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Our subject was born in Richland county, Ohio, on June 30, 1827, being the son of Jacob W. and Ann (Gallager) Coffinberry. His grandfather removed from Virginia to the territory of Ohio in an early day and built the second log cabin in Mansfield, which was later the home of John Sherman. The father of our subject removed to Michigan by team in 1830 and there practiced his profession, that of lawyer, being also district clerk, register of deeds and treasurer of his county until 1847, when he removed to Kansas and there died in 1872.
The immediate subject of this sketch started out for himself when he was eighteen years of age, having a capital of five hundred dollars. He took up the life of the peddler and sold goods in various portions of the country passing through Chicago, on December 19, 1847, when the main thing that he could see was mud. He went on to Richland county, Wisconsin, and there turned his attention to the carpenter trade, which he followed in that section until 1857. On January 1st of that year he took the cars to St. Louis and from there went to Weston, Missouri, by steamboat, and thence by team with wife and two children to Seneca, Nemaha county, Kansas. He helped to lay out the present town of Seneca and remained there until 1866, then sold out and went to Neosha county in the same state and took up land. There he farmed and worked at his until 1882, and then sold his farm and bought an implement store at Osage Mission in Kansas; the place now is called St. Paul. For four years he prosecuted this business, and then determined to visit the Pacific coast, and accordingly sold out and came to Union county and bought his present home in the town of Union. Here he has wrought at the carpenter trade since and is one of the most esteemed of our citizens, having a reputation unsullied and a character that commands respect.
In political matters, Mr. Coffinberry has held a very prominent part, especially in the state of Kansas. In 1859, the last year that Kansas was a territory, Mr. Coffinberry was elected to the legislature on the Republican ticket. Two years after the admission of Kansas as a state, in 1861, he was again elected to the state legislature from Nemaha county, and in addition to this he held every office that was in the gift of the people of his county except that of sheriff. For four years also he was chairman of the board of county commissioners. When the war broke out Mr. Coffinberry raised two companies of soldiers, one of seventy-two men that was merged in the Seventh Kansas Cavalry, and the other of eighty men that belonged to the Tenth Kansas Infantry. Mr. Coffinberry was a warm advocate of prohibition, and in 1873 in company with two others went to Topeka and succeeded in getting the prohibition bill passed, the same text as is now in vogue in that state.
Mr. Coffinberry was married to Miss Elizabeth, daughter of Sylvester and Anna Morgan, farmers in Richland county, Wisconsin, on September 4, 1848, and they have become the parents of the following children; Edgar E. Florence, Alice, Milton M. and Emma E., all married and living in Kansas; Ermina R., at home. Mr. Coffinberry is one of the wide-awake and progressive men of the county, well informed on the questions of the day and a recipient of the esteem and confidence of his fellows.
Illustrated History of Union and Wallowa Counties
Page 274, 275