Biographies Extracted From
The History Of Nantucket, County, Island And Town :
Including Genealogies Of First Settlers
Boston: C.E. Goodspeed & Co., 1924.
[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]
A study of the First Purchasers (as the original twenty owners
of Nantucket were called) shows them to have been men of
marked ability in the communities in which they dwelt.
whom traditions all seem to unite in according the credit of being the first permanent English settler, is said to have come from Chilmark, Co Witshire, England, to Newbury. He was made a free-man September 6, 1639. t. He was as appears from the records one of the original settlers of Salisbury. $ He and Robert Pike were two of the seven selectmen "to order all the affairs of the town of Salisbury (excepting giving out of lands) " elected on the 4th of the 3d mo. 1643, for six months. He Was again chosen one of the Select-or Prudential men on the 7th 12 mo. 1652. He was Deputy to the General Court in 1654. The General Court prior to 1658 had en-acted a law forbiding preaching by any save regularly licensed and ordained ministers. A division of the town of Salisbury in May, 1658, seemed to make it more convenient that those in the new town should worship .by themselves and Joseph Peasely officiated for them. Evidently Mr. Macy was instrumental in this breach of discipline which took away material support . for the old meeting and the Court issued a summons for them to appear October 26 to answer for "disorderly practices." **
*It is a little singular if the early settlers fled to Nantucket to en-joy religious freedom that the only churches known upon the Island until early in the 18th century were Indian churches. Thomas Macy had preached some, Edward Starbuck had been punished for Ana-baptism and yet so far as is known neither of them lived to see an English church in Nantucket. tSavage's General Dict.
$Macy's Genealogy, p. 11.
**Mass. Archives, Vol. 10, p. 92. Mr. Sylvanus Macy in his Macy Genealogy says (p.11) that his distinguished progenitor was a Baptist and "would frequently on the Sabbath exhort the people." When Macy and Peasely were fined it was because Peasely was not duly licensed and the Puritans were averse to dividing congregations and not because of unorthodox doctrines. The evidence does not really show that Mr. Macy did any preaching, but rather that he actively encouraged Peasely. Patronymica Britannica spells the name Macey and traces it to Made near Avranches in Normandy; also an old Norman form of Matthew.
Not only did he seem to be a forceful man, frequently called on for public service in Salisbury, but he was also a well to-do citizen. Obed Macy says (p. 13) that he was the owner of 1000 acres of land, "a good house and considerable stock."* It is not recorded that he lost any of these. In a letter to the Governor at New York under date of May 9, 1676, he mentions Thomas Mayhew as "my honored cousin." In the original scheme for the settlement of Nantucket that relationship may have had some bearing.
Thomas Macy married Sarah Hopcott, who was born in Chilmark, England, in 1612.t While the record does not seem to show the date of the marriage it probably occurred in 1643. The children were all born in Salisbury and were
Sarah born July 9, 1644; died 1645.
Sarah, born August 1, 1646; died at Nantucket, 1701.
Mary. born December 4. 1648, died at Nantucket, 1729.
Bethiah, born about 1650, died at Nantucket 1732.
Thomas, born September 22, 1653; died at Nantucket, December 3, 1675.
John, born July 14, 1655, died at Nantucket, October 14, 1691.
Francis born about 1657, died at Salisbury 1658.
As already stated Tristram Coffin appears to have been the Moses sent out to view the promised land and see what opportunities it offered for new settlers. He was, as Mr. Barney says, the most prominent and influential of the First Purchasers. He was born in Brixton, County Devonshire, England, the son of Peter Coffin and Joanna Thember, in 1605. He married Dionis daughter of Robert Stevens, also of Brixton probably in 1630. They came to America with five children in 1642, accompanied by his mother and two sisters, Eunice and Mary. "The family," according to Sylvanus J. Macy, " ** "is one of those which have always used arms in this country, though unable to prove a right to them, inherited from ancestors ranking among the gentry of England. In Prince's `Worthies of Devonshire' may be read an account of the family of the name of Coffin which claims to have been seated at Portledge, in the Parish of Alwington, in the northern part of that county, since the time of the Norman conquest. t t The family sent off branches into different parts of Devonshire, and it is highly probable...(see next pg)
*Mr. Mary's own statement regarding his not appearing at Court is that he neither had a horse nor could procure one, so he wrote a letter. "Macy Genealogy, p. 67.
$Unpublished M. S. of Nathaniel Barney.
**N. E. Historical and Genealogical Register 1870.
ttAllen Coffin Esq. in his Coffin Family, (p. 9) seems to trace the family back as early as about 1110. Mr. Coffin says, .however, (p. 17) "While many have searched for the pedigree of our ancestor, Tristram Coffyn, among the records of Devonshire, no one has yet been able to trace his pedigree beyond that of his grandfather, Nicholas Coffyn.
that the Coffins of this country are descended from some such branch, but the connection has not yet been proved.
"Smith's M. S. Promptuarium Armorum contains a drawing of the arms borne by "'Sir William Coffin of Portledge in Devon of ye Privy Cha. to K. H. S" -Vert, five cross--crosslets argent, between four plates,--Heraldic Journal, vol III These are the arms used by the family in this country."
Tristram Coffin and his family made a brief stay at Salisbury, removing the same year to Pentucket.* According to Mr. Coffin ("The Coffin Family" p 23) he was the first person to plough land in Pentucket, using a plough of his own construction. In 1648-9 he removed to Newbury, thence, in 1654-5, to Salisbury. In 1644 be was allowed to keep an ordinary, sell wine and keep a ferry on Newbury side, and George Carr on Salisbury side of Carr's Island. t December 26, 1647 he received a renewal of his permit "to keep an ordinary and retayle wine" and maintain the ferry. In September, 1653, his wife, Dionis, was complained of for selling beer at the ordinary for three pence per quart. The complaint was brought under the law of 1645, which provided that "Every person licensed to keep an ordinary, shall always be provided with good wholesome beer of four bushels of malt to the hogshead, which he shall not sell above two pence the ale quart, on penalty of forty shillings the first offence and for the second offence shall lose his license."** Dionis, however, as a defence, proved that she put six bushels of malt into the hogshead and the Court considered the defence a valid one and discharged the defendant.tt It may fairly be presumed that Tristram Coffin was not necessarily actuated by a sentiment of persecution or of religious restriction in changing his abode, and yet he seems to have been the pioneer in the movement for the purchase of Nantucket.
He and Dionis had as children:
in England in 1631, who married Abigail, daughter of Edward
and Katharine Starbuck;
Tristram Jr., born in England in 1632, married in Newbury March 2, 1652 Judith Somerby, widow of Henry and daughter of Edmund and Sarah Greenleaf ;
Elizabeth, born in England in 1634-5 probably, married in Newbury November 13, 1651. Capt. Stephen Greenleaf son of Edmund; James, born in England, August 12, 1640, who married Mary, daughter of John and Abigail Severance;
John and Deborah, who died in infancy;
Mary, born in Haverhill February 20, 1645, married in 1662 Nathaniel Starbuck, son of Edward and Katherine Starbuck; Lieut John Coffin born in...(see next pg)...
tCoffin's History of Newbury, p. 43. It would seem by the record that Mr. Coffin's sojourn in Pentucket must have been quite brief.
. * *Hist, of Newbury, p. 49.
ttHist. of Newbury, 57. t tHis mother, Joan Coffin, does not appear to have resided oa Nantucket. It is said that she died in Boston in May 1661 (The Coffin Family, p. 31).
Haverhill October 30, 1647, married Deborah daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Starbuck) Austin;
Stephen, born in Newbury May 10, 1652, married Mary, daughter of George and Jane (Godfrey) Bunker.
An examination of the record of marriages, particularly of the children of Tristram Coffin, will perhaps account for many of the group of First Purchasers. *
Probably the next in importance among the so-called First Purchasers will by general agreement be admitted to be Edward Starbuck. Although not of the original ten he accompanied Tristram Coffin on his first voyage to the Island and was also a companion of Thomas Macy when he left Salisbury to make a new home at Nantucket. When the original ten selected ten others as partners, Thomas Macy selected him.
He was born in 1604, a native of Derbyshire, England.t
He married Katharine$ Reynolds of Wales, and migrated to America about 1635, settling at Dover, now in New Hampshire but then a part of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. The first mention made of him on the record is in 1643 when he is recorded to have received "a grant of forty acres of land on each side of the Fresh River at Cutchechoe * * * and also one Platt of Marsh above Cutchechoe great Marsh, that the brook that runs out of the river runs through, first discovered by Richard Walderne, Edward Colcord, Edward Starbuck and William Furber."** Various other grants were made to him and he is recorded several times as called on to be one of the "lot-layers." He was Representative in the General Court in 1643 and 1646, was an Elder in the church and in other ways enjoyed the respect and esteem of his fellow-citizens. t t In 1644 an act was passed by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay banishing from the Colony all who should either openly or privately oppose the baptism of infants.$+ While the punishment
*The name Coffin seems to be from the Hebrew, signifying a small basket or it may be synonyonous with Coffer. Patronymica Britannica traces it to Colvin or Colvinus who held lands under Edward the Confessor.
tThe name Starbuck is Scandinavian and signifies a person of imposing appearance, great or grand bearing bokki meaning "vis grandis corpore et animo. Ferguson gives it Starbocki, from Star. great "vir imperiosus." It is not improbable that the family was of Danish origin and settled in England in the days of what is historically known as the Danish Invasion. Patronymica Brittannica says in "0. Norse bokk; means "vir grandis, corpore et' animo." Hence Starbocki from Stor, great." vir imperivsus."
Some authorities state the given name to be Eunice, but the more commonly accepted version is Katharine.
**N. E. Hist. & Geneal. Register, vol. viii, p. 68, Alonzo H. Quint.
ttOn the 20th, 2 mo. 1644 it was ordered that Mr. Edward Starbuck, Richard Walderne & Wm. Furber be wearesmen for Cotcheco fall & river during their lives or so long as inhabitants. N. E. Hist. & Geneal. Register, vol. iv, p. 31.
$ #Beginnings of New England, John Fiske, p. 195.
meted out to some of the offenders was severe, banishment was not always inflicted.
Edward Starbuck was one of those who subscribed to the proscribed doctrine and the record of the General Court, under date of October 18, 1648, says: "This Court, being informed of great misdemener committed by Edward Starbucke, of Douer, with p'fession of Anabaptisme, for which he is to be p'ceeded agaynst at the next Court of Assistants, if evidence can be p'pared by that time, & it beinge very farre for wittnesses to travill to Boston at that season of the yeare, it is therefore ordered by this Court that the secritary shall give commission to Capt. Thomas Wiggan & Mr. Edw. Smith to send for such p'rsons as they shall haue notice of which are able to testifie in the s'd cause & to take theire testimonie uppon oath & certifie the same to the secritary so soone as may be, that further p'ceedings may be therein if the cause shall so require."*
There seems to be no indication from the record that the complaint was prosecuted, notwithstanding the severe penalty contemplated by the law. The action of the Court did not seem to affect his standing in his community for he continued to be called upon to lay out land.
In Edward Starbutck's case, while what it would seem he considered his theological rights were interfered with, there does not appear that his removal to Nantucket was in any sense a result of such interference. It would not be unreasonable to think, however, that in making the change he was entirely satisfied to remove from the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony but he resided at Hampton eleven years nearly after he had committed an offence against the Orthodox opinions of the Court. As has been stated, he accompanied Tristram Coffin on his voyage of discovery and Thomas Macy on his voyage of settlement. It is stated that he returned to Salisbury and vicinity in 1660 and then went back permanently to Nantucket accompanied by eight or ten families. t
*On Oct. 18, 1649 the General Court drew up and sent to the authorities of the Plymouth Colony a letter expressing the hope they once entertained that the Anabaptists in that Colony would be turned "againe into the right way." The Court expresses also that the leniency of the Plymouth authorities results in increase of the erring. "Lett it not, wee pray you, seeme presumption in vs to minde you heerof, nor that wee earnestly intreate you to take care as well of the suppressing of errors, as of maintenance of truth, God equally requiring the p'formance of both at the hands of Christian magistrat, but rather that you will consider our interest is concerned therein. The infeccon of such disease, being so neue vs, are likely to spread into our jurisdiccon. * * * by faith, by neighborhood, by fellowship in our sufferings as exiles, and by other Christian bonds, and wee hope neither Sathan nor any of his instruments shall, by this on any other errors, disvnite vs, and that wee shall neuer have cawse to repent vs of our so neere conjunction with yon, but that wee shall both so a equally and zealously vphold all the truths of God revealed, that wee may render a comfortable accosnpt to Him that to Him that bath sett vs in our Places, and betri sted vs with the keeping of both tables."
tMacy's Hist. p. 17. Mr. Macy gives no authority for this statement which seems to rest largely on tradition. The Town Records do not seem to confirm the statement, neither do they disprove it. It is likely that some of the First Purchasers returned with him or came soon after.
"His influence over the Indians was so great," says Nathaniel Barney, "that if at any time a suspicion or alarm arose among the early settlers, he was always in requisition to explain the apparent cause thereof, and to suggest a palliation for their rude and inexplicable action, which served to allay the fears of the more timid."*
His wife doubtless died in Dover; at what time is not re-corded. He died on the 4th of the 12th month 1690. Their children were: Nathaniel, who married Mary Coffin, daughter of Tristram and from whom all American Starbucks descend; Jethro, who was killed at the age of twelve years by being run over by a cart; Sarah, who married first, William Story, second Joseph Austin, third Humphrey Varney (as his second wife) ; Dorcas, who married William Gayer; Abigail, who married Peter Coffin, son of Tristram; and Esther, who was the first wife of Humphrey Varney.
according to Savage, embarked in London on the Truelove September 17, 1635, for America. Savage says that in April, perhaps, he had sent his wife Elizabeth in the Planter, his sons William and Francis in the Rebecca and daughter Elizabeth in the Susan & Ellen, under the care of various friends. He was then 34 years old. He was settled in Rowley in 1639; was made a freeman March 13, 1639, had liberty, with others, to plant in Hampton in 1638; and in the following year was authorized to settle small causes in Hampton. The date of the death of his first wife does not appear to be given, but in 1658 or 1659 he married Jane, widow of George Bunker. Soon after he and his wife removed to Nantucket, bringing the Bunker children with them.
These were Elizabeth, the wife of Thomas Look; William, who married Mary Macy, daughter of Thomas Sen'r; Mary, who married Stephen Coffin, son of Tristram Sen'r; Ann, who married Joseph Coleman, son of Thomas Sen'r; Martha, who married Stephen Hussey, son of Christopher. He had by his first wife a son John, who married Mary, the daughter of Nathaniel and Sarah Wyer. He probably came to Nantucket at or about the same time that his father did.
*Unpublished M. S. There is a tradition that at one time an up-rising among the Indians seemed imminent. They appeared to be gathering in hostile groups and as they greatly outnumbered the whites it was a serious affair. In this juncture Edward Starbuck went unhestatingly among them and soon succeeded in quieting them. The deed of Coatue to him by the Sachems as a "free and voluntary" gift shows their esteem for him. (Genealogical Dictionary. Mr. Barney says "the name of his first wife is not known" (unpublished M. S.). This, according to Patronymica Brittannica is a Scandinavian personal name of great antiquity, introduced into England under Danish rule and originally applied to a pastoral servant.
Richard Swain's second wife (Jane) died October 31. 1662; he died in 1682.
the son of George and Jane (Godfrey) Bunker was of Huguenot* origin and was born in 1649. He came to Nantucket with his step-father Richard Swain. He settled at the east end of the Island. There is an interesting tradition concerning him. His residence was quite isolated from his fellow islanders. Early one night, after the family had gone to bed, the house was surrounded by Frenchmen in search of plunder. A vessel had been sighted in the afternoon a short distance from the shore, but as that was not an uncommon circumstance so especial attention had been paid to it. In the evening the large oven was heated with a blazing fire and the light from it served as a beacon to the marauders. England and France at that period were at war with each other. Late in the evening the toothsome rye and Indian bread, pumpkin pies and other culinary nicities were taken from the oven and were left smoking and odorously hot when the family retired. Suddenly a door was lifted from its hinges and in walked the undesired and unwelcome visitors. "Nothing could be more grateful to the wretches than the contents of that oven spread in profusion around them, and, `nothing loth,' they purloined the whole batch. Nor did they stop here; they took beds and bedding, clothing, and, indeed, everyhing which their rapacity demanded, and then added to their insolence, by demanding that the good farmer himself should go on board their craft which they had left near the shore, and pilot her into the Vineyard Sound. He had no alternative but to go, and after an absence of a few days, he returned to his distressed family. His wife was a woman of indomitable perseverance, and she sustained herself through-out the loneliness of that memorable night, and after surveying their rifled tenement, cast around her that she might repair the ravages as best she could. Her friends did not forget her necessity, and she had cause to remember their kindness, even though she was heard to say, that the `loss of her twenty pair of sheets was never wholly repaired.' "t
The children of William and Mary Bunker were;
Daniel; George who married Deborah Coffin, daughter of James Sen'r; John; Jonathan, who married Elizabeth Coffin, daughter of James Senr; Peleg, who married Susanna Coffin, daughter of Stephen Sen'r; Jabez, who married Hannah Gardner, daughter of Nathaniel Sen'r; Thomas, who married Priscilla Arthur, granddaughter of John Gardner; Benjamin, who married Deborah Paddack, at Yarmouth; Mary. who married Tristram Coffin (of the Vineyard) ; Abigail, who married Nathaniel Paddack; Jane, who married Shubael Pinkham, son of Richard; Christian, who married (1) Robert Wilson, (2) Isaac Coleman.
the son of Richard, seems to have been the only child by the first wife who came to Nantucket, and it is quite likely that he accompanied his father to the Island. At first his residence was at the west end of the Island. The record shows under date of February 15. 1667 that "John Swain had his house lot layed out by the Lot layers aforesaid being sixty Rod square bounded on the South with the first Lot of Richard Swain and on the North with the highway that leads into the Longwoods, on the East and West by the common. more or Less, as it is laid out." The section laid out at that time to the First Purchasers seems to have been west of the Wesco lots. Subsequently he removed to the east side of the Is-land. It was his dwelling house that Thomas Story refers to as being raised on the occasion of his visit to Swain on the 17th of the a mo. 1704 and that date probably indicates very nearly the time when John Swain settled at Polpis.
The children of John and Mary Swain were; Mary, who married Joseph Nason; John, who married Experience Folger; Stephen; Sarah. who married Joseph Norton; Joseph, who married Mary Sibley. of Salem; Elizabeth. who married Joseph Sevolle; Benjamin, who married Mary Taylor; Hannah, who married Joseph Tallman; Patience, who married Samuel Gardner. He died in 1715. His son John. born September 1, 1664. was the first male English child born on Nantucket.
never removed to Nantucket although one of the original ten purchasers. He was one of the early settlers of Amesbury. He was one of the signatories to articles of agreement between the inhabitants of the "Old Town" and the "New Town" in May 1654 in company with Thomas Macy, John Severance and others. He transferred one-half of his share to his brother Robert, and his son. Nathaniel represented him on the Island in the other half share. Nathaniel, who married Mary Barnard, daughter of his uncle Robert. He was highly esteemed among the early inhabitants, and died in Nantucket in 1718.
His children were:
Mary, who married John Folger; Hannah: John, who married Sarah
Macy; Nathaniel, who married (1) Elizabeth. widow of Peter
Coffin 2d and daughter of Nathaniel Starbuck, Sen'r, (2)
Dorcas Manning, (3) Judith Folger; Stephen, who married ____
Hopcott; Sarah, who married ____ Carrier; Eleanor, who married
Ebenezer Coffin, son of James Sen'r: Benjamin, who married
Judith Gardner, daughter of Nathaniel Sen'r: Ebenezer, who
married Mary Worth, widow of John Worth and daughter of
Stephen Hussey: Abigail. who married Abraham Chase of Martha's
who purchased a half share of his brother Thomas. came to the Island at an early period. The Town Records show that on the 5th 12 mo. 1663, "John Bishop, Mr. Coffin, Robert Barnard and Peter Folger are appointed to view and consider of Land in order to the Laying out thereof for cornfields or other use."
He married Joanna Harvey. His only son John married Bethiah, daughter of Peter Folger, February 26, 1668. On the 6th of June, 1669, they were returning from the Vineyard where they had been in pursuit of furniture, in company with Eleazer Folger Sen'r, Isaac Coleman, son of Thomas, and an Indian, when the canoe upset and all perished except Eleazer Folger. He clung to the boat till in crossing a shoal where he could touch bottom he succeeded in uprighting it. With a plough-share which was fastened to it, he managed to free it from water. His sufferings and fatigue had been such that sleep now overcame him, and on waking he found the canoe had drifted on to Norris Island. It was then that he realized how great had been his preservation, and that he alone was left to tell the story of the sufferings through which he and his unfortunate companions had passed.
Robert Barnard died on Nantucket in 1682. His wife Joanna died March 31, 1705.
probably came from Dorking, County Surrey, England. in the William & Francis, June 5, 1632. He came with the family of Stephen Batchelder, whose daughter, Theodate, he married in Lynn, where he originally settled and where their son Stephen was born, the second child to be born in that town. In 1639 he removed with his family to Hampton. He also is said to have participated in the settlement of Haverhill.
His daughter Huldah married John Smith. Christopher Hussey was a sea-faring man and was cast away and died on the coast of Florida, March 6, 1686. He never came to Nantucket. He also incurred the displeasure of the General Court by petitioning, with others, for a mitigation of the sentence of Capt. Robert Pike for seeming to uphold speaking in public without a license. He was a deputy for Hampton in 1658.
never was a resident of Nantucket and no detailed biography of him seems needed. Briefly he came to America in the Griffin in 1633, settling at Watertown where he was an active and honored citizen until his removal to Martha's Vineyard in 1647. Both he and his son Thomas were preachers to the Indians there. He died in 1681.
was the son of Tristram and married Abigail daughter of Edward Starbuck. He was born in England in 1631. He was made a freeman at Dover in 1666. He was a very prominent citizen of New Hampshire, attaining the rank of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. His sojourn in Nantucket was brief and met with considerable opposition from the John Gardner faction during the so-called "Insurrection."
never removed to Nantucket. He married, November 13, 1651, Elizabeth Coffin, daughter of Tristram Sen'r. He married subsequently Esther Swett, daughter of Nathaniel Weare or Wyer and widow of Capt Benjamin Swett. He sold his share to his brother-in-law, Nathaniel Starbuck.
did not come to Nantucket. He sold his share to Reuben Swain and William Bunker and his sisters.
If any one of the twenty original purchasers had reason to remove outside the Massachusetts Bay Colony that man was Robert Pike; and yet he never removed to Nantucket nor without the Massachusetts jurisdiction. He was one of the original settlers of Salisbury and was on terms of intimate friendship with Thomas Macy. The New England Historic Genealogical Register represents him as opposed to the election of Sir Harry Vane as Governor and as going on foot from Newbury with Thomas Coleman and eight others to qualify themselves to vote by taking the freeman's oath, so as to vote for Winthrop. He was a very prominent man in his community. He seems to have been a trial justice, was Deputy from Salisbury for several terms an Assistant six terms, a Captain and Major of militia and held other positions of trust and responsibility. He made trouble for himself by declaring that the General Court exceeded its authority in forbidding public speaking by any not duly licensed and was disfranchised. He was also prohibited "settling small causes," pleading in Court any cause but his own. and put under bonds for his good behavior.
May 10, 1661, at a meeting of the First Purchasers at Salisbury he was appointed to keep the Records at Salisbury and Thomas Macy to keep them at Nantucket.
TRISTRAM COFFIN JR.
was a resident of Newbury and married Judith Somerby, widow of Henry and daughter of Edmund and Sarah Greenleaf. He never was a resident of Nantucket.
son of Tristram Sen'r. was one of the Associate Proprietors, and was the partner selected by his brother Peter. [Savage says he removed to Nantucket but by July 1663 he had removed again to Dover. There is no mention of him in the Town Records.]
He became prominent in the Islands' affairs and is said to have been the first one on Nantucket appointed to a Probate judgeship. He was appointed in 1680. He died July 28, 1720. Allen Coffin Esq says he came to the Island with the earliest settlers, but removed to Dover, was a member of the church there and there made a freeman May 31, 1671, soon after which he returned to Nantucket where he resided up to the time of his death. From him descended the Coffins who were loyalists during the Revolution among whom were General John Coffin and Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin.
Lucretia Mott also descended from this branch.
He had fourteen children ;
i. Mary, born in Nantucket, April 18, 1665, married (I)
Richard Pinkham, of Portsmouth, N. H., (2) James, son of
Richard and Sarah Gardner, and died in Nantucket February 1,
ii. James Jun'''. born probably in Dover, N. H., married (1) Love, daughter of Richard and Sarah Gardner, (2) Ruth, daughter of John and Priscilla Gardner-died in Nantucket October 2, 1741;
iii. Nathaniel, born in Dover, 1671, married (August 17, 1692) Damaris, daughter of William Gayer-died August 29, 1721;
iv John born in Nantucket, married Hope, daughter of Richard Gardner - died July 1, 1747;
v. Dinah. born in Nantucket, married (November 20, 1690) ;
vi. Nathaniel Starbuck. Jr, -died August 1, 1750;
vii. Deborah, born in Nantucket, married (October 10, 1695) George, son of William Bunker-died October 8, 1767;
viii Ebenezer. born in Nantucket March 30, 1678, married (December 12, 17 00) Eleanor, daughter of Nathaniel Barnard-died October 17, 1730;
ix. Joseph. born in Nantucket, February 4. 1680, married Bethia, daughter of John Macy-died July 14, 1719;
x. Elizabeth. born in Nantucket, married (1) Jonathan, son of William and Mary Bunker. (2) Thomas Clark-died March 30, 1769;
xi Benjamin. born in Nantucket August 28, 1683- lost overboard between Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard;
xii. Ruth, born in Nantucket, married Joseph son of Richard and Mary Gardner-died May 28. 1748;
xiii. Abigail. born in Nantucket, married Nathaniel, son of Richard and Sarah Gardner-died March 15, 1709;
xiv. Experience, born in Nantucket died young;
xv. Jonathan, born in Nantucket. August 28, 1692, married Hephzibah, daughter of Ebenezer Harker,-died February 5, 1773.
Mr. Barney in his unpublished M. S. says it is not known at what time Thomas Coleman came to Nantucket. It is said that he arrived in Boston from England June 3, 1635. According to Coffin's History of Newbury he was three times married---
(1). Susanna-who died November 17, 1650;
He seems to have resided in Newbury and Hampton until late in
life. The Town Records under date of March 4, 1663, say "it
was agreed that John Coleman shall have land Layd out on the
North side of the Lot of Robert Barnard for the use of the
said John Coleman his father Thomas Coleman having given half
of his accommodation on the Island half the house lot to be
Layd out in the place before mentioned for John Coleman, the
aforesaid Thomas Coleman Both Lay down one half of his Lot
already layd out." In February 1667 the Record says a house
lot was laid out To him "abutting on the long woods." The
first time his name appears in the Records in such a way as to
show his residence on the Island is on the 23d 3 mo 1672, when
it was "Voted by the Town that Thomas Coleman is to keep the
cattle upon the playns from comming unto the Nack at Richard
Swains for fourteen days for which he is to have eighteen
pence a day."
(2) Mary, widow of Edmund Johnson July 11, 1651, who died in Hampton, January 30, 1663;
(3) Margery. [Mrs. Hinchman says some authorities give her family name as Ashbourne.]
He died in 1685, aged 83 years. His children by his first wife, were
Joseph. born December 2, 1642, married Ann, daughter of
George Bunker, Sen'r; By the second wife there
seems to have been no children.
Isaac, born February 20, 1647, who was drowned in going from Marthas Vineyard to Nantuclet in 1669;
John, who married Joanna Folger, (daughter of Peter).
By the third wife there was a son Tobias. who removed with his family from the Island.
Joseph had but one son who was drowned in his boyhood.
[Mrs. Hinchman in "The Early Settlers of Nantucket", p. 61, records a son Benjamin, born May 1, 1640, and a daughter Joanna, evidently by the third wife.]
Son of Edward. married Mary. daughter of Tristram Coffin, previously to removing to Nantucket and was the chosen partner of his father-in-law as one of the First Purchasers. Mary, daughter of Nathaniel and Mary was the first English child born on Nantucket.
He was a man of marked ability and his wife was a woman of such excellent judgment that as Thomas Story noted in his Journal she was "a wise and discreet woman, well read in Scripture and not attached to any sect, but in great reputation throughout the island for her knowledge in matters of religion, and an Oracle among them on that account, insomuch that they would not do anything without her advice and consent therein." Their children were-
i. Mary who
married James, son of Richard Gardner Sen'r; He died on the 6th 6 mo
ii. Elizabeth, who married (1) Peter Coffin Jr. (2) Nathaniel Barnard Jr.;
iii. Nathaniel who married Dinah daughter of James Coffin:
iv. Jethro. who married Dorcas, daughter of William Gayer;
v. Eunice, who married George, son of John Gardner Sen'r;
vi. Priscilla, who married John Coleman Jun'r;
vii Hepzibeth, who married Thomas Hathaway, of Dartmouth;
viii Barnabas, who did not marry;
ix. Anna and x. Paul who died young.
was the partner of Richard Swain. He married Elizabeth, daughter of George Bunker. It is not clear at what time he took up his residence in Nantucket. Nathaniel Barney says that "after residing at Nantucket a number of years, he removed to Martha's Vineyard."
His children were mostly daughters and four of them were born on Nantucket between 1672 and 1680. His daughter, Experience married her cousin, Stephen Coffin Jun'r, grandson of Tristram.
It does not appear clearly whether John Smith ever resided on Nantucket. He was partner of Thomas Mayhew Sen'r and had land laid out to him on the Island. There are several items in the records of the General Court referring to John Smith but it is difficult to determine whether they refer to this particular John or not.
The foregoing biographical sketches will give an idea of the kind of men the First Purchasers were. They were a sturdy, God-fearing race, everyone of them prominent in the community in which he lived. Many of them had experienced the severity of the Puritan laws, laws made to preserve, as the makers believed, the rights they fled from England to enjoy, and not the presumed rights of peoples in general, for the Puritans were not and did not assume to be religious emancipationists, and yet of the First Purchasers those who were the severest penalized remained under the jurisdiction of the Massachusett Bay Colony and, so far as we know, did not even visit Nantucket. As before noted, knowing how many interests they had in common, the many intermarriages and the intimacies which must have existed among them about the time the purchase was made, and soon after, we can more readily account for their partnership and for subsequent alliances in the civil government of the Island.
The First Purchasers were not unacquainted with each other. They did not live far apart and several of them had been members of the General Court. Tristram Coffin, Thomas Macy, Christopher Hussey, Peter Coffin, Stephen Greenleaf, Thomas Barnard and William Pile were, or had been, residents of Salisbury or Newbury. Peter Coffin was a son of Tristram. Stephen Greenleaf married Elizabeth Coffin, daughter of Tristram. Peter Coffin married Abigail Starbuck. daughter of Edward. Hampton was not far off and the Swains evidently were interested in the projected settlement. Thomas Mayhew owned Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket and had been a resident of the former island at the time he sold Nantucket for about 15 or 16 years. The partners who the original purchases took were similarly neighbors and interested through marriage or acquaintance. Tristram Coffin took as his partner Nathaniel Starbuck, his son-in-law; Thomas Macy took Edward Starbuck whose son Nathaniel married Mary Coffin and daughter Abigail married Peter Coffin, both children of Tristram and Dionis: Richard Swain took Thomas Look, whose daughter, Experience, married her cousin Stephen Coffin, Jr. grandson of Tristram; John Swain took Thomas Coleman who had resided near him in Hampton; Thomas Barnard took his brother Robert; Peter Coffin took his brother James; Christopher Hussey took Robert Pike, a resident of Salisbury; Thomas Mayhew took John Smith, who had been otherwise associated with him. It was no chance acquaintance then which brought them together.
The principal intricacies met in the genealogy of the descendants of the First Purchasers arise from the persistency of the inter-marriages and the duplication of given names. Of course that becomes increasingly troublesome with each succeeding generation. The situation becomes relieved somewhat after 1750 when the use of middle names began and other means were adopted to particularly designate individuals, but progress in that direction was very slow. The Friends Records are a God-send to the worker in that field because they give the details in marriage of the parents of the contracting parties.
What may be. perhaps not inaptly, termed the clannishness of the descendants of the First Purchasers. is illustrated by a little doggerel written by some one who had no fear of tribal displeasure nor any respect for the family pride of those he lampooned.
It appeared in two stanzas. published about 1834 and the irreverent writer thus characterized his victims:
The Rays and Russels, coopers are.
As though that was not enough, some super-reckless individual
added the following for good measure:
The knowing Folgers lazy.
A lying Coleman very rare,
And scarce a learned Hussey.
The Coffins noisy, fractious, loud.
The silent Gardners plodding.
The Mitchells good, the Barkers proud,
The Macys eat the pudding."
"The Swains are swinish, clownish called.
In a large part of the early history of the Island the rule
has been to follow the dates as shown by the Records. Those,
after so large a number of the residents had become Friends,
followed the custom of the Friends in using numerals to
express the months.
The Barnards very civil.
The Starbucks they are loud to bawl,
And Pinkhams beat the devil."
Illustrative of one of the results of the intermarriage among the Islanders is a little story of Prof. Maria Mitchell told by Mrs. Hinckman in her "Early Settlers of Nantucket (p. 12). When connected with Vassar College, someone said to her "Miss Mitchell, I met a cousin of yours the other day." "Where?" was the natural question, "on Nantucket" was the expected reply. Miss Mitchell quickly said "Oh, very likely; I have five thousand cousins on Nantucket." At that time that was the Island's population. Similarly Rev. Dr. Ferdinand C. Ewer humorously once said--"I found that my precious blood was chemically composed of the following old Nantucket elements, for every one of which I am humbly grateful, viz-Silicate of Trott, 2 per cent: Bicarbonate of Burnell, 2 per cent; Protoxide of Swain, 3 per cent: Nitrate of Worth, 3 per cent; Chloride of Cartwright, 11 per cent; Sulphate of Starbuck, 11 per cent; Hydrated Sulphuric Acid of Ewer, 11 per cent; Super phosphate of Coffin, 12 per cent; Hydrated Dentoxide of Gardner, 15 per cent; Aurate of Folger, 20 per cent; Traces of Tobey, Wing and Macy, 1 per cent; total 109 per cent." (Godpey's Hand Book, pp 165-6.
This statement is particularly applicable to the Genealogical portion of the work which relies very much. and with excellent reason, on the Records of the Friends. Naturally the question arises when was the change made in the Friends' Records to make January the first month instead of the eleventh.
According to the Record, as stated by the custodian, "There was a Monthly Meeting held the 30th of 1st month 1752, and the next was held the 27th of 4th month, 1752. There is a minute which states 'that an epistle has been received from the Meeting for Sufferings in London, wherein is contained the advice of Friends concerning the reducing the year to New Style according to act of Parliament &c was read in this meeting and ordered to be read in first Day meeting." The change was made therefore that year. Dates then prior to 1753 make March the first month and from 1753 January has been the first month. The general rule which has been followed in this work is to follow the record.
The intention of the compiler of this genealogy was to cover only the first 100 years after the settlement of the Island. or to the year 1760.