James Madison Coffey, farmer, school teacher, and Texas legislator, was born on October 18, 1873, in Ettawa County, Alabama, to Aurelius Real Coffey and Grace Adeline Penelope (Hodges) Coffey. He came to Texas with his family by the age of three and settled in Pilot Point, Texas, in Denton County. From there, Coffey moved to the town of Denton, likely for the purpose of attending the Normal College (now University of North Texas) there. He became a teacher in the Spring Hill community near Aubrey, Texas, but spent most of his life as a farmer. On May 1, 1895, Coffey married Leslie Teresa Simpson. This union produced three children—Homer, Ruby, and Worth Coffey. In addition to teaching, Coffey farmed at least sixty-five acres and was actively engaged in growing wheat and corn as well as hog breeding. His brand, C-5, was likely well-known in his community. He was a charter member of the First Christian Church at Aubrey.
By early 1909 Coffey’s attention turned to politics, and he joined the Democratic party. In 1924 Coffey defeated J. N. Raynor for the District 49 seat, representing Denton County, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, where he served in the Thirty-ninth Texas Legislature. While there, Coffey served on the Agriculture Committee, the Claims and Accounts Committee, as well as the Penitentiaries Committee and Public Printing Committee. Perhaps due to the failing health of Coffey’s wife and her subsequent death in 1928, Coffey served only one term, and little can be found regarding his life after that point. Census records indicate his continued farming and mention no other occupation. According to Coffey’s obituary, on the morning of July 6, 1940, he was killed instantly when his car was struck by a train at a crossing just south of the Aubrey railroad station. Coffey was survived by his three children and was buried alongside his wife at the Belew Cemetery in Aubrey, Texas.