Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Owl Creek Boys - George and Samuel Coffland

Civil War Pension card

From my last post I had found a list of Civil War soldiers from a particular area of Brown County that had been published in our local newspaper back in 1906. This group of men had served in the Civil War and had been residents of Owl Creek in Washington Township. At the end of the article it mentioned that some of them had died in the south. Did they die in the war, did they still live on Owl Creek by 1906, or could I even find them at this late date so long after the war. I did the usual searches in our Obituary book, looked to see if any marriages were made in their names, and I looked at the Brown County Roll of Honor listing soldiers that died in the Civil War

I had settled on trying to find a couple of these men, George and Samuel Goffland. They seemed to be the most elusive of the bunch. Doing a lot of searches I found nothing on the surname Goffland. However there was both a George and Samuel Coffland in the 1860 census for Brown County, Washington Township. The paper could have misspelled their names. They both had disappeared by the 1870. I then checked for marriages for a George and Samuel Coffland. Nothing for Samuel, but George had married a Serena Henry on June 26, 1859. Yes, George and Serena Coffland were in the 1860 census, but not in the 1870. I checked for any remarriages - Serena had remarried to George Parks in 1867. Something must have happened to George Coffland in this median time period. In the 1870 census in George and Serena Parks’ family were two Coffland children, William and Perry C. Hannah Coffland. Next thing to check was for a divorce or a probate record - no divorce was found. I hit the jackpot with a Probate record for George W. Coffland. It gave one of the children’s names, William A., and the wife, Serena. It gave guardianship information for the child, and it stated he had gone to live with grandparents in Missouri and then on to Kansas.

Checking back on the Roll of Honor I did find a George W. Coffin who had died in action, probably another misspelling, but none the less, my George Coffland. The last thing I wanted to obtain was some sort of military information for George. I checked on and found his Civil War pension card where Serena had filed for a widow’s pension in 1865 on June 26 and then again as a guardian under the name of Serena Parks in 1868. The pension card also gave George’s unit, Company H, 82nd Indiana Infantry.

Now we have to find Samuel Coffland/Goffland. There was very little on him in Brown County. He only appeared in the 1860 census as a 20 year old living in the household of James and Rhoda Coflin. Trying to track down George’s lone surviving son, William helped to find Samuel. Taking the information from George’s Probate gave a clue as to where to look for Samuel. James and Rhoda Coffland, more than likely the grandparents of William, went to live in Woodson County, Kansas and then to Greene County, Missouri, and that’s where Samuel was found. From Samuel is buried there in the Hazelwood Cemetery in Greene County along with his wife Elizabeth. From his cemetery stone he was born in 1840 and died in 1929. One last piece of documentation to get was something giving his military service since his stone did not. From I obtained his Civil War pension card. He was in Company C, 22nd Indiana Infantry as well as another military unit he had served in. He filed for an invalid pension on May 11, 1886. His widow filed on June 10, 1929. Both these Coffland brothers were well remembered by their former residents on Owl Creek as well as Brown Countians who remembered them as two young men who served their country well in the war.

Civil War Pension card

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