Treadwell C. Coffman, educator, lawyer and citizen of State-wide acquaintance, who is capably and acceptably filling the position of superintendent of public instruction for Clay county, Kansas, was born on his father's farm in Lyon county, ten miles west of Emporia, September 14, 1868, a son of Jacob L. and Hattie M. (Carll) Coffman. The elder Coffman was born on his father's farm near Hagerstown, Md., May 21, 1837. This farm is still in the family, and was a part of the battle ground of Antietam, and the farm house was used as a hospital by the Union forces. He was reared a farmer and followed this occupation until his retirement from active life, in 1898. He removed from his native State to Illinois in 1845, and came to Kansas in 1868, where he bought an "Indian Float," ten miles west of Emporia. He was one of the pioneer settlers of Lyon county, and assisted in its organization. He was an active factor in the political life of the county, a consistent advocate of the principles and policies of the Republican party, but public office did not appeal to him, nor would he permit his name to go before a convention. In 1898 he removed to Wakefield, his present residence, and retired from active labor. Mr. Coffman married, in June, 1867, at Polo, Ill., Miss Hattie M. Carll, daughter of Lyman and Almira (Cooper) Carll, who was born at Ithaca, N. Y., on October 22, 1842. Her father removed, with his family, in 1847, to Illinois, and became a successful merchant and farmer. Jacob L. and Hattie M. (Carll) Coffman became the parents of seven children: Treadwell C., the subject of this article; Orrel Belle, born March 18, 1870, the wife of C. F. Foley, a lawyer of Lyons, Kan., now chairman of the Kansas State Public Utilities Commission; Alka B., born May 28, 1872, the wife of Clark Chamberlain, a farmer of Spring Hill, Kan.; Hattie M., born October 14, 1874, the wife of Hon. H. W. Avery, of Wakefield, Kan., and a member of the State senate; Hays B., born September 22, 1876, a farmer of Olathe, Colo.; Lyman J., born November 29, 1878, a farmer of Placerville, Colo., and Almira E., born December 18, 1881, the wife of Irvin G. Dillon, superintendent of Indian schools at Darlington, Okla.
Treadwell C. Coffman acquired his early education in the public schools of Lyon county, and later entered the Kansas State Normal School at Emporia, from which he was graduated with the class of 1887. On completion of his normal course he secured a school and engaged in teaching, first in Osage county and later followed this profession in Finney, Haskell and Phillips counties. He read law in the offices of Hon. W. R. Hopkins, of Garden City, and was admitted to the bar in 1892. The same year he was elected county attorney of Haskell county, but resigned in 1904, to again return to the position of superintendent of schools at Garden City. During the six years in which he was at the head of the Garden City schools he proved his possession of administrative ability of a high order, brought about system in all departments of the school work, initiated reforms of great benefit to the pupils, while his administration was marked by harmony among superintendent, teachers and board of education. In 1898 he received his degree of Bachelor of Arts from Lane University, at Lecompton, Kan. In 1899 he was appointed assistant postmaster at Phillipsburg, but resigned the following year to become deputy collector of internal revenue at Leavenworth. In 1901 he resigned from the revenue service on account of the poor health of Mrs. Coffman, and removed to his farm in Greenwood county. The following seven years he spent in operating his property and in teaching. In 1908 his wife having recovered her health, he accepted the principalship of the Wakefield schools, where he remained until called upon to assume the duties of his present office, to which he was elected in 1910, and reëlected in 1912. In his educational work Mr. Coffman has won recognition as one of the most able men in the educational field in Kansas. He is more than duplicating his Garden City success as an executive, the schools of Clay county were never working to better advantage, while the finished product, the pupil, is of the highest standard so far turned out. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, has attained the Knights Templar degree in Masonry, and is a member of the Methodist church. He is a Republican, is active in the councils of his party, and is an untiring working in its interests.
On September 25, 1895, Mr. Coffman married Miss Irene B. Priest, daughter of Lorenzo O. and Aritha (Soule) Priest, of Emporia. She was born on September 27, 1867. Lorenzo O. Priest, her father, is a native of Vermont, and a pioneer settler of Lyon county, in which he located in 1855. He served during the Civil war as a private in the Eleventh Kansas infantry. He is a farmer and former teacher. His wife died in 1875. Mr. and Mrs. Coffman are the parents of one child, Jacob Joseph Coffman, born August 18, 1898.Pages 437-439 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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