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Below is a family biography included in The History of Benton County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of 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.

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Rev. Wyatt Coffelt, minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and also farmer and stock raiser of Benton County, Ark., was born in Knox County, Ky., February 3, 1812, and resided in his native State until he was fifteen years of age, when he was taken to Monroe County, Tenn., by his parents Jacob and Susanna (Wyatt) Coffelt, who were born in Greenbriar County, Va., in 1782 and 1786, respectively. Jacob Coffelt was a son of Philip Coffelt who was of German birth, and served under Col. Washington in the French and Indian War at Braddock’s defeat. He also served through the Revolutionary War. His wife, Ellen (Ryan) Coffelt, was captured by the Shawnee Indians during the French and Indian War, and after eleven weeks captivity succeeded in effecting her escape. She was born in Ireland, and came with her parents to America at the age of five years. Jacob Coffelt was a farmer, and died in 1827, and his widow in 1864. They were members of the Baptist Church. The mother’s father, Samuel Wyatt, also served in the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. Rev. Wyatt Coffelt was reared, educated and married in Monroe County, Tenn., and there learned the saddler’s trade. His wife’s maiden name was Jane Sligar, a daughter of Adam and Catherine (Brown) Sligar. This wife died January 20, 1887, haying borne fourteen children, six of whom are living, and September 11, 1887, he married his second wife, Mrs. Louisa C. Sooter. His children were as follows: Louisa J., wife of N. C. Curry; Nancy A., the deceased wife of J. C. Anderson; Nicy A., wife of E. A. Torbuss; Thomas W., who was waylaid, murdered and robbed by some cut-throats in Texas; Enas J., James A., Theo. A., and Robert Lee; four died in infancy, and one, a son, died at the age of fourteen years, Mr. Coffelt worked at his trade for twenty-two years, and in 1850 moved to Missouri, and there resided until 1854, when he became a missionary among the Cherokee and Creek Indians, with whom he labored for eight years. In 1860 he moved his family to Benton County, Ark., but he remained in the Indian Territory until the fall of 1861, when they took refuge in the South until the close of the war and then returned to Benton County. He began life with very small means, and met with many reverses, but is now in comfortable circumstances financially. He has an exceptionally fine orchard, and ships his fruit to all parts of the United States. His fruit took the first premium of $50 and the second premium of $15 at Springdale, Ark., and again took the first premium, $25, this fall, 1888, at Rogers, Ark.

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This family biography is one of 240 biographies included in The History of Benton County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Benton County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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