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Coffey (Alvin Aaron) Papers
C057883  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Scope and Contents
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Existence and Location of Originals
  • Preferred Citation

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Society of California Pioneers
    Title: Alvin Aaron Coffey Papers
    creator: Coffey, Alvin Aaron, 1822 or 4-1902
    Identifier/Call Number: C057883
    Physical Description: 1 folder 1 Folder
    Date (inclusive): 1892
    Abstract: This file contains two hand written letters from A. A. Coffey and one photocopied excerpt from his Autobiography and Reminiscence which was created as an institutional record for the Society of California Pioneers. The two letters where both written from "Red Bluff" and are dated the 9th and the 19th of April, 1892. One of the letters discusses his donation of a "Stuffed badger hide" and details his ordeal in obtaining it. The second letter is a response to the Society of Pioneers regarding a reunion and his attendance. The 6 pages of Photocopies detail Mr. Coffey's early life, his time as a slave in Tennessee, and his travels to California.

    Scope and Contents

    This file contains two hand written letters from A. A. Coffey and one photocopied excerpt from his Autobiography and Reminiscence which was created as an institutional record for the Society of California Pioneers. The two letters where both written from "Red Bluff" and are dated the 9th and the 19th of April, 1892. One of the letters discusses his donation of a "Stuffed badger hide" and details his ordeal in obtaining it. The second letter is a response to the Society of Pioneers regarding a reunion and his attendance. The 6 pages of Photocopies detail Mr. Coffey's early life, his time as a slave in Tennessee, and his travels to California. Mr. Coffey's father was named Larkin Coffey and they were both raised on the "Coffey Plantation in Tennessee". Mr Coffey was sold in 1846 by Henry H. Duvall to Dr. Bassett "for $600" and, Coffey notes, "then in '49 I came to California with him". Mr Coffey would work for Dr. Bassett in California for 13 months and "saved him $5,500 in gold dust. I saved $616 of my own money (in gold dust)". The two men would return to Tennessee in 1851 where he was sold once more for $1000. Mr. Coffey left St. Louis Missouri on April 2nd, 1849 in was with a 20 wagon team across the plains. Along his journey he encountered many cholera victims, particularly in St. Joseph and St Louis, but had no more run-in's with the diseases in route, eventually reaching Fort Laramie on the 16th of June. By mid-November he and his team had "went to dry-digging mining" and then the rain and snow began and kept them in doors. He would eventually save enough money to buy his own freedom, becoming a member of the Society of California Pioneers and one of California's first and few African-American pioneers. There is a copy of his Autobiography and Reminiscence digitized in the Online Archive of California.

    Biographical / Historical

    Mr. Coffey's father was named Larkin Coffey and they were both raised on the "Coffey Plantation in Tennessee". Mr Coffey was sold in 1846 by Henry H. Duvall to Dr. Bassett "for $600" and "then in '49 I came to California with him". Mr Coffey would work for Dr. Bassett in California for 13 months and "saved him $5,500 in gold dust. I saved $616 of my own money (in gold dust)". The two men would return to Tennessee in 1851 where he was sold once more for $1000. Mr. Coffey left St. Louis Missouri on April 2nd, 1849 in a 20 wagon team across the plains. Along his journey he encountered many cholera victims, particularly in St. Joseph and St Louis, but had no more run-in's with the diseases in route, eventually reaching Fort Laramie on the 16th of June. By mid-November he and his team had "went to dry-digging mining" and then the rain and snow began and kept them in doors. He would eventually save enough money to buy his own freedom, becoming a member of the Society of California Pioneers and one of California's first and few African-American pioneers. The Society also has institutional records on him which give further information on Mr. Coffey.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Source and date of aquisition unknown.

    Existence and Location of Originals

    The Society of California Pioneers, 101 Montgomery St. Suite 150, The Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco CA, 94129

    Preferred Citation

    The Alvin Aaron Coffey Papers. The Society of California Pioneers.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Frontier and pioneer life – California
    Pioneers -- California -- History -- 19th century
    Society of California Pioneers.
    African Americans - California - History - 19th century
    Slavery - Tennessee - History - 19th century
    Coffey, Alvin Aaron, 1822 or 4-1902