James G. Coffee biography

JAMES G. COFFEE. At an early day in the development of western Cooke county, James G. Coffee became one of its residents and through a long period has been numbered among the prominent stock farmers of this section of the state. He is a native of North Carolina, his birth having occurred in Alexander county on the 30th of January, 1852. His parents were Calvin and Cerena (White) Coffee, both of whom were born and reared in North Carolina and there they remained until called to their final rest. The paternal grandfather, Thomas Coffee, was a native of the same state and was of English lineage. The progenitors of the family in America came to the new world at an early day and settled in North Carolina, where the representatives of the name have largely devoted their attention to the tilling of the soil. Thomas Coffee, the grandfather, had no aspiration to his agricultural interests. His children were five in number: Calvin, Rufus, Larkin, Thomas and John.

Of this family, Calvin, the eldest, is the father of James G. Coffee and his childhood and youth were passed in North Carolina, after which he wedded Miss Cerena White, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Lagle) White, who were likewise natives of North Carolina, where they spent their entire lives. They had the following children: Cerena, who became Mrs. Coffee; Henry; James; Ephraim; Betsey, the wife of George Chapman; Anna, the wife of Alexander Pennell; Sealy, the wife of W. Pennell, and Anna, the wife of William Pennell. Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Coffee located on a farm, where they reared the family. He always gave his attention to agricultural pursuits and was a consistent and worthy member of the Missionary Baptist church. In politics he was a strong Democrat. Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Coffee had six children: William T., a farmer of North Carolina; James G.; Thomas F., who died in the Old North state; Henry M. and George M., who are living in Oklahoma, and Mila E., who became the wife of W. Julian and died leaving one child.

James G. Coffee was born and reared in North Carolina, spending his youth in his parents’ home. He came to Texas in 1873 and was employed as a farm hand in Grayson county for three years. In January, 1876, he married and in the fall of the same year he came to the western part of Cooke county, establishing his home near his present place of residence. He was the second settler in the neighborhood, having been preceded by one year by Samuel R. Truesdale. He purchased a small tract of land, settled thereon and began the further cultivation of the property, which at that time was but partially improved. He later sold out and then invested in three hundred and forty acres of land where he now resides. There was a small house upon the place and six acres were under cultivation. As the years went by the carried on the work of development and soon the entire place was fenced. He has erected a commodious and comfortable frame residence, has planted an orchard, has installed a windmill and water plant and has built outhouses for the shelter of grain and stock. The soil is rich and productive and everything about his place is neat and attractive in appearance. His home is surrounded by forest trees and to the north lie the forests of Mountain Creek, while to the south are rich farm lands and his home commands an excellent view of the surrounding country. His house and mill can be seen for long distances and his place forms one of the most attractive features in the landscape. He carries on general agricultural pursuits, having one hundred and fifteen acres under the plow and devoted to various crops. He is also successful in his stock dealing and although he came to Cooke county with limited means he is now in very comfortable financial circumstances and as the architect of his own fortunes has builded well.

Mr. Coffee was married in 1876 to Miss Rose B. Akers, who was born in Floyd county, Indiana, August 8, 1854, her parents being Joseph W. and Frances (McCutchen) Akers, both of whom were residents of that state, where they were married. Her father was a son of Martin and Mary (Clark) Akers, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of Virginia. Their children were: John, Druly, Joshua, James, Joseph, Martin and Vina.

Martin Akers was reared in Kentucky and at the time of his marriage settled upon a farm in Indiana, which he secured through a land warrant granted to him in recognition of his services in the Black Hawk war. He filled some local offices and was a man of more than ordinary prominence in his community. He became a leading and prosperous farmer of his adopted state, was recognized as one of the stalwart supporters of the Democracy there and was a devoted member of the Primitive Baptist church. His genuine worth gained him the respect and confidence of all with whom he was associated, and his death, which occurred upon the Indiana homestead, was deeply deplored by all who knew him. His wife was a worthy Methodist. Her father, John Clark, was a prominent farmer and well known resident of Indiana, who filled the office of constable for many years and was likewise justice of the peace and was also a consistent member of the Methodist church. Their children were: Mary, who became Mrs. Akers; Betsey; Jane; Nancy; Phebe; Martha; John; James, and William.

In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Akers were seven children: Thomas, James, Joseph W., John, Elizabeth, Nancy and Martha. Of this number James, John and Joseph all served as defenders of the Union cause in the Civil war.

Joseph W. Akers was reared in Indiana upon the old home farm and in his youth learned the cooper’s trade, but after his marriage resumed farming operations, which he followed in connection with coopering. He did the latter work in the winter seasons, while in the summer months he was busy in the fields and he thus continued until 1864, when he enlisted in the Fifty-fourth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. The regiment at once went to the front and he was in active service throughout the remainder of the war, participating in the celebrated march to the sea under General Sherman. He was also in the Carolina campaign and continued with the army until the close of hostilities, during which time he saw much active service and is now granted a small pension in recognition of the aid which he rendered to the government. He was a Raleigh, North Carolina, at the time of General Lee’s surrender. He then returned home and for some time suffered greatly from rheumatism because of the exposure that he had undergone while at the front. His physicians advised him to go south as the only remedy which would prove beneficial and in 1875 he removed this family to Texas, first locating in Grayson county, where he raised a crop. He then removed to the western part of Cooke county, where he purchased a farm which he operated for a number of years and then sold out, later taking up his abode in Saint Jo. Here he bought a home which he occupied until 1905, when he disposed of the property, and now, he and his wife reside with their daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Coffee. He was born February 3, 1830, and was married to Miss Frances McCutchen, a native of Indiana and a daughter of Fulton and Rosa (Hay) McCutchen. Her father was a farmer, horticulturist and gardener, devoting his life to those pursuits. Both he and his wife were members of the Presbyterian church and their children were: James, Martha, William, Theodore, John, Aaron, Robert, Joseph, Mary, Eliza, Rosa H., Emily and Mrs. Frances Akers. To Mr. and Mrs. Joseph W. Akers were born five children: Rose B., now the wife of our subject; Enoch E., a contractor of Kansas; John, who died at the age of nineteen years; Lafayette, a farmer of the Indian Territory, and Frances A., the wife of W. F. Davis, of Saint Jo. Both Mr. and Mrs. Akers belong to the Presbyterian church.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Coffee has been blessed with four interesting children: Elizabeth A., the wife of F. Eason; Mary J., the wife of A. M. Eason; Enoch F., who is conducting a cotton yard at Saint Jo, and Maggie M., at home. The parents and all of the children are members of the Missionary Baptist church and Mr. Coffee belongs to the Farmers’ Union.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 484-486.