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 Benjamin Coleman Coghill

Benjamin Coleman Coghill

Henrico County, Virginia, USA
Death 6 May 1880 (aged 77)
Ennis, Ellis County, Texas, USA
Burial Henderson County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 83997104 · View Source
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~ aged 77 y 2 m 28 d

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The family of Coghill trace their ancestry back to 1377. Benjamin C. Coghill traced the maternal line back to the Slingsbys of Scrivenhall, in 1135. Benjamin C. Coghill was born near Richmond, Virginia and received a classical education at a college in Virginia. When he reached the "age of majority" he received his inheritance of an estate sufficient for his maintenance among the gentry of that day. In February, 1833, he was married to Miss Millicent Ellett, a native of Richmond, who died September 24, of the subsequent year. Two children were born to this marriage: John Waller [married Elizabeth Tucker and had 7 children; died in 1922 in Lawrence, KS.]and Millicent Ellett [married James Duke and had two children; died 1916 in Illinois]. In 1834 he purchased and owned for some time the farm on which Patrick Henry was born.

Still in Virginia, he chose Miss Mary A. Ellett, a cousin of his first wife to be his next wife; they were married in 1835. For years he had entertained a growing aversion to the institution of slavery. He deter­mined to leave slave territory forever and find a home on free soil; thus, in September, 1835 he traveled on horseback with William P. Toler and Thomas Ellett through the states of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Returning in November he began arrangements for his removal to Henderson (at that time, Warren) county. As to the sincerity of his views in opposition to the institution of slavery, let the following extract from a letter to a relative attest: "Being deeply impressed with the conviction that war, terrible in its consequences, would come sooner or later, and feeling earnestly desirous that neither I nor any of my children should engage in such a strife, and further, not wishing to raise my children among the negroes, my thoughts were turned to the west as the place wherein these evils might be avoided. As soon as I had fully determined to remove to a free state, the question arose in my mind, what shall I do with my negroes I gave the matter much careful consideration and made it the subject of much earnest prayer. The temptation to sell and get the money for them was strong. The conflict between the devil and the man was fierce and bitter, but thanks be to God who giveth strength, my sense of duty was the stronger. I procured good homes for the aged and sent all the younger ones to Liberia." *
*On page 1066 of this source, the following is written: "Mr. Coghill, who had been a large slave owner, manumitted them, bringing two with him, who, under contract, were to work for a certain time and gain their absolute freedom thereby. They bred trouble for him and were sent back."

In June 1836, Mr. Coghill, along with William P. Toler and Thomas Ellett from Richmond who had accompanied him on his initial tour of inspection, moved to what would become Henderson county (at that time it was Warren County; Henderson county was founded in 1841) and settled in Greenville precinct. Besides his children from his first marriage, he also brought new-born son Benjamin C. Coghill, Jr. After settling in Warren/Henderson county, Mary Ann and he had eight more children: Mary Kezia known as Mollie, Edwin, William Hawes, Richard Judson, Cornelius, Frances known as Fannie, Cornelia, and Martha. Benjamin Jr. died at the age of 16; Mollie at the age of 20; Edwin at 2; William at 8; Cornelius at 2, and Cornelia at 1 month. Mollie married Alexander Hall but died without children. Judson married and had at least three children. Fannie married Lewis Duke, Jr. and had 9 children. Martha married Lucilius Pollard and had 3 children.

He has been identified with almost every prominent measure pertinent to the county's interest while he was a citizen of it. He was a member of the first board of county commissioners after Henderson county was split from Warren County, holding that office from election on April 5, 1841 until he was succeeded by Isaiah Brook in September, 1845.

Upon arriving in Henderson county, Benjamin Coghill built a lumber mill on the south side of the Henderson river. Four years later he had added a flour mill. The mills were eventually sold to Richard Foulkes. In 1846 he also joined John D. Culver at Oquawka in general merchandising.

The great work of his life was the upbuilding of the Rozetta Baptist church, and as its history is so inseparably con­nected with his, the one would not be complete without the other. On May 10, 1837, the following named persons met at the residence of Benjamin C. Coghill, and after choosing (—) Clark moderator, proceeded to organize themselves into an independent religious society: William E. Ellett, Benjamin C. Coghill, William P. Toler, Clark, Mary A. Coghill, Kezia Coghill, Susan Ellett, and Mary Ellett. For many years the progress of the church was slow. But in time their earnestness of purpose and firm determination had its effect, and in 1840, their numbers having been greatly increased, they were enabled to build a comfortable house of worship. The building was finished and accepted by the trustees on the fourth Saturday in December, 1849, and on Sunday, January 25, 1850, was solemnly dedicated by elder Monroe.

By 1870 he, Mary Ann, and their youngest daughter Martha, had retired to a farm near the little town of Richview in Washington County. The 1870 census notes that he was a "retired merchant" and that his estate worth was $6000 in real estate and $5000 in personal, making him a wealthy man for that time.

He was married a third time in 1878 to Loucie LeFevre, of Hannibal, Missouri. Mr. Coghill died at Ennis, Texas, whither he had removed some time previous for the benefit of his health. He was survived by his third wife, five children, and 24 grandchildren.

Source: "History of Mercer and Henderson Counties". pages 1072-1073, 1066, 877, 1068.

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BENJAMI C. COGHILL/Died/May 6, 1880/Aged/77 yrs. 2 mo. 28 d.
(From "The Family of Coghill Continued" by Dr. William Hawes Coghill, page 163)





  • Maintained by: Ruth Ellen Bartels
  • Originally Created by: Mary Mc
  • Added: 25 Jan 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 83997104
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Benjamin Coleman Coghill (8 Feb 1803–6 May 1880), Find A Grave Memorial no. 83997104, citing Coghill Cemetery, Henderson County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Ruth Ellen Bartels (contributor 47315485) .