A post by the Cofield-Coffield Genealogy Group [CCGG]
PART ONE - Clearing up the Myths of Gresham Cofield
As promised, the Cofield-Coffield Genealogy Group (CCGG for short) is ready to start releasing information to clear up the rampant myths in many of the Cofield and Coffield lines. We’re starting with the Gresham Cofield “conundrum” for lack of a better word, since we have noticed for some time that this line contains more online myths than any other in Cofield history. Those who have used Ancestry.com Public Trees for a source of data will be pleased to finally get some information that is actually true and accurate. We have researched all the Public trees on Ancestry.com that contain Gresham Cofield, meaning that name, “Gresham Coffield,” and we have concluded that none are accurate. What has happened is that some folks, in an honest effort to find their roots, have used those Ancestry.com “leaves” you can click on, and have managed to “merge” into their trees information that is gleaned from a phenomena known as “OneWorldTree,” but which contains erroneous information from every “wild guess” tree associated with the name Gresham Cofield. We are going to clear that up right here, right now.
First, one must understand that Gresham Cofield was the original forebear of the Coffield line. He immigrated to Virginia from London about 1621. That’s the first Cofield in the New World, far as we can tell. From there, the lines spread out to VA, MD, NC, TN, KY, GA, and AL. And, that’s where it all goes haywire, at least for “Gresham” researchers, as there were eleven Greshams between Virginia, KY, TN, and GA by 1800. We can easily see where anyone could get confused, as we ourselves have been confused as well, and so we traveled.
We traveled far and wide, from Virginia, to KY and TN, NC, SC, GA, and AL, going directly to the sources. All of our information is from sources we have PERSONALLY SEEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED and for which we have PHOTOS OF THE ACTUAL DOCUMENTS. This, we believed, was the only way to get to the truth. To tell a little about us and why we were interested, well….we are all Cofields of one line or another, all descendants of one or more of the “Greshams” and because of all the erroneous information on this name, we wanted to help our family members from all over the country to get their lines straight.We’ve come a long way to that end, and while we do maintain about twenty-five working trees on Cofield lines, the one we’re working on for you today is the line of Gresham Cofield who was born in Virginia in February 1782 and who died in Twiggs, Co., GA, between January and June of 1826. This, friends, is the Gresham Cofield who leads to the line of Thomas Nathan Cofield, and from whom three of our team members descend. Our team of 7 genealogists has traveled thousands of miles, taken thousands of photos, read thousands of historical documents, and put in tens of thousands of man/woman-hours to get at the truth.Along with each fact, I have listed the proof or provenance for each of those facts, and we invite anyone to contact us should they want to see the actual documents. We love to share what we have and we can allow anyone to see these documents online through an invitation email, so that you can verify everything I have set forth. Keep in mind that there were 11 Greshams, but this post only deals with ONE, Gresham of Twiggs.
And, finally, before laying this out, I would like to thank my team members of the CCGG for their unceasing efforts in clearing up the myths of this and many other Cofield-Coffield family lines. Without the work of every member of this team, this would not have been possible, and they are: Ms. Anne Rast of Texas, direct descendant of Benjamin and Gresham Coffield of Edgecombe County; Dr. William Gilbreath, direct descendant of the Bertie County Coffield line, Mr. and Mrs. Phillip and Elouise Hughes, Elouise being a direct descendant of the Gresham discussed here today; John David Cofield, direct descendant of same, and I am, respectfully yours, Zane Cofield, also direct descendant of Gresham Cofield of Virginia and Twiggs, along with those last members mentioned. We would also like to thank a former member of the CCGG, Ms. Joanie Scott, whose many spectacular discoveries concerning the Cofields have been of incalculable help in our quest.
PART TWO – Clearing up the Myths of Gresham Cofield
So, here it is, the true and accurate life history of Gresham Cofield, father of Thomas Nathan and Willis Cofield, progenitors of some of the GA and AL Cofields:
1. Our Gresham Cofield being discussed today was born 16 February 1762, in Virginia, probably Nansemond, and was the orphan son of Daniel Coffield of Nansemond, Virginia. Daniel was a church warden and land processioner in several Nansemond area parishes, including the Glebe Church, Suffolk, and others. This is proved in the ground-breaking discovery of a nearly 300-year-old family bible found by one of our team members in Athens, GA in 2007.We have photographed that bible and have now presented that bible to the North Carolina State Archives, where it is the oldest bible in North Carolina history. This bible has never been seen publicly and has been carefully preserved by the NCSA staff. However, we DO have photographs of the entry for this Gresham, along with other members of the families Slatter, Buxton, Pugh, and others. To be clear, this is NOT Gresham of Edgecombe and his father was NOT Benjamin. That’s another man altogether, which we’ll lay out for you at another time.
2. Gresham was orphaned by 11 December 1769, where he appears in a land deed for his deceased father, Daniel, in Nansemond Virginia. Gresham’s mother is still as yet unknown.
3. We lose track of Gresham for awhile, but pick him up again after he has removed to the new Georgia Colony, where he shows up in Burke County, GA in 1794, signing a petition for John Lassiter, a man running for Justice of the Peace. This is proved in the Augusta Gazette and Chronicle, and we have the photos on file for your viewing.
4. In 1796, we see Gresham again in Burke, on another petition for the pardon of John Hume Manderson, an old man who is reportedly crazy and who has been jailed for killing a woman he thought was a witch. This is proved in a Governor’s petition, which is also reported in the local paper. Again, photos on file.
5. At age 36, we have him on the Tax Roll of Burke County again, Burke County, Georgia Tax Index, District 1, Page 1A, Year 1798.
6. We then lose him again until the year 1804, when he is 42 years old, where we find him living in the new Jefferson County, Georgia, mentioned on the Tax Lists, as Grissum Coffield in Captain Briggs’ 79th District Taxables.
7. At age 44, we still have him in Jefferson County, GA, as the county line has not yet changed, in Captain Coleman’s District, the said Capt. Coleman taking over the taxables for the 79th District from Capt. Briggs.
8. On 03 October 1809, we find Gresham with a land purchase mention of him as a witness of a deed between Abraham Yearty and Samuel Allen, Warren County, GA, Deed Book C, page 348.
9. It is now the year 1812, and Gresham has finally made it to Twiggs County, GA, just after the division ofthe county lines which separated Putnam and Twiggs. He is listed on the Putnam County, GA taxables as having a farm on Big Sandy, which is actually now in Twiggs. Incidentally, this is also the year his son, Thomas Nathan Coffield, will begin his own service in the War of 1812, at Fort Hawkins.
10. On 01 September 1813, Gresham Cofield was seated as a juror at a trial in Putnam County, GA, the trial having to do with a slave named Ben, who was the property of one Robert McGough, at Putnam County, GA court, the negro man having been accused of and found guilty of “an offense of capital nature.”
11. On January 10th, Gresham’s widow and daughter end up with his 250 acre land grant, for Revolutionary War orphans, in Twiggs County, GA. Gresham is dead at age 62.
12. Newspaper notices in the Milledgeville Georgia Statesman and Patriot will continue to list his estate settlement and his association with Kelly Glover. There are miscellaneous claims against the estate and finally, in 1833, the estate will settle and Kelly Glover publishes in that newspaper a notice that he is asking the courts to dismiss him from the estate.
13. Dropping back to 1827, less than one year after Gresham has died, we see a mention of Gresham’s “orphans” in Captain Blackshear’s District, Twiggs County, GA. We know Willis is already in Troup by now, Thomas Nathan is as well, and the younger sister is the only known child remaining at home on Gresham’s estate in Twiggs. Gresham’s wife, for the record, and the mother of his daughter, was Sarah Cofield.
14. Finally, in 1830, the daughter will accept the 1827 Georgia Land Lottery grant on her father’s behalf, for his “Revolutionary War” service, which our team estimates took place when Gresham was a young boy of 16, back in Nansemond area, when the town and port of Suffolk were burned. This battle is chronicled in historical accounts and we know that, based on the Slatter bible in which Gresham’s father and date of birth appear, he was living in company with Solomon Slatter at the time.
15. By 1835, Gresham’s daughter, name unknown other than “orphan of Gresham Cofield” will marry John W. Raines at or near Twiggs County, live there until prior to 1850, then drop off the face of the planet. It is probably from our research that they moved into the newly conquered Cherokee County, GA area after the Georgia Gold Lottery, though this tidbit is still in research. We know she married John because they are both mentioned in a deed where John himself is selling the land his wife got from her father Gresham of Twiggs.
16. Willis and Thomas Nathan will continue the family name throughout Troup County, GA, and Randolph County, AL.
And there you have it. The only true facts about Gresham Cofield of Twiggs County, GA. Every iota of the above record has been carefully researched, documented, photographed, and stored on mastered DVD, along with twenty other Cofield-Coffield Genealogy Disks which contain over thirty thousand files on the Coffields, held in trust by the Cofield-Coffield Genealogy Group.
We hope this helps clear up the mass confusion we’ve all seen about this particular Gresham. Please feel free to write us anytime, with any question or any new sourced data you wish to offer, to our email box at COFGEN2008@aol.com, or write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.