“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Florence in Lauderdale County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)

John Coffee: 1772-1833

John Coffee: 1772~1833 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, November 4, 2016
1. John Coffee: 1772~1833 Marker
Inscription.  (side 1)
John Coffee was born in Prince Edward County, VA, in 1772, the son of Joshua and Elizabeth Graves Coffee. The family moved to NC in 1777. After his father died in 1798, Coffee and other family members moved to Davidson County, TN where he purchased a small plantation and engaged in agriculture, mercantile business and land surveying. He joined several business partnerships, including one with Andrew Jackson in 1804. On October 3, 1809, Coffee married Mary Donelson, niece of Rachel Donelson, who was the wife of Andrew Jackson. His land surveying business took him to Madison County in the Mississippi Territory where he laid out the city of Huntsville in June 1810. When the War of 1812 was declared, the Tennessee militia was called to activity duty under the command of General Andrew Jackson. Coffee became a Colonel in November 1813 and was shortly promoted to Brigadier-General. He commanded a battalion of Volunteer Mounted Riflemen and later a regiment of Cavalry. The Creek Indians (Red Sticks), with support of the Spanish and British, started the Creek War with the massacre at Fort Mims in 1813. During this war, Coffee’s
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performance was outstanding in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend against the Red Sticks, the Battle of Pensacola against the Spanish, and the Battle of New Orleans against the British. Coffee was promoted to Major-General and discharged from active duty in early 1815.
(Continued on other side)
(side 2)
(Continued from other side)
In 1817, Coffee was appointed Surveyor-General of the northern part of the Alabama Territory and moved the Federal Land Office to Huntsville. He continued in that position until his death. From the U. S. Land Office in Huntsville, he surveyed the lands of north Alabama, established the boundary line between Alabama and Mississippi and laid out several towns, including Florence. He helped organize several businesses including the Cypress Land Company which established the city of in 1818. Coffee purchased 1280 acres of land north of Florence on which he established the Hickory Hill Plantation, including this site. Coffee moved his family to the Hickory Hill Plantation home located near here, in 1819. The plantation produced mainly cotton, corn, fruit trees, and livestock. Also, a cotton gin, sawmill and gristmill were built and operated on nearby Cox Creek. Labor was provided by as many as 85 slaves. In 1823, the Federal Land Office was moved to Florence. The Coffee family consisted of his wife Mary, and ten children:
John Coffee: 1772~1833 Marker Side 2 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, November 4, 2016
2. John Coffee: 1772~1833 Marker Side 2
Mary, John Donelson, Elizabeth, Andrew J., Alexander Donelson, Rachel Jackson, Catherine, Emily, William Donelson, and Joshua. In 1820, Coffee joined with neighbors in establishing the first school in what is now Florence. Coffee died on July 7, 1833, and was buried at this site in the family cemetery. Mary died on December 11, 1871, and was buried near John.
Erected 2014 by Florence Historical Board.
Topics and series. This memorial is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesSettlements & SettlersWar of 1812. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #07 Andrew Jackson series list. A significant historical date for this entry is July 7, 1833.
Location. 34° 50.522′ N, 87° 41.477′ W. Marker is in Florence, Alabama, in Lauderdale County. Memorial is on Surveyor Road, 0.2 miles west of Cloverdale Road, on the left when traveling west. Across the road from Walmart. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2701 Cloverdale Rd, Florence AL 35633, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Hickory Hill Plantation Slave Cemetery (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); General John Coffee (approx. 0.2 miles away); Florence's Early Water Tower 1890 (approx. 1.2 miles away); Ante-Bellum Cotton Mills 1840
John Coffee: 1772~1833 Cemetery image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, November 4, 2016
3. John Coffee: 1772~1833 Cemetery
(approx. 1.6 miles away); Governor Hugh McVay Home Site and Cemetery (approx. 1.7 miles away); Larimore Home (approx. 1.8 miles away); Homer Givens (approx. 1.8 miles away); North Wood United Methodist Church (approx. 1.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Florence.
Also see . . .  Times Daily article about marker installation. (Submitted on December 20, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 20, 2016. It was originally submitted on November 5, 2016, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. This page has been viewed 996 times since then and 224 times this year. Last updated on December 6, 2016, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 5, 2016, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 25, 2023