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DawnsDelights: Martha Coffee, mystery

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Martha Coffee, mystery

Recently I was going through papers that my mom had given me years ago. I came across a copy of an old newspaper article on Martha Coffee. This was a name I had not come across on any of the other documents. I sat and read about this young mother who while tending to her sick husband and young infant went down to the creek to gather the horses when she was attacked by Commanche Indians and Murdered. Her scalped body found later by neighbors who came by to check on the young family.


This really got my curiousity up, who was this lady that has the same name as my Grandma's Great Grandfather Francis Marion Coffee, father of Nancy Ola Coffee Akin. There is nothing about her on any of our documents that I can find, however finding information about women through Genealogy is rather a complicated task to begin with. Sadly many died during child birth, and documents weren't often kept on women of that time.

The next approach I took was to Google her Name and the Cemetery Name from the News Article, Alameda Cemetery of Eastland County Texas. During the 1860's the settlement was still very wild. I did find that Ruth Terry Denny wrote a book on the account of the incident named "A Short History of Ranger Texas", I really hope that I can find a local copy at the library. Maybe there will be more in there to clear this up.

Martha Coffee was apparently the first grave on the settlement according to the ManskerChronicles
Which it matches the newspaper article written by the Eastland County Paper. But the story doesn't end there. Found another written story article about Martha Coffee, but this gentleman called her Elizabeth Coffer, grave marked as Martha Coffee. He wrote of accounts given to him by a nearby neighbor during the time, that Mrs. Lewis Coffer who was a short tempered lady that was killed in 1867, however the grave marker states 1860 killed by Inians on the Duffer Ranch. That is a 7 year gap in dates of Death and accounts so different from each other.

With limited records from these early settlements it is hard to confirm the true identity of this young lady with a tragic ending. I have not found anything yet that indicates a Martha Coffee in our family, but there must be a reason that this article was in with all the other records. The Coffee family was from the Texas area and not one that I have worked to verify yet. This mystery is going to take me to a new direction, a little side step to see where this fits into the Coffee family, which already had been debated. There was a long debated story that we were part Indian, now I wonder if through the years this story has taken a different twist and her death is truly what happened, if she was even related.

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