Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ambrose Coffee - Mention In Boone by Cameron Judd

From the novel Boone by Cameron Judd:

"Meanwhile, Ambrose Coffee had just undergone an experience he would thereafter remember as a miracle. He had been lying atop a wall of the unroofed blockhouse, watching the negotiations, when the fight suddenly broke out. He was a fine target for hidden Indian marksmen, and came tumbling down suddenly into the blockhouse, his clothing shredded by bullets. Springing up, he looked about for the expected gushes of blood and found none. Not a single ball had struck him, every one of them merely cutting his clothes and breezing right past his skin."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ambrose Coffee - 1805 Land Dispute Deposition

From Fayette County Records book Volume 1, page 214. Courtesy of the Lexington Public Library. Click image to enlarge.

Text reads:

Deposition of AMBROSE COFFEE (taken on July 5, 1805, before JEREMIAH DAVIS and JAMES TURLEY at house of WILLIAM MEGOWAN in Montgomery County) "I first came to Boonesborough in February of 1777. In March of the same year I learned of Boone's Creek on the north side of the Kentucky river and it was called Boone's creek then."

The Mystery of Ailsey Coffee - Wife Of Ambrose Coffee, KY Pioneer

Try as I might, I have not had any luck finding any source records about the wife of my ancestor Ambrose Coffee. There is some information on various online family trees about her, but no way of knowing where the information about her actually came from - including the biggies! Her name, her birth year, her birth place, her death year... I'm not finding any source for any of those things. Talk about frustrating!

So, I decided to gather together all of this information here in one spot, along with a fairly desperate plea for help - please Internet, send someone who knows something concrete my way!! My email address is - I'm interested in anything that might lead to some record of her, or some mention of her in a family book or family bible - ANYTHING. Drop me a line! :)

Information found online about Ailsey Coffee - Wife of Ambrose Coffee, Boonesborough Settler & Kentucky Pioneer
(Updated 2-24-13 - as of now, no source records...)

Name: Ailsey or Ailseys - Maiden Name Unknown
(My guess is Ailsey is the correct name - it seems that it was passed down through the family, as Ailsey and also as Alcey. I think Ailseys is a misspelling that has been repeated - but of course, I could be wrong.)

Birth Year: between 1755 and 1759

Place of Birth: Russell County, VA - or Fayette County, KY - or Ireland

Death Year: 1824

Place of Death - Slate Creek, Montgomery County, KY

Marriage Year - about 1781 or 1782

Ambrose Coffee - Land Suit Depositions

From And The Battle Began Like Claps Of Thunder - The Siege of Boonesboro - 1778 As Told By The Pioneers (click image to enlarge)

Deposition of Ambrose Coffee in 1809, Madison County, KY Deed Book Letter I, pp.92ff. - Land Suit of Henry Banta

"I was born in the city of Dublin in Ireland and from the best accounts that I have received of my parents, I was between 12 and 13 years of age when I came to America."

Ambrose Coffee's deposition for Ben Harrison, Clark County, Kentucky Depositions, Kentucky State Archives Microfilm Reel #259295, p. 378

Deposeth: that in the year Eighty (1780) he was at this place in company with Col. Richard Callaway... "then I and Callaway returned from this place to Boonsborough and some time in the said year Eighty myself and Pembleton (Pemberton) Rollins came hunting in these woods, and happened to come by the spring and camped all night and Rollins asked me if I noad (knowed) who claimed this place. My answer to him was that I was informed by Colo Richard Callaway that it belonged to Ben Harrison. The place was very much taken with cain (cane)... in the morning we went to get our horses... and so went from this place to Boonsborough...

Ambrose Coffee - 1779 Land Claim

From Kentucky Land Office website: (click image to enlarge)


We do hereby certify that Henry Field assignee of Ambrose Coffer [Coffee] is entitled to Four hundred acres of land in the district of Kentucky on account of the sd [said] Coffee residing in the country ever since the year 1775 and improving the land in the year 1777 lying on the waters of Licking on the Road that leads from Boon[e]sborough to the Salt Springs and that the said Henry Field, assignee, is also entitled to the preemption of one thousand acres of land adjoining his said settlement. Given under our hands at Harodsburgh this 4th day of November 1779.

Willm Fleming - Stephen Trigg - Edmund Lyne

Fort Boonesborough and Old Fort Harrod - Sightseeing Some Kentucky History!

 Fort Boonesborough Illustration

My parents and I took a little two day history nerd trip to Kentucky, to see the Fort Boonesborough and Old Fort Harrod sites. It was a lot of fun, and SO helpful for me as far as my book goes, to actually see what I will be writing about. I imagine I will be visiting Boonesborough again before it is all said and done, in fact in the Spring they have a Women On The Frontier weekend that I would love to check out!

I took some pictures, but I wish I would have taken more - I got so caught up in looking at things that I didn't pull out my camera often enough! I did get some good ones though, and when I go back I will be sure to spend more time with my camera out...

Old Fort Harrod

Fort Boonesborough

Leander Coffee Family Photo

In a future post I will be writing about the murder of my 2x great grandfather, Leander Coffee, in 1894 in Greenup County, Kentucky. It's a crazy story, and I have a bit more research to do before I write it up. For now I have a photo to share - this came to me by way of Nancy Wright Bays and John Paul Bays, who I was lucky enough to meet in a great group on Facebook called Kentucky's Feuds. (If you have ancestors from Kentucky, you definitely want to join that group and have a look around - very interesting stuff there!)

This photo is of Leander Coffee's wife, Elizabeth Slater, and their children - I believe this was taken a few years after his death. My great grandfather is John Henry Coffee.

In the photo:
Elizabeth "Liby" Slater Coffee McAllister
(She married James McAllister after Leander died.)
Lilly Mae Coffee
John Henry Coffee
Charles W. Coffee
Thomas J. Coffee
Ida A. Coffee
James Ellis Coffee
Richard Dickerson Coffee

Ambrose Coffee - 1787 Tax List Record

From Archives

Name: Ambrose Coffee
State: KY
County: Fayette County
Township: None Listed
Year: 1787
Record Type: Tax list

Ambrose Coffee - Dunmore's War - Virginia Militia

Pittsburgh Payrolls 1775 - click to enlarge.
Ambrose Coffee - 176 Days - Pay: 13:4:0

"The Third Revolutionary Convention passed an ordinance in July of 1775 appointing commissioners to settle the accounts of the militia lately drawn out in an expedition against the Indians and for making provision to pay the same and for discharging public claims." 

Transcribed from images online. These records aren't indexed. 
Library of Virginia, Richmond 

This isn't a complete transcription. Please view the images at the URLs given below, for additional names and details, and to check spellings."

Page 25 folio. 

"List of Men stationed at Fort Fincastle und'r Serjeant Zane"


From Virginia's Colonial Soldiers By Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck

Names Of The Soldiers On The Pay Rolls At Pittsburgh - 1774 - Dunmore's War
List Of Men Stationed at Fort Fincastle Under Sgt. Lane (Zane)
Ambrose Coffee, etc.

Ambrose Coffee - Record of Hunting Game

From Selected Families and Individuals from Hadden Family of Kentucky

FORT_BOONESBOROUGH: While Boonesborough scouts were ranging through Eastern Kentucky in 1779-1780, the old hunters at Boonesborough, such as Michael Stoner, Thomas Brooks, Jesse Hodges, Aquilla White, Ambrose Coffee, William Cradlebaugh, William Bush, Oswald Townsend, Stephen Hancock, Samuel Estill, Nicholas Anderson, and John Kennedy, were hunting at the gamelicks in the southeastern part of the State for meat and provisions to sustain life at the fort.

In search of the elk they would go down the Kentucky river in canoes; in search of deer and buffalo, they would go to Joe's Lick and Blue Lick beyond Twetty's Fort, in Madison county, and sometimes they would cross on the northern side of the Kentucky river and go to the forests on the headwaters of the Licking and Elkhorn.

Ambrose Coffee - Military Service Under George Rogers Clark


From George Rogers Clark and His Men Doc. 65

Oct 24, 1782 - Nov 14, 1782  Nicholas Anderson on pay roll of Capt. William Hoy's Company of the Lincoln Militia, in actual service on an expedition against the Shawnee Indians under the command of George Rogers Clark. Others listed include: Edward Willliams, Ambrose Coffee, James McMillan, Nicholas George, David Crews and more.

Ambrose Coffee - 1805 Land Dispute Deposition

Taken in Montgomery county on January 29, 1805. From Fayette County Records, Vol. I. Michael Cook, CG and Bettie A. Cummings, CG.p.806.

Deposition of AMBROSE COFFEE:

In the year 1779 I became well acquainted with Edwin (Edward) Williams, John Harper and Nicholas Anderson in the latter part, and in the beginning of the year 1780. I had frequently heard them say that Edwin (Edward) Williams has built a cabin in headwater of Little Mountain or Hingston creek. Sometime in the year 1780, being in the woods and came to this place where Edwin (Edward) Williams and his son DANIEL WILLIAMS and John Harper and myself lodged in said cabin reported to be said Williams cabin and said Williams told me that he had built said cabin, likewise the company that was present told me the same, and I never heard that said Williams ever built any other cabin in order to procure land by but this one and it was a place of notoriety used by hunters.

Ambrose Coffee - 1809 Land Dispute Deposition

From the History and genealogies of the families of Miller, Woods, Harris, Wallace, Maupin, Oldham, Kavanaugh, and Brown.

(I, page 22 1 Ambrose Coffee, at the same time and place, before the same Commissioners, in the same case.)

I first became acquainted with this Muddy Creek that we are now at in the year 1777, and with Deban's Run in March, 1779. Old Mr. Duree, Peter Duree, Henry Duree, Peter Cossart came out in company with myself from Boonesborough. We came up the East Fork of Otter Creek to where the trace forked. Said old Mr. Duree, we will take the right hand fork, and we followed that trace or buffalo road it was, and blazed until we fell upon the Run that we are now at. So soon as we could come to this Run, old Mr. Duree, says he, there is Deban's Run, and says he, I gave it its name. His two sons, Peter Cossart that was with him, and myself, the other three said the same, and said they called it Deban's Run.

In the spring of 1781, deponent and John Banta and Albert Bones came out a hunting from Boonesborough to Banta's cabins and killed some buffalos and returned to Boonesborough. These people, Durees and Cossart, were not all killed by the Indians in the year 17 80, but I think Peter Duree and John Bullock and John Bullock's wife — a daughter of old man Duree — were killed in the year 17 82, as well as I remember; but I kept no memorandum of it.

Old Mr. Duree, I don't know when he died, but Henry Duree and Daniel Duree were killed at the While Oak Spring in an early period. Cassart was killed at Boonesborough on an early date.

Thirty-three years ago I came to Kentucky, in the year 1776, and landed at the town called Lee's Town, on the Kentucky; from thence Major Crittenden & Co. went near the head of Willis Lee's Run, waters of Elkhorn, and now known by Crittenden's Camp. There we cleared a piece of ground and planted corn in the same year, 1776, and in the fall of 1776 Major Crittenden & Co. went up the Ohio and I went to Harrodsburg, and there I continued part of that fall and the greater part of the winter; and report came that Colonel Boone was taken, from the Lower Blue Licks to Logan's Station, and to Harrodsburg the report came; and one Richard May raised a company to go to the Lower Blue Licks to see what was done. I was one of the company with Richard May.

Some time in February, 1777, we arrived at Boonesborough, and there I continued till 1785 or 1786, and moved then out of Boonesborough into Bush's Settlement; stayed there a year or two; from that there were two of the Martin's built a mill on Lower Howard's Creek and there I attended that mill going upon two years, and then Colonel Solder bought her, and after he bought her I attended her near two years, and from that I moved up to the head of Spencer Creek, near old Nicholas Anderson's, and from that to Slate Creek, where I now live, near Myer's Mill. I knew no fields in 1781.

I knowed Banta's Improvement. It was up here above the mouth of Deban's Run on the bank of Muddy Creek, and the Improvement where Peter Duree, John Bullock and John Bullock's wife were killed, on the branches of Muddy Creek.

Ques. by Green Clay. When you came over the high seas were you sold in America as a servant? Who did you serve your time with? and who is there in this country that knew you in your servitude?

Ans. Yes, I was sold as a servant. I served my time with John Huff, and I don't know that there is any person in this country that knew me in my servitude. (It was proved that he was sold for passage fare over the sea.)

Ambrose Coffee - Timeline

Last Updated : 5-29-13 : Work In Progress!

1755 - Born - Dublin, Ireland
(Birthplace verified from testimony in an 1809 Deposition, quoted in And The Battle Began Like Claps Of Thunder - The Siege of Boonesboro 1778 As Told By The Pioneers. Date still unverified.)

abt 1767 - Immigration to Loudoun County, VA - indentured servant to John Hough (Huff)
(1809 Deposition)

1774 - VA Militia - Fort Fincastle under Sgt. Lane - Dunmore's War
(Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers By Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck)

1775 - Arrival in Kentucky. Land record states "Coffee residing in the country ever since the year 1775". Also referenced on a list by Neal O. Hammon of Kentucky Pioneers, 1773 - 1775.
(Land Claim - 1779)
(Pioneers In Kentucky 1773-1775 by Neal O. Hammon)

1776? - Lee's Town, KY under Major Crittenden - This date conflicts with the 1775 date from the land claim mentioned above.
(1809 Deposition)

Fall 1776 - Harrodsburg, KY
(1809 Deposition)

1777 - Boonesborough, KY
(1809 Deposition)

Feb. 1778 - Boonesborough, KY - w/ Richard May to investigate Boone's capture
(1809 Deposition)

Sept. 1778 - Siege at Fort Boonesborough

1781 - Marriage to Ailsey (Unknown) - date unverified

Oct. 1782 - Lincoln Militia under Capt. William Hoy & George Rogers Clark, expedition against Shawnee
(George Rogers Clark and His Men Doc. 65)

1786 - Bush's Settlement, KY
(1809 Deposition)

1787 - Fayette County, KY
(1787 Tax List)

1788? - Attended Martin's Mill, Lower Howard's Creek, KY
(1809 Deposition)

1792? - Spencer Creek, near Nicholas Anderson's
(1809 Deposition)

Sept 22 1795 Daniel & Violet Williams deeded Ambrose Coffee 20 acres of land on Spencer's Creek which was part of Edward Williams 400 acre preemption
(Clark County Deed Book #1 Page 485)

? - Slate Creek, Montgomery County, KY, near Myers Mill
(1809 Deposition)

1800 - Montgomery County, KY
(Kentucky Census Records via

1810 - Montgomery County, KY
(Kentucky Census Records via

1820 - Montgomery County, KY
(Kentucky Census Records via

1820 - Death, Slate Creek, Montgomery County, KY