935. She may have garbled the story a bit. The three year old that was traveling to Illinois was probably her father, William Fowler Coffman. The obituary of William F. Coffman tells the following version of the story:
"William F. Coffman was born in Kentucky, July 30, 1815. When he was three years of age the family removed to Jefferson county, Illinois where they remained twelve years, when in 1830 they came to this vicinity where he has since resided."SOURCE: LaHarper, LaHarpe, Illinois, 15 Sep 1905
The kernel of truth in Mrs. DeWitt's story was that the father of Jacob Coffman also known as Jacob was killed by Indians. For further discussion of this story, please read my previous blog on the topic at this address: http://www.ancestorpuzzles.com/2017/01/using-dna-to-trace-18th-century-german.html
There is no 1800 census of Kentucky from which to draw information about Jacob Coffman.
|Washington County, Kentucky shown in relation to adjacent counties.|
Jacob Coffman first appears in the written record at age, 25 when he marries in Washington County, Kentucky in 1805.
!MARRIAGE: 1805; Marriage Book I:61 Washington Co. KY; Know all men by these presents that we Jacob Coffman and John Hungate are held and firmly bound unto his Excellency the Governor of Kentucky in the sum of fifty pounds current money to the payment of which ____ and truly to be made to the said Governer [sic] and his successors we bind our selves our heirs to jointly and severally firmly by these presents sealed with our seals and sealed this 18th day of April 1805. The condition of this obligation is such that whereas there is a marriage shortly intended between the above bound Jacob Coffman and Arey Fowler for which a license has issued now if there be no careful cause to obstruct the said marriage then the obligation to be void or else to remain in full force and virtue. Witness John Reed Jacob Coffman Seal John Hungate Seal
A similar version of the MARRIAGE record above was also found in the Bounty Land file from National Archives in the form of an affidavit from the widow of Jacob Coffman. The widow is named in the file as Arah Coffman, whose maiden name was Arah Fowler. On the 29th of March 1855, she stated that she was "duly married to Jacob Coffman in the year 1805 in the County of Washington and State of Kentucky by one William Long authorized by law of said State to celebrate marriages and that at this time she is the widow of said Jacob Coffman who departed this life in the year 1852.
|Washington County Marriage Book Volume 1, Page 61|
Received from Washington County Clerk in 1993
We were lucky enough to get the name of the father of Arey Fowler from this record: Marriage Book 1:61, Washington Co., KY; "This is to let you know that I am willing for a marriage to take place between Jacob Coffman and my daughter Arey Fowler. Given under my hand this 17th day of April 1805. Thomas Fowler. Teste: Nathan Ward & Jno. Hungate." [Nathan Ward is married to Thomas Fowler's daughter, Lucy. John Hungate was married to Mary Coffman who was probably related to Jacob Coffman.]
!CENSUS: 1810; Jacob and family were residing in Washington County, Kentucky in 1810 and enumerated as follows:
Name Jacob Coffman
Home in 1810 (City, County, State) Washington, Kentucky
Free White Persons - Males - 26 thru 44 1 [Jacob age 30]
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10 3 [Elizabeth 4, Nancy 3, and Mary 2]
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25 1 [Arey age 25]
Number of Household Members Under 16 3
Number of Household Members Over 25 1
Number of Household Members 5
!RESIDENCE: 1818-1829 Jefferson County, Illinois per son William's obituary Shawneetown, Jefferson Co. per daughter Mary's obituary.
Here are the exact quotes:
"When [William Fowler Coffman born 1815] was three years of age the family removed to Jefferson county, Illinois where they remained twelve years, when in 1830 they came to this vicinity where he has since resided" per WFC obituary.
"[Mary Coffman] came to Illinois with her parents in 1818, settling in Jefferson county, near Shawneetown. Was married to Isaac Crenshaw in 1823...." per Mary Crenshaw obituary.!CENSUS: 1820; Hamilton County was created 8 February 1821 from White County. This census record for White County, Illinois seems to fit with ages and genders known for the family:
Name Jacob Coffman
Home in 1820 (City, County, State) North of West, White, Illinois
Enumeration Date August 7, 1820
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10 4 [Leroy age 10, Thomas 7, William 5 and Henry 2]
Free White Persons - Males - 26 thru 44 1 [Jacob age 40]
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10 1 [Dorcas 3]
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15 3 [Elizabeth 14, Nancy 13, and Mary 12]
Free White Persons - Females - 26 thru 44 1 [Arey age 35]
Number of Persons - Engaged in Agriculture 1
Free White Persons - Under 16 8
Free White Persons - Over 25 2
Total Free White Persons 10
Total All Persons - White, Slaves, Colored, Other 10
!RESIDENCE: 1823 Son Alfred says he was born in Hamilton Co., IL in 1823.
Apparently Jacob Coffman got into a bit of a scrape with the law in Hamilton County as evidenced by the following story posted on Ancestry.com by user dwtophat:
"November 1, 1823, Judge Wilson convened court at 7:00 o’clock a.m. to try Jacob Coffman and William Hungate for murder. This was the first murder trial in Hamilton County. Defendants Coffman and Hungate put themselves upon their county, whereupon a jury was called, composed of the following men: Mastin Bond, Henry Krisell, John Anderson, Adam Crouch, Nicholas Tramell, Lawrence Stull, Jarrett Garner, Gilbert Griswold, John Richy, Anthony Richy, Daniel Benbrooks, and Ambrose Maulding, who heard the evidence, and returned a verdict finding Jacob Coffman and William Hungate not guilty of murder; and they were promptly discharged. This must have caused another riot, for on the same day the Grand Jury indicted John Hardisty, John Townsend, John Flint, Charles Hurd, Stephen Parker, Samuel Hogg, Sr., Samuel Hogg, Jr., Major Hungate and Charles Hungate “for a riot”. They were all admitted to bail at $50.00 bond each. A new Judge, Thomas C. Browne, came to hold court, and on May 28, 1824 all of the defendants, except Samuel Hogg, Sr., were tried before a jury of Hamilton County men who promptly returned a verdict of not guilty, and Judge Browne then dismissed the case as to Samuel Hogg, Sr."This story appears to have been extracted from an online transcription of court records found here:
http://www.carolyar.com/Illinois/Govern/CircuitCourt.htm. This webpage cites as a source the following: From: Goshen Trails, Vol. 5; #2; #3; Hamilton County Historical Society Bulletin 1969;
Reprinted with permission.
An online transcription of the Hamilton County history section of The History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin, and Williamson Counties, Illinois (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1887) is found at the following URL: http://hamilton.ilgw.org/hist1887/hist01.htm
Jacob Coffman is listed as an early settler of Hamilton County, Illinois on page 244. Further into the chapter on page 248 William, Charles and Christopher Hungate were listed as early settlers. Another copy of that chapter is posted here: http://genealogytrails.com/ill/hamilton/history_settlement.html
The History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin, and Williamson Counties, Illinois (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1887) is also found online at the Internet Archive [archive.org].
Page 285 of that history book explains that Jacob Coffman and William Hungate were charged with killing a man named Taylor. "Taylor was charged with being a thief, and the accusation was that they pursued and shot him." But as we know from the description above Jacob and William were found not guilty.
These stories just help to show that the Coffmans and Hungates were friends, family and fellow travelers from Washington County, Kentucky to Illinois.
!CENSUS:1830 Illinois, McDonough Co., Township 7N- Range 4W; Jacob Coffman, head; male 50-60 [Jacob 50]; 1 female 40-50 [Eary 45]; 1 male 15-20 [Thomas 17]; 2 males 10-15 [William 15 and Henry 12]; 1 female 10-15 [Dorcas 13]; 1 male 5-10 [Alfred 7]; The following children were not enumerated in the household in 1830: Elizabeth 24, Nancy 23, Mary 22 and Leroy 20.
!CENSUS: 1830 Illinois, Schuyler Co.; There is a Jacob Coffman listed on pg. 96 line 22 per index found by Jane Risser.
!OCCUPATION: 1830 "At the special election held August 7,  in the several Magistrate's Districts...In the Third district...were elected...Francis Reading and Jacob Coffman, Constables; History of McDonough County, IL, by S.J. Clarke, Springfield, IL, D.W. Lusk, State Printer and Binder, 1878, p. 22, SUTRO mfm 292-reel 56-book218
!RESIDENCE: 1830 "Came to McDonough 1830 and erected a cabin on section 8, Blandinsville Township. After a few years residence removed to Missouri." History of McDonough Co. IL, Continental historical co., 1885, p. 861, SUTRO mfm 292-reel 56-book 219; 1907 history lists him as living on section 3, Historical Encyclopedia of IL and History of McDonough Co., Alexander McLean, Editor, Munsell Publishing Co., Chicago, 1907, p. 670 SUTRO mfm 292-reel 55- book 217
|Section 8 is due north of Blandinsville. The township is in the northwest corner of McDonough County.|
!OCCUPATION: 1832-1836; Jacob Coffman was either a party in court cases or a juryman, 1832 to 1836 in Fountain Green Township; History of Hancock Co., 1880 Gregg, pg. 819.
!MILITARY: 1832; Served as private in Black Hawk War  in McDonough County battalion of mounted rangers commanded by Major Samuel Bogart. Received from the government a bounty of eighty acres of land. History of McDonough Co. IL Continental historical co., 1885, p. 119, SUTRO, mfm 292-reel 56-book 219. The Bounty Land file from the National Archives clarifies that the 80 acres was in addition to a warrant that he received for 40 acres at an earlier date so in all he received warrants for 120 acres for his Black Hawk War service. Not bad for eighty five days of service.
!MILITARY: 1832 "I certify that Jacob Coffman volunteered as a Mounted Ranger into the service of the United States on the Eleventh day of June 1832, and served as a private in my company in the Odd Battalion, commanded by Major Samuel Bogart, and discharged therefrom on the Fourth day of Sept. 1832. Given under my hand this 14th day of Sept. 1832. Peter Butler Capt. The information above was received from the National Archives. The image above was posted on Ancestry.com by Tom Tucker.
!RESIDENCE: 1833; Jacob and Eary's daughter, Dorcas married Charles Duncan in McDonough Co. 10 Nov 1833; IGI-IL p. 5133; Jan 1992.
!CENSUS:1840 Not in Mc Donough most likely in Buchanan County, Missouri. St. Joseph, Missouri is the major city of Buchanan County.
Daughter, Elizabeth's husband was from Leavenworth, Missouri. The Geographic Names server lists: East Leavenworth Missouri in Platte County which is just south of Buchanan County.
Son Alfred's biography mentions that his father, Jacob Coffman resided in Jamestown, Missouri five miles from St. Joseph.
The 1840 Census index listings below show Jacob with his sons, Thomas Fowler Coffman and Leroy Coffman in Nodaway Township, Buchanan County, Missouri.
- 1840 COFFMAN JACOB Buchanan County MO 152 Nodaway Township Federal Population Schedule MO 1840 Federal Census Index MOS4a534748
- 1840 COFFMAN LEROY Buchanan County MO 152 Nodaway Township Federal Population Schedule MO 1840 Federal Census Index MOS4a534943
- 1840 COFFMAN THOMAS F. Buchanan County MO 152 Nodaway Township Federal Population Schedule MO 1840 Federal Census Index MOS4a534949
The family statistics for 1840 read as follows:
Name Jacob Coffman
Home in 1840 (City, County, State) Nodaway, Buchanan, Missouri
Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9 1
Free White Persons - Males - 20 thru 29 1
Free White Persons - Males - 50 thru 59 1 [Jacob age 59 or 60]
Free White Persons - Females - 50 thru 59 1 [Arey age 55]
Free White Persons - Under 20 1
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49 1
Total Free White Persons 4
Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves 4
Alfred Coffman would have been 17 years old in 1840 but he appears to have not been accounted for in this family. The male 5 thru 9 and the male 20 thru 29 are a bit of a mystery. William F. Coffman, age 25, was married in 1837 but he has not yet been located in an 1840 census record. Possibly he was residing with his father, Jacob Coffman and his wife had not yet joined him in Missouri. If this is William Coffman, one of his children might have been in the household but the mystery remains.
!RESIDENCE: 1842 "When sixty-two years of age  he moved to Missouri, to a town called Jamestown, five miles from St. Joseph [Buchanan County]." per biography.
!CENSUS:1850 IL McDonough Co., p. 256a house 372; occupation farmer;age 70; b. VA; Eary, age 65 b. MD
!DEATH-BURIAL: Hillsborough Cemetery, McDonough Co., Illinois; corner of 100 E and 2150 N; Section 19 Blandinsville Twp.; inscription: Jacob Coffman, Died Mar 26, 1852, Aged 71 yrs. 5 mos. 11 days
One of my Coffman cousins has been working on this family for as long as I have and she provided me with the following leads. There are definitely more hours to be spent on Jacob Coffman but I leave you with these leads in closing. MORE TO COME!
----Original Message Follows---- From: Jane Risser jrisser#earthlink.net To: Nick Cimino ncimino#hotmail.com Subject: Jacob Coffman & Siblings? Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 Here's what I've found re: possible siblings and parents of Jacob Coffman: By following the Hungates,(remember John Hungate was a witness at Jacob's' wedding to Eary, Washington Co. KY 1805): 1) William Hungate m. Sally Coffman, Mercer Co. KY 8 JUL 1800, (The Hungate Family, vol.2, by Carroll Paul Hungate, MD. Kansas City, MO). Mercer county is next to Washington county. Wm. and Sally are in Hamilton Co. IL by 1827. Jacob's son Alfred is b. Hamilton 1823. 2) Mary Coffman m. Col. John Hungate 1795 Mercer Co. KY. 3) 1810 Mercer County, KY Fed. census: John Hungate, Wm. Hungate, Joseph Hungate and Charles Hungate living next to or with one another. Also listed, separately, Isaac "Caughman". [This online, un-indexed, and much of it is illegible-JR]. 4) History of Hancock Co. IL 1880, Gregg p. 819: ;"...parties in cases or jurymen: ...Jacob Coffman......Charles Hungate succeeded to the docket in 1836." 5) History of Hancock Co. IL vol 2 p. 1186 Aaron DeWitt marries Mary Hungate, dtr of Charles and Catherine Hungate...m.  Sarah Coffman. Apparently, there are court records in Mercer Co. stating the Elizabeth Veach, binds out her sons in 1794 to be apprenticed. It reads in part "...with the consent of Elizabeth Veach, bind out their son Isaac Coffman, son of Elizabeth Coffman and orphan of Christopher Coffman, (dec'd)..." It looks like Elizabeth was the widow of Christopher Coffman and remarried a Veach. [I have not seen these records-JR] From 1992 KY Ancestors v27-3p. 154, submitted by Thomas G. Herwer: Jacob's parents were Elizabeth Clarke and Samuel Coffman. Jacob apprenticed to a Springfield hatter in Washington Co.[Sources?] I have seen work of another researcher who states she found Jacob Coffman, Wm. Hungate and Betsy Veatch (dtr of Elizabeth and 2nd husband, with husband Andrew Vance) in 1820 White Co. IL p. 388. [Have not confirmed this-JR] Second Census KY 1800 Franklin County (formed May 1, 1795 from Mercer, Shelby, and Woodford co.s): Jacob Coffman and heirs Coffman, Aug 10, 1801 IGI Germany: Jacob Fried. Wilhelm Kauffmann christened 14 Nov 1781 Konigsberg, Brandenburg, Prussia, son of Christoph Kauffmann and Sophie Bannin. From church records of Sankt Marien Kirche, Konigsberg. I've read that Germans often had multiple baptismal names and used different ones for different purposes ( public, official, and personal or familial). Are Samuel and Christopher Coffman the same person? Researcher Tina Mitchell, whom I hope to hear from this week, has as children of Christopher/Samuel: --Mary b. abt. 1778 VA or KY [ KY formed from VA July 1790-JR] --Christopher --Jacob b. 15 May 1781 --Isaac --Sarah (Sally) b. abt 1786 VA or KY, d. aft 1860 Hamilton Co. IL. She also says she has seen many court records that list the father of these children as Christopher.[ Hope she'll share!]. So, in closing, the above is what I'm working with. There is a lot to confirm or refute, many leads however. Jane