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Below is a sample of a family biography included in the Biographical and Historical Memoirs of White County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details in a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

John Reed Coffey is a prominent farmer and miller of White County, Ark., and owes his nativity to the State of Tennessee, the date of his birth being December 19, 1856. His father, Wiley D. Coffey, was born in Bedford County, Tenn., October 6, 1827, where he received his education, and there married Narcissa A. Muse, August 5, 1850. Mrs. Coffey is a daughter of Richard and Margaret Muse, and a very estimable lady. To their union eight children were born, five of them now living: Mary C, John R., Richard H., Sarah H., Joseph H. The other three died in infancy. Mr. Coffey is a teacher and minister, and owns 286 acres of good land with 100 in cultivation. He immigrated from Texas to Arkansas in 1871, locating in White County, which has been his home ever since. When he came to this county his worldly possessions consisted of a team of horses and a wagon, but he is now worth $5,000, and a farm well supplied with all the necessary stock for its successful operation. Mr. Coffey has educated three of his children for teachers. He has held a membership in the I. O. O. F. and in the Wheel, but has severed his connection with the latter order. He served in the Confederate War, enlisting in 1862, in Company A, Forty-fourth Regiment, and received his discharge in the same year. J. Reed Coffey acquired his education at home by the aid of the fire light, and when twenty-one years old began life for himself, working for two years, then returned home and worked with his father to pay a debt that hung like the sword of Damocles over the old homestead. At the age of twenty-eight years he was married to Sarah A. Harriss, their marriage occurring in October, 1885. She was a native of Illinois, and a daughter of Johnson and Keziah Harriss. They are the parents of two children: Clifton B. and Robert L. He owns 400 acres of good land, which lies southeast of Bald Knob and is well stocked with all the necessary appurtenances required to operate a farm. He is a Democrat politically, and as might be supposed by his home surroundings of English descent. Mrs. Coffey is a member of the Baptist Church, and a favorite in her wide circle of acquaintances. Mr. Coffey richly merits the reward which has attended his efforts during life. Active, industrious and prudent, he enjoys wide respect.

This family biography is one of 270 biographies included in the Biographical and Historical Memoirs of White County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: White County Arkansas History, Genealogy and Maps

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