There were perks to being a doctor’s wife, such as a luxurious home in Warwick’s seaside village of Conimicut. But, for Emma (Wieland) Coffey, the privileges weren’t worth the pains.
Emma was 24 years old when she married John Bernard Coffey on Aug. 4, 1914. The 27-year-old man had worked as a clerk in a Providence drug store before graduating from a medical school not recognized by the American Medical Association. The couple resided in Central Falls, Cranston and East Greenwich before settling into a home on Greene Street in Conimicut with their six children. All the while, a parade of endless lawsuits had them both marching into courts all over the state.
In the autumn of 1920, William Mathew of Pawtucket charged them both with smashing into his auto on Mineral Spring Avenue and asked for $5,000 in damages. A jury determined that because Dr. Coffey was driving his wife’s auto at the time of the accident, he alone was responsible. He was ordered to pay Mathew $350 in damages.
In 1923, the doctor opened a new office at 1530 Cranston Street. The following year, he was arrested for driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident in Warwick on the afternoon of Sept. 16, after he smashed into the auto of 51-year-old West Warwick grammar school teacher Bertha Remington Kent. He pleaded not guilty and bail was set at $800. George Koch, a 44-year-old druggist from East Greenwich, paid the bail but John failed to appear at the Oct. court hearing.
By 1925, John had opened a new office at 279 South Main Street in East Greenwich. That Sept., he was arrested …….