Peter COFFIN (1580 – 1627) may have been Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather; one of 4,096 in this generation of the Miller line.
Peter Coffin was born about 1580 in Brixton, Devonshire, England. He married Joane KEMBER in Brixton. His parents were Nicholas COFFIN and Joan AVENT. Peter died in 13 Mar 1628 in Brixton, Devonshire, England.
Joane Kember (Tember) was born born in 1584. Her parents were Robert KEMBER and Anna [__?__]. Joanna came to America in 1642 on the Hector with her son Tristram, his wife Dionis Stevens and their five children and her daughters Eunice and Mary. Two other daughters remained in England where they married and lived out their lives.
The Coffins were of Haverhill in 1642, of Salisbury, MA about 1644/45, of Newbury 1648, and then to Nantucket in 1659. The Coffin family in England were of the “Landed gentry”. They were not Puritans. Joan died in May 1661 in Boston, Mass.
Children of Peter and Joane:
|0.||NOT Christian COFFIN||1607
Butlers, Devon, England
14 Nov 1622
Chipping, Gloucester, Engalnd
|17 Apr 1688
Essex County, Mass
|1.||Tristram Coffin||1609 Plymouth Brixton Parish, Devon, England||Dionis Stevens
Brixton, Devon, England7
|2 Oct 1681 Nantucket, Mass|
|2.||Joane Coffin||ca. 1611?
Brixton, Devon, England
1618, Crewkerne, Somerset, England
|2 Oct 1681
20 Feb 1613/14
|4.||Deborah Coffin||c. 1616||William Stephen
25 Jun 1640
22 Mar 1618
Hartford, Hartford, CT
|6.||Mary Coffin||Feb 1621
Brixton, Devon, England
|18 Sep 1691
Boston, Suffolk, Mass.
10 Sep 1623
|11 Nov 1623|
|8.||John Coffin||ca. 1625||Died 1642 Plymouth Fort in the Parliamentary War|
|9.||Child Coffin||Aft. 21 Dec 1627||Died Young|
At her funeral, the Rev. Wilson described Joanne as “a woman of remarkable character”. In 1615, Peter was a churchwarden in Brixton.
Will of Peter Coffin From Archdeaconry of Totnes (Exeter), 1627.
” In the name of God, Amen, ye 21st day of December in ye third yeare of the raigne of our Sovraigne Lord Charles… I peter Coffyn of the Parish of Brixton in ye County of Devon being sick of body but in perfect minde and memory (thanks be to God) doe make and ordaine this my last Will and Testament…
Item I give and bequeath unto Tristram Coffyn my Sonne one feather bedd… my best brasen panne and my best brasen crocke
Item I give and bequeath unto Johan Coffyn my Wife ye issues pfitts and comodities of all my lands tenements & hereditaments wth in ye sayd Parish of Brixton dureing her widdowhood she yeelding and payinge therefor yearly unto the sayd Tristram my Sonne his heirs and assignes the summe of Fifty shillings of lawfull English money at ye four most usual feasts of the year and also sufficient meat drink & clothes and convenient lodgings unto ye sayd Tristram according to his degree and callinge dureing her Widdowhood onely And if it happen ye sayd yearly rent of Fifty shillings or any part thereof to be behinde and unpayd that then and from thenceforth itt may and shall be lawfull to and for the sayd Tristram Coffyn his heirs and assignes unto all and singular the said prmises to enter and distraine and the distress so there taken from thence to lead drive carry away & empound and impound to detaine and keepe untill ye sayd rent of Fifty shillings with the arrearages of the same (if any bee) shall bee to him or them fully answered and payd. And further it is my Will that if the sayd Johan my Wife shall happen to marry that she shall immediately thereupon loose all ye pfitts commodities and right of that one tenement called Silferhey lying in Butlers in ye parish of Brixton aforesayd which duringe her Widdowhood by my Will she is to have and ye same to redound & be immediately in the possession of my Sonne Tristriam his heirs and assignes
Item I doe give and bequeath unto my Sonne Tristriam All my lands rents reversions services & hereditamts with the appurtenances whatsoever sett lying & being wthin ye sayd County of Devon To have and to hold ye same and every part and parcel thereof to ye sayd Tristriam Coffyn his heirs and assignes forever to ye only pfitt & behoof of the said Tristriam Coffyn his heirs and assignes to be holden of the chiefe Lord and Lords of the Fee thereof by the rents and services therefor yearly due and payable and my Will farther is that if the said Tristriam my Sonne shall chance to dy without an heir male lawfully begotten or to be begotten of his body that then all the prmisses last mentioned I given to him shall redound unto John Coffyn my Sonne his heirs and assignes accordingly and in ye same manner that it should to ye said Tristriam my Sonne
Item I doe give and bequeath unto Johan Coffyn Deborah Coffyn Eunice Coffyn and Mary Coffyn my four Daughters to each of them severally Thirty pounds in money that is to say amongst them CXX£ to be payd when they or each of them severally shall be of the full age of twentie years
Itm I give and bequeath unto John Coffyn my Sonne Fourty pounds in money to be payd him when hee shall be of the age of twenty years.
Item I give & bequeath unto the child wc my Wife now goeth withal the sume of Thirty pounds in money to be payd when he or she shall be of the age of twentie years. Provided always & my mind & will is that if either Johan Coffyn Deborah Coffyn Eunice Coffyn Mary Coffyn John Coffyn of ye child my Wife goeth withal happen to dy before he she or they doe come to ye age of twenty years that then his her or their portion or portions shall be equally divided amongst the survivors
Item All ye rest of the goods chattels and cattells not before given nor bequeathed I doe give and bequeath unto Johan Coffyn my Wife whome I make constitute and ordaine my full and whole Executrix…I doe intreat… my brother in law Phillip Avent and my Brother Niclas Coffyn to ye Overseers…”
The inventory amounted to £236/5/17.
1. Tristram Coffin
Tristram’s wife Dionis Stevens was born 4 Mar 1609 in Plymouth Brixton Parish, Devon, England. Her parents were Robert Stevens and Dionis [__?__]. Dionis died 16 Sep 1676 in Nantucket, Nantucket, Mass.
The Tristram Coffin House is the oldest structure in the Newbury Historic District. Built in 1654 by one of Newbury’s first settlers, Tristram Coffin, the House represents one of the outstanding examples of First Period architecture in New England.
The House was continuously occupied by the Coffin family from 1654. The seven succeeding generations of occupants participated actively in the socio-economic, political and educational life of the town. The Coffin House has a number of outstanding features including the original kitchen, a rare 18th-19th century built-in dresser, 18th century chamber with plaster of clay and straw with exposed boards, a buttery with pine woodwork preserved in its original state, and a collection of Coffin family furniture.
Tristram Coffin moved to Nantucket Island in 1659 with his wife, his mother, and some of his children. In 1671, he was appointed as Chief Magistrate of Nantucket. Tristram Coffin Sr. was a Royalist by education and environment.
Tristram Coffin sailed to America from Devon, England in 1642. He became one of the original purchasers of Nantucket Island in 1659. At one time, with his sons, he owned one quarter of the island. He became Chief Magistrate and was viewed by the other settlers as the patriarch of the island. The historian Benjamin Franklin Folger said of his service as Chief Magistrate that he always exhibited a fair Christian character “in all the varied circumstances and conditions of that infant colony,” both to Indians and white settlers.
One of these sons was the famous Tristram Coffyn, the ancestor of the numerous families of the name now in this country. Nearly all his descendants are enabled, by means of the accurate genealogical records in existence, to trace their linage back to him, although nearly two centuries have elapsed since his death. He was born at Brixton, near Plymouth, in the County of Devonshire, England in the year 1605 (another account say 1609), married Dionis Stephens, and in 1642 came to New England, bringing with him his wife, mother, two sisters and five children. The names of these children were Peter, Tristram, Elizabeth, James and John. He first settled at Salisbury, Mass, thence moved the same year to Haverhill, where his name appears on the Indian Deed of that town, November 16, 1642, and where his children Mary Starbuck and John (the first John having died at the same place in 1642) were born. In 1648 he removed to Newbury, where his youngest son, Stephen was born. After residing there several years (during which time he was licensed to keep an inn and a ferry over the Merrimac River), he returned to Salisbury, where he became a county magistrate, and in 1660 or 1661 he abandoned New England, and with his wife, four children and his aged mother settled upon the island of Nantucket. Prior to his last removal (and early in the year 1659), he made a voyage of inquiry and observation to the group of islands off the Massachusetts coast, with a view to this change of residence. He first visited Matha’s Vineyeard, and taking from there Peter Folger, the grandfather of Benjamin Franklin, as an interpreter of the Indian language, proceeded to Nantucket. It has been supposed that religious persecution was the cause of these frequent changes and of his final departure from the main land.
He was one of a company of ten who first purchased Nantucket from the Indians, which factg appears in a conveyance from the Sachems, Wanackmamack and Nickanoose, dated May 10, 1660. The original manuscript of this instrument is still extant, bearing the signature of Peter Folger as one of the witnesses to its execution. Prior to this purchase from the natives, the English title to the greater portion of the island had been obtained from Thomas Mayhew, who held the same under a conveyance from Lord Stirling. The deed from Mayhew is dated July 2, 1659, and runs to the grantees in the following order, viz: Tristram Coffin, Thomas Macy, Christopher Ilussey, Richard Swaine, Thomas Barnard, Peter Coffin, Stephen Greenleaf, John Swaine and William Pike.
Tristram Coffin and his sons at one time owned about one-fourth of Nantucket, and the whole of the little island adjacent to it on the west, called Tuckermuck, containing 1,000 acres, which he purchased of the old Sachem Potonet at the time of his visit in 1659.
He appears to have been a leading spirt among the first settlers, and was frequently selected by the inhabitants to transact important public business. His letters to the Colonial Government of New York (Nantucket was at that time a dependency of New York), are preserved in the Archives of the Department of State at Albany.
“At a Court of Sessions held the 29th of November 1681 there granted administration unto me Jamews Coffin, John Coffin and Stephen Coffin on the estate of Mr. Tristram Coffin deceased the 3rd Oct 1681 they having given security according to law.”
The body of the Oath was evidently written by Peter Coffin (son of Tristram), the signature is an autograph. It will be observed that Tristram used the letter ‘y’ instead of ‘i’ in writing the family name. It is said, whether truthfully I do not know, that his ancestors spelled it in the same manner. The letter of administration appended to the bond fixes the date of his death (Oct 3, 1681) beyond question.
The original pieces were struck by Sir Isaac Coffin, a Boston-born British Navy captain who founded a sailing school on Nantucket in 1826, long after he followed his Loyalist leanings to England. The medals were struck to mark the school’s founding and were distributed on Nantucket. One is known brightly gilt in its original presentation case — it was in Lucien LaRiviere’s collection and is now at Colonial Williamsburg. After the original struck medals were produced in 1826, the medal was cast and recast for family reunions on Nantucket, perhaps even as late as the first few decades of the 20th century.
In the year 1826, Sir Isaac Coffin, a native of Boston (who went to England in early life and became a Baronet, and an Admiral in the British Navy), visited Nantucket and founded the ‘Coffin School’, which is still flourishing. The Act of Incorporation provides for the establishment of a school by the name of Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin’s Lancasterian School, for the purpose of promoting decency, good order and morality, and for giving a good English education to youth who are descendants of the late Tristram Coffin who emigrated from England” etc. The act further provides that the Trustees shall all be the descendants of the above mention Tristram Coffin in the male or female line.
Children of Tristram and Dionis:
i. Captain Peter Coffin b. 1631, Devon, England; d. 21 March 1714/15, Exeter, Rockingham, New Hampshire; m. about 1656, Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire to Abigail Starbuck.
Abigail Starbuck was born 1641 in Dover, NH. Her parents were Edward STARBUCK and Katherine REYNOLDS. Abigail died 20 Oct 1657, Nantucket, Mass.
ii. Tristram Coffin b. 1 Feb 1631/32, Brixton, Devon, England; d. 4 Feb 1703/04, Newbury, Essex, Mass.; m. 2 Mar 1651/52 Newbury, Mass to Judith Greenleaf.
Judith Greenleaf was baptized 2 Sep 1625 St. Margaret’s parish, Ipswich, England./ Her parents were Edmund GREENLEAF and Sarah MOORE. Judith died 15 Dec 1705 in Newbury, Mass.
iii. Elizabeth Coffin b. c. 1634, Brixton, Devon, England; d. 19 Nov 1678, Newbury, Essex, Mass.; m. 13 Nov 1651 in Newbury, Mass to Capt. Stephen Greenleaf.
Capt. Stephen Greenleaf was baptized 10 Aug 1628 St. Margaret’s parish, Ipswich, England. His parents were Edmund GREENLEAF and Sarah MOORE. Stephen drowned off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia on 1 Dec 1690.
In the French and Indian War, Captain Stephen Greenleaf, Lieutenant James Smith, Ensign William Longfellow, Sergeant Increase Pillsbury, William Mitchell and Jabez Musgrave were cast away and lost on an expedition against Cape Breton.
“The expedition under Sir William Phips, consisting of thirty or forty vessels, carrying about two thousand men, sailed from Nantasket on the ninth day of August, 1690, but did not arrive at Quebec until the fifth day of October. Several attempts were made to capture the town, without success; and, tempestuous weather having nearly disabled the vessels and driven some of them ashore, it was considered advisable to re-embark the troops and abandon the enterprise. On their way back to Boston, they encountered head winds and violent storms. Some vessels were blown off the coast, and ultimately arrived in the West Indies. One was lost upon the island of Anticosti, and several were never heard from. Capt. John March, Capt. Stephen Greenleaf, Lieut. James Smith, Ensign William Longfellow, and Ensign Lawrence Hart, of Newbury, Capt. Philip Nelson, of Rowley, and Capt. Daniel King, of Salem, were among the officers commissioned for service in the expedition to Canada, under the command of Sir William Phips.”
iv. James Coffin b. 12 Aug 1640, Devon, England; d. 28 Jul 1720, Nantucket, Nantucket, Mass.; m. 3 Dec 1663 Nantucket, Nantucket, Massachusetts to Mary Severance.
v. Mary Coffin b. 20 Feb 1645, Haverhill, Essex, Mass; d. 13 Sep 1717, Nantucket, age 74; converted by Quakers from Providence, Rhode Island; held first Meeting of Friends in her home in 1702; m. Nathaniel Starbuck, son of Edward STARBUCK, and Katherine REYNOLDS, 1662
Became known as “The Great Mary” of Nantucket. She is said to be a most extrordinary woman who participated in public gatherings, Town Meetings which were frequently held in her home. For several years meetings for workshops were held in the “great fore-room” of her home known as ‘Parliament House’ situated on what is now known as Island View farm between the Macy’s and the North Head of the Hummock ponds. She was a Quaker leader and helped establish a Meeting on the island in 1701. The first Friends Society was formed in 1704 and the first meeting house was built in 1711. The Nantucket Monthy Meeting was established on May 16, 1780. She was a minister in the Society as were her children and her grandsons, Elihu COLEMAN (published one of the earliest protests against slavery) and Nathaniel Coleman, and her granddaughter, Priscilla BUNKER.
vi. John Coffin b. 30 Oct 1647, Haverhill, Essex, Mass. d 5 Sep 1711, Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. m. 1668, Nantucket, Nantucket, Massachusetts to Deborah Austin.
Deborah Austin was born about 1650. Her parents were Joseph Austin and Sarah STARBUCK.
vi. Steven Coffin b. 11 May 1652, Newbury, Essex, Mass.; d. 18 May 1734, Nantucket, Nantucket, Mass.; m. 8 Oct 1668 in Nantucket, Nantucket, Massachusetts to Mary Bunker
4. Deborah Coffin
Deborah’s husband William Stephen was born about 1603, Brixton Parish, Plymouth, Devon, England. William died in 1647, England
5. Eunice Coffin
Eunice’s husband William Butler was born 1602 in Braintree, Essex, England. Her parents were Steven Butler and [__?___]. William died 1648 in Hartford, Hartford, CT.
6. Mary Coffin
Mary’s husband Alexander Adams was born 1615 in Brixton, Devon, England. His parents were Henry Adams and [__?__]. Alexander died 15 Jan 1677 in Boston, Suffolk, Mass.
Alexander Adams was a shipwright
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Second comment to you. I am allegedly a descendent of John Cutting Jr. and Mary Coffin–however, I am confused as to whether not this Mary Coffin could possibly be a child of Peter, as these records have no indication of this connection. Would absolutely love any insights you have on this.
Thanks so much for your thorough work.
The story of Nantucket is interesting. A whole community lived together for a century and a half. The Coffins were leaders there, though I think my connection to them directly proved to be a false lead.
Kind Regards, Mark
Makes complete sense!
I left another comment for you re: Rebecca Lowell essentially wondering if you had any leads on her identity. I am baffled at the lack of interest (at least so far as I can ascertain) in successfully identifying who this was (many claim she is a Goodale which I think would be fascinating as it would mean John Goodale, or his father, has had a more profound impact on American letters than possibly any other single progenitor of Americans (though of course he never set foot here.))
Anyway, your work is incredibly admirable. I would love to carry on a more intensive dialogue around some of the work I’ve been doing if that were of interest to you. (I get the impression your interests have roved onward, but if you’re game, I really would love to pick your brain more intently. Would be happy to pay you, even, for consultation, if desired.)
Thanks. My email is Joshua dot weed at gmail dot com.
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Coffin back to 1066 A.D. :
Joanna Coffin as 1st wife of Rev Joseph Hull (1595-1665) has been thoroughly debunked. It’d be TERRIFIC to get this corrected, as the mistake shows up everywhere.Here’s the research:
1. Professional genealogist Phyllis Hughes wrote “The Myth of Joanna Coffin.” She was able to trace the theory to an early 20th-century book about the family, where the writer (Orre Eugene Monnette) speculates that Hull’s unnamed 1st wife might be Joanna Coffin because 1) her oldest child was named Joanna and 2) a Coffin family lived near the Hulls.
Hughes searched English parish records and found that Peter Coffin’s daughter Joanna was baptized 29 Dec 1616 in Brixton, Devon, England. “Immediately, I saw that the date of her baptism would not support the conclusion that she had married the Rev. Joseph Hull for she was much too young.” Joanna Coffin was likely only 3 years old when Hull married for the first time.
Hughes, Phyllis J. “The Myth of Joanna Coffin, Given as First Wife of the Rev. Joseph Hull, 1635 Immigrant.” HFA Journal v 12, n 1 (spring 2001): p 23. Extended excerpt in First Wife Hull’s sources (G41Z-P5J) on (free) Family Search.
2. In her article on “Common Errors in the Joseph Hull Line,” Phyllis Hughes writes, “Rev. Joseph Hull did not marry Joanna Coffin, as his first wife. There is also no proven evidence that Rev. Joseph even married a Joanna. It is well documented that the given name of his second wife was Agnes, but her surname is unknown; there is absolutely no evidence that she was Agnes Coffin.”
Hughes, Phyllis J. “Common Errors on the Internet, ‘The Hull Family in America’ (pub 1913), and in Other Published Records.”
3. Geni.com LOCKED Hull’s entry to prevent the addition of Joanna Coffin as his wife. Their curator explains: “Rev. Joseph Hull was not married to Joanna Coffin! … You still see the name in various published genealogies, because other researchers copied Monnette [whose speculation set the myth in motion], and still others copied them.”
4. “The Great Migration Project, on review of documents related to Joseph, declares that the only evidence that Joseph even had a first wife is the age of his wife Agnes in 1635 (25) and the fact that she was still bearing children in 1652. There is no evidence that she was named Joan, and no evidence that she was Joane Coffin, as often listed.”
5. “Great Migration” entry for Hull’s 1st wife reads “Unknown Unknown m Joseph Hull before 1620. Mother of Joanna (Hull) Davis, Joseph Hull Jr, Tristram Hull, Temperance (Hull) Bickford, Elizabeth (Hull) Heard, Griselda Hull and Dorothy Hull. Died before 1633 in England.”
6. Joseph Hull’s Find-a-Grave is correct: “The Reverend Joseph Hull (1595-1665) was born in England, the son of Thomas Hull and his wife Joanna (Peson) Hull, who were married in Crewkerne Parish on 11 January 1572/3. There, circa 1618, he married his unknown first wife.”
7. There’s an incorrect Find-a-Grave entry for the debunked mythical being Joanna Coffin Hull. My corrections appear at the bottom of the page. I just submitted them yesterday (I’m on a tear: I had to rebuild the Hull entries twice in under a week); the updates don’t yet appear in the actual text.
8. Hull’s marriage to Agnes [surname unknown] is recorded, which allows us to date his first wife’s death to 1631. She died either during childbirth or shortly afterward.
Event Type: Marriage
Marriage Date: 13 Mar 1633
Marriage Place: Wells, St Cuthbert, Somerset, England
Phillimore Ecclesiastical Parish
Spouse: Joseph Hull
9. Here’s the “Hull Company” 1635 passenger list. It provides the ages of Hull’s children, which allows us to conclude that Agnes, newly married in 1633 at age 23, did not begin having children at age 10.
1 Joseph Hull of Somerset, minister, aged 40 years.
2 Agnes Hull, his wife, aged 25 years. Second wife of Mr. Hull
3 Joane Hull, his daughter, aged 15 years (c 1620)
4 Joseph Hull, his son, aged 13 years (c 1622)
5 Tristram, his son, aged 11 years (c 1624)
6 Elizabeth, his daughter, aged 7 years (c 1626)
7 Temperance, his daughter, aged 9 years (c 1628)
8 Gressell, his daughter, aged 5 years (c 1630)
9 Dorothy, his daughter, aged 3 years (c 1632)
I’m a retired professor (bet you can tell). I’m tickled that the Hull Colony Passenger List is used as a primary source for teaching history. [https://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/passengers-bound-for-new-england/]
10. Here’s a verified list of Hull’s wives and children, checked against primary sources and reliable, published secondary sources:
FIRST MARRIAGE: Wife’s name unknown. All 7 children were born in England and died in New England. Children 2-6 were born in Northleigh where their father was rector of St Giles, 1621-32 (source below). Child 7 was born Crewkerne. Child 1 was likely born Crewkerne, but I haven’t found a primary source.
1. Joanna, b about 1620; m1 Bursley, m2 Davis
2. Joseph, b about 1622
3. Tristram, b about 1624; m Blanche
4. Temperance, b 20 March 1626, Northleigh; m Bickford
5. Elizabeth, b about 1628; m Heard
6. Griselda, b about 1630; no record after 1635
7. Dorothy, b c 1632; m1 Kent, m2 Mathews
Joseph Hull rector, St Giles 1621-32
SECOND MARRIAGE: Wife Agnes, surname unknown (See marriage record above):
8. Hopewell, b about 1636; m Martin
9. Benjamin, b Mar 1639, Hingham; m York
10. Naomi (Amy), bapt 23 Mar 1640, Barnstable; m Daniel
11. Ruth, b May 1641, Barnstable; no further record*
12. Dodovah, b about 1643; m Seward
13. Samuel, b about 1645; m Manning; m2 Margaret
14. (??) Phineas, b about 1647; m1 Hitchcock, m2 Rishworth
15. Reuben b 23 Jan 1648/9; m Ferniside
* 16. Ephraim b 13 Feb 1649/50, Cornwell
* 17. Priscilla b 30 March 1651, Cornwall
Weygant, Charles. “Hull Family in America.” 1913. Joseph Hull line begins p 245. [https://archive.org/stream/hullfamilyinamer00weyg#page/481/mode/2up]
List was also checked against Hughes’s “Common Errors” and “The Great Migration.” I’ll spare you sourcing on Agnes’s children, since your entry is for wife and family #1.
We actually know a great deal about this family, particularly because they show up in colonial New England primary sources, which makes it all the more frustrating that 1 man’s admitted speculation more than a century ago ends up costing me so much time repairing the Hull Family Search entries.
I write and edit for Wikipedia. I’m reading widely to update Hull’s Wikipedia entry and ground it in sources. I appreciate your help with this very much! –Jill Piggott