Any errors or omissions in this account are strictly those of the writer, Patricia C. Reed. Some of the information comes from word-of-mouth and memory sources. Other information comes from various records, documents, and old books. From some of this information the writer has made some inferences. Corrections and additions from other family members is encouraged. The story isn't complete by any means, and there is much to be added about the ancestors and descendants.
I would like to give credit to those who have helped me in my search,
especially the late Nola Orahood for her work in starting the search; Lois
Snow who was "my partner in crime" in 1990 when we ferreted out a great
deal of information, including the discovery of the History of Stone County,
Vol. 1; Flossie Thompson and her sister, Bonnie Raper; Gene Hair and his
wife, Ata; Gene's sister Marjorie Hair Thornton; Lucille Wright, for all
of her documentation and pictures; Irvan and Muriel Ghan for their information
and the resource One Man's Family--John Frazier and Descendants; other
relatives who contributed memories and information; Fred Dougherty at the
Library in Galena, MO; and of course, the Stone County Historical society
and the people who contributed material for the History of Stone County,
James Franklin Coffer and Ida Florence Frazier and their families lived through some terribly turbulent times in the history of our country, the Civil War and its aftermath. Southern and Western Missouri and the adjacent areas of Arkansas and Kansas were utter chaos with guerillas, bushwhackers, Jayhawkers, armies, and just plain criminals decimating whole counties and killing or chasing away a sizable portion of the population. Few of the contributions of our ancestors have made the history books, but they were there, they made their contributions, and they survived, a minor miracle in and of itself. If they hadn't survived, we wouldn't BE.
Our grandfather, James Franklin Coffer, was just a toddler when the Civil War started. His father was a participant in that conflict and so were his mother and other relatives. Our grandmother, Ida Florence Frazier was born after the Civil War, but her family, too, was involved in that terrible conflict. Many families in southern Missouri continued their "feudin', fussin', and fightin'" well after the formal end of the War. Life was still hard during those times.
Ida Florence Frazier and James Franklin Coffer were married in Stone County, Missouri, on June 8, 1890, by L. P. Crank, a minister of the gospel. The wedding took place at "Granny Coffer's" home (Jim's mother) near Union City. Within several years, the newlyweds moved to Aurora, Missouri, in Lawrence County, where Jim opened a saloon to serve the thirsty miners working in the numerous lead mines around Aurora. Their first child, Tella, was born in August, 1891, and lived just one year. She died in August, 1892, and is buried in Mt. Carmel Cemetery next to her uncle Samuel Coffer, who died at the tender age of 7 in 1860 as a result of being kicked in the head by a horse.
To the best of the writer's knowledge, Jim and Ida set up housekeeping in the house with two front doors at 329 E. Rock Street in Aurora. The house is still standing and has been recently repainted, as of June 1997; the spring house in the back has disappeared in the last couple of years. Six of their children and some grandchildren were born in that house. Ida sold the house in 1944 when she moved to California to live with her daughter Maxine. She returned to Missouri to take care of daughter Lenna Taylor and purchased a house in Billings, which she sold in the summer of 1947 after Lenna died. She then returned to California where she lived until she died in December 1956, although she did make a trip to MO in 1950 to see if she could find a place to buy. [Pat Reed is working on transcribing letters Ida wrote on that trip; lots of family members are mentioned]. She is buried in Maple Park Cemetery in Aurora next to Jim, who died on December 4, 1920 (Maxine's 9th birthday). Four of their children are also buried in Maple Park Cemetery--Bessie Breese (sic--headstone), Lenna Taylor, Edwin Paul Coffer, and Eunice Orahood. All but Eunice are buried in section 13 near one another, and a monument for Eunice has been placed with their graves, even though she is buried in another section. For many years the headstone for Jim and Ida bore inaccurate dates for the years of their deaths. In 1990 Lois Snow and Pat Reed had the dates corrected from 1919 to 1920 for Jim's date of death and from 1950 to 1956 for Ida's. The monument company was somewhat taken aback when we had this done, because "the lettering won't match." We decided that accuracy was better than appearance, and the change is not that conspicuous.
Four of the children are buried in other places--Tella in Mt. Carmel Cemetery south of Clever in Christian County, MO; Herbert in Mountain View Cemetery in Loma Linda, CA; Maxine in Hillside Cemetery in Banning, CA; and David in Enid, OK. This winter two memorial trees for Herbert and Maxine are to be planted in Section 13 of Maple Park Cemetery (actually accomplished in 1999).
Both Jim and Ida were Missouri natives, but their parents came from Tennessee. They were born just a few miles apart--Jim on Jan. 20, 1859 or 60 in Stone County (near Union City) and Ida on Feb. 20, 1871 or 72 (once she claimed 1870!) in Christian County (near Boaz). By 1880 Ida's father, Thomas John Frazier, had moved south of the Christian County line and purchased property, section #1, quite near "Granny" Coffer's land and many of the Estes clan in Township 26N, Range 23W. Hardin and Sarah Coffer had land in section 10 of Township 26N, Range 23W.
The Fraziers moved into Tennessee from North Carolina. One of
our ancestors, an Aaron Frazier, kept moving back and forth from Pennsylvania
to North Carolina, but finally settled in North Carolina. His movements
are trackable because he was a Quaker, and every time they moved, they
had to get a "recommendation" from one monthly meeting to another. These
are all recorded in published Quaker records. Aaron's father was an Alexander
Frazier, who was born in Scotland about 1695 [new information as of 7 ‘01
says 1685]. He immigrated in the early 1700's and
married a Sarah Coppock. They were Quakers and apparently lived on the PA-Delaware border. Although they were Quakers, some of the Fraziers are listed in the Daughters of the American Revolution records as "public servants" for their part in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina.
From North Carolina some of the Frazier clan moved into Tennessee and then some of those onto Missouri, mostly in the 1850's and 60's. For many years all that the writer knew about Ida's mother was her first name--Susanna, and an inference from Census data that she was born about 1834 in Tennessee. There were rumors of Cherokee Indian blood, but from where was uncertain. In 1992 while visiting Irvan and Muriel (Frazier) Ghan, I pulled out a picture of Susanna, and Irvan Ghan said, "Let me show you something." He brought back pictures of his great grandmother, Margaret Allen Ghan, and a daughter, Rachel. I was stunned! Margaret, Rachel, and Susanna looked like clones! As far as I'm concerned, the mystery is solved. Margaret Allen Ghan was definitely Cherokee Indian. Irvan said that his great grandfather George Daniel Ghan had always said he had 17 children, but the family had identified only 14. So now it seems we're "double cousins" to the Ghan-Frazier family. George Daniel and Margaret Allen Ghan are our great-great grandparents. And George's second wife, Keziah Frazier Pearce Ghan, is a great-great-great aunt! So we're blood related through both George and Keziah's children as well as George and Margaret's. And as I've tracked it out, Muriel Frazier Ghan's father, William Shackleford "Shack" Frazier and Ida were first cousins.
Our great grandfather Thomas John Frazier was born in Tennessee about 1828. His father was Thomas J. Frazier, born in 1806 to John and Rebecca (Low) Frazier in North Carolina. Here's where things get a little murky. Thomas Senior married a woman named Elizabeth at some point, maybe in 1847 in Bradley Co. Tennessee. However, on page 11 in "One Man's Family--John and Rebecca Low Frazier" that date appears with a listing of Lucinda as Thomas Senior's wife. In the 1870 census of Christian County MO, Lucinda is listed in the household of Thomas Jr., apparently his wife. That page 11 mixes offspring of Thomas Senior and Junior, with some of them being born after 1865, when Thomas, Senior died. Thomas John, junior, is listed in the 1840 census as 12 years old in the household of John and Rebecca Frazier in Tennessee (Bradley County--the seat of the old Cherokee nation). Some material has the 1828 Thomas ( our great grandfather) listed as a son of John and Rebecca Frazier. That's not likely since Rebecca was born in 1772 and would have been about 56, if the 1828 Thomas were her son. It was not uncommon for grandchildren, and others, to live for awhile with grandparents (as we know, Ida took in lots of her grandchildren and others, such as some of the Maples' kids). Since Thomas Jr.'s mother is unknown, and since there are Fraziers listed in the early censuses of the Cherokee Indians, it is possible that his mother was also Cherokee, or part Cherokee. There are a number of Allens and some Ganns in the Cherokee rolls, too, along with a few Esteses.
To complicate matters, Thomas, Sr. had three other sons: Jefferson Thomas (Jeff), M.D. "Dick", and Samuel L. Frazier. These three sons married three McCroskey sisters. There were two girls--Jane and Sarah. Dick Frazier was Shack Frazier's father and Muriel Frazier Ghan's grandfather. (Yours truly has gone a little crazy trying to untangle all these family threads, some of which seem very "knotty", and, possibly, naughty).
Margaret Allen was known to be a Cherokee Indian, and George and Margaret Ghan lived in Bradley Co. TN, where the center of the old Cherokee nation had been before the Trail of Tears. Margaret died in Bradley Co., TN in 1850. George then married Keziah Frazier Pearce (a sister to our great-great grandfather Thomas Frazier); they had some children together and moved to Christian Co., MO about 1869. They settled in the Clever-Boaz area of Christian Co., near the rest of the Fraziers, just north of the Stone Co. line. I surmise that Susanna may have come with them; she wasn't married to Thomas Frazier (our great grandfather) in 1870, according to the Christian Co. census [see below for another possibility]. There was a Lucinda listed at that time (see above), and, despite an early assumption of mine, it wasn't sloppy handwriting on the part of the census taker so that the name "Susanna" was misread by a transcriber as "Lucinda." The birth year may have different, and when I checked the original, it was written in a very neat handwriting and very clearly said "Lucinda." Since great Uncle John Frazier was born in 1865 and Francis (Fanny) in 1868, Lucinda was probably their mother, making them half-siblings to Ida. In the 1870 census, there was a Mary E. also listed in the household who was "away at school." She was born about 1855. The only thing about her that I know is that she married a George Berry in Dec. 1871 [as of 7 ‘01 I now know a little more about Mary’s family and her descendants, thanks to an internet contact with one of Mary’s great granddaughters, Mary Maxine Birge who lives in Miami, OK. Mary E. died in 1892 in OK, and is buried in Oklahoma City.
In the 1880 census of Stone Co. we do find Thomas, age 52, Susanna, age 46, John, age 15, Frances, age 12, and Ida, age 8. Unfortunately, the 1890 censuses were destroyed. I'm not certain what happened to Thomas Jr. and Susanna. They aren't buried in the Frazier Cemetery in Boaz as far as I can tell (another addition: in the 1900 hundred census of Aurora, MO, a “Louisiana Frazzier (sic) is listed as “mother-in –law” for James Coffer. Mary Birge and I are both trying to figure this out. Maybe Lucinda and Susanna are one and the same and the 1900 census taker blended her names into Louisiana). Great-great grandfather Thomas Frazier is, along with his wife Elizabeth, as is great-great grandfather George Ghan and his second wife, Keziah. Apparently, great-great grandfather Thomas Frazier fought in the civil war and died at the end of it, from natural causes or other, I don't know. There is some suggestion that Thomas, Jr. also fought in the civil war, both being Union men [I’ve since found Thomas J. Frazier in the MO home guard along with George Berry, later his son-in-law.Thomas is listed in the 1890 list of military pensioners in Stone Co (2003 discovery)].
Grandpa James Coffer's family came from Tennessee about 1848 or 1849. His father was Hardin Coffer, born in 1821 in TN; his mother was Sarah Estes Coffer, born in 1824 in Halifax Co., VA. They were married in 1845 in Roane Co. TN. Others who came with them were a Jonathan White, who was married to one of Sarah's sisters, Elizabeth Ann Estes. Jonathan's mother was a Margaret Coffer White, from North Carolina; her father was a Joel Coffer from NC. I do not know whether Margaret was an older sister or an aunt of Hardin's. [Very recent info on Jonathan White: he and family were listed on the 1850 census in Roane Co. TN, so they must have come a little later than I originally thought) Sarah's parents were John Calder and Margaret Jones Estes. They were from Halifax Co., Virginia, but had moved into TN before coming to Missouri. A number of their children moved to Missouri and they settled along Dry Crane Creek, mostly in northern Stone Co. and on into Christian Co., near Clever. John C. Estes and his wife had land in the heart of Union City in section 9, Township 26N, Range 23W. The property deed was recorded on Dec. 13, 1856. The old Union City store (now a private home) is located on the southeast corner of that property. They had at least 10 children, most of whom moved west. One child moved into Arkansas.
One of Sarah's brothers, Samuel, had 23 children (by three wives).
Hardin and Sarah had 8 children: John, born in 1846 in TN; Margaret, born
in 1848 in TN; Mary Elizabeth, born in 1850 in MO; Samuel, born in 1853
in MO (he died in 1860 as a result of being kicked in the head by a horse);
Sarah, born in 1854 in MO; Davis, born in 1856 in MO; James Franklin, born
in 1859 or 1860 in MO; and FS (Franz Siegel) or "Sig", born in March 1862,
about a month before his father died from fever as a result of wounds received
in the Battle of Pea Ridge in northern Arkansas* (note: from some
of the second cousins I've heard the story of Sarah running horses and
mules to the Union Army in northern Arkansas before the battle of Pea Ridge.
She'd ride at night and hide out in the caves in the daytime. At
that point, she was very pregnant with Sig. "Granny" Coffer smoked a corncob
pipe, and liked her little nips of Apple Jack and other spirits).
*Sarah’s pension applications give Hardin’s service as having begun on March 6, 1862, and his death being caused by typhoid fever/brain fever. On one application “typhoid fever” is crossed out. There were 3 applications and there are several contradictions among those documents. Since Sarah made her mark “X” and it was witnessed by some of her brothers, I must conclude that she was illiterate. Recent information from Mary Coffer Lane’s family say Hardin was enlisted on March 6, 1862, to recruit soldiers for the Union army. Some of my info was passed down through my line—James Coffer, and is consistent with information I got from descendants of Margaret Coffer Cook and John Coffer.
It is interesting that Sarah's family were slave owners from their time in VA. and TN. The 1850 census lists Hardin and Sarah with 6 slaves in MO; they had none in 1860. Yet Hardin was a first Lieutenant in the 14th MO cavalry on the Union side. Most family tradition says he also fought at the Battle of Wilson's Creek. Hardin's father-in-law, John Calder Estes, fought in the War of 1812. [Other new info: Hardin had a twin brother, Willis, who stayed in TN and fought for the confederacy]. There were a number of VA Esteses listed in the DAR records as being soldiers in the Revolutionary War, but the complete lineage has not been thoroughly documented as yet. One Third cousin, once removed--Donna Hunter of Redlands, CA, a great-great granddaughter of Samuel Estes--is attempting to do that.
The Esteses in America trace back to four brothers who came from England in the mid-17th century. Two went to New England and two to the Virginia area (our line). Presumably, all the American Esteses trace back to this family. There have been a number of famous Esteses in American history, and some infamous, so you can pick who you want to be related to or not.
It probably seemed very natural for Grandpa Jim to open a saloon. His Uncle Samuel Estes had been a "distiller" (actual occupation according to the 1870 census). His mother and his brothers all like to tip the bottle now and then. Ida wasn't enamored of "Demon Rum", however, and she was an avid (rabid?) member of the WCTU. According Shirley Coffer Day, Uncle Hub's daughter, Ida actually helped the WCTU close down Grandpa Jim's saloon. Some of the cousins remember "Uncle Jim" as being a sort of counselor for the other members of the family. He later worked for the Springfield Railroad and Traction Co. Ida had her hands full with her family, etc. but I know she went to work as a cook after Grandpa Jim died--in hotels, etc. At the age of 75 she was working as a cook in girl's school south of Corona, CA. She helped raise a number of us grandchildren, and took in other people's children, too. Several of the older second cousins, who really didn't know Ida, remember her being referred to as "Lady" Coffer, probably for her good works in taking in others' children. Ida did marry again, a Mr. Turrentine (I heard him referred to only as "old man Turrentine), but they divorced. She used the name Ida Coffer for the remainder of her life.
As mentioned above, Jim and Ida's first child, Tella, lived only one year--from 1891-1892. The other children in order of birth:
2. David H. Coffer, b. 1892 in Stone Co. MO; married Sept. 18, 1912
in Pierce City, MO to Hallie E. Moore. Died in summer 1961 in Enid, OK. No children
3. Bessie Coffer, born Jan 15, 1895, in Aurora, MO. Married George Baber of King City, MO, in Aurora in 1917; divorced Baber and married ______ Brees. died Dec. 11, 1935 and buried in Maple Park Cemetery, Aurora. She had at least seven children--Jack Farthing, James Baber, Eunice Baber Coombs, Evamae Baber Ahorn(?), Alice Baber ?, Charles and Eddie Brees.
4. Lenna Coffer, born Feb. 19, 1897 in Aurora, MO. Married Charles Taylor of Jonesboro, Arkansas? on June 30, 1917 in Aurora. Died April 29, 1947. Buried in Maple Park Cemetery, Aurora. Four children--Virgina Taylor Boyd, Florence Taylor Galt, Betty Taylor Rockey Brooks, Dorothy Taylor Shoemaker Wilson.
5. Eunice Coffer, born April 15, 1898 in Aurora, MO; married Cyril B. Orahood on Jan. 25, 1920 in Aurora. Died Nov. 19, 1930 in El Paso, TX. Buried in Maple Park Cemetery, Aurora, MO. Two children--Lois Orahood Snow and McFarland "Mac" Orahood. Cyril then married Nola Coker.
6. Herbert Coffer, aka as Hub or Jack, born Feb. 2 1906 in Aurora, MO. Married Betty Ruhr (from Canada). Died Dec. 1954 in Loma Linda, CA. Buried in Montecito Memorial Park in Loma Linda. One child, Shirley Coffer Day.
7. Edwin Paul Coffer, born Nov. 6, 1909 in Aurora, MO. Died Sept. 6, 1932 in Mt. Vernon, MO. Buried in Maple Park Cemetery. Never married.
8. Lois Maxine Coffer, born December 4, 1911 in Aurora, MO. Married Melvin Emerson Johnson on Jan. 2, 1935 in Glendale, CA. Died March 15, 1963, Yucaipa, CA. Buried in Hillside Cemetery, Banning, CA. Two Children--Patricia C. Johnson Reed and Kathleen L. Johnson Brown.
Hardin and Sarah Coffer are buried in Mt. Carmel Cemetery, just south
of Clever and north of the Stone Co.-Christian County line.
Sarah’s parents, John C. and Margaret Jones Estes are also buried there, along with other members of the family. Hardin and Sarah’s sons, Samuel, Davis and F.S. “Sig” are also buried in Mt. Carmel, as are a number of the family of “Bud” and Mary Coffer Lane (Mary was a daughter of Hardin and Sarah’s). The oldest Coffer son, John, is buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Crane, MO. Margaret, aka “Granny” Cook, is buried with a number of Cooks in the Mollie Wright Cemetery in the Union City area.
Return to Stone County Biography Page
© 1996, 1997 Jo Dunne