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130. Reuben COFFIN23 was born on Feb 22, 1787 in Easton, Washington County, NY. IGR Film Number: 537953 He signed a will on Aug 30, 1862 in Onondaga County, NY. County # 34 , Vol #M, Page # 90

In the matter of proving the last will and testament of Reuben Coffin, deceased, Onondaga County, NY.

Be it remembered that heretofore upon the petition of Edward Bentley and Robert Coffin, the executors named in the last will and testament of Reuben Coffin, late of the town of Lysander in said county, deceased, in said county, for that purpose, to the Surrogate of said county, a citation was duly issued in this matter which citation with the proofs of service thereof was thereafter duly returned to said Surrogate, and which said petition and citation, with the proofs of service thereof, are now on file in the office of said Surrogate. And thereupon the last will and testament of the said Reuben Coffin, deceased, with the proofs thereof were produced and are as follows, to wit:

I Reuben Coffin of the town of Lysander in the County of Onondaga and State of New York of the age of seventy five years and being of sound mind and memory do make publish and declare this my last will and testament in manner following that is to say after paying all my debts and funeral charges I give and devise to my wife Sarah Coffin all my personal and real estate lying and being in the town of Lysander, county of Onondaga, State of New York during her natural life excepting, what I hereby set apart to my son E. B. Coffin. To my son E. B. Coffin I give thirty acres of land lying and being in the state of Iowa, county of Tama, being the same deeded to me by E. B. Coffin and Almira his wife bearing date Sept. 22nd 1857 and also a Judgement obtained in said State of Iowa for the sum of about two hundred and twenty dollars the same as he has a power of attorney to collect. And after the decease of my said wife my property is to be divided between my children as follows, first to my son Robert Coffin five hundred dollars and to my son Alexander M. Coffin five hundred dollars. The remainder of all that may be left to be divided in equal shares with my sons Jacob Coffin, Robert Coffin, and Alexander M. Coffin and my daughters Harriet Borgardus, Elizabeth Chaffee, Sally Ann Harrington, Hepsibah Woodruffe, Susan Fuller, and Mary Bentley and to their heirs after them.

I hereby appoint Edward Bentley and Robert Coffin Executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this thirtieth day of August A.D. 1862 Reuben Coffin L.S.

The within instrument consisting of one sheet was at the date hereof declared to us by Reuben Coffin the testator therein mentioned to be his last will and testament and he at the same time acknowledged to us and each of us that he had signed and sealed the same and we therefore at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other signed our names hereinto as attesting witnesses.
E. Connell
David Sulfin
He died on Feb 21, 1868 in New York. Appears in the "NAMES OF HEADS OF HOUSEHOLDS APPEARING IN THE 1810 CENSUS" for the Town of Lysander.

1830 NY Census Index , Page 063; LYSANDER, ONONDAGA County, NY

"Near Little Utica Reuben Coffin came early, being collector in 1812."
Source: Past and Present of Syracuse and Onondaga County, by The Rev. William M. Beauchamp. NY: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1908, pp. 377-383.

"The vicinity of Little Utica was first settled by Reuben Coffin who was collector in 1812, and whose descendants still live in that section, one of whom now bears the name of the pioneer; his mother (should read "wife") was a centenarian at her death." Source: Onondaga's Centennial by Dwight H. Bruce (ed.). The Boston History Company, 1896, Vol. I, pp.739-752.

Part 48: Origins Of Lysander, Plainville, And Jacksonville Are Described

...by 1810 the first Lysander resident, Jonothan Palmer had been located for 18 years...

How many of his six brothers had followed him to Palmertown by 1810 is not certain, but it is reasonable to believe some of them were there, and it is also easy to imagine how cordial must have been the welcome given by the Palmers to Reuben Coffin and his bride of two years, when their clumsy covered wagon gave a final lurch and came to a creaking stop before their log cabin one May day in that year. The trek from Washington County had been long and tedious, with the homespun linen cover to the heavy wagon their only shelter from the noonday sun. One of the last nights on the trail had been spent in camp in what is now the heart of Syracuse, the present site of the Lincoln store.

A few days were spent in the Palmer cabin while the men fashioned a similar one farther east, on the bank of a swift stream, for the newcomers. Here on Lot 37 lay the 600 acres of land claimed by Reuben and Sarah Bassett Coffin. Here beneath the tall pines that grew along the stream, the women of the settlement gathered on wash day to make use of the excellent spring water, and exchange bits of news, and assist each other in daily tasks.

Not far from the spring and near the cabin, Reuben hung an iron kettle on a tripod for cooking and general purposes. One morning as Sarah was frying cakes over this out of door fire, a huge black bear crossed the path to the spring and ambled slowly off into the woods.


Part 49: Celebration Held Honoring Sarah Coffin On 100th Birthday

Apparently the hardships of pioneer life did not shorten the days of Sarah Coffin, for on May 7, 1887 a grand celebration was held at the colonial home (the present yellow house with slender pillars by the front entrance, that stands a quarter of a mile east of Jacksonville) to honor her on her one hundredth birthday. Two tents were raised in the front yard and the crowd of visitors was served dinner. Frank Sharp was detailed to toll the bell of the Little Utica church one hundred times.

Her family consisted of six living children, thirty-six grandchildren, eighty-four great-grandchildren, and nineteen great-great-grandchildren. With members of this family and a host of neighbors and friends this venerable daughter of the historical Bassett and Adams families of Massachusetts celebrated her centennial.

No better picture of Jacksonville in pioneer days can be given than to quote from the Baldwinsville Era of May 14, 1887 which contained a complete account of the occasion, as well as the life sketch of Mrs. Coffin:

"Centennial Birthday"
Mrs. Sarah Adams Coffin celebrates her one hundredth birthday at the residence of her son, A. M. Coffin, near Little Utica." "It has long been the custom of the people of this country, as well as of the old, to celebrate centennial anniversaries. Eleven years ago the tenth day of this month occurred, in the city of Philadelphia, the official opening of the centennial exhibition of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which took place July 4,1776. History tells us how the people on that day gathered in the streets of Philadelphia, anxious to learn the decision. In the steeple of the old State House, was a bell on which, by a happy coincidence, was inscribed, 'Proclaim Liberty Throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.' Impatiently they waited for the bell ringer's boy to announce the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and to give his father the signal to ring the bell. Suddenly the bell ringer heard this boy clap his hands and shout, "Ring, Ring". The father grasped the iron tongue and swung it to and fro, proclaiming the glad news of liberty to all the land. The large crowd caught up the sound and every steeple reechoed it. During the entire night the people expressed their joy by shouting, illuminating the streets, firing cannons, etc.

It is also the case sometimes, that men and women live longer than their allotted three score years and ten, and reach their one hundredth birthday. Such is the case with the lady, whose name appears at the head of this article and her centennial birthday was appropriately celebrated at the residence of her son, A. M. Coffin, near Little Utica, last Saturday. The family had previously issued invitations to relatives and friends, inviting them to assist in properly observing the day.

At six o'clock in the morning, Mrs. Coffin, who is blind and quite deaf, and very feeble, being unable to help herself, was attacked with a sinking spell, and it was thought she was dying. This circumstance threw a feeling of gloom over the household, but about seven and a half o'clock, she rallied and appeared much better, so much so that she was dressed for the occasion. She was attired in a black satin dress and upon her head wore a white cap. Before the company began to arrive, A.W. Warner, the photographer, took her picture and also that of the five generations present. Their names and ages are as follows: Mrs. Sarah Coffin, 100 years old; Mrs. Bogardus, 77; Mrs. Johnson, 51; Mr. Johnson, 26; Master Andrew Johnson, 5.

At nine o'clock a.m., vehicles began to roll up to the house and before the day had passed, over six hundred people had called to pay their respects to Mother Coffin. On the east side of the house two tents 12 by 15 feet had been pitched, inside of which were two tables set, where lunch was served from ten a.m. to twelve noon, to all callers. After lunch, a picture was taken of all the older gentlemen present, whose names and ages will be found elsewhere, also a picture of the house, together with a portion of the company. About four o'clock, Rev. J. L. King announced that the exercises of the day would begin. The first on the program was singing, after which J. A. Merrifield of offered a fervent prayer. Rev. J. L. King next read a sketch of the life of this venerable old lady.


Part 50: Sketch Of Mother Coffin's Life Presented At Her 100th Birthday (by Reverend J. L. King)

"VENERABLE MOTHER COFFIN, THRICE FAVORED SONS AND DAUGHTERS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
I have the pleasure and honor of being selected to present a brief sketch of Madame Sarah Adams Coffin, whose Centennial Birthday you come to celebrate. We are thankful to Almighty God that she is spared to complete a century, and that six of her sons and daughters, five of her grandchildren, two of her great-grandchildren and two of her great-great-grandchildren now meet.

We only regret that her sight and hearing are impaired so that she cannot engage the more readily and happily in these festivities. Yet it is cause for profound thankfulness to know that she can intelligently exercise her memory and reason, and appreciate the fact that this is her one-hundredth birthday. To test her powers of mind, last Wednesday I said to her, 'I have seen a lady a hundred years old before, but you are better looking than she was!' To that she laughed heartily. Then I told her that on her birthday they would have to give her one hundred strokes. She replied thoughtfully, '0, well, I guess they will not be very cruel to me', indicating that though her sight is gone and her hearing not very acute, her immortal spirit still sees some things yet in their true relations.

Her maiden name was Bassett. She was born at Chilmark, Dukes County, Massachusetts, on Martha's Vineyard, May 7, 1787. Her father's name was Ebenezer Bassett and her mother's name was Abigail Adams, second cousin to John Adams, the second president of the United States. Her great-grandfather, Mayhew Adams, lived to be 115 years of age, had his third set of teeth, and could read without spectacles. Grandmother's ancestors had lived in this country for some time.

The Bassetts came here about thirty years before her birth. Her great-grandfather Bassett was colonel in the English army and that office was then no sinecure position. After faithful service in the French and Indian war in 1756, he received a lot at Martha's Vineyard, as a grant from the English government for honorable duties performed. Therefore he settled there instead of returning to his native country and there her father lived and she was born. Who is there that can trace his ancestors to two branches of the human family more honorable than these?

Sarah Bassett loved to look upon the ocean. She remembers seeing the ships tossed like feathers upon its bosom, and those early scenes have always been remembered with pleasure. She was a bright girl of twelve summers when her parents took her with them and family, in 1799, to Easton, Washington County, New York. The motive inducing her father to seek a home inland was because he had a number of boys. The laws of nations permitted seamen to impress into their service any man in the time of an emergency. If a vessel lacked hands at any given port, the commander could compel the first able bodied men he came across of given age, to go to sea in order to manage the ship. As their sea-view home was so near to the sea, there was no redress to save the boys from being forced to follow the life of a sailor, so he chose the least of two evils and got out of harm's way by coming to the Empire State.

In the year of 1808, Miss Sarah Bassett was married to Reuben Coffin. He belonged to the historic Coffins of Nantucket Island, who were doubtless acquainted with Nantucket skippers and the like. Reuben Coffin and his bride, Sarah Coffin, soon made up their minds to go west and seek a fortune. The western fever raged then as now.

In 1810, about two years after their marriage, they left Easton, Washington County, and came in all about 175 miles with a team and covered wagon, a linen sheet constituted the covering, which was probably woven by the young and enterprising wife. Another team came with them and four families accompanied each other through a country in places wild in the extreme, over impassable and trackless wastes where the hideous howling of the wolves must have been a familiar night experience.

They left Snow's Bridge for Palmertown. This march was made in a day. The only marks they had to tell which way to go were the blazed trees, which told the way some kind traveler had taken before them. The forest stretched in one unbroken mass, from the river to Palmertown. A road had been cut out, so they picked the way for their teams by winding through the thick woods as best they could. For seven miles no houses were to be seen, until that night, worn out with fatigue, they arrived in Palmertown. This was May 3, 1810.

Jonathan Palmer, an old revolutionary soldier, had a lot granted to him in pay for his continental services. He had built a log house on the lot where Mr. Irwin Baker now resides. Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Coffin were welcomed to Jonathan's log house. I do not know how large it was, but the hospitality of that early time made almost any house commodious. They shared apartments with their host four days. In the meantime, Reuben Coffin rolled one log above another, notched to fit, until a house stood ready for occupancy. The fifth day they occupied their own dwelling. It stood over the creek about twenty rods north from where we now are. The lot embraced six hundred acres. We are now upon a part of the six hundred acres.

Mother Coffin came from that old log house to live here, so we find that during seventy-seven years she has been no rolling stone, having lived in but two houses during her married life. Some of the original owners sold parts of the six hundred acres until about two hundred acres are left. March 1, 1886, Robert died so that Alexander is the only son left to possess the land. It has fallen to his lot to have his mother with him, and we know the duty is a privilege and a delight to him. Sir Walter Scott said, "How pleasant it is for a father to sit at his child's board. It is like an aged man reclining under the shadow of the oak which he has planted." And I may add to that of Sir Walter Scott, by saying it is equally so, when the mother dwells with her son. And such a mother as we have here, lives seldom in this world. The love she bears today to her children, doubtless equals her tenacious hold on life. How fortunate for Mother Coffin, to have a son with his wife, and her daughter, Mrs. Harrington, situated so as to care for her. How blessed for Alexander and all the other sons and daughters to have such a mother.

What a springtime that must have been when they planted their first seed corn among the felled trees. They cleared off the logs to make room to sow winter wheat. No saw mill was found, so they built the first one in town. The nearest grist mill was at Camillus. That was so far that some way had to be improvised to prepare the corn for bread. Jonathan Palmer was equal to the emergency. He scooped out a large beech stump, smoothed it by burning the inside of the hollow, and thus made a mortar mill for pounding corn to meal. The other part was a pole that could bend, one end was put in the ground, the upper end was placed across the limb of a tree. The limb acted as a fulcrum. A large iron called a pestle was attached to the upper end of the pole, and then worked into the beech mortar by the powerful hand of early settlers, until corn was converted to meal and wheat to flour. Of course the heavy pestle was carried up by the bent pole only to come down again and again, until it had scientifically ground the grist. One man preferred another method.

He put his bag of corn or wheat inside of a deer skin and with the hairy side upon the ground, he drew deer skin with corn or wheat clear to Skanateles Lake to mill, and back he came with it ground, making a round trip of 48 miles."


Part 51: Episodes in Mother Coffin's Life Related On Her Birthday

IN 1816 the settlers experienced the rigors of a severe winter. It was an extremely cold season. The frost had spoiled their wheat. One day some visitors came. What should they do for bread? Just then the good hostess remembered that several barrels of bran had been standing in the chamber a year. Immediately the bran was sifted, short-cake made, served, and the company retired well-filled and merry in heart, not knowing the ruse that was played upon them for a good while. The hostess and family with becoming fortitude continued to live upon the products of corn meal during that year. There were two ways to secure something beside bread without eating the herd and the flock.

One was to go fishing. As there was no dam across the 0swego river, the salmon trout swam and leaped in the water of Three Mile Creek east of Little Utica. Hither went the Coffins with pitch forks, and speared trout frequently weighing 3 pounds. When they wanted change of fare, all they had to do was to visit the denizens of the forest, knock over a bear and slice him up. Bear stories were strictly truthful then, one of which Grand-Mother Coffin relates.

Reuben, her husband, with his brothers, John and Peter, assisted by Mr. Dutcher, killed a bear with their axes west of George Allen's store (Jacksonville). The bear, when dressed, weighed 400 pounds. Sometimes the bears and the wolves tried to get even with the settlers. Grandmother's sheep once got out of the fold and the wolves held high carnival as they salted down eight of them.

Two or three years after they reached Palmertown, a Mr. Neal had a cow browsing in the woods. One evening the cow did not return as usual. They searched for her; her bones were found, but the cow had slipped out of them, gone down the rapacious thouts of the wolves.

But while the men were industrious and frugal, and the bears and wolves too neighborly, the face of perseverance of Mother Coffin knew no bounds. The first year business was carried on principally by trading one article for another. Little money was in circulation. The time to pay taxes on the 600 acres rolled around. How could they meet the $4 due? She resolved to meet the demand. She had woven a piece of flannel. No doubt extra pains were taken to weave it as nicely as possible, for it was a new dress pattern to be worn by herself. However, she willingly gave up the labor of her hands, and a new dress pattern for four dollars, and with it the taxes were paid.



Reuben COFFIN and Sarah Adams BASSETT were married in 1808.

131. Sarah Adams BASSETT23 was born on May 7, 1787 in Chilmark, Martha's Vinyard, Mass. She died on Jan 1, 1888 in Lysander, New York. Part 48: Origins Of Lysander, Plainville, And Jacksonville Are Described

...by 1810 the first Lysander resident, Jonothan Palmer had been located for 18 years...

How many of his six brothers had followed him to Palmertown by 1810 is not certain, but it is reasonable to believe some of them were there, and it is also easy to imagine how cordial must have been the welcome given by the Palmers to Reuben Coffin and his bride of two years, when their clumsy covered wagon gave a final lurch and came to a creaking stop before their log cabin one May day in that year. The trek from Washington County had been long and tedious, with the homespun linen cover to the heavy wagon their only shelter from the noonday sun. One of the last nights on the trail had been spent in camp in what is now the heart of Syracuse, the present site of the Lincoln store.

A few days were spent in the Palmer cabin while the men fashioned a similar one farther east, on the bank of a swift stream, for the newcomers. Here on Lot 37 lay the 600 acres of land claimed by Reuben and Sarah Bassett Coffin. Here beneath the tall pines that grew along the stream, the women of the settlement gathered on wash day to make use of the excellent spring water, and exchange bits of news, and assist each other in daily tasks.

Not far from the spring and near the cabin, Reuben hung an iron kettle on a tripod for cooking and general purposes. One morning as Sarah was frying cakes over this out of door fire, a huge black bear crossed the path to the spring and ambled slowly off into the woods.


Part 49: Celebration Held Honoring Sarah Coffin On 100th Birthday

Apparently the hardships of pioneer life did not shorten the days of Sarah Coffin, for on May 7, 1887 a grand celebration was held at the colonial home (the present yellow house with slender pillars by the front entrance, that stands a quarter of a mile east of Jacksonville) to honor her on her one hundredth birthday. Two tents were raised in the front yard and the crowd of visitors was served dinner. Frank Sharp was detailed to toll the bell of the Little Utica church one hundred times.

Her family consisted of six living children, thirty-six grandchildren, eighty-four great-grandchildren, and nineteen great-great-grandchildren. With members of this family and a host of neighbors and friends this venerable daughter of the historical Bassett and Adams families of Massachusetts celebrated her centennial.

No better picture of Jacksonville in pioneer days can be given than to quote from the Baldwinsville Era of May 14, 1887 which contained a complete account of the occasion, as well as the life sketch of Mrs. Coffin:

"Centennial Birthday"
Mrs. Sarah Adams Coffin celebrates her one hundredth birthday at the residence of her son, A. M. Coffin, near Little Utica." "It has long been the custom of the people of this country, as well as of the old, to celebrate centennial anniversaries. Eleven years ago the tenth day of this month occurred, in the city of Philadelphia, the official opening of the centennial exhibition of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which took place July 4,1776. History tells us how the people on that day gathered in the streets of Philadelphia, anxious to learn the decision. In the steeple of the old State House, was a bell on which, by a happy coincidence, was inscribed, 'Proclaim Liberty Throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.' Impatiently they waited for the bell ringer's boy to announce the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and to give his father the signal to ring the bell. Suddenly the bell ringer heard this boy clap his hands and shout, "Ring, Ring". The father grasped the iron tongue and swung it to and fro, proclaiming the glad news of liberty to all the land. The large crowd caught up the sound and every steeple reechoed it. During the entire night the people expressed their joy by shouting, illuminating the streets, firing cannons, etc.

It is also the case sometimes, that men and women live longer than their allotted three score years and ten, and reach their one hundredth birthday. Such is the case with the lady, whose name appears at the head of this article and her centennial birthday was appropriately celebrated at the residence of her son, A. M. Coffin, near Little Utica, last Saturday. The family had previously issued invitations to relatives and friends, inviting them to assist in properly observing the day.

At six o'clock in the morning, Mrs. Coffin, who is blind and quite deaf, and very feeble, being unable to help herself, was attacked with a sinking spell, and it was thought she was dying. This circumstance threw a feeling of gloom over the household, but about seven and a half o'clock, she rallied and appeared much better, so much so that she was dressed for the occasion. She was attired in a black satin dress and upon her head wore a white cap. Before the company began to arrive, A.W. Warner, the photographer, took her picture and also that of the five generations present. Their names and ages are as follows: Mrs. Sarah Coffin, 100 years old; Mrs. Bogardus, 77; Mrs. Johnson, 51; Mr. Johnson, 26; Master Andrew Johnson, 5.

At nine o'clock a.m., vehicles began to roll up to the house and before the day had passed, over six hundred people had called to pay their respects to Mother Coffin. On the east side of the house two tents 12 by 15 feet had been pitched, inside of which were two tables set, where lunch was served from ten a.m. to twelve noon, to all callers. After lunch, a picture was taken of all the older gentlemen present, whose names and ages will be found elsewhere, also a picture of the house, together with a portion of the company. About four o'clock, Rev. J. L. King announced that the exercises of the day would begin. The first on the program was singing, after which J. A. Merrifield of offered a fervent prayer. Rev. J. L. King next read a sketch of the life of this venerable old lady.


Part 50: Sketch Of Mother Coffin's Life Presented At Her 100th Birthday (by Reverend J. L. King)

"VENERABLE MOTHER COFFIN, THRICE FAVORED SONS AND DAUGHTERS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
I have the pleasure and honor of being selected to present a brief sketch of Madame Sarah Adams Coffin, whose Centennial Birthday you come to celebrate. We are thankful to Almighty God that she is spared to complete a century, and that six of her sons and daughters, five of her grandchildren, two of her great-grandchildren and two of her great-great-grandchildren now meet.

We only regret that her sight and hearing are impaired so that she cannot engage the more readily and happily in these festivities. Yet it is cause for profound thankfulness to know that she can intelligently exercise her memory and reason, and appreciate the fact that this is her one-hundredth birthday. To test her powers of mind, last Wednesday I said to her, 'I have seen a lady a hundred years old before, but you are better looking than she was!' To that she laughed heartily. Then I told her that on her birthday they would have to give her one hundred strokes. She replied thoughtfully, '0, well, I guess they will not be very cruel to me', indicating that though her sight is gone and her hearing not very acute, her immortal spirit still sees some things yet in their true relations.

Her maiden name was Bassett. She was born at Chilmark, Dukes County, Massachusetts, on Martha's Vineyard, May 7, 1787. Her father's name was Ebenezer Bassett and her mother's name was Abigail Adams, second cousin to John Adams, the second president of the United States. Her great-grandfather, Mayhew Adams, lived to be 115 years of age, had his third set of teeth, and could read without spectacles. Grandmother's ancestors had lived in this country for some time.

The Bassetts came here about thirty years before her birth. Her great-grandfather Bassett was colonel in the English army and that office was then no sinecure position. After faithful service in the French and Indian war in 1756, he received a lot at Martha's Vineyard, as a grant from the English government for honorable duties performed. Therefore he settled there instead of returning to his native country and there her father lived and she was born. Who is there that can trace his ancestors to two branches of the human family more honorable than these?

Sarah Bassett loved to look upon the ocean. She remembers seeing the ships tossed like feathers upon its bosom, and those early scenes have always been remembered with pleasure. She was a bright girl of twelve summers when her parents took her with them and family, in 1799, to Easton, Washington County, New York. The motive inducing her father to seek a home inland was because he had a number of boys. The laws of nations permitted seamen to impress into their service any man in the time of an emergency. If a vessel lacked hands at any given port, the commander could compel the first able bodied men he came across of given age, to go to sea in order to manage the ship. As their sea-view home was so near to the sea, there was no redress to save the boys from being forced to follow the life of a sailor, so he chose the least of two evils and got out of harm's way by coming to the Empire State.

In the year of 1808, Miss Sarah Bassett was married to Reuben Coffin. He belonged to the historic Coffins of Nantucket Island, who were doubtless acquainted with Nantucket skippers and the like. Reuben Coffin and his bride, Sarah Coffin, soon made up their minds to go west and seek a fortune. The western fever raged then as now.

In 1810, about two years after their marriage, they left Easton, Washington County, and came in all about 175 miles with a team and covered wagon, a linen sheet constituted the covering, which was probably woven by the young and enterprising wife. Another team came with them and four families accompanied each other through a country in places wild in the extreme, over impassable and trackless wastes where the hideous howling of the wolves must have been a familiar night experience.

They left Snow's Bridge for Palmertown. This march was made in a day. The only marks they had to tell which way to go were the blazed trees, which told the way some kind traveler had taken before them. The forest stretched in one unbroken mass, from the river to Palmertown. A road had been cut out, so they picked the way for their teams by winding through the thick woods as best they could. For seven miles no houses were to be seen, until that night, worn out with fatigue, they arrived in Palmertown. This was May 3, 1810.

Jonathan Palmer, an old revolutionary soldier, had a lot granted to him in pay for his continental services. He had built a log house on the lot where Mr. Irwin Baker now resides. Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Coffin were welcomed to Jonathan's log house. I do not know how large it was, but the hospitality of that early time made almost any house commodious. They shared apartments with their host four days. In the meantime, Reuben Coffin rolled one log above another, notched to fit, until a house stood ready for occupancy. The fifth day they occupied their own dwelling. It stood over the creek about twenty rods north from where we now are. The lot embraced six hundred acres. We are now upon a part of the six hundred acres.

Mother Coffin came from that old log house to live here, so we find that during seventy-seven years she has been no rolling stone, having lived in but two houses during her married life. Some of the original owners sold parts of the six hundred acres until about two hundred acres are left. March 1, 1886, Robert died so that Alexander is the only son left to possess the land. It has fallen to his lot to have his mother with him, and we know the duty is a privilege and a delight to him. Sir Walter Scott said, "How pleasant it is for a father to sit at his child's board. It is like an aged man reclining under the shadow of the oak which he has planted." And I may add to that of Sir Walter Scott, by saying it is equally so, when the mother dwells with her son. And such a mother as we have here, lives seldom in this world. The love she bears today to her children, doubtless equals her tenacious hold on life. How fortunate for Mother Coffin, to have a son with his wife, and her daughter, Mrs. Harrington, situated so as to care for her. How blessed for Alexander and all the other sons and daughters to have such a mother.

What a springtime that must have been when they planted their first seed corn among the felled trees. They cleared off the logs to make room to sow winter wheat. No saw mill was found, so they built the first one in town. The nearest grist mill was at Camillus. That was so far that some way had to be improvised to prepare the corn for bread. Jonathan Palmer was equal to the emergency. He scooped out a large beech stump, smoothed it by burning the inside of the hollow, and thus made a mortar mill for pounding corn to meal. The other part was a pole that could bend, one end was put in the ground, the upper end was placed across the limb of a tree. The limb acted as a fulcrum. A large iron called a pestle was attached to the upper end of the pole, and then worked into the beech mortar by the powerful hand of early settlers, until corn was converted to meal and wheat to flour. Of course the heavy pestle was carried up by the bent pole only to come down again and again, until it had scientifically ground the grist. One man preferred another method.

He put his bag of corn or wheat inside of a deer skin and with the hairy side upon the ground, he drew deer skin with corn or wheat clear to Skanateles Lake to mill, and back he came with it ground, making a round trip of 48 miles."


Part 51: Episodes in Mother Coffin's Life Related On Her Birthday

IN 1816 the settlers experienced the rigors of a severe winter. It was an extremely cold season. The frost had spoiled their wheat. One day some visitors came. What should they do for bread? Just then the good hostess remembered that several barrels of bran had been standing in the chamber a year. Immediately the bran was sifted, short-cake made, served, and the company retired well-filled and merry in heart, not knowing the ruse that was played upon them for a good while. The hostess and family with becoming fortitude continued to live upon the products of corn meal during that year. There were two ways to secure something beside bread without eating the herd and the flock.

One was to go fishing. As there was no dam across the 0swego river, the salmon trout swam and leaped in the water of Three Mile Creek east of Little Utica. Hither went the Coffins with pitch forks, and speared trout frequently weighing 3 pounds. When they wanted change of fare, all they had to do was to visit the denizens of the forest, knock over a bear and slice him up. Bear stories were strictly truthful then, one of which Grand-Mother Coffin relates.

Reuben, her husband, with his brothers, John and Peter, assisted by Mr. Dutcher, killed a bear with their axes west of George Allen's store (Jacksonville). The bear, when dressed, weighed 400 pounds. Sometimes the bears and the wolves tried to get even with the settlers. Grandmother's sheep once got out of the fold and the wolves held high carnival as they salted down eight of them.

Two or three years after they reached Palmertown, a Mr. Neal had a cow browsing in the woods. One evening the cow did not return as usual. They searched for her; her bones were found, but the cow had slipped out of them, gone down the rapacious thouts of the wolves.

But while the men were industrious and frugal, and the bears and wolves too neighborly, the face of perseverance of Mother Coffin knew no bounds. The first year business was carried on principally by trading one article for another. Little money was in circulation. The time to pay taxes on the 600 acres rolled around. How could they meet the $4 due? She resolved to meet the demand. She had woven a piece of flannel. No doubt extra pains were taken to weave it as nicely as possible, for it was a new dress pattern to be worn by herself. However, she willingly gave up the labor of her hands, and a new dress pattern for four dollars, and with it the taxes were paid.



Children were:

65

i.

Mary W. COFFIN.

ii.

Harriet B. COFFIN23 was born on Aug 26, 1810.14

iii.

Elizabeth COFFIN was born on Jul 1, 1812.

iv.

Hepzibah COFFIN23 was born on Mar 20, 1814 in Lysander, New York. She died on Feb 11, 1881 in Oregon.

v.

Sarah "Sally" Ann COFFIN was born on Jul 26, 1816. Married Albert Harrington

vi.

Ebenezer B. COFFIN was born on Feb 6, 1818.14

vii.

Jacob COFFIN was born on Aug 18, 1820.14

viii.

Susan COFFIN was born on Mar 14, 1823.14

ix.

Robert COFFIN was born on Nov 1, 1824.14

x.

Alexander M. COFFIN23 was born on Jun 26, 1826.14,24