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Edward Joshua Coffey Sr. (abt. 1670 - bef. 1716)

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Edward Joshua Coffey Sr. aka Coffee [uncertain]
Born about in Elizabeth City, Colony of Virginiamap
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in St. Ann's Parish, Essex County, Virginia, USAmap
Descendants descendants
Died before in Essex County, Colony of Virginiamap
Coffey-5 created 22 Feb 2010 | Last modified
This page has been accessed 4,539 times.

Categories: Virginia Colony | Essex County, Virginia.



Edward Coffey Cofey, Coffee

Uncertain Origin

Edward Coffee came to Virginia, in about the early 1690's, as an indentured servant to William Moseley.[1]

Some sources give his birth in Virginia as the son of John Coffey (Born in Ireland) and Mary Jolliffee, but this is in error. The Coffey Cousins Clearinghouse has investigated this extensively, but can find no evidence of such a relationship[2]

Apparently the basis for John "Coffey" as father of Edward originated from the misinterpretation of old style handwriting on a Virginia land patent. Fred Coffey has studied the question and presents a well-thought-out argument that there was no John Coffey.[1] He cites Dr. Marvin D. Coffey in his 1984 work, James Bluford Coffey His Ancestors and Descendants in America. Apparently Greer mis-read the name, and listed a John Coffee, arrived in Elizabeth City in 1637, sponsored by Nicholas Hill.[3] The mistake was corrected by Nugent who read it as "John Coffin (or Scoffin)."[4] When Marvin D. Coffey reviewed the original himself, he found that Nugent was correct.[1] The name appears first as Coffin and then later in the document, it includes the old style "S" at the beginning making it Scoffin.[1] After an exhaustive search, Dr. Coffey could find no John Coffey, nor any Mary Jolliffe, in the right place and time to be Virginia parents of Edward Coffey.[5]

DNA Evidence

DNA seems to show that the Coffey family originated in the Wexford, Kilkenny and Tipperary Counties of Ireland.[6] It also seems that the Irish immigrant, Peter Coffey born ca 1716 was definitely related.[6]


Edward married in Essex County, Virginia in 1700 to Ann Ester (Annister) Powell, the daughter of Thomas Powell and Mary Place of Dinsdale.[7][1] She was born between 1683 - 1685 in Essex County, Virginia, and died before 18 December 1744 in St. Anne's Parrish, Essex County, Virginia. Edward Coffey, was a witness to Thomas Powell's will, in which Thomas bequeathed one shilling to his daughter, Ann Coffey.[1]

Edward and Ann had six children:[1]

  1. John Coffey (c1700, Essex Co, VA - 1774/75) m. Jane Graves (d/o John and Hannah Graves)
  2. Edward Joshua Coffey (c1700-?) m. Grace Cleveland (moved to Orange Co VA)
  3. Martha/Marther (Patsy) Coffey (d. 1772) m. Joshua Stapp/Stepp (c1688-?) (s/o Abraham Stapp & Dorothy Moss
  4. Annister (Ann) Coffey (bef 1716-?) (see note below)
  5. Austes/Austin Coffey (c1710-?) m. poss. Stephen Chenault, Jr
  6. Elizabeth Coffey (bef 1716-?) m. John Cleveland (1712-?) (brother of Grace)

Note: It is apparent by the wording of Edward's will, "my two Suns," and a letter-by-letter analysis of the names of the children done by Fred Coffey, that the child called Anstes, Austis, Anstis, Austin was a daughter.[8]

Ann married before March 19, 1717, for her 2nd to Robert Dooling (Dulin, Dula). Ann and Robert Dooling had two children: William (b ca 1720) and Thomas, (b ca 1725).[1]

Immigrated to Virginia

Edward Coffey was transported to America by Edward Mosely, probably during the Williamite Confiscation, (Following Battle Of Boyne).[1] The first record of Edward Coffey in Virginia appears in the will of Edward Mosely, dated January 6, 1699 in which he gives to his "servant Ed. Coffe one heifer of 2 years old."[1] Then on September 10, 1700, Edward Coffey received a judgment from the Mosely estate for his freedom, corn, and clothes.[1]

Tobacco Planter in Essex County, Virginia

Edward arrived as an indentured servant, but once given his liberty, he and his family purchased land and grew tobacco, the primary cash crop in Virginia. They lived in St. Ann's Parish, Essex County, Virginia. On 7 Feb 1706/7 Edward paid 4720 lbs of tobacco to Mr. Augustine Smith and wife Susanna in exchange for 118 acres on branches of Occupation (or Occupacia) Creek/Swamp.[1] On 10 Nov 1714, they sold the same 118 acres for 5000 pounds tobacco to John Barbee.[1] The final deed we find with Edward Coffee's name was recorded 16 Jul 1716 when his sons, John and Edward, recorded the 200 acres their father had bought from John Mosely for 8000 lbs. of tobacco, (apparently this transaction had actually taken place in about 1714, but had not yet been recorded).[1] This property was situated on the east side of Occupation Creek, which is a branch of Gilsons Creek, (and part of a larger parcel called "Mosely's Quarter").[1] This 200 acre plantation included many improvements: houses, barns, tobacco sheds, gardens, and the like.[1]

Where the family finally settled is a question. Their original land was on Occupation Creek, but researcher John Chenault, who made several trips to the Essex courthouse and surrounds, believes they were on Gilsons Run near Jones Millpond, (Mt. Landing Creek today).[9]

Death and Legacy

Edward wrote his will on 14 Feb 1715/6.[1] The land transaction between his two sons, John and Edward Coffee, and John Mosely occurred on 16 Jul 1716. So we know Edward died sometime between Mid-February and mid-July 1716, even though his will was not proved until 20 November 1716.[1]

Last Will and Testament

Will of Edward Coffey
IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN. I Edward Coffey being in bedd of sickness but in perfett sense & emmbrey thanks bee to God; I Edward Cofey do bequeath this to bee my Last Will & Testament,
I leave all my Land to my two Suns John Cofey and Edward Cofey Equall to be divided at Sixten Ears of age if the mother of them be ded otherwayes att Eighten Years of Ages.
I also give one Cowe & her increase to my daughter Marther Cofey att ye Ears of Sixten or at her mothers deth allso one Cowe yerlen to my Sun John Coffey & her increase
All the tenebles Stock & Bock I give to my wife Ann Cofey till her deth but if she marys then every one of my Children to have their parts as they come of age, and after ye Deces of my wife all tenables to be Equall devided between my Six children John, Edward Cofey, Marther Cofey, Ann Cofey, Anstes Cofey, Elisabeth Cofey.
As witness my hand & Seall this 14th day of Febry 1715/16
Samel. Edmondson
Themety (mark) Selemon
Edward (his mark) Coffey[1]

Dated 14 Feb. 1715/16 - Probated 20 Nov. 1716. [10]


See also:

  • Warner, Norva B The Strength of Our People, page 42, My signed copy includes a printout of the author's family tree which is used for some documentation.
  • Coffey Cousins Clearinghouse, Ltr 4/20/2000
  • Marvin Coffey, "James B Coffey, Ancestors"
  • Mason, Polly Cary Records of Colonial Gloucester County, Virginia (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.
  • Dodd, Jordan, Liahona Research, comp., Virginia Marriages, 1851-1929 (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.
  • Essex County Wills and Deeds, 1714-1717 (Online publication - Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004. Original data - Fleet, Beverley,. Essex County wills and deeds, 1714-1717. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1961.
  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 Coffey, Fred "Edward COFFEY, Web accessed August 1, 2014
  2. "Coffey Cousins' Clearinghouse Website", (Jun 2000), Web accessed August 2, 2014
  3. Greer, George C., Early Virginia Immigrants, 1623-1666 , Posted by Allen Price, 2011, Web accessed August 1, 2014
  4. Nugent, Nell M., Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1800. [1st ed.] (Page 77) Richmond: Dietz Print Co., 1934,, Web accessed August 1, 2014
  5. Coffey, Marvin D., "Updated Research Info on John Coffey and Mary Jolliffe ", 1998-99, Web accessed August 2, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 Coffey, Fred, "Coffey / Coffee Y-DNA Surname Project", Web accessed August 2, 2014
  7. The Index to Marriages of Old Rappahannock and Essex Counties, Virginia, page 58, cites their record of marriage in Book D&W 10, page 75.
  8. Coffey, Fred "The Will of Edward Coffey: Examining the name "Anstes Coffey", Web accessed August 2, 2014
  9. Coffey, Fred "The Coffey / Chenault Connection:", Web accessed August 2, 2014
  10. "Will Of Edward Coffey" Essex County Virginia Deeds and Wills Bk. 14, page 669, Date: 20 Nov 1715

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Edward by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Edward:

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Family Tree DNA.


On 17 Sep 2017 at 18:25 GMT Tom Gilkeson Jr wrote:

He is my eighth-great grandfather. I share 18.7 cM of au DNA with King-11083, who is also a descendant.

On 5 Sep 2017 at 04:43 GMT Trenna Wilson wrote:

Essex County Wills and Deeds 1714-1717, pg 3 (image 9 in online version,, records a sale of 118 acres by Edward only, to John Earbee, with Anne Coffey wife of Edward relinquishing dower rights. Dated Nov 11 1714. Presumably this is the younger Edward, not yet 18, selling (with his mother's blessing) the land he would take possession of later. Given that John Coffey is not party to the transaction and the land was split between John and Edward, is it possible 118 acres accounts for only half the estate of Edward Sr.? Also this is further source for St. Anne's Parish as their residence.

On 14 Jan 2017 at 18:25 GMT J (Foster) F wrote:

Coffey-5 and Coffee-334 appear to represent the same person because: These two profiles are the same person. They have different spellings of the surname. Need to be merged.

On 9 May 2014 at 19:11 GMT Vicki Norman wrote:

Coffey-1597 and Coffey-5 appear to represent the same person because: I accidentally created this new Ed Coffey, but is the same as your tree. Please merge

Edward is 17 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 11 degrees from Joseph Broussard, 19 degrees from Helmut Jungschaffer and 16 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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