Courts in the Classroom
Supreme Court of Indiana
Division of State Court Administration
30 S. Meridian Street, Ste 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dr. Elizabeth R. Osborn
Coordinator for
Court History and
Public Education Programs


Pho: 317.233.8682
elizabeth.osborn@courts.IN.gov

Sarah Kidwell
Outreach Coordinator

Pho: 317.234.3055
sarah.kidwell@courts.IN.gov

NCPH 

Outstanding Public
History Project Award
from the National Council
on Public History

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Courts in the Classroom > Justice Biographies > Justice Silas D. Coffey Justice Biographies

Justice Silas D. Coffey

(Thirty-sixth Justice)

Justice Coffey

Justice Coffey was born February 23, 1839, in Owen County, Indiana,88 and died on March 6, 1904, in Brazil, Indiana.89

He entered Indiana University in 1860, but withdrew when the Civil War erupted.90 Yet the war did not stop his studies. He carried a copy of Blackstone's Commentaries with him.91

After the war Coffey returned home, studied law and opened an office in Bowling Green, Indiana, then the county seat of Clay County.92 Coffey was an active participant in the Republican Party.93 In 1881, he was named to the 13th Circuit Court bench where he stayed until he was elected to the Indiana Supreme Court.94 He sat from January 7, 1889 until January 7, 1895.95





88. 1 MONKS, supra note 25, at 274.
89. CHARLES W. TAYLOR, BENCH AND BAR OF INDIANA 708 (Indianapolis, Bench & Bar Publ. Co. 1895).
90. 1 MONKS, supra note 25, at 274.
91. TAYLOR, supra note 89, at 704.
92. 1 MONKS, supra note 25, at 275.
93. TAYLOR, supra note 89, at 53, 55, 711.
94. Id.
95. 1 MONKS, supra note 25, at 275.

Source: Browning, Minde C., Richard Humphrey, and Bruce Kleinschmidt. "Biographical Sketches of Indiana Supreme Court Justices." Indiana Law Review: Vol. 30, No. 1, 1997. View this source in PDF format.