John Coffee was born in Virginia in 1782. His family moved to Georgia in 1800; he became involved with the state militia and fought in the Creek Wars; he eventually rose to the rank of brigadier general. He went on to serve under Andrew Jackson and fought at the Battle of Horshoe Bend and the Battle of New Orleans. He also served Georgia for two terms as a U.S. Representative. He died in 1836; Coffee County was named in his honor in 1854.