NORTHERN NEW YORK
Genealogical and family history of northern New York: a record of the achievements of her people
in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation.
New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. 1910.
Transcribed by Coralynn Brown
In Falaise, a town of Normandy, stands the old chateau of Courtiton, once the home of the Norman Coffins; the name is now extinct in that vicinage. The chateau is now (1910) owned by Mons. Le Clere, grandson of the last Miss Coffin, who married a Le Clere in 1796. Until her marriage the chateau had always been owned by a Coffin. (The above information came through Admiral Henry E. Coffin, of the English navy, nephrew of Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin, who was born in Massachusetts, May 16, 1759, made a baronet, and granted a coat-of-arms in 1804.)
The family traces its ancestry to Sir Richard Coffin, Knight, who accompanied William the Conqueror from Normandy to England in the year 1066, to whom the manor of Alwington, county of Devonshire, was assigned. There are various branches of the family in county Devon. The English records show the name as Covin, whence it was changed to Cophin, and is also found as Kophin, Coffyn and Coffyne. Before 1254 the family was flourishing at Portledge, near the sea, in the parish of Alwington, five miles from Biddeford, England. From the time of Henry VIII to Edward II, for a period of two hundred years, the heirs always received the name of Richard, and so the family was perpetuated for many generations through that name.
The name was early brought to the Massachusetts Bay Colony and has been borne by many leading men. The revolutionary war record of the family is especially honorable.
The Portledge family bore these arms: Vert, five cros-crosslets argent, between four plates. These arms are also used by the American families.
(I) Tristram Coffin, a descendant of Sir Richard Coffin, mentioned above, lived in Brixton, county Devon, England. In his will he left legacies to Anna and John, children of his son, Nicholas Coffin; Richard and Joan, children of Lionel Coffin; Phillip Coffin and his son, Tristam; appointed Nicholas Coffin, mentioned below, his executor.
(II) Nicholas, son of Tristram Coffin, lived in Butler's parish, Devonshire, England, where he die din 1603. In his will, proved at Totness, Devonshire, Nov. 3, 1603, mention is made of his wife and five children:
Peter, Nicholas, Tristram, John and Anne.
(III) Peter, eldest child of Nicholas and Joan Coffin, was born on the Coffin estate at Brixton, Devonshire, England, about 1580, and died there in 1627-28. He married Joan (or Joanna) Thember.
Children, born and baptized in the parish of Brixton, Devonshire, England:
1. Tristram (q.v.), 1605.
2. John, about 1607; he was a solider, and died in the service from a mortal wound, received in battle during the four years' siege of the fortified town during the civil war, and died within the town about 1642.
3. Joan, born in England, about 1609, and probably died there.
4. Deborah, died probably in England.
5. Eunice, born in England, came to Massachusetts Bay Colony with her parents; married William Butter, and died in 1648.
6. Mary, married Alexander Adams; children: Mary, Susannah, John and Samuel. She died in 1677, or thereabouts.
Widow Joan, with her children, Tristram, Eunice and Mary, her two sons-in-law, husbands of her daughters who were married in England, her daughter-in-law Dionis and five grandchildren, came to Salisbury in 1642. She died in Boston in May, 1661, aged seventy-seven years, and in the notice of her funeral it is quaintly stated that the Rev. Mr. Wilson "emblamed her memory."
(IV) Tristram (2), eldest child of Peter and Joan, or Joanna (Thember) Coffin, was born in the parish of Brixton, Devonshire, England, probably in 1605. He was of the landed gentry in England, being heir to his father's estates in Brixton, and was probably a churchman after the order of the time of Elizabeth.
He was married to Dionis (the diminutive for Dionysia, and after written Dionys), daughter of Robert Stevens, of Brixton, England. It is a strange fact that the Christian name of the immgrant forefather of all the Coffins in America, Tristram, is repeated and multiplied in every family in every generation, while the name of the foremother, Dionis, is repeated but once in all the generations, and that was when it was given to an eldest daughter of Stephen, the youngest child of Tristram and Dionis (Stevens) Coffin, but when she married Jacob Norton her name appears as Dinah.
It is not known on which of the early ships conveying emigrants from England to New England the Coffin family took passage, but it is generally believed that it was the same ship that brought Robert Clement, the emigrant, who owned the ships, "Hector," "Griffin," "Job Clement," and "Margaret Clement," and if Robert Clement, the immigrant, took passage in one of his own ships, Tristram Coffin, the immigrant, was a passenger in the same ship, and both men settled in Haverhill in 1642.
The early settlers of Salisbury, which town was established Oct. 7, 1640, commenced a settlement at Pentucket the same year, and the Indian deed for this land was witnessed by Tristram Coffin in 1642, and in 1643 he removed to the place which was established as the town of Haverhill, Norfolk county, Massachusetts Bay Colony. He settled near Robert Clement.
Tradition has it that Tristram Coffin was the first man to plow land in the town of Haverhill, he constructing his own plow. He changed his residence to the "Rocks" the following year, and in 1648-49 removed to Newbury, where he kept an ordinary and sold wine and liquors and kept the Newbury side of Carr's Ferry.
In September, 1643, his wife Dionis was prosecuted for selling beer for three pence per quart, while the regular price was but two pence, but she proved that she had put six bushels of malt into the hogshead, while the law only required the use of four bushels; she was discharged.
He returned to Salisbury and was commissioner of the town, and while living there planned the purchase of the estate of Nantucket, where he, with his associates, removed on account of religious persecution. At least, Thomas Macy, who was the pioneer settler on Nantucket Island, "fled from the officer of the law and sacrificed his property and home rather than submit to tyranny which punished a man for being hospitable to strangers in a rain storm, even though the strangers be "Quakers." Macy returned to Salisbury and resided there in 1664, and when he left he sold his house and lands, the story of his "fleeing from persecution" is spoiled and history gives the true reason for the migration, the search for a milder climate and better opportunity for cultivating the soil.
Early in 1654 Tristram Coffin tool Peter Folyer, grandfather of Benjamin Franklin, at that time living in Martha's Vineyard as an interpreter of the Indian language, and proceeded to Nantucket, to ascertain the "temper and disposition of the Indians and the capabilities of the island, that he might report to the citizens of Salisbury what inducements were offered for emigration." The land was secured the same year, and James Coffin accompanied Thomas and Mary and family, Edward Starbuck and Isaac Coleman to the island later the same year, where they took up their residence.
The Coffin family that settled at Nantucket included Tristram Sr., James, Mary, John and Stephen, and each the head of a family.
Tristram Coffin was thirty-seven years old when he arrived in America, and fifty-five years old at the time of his removal to Nantucket, and during the first year of his residence he was the richest proprietor. The property of his son Peter is said to have soon after exceeded in value that of the original proprietor, the family together owning about one-fourth of the island of Nantucket and the whole of Tuckernock. He was appointed the second chief magistrate of the town of Nantucket, succeeding his friend Thomas Macy, and at the same time Thomas Mayhew was appointed the first chief magistrate of Martha's Vineyard, their commissions signed by Governor Lovelace, of New York, bearing date June 29, 1671, and the two chief magistrates, together with two assistants from each island, constitute a general court, with appellate jurisdiction over both islands. The appointment was made by Governor Francis Lovelace, of New York, and his second commission, Sept. 16, 1677, was signed by Edward Andros, governor-general of the Province of New York.
He died at his home on Nantucket Island, Oct. 2, 1681, leaving his widow Dionis, seven children, sixty grandchildren and a number of great-grandchildren, and in 1728 there had been born to him one thousand five hundred and eighty-two descendants, of whom one thousand one hundred and twenty-eight were living.
Children of Tristram & Dionis (Stevens) Coffin, the first five born in England:
(V) Hon. Peter (2), son of Tristram (2) Coffin, was born in England 1631. He spent most of his life at Dover, New Hampshire, but was interested in the purchase of the island of Nantucket. He was chief justice of the superior court of New Hampshire and for several years a counselor of the province. In 1690 he moved to Exeter, New Hampshire, and died there march 21, 1715.
He married Abigail, daughter of Edward Starbuck, of Dover and Nantucket.
Abigail, born Oct. 20, 1657.
Peter, Aug. 20, 1660.
Jethro, Sept. 16, 1663, mentioned below.
Tristram, July 18, 1665.
Edward, Feb. 20, 1669.
Judith, Feb. 4, 1672.
Elizabeth, Jan. 27, 1680.
(VI) Jethro, son of Hon. Peter (2) Coffin, resided in Nantucket, where he was born Sept. 16, 1663, and died 1726.
He married Mary, daughter of John and Priscilla (Grafton) Gardner, born May 27, 1670, at Salem, died at Nantucket, Oct. 27, 1767.
Children, born at Nantucket:
Margaret, June 10, 1689.
Priscilla, Dec. 26, 1691.
John, mentioned below.
Josiah, July 28, 1698.
Abigail, Feb. 12, 1701.
Robert, April 21, 1704.
(VII) John, son of Jethro and Mary (Gardner) Coffin, was born April 12, 1694, in Nantucket, where he resided and died in 1768. He married Lydia Gardner, born there 1687, daughter of Richard and Mary (Austin) Gardner.
Children, born at Nantucket:
John, mentioned below.
Peter, married twice.
Parnell, died 1777.
Richard, married Abigail Gardner.
Lydia, died 1725.
Deborah, born Oct. 25, 1731.
(VIII) John (2), son of John (1) and Lydia (Gardner) Coffin, was born about 1720, and in 1740 removed from Nantucket to Fishkill, New York. He married Mary Davis, and they had sons Edward, Isaac and John.
(IX) Edward, son of John (2) and Mary (Davis) Coffin, was born in 1762, at Fishkill, N.Y., and died Aug. 13, 1824, in Newport, Herkimer county, N.Y. This ws then Montgomery county, and Edward Coffin settled there before 1790, as shown by the Federal census of that year. At that time he had four sons under sixteen and two females in his family. His wife Sibyl died June 12, 1838, aged seventy-six years.
Isaac (mentioned below), James, Ann, John, Abraham, Edward and Benjamin. Abraham settled at Depeyster, and married Ann Fishbeck.
(X) Isaac, son of Edward and Sibyl Coffin, was born about 1784, and died Oct. 23, 1858, in DePeyster, N.Y. His early life was spent in Herkimer county, and he was among the early settlers of DePeyster, where he cleared up land and engaged in farming.
He married Margaret Patten, born in 1782, died Aug. 25, 1841, in DePeyster, aged fifty-nine years.
John, Julia and Julius Augustus (twins), Horace, Henderson and Ann.
(XI) Julius Augustus, second son of Isaac and Margaret (Patten) Coffin, was born Nov. 16, 1816, in Herkimer, and died Oct. 19, 1868 at Petroleum Center, Pennsylvania. He received his education in the common schools and soon after attaining his majority settled in DePeyster, St. Lawrence county, New York, where he purchased a farm. This region was then but partially cleared, and Mr. Coffin engaged in the arduous labor of developing a farm, in which he was quite successful.
About 1853 he removed to Lisbon, same county, and there purchased a large farm, which he tilled with very satisfactory results. Being a man of energy and industry, he accumulated some means, which were invested in speculation, but with disastrous results. About this time the oil discoveires of Pennsylvania led to the removal thither of many enterprising men. Mr. Coffin sold out his farm and removed to Pennsylvania, where he was engaged in the lumber and milk business, and was about to invest in oil lands when death overtook him, a little before the close of his fifty-second year.
He was a man of strong personality, liberal in his political and religious views, and a regular attendant with his family of the Congregational church, and a liberal contributor to its benevolences.
While an earnest supporter of Republican principles and active in the organization of the party, he steadfastly refused any public office, and devoted himself to his business and the interests of his family.
He married, at DePeyster, April 5, 1845, Jane Ann Partridge, born May 12, 1826, at Kenne, Essex county, N.Y., daughter of Amos and Abigail (Lewis) Partridge, of DePeyster (see Partridge V). Immediately after his death she came with her children to Potsdam, N.Y., where she continued to reside until her death, May 10, 1896, two days before her seventieth birthday. Of their six children, one died in infancy.
Those who grew up were:
1. Josephine, wife of Herbert G. Morian, of East Bradford, Pennsylvania; children: Clarence Herbert, Stanley Coffin and Clark H.
2. Annette Imogene, a teacher at White Plains, N.Y.
3. Lewis Augustus, mentioned below.
4. Julia Ann, wife of Frank Wallace Jennings, an educator of Johnstown, N.Y.
5. Mary E., wife of Rufus L. Sisson, of Potsdam, N.Y. (see Sisson VIII).
(XII) Lewis Augustus, only son of Julius A. and Jane A. (Partridge) Coffin, was born Oct. 27, 1856, in Lisbon. He was a small child when his parents moved to Pennsylvania, and had little opportunity for education until after the return of the family to New York. In 1877 he was graduated from the State Normal School at Potsdam, and in 1882 graduated with the degree of A.B. from Union College in Schenectady, having accomplished a four year course in two years. For two years he taught science and mathematics in the Ogdensburg Academy.
In the fall of 1884 he entered the medical department of the New York University, from which institution he recieved the degree of M.D. in 1886. During his medical studies he supported himself by teaching in the night in private schools of New York City. He has enjoyed a considerable degree of success, and for the last ten years has been surgeon and director of the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital.
His home is at 156 West Fifty-eighth street.
He is a member of the American Medical Association, New York State and County Medical Societies, the New York Academyof Medicine, a fellow of the American Laryngological Association, and a member of the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society. He is a director of the Assocation for the Relief of Widows and Orphans of Medical Men, a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity, and is at present (1910) president of the St. Lawrence County Society in the city of New York.
He is a member of the University and Salamagundi clubs. Dr. Coffin finds recreation in athetic sports, and is fond of golf, tennis and billiards.
Dr. Coffin married, Oct. 16, 1889, Grace Geer, a native of New York City, daughter of Rev. George Jarvis and Isabel (Montague) Geer.
Grace, Lewis Augustus and George Jarvis.
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