John R. Coffee

 Peter Coffee 
 Joshua Coffee 
   Thomas Matthews 
   William Mathews 
    Mary Stone 
  Susannah Mathews 
   Richard Routt 
  Mary Routt 
  Frances Adams 
 John R. Coffee 
birt: JUNE 2, 1772
plac: North Carolina
deat: JULY 7, 1833
plac: Florence, Lauderdale Co., AL

Mary Donelson
marr: OCTOBER 3, 1809
 Elizabeth Graves 

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Gen. John Coffee, a Virginia native, became one of Alabama’s frontier leaders serving in the Creek War with Andrew Jackson and afterward becoming instrumental in the survey of the state line between Alabama and Mississippi. Coffee’s life began in Prince Edward County, Va. in June 1772. Coffee’s father served as a lieutenant in the Revolutionary War, but died soon after in 1797, leaving John to care for the family. John moved the family to Tennessee, where he settle d them near the Cumberland River. In 1804, he began a partnership and friendship with Andrew Jackson that lasted for the rest of his life. He went as far as to fight a duel with one of Jackson’s detractors as a means of defending the future president’s honor. In October 1809 , he married Mary Donelson, who was the niece of Andrew Jackson's wife, Rachel. During the War of 1812, Coffee became a Colonel in command of the 2nd Regiment of Volunteer Mounted Riflemen which was made up of Tennessee militiamen and one company of Madison County, Ala. volunteers. David (Davy) Crockett fought under the com mand of John R. Coffee. Early on in the conflict, political wrangling between Andrew Jackson and General James Wilkinson resulted in the men returning to Tennessee, which effectively aborted the planned march to New Orleans. Then in August 1813, the news of Fort Mims reignited the martial spirit within the nation, resulting in the reactivation of Coffee’s troops. After a promotion to brigadier general, Coffee was awarded the command of a brigade under the overall comm and of Andrew Jackson. Coffee’s unit was instrumental in U.S. victories against the Creeks in battles at Tallushatchee, Talladega and Horseshoe Bend. With the conclusion of the Creek War secured, Coffee and his men turned their efforts toward assisting Jackson in his maneuver against the British. In December 1814, his brigade attacked the British just 10 miles south of New Orleans, stalling the m as Jackson prepared the city’s defenses. The Battle of New Orleans was fought on Jan. 8, 1815, providing an exclamation point to the end of the War of 1812. Ironically, America’s signature victory came after the peace treaty to end the war had already been agreed upon. After the War of 1812, Coffee began a lengthy career as a surveyor, including being named the surveyor general of Alabama. By 1821, Coffee had been designated by the U.S. federal government to survey and officially mark the boundary between Alabam a and Mississippi. Initially Coffee was tapped to survey the boundaries created by the Treaty of Fort Jackson, which ended the Creek War and removed control of thousands of acres from the Creek Nation. Joining Coffee in the boundary survey between Alabama and Missis sippi was Thomas Freeman, who was the surveyor general of Mississippi. Then in 1826, Coffee was appointed as one of a panel of three to begin talks with the Choctaw and Chickasaw in regard to them relinquishing control of property held in Mississippi. The Native Americans initially rejected all offers from the federa l government and the talks stalled. Finally, in 1832, the negotiations successfully netted huge territorial concessions to the United States and removed the Indians from their homeland. Unfortunately Coffee did not live long enough to enjoy his success. He died the following year in 1833 at the age of 61. --------- Coffee County, Alabama and Coffee County, Tennessee, and the towns of Coffeeville, Alabama and Coffeeville, Mississippi are named in his honor. This John Coffee is sometimes referred to as John R. Coffee. Some researchers are attempting to document the use of this middle initial in original sources. To date, he has been found to have signed his name John Coffee in original papers examined . Scholars do not believe he used the initial "R". General John (R.) Coffee is buried in the Coffee Cemetery off SR 157 northwest of Florence, Alabama. The legendary Texas Ranger, John Coffee Hays, was a cousin of John R. Coffee's wife Mary Donelson. Hays became the greatest Texas Ranger in history, leading troops in battle from 1836–1848, against the Comanche Tribe and the Mexican Army during th e Mexican–American War. He surveyed the West, founding Oakland, California. In 1850 Hays was elected as the first Sheriff of San Francisco. Hays was born in Tennessee and raised at The Hermitage where Andrew Jackson resided. ----- John Coffee married Mary Donelson, the daughter of Captain John Donelson III and Mary Purnell, on October 3, 1809. A paternal aunt was Andrew Jackson's wife, Rachel Donelson Robards. Coffee and Jackson were in business together; before his friend's marriage, Jackson sold his partnership in their joint merchandising business to Coffee, taking promissory notes for the sale. After the wedding, Jackson gave Coffee the notes as hi s wedding present to the couple. Career Coffee was a merchant and land speculator. He and Andrew Jackson were friends and had been partners in Nashville merchandising before Coffee's marriage. He was considered the most even-tempered and least selfish of Jackson's lifelong friends. Desc ribed as a big awkward man, careless of dress, and slow of speech, Coffee was also said to be kindly, tactful and wise. In early 1806, Coffee challenged Nathaniel A. McNairy to a duel for publishing derogatory statements about Jackson. The duel took place on March 1, 1806, over the Tennessee line in Kentucky. McNairy unintentionally fired before the "word", woundin g Coffee in the thigh. In return, McNairy offered to lay down his pistol and give Coffee an extra shot. The weapons used in this duel were later used in the Jackson-Dickinson duel on May 30, 1806.