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John R. Coffee's Geni Profile

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John R. Coffee

Birthdate: (61)
Birthplace: Prince Edward County,, Virginia Colony
Death: July 7, 1833 (61)
Lauderdale, Alabama, United States
Place of Burial: Florence, Lauderdale, Alabama, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Capt. Joshua Coffee and Elizabeth Coffee
Husband of Mary Coffee
Father of Mary Donelson Hutchings; John Donelson Coffee; Andrew Jackson Coffee; Elizabeth Graves Coffee; Alexander Donelson Coffee and 5 others
Brother of Thomas Graves Coffee

Managed by: Eldon Clark (Geni volunteer cura...
Last Updated:

About John R. Coffee

Find a Grave

Birth: Jun. 2, 1772 Prince Edward County Virginia, USA

Death: Jul. 7, 1833 Lauderdale County Alabama, USA

General John R Coffee son of Captain Joshua and Elizabeth (Graves) Coffee married Mary Donelson, 3 Oct 1809 in Davidson Co., TN. There were ten known children born of this union: Mary (Hutchings), John Donelson, Elizabeth, Andrew Jackson, Rachel Jackson (Dyas), Alexander Donelson, Catherine Harriet, Emily, William Donelson and Joshua Coffee.

General John R Coffee fought in the War of 1812 under the command of Andrew Jackson. He raised the 2nd Regiment of Volunteer Mounted Riflemen, that was made up of primarily Tennessee militiamen and a few Alabamians. On 4 Sep 1814 he was involved in the Andrew Jackson - Benton Brothers duel. He married Mary Donelson daughter of John and Mary (Purnell) Donelson and relative of Andrew Jackson's wife Rachel Donelson Robards Jackson. His father Captain Joshua Coffee is believed to have served in the Revoltionary War.

He was a merchant, a partner in land speculation with Andrew Jackson and worked as a surveyor in Florence, Lauderdale Co., AL. Surveying the boundary line between Alabama and Mississippi.

Coffee Counties Alabama and Tennessee; Coffeeville Mississippi were named after him.

Family links:

  • Joshua Coffee (1745 - 1797)
  • Elizabeth Graves Coffee (1741 - 1804)
  • Mary Donelson Coffee (1773 - 1871)*
  • John Donelson Coffee (1815 - 1837)*
  • Elizabeth Graves Coffee (1817 - 1838)*
  • Alexander Donelson Coffee (1821 - 1901)*
  • Rachel Jackson Coffee Dyas (1823 - 1892)*
  • Catherine Harriett Coffee (1826 - 1881)*
  • Emily Coffee (1828 - 1829)*
  • William Donelson Coffee (1830 - 1903)*
  • Joshua Coffee (1832 - 1879)*

Burial: Coffee Cemetery Florence Lauderdale County Alabama, USA

John Coffee (June 2, 1772 – July 7, 1833) was an American planter and military leader. He was considered the most even-tempered and least selfish of Andrew Jackson's lifelong friends. He was described as a big awkward man, careless of dress, slow of speech, but kindly, tactful and wise.


Born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, Coffee the son of Lieutenant Joshua Coffee (January 26, 1745-September 8, 1797) and Elizabeth Graves (January 28, 1742-December 13, 1804), and the grandson of Peter Coffee, Sr. (1716-November 1771) and Susannah Mathews (1701–1796). John Coffee married Mary Donelson, who was the daughter of Captain John Donelson III and Mary Purnell, on October 3, 1809. John Donelson III was one of the elder brothers of Andrew Jackson's wife, Rachel.


Coffee was a merchant and land speculator. He and Andrew Jackson had been partners in Nashville merchandising just before Coffee married Jackson's niece. Jackson sold his partnership to Coffee before the wedding, taking notes for the sale. After the wedding, Jackson gave Coffee the notes as his wedding present to the couple.

He challenged Nathaniel A. McNairy for publishing derogatory statements about Jackson. The duel took place on March 1, 1806, over the Tennessee line in Kentucky. During the course of the duel, McNairy unintentionally fired before the word, wounding Coffee in the thigh. In reparation, McNairy offered to lay down his pistol and give Coffee an extra shot. The weapons used in this duel were later used in the Jackson-Dickinson duel on May 30, 1806.

At the beginning of the War of 1812, Coffee raised the 2nd Regiment of Volunteer Mounted Riflemen, composed mostly of Tennessee militiamen (and a few Alabamians). In December 1812, Governor Willie Blount had called out the Tennessee militia in response to a request from General John Wilkinson and the U.S. Secretary of War. Under Jackson's command, Coffee led 600 men in January 1813 to Natchez, Mississippi Territory, via the Natchez Trace, in advance of the rest of the rest of the troops, who traveled via flatboats. After the two groups reunited in Natchez, Wilkinson and the U.S. government disbanded Jackson's troops. All marched back to Nashville to disband, on the march during which Jackson earned the nickname Old Hickory. They arrived in Nashville on May 18, 1813.

On September 4, 1813 Coffee was involved in the Andrew Jackson-Benton Brothers duel in Nashville, knocking Thomas Benton down a flight of stairs after Benton's failed assassination attempt on Jackson.

In October 1813, the 2nd was combined with Col. Cannon's Mounted Regiment and the 1st Regiment of Volunteer Mounted Gunmen to form a militia brigade of mounted infantry. Coffee was promoted to brigadier-general and placed in command.

Coffee then led his brigade, which consisted largely of Indians and freed blacks, at the Battle of New Orleans, where they played a key role in holding the woods to the east of the redcoats' column. Coffee's brigade was the first to engage the British, firing from behind the trees and brush.

General Coffee was again Jackson's chosen advance commander in the Creek War. Under Jackson's command, he led his brigade at: the Battle of Tallushatchee, the Battle of Talladega, and the Battles of Emuckfaw and Enotachopo Creek, where he was seriously wounded, and the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

Later life

After the war and some failed investments, he began work as a surveyor, laying down the town of Florence, Alabama, and in 1816 he surveyed the boundary line between Alabama and Mississippi.

He later moved to and died near Florence, Alabama.

Coffee County, Alabama, Coffeeville, Alabama, Coffeeville, Mississippi and Coffee County, Tennessee are named in his honor.

Research Notes

Researchers often confuse this General John Coffee with General John E. Coffee the U.S. Congressman from Georgia. This John, also known as "Tennessee John" and John E. were first cousins. The two Find-a-Grave Memorials linked below, with additional state and spouse information, are for both Generals to help more clearly distinguish the two men. General John R. Coffee is buried in the Coffee Cemetery off SR 157 northwest of Florence, Alabama.

This John Coffee is sometimes referred to as John R. Coffee. Some researchers are attempting to document the use of this middle initial in original sources. John signed his name John Coffee in original papers examined to date. The use of this middle initial must be assumed to be in doubt.

Legendary Texas Ranger, John Coffee Hays was his nephew. " Jack " John Coffee Hays became the greatest Texas Ranger in history leading them in battle against the Mexican Army and Comanche Tribe from 1836-1848. He then surveyed the southwest founding Oakland California and becoming the first Sheriff of San Fransisco in 1850. Jack Hays was born in Tennessee and raised at The Hermitage where Andrew Jackson resided.

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John R. Coffee's Timeline

June 2, 1772
Prince Edward County,, Virginia Colony
Age 39
March 15, 1815
Age 42
February 2, 1817
Age 44
January 28, 1819
Age 46
June 3, 1821
Age 49
Florence, Lauderdale, Alabama, United States
Age 50
September 24, 1826
Age 54
July 23, 1828
Age 56