Subjects of Perrin, Battle & Kniffin 1885 Biographies

From: Kentucky, A History of the State. Perrin, Battle & Kniffin. 2nd ed., 1885, Webster Co.
JUDGE P.D. CLAYTON, Webster County, was born December 25, 1811, in Person County, N.C., and is a son of Richard and Nancy (Day) Clayton, both natives of the same county and State. Richard Clayton was a farmer, and in 1813 moved to Sumner County, Tenn., and there remained until March, 1835, when the family came to Hopkins County, Ky. He died in 1854, aged seventy-three years. His wife died October 26, 1836, aged fifty years. Our subject had general charge of his father's farm from the time he was eighteen years until he was twenty-seven, when he married Miss Nancy E. Cox, of Hopkins County, August 22, 1839. She was born in Hopkins County, December 8, 1816. He continued farming until 1852, when he engaged in merchandising in Vanderburgh, and continued that business there until 1857, when he disposed of his stock. He then handled tobacco one year; in 1859, he served as deputy sheriff, and in 1860 was appointed United States enumerator. In August, 1860, he was elected county clerk, and re-elected in 1862, but on account of military interference failed to qualify. He was admitted to the bar in 1862, and in 1866 was elected county judge, which office he held one term. He was a member of the building committee in the construction of the Webster County court house. In 1875, he was appointed master in chancery, which position he has since honorably filled. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and of the Christian Church.

RICHARD FRANKLIN COFFMAN was born March 6, 1834, in Webster County, Ky., where he was reared until 1847, when he removed to Hopkins County, and in 1864 returned to Webster County, his present home. His father, John Coffman, a native of Boyle County, Ky., was born in 1805, and removed with his parents to Hopkins (now Webster) County, in 1808, where he recently died. He was the son of Henry Coffman, a native of Virginia, who died here about 1832, and who was the son of Isaac Coffman of Pennsylvania. John married Elizabeth I., daughter of Howell Cobb, of Webster County; she is now living at the age of seventy-two years, the mother of the following children: William H., subject, Sarah C. (Girod and Orton), Mary E. (Nance), James P., David H., Theodore W., Leah F. (Slaton), Thomas J., Benjamin C. and Medora J. (Smith). April 20, 1864, subject was married to Miss Annie E., daughter of William H. and Lucy (Finch) Ogden, of Webster County, born May 3, 1841, and to them have been born William W., Mary O. (deceased), Benjamin F. and Mamie F. (twins), Elizabeth, John F., Edward and Jesse H. For many years subject has been engaged in general merchandising and tobacco dealing on a somewhat extensive scale, and although he commenced at the bottom, he has amassed a handsome property. During the late war he held the rank of major. He is a Royal Arch Mason and Council in the K. of H. He is a Methodist, and superintendent of the Sabbath school. In politics an old line Whig, but has acted with the Democratic party since the war.

JAMES PERRY COFFMAN, Webster County, was born January 8, 1840, in Hopkins County Ky., and in 1855 removed to near Ashbysburgh, where he remained until 1872, when he located in Slaughterville, where he has since resided. He is the son of John and Elizabeth I. Coffman. He was married, January 16, 1862, to Miss Mary L., daughter of William R. and Louisa (Carlisle) Smith, of Webster County (born August 11, 1845), and this union has been blessed with the birth of Edward W. (deceased), Ida K., Roberts S., Carrie, Minnie, James T., May and Annie G. In 1861 Mr. Coffman commenced business as a general merchant and tobacco dealer at Ashbysburgh, where he remained until 1872, when he removed to Slaughterville. On account of reverses he failed in business in 1874, but is now once more on his feet, and prosecuting his business with encouraging success. He is a Royal Arch Mason, a Methodist and a Democrat.

PROF. WILLIAM S. COLEMAN was born in Hopkins County, Ky., December 25, 1844, a son of John M. and Martha A. (Oates) Coleman, natives of Kentucky, of Irish and English descent, respectively. He received his early education at the common schools and academies of his native county, and afterward attended the Greenville College, of Greenville, Ky., for four years and a half. His early life, until he was twenty years old, was passed on his father's farm near White Plains, Ky. In 1869 he came to Providence, Webster Co., Ky., where he has since been successfully engaged in teaching. In 1876 he erected the north wing of the Male and Female Academy of that place. This being insufficient, however, to accomodate the rapidly increasing numbers who came to the institution, he, in 1882, in company with Prof. Shelby Hicks, built the south or main wing of the academy. This is one of the most thriving institutions of learning in western Kentucky, the average number of young ladies and gentlemen in attendance being about seventy. In 1884 Prof. Coleman erected a large and commodious brick boarding house near the academy, which will accommodate about twenty boarders. It is well furnished and is situated on the top of an eminence commanding a full view of the town and surrounding country. Prof. Coleman has spent the greater part of his life either as a student or teacher; he is at present local correspondent of four or five newspapers. He was married, December 28, 1871, to Miss Maria A. Givens, a native of Hopkins county, Ky., and a daughter of Thomas K. Givens. Two sons have blessed their union, John G. and William C. Mr. and Mrs. Coleman are members of the United Baptist Church. In politics he is independent.

JOSEPH CORBETT, Providence, Webster Co., Ky., was born at Fourstones, Northumberland Co., England,, September 22, 1829, a son of Joseph and Mary (Elliot) Corbett, both natives of England. Joseph Corbett, subject's father, was educated and married in England, where in early life he learned the blacksmith's trade, which he afterward followed in the town of Fourstones, with the exception of the last ten years of his life. He died in 1864 in his eighty-second year. He served for a time in the English militia. Both he and wife were devoted members of the Church of England. Our subject, at a very early age, commenced learning the blacksmith's trade in his father's shop, and at the age of twenty-one years he left home and went to Newcastle-on-the-Tyne, and was employed in Robert and William Hawthorn's locomotive shops, adjoining George Stephenson's shops, the inventor of the first railway locomotive engine; there he worked for one year. He then went to work in Abbot's shops, at Gateshead, for one year, in the blacksmith department and was next employed in the Central Railroad shops, Gateshead, and there he remained until July 1, 1854, when he immigrated to the United States. After arriving in this country he went to Pittsburgh, Penn., and obtained work in a steamboat shop, and while working there was employed by the Hon. John Bell, of Tennessee, to work for him at his mines in Crittenden County, Ky., to keep his engines in repair and do the work necessary for the mines in the blacksmith department. He worked for Bell three years or more; in 1859, he came to Providence, Webster Co., Ky., where he opened a shop of his own and remained until 1867, manufacturing buggies, wagons, plows, etc., and horse-shoeing. He then went back to Crittenden and Union Counties, where he was engaged in the coal business until the fall of 1875, when he moved to a farm in the northwestern part of Webster County, which he had bought several years before going on it. There he followed his trade, in connection with farming, until the fall of 1879, when he sold the farm and moved back to Providence, where he opened a blacksmith and wagon shop, and has since been doing a thriving business. He also owns a well-improved farm, one mile east of Providence. He was married, in 1861, to Miss Mary R. Henderson, a native of what is now Webster County, Ky., who died in 1862. She was a devoted Christian. Mr. Corbett's second marriage was May 17, 1868, to Mrs. Esther E. Melloy, a native of Manchester, England. Her first husband, Samuel Melloy, a machinist, erected the first locomotive that ran on the Lebanon Valley Railroad, in the Reading locomotive shops, Pennsylvania. Mrs. and Mrs. Corbett are parents of seven children, five of whom - four sons and one daughter - are living. Mrs. Corbett had two sons by her former marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Corbett are members of the Church of England. He is a Democrat. We have photos online of this family.

POWHATAN J. COUCH was born October 24, 1839, on the place which he now owns and where he still resides, in Webster County, Ky. He is the son of James D. Couch, who was born in 1803, in Albemarle County, Va.; was reared in Buckingham County, in the same State, removed in Hopkins County, Ky., in 1834, and died in 1866. He was the son of Daniel, a native of Virginia, who died about 1809. Daniel's father, James Couch, was born in England. James D. married Mary A., daughter of John and Mary (Anderson) Couch, of Buckingham County, Va. (born 1814 and now living), and from this union sprang: Powhatan J., Apollas J., Warren L., Arabella S. (Bailey), Leander J., Mary E. (Jenkins), Ida A. (Qualls) and Olive. On January 31, 1866, Powhatan J. married Mary C., daughter of Thomas and Pernettie (Jackson) Browder, of Hopkins County (born January 12, 1846, died April 17, 1879) and to them were born Joe D., Apollas J., Sallie B., Mary P. and Elizabeth C. Our subject is a successful farmer, owning 225 acres of valuable and productive land, in good condition and in a high state of cultivation. He also manages his mother's farm of 250 acres. Mr. Couch is connected with the K. of H., is a member of the Christian Church, and is identified with the Democratic party.
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