Biography - G Coffeen

HON. G. F. COFFEEN. Prominent among the successful agriculturists of Montgomery County may be mentioned the name of Mr. Coffeen, who, after years of active and arduous labor, has retired from farming duties and is passing his time quietly at home in East Fork Township. For years he has occupied a position of influence in the public affairs of this community, and it is to his excellent judgment, wise foresight and general business ability that many of the valued public improvements of the township are due. He represented his constituents in the Legislature in 1860, and for many years served as Township Supervisor, and in these offices, as well as in others in which he was called upon to serve, discharged the duties incumbent upon him in a manner eminently satisfactory,

Born in Watertown, Jefferson County, N. Y., June 19, 1819, our subject remained in his native place until he was twenty-five years of age. He received his education in the schools of Watertown, and afterward aided in the support of his parents. His father, Frederick Coffeen, had been a farmer in the early part of his life, but for about twenty years kept an hotel in Chaumont, Jefferson County, N. Y. Henry Coffeen, the paternal grandfather, was born in New England and is supposed to have been a native of New Hampshire.

Through his maternal ancestors, our subject traces his descent from one of the heroes of the Revolution. His grandfather, Abner. Hubbard, was a conspicuous figure in the stirring scenes of 1776. He was a man of indomitable will and courage, and rushed to the defense of his country with such patriotic spirit, that he was immediately made Captain. It is one of the family traditions that he was the first Captain mustered in as such. Hubbard's Bay, Jefferson County, N. Y. was in later years the home of the old veteran, and there his daughter Elcena was born, and passed her youthful days. She was united in marriage with Frederick Coffeen and bore him four daughters and two sons, all of whom lived to maturity. The faithful mother passed to her rest in Chaumont at three-score years and ten. Mr. Coffeen spent his last days in Omar, Jefferson County, N. Y.

G. F. Coffeen, the eldest son, was married in New York State to Miss Mary A. Bell, a native of Herkimer County, but of German ancestry. Our subject and his wife came to Illinois in 1852, and located permanently where he now resides. The town of Coffeen was founded by our subject and it was not long before settlers began to arrive there from various parts of the country. In a short time Mr. Coffeen, who had owned the entire town site, had sold most of the lots. He still retains a good frontage, upon which he has erected a number of buildings. To him alone is due the fact that the line of the Toledo, St. Louis & Kansas City Railroad passes through the village of Coffeen. The idea met with a great deal of opposition from parties who wished to secure the road at other points, but his perseverance, energy and tact were successful in removing all opposition, and the railroad followed the right of way staked out by himself.

The entire property once owned by Mr. Coffeen had an area of eleven hundred and forty acres, all in one body of land. The greater portion of this tract is now owned by the children of our subject, their father retaining but two hundred and forty acres.

Mrs. Coffeen, who had shared the privations of pioneer life with her family, and who had also lived to enjoy their prosperity, left many to mourn her loss when she died in 1891. She had been the mother of three children, two daughters and a son. One child preceded her to the better land; those who survive are Frederick H., and Mary, the wife of John McLain, of Montgomery County.

Mr. Coffeen has lived to witness many wonderful local and National changes. Neighbors to whom in early life he tendered a helping hand are many of them no more; the customs and times are changed; the primitive homes are giving place to handsome residences, but with all the vanishing old landmarks, Mr. Coffeen still clings firmly to the wise teachings of early youth. Away back in old New York State full)' fifty years ago, his father voted the Democratic ticket, and to-day his son still endorses the same platform. He has always been a public-spirited citizen, ready and willing to aid in any enterprise established for the public good.

Extracted 12 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 472-474.

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