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The Gresham Coffield Cofield Project
Posted by: Dr. Gary Zane Cofield (ID *****1232) Date: December 02, 2007 at 17:19:23
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Some Gresham/Grissom/Grisham/Gresson Cofield/Coffield notes by Zane Cofield - Part One of Three of the Gresham Coffield Project by Dr. Zane Cofield, email:

Open Letter to Coffield Researchers

The Gresham Coffield mystery has plagued and intrigued me now for years and having seen so much hard work and diligent research by Coffield researchers on this and other sites, I have a few notes that I’d like to show to anyone interested, in the hopes that you can help me sort some of these men into groups, at least, and perhaps shed some new light on this vital missing link in some of our trees.

To Wit

I’ve seen it written that there was a Gresham Coffield, supposed to be the father of Thomas Nathan Coffield, on of my predecessors, and that he is supposed to have died in half a dozen places in Georgia between 1814 and 1817, namely Twiggs and Troup counties. Here are some notes that I could use some help with, concerning this Gresham:

Who has a connection proving that he is the father of Thomas Nathan Coffield?

Note: All of the various spellings and misspellings of the Gresham, Grisham, et al, and the Coffield and Cofield names is intentional in this document and has been triple-checked by this researcher, in order to show exactly how the names appeared in the documents listed.

Aside: It is apparent from some of the other misspellings of the Coffield name that I am currently validating that the Coffields pronounced their name “COUGH-ield,” as I have in my possession documents dating from 1632 to 1899 that show where enumerators, clerks of court, and others misspelled the name, though did so phonetically, and all evidence leads to the COUGH-ield pronunciation, including clues I have found in my ongoing transcription of the Coffield and Bellamy Papers. Just a tidbit for thought, as some of us have wondered where the second “F” was dropped. This may prove to be more interesting than one would imagine, because in that, there are clues.

Who can help explain the following:

Circa 1600:

We have all sorts of miscellany on Gresham during this era. It has been supposed that he came to America aboard the Tristram and Jane frigate, and though his housekeeper did, I have not seen any evidence that he himself was aboard that vessel, nor do I believe any exists, but would love to be proved wrong. The early land records show that he would have already had to have been here prior to the housekeeper’s arrival.

We see land deals with Thomas Stamp. We later see a sale of land by a Gresham and wife, Charity, though we cannot discern which Gresham this was, the one who migrated to NC, GA, TN, KY, or beyond. It is my supposition that there may be evidence as to this Gresham’s identity, but the details are sketchy and will follow in this narrative.

We know that probably every Coffield man had one or more sons with Gresham in their name ( have evidence of nine distinctly different Greshams/Grishams living contemporaneously, and six more who moved to Arkansas and Texas, Ohio and Indiana, during this era) somewhere, and we know that Benjamin did mention his son, Gresham, in his will. Where are all the rest of the Greshams?

We have a Gresham supposedly marrying Patience Sessums. This is a sketchy variable, but which one is he? Georgia Gresham? Tennessee/Kentucky Gresham?

Circa 1700-1800:

Some interesting items here, esoteric, but possibly valuable, that I discovered on a genealogical research trip.

In June of 1776 the Second Provincial Congress appoints Captain Gresham Coffield of Edgecombe County, North Carolina to serve under Congressman Elisha Battle, for the formation of a company of Minutemen for Edgecombe County.

More: 1790
We have Grissum Coffield on the 1790 U.S. Federal Census living in the Enfield Township of Edgecombe County with a small family, he being the head of same. I believe this to be the Gresham Coffield appointed by the Second Provincial Congress to head up a company of Minutemen for the defense or “Home Guard” of Edgecombe. Any thoughts?

More: 1790
On the Reconstructed 1790 Census of Georgia, we have “Graham Coffield” listed as one of the persons who signed a character reference letter for John Lassiter, a justice of the peace, in a 1794, which character recommendation appeared in The Augusta Chronicle and Gazette. This citation is a fact used in the Reconstructed Census which verifies his residence in Burke County in 1798, and his signature appears with the signatures of about sixty others who are defending the election of this Justice of the Peace. What is curious, is that Gresham does not show up on any actual tax lists surviving from Burke County during that era.

Also in the annals of the Reconstructed 1790 Census of Georgia, a Gresham Coffield is listed as having filed a petition to the Governor between the years of 1789 and 1793.

More: 1798
On the Georgia Tax Index of 1798-1799 Gressham Coffield is listed in Burke County, Georgia, District 1.

Now, one of these Greshams was supposed to have been married to a “Charity,” making her in effect, “Charity Coffield.” This is interesting as in 1791, Charity Bond’s estate is divided between her children, Margaret and Michal, but Michal donates his part to the sister, Margaret. May be nothing, but hey, who knows?

More: In November of 1706, yes you read that right, “Gresson Coffield” is throwing a party at his home in Perquimans County when all of a sudden a guest, John Ewans (probably Evans) gets knee-crawling drunk and jumps on another guest, Samuel Granbery. Evidently the Quakers had great parties.

Jump to Tennessee:

Grisham, Benjamin, and Demsie Coffield, et al, are up in Robertson County, Tennessee on at least these dates:

Tuesday, April 17, 1798, Grisham Coffield is suing Samuel Crockett for some reason, the jury is empanelled today.

On the 1799 Kentucky Census, “Grayson Cowfield” is listed, and this is most likely Gresham/Grisham Coffield. Spear will continue to show up there through the year 1850, under a misspelling “Spure Caffield.”

Thursday, April 22, 1802, Benjamin’s land is listed as being 1746 acres, and finally,

In Nov. of 1805, Demsie Coffield buys 446 acres of land from the local Sherriff, Joseph B. Nevell.

Who did THIS Kentucky Gresham marry? Charity? Patience?

More: 1810
We have two Greshams Coffield living at the same time, one in the Smithfield Township of Kentucky with his family and another with his own family in Southampton County, Virginia.

1810: Willis Coffield is living in Isle of Wight, VA

Also 1810: On the 1810 Kentucky Census, Gresham, Robert, and Spear all appear in Livingston County.

1820: Willis Coffield shows up in GA, in 1820, Captain John Brooks’ District, Putnam County, GA.

1820: Isaac Coffield starts showing up on documents in Livingston County, Kentucky.

Here’s an interesting note, to say the very least:

1828: In Trigg County, Kentucky, on January 6th, 1828, Patience Coffield is married to James Stoops by J.P. Nathan Futrell. This would be of sufficient date for this to be the widow of Gresham/Grisham Coffield, but begs the question, Who is she?

Jump to 1830

There is a Gresham Coffield alive and Head of Household in Captain Britain Tyler’s/Tyar’s District in Troup County, Georgia in 1830. He has in the household with him 1 males between five and ten years of age, two males between ten and fifteen years of age, 1 male between fifteen and twenty years old, 1 male between twenty and thirty years old, 1 between forty and fifty (probably himself), 1 little girl under five years of age, and one female between forty and fifty (which I assume would most likely be the wife).

Does this alter anyone’s thinking that the Gresham who migrated to Georgia died in 1814-1817? All comments and assistance would be appreciated. Here’s more:

The Coffield boys who were listed as Orphs. In the Land Lotteries: Who were they? It has been supposed that they were the orphans of a Gresham Coffield and that the S. Coffield listed in the lotteries as Widow was Gresham’s widow. Can anyone validate this? This also would make it appear that another Gresham was in Georgia in that era, other than the one that went to Troup and served with Captain Tyler.

More: 1830
As we know, we’ve located at least one Gresham Coffield in 1830 Troup County. The other one, that we’ve always known went north is now living in the Clinton Township of Hickman County, Kentucky, mistakenly transcribed as Graham Coffield. An examination of the actual census document by yours truly proves that the original entry by the enumerator was “Grisham Coffield.”

More 1830:
The Index of the 1830 Census of Georgia places the following Cofields and Coffields at these respective counties:

Cofield, Gresham Troup County
Cofield, John Pulaski County
Cofield, Nelson Butts County
Cofield, Uriah Putnam County

And also on the Index to the 1830 Census of Georgia:

Coffield, John Washington County
Coffield, Thomas Campbell County

With the “Gresham who went to Georgia” supposedly dead in Twiggs County in 1814, who are all these men?

In times past when asked, “Do you descend from the Gresham of Georgia or the one of Kentucky” I actually believed there were only one of each. Now when asked about the Gresham of Georgia or the Gresham of Kentucky, I would have to reply, “WHICH Gresham of Georgia?” or “WHICH Gresham of Kentucky?”

More Notes: Some interesting entries in COLONIAL AND STATE RECORDS OF NORTH CAROLINA, the Stephen Weeks edition, exactly as they appear in the index, though I am chomping at the bit to find the actual volumes:

The reason I need to locate the actual volume cited in the Index is that it lists the following citations for Gresham and John on pages 375-376 of the Index in Vol. 1:

“Coffield (Cofield) Gresham, captain,
10. 626, facing 680,
       Captain, 10. 936, 943
       Promises to go north, 11. 431”

And for John Coffield, the following citations:

“Coffield, John, army pay, 17. 203
Coffield, John, petitions on county
              Bounds, 9. 633-634”

Then, also on page 376 of the Index in Vol. 1, are the following citations listed:

“Cofield, John, Safety Com. Meets at
              House of, 9. 1133
Cofield, Saml., army rank, 16. 1038”

Evidently this work was in 25-30 volumes so, I’m guessing that I’d find Volumes 9, 10, 11, 16, and 17 of interest.

I hope this helps someone and I’d love to hear from any of you with comments, corrections, suggestions, sources, or anything else you’d care to share. I am also currently transcribing the Coffield And Bellamy Family Papers that I digitally photographed and will share what I can as time goes on. The other two parts of my queries on this subject, concerning the marriages timeline, and the religious aspects of the Coffields of Bertie and the Coffield of Edgecombe, will appear in due course. I welcome all help available on this subject, so long as it can be documented.

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