A Guide to the Holland Coffee Papers, 1836-1886, 1941
Raised in McMinnville, Tennessee, trader and politician Holland Coffee (1807-1846) arrived in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1829 and established Coffee, Colville, and Company with Silas Cheek Colville. The business supplied local settlers, Indians, and trapping expeditions. An 1833 trapping expedition to the upper Red River led Coffee to establish a trading post in Oklahoma. Coffee learned the local Oklahoma Indian languages and customs and negotiated the release of several captured settlers. President Sam Houston appointed Coffee an Indian agent in November 1837. The following year, Coffee enacted a treaty between the republic and the Kichai, Tawakoni, Waco, and Tawehash tribes. He was also elected to the Texas House of Representatives from Fannin County, which he served from 1838 to 1839. Shortly thereafter, Coffee dissolved his partnership with Colville and began developing Glen Eden plantation on the Red River in Grayson County. He furnished provisions for the 1840 Military Road expedition of William G. Cooke, participated in framing the Texas Indian treaty of August 24, 1842, and provided the supplies promised in the Comanche treaty of 1846.
On January 19, 1839, Coffee married Sophia Suttenfield Aughinbaugh (1815-1897), the second child of William and Laura Taylor Suttenfield in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She moved to Nacogdoches, Texas, in 1835 with her husband, druggist and teacher Jesse Augustine Aughinbaugh, who abandoned her shortly thereafter. As a member of the Texas House of Representatives, Coffee successfully lobbied the passage of a bill granting Sophia divorce. On October 1, 1846, offended by a remark made by trader Charles Ashton Galloway about Sophia, Coffee attacked Galloway and was killed in the ensuing fight.
In December 1847, Sophia married Major George N. Butts (or Butt), who joined her in operating Glen Eden. Butts was killed in 1863, reportedly ambushed by a member of William C. Quantrill's outlaw gang. During the Civil War, Sophia earned the nickname "Confederate Paul Revere" for riding across the Red River to warn Col. James G. Bourland that Union troops were at Glen Eden. On August 2, 1865, Sophia married Judge James Porter, and the couple lived at Glen Eden until his death in 1886. Sophia never had children of her own, but raised two of Holland Coffee's nieces.
Britton, Morris L. “Coffee, Holland.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed November 8, 2010.
Britton, Morris L. “Porter, Sophia Suttenfield.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed November 8, 2010.
Consisting of transcripts and photographs, the Holland Coffee Papers, 1836-1886, document the career of Coffee as a trader and legislator as well as the business activities of his wife Sophia and her third husband, George N. Butts. The collection concerns Coffee’s land, slaves, business dealings, and home, Glen Eden, all of which Sophia and George took over upon Coffee’s death. The transcribed documents include bills of sale, petitions, land grants and certificates, a power of attorney, survey records, probate court records, a will, a mortgage, stock certificates, deeds, and tax receipts. The collection also includes the transcript of an interview with Hazel B. Greene describing her aunt Sophia and 1941 photographs of Glen Eden.
This collection is open for research use.
Holland Coffee Papers, 1836-1886, 1941, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers