Monday, April 17, 2017

Tax Lists Help to Fill Gaps in Timeline- Jacob Coffman

This map of Marion and Washington Counties, KY is especially helpful for locating watercourses.

Continuing on the the pursuit of Jacob Coffman, I will share the results of my research over the past week.  I found a wonderful online article about the value of the tax lists that I highly recommend that you read at the following link:

Here is the information from the first paragraph that I hope will entice you to read further:

TAX LISTS (1792-1840)
By: Kandie Adkinson, Land Office, Ky. Secretary of State
Buried in microfilm cabinets in Kentucky’s research libraries are rolls of microfilm simply labeled “Tax Lists”. Arranged by county in chronological order, tax lists are a hidden treasure for researchers studying Kentucky’s history, culture, and land title. As census information is collected decennially (every 10 years), data derived from the annual collection of taxes provides a better insight into the household of the taxpayer and his/her acquisition of property, both real and personal. Free males 21 years of age or older are enumerated (and named) on tax lists if they own one horse. Women are included on tax lists if they are the head-of-the-household. Free Blacks are named on tax lists decades before the Civil War. The number of livestock and the value of hemp & other agricultural products provide insight into Kentucky’s agrarian society. Thenumber of town lots, wheeled carriages, jewelry, tavern licenses and billiard tables—yes, billiard tables were taxed or the owner faced severe penalties if the tables were not reported—provide insight into Kentucky’s developing society. (It is interesting to note that tax collectors were local residents; would tax payers withhold taxable items to avoid taxation or would they be more likely to report everything so they could be considered “the richest person in the county”?) In later years, the numbers of school age children reported on tax lists are invaluable for researchers tracing the development of Kentucky’s educational system.
Now these tax lists are accessible from your home thanks to Family Search. I accessed the tax lists by searching for the county in the catalog. Look for the "TAXATION" records then select the original records from the county.  Many of the earliest tax lists have been digitized but you my have to order a microfilm.

I recommend that you search for old maps that help to locate watercourses. An especially helpful map for researchers in Washington and Marion Counties of Kentucky is located on the Library of Congress website at the following URL:  I pasted an image from this web document at the beginning of this article.  Even if you are not interested in this particular county, you should check the Library of Congress catalog for similar maps.  It is really cool how easy it is to zoom in and out of this map.  This particular map shows the residences of landowners that subscribed to the publication in 1877. Marion County was created from Washington County in 1834 so some of the land that appears on the Washington County tax lists between 1792-1833 will be found within the Marion County boundaries.

Here is the results of my research into the tax lists:

Jacob Coffman and Thomas Fowler in the Tax Lists of Washington County, Kentucky
By Nick Cimino,
League City, Texas
April 2017

Jacob Coffman,  1780-1852 is known to have married Arey Fowler in 1805 in Washington County, Kentucky. The marriage record includes a permission slip from Thomas Fowler, father of Arey. The marriage states that Jacob and Arey are both residents of Washington County, Kentucky.  The tax records should help to confirm that Jacob Coffman and Thomas Fowler are residents. I have inserted hyperlinks for the years where Jacob was actually found.

LDS Film #7834519 includes early tax lists for Washington County, Kentucky and it has been digitized on

1805- Image 473 of 1188 is the first “C” listing for 1805. Searching through the end of the “C” listings for 1805 on image 477, there is no listing for Jacob Coffman or any other Coffman.
1806- Image 530 of 1188 is the first “C” listing for 1806. It shows Jacob COFFMAN in 1806 not owning any land but in possession of two mare horses.  His line on the 1806 tax record showed tick marks for white males above 21 and the horses but there were no marks for white males above 16; Blacks above 16; Steed horses; rates of covering (sp?); retail stores; tavern license; or value of lots.  There is also Abraham COFFMAN on the same page and he does not own any land either. Abraham owns five mare horses.  Jacob and Abraham Coffman were the only Coffmans listed in 1806.

1807- Image 581 of 1188 is the first “C” listing for 1807. Searching through the end of the “C” listings for 1807 on image 584, there is no listing for Jacob Coffman or any other Coffman.

1808- Image 624 of 1188 is the first “C” listing for 1808. Searching through the end of the “C” listings for 1808 on image 628, there is no listing for Jacob Coffman or any other Coffman.

NOTE: Deed Book C, page 315 shows an indenture dated 18 Oct 1807 between Charles DOYLE, Nelson Co., KY and Isaac COFFMAN, Wash. Co. for 45 pounds – land in Wash. Co. on Chaplin’s Fork of Salt River containing 100 acres. Witness: None; Signed: Charles x Doyal [sic] per FS Sanders Deed Abstract Book. However, Isaac Coffman does not show up on the Washington County tax lists that I have viewed and summarized here
NOTE: Deed Book C, page 318 – 1 Feb 1808 – Indenture between Samuel Ward and wife, Susannah and John Keeling, all of Wash. Co. for 200 pounds – land in Wash. Co. on south side of Chaplins Fork of Salt River containing 100 acres. Signed Samuel Ward, Susannah Ward; Witnesses: Charles x Hardesty, Elisha Ward, Jas. Ward

1809- Image 677 of 1188 is the first “C” listing for 1809. Image 680 of 1188 shows Jacob Coffman was registered on May 18, 1809 as a white male over 21 with one mare horse.  There are no other Coffmans on this tax list.

1809-Archibald Daugherty [sic AKA Archibald Dorothy] is on the first page of the “D” listings on image 682 with two parcels of 116 acres and 60 acres on Chaplins Fork. Archibald Dorothy was a brother-in-law of Jacob Coffman. In 1815 Jacob is a witness to a deed of involving Archibald Dorothy.

1809- Elexious Fowler is on Image 684 of 1188. He registered March 16, 1809 with 200 acres on Beechfork

1809- On image 685 of 1188 Thomas and William Fowler both registered on May 19 with no land.  Thomas had four mares and William had 3 mares. On the same image, John Fowler registered on July 12 with 115 acres on W. Roling [sp?] fork

1810- Does not appear to be available

1811-1814 No coffmans found

1814- Fowler Image 965  John Fowler 100 acres Popes Creek, Elizabeth Fowler 153 ¾ acres Cartrights Creek [sp?], Elexious Fowler 200 acres Beech Fork Jno Murry

1814- Fowler Image 966 William no land, 3 horses; There are two men named Thomas Fowler on this page.  The first one had no land and two horses.  The second Thomas Fowler was taxed for 97 acres on Rolling Fork original entry by Tho. Arbuckle and 3 horses.[1]  Rolling Fork becomes part of Marion County in 1834, county seat, Lebanon.

1815- No Coffmans

1815- Fowler- Image 1047- Bernard no land; Elizabeth same tract as above; Image 1048- John 15 acres 2nd rate and 100 acres 3rd rate on Popes Creek entered by Saml. McElroy and 3 horses; Charles no land, no horses; Thomas no land, 2 horses; Image 1049- Thomas has same tract as above on Rolling Fork; Elexious 200 acres Beach [sic] Fork entered by J. Murry, 5 horses;

1816- Coffman- Image 1117 Jacob Coffman owns no land and 2 horses. No other Coffmans listed in this tax year.

1816- Fowler – Image 1129 Thomas Fowler owned 100 acres on Lick Run and 1 horse; William Fowler had no land and 3 horses

Film # 007834520

1817- Coffman- Image 15 of 1254 Jacob Coffman had 50 acres on Chaplin River entered by Grigsby and surveyed by Calhoun and 1 horse (mare); no other Coffmans were found in this tax year.

1817 Tax List of Washington County, Kentucky showing Jacob Coffman paid tax on 50 acres.

Film # 007834520, continued

1817- Fowler- Image 24 of 1254 Thomas Fowler 97 acres Rolling Fork and 3 horses; John Fowler 115 acres Popes Creek and five horses; Elexious Fowler 200 acres on Beachfork [sic] entry by John May[sic] and 1 black over 16, 2 total black and 7 mares;

1818- Is missing from this film.

1819- No Coffmans listed in this tax year through Images 97-104.

1819- Fowler (Images 110-112)-  Image 110-John Fowler 115 acres on Popes Creek and 5 horses; Electius Fowler 200 acres on Beechfork entry by Jno Murry; 2 white males over 21, 1 black over 16, 2 total blacks and 5 mares; Thomas Fowler 97 ½ acres on Roling fork [sic] and 3 mares; Image 111- William and Thomas Fowler have 50 acres on Chaplin, William has two mares and Thomas has one mare[2]; Elizabeth Fowler 150 acres Rode [sp?] Run, entry by Walton [sp?]

Figure 1 Note that William, Thomas and Elizabeth Fowler are all listed sequentially.  Also note the plus mark in the column for Thomas.

1820- Coffman- There are no Coffmans listed under the “C” portion of the tax roll.  Jacob Coffman is residing in White County, Illinois in the 1820 census in that portion of the county which becomes Hamilton County.

1820 – Fowler- Image 191 Elizabeth Fowler 153 acres on waters of Cartright entered by Walton and 5 horses; Image 192 William Fowler 50 acres on the waters of Chaplin and no horses; Thomas Fowler 97 ½ acres on Roling Fork and 3 horses. It is notable that the Thomas Fowler that has been associated with William Fowler on Chaplin Creek is no longer listed.  This may indicate that Thomas Fowler died before 1820 but it might also indicate that he may have left the county.  Perhaps he left with Jacob Coffman and his daughter, Arey and others of the Coffman, Fowler, Hungate and Ward settlement cluster that was in the part of White County in 1820 which became Hamilton County in 1821.

In summary, it appears that Jacob Coffman only appeared in the Washington County, Kentucky tax books as follows:
  • 1806 no land, two mare horses; Abraham Coffman is also listed with no land and five mare horses
  • 1808 no Coffmans were listed even though Isaac Coffman was deeded 100 acres of land on Chaplins Fork [now called Chaplin River]
  • 1809 no land, one mare horse
  • 1816 no land, two mare horses
  • 1817 50 acres on Chaplin River entered by Grigsby and survey by Calhoun and one mare horse
There are no deeds in the name of Jacob Coffman so the source of the 50 acres on Chaplin River is unknown.  It is interesting to note that William and Thomas Fowler are also associated with a 50 acre parcel. There is a deed for the Fowler parcel described in Note 2 below.

[1] Washington County, Deed Book C, Page 419; Film # 007901325; Image  218 of 1087; Grantor: John Grundy and Jane, his wife of Washington County, KY; Grantee: Thomas Fowler of Green County, KY; Description includes west side of Arbuckles Creek; The number of acres was apparently unreadable by the transcriber. This appears to be the same land on Rolling Fork with original entry by Thomas Arbuckle. 
Washington County Deed Book G, Page 369; Film #007901326, Image 192 of 1241; Date: 10 Dec 1821; Grantor: William Myers et al. heirs of John Grundy; Description: 27 acres lying on the south side of Rolling fork and beginning at the mouth of Arbuckles Creek. Rolling Fork and Arbuckles Creek are located south of Lebanon, the county seat of Marion County which was created in 1834.
There are no deeds through 1860 that name Thomas Fowler as a grantor.  This man appears to be the Thomas Fowler that died in Marion County in 1849. He directed in his will that Catholic masses be said for him and he is buried in a Catholic Church yard so I do not believe that he is related to Thomas Fowler, the father-in-law of Jacob Coffman.
[2] Washington County, Deeds Book F, Page 98; Grantor: Matthew Walton and Frances, his wife; Grantee: William Fowler all named of Washington County, KY; Description: 50 acres on waters of Chaplins.  William Fowler was the grantor to  Charles R. Kinchelow in Deed Book L, Page 466.  Deed Book L covers the period of 1831-1833. Deed Book L is currently only available on microfilm.

Here is a transcript of the Isaac Coffman Deed that I prepared:

Catalog Record: Deed books, 1792-1903; Film Note: Deed books, v. C-F 1803-1820;


TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE:  This film was made of a typescript of the original book C so it is derivative of the original hand written record. The transcription was made as faithfully as possible with the exception of replacing ampersands for “and” as I have had trouble using ampersands with in notes and stories. A key piece of information is missing from this typescript as shown in the following quote: “on the waters of the ------ branch of Chaplins fork of Salt River.”

THIS INDENTURE made this eighteenth day of October in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and seven by and Between Charles Doyle of the County of Nelson and State of Kentucky of the one part and Isaac Coffman of the County of Washington and State aforesaid of the other part Witnesseth that for and in Consideration of the sum forty five pounds lawful money of this State Doyle have hereby Confessed fully satisfied and therefore doth aquit and discharge him that Said Coffman his heirs etc. by these present have bargained and said unto Isaac Coffman one tract or parcel of land lying and being in Washington County on the waters of the ------ branch of Chaplins fork of Salt River and bounded as follows Beginning at a sugar tree hickory and Dogwood thence East 143 poles to three hickorys and haw tree north 112 poles to a hickory sugar tree and Ironwood in a drain thence west 143 poles to a hickory and sugar tree thence South 112 poles to the Beginning including one hundred acres at least being part of 5000 acres in the name of West and Banks and by their agents Deeded to Day all and from him the said Doyall now deeded to the Said Coffman to have and to hold the Said land and premises and every part or parcel of the same with all appurtenances from the claim of all persons claiming the same by viture [sic] of the sd Doyall [sic] and will warrant and forever defend in Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this above date
Charles x Doyal  (SEAL)

Washington County Set I John Reed clerk of the County Court for the County afd do hereby Certify that on the day of the date hereof This Indenture was acknowleged [sic] before me in my Office by the within Named Charles Doyle to be his act and Deed and thereupon admitted to Record In Testimony whereof I have here unto set my hand this 4th day of Janurary [sic] 1808

                                                                                                                                John Reed
A Copy Attest:   John M. Smothers Clerk Washington Count Court
                                                                By [signature] Jessie Gregory D.C.


The 5000 acres are referred to in several deeds in Book C  regarding land acquired by the Ward family.  These deeds were abstracted in a post to the WARD-L Archives [Archiver > WARD > 1999-09 > 0938660830] which was found at the following URL:

The message is credited as follows and signed by “Phyllis in Phoenix”:
From: <> 
Subject: Ward deeds in Washington Co.,Ky 
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 23:07:10 EDT

Deed book C, page 238
7 March, 1806, Thomas West of the County of Fairfax and State of Virginia as attorney in fact and heir and devisee at law to Thomas West Sr. Decd. sold to James Ward of the County of Washington and State of Kentucky, 150 acres in Washington County for "one Dollar in hand paid". Mentions Nathan Ward's NW corner. Witnesses Wiley Malloney, Nathan Ward and Archable (Archibald) 

Deed book C, page 239
7 March 1806, Thomas West of Fairfax etc. (see previous deed) sold to Nathan Ward of the County of Washington and State of Kentucky for "one Dollar in hand paid" 100 acres in Washington County on Chaplins fork being part of Thomas West's 500 acre survey, beginning at James Ward's northeast corner, also mentions "south west corner to James Ward". Witnesses: Archibald Dorethy, Wiley Malloney and Hamilton Freeman.

Deed book C, page 240
7 March 1806, Thomas West, attorney for Thomas West Sr. etc (see book C page 238) sold to Samuel Ward of the County of Washington and State of Kentucky, 150 acres "being part of a tract of land patented in the name of Henry Banks & from him deeded to Thomas West Sen". Mentions William Merideth twice in the land description. Witnesses: Wiley Malloney, Nathan Ward and James Ward. 
Note: This deed has been copied (typed), and it appears part of it is missing. The phrase "consideration of the sum of in hand paid" is missing the "sum", and it also does not mention where the land is located. Since William Merideth lived in Washington County, and the deed was recorded in Washington County, it's a good bet that is where this land was located. 


In my review of the tax records for Washington County, I have focused on the surnames COFFMAN and FOWLER. I found no record that Isaac Coffman ever paid taxes on his parcel of land. In 1987, Mary Jo Maguire published a grantee and grantor index for Washington County, Kentucky from 1792-1860.  There is no record of Isaac Coffman as a grantor.  The only Coffman deed in her “Co” index was this solitary deed that has been transcribed herein.


I have photocopies of the “Co” section of Maguire’s Index but I should also get copies of the “Ca” and “K” sections just to be sure that Coffman deeds were not under a variant spelling. 

Search the Fowler deeds as I did find that William Fowler also paid tax for 50 acres on Chaplin Creek.  

Another task is to attempt to sort out the records of the Coffmans in Mercer County, Kentucky.

I have also been searching for web resources related to the search terms: "Coffman killed by indians".  This will have be the subject of an upcoming blog post.

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