4160. James COFFIN23 was born on Aug 12, 1640 in County
Devonshire, England. He died on Jul 28, 1720 in Nantucket, MA.
James2, Hon., Esq., was born August 12, 1640, in Brixton, England, and may
have lived in Newbury for a time but was a resident of Salisbury in 1662 and
married December 3, 1663, Mary, daughter of John Severance of Salisbury. They
lived in Dover for several years before going to Nantucket with others of the
Baptist faith. He was sworn a freeman in NH in 1671 and took the oath of allegiance
in 1678. Mr. Coffin was on the jury in 1669 and 1673, and for 12 years was judge
of Probate Court; died at Nantucket July 28, 1720.
i. Abigail3, b. 1666; d. Mar. 15, 1709; m.
Nathaniel Gardner ca 1684.
ii. Mary, b. June 18, 1665; m. Richard Pinkham
of Portsmouth, Isle of Wight, Eng.;
m. (2) James Gardner.
iii. James, b. July 9, 1664; d. Oct. 2, 1741;
m. Love Gardner (d. of Richard); m. (2)
Ruth Gardner (d. of John).
iv. John, b. 1669; d. young.
v. Nathaniel, mariner, b. 1671, Nantucket;
d. there Oct. 29, 1721; m. Oct. 17, 1692,
Damaris Gayer (d. of William) who d. in
1764. He was the ancestor of Admiral Sir
Isaac Coffin of the British Navy.
vi. John, b. June 1672; d. July 1, 1747; m.
Hope Gardner (d. of Richard) 1692.
vii. Dinah, b. July 1674; d. Aug. 1, 1750; m.
Nathaniel Starbuck Jr., Nantucket.
viii. Deborah, b. Sept. 1676, Nantucket; died
Oct. 8, 1767; m. Oct. 10, 1695, George
ix. Ebenezer, b. May 30, 1678; d. Oct. 17,
1730; marr. Dec. 12, 1700, in Nantucket,
Eleanor Barnard (d. of Nathaniel) who d.
x. Joseph, b. Apr. 4, 1680; d. July 14,
1719; m. Bethia Macy (d. of John).
xi. Benjamin, b. Oct. 28, 1683; drowned Jan.
20, 1704; unmarried.
xii. Elizabeth, b. Sept. 4, 1675, Nantucket;
d. Mar. 30, 1769; m. Jonathan Bunker; m.
(2) Thomas Clark Jan. 30, 1735.
xiii. Ruth, m. Joseph Gardner, Nantucket; died
May 28, 1748.
xiv. Experience, died young.
xv. Jonathan, b. Aug. 28, 1692; d. Feb. 5,
1773; m. Nov. 24, 1711, Hepsibeth Harker
of N. C.
FROM: A Genealogical History of the Clark and Worth Familes
Author: Carol Clark Johnson
Call Number: CS71.C6
James Coffin was born August 12, 1639, in Brixton, Devonshire, England. He was
the fourth child of Tristram
and Dionis Stevens Coffin. James was only three years old when his father
immigrated to America. The family first
settled in Salisbury before heading down the Merrimac River to Haverhill
where after only a short time they
relocated once more to the town of Newbury. James' family operated a ferry
on the south side of the Merrimac
River. They also operated a Tavern/Inn which was located near the landing.
During the 1650's with the older
brothers and sisters going off in their own directions, James took over
their responsibilities. Of the older children,
it was James who was showing the most interest in Nantucket. James' brothers
had already established
enterprises on the mainland and wanted to remain there, however, they were
willing to invest in the plan financially.
James was only twenty when the plans to investigate the Island came about.
Depending on whose account of
history one would study, James did go with his father on the voyage that
took them to Nantucket for the first time.
After negotiations with the Indians and Thomas Mayhew, the Island became
the property of the Salisbury group,
with ten full share members and ten partners. Thomas Macy, James Coffin,
Edward Starbuck and Isaac Coleman
proceeded quickly to inhabit the Island before the next winter. Edward Starbuck
was a former resident of Dover
N.H.. His daughter Abigail married Tristram Coffyn's son Peter. Starbuck
had lived in Dover since 1643. In the
1640's he refused to join the church in the ordinance of baptism so he and
the church parted company. In 1648
he was charged for disturbing the peace of the church. He apparently disapproved
of the submersion of babies
during baptism. Others had been tied to ox carts and whipped for similar
crimes, however, Starbuck got off with a
lighter sentence but never again respected the Puritan rule. The first winter
in 1660 on Nantucket was a harsh one
for the newcomers. Had the Indians not been so accommodating the new owners
would have found it hard to
survive the winter.
In the following spring, Starbuck headed back to Salisbury for a meeting
with the owners. Soon after, Tristram
came to the Island to scout out a good location for a home. After consulting
with his son James they decided to
build on the back side of Capaum Harbour, on the north side of the Island.
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back to Salisbury to organize the move while James stayed on, and with the
help of two Indians, he built their first
house overlooking Capaum Pond. During the following years, 1662/1663, James
on numerous occasions traveled
back and forth from Nantucket to Salisbury as well as Nantucket to Dover.
While in Salisbury he was courting a young lady by the name of Mary Severance,
daughter of John and Abigail
Severance. While in Dover, N.H. James was living along the Cochecho River
near his brother Peter. It is likely
that James was involved with shipping lumber back to Nantucket for houses
during these years. On December 3,
1663, James married Mary Severance in Salisbury and the two moved to Nantucket
where their first child James
Jr. was born. Shortly thereafter James and his family moved off the Island
to Dover, New Hampshire. It was
during this period that I feel James along with his brother Peter became
interested in practicing law. On March 10
1666, James, along with five others was named as an arbitrator to settle
disputes in the settlement. In the 1670's
Peter Coffin owned large tracts of land in what is now downtown Dover. Peter's
land was on the south side of the
Cochecho River, near the falls. Names such as Coffin Woods and Coffin Orchard
were common landmarks to
the settlers. Peter also owned a mill on the Lamprey River as well as land
by the Cochecho Falls. Peter
manufactured masts for the British navy and was paid by grants of land in
Dover. Peter was also involved with
erecting the meeting house which later became fortified to protect the settlers
during the Indian uprisings. The fort
was 100' square with a log wall and gate. It was situated on the mound of
earth that is still visible today in an area
that was called "the neck". A brief history of Peter taken from
the book "Historical Memoranda of Ancient Dover"
states that Peter was a Selectman in 1660, the town treasurer by 1661, a
member of the jury of trials in 1666 and
a lieutenant during King Philip's war. In 1666 Peter was on a committee
to fortify Portsmouth N.H..
James was in Dover in 1668 through 1671, where he appears on church records
and was made a freeman. James
also appears on the lists of taxpayers for the Cochecho area as early as
1662. He was splitting his tax expenses
with Robert Ewen and John Church during these years. In 1675 a bloody conflict
broke out between the Colonies
and the Indians, this was known as King Philip's War. Indians were attacking
many settlers throughout the
Colonial settlements, including some attacks on Dover. It was during this
time, that James decided to relocate his
family to Nantucket.
James' house lot selection placed him due south of Capaum Harbour, and only a
few hundred yards from his
father's house. To the west lay the lot of Nathaniel Starbuck, who was married
to James' younger sister Mary. To
the south of his lot, was the house of Steven Greenleaf and also the building
known as Parliament House.
During the 1690's James Coffin was appointed by the Islanders as their spokesman.
He was elected by the town
of Nantucket to be the first representative to the Great and General Court
under the Royal Charter granted by
William and Mary in 1691. He was also the representative sent to negotiate
the terms in which Nantucket would
fall under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts instead of New York. Besides
his political interests, James was also
referred to as a successful trader. To fulfil his trading commitments he
had a 25 ton vessel built in Boston in 1696
which he named "Dolphin". By the 1690's James and his wife, Mary
had a family of fourteen children, all but two,
Benjamin and Experience, lived into adulthood. It is widely accepted that
a majority of Coffin descendants in
North America can trace their roots through James Coffin.
James was also Judge of Probate from 1706 to 1718 retiring at the age of 78.
majority of the courts work load dealt with Indian matters. Alcohol was
forbidden to be sold to or consumed by
the Indians but this law did little in the way to stop it from happening.
Other issues dealt with petty theft and even
the occasional murder. Penalties ranged from fines and lashings for the
minor crimes to imprisonment and
execution for the more serious matters. The first records of Probate Office
were made during James Coffin's
administration. Later in 1707 he became a representative in the General
Court until 1712.
On July 28, 1720 James Coffin died in Nantucket at the age of 80. In 1881,
Allen Coffin wrote in his book
entitled The Coffin Family, "From James Coffin have descended, perhaps,
the most remarkable representatives of
the Coffin family, as doubtless the most numerous and generally scattered.
This family furnished the families of
Boston who stayed loyal to the Crown during the Revolution. General John
Coffin and Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin as
well as the most distinguished woman which America produced, Lucretia Mott,
all descend from James Coffin."
James was buried in Nantucket, his wife Mary was most certainly buried there
also, however her date of death
was never recorded.
James COFFIN and Mary SEVERANCE were married on Nov 3, 1663 in Nantucket, MA,
Essex Co, Ma, or New Hampshire.
4161. Mary SEVERANCE23 was born on Aug 5, 1645. Children were: