WILLIAM D. COFFMAN, who owns and operates
a good farm on section 20, May Township, is one of the early settlers of Christian County, to which he came when
only five years of age, in 1850. He has the esteem and respect of all who know him, and his word is considered
as good as his bond.
The birth of our subject occurred on the
9th of July, 1845, in Ohio County, Va., and he is a son of James D. and Margaret (Settle) Coffman. The former was
born in Virginia, and in his youth learned the blacksmith's trade. This avocation he
pursued until 1850, when he emigrated to the West and made a settlement in this county.
He became the owner of land on the same
section where our subject now resides, and devoted himself to its improvement and cultivation until his death,
which occurred November 1, 1885. He was of German descent, and was much respected by the early settlers as well
as by the later arrivals in this region.
His wife was also a native of the Old Dominion,
born in Lancaster County. She came from one of the old families of Virginia, her ancestors having settled there
in Colonial days on coming from their native land, England. A number of the family participated in the War of the
Revolution. Mrs. Coffman was called from this life in Christian County, July 9, 1872.
In the family of five children our subject
is the eldest. Two of the number are deceased. Josephine became the wife of Leonard F. Peak, a well-known agriculturist
of this county; and Sarah married Isaac Corzine, who also owns a farm in this county. The parents removed here
in 1850, and reared their children to lives of usefulness.
Until his twentieth year our subject remained
on the home farm, attending the common schools of the neighborhood. In 1865, he went to Peoria,
and there pursued his studies for about one year. Returning, he worked for his father on the farm for the two succeeding
years, after which he rented land, which he engaged in cultivating for himself.
His father then gave him the use of forty
acres of land, which had been little improved and only had a small log house upon it. With undaunted energy he
began to clear the place, which was covered with brush and stumps. For nine years he kept house for himself, most
of the time in his little cabin, and brought the land into good shape.
The marriage of Mr. Coffman was celebrated
January 19, 1881, with Miss Lillian H. Fraley, who was born December 17, 1857, in Christian County. She is a daughter
of John S. and Sarah J. (Wiley) Fraley. The father was a native of Ohio,
and became a resident of this county in 1847, being one of the honored pioneers. He was prominent in those early
days and was widely known, as he lived on the old Terra Haute and Springfield stage road, and a great many travelers
were hospitably entertained at his home in those days. He was of German descent, and died on the 1st of March,
His wife, who was also born in Ohio, died in April, 1869. Five children blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs.
Coffman, namely: Mabel E., Minnie, Roy, Mary, and one who died in infancy.
In regard to the question of politics, Mr.
Coffman is a Prohibitionist and is a strong
temperance man. He holds membership with the United Brethren Church, while Mrs. Coffman is a member of the Methodist denomination.
Our subject has been at various times called
upon to fill township offices, which he has filled acceptably, but still prefers to give his time and attention
to his business interests. He served for nine years successively in the capacity of Township Clerk, at the end
of which time he declined being re-nominated. He is giving his children good educational advantages
and is a strong supporter of the most advanced educational methods. For fourteen years he has been School Treasurer
of the township, and has used his influence in the erection of many schoolhouses.
The well-improved farm of Mr. Coffman now contains within its limits two hundred and sixty-five acres, which are
all under cultivation and have many substantial improvements upon them. Our subject is well informed on general
topics and is especially posted on all matters pertaining to agricultural pursuits. He takes a number of leading
farm journals, and keeps fully abreast with the times, though still standing by the old and tried methods. He has
the respect of all who know him, for he is a man of unblemished reputation and sterling integrity.