It is the desire of most family historians to find a nobleman of the old country in the Family Tree. For every family that finds a nobleman, there are thousands of us that find only indentured slaves, political or religious refugees, the poor and destitute, recent prisoners of debtor's prison, or those with an unknown past.
There is some doubt about the name COFFMAN being our original name, meaning we could be those with an unknown past. Our Coffman's beginning is traced to AMOS COFFMAN (1780-1853). Born in Kentucky in 1780, AMOS had some involvement with a Jacob and Mary Hendricks Coffman. We have researched for almost thirty years trying to determine that connection, but only know that there was a connection. Amos could very well have been a son of parents killed on the trail to Kentucky as family tradition claims, and whose true identify may never be known.
Two Indians killed Jacob Coffman in 1792. He died intestate and it took twelve years to settle his estate. His five known children and his widow inherited his large land holding located at the present site of Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky. AMOS COFFMAN did not receive any of Jacob's 1400 acres.
What did AMOS COFFMAN do? Family tradition says he adopted the Coffman name, goes to Georgia, married Sarah DINGLER, daughter of Johannes and Nancy PASCHALL DINGLER and had six children. The family slowly moved west. First from Elbert County to Morgan County, Georgia, and then to Jasper and Troup County. He and Sarah died in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, and the family scatters from there to California, leaving a large number in Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.
While not necessarily a southern family, they were certainly an interesting family and pioneer settlers of Kentucky, Missouri and Texas. The America origin of this family was with THOMAS ASHBY SR (1680-1752) through THOMAS ASHBY JR. (1714-1786) and STEPHEN ASHBY (1746-1830). The ASHBYS were pioneers in the truest sense. These were the people that moved the frontier westward.
Direct descendants will insist that you spell the name with two "L's". While I am not considered a direct descendant, I have grown to have a special appreciation for the life of Reverend JAMES WILLSON (1784-1881), a Baptist preacher and farmer from South Carolina and Georgia. Any man that lived nearly a century, had two wives, twelve children and was known for always "walking with God" needs to be honored.
Harold R. Coffman