Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Hat Gang: Sam Cofield and Men

Samuel Lewis Cofield, far left

I don't know for sure, but the men pictured here with Sam Cofield were likely his brothers. This is based on other photos that bear a similarity to the men in this photograph.

In 1873, Sam Cofield moved to Marion County from across the state in Randolph County, Alabama where the Cofields had settled sometime around 1840. As far as I can tell, Sam was the only one from the Cofield family that made the move although some of his cousins came later including James L. Cofield, son of Cosby Vina Cofield. Sam was newly married to Zilpha Emeline Cockrell, daughter of Tobias and Abigail Cockrell, and it was with her family that they traveled, settling in the western portion of Marion County near the Itawamba County line. Other Cockrell family members kept going a bit further west, stopping near Mantachie where many of their descendants live today.

Sam's son-in-law, Rip Harbor, was a photographer, and I suspect that he took this picture. It's pure speculation on my part, but perhaps Sam's brothers came for a visit from Randolph County and Sam requested a photograph. We may never know, but I'm just thankful that the photograph turned up. After my father died in 2005, I wrote his first cousin who lived in Baltimore, Richard Cofield, the only surviving Cofield male from Sam's line and someone I had never met. We soon had an e-mail correspondence, and among the many delightful photos he shared with me was this one. He had found it in his deceased father's desk years ago, didn't know who the men were but had saved the picture nonetheless.

Sam's brothers were William J. "Bud" Cofield, Cosby W. Cofield, John Henry Cofield, Joseph Thomas Cofield, Frances Marion "Frank" Cofield, Elijah Wyatt Cofield, and Madison DeKalb Cofield. Madison died in 1893 so he wouldn't be in the photo. Bud died in 1904 so it is possible he is not pictured as well. That leaves five brothers that could be pictured together. Maybe one day someone will contact me with positive identification of the men.

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