Charles Franklin Coffee (1847 – 1935)

Charles Franklin Coffee
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”COFFEE, CHARLES F., of Chadron, Neb., ranchman and banker, was born in Dade county, Mo., March 22, 1847, son of John T. and Harriett E. (Ware) Coffee. John T. Coffee was a native of Tennessee, and became a resident of Missouri early in the forties, where he married, and for some time practiced law. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Confederate army and was instrumental in recruiting three regiments in the central and western parts of Missouri. He became colonel of one of these regiments, which was placed under the command of General Price, and he served until the close of the war. His son, Charles F. Coffee, then a lad of thirteen years, accompanied his father throughout his service, though he was too young for enlistment. Colonel Coffee was with Generals Price and Shelby, noted for active campaigning and fierce fighting. At the close of the war his command surrendered to General Custer at Austin, Tex. He then located at Georgetown, Tex., where he resumed the practice of law in which he gained prominence. He died in 1892. Charles F. Coffee remained at Georgetown with his father until about 1871, when, as foreman on the trail, he drove a herd of cattle from Texas to Wyoming.

In the spring of 1873 he formed a partnership in the cattle business with A. H. Webb, under the firm name of Webb & Coffee. The total assets of the firm were only $4,400, but on their good credit they were able to borrow $13,000 more. They invested the money in cattle, which they pastured on the Wyoming ranges. They were so successful that they repaid the loan within a year and had a good surplus left. They then bought a drove of horses, which were sold in the eastern markets at a profit of $8,000. Mr. Webb, who was a resident of Texas, then returned to his own state and left the business in Mr. Coffee’s hands. For a year he remained on the range, sleeping out nights wherever a suitable place could be found, seldom seeing anyone but his helpers on the range. During the year 1876 Webb & Coffee borrowed $27,000 more, which they used in enlarging their business; and within a year they had paid off the loan and had made a profit of $8,000.

In 1879 the partnership was dissolved, all the stock disposed of, and Mr. Coffee came to Nebraska. He settled on Hat creek, in the northwestern part of the state, near the Wyoming and Dakota boundaries, in what is now Sioux county. Here he commenced business on his own account with about 3,000 head of cattle, which he grazed on government land. In 1886 he bought a large tract of land, which he placed under fence. He has since added to his land holdings until at present (1911) he has 6,000 acres in northwestern Nebraska, and nearly 4,000 acres of range in Wyoming. About 900 acres of his Wyoming land and 350 acres of his Nebraska land are under irrigation. His Wyoming ranch is the grazing place of about 7,000 head of range cattle. Part of his Nebraska range is stocked exclusively with about 400 high class Herefords. Besides his live stock and land. Mr. Coffee is extensively interested in banking. In 1888 he organized the Bank of Harrison and served as its president, but is no longer connected with that institution. He is now president of the First National Bank of Chadron in which he is a heavy stockholder, and president of the First National Bank of Hay Springs; director and stockholder of the First National Bank at Gordon; and stockholder and director of the Union Stock National Bank of South Omaha, Neb. Mr. Coffee makes his home at Chadron. He is a member of the Wyoming Stock Growers’ Association, also of the Stock Growers’ Association of South Dakota. In 1900 he was nominated by the democrats for representative from the 53d district, comprising the counties of Sioux, Box Butte, Dawes, and Sheridan, and was elected by a majority of 387 over his opponent, A. G. Fisher.

Mr. Coffee was married March 27, 1879, to Virginia Ashland, daughter of James A. Touey, of Camden, Ark. They are the parents of four children: Arthur B., who died in infancy; John T., Blanche M., and Charles Franklin.”

Source:  Illustrated History of Nebraska, Vol. 3, by Albert Watkins, Western Publishing and Engraving Co., Lincoln, Nebraska, 1913, pages 616-7

Note:  New information;  His mother’s name was Lavenia Harriet Weir.  Her family information can be found in Find A Grave, Weir Cemetery, Dade Co., Arkansas.  more information about his father Col. John T. Coffee can be found on Wikipedia.

 


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Charles Franklin Coffee (1847 – 1935) — 2 Comments

  1. Now this sounds like an extremely interesting life. I suppose many a young man of this modern era have dreamed of having lived back then in the wide open spaces of Nebraska and Wyoming and the west in general. I believe Garth Brooks was one of those dreamers having written and sung so many songs about it. Ah, the adventures of dreamland.

    Wayne

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