|Birth: ||Mar. 11, 1609, England|
|Death: ||Oct. 2, 1681|
Church warden, constable, commissioner, colonist, founder of Nantucket Island, first chief magistrate of the Nantucket colony, governor of Nantucket in 1671 and 1677. He was born in Brixton parish near Plymouth, Devonshire, England in 1609. He was the oldest child of Peter Coffin and Joanna Kember. He married Dionis Stevens in 1630.
Their children were:
i. Peter Coffin, baptized July 18, 1630 at Brixton
ii. Tristram Coffin, b. abt. 1632 in England
iii. Elizabeth Coffin b. in England
iv. James Coffin, b. Aug. 12, 1639 in Brixton parish
v. John Coffin, b. in England
vi. Deborah Coffin, b. Nov. 15, 1642 at Haverhill, MA
vii. Mary Coffin, b. Feb. 20, 1645 at Haverhill, MA
vii. John Coffin, b. Oct. 30, 1647 at Haverhill, MA
ix. Stephen Coffin, b. May 11, 1652 at Newbury, MA
He was a church warden in Brixton in 1639-40 and a constable in 1641. In 1642, he and his family came to America and settled in Newburyport, Massachussetts. He negotiated with the American Indians for some land and moved his family to what is now Haverill, Massachusetts. He was the first white settler to plow land with a plow he had made with his own hands. After farming for a few years, he moved back to Newburyport, where he operated a ferry and kept Coffyn's Ordinary, a tavern and inn managed by his wife. In the 1650's, he sold his property and moved to Salisbury, where he became Commissioner.
In the late 1650's, he and a few others purchased Nantucket island from Thomas Mayhew for the price of 30 pounds and two beaver hats, which were made by his son Tristram Jr. Among the eight original owners of Nantucket island, he became the most prominent. He was granted first choice of land and in 1659, he settled on the eastern slope of what is now called Trott's Hills, near Capaum pond, toward the western end if the island. He was a leader among the first settlers and was often asked by other inhabitants to transact important public business. He and Thomas Macy were the spokesmen for the settlement and were selected by the settlers go to New York and meet with Governor Lovelace and secure their claim to the Island in 1671. His letters to the Colonial Government of New York are preserved in the Archives of the Department of State at Albany. He built a corn mill and employed many Native Americans who were the aboriginal inhabitants of the island.
In 1671, he was appointed governor of Nantucket, serving again in that office from 1674 to 1680. He died the following year and was buried on Nantucket Island on the private property he purchased in 1659 (at Trott's Hills, near Capaum pond, toward the western end if the island.) According to the Nantucket Historical Society, the grave is unmarked and its exact location has been lost over the years.
A monument was erected to honor the founders of Nantucket island in 1881. The monument is located in the Nantucket Founders Cemetery (also referred to as the First Settlers' Burial Ground and the Forefathers' Cemetery). The Founders Cemetery is a small plot of land located off Cliff Road and overlooking Maxcey's Pond.
While none of the founders are actually buried in the cemetery, the monument bears the names of the founders and the location is open to the public. Tristram's name is inscribed on the monument as "1609 - Tristram Coffin - 1681." (bio by: Cindy K. Coffin)
(bio by: Cindy K. Coffin)
Peter Coffin (1580 - 1628)
Dionis Stevens Coffin (1610 - 1676)*
Peter Coffin (1630 - 1715)*
Tristram Coffin (1631 - 1703)*
Elizabeth Coffin Greenleaf (1634 - 1678)*
Mary Coffin Starbuck (1645 - 1717)*
John Tristram Coffin (1647 - 1711)*
Stephen Coffin (1652 - ____)*
Founders Burial Ground
Created by: Greg Derylo
Record added: May 02, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 10904410