Genealogical and Family History
STATE OF MAINE
Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.
LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY
[Please see Index page for full citation.]
[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]
[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]
Nicholas and Joan Coffin and their children, Peter, Tristram Nicholas and Anne, were born in the Coffin homestead, in the praish of Bixton, five miles from Plymouth, Devonshire, England. The homestead had been in the possession of the Coffin family for five hundred years when Tristram Coffin, the progenitor of the American Coffins, was born, and it is now (1908), after eight hundred years, still in possession of a descendant, John Pine Coffin, who in 1907 had a family of ten children under its roof. As the mother of the immigrant Tristram came with the family to America representing a generation, we name her husband, although he never saw America, as the first generation, in the order of our custom. He was a man of wealth and belonged to the gentry of the shire, and his eldest son, Tristram, inherited his estate.
(I) Peter Coffin, son of Nicholas and Jane 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, and their six children were born and baptized in the Parish of Brixton, Devonshire, England, in the order following:
1. Tristram (q.v.), b. 1605.
2. John, b. abt. 1608. He was a soldier and died in the service from a moral wound received in battle during the four years siege of the fortified town during the civil war, and he died within the walls of the town about 1642.
3. Joan, born in England about 1609, 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, and had children: Mary, Susannah, John and Samuel. She died in 1677, or thereabouts.
Widow Joan, with her children, Tristram, Eunice, and Mary, and 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-six years, and in the notice of her funeral it is quaintly stated that the Rev. Mr. Wilson "embalmed her memory."
(II) Tristram, eldest child of Peter and Joan or Joanna (Thember) Coffin, was born in the parish of Brixton, Dorsetshire, England, probably in 1605. He was of the landed gentry of England, being heir to his father's estate in Brixton, and he 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 immigrant 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 the 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 genearlly believed that it was the same ship that brough 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.
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, Mass. Bay Colony. He settled near Robert Clement. Tradition has it that Tristram Coffin was the first man to plow land in the twon 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 he 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 officers 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 Tristam Coffin took Peter Folyer, the 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 Macy 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 Gov. 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, New York, 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.
Chldren: (first 5 b. in England):
1. Peter, born 1631, married Abigail, daughter of Edward and Catherine (Reynolds) Starbuck; died in Exeter, N. H., March 21, 1715.
2. Tristram Jr., born 1632, married Judith, daughter of Edward and Sarah Dole, and widow of Henry Somerby; died in Newbury, Mass. Feb. 4, 1704.
3. Elizabeth, born 1634, married in Medbury, Mass., Nov. 13, 1651, Captain Stevens, son of Edmund and Sarah (Dole) Greenleaf, and they had five children. She died Nov. 19, 1678, and her husband in 1690.
4. James, born Aug. 12, 1640, died in Nantucket, July 28, 1720.
5. John, died in Haverhill, Mass., Oct. 30, 1642, soon after his birth.
6. Deborah, born in Haverhill, Mass. Nov. 15, 1642, and died there Dec. 8, 1642.
7. Mary, born Feb. 20, 1645, married in 1662, Nathaniel (1538-1719), son of Edward and Catherine (Reynolds) Starbuck, and they had five children.
8. John (q.v.), born Oct. 30, 1647.
9. Stephen, born in Newbury, May 11, 1652, died in Nantucket May 18, 1734.
(III) John, eighth child of Tristram and Dionis (Stevens) Coffin, was born in Haverhill, Mass. Oct. 30, 1647. He married Deborah, daughter of Joseph and Sarah Austin, and they had eleven children born in Nantucket Island. He removed with his parents to Nantucket in 1660, and after the death of his father settled, about 1682-83, in Edgartown, and from him all the Martha's Vineyard Coffins descended. He died Sept. 5, 1711.
He was a lieutenant in the Edgartown militia, and had previously held minor offices in Nantucket.
1. Lydia, born June 1, 1669, married (first) John Logan, (second) John Draper, and (third) Thomas Thaxter, of Hingham, Mass.
2. Peter, born Aug. 5, 1671, died Oct. 27, 1749; married (first) Christian Condy, and (second) Hope, daughter of Joseph and Bethia (Macy) Gardner.
3. John Jr., born Feb. 10, 1674.
4. Love, born April 23, 1676, died unmarried.
5. Enoch, born 1678, was chief justice of Dakes county; married Beulah Eddy about 1700, and they had eleven children, all of whom lived to the ages of seventy-six and upwards, and died 1761.
6. Samuel, married Meriam, daughter of Richard and Mary (Austin) Gardner Jr., in 1705, and died Feb. 22, 1764.
7. Hannah, married Benjamin, son of Richard and Mary (Austin) Gardner Jr., and died Jan. 28, 1768.
8. Tristram (q.v.).
9. Deborah, married June 18, 1708, Thomas, son of John and Deborah (Gardner) Macy, and died Sept. 23, 1760.
11. Benjamin, born Aug. 23, 1682.
(IV) Tristram (2), eighth child of Lieut. John and Deborah (Austin) Coffin, was born in Nantucker, Mass. He was mararied Feb., 1714, to Mary, daughter of William and Mary (Macy) Bunker. He lived in Nantucket all his life, and died Jan. 29, 1763.
1. David, born 1718.
2. Samuel, born 1720.
3. Tristram, born 1722, died 1796.
4. Jonathan, born 1725, lost at sea 1755.
5. John, born 1727, lost at sea 1755.
6. Richard (q.v.), born 1729.
7. Timothy, born 1731.
8. Mary, born 1733, married Jonathan, son of Robert and Hepzibah Coffin Bernard, and died in Nov., 1855. [trans note: It's not impossible for someone to reach the age of 122 years, but highly unlkely].
9. Matthew, born 1735, lost at sea 1755.
The three brothers, Jonathan, John and Matthew, were lost at sea when serving as sailors on the same whale-ship.
(V) Richard, sixth son of Tristram and Mary (Bunker) Coffin, was born in Martha's Vineyard, Mass. in 1729. he was captain of the local militia of Addison, Maine, where he lived after his marriage to Mary Cook, of Martha's Vineyard, and he served as high sheriff of Washington county. He had a large family of children, including John (q.v.).
(VI) John (2), son of Richard and Mary (Cook) Coffin, was born in Addison, Maine, July 29, 1770. He married Phoebe Coffin, of Nantucket June 22, 1795.
1. Sophronia S., born Sept. 24, 1799.
2. Hannah Ward, born April 7, 1802.
3. Simeon (q.v.).
(VII) Simeon, third child of John and Phoebe (Coffin) Coffin, was born in Addison, Maine, Jan. 17, 1806. He was an innkeeper and ship-builder, and married Rebecca W., daughter of Uriah and Anna Nash, of Harrington, Maine.
1. John W., born March 27, 1828.
2. Mary E., born Jan., 1830, died 1847.
3. Voranus L. (q. v.).
4. Alphonso, born Oct. 15, 1833, in Addison, Maine, was a sea captain and farmer, and died at Matanzas, Cuba, while in that port with his ship. Married Mary W. Wilson; children: Ellinor, Annie E., Gertrude W., Alphonso.
5. Sophronia, died aged seventeen years.
Rebecca W. (Nash) Coffin died in 1844. Simeon Coffin married (second) Harriet B. Franklin.
Leonora, became the wife of Dr. H. Bellamy, of Logansport, Indiana.
(VIII) Captain Voranus L., second son of Simeon and Rebecca W. (Nash) Coffin, was born in Addison, Maine, Oct. 3, 1831. He receive his primary school training in the public schools of his native place and at Harrington, Maine, adn was prepared for college at Waterville Academy, taking a three-years preparatory course. He then taught school at Addison, Harrington and Milbrige, and in 1852 enliseted in the Thirty-first Maine Infantry, and was with the regiment of the Army of the Potomac during the remainder of the war. He was taken prisoner while on picket-duty near Cold Harbor, Virginia, a few days after the battle, June 1-3, 1864, in which he participated, and while the opposing armies were idle, except the sharpshooters, who were picking off many men on both sides. He was carried to Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia, where he was in slave confinement for a number of weeks, when he was removed with others to Camp Oglethorpe, Georgia, where he remained July, August and September 1864. His next prison was at Savannah, Georgia, and his fourth at Charlestown, South Carolina, where he was among the prisoners place under fire of the Union guns then besieging the city. His fifth prison was Camp Sorghum, South Carolina, where he was until Christmas, 1864, when he was removed to the prison stockades in front of the Insand Asylum at Charleston. While in the stockade he connived, with H. L. Bixby, of Maine, a fellow prisoner, to effect their escape, but he was recaptured sixty miles outside the city, and one of his captors was a lieutenant and he was recognized as a brother Mason, and received from him many favors, including a gift of $50 in Confederate money, a liberal supply of rice and flour and many personal favors. This lieutenant was from Grove Station, North Carolina, but after the war no cumminication was established between them. He was next sent to the military prison at Raleigh, North Carolina, then to Goldsboro, in the same state, then to Wilmington, N. C., where he was paroled. After being allowed a vacation home of thirty days, he was ordered to rejoin his regiment before Petersburg, and while on his way heard of the fall of the city and the surrender of Genearl Lee at Appomattox. He marched in the final grand review at Washington, D. C., and was musterded out at Bangor, Maine, in 1865. He had enlisted as a private, but before leaving Augusta, Maine, was commissioned second lieutenant, and on June 11, 1864, first lieutenant, his promotion being a reward for his action at Cold Harbor before his capture. He was acting captain of Company B, Thirty-first Maine Regiment, most of the time while with his regiment, and was in command of his company on their return trip from Washington to Bangor.
The war over, he engaged in trade and ship-building at Harrington, Maine, where he launched a large number of schooners, barks and brigs, the shipyards being owned by Ramsdell, Rumball & Coffin. He subsequently purchased the interests of his partners and conducted the shipbuilding business as V. L. Coffin for about eight years, 1876-84. In 1884 the firm became V. L. Coffin & Son, his partner being his son, Charles A. Coffin.
Captain Coffin retired from active business in 1906, his son assuming the active management of the same. His home in Harrington is one of the pleasantest sites in that sightly place, and the hospitality there dispensed is proverbial for its entire freedom from formality or restraint.
Capt. Coffin holds a high position in the Masonic fraternity. He is a member of Narragansett Lodge, of Cherryfield, member of the St. Elmo Commandery, No. 18, Machias Royal Arch Chapter; Bangor Council, Royal and Select Masters; Delta Lodge of Perfection; Scottish Rite, Princes of Jerusalem, at Machias, and Rose Croix Consistory, in Portland, in which he has attained the thirty-second degree. His service as a soldier in the civil war gained him comradeship to Hiram Burnham Post, No. 50, Grand Army of the Republic, of Cherryville, Maine, and he served the post as commander for three years, and the state of Maine as past senior vice-commander, and the National body by a place on the staff of General Walker, commander-in-chief. His military service also was recognized by the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, of which he was a companion, by his being accorded a place on the staff of the state commandery.
He represented the fifteenth district in the state senate from 1881 to 1885; member of the executive council of state of Maine in 1897-98, under Governor Llewellen Powers, and for thirty-five years was treasurer of the town of Harrington; he has also filled most of the local offices of his town. His political position in the Republican party is shown by his appointment as a delegate to the National convention at Chicago which nominated Theodore Roosevelt as the Republican candidate for president in 1904. He held the important financial position of treasurer of Washington county, Maine, 1900-04, and his interest in the cause of education was recognized by the trustees of the University of the State of Maine by electing him a member of their body in 1899, for a term of eight years. In mattes of religious observance Capt. Coffin remained independent.
[trans. note: this next is from a torn page, so I'll put .........s where the words that were torn away appeared.]
He married, Sept. 20, 1855, Christina, daughter of Samuel N. Wilson, of Harrington, Maine.
1. Charles Augustus, born July 13, 1856, married (first) Anna .....ash; one child, who died in infancy; (second) Ethel M. Green; no children.
...........Edwin Voranus, Dec. 5, 1867,...........from the Univeristy of Maine in .......................a civil engineer; married (first) .......................Rumball, who died May 24, .......................Edwina, born May 18, 1892; ........................Jan. 12, 1894; Voranus .....................................er 30, 1897; married (second) ..........................hter of Gilman G. Smith, of ............................children.
3. John Al.................., graduated at the Uni.....................1889, and became a me..............................died unmarried in 1903.
.............................................New Brunswick the .................................have drawn freely.........................ions to their citi................................have crossed the ........................ve secured some................................manhood. From..................................Thompson family ...............................................ants it is now our pleasure.
(I) Andrew Thompson, was born in Fredericktown, New Brunswick, came to Maine, and died in Bangor. He served in the war of 1812, and was captured at Castine. He had a son William.
(II) William, son of Andrew Thompson, was born in Fredericktown, New Brunswick, in 1832, and came to Maine as a boy, receiving his learning in the poor boys' university, the district school. Mr. Thompson worked in sawmills his whole life, and was superintendent of Walker's plant at Basin's Mills, Maine. He was of Catholic religion and voted with the rock-ribbed democracy.
He married, in 1862, Maria Dempsey, born in Galway, Ireland, in 1840.
1. Maria J., born in 1865, married William H. Coffy, of South Brewer, Maine.
2. Frances A., born 1867, married Frank J. Lovely, of Roxbury, Mass.
3. William, married Lizzie A. Mitchell, of Old Town, Maine; children: Raymond, Francis A., George E., Harry and Howard.
4. George Edward, see forward.
(III) George Edward, youngest son of William and Maria (Dempsey) Thompson, was born in Orono, Maine, Aug. 9, 1871. He was taught the fundamentals in the district schools of his native town, followed by four years in the University of Maine, grauating in 1891, after which he took a law course in Boston University, graduating from this institution in 1899. He was admitted to the Cumberland county bar in the same year, and began the practice of his profession in Orono, continuing the practice to the present time (1908).
He is a Democrat and his party has recognized his fitness for positions of responsibility and his unimpeachable integrity, and have accordingly elected him tax collector from 1898 up to the present time, town treasurer for two yeas, representative to legislature from 1903-05 to 1907, and in 1908 was elected county attorney for Penobscot county. He is considered a safe counselor for those who have recourse to the courts to redress their wrongs, and is held in high esteem by his associates of the Penobscot bar. He is a member of B.P.O.E. of Bangor.
He married, in 1900, Belle A., daughter of Joseph and Leonore (Bradbury) Pretto, of Orono.
Esther Louise, born July 18, 1904.
Ruth Maria, born July 29, 1906.
The family whose name is affixed to this sketch is an extensive one, and very old. The sons have borne worthily the good name set up by the sires in old England and in New England. Tristram Coffin was around Newbury and Haverhill, Mass. in 1642, and is said to have first used the plough in that section. He, with others, bought Nantucket island, then a port of New York, for thirty pounds and two beaver hats, and removed there. From his iron-girded loins have sprung a sturdy yeomanry, and our Coffin is of the Tristram line, though his connection has no been fully established.
(I) Seth A. Coffin was born in Webster, Maine, and was a farmer. He later removed to Bowdoin, Maine, and his wife, Nancy Bowker, was the widow of Charles Sylvester.
1. Seth A. Jr., of Lewiston, married Georgie Lane; children: Ray (died in 1906, aged 19 years); Arthur (resides in Bowdoinham); Ethel, (married W. W. Warren, candy manufacturer of Bowdoinham, Maine; infant son deceased).
2. Laura J., wife of Charles L. Darling, of Lisbon, Maine.
3. John, deceased.
4. Arthur, deceased.
5. William H.
(II) William H., son of Seth A. Coffin, was born in Bowdoin, Maine, Nov. 7, 1867, and was a pupil in the local schools. When twelve years of age the desire to be independent of his parents caused him to seek employment in the woolen mills at Lisbon, Maine. He resolved to make something of himself, and to that end sought to obtain an education, to defray the expenses of which he pursued various occupations. In 1888 he began the study of dentistry with White & Leavitt, of Lewiston, Maine, and in 1890 passed the examination by the state board. In 1899 he purchased the Mason Dental Parlors, at Lewiston, where he has built up an extensive practice.
Dec. 25, 1896, he married Edith, daughter of Samuel and Carrie (Staten) Flewelling, of Lewiston, who was born May 21, 1872. Dr. Coffin is an Ancient Free and Accepted Mason, member of the Knights of Pythias uniformed rank, and Grand Lodge, and Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. In policits he is a Republican, and has served in the city government. The success he has attained in his profession attests his proficiency; the fact that he has been honored by his fellow citizens with official preferment proves his popularity among those with whom he lives.