Coffee, John, 1772-1833

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Army officer and surveyor-general of Alabama. Coffee (Coffey) family.

From the description of John Coffee family papers, 1781-circa 1883. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79453531

Frontier merchant, Indian fighter, land agent, surveyor, and speculator of Tennessee and Alabama.

From the description of John Coffee order books, 1812-1815 [manuscript]. WorldCat record id: 24111763

John Coffee was a frontier merchant, Indian fighter, land agent, surveyor, and speculator of Tennessee and Alabama.

From the guide to the John Coffee Order Books, ., 1812-1815, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.)

John Coffee was born 1772 June 2 in Prince Edward Co., Va., the son of Joshua Coffee, a farmer. After the Revolutionary War the family moved to N.C. where John grew to manhood and learned about farming, raising and marketing cotton, tobacco, and buying and selling slaves. He evidently received some formal schooling as his letters reflect an educated man.

After his father died in 1797, John Coffee purchased land in Davidson Co., Tenn. where he expanded his business holdings to include a mercantile company and a partnership in a river boat venture, as well as a cotton gin and an occasional real estate investment. With Andrew Jackson, a neighbor and intimate friend, he attempted to buy a salt business in Ill., but was unsuccessful in raising the necessary cash. In 1805 John Hutchings joined Coffee and Jackson in a mercantile and boat yard partnership but the 1807 embargo sunk the business, and Coffee became a surveyor and locator of lands.

For the next five years, Coffee, John Drake, William P. Anderson, and John Strother worked together surveying and locating unoccupied lands for settlers and speculators (including themselves). By 1808 Coffee had served as an land agent for leading men of Tenn., including Andrew Jackson, with whom the existing bond had strengthened by the marriage of Coffee to Mary Donelson, niece of Mrs. Jackson.

During the 1812 war against England, Coffee raised a cavalry company and, in 1813, was called to defend the frontier against the Creek Indians. Called again into service in 1815, Coffee led troops at the Battle of New Orleans (La.) where he joined General Jackson. After the fighting he was eager to settle in the new lands opening up in the southwest frontier. His offer to "run the boundaries" of the Creek Nation led to his appointment by the President to the surveying commission. Two years later Coffee was appointed Surveyor General of the northern section of the Miss. Territory, and once again he combined surveying and land speculation. He was to hold the appointed position for the rest of his life. Through his office in Huntsville (Ala.) he formed partnerships with James Jackson and Andrew Jackson, and created several land companies in the Huntsville and Florence (Ala.) areas.

In 1819 he farmed a large estate near Florence, and at the time of his death in 1833 July 7, Hickory Hill was considered one of the best plantations in the state.

Respected and trusted, Coffee was often given legal powers to transact personal business for others, including assisting with the financial affairs of Andrew Jackson Hutchings, ward of President Jackson. A brief stint as a justice of the court of Lauderdale Co., Ala. in 1820 appears to be his only public office; he evidently had no interest in public life.

In the Summer and Fall of 1830 he served with John H. Eaton in negotiating treaties with the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians for their removal to lands west of the Mississippi River.

From the description of Papers, 1796-1887. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 77893558

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Tennessee. Militia. Muster roll, Sept. 24, 1813. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
referencedIn Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845. Papers, 1820-1836. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Galt, William Richard, 1818-1892. Recollections of the Hermitage in 1828 [manuscript]. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn James M. Faircloth papers MSS. 0500., 1961-1969 University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama
referencedIn Polk, George Washington, 1847-. George Washington Polk papers, 1793-1927 [manuscript]. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf LaTourrette, John. Letters, 1836-1847. Alabama Department of Archives and History
creatorOf Coffee, John, 1772-1833. John Coffee order books, 1812-1815 [manuscript]. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845. Andrew Jackson papers, 1775-1874 (bulk 1785-1845). Library of Congress
creatorOf Coffee, John, 1772-1833. Plan of the town of Marathon, Ala. Tennessee State Library & Archives, TSLA
referencedIn Overton, John, 1766-1833. John Overton papers, 1790-1840 [microfilm manuscript]. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn War of 1812 mss., 1776-1879 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn William Little Brown diary, 1805-1814 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Walker family. Papers, 1798-1833. Alabama Department of Archives and History
referencedIn Andrew Jackson Papers, 1775-1860, (bulk 1785-1845) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Brown, Bertram Erwin, b.1871. Pickett's, History of Alabama and incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi: scrapbooks, [188-?-]-[ca.1919]. Alabama Department of Archives and History
creatorOf Coffee, John, 1772-1833. Papers, 1796-1887. Alabama Department of Archives and History
referencedIn Coffee, Alexander Donelson, 1821 or 2-1901. Alexander Donelson Coffee papers, 1817-1901 (bulk 1844-1848) [manuscript]. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845. Letters, 1818-1821. University of Florida
creatorOf Coffee, John, 1772-1833. Marathon. Tennessee State Library & Archives, TSLA
referencedIn Carmichael, Emmett B. Pamphlets vertical file--persons, [ca.1835]-[ca.1835]- Alabama Department of Archives and History
creatorOf John Coffee Order Books, ., 1812-1815 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
referencedIn Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845. Letter : Nashville, Tenn., to Major Francis Smith, Abington, Va., 1817 Mar. 29. University of Chicago Library
referencedIn United States Sanitary Commission records. Army and Navy Claim Agency archives, 1861-1870 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Coffee, John, 1772-1833. John Coffee family papers, 1781-circa 1883. Library of Congress
referencedIn Brown, William Little, 1789-1829. William Little Brown diary, 1805-1814. New York Public Library System, NYPL
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Barnett, William, 1761-1830. person
associatedWith Bedford and Mackey. corporateBody
associatedWith Brahan, John, 1774-1834. person
associatedWith Brown, Bertram Erwin, b.1871. person
associatedWith Brown, William Little, 1789-1829. person
associatedWith Clements, Benjamin A. person
associatedWith Cocke, William. person
associatedWith Coffee, Alexander Donelson, 1821-1901. person
associatedWith Coffee, John Donelson. person
associatedWith Coffee, Mary. person
associatedWith Coffey family. family
associatedWith Cotton Port Land Company (Ala.) corporateBody
associatedWith Cunningham, Robert M., 1760-1839. person
associatedWith Cypress Land Company (Ala.) corporateBody
associatedWith Exum, James W. person
associatedWith Freeman, Thomas, d. 1821. person
associatedWith Galt, William Richard, 1818-1892. person
associatedWith Hawkins, Benjamin, 1754-1816. person
associatedWith Hutchings, Andrew Jackson. person
associatedWith Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845. person
associatedWith Jackson, James, 1782-1840. person
associatedWith King, William R. (William Rufus), 1786-1853. person
associatedWith LaTourrette, John. person
associatedWith Marion Town Land Company (Ala.) corporateBody
associatedWith McKinley, John M., 1780-1852. person
associatedWith Overton, John, 1766-1833. person
associatedWith Peel, Hunter. person
associatedWith Pickens, Israel, 1780-1827. person
associatedWith Polk, George Washington, 1847- person
associatedWith Reynolds, Benjamin Franklin, 1788-1843. person
associatedWith Savage, Charles L. person
associatedWith Tennessee. Militia corporateBody
associatedWith United States Sanitary Commission corporateBody
associatedWith Walker family. family
associatedWith Weakley, John H., 1798-1856. person
associatedWith White, Maunsel. person
associatedWith York Bluff Land Company (Ala.) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Cotton Port (Ala.)
Alabama
Marathon (Ala.)
Florence (Ala.)
United States
Autauga County (Ala.)
Lauderdale County (Ala.)
Marathon (Ala.)
United States
Marathon (Ala.)
Huntsville (Ala.)
Muscle Shoal (Ala.)
Subject
Nullification (States' rights)
Indians of North America--History--19th century
Steamboats
Plantation life
Presidents--Election--1836
African Americans--Alabama--History--1863-1877
Women
Slavery in the United States
Cherokee Indians
Land companies
Medicine--Practise--19th century
Creek Indians
Presidents--Election--1828
Cotton trade
Farm management
Rural churches
Surveying
Banks and banking
African Americans--Children
Businessmen
Education
Slavery in the United States--Emancipation
Chickasaw Indians--Treaties
Cherokee Indians--Treaties
African Americans--Alabama--History--To 1863
Presidents--Election--1824
Presidents--Election--1832
Postal service
Surveyors
Choctaw Indians
Cotton growing
Politics, Practical
Lawyers
Chickasaw Indians
Occupation
Surveyors
Army officers
Activity

Person

Birth 1772-06-02

Death 1833-07-07

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