Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Tristram Coffin, Governor of Nantucket

Male Bef 1610 - 1681  (> 71 years)


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  • Name Tristram Coffin 
    Suffix Governor of Nantucket 
    Born Bef 11 Mar 1610  [1, 2, 3
    Gender Male 
    Baptised 11 Mar 1610  Brixton, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3
    Died 3 Oct 1681  Nantucket, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Person ID I13412  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of JTS, Ancestor of LDN, Ancestor of TWK
    Last Modified 2 Apr 2020 

    Father Peter Coffin,   b. Abt 1580, of Brixton, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Between 21 Dec 1627 and 13 Mar 1628, Brixton, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 47 years) 
    Mother Joane Kember,   b. 1584, Brixton, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 May 1661, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years) 
    Married Abt 1608  [1
    Family ID F8322  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Dionis Stevens,   b. Bef 4 Mar 1610, Brixton, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 29 Nov 1681, Nantucket, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 71 years) 
    Married Between 16 Dec 1627 and 18 Jul 1630  Brixton, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Children 
    +1. Lt. Tristram Coffin,   b. 1632, Brixton, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Feb 1704, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years)
    +2. James Coffin,   b. Bef 11 Sep 1639,   d. 28 Sep 1720, Nantucket, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 81 years)
    +3. Mary Coffin,   b. 20 Feb 1645, Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Nov 1717, Nantucket, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years)
    +4. John Coffin,   b. 30 Aug 1647, Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 5 Sep 1711, Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 64 years)
    Last Modified 2 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F6298  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • His date of death has been misstated as 3 Mar 1681 by some otherwise reliable sources, including Mary Lovering Holman (citation details below). Alicia Crane Williams (citation details below) has shown that the Nantucket Court of Sessions proceeding of 29 Nov 1681 called him "deceased, the 3d day of October, 1681", and that his 8 Aug 1682 inventory said that he "departed this life the third day of October, on[e] thousand six hundred eighty one". A lengthy note in Williams's "Resources" section discusses the particular challenges facing anyone attempting to derive accurate dates from early Nantucket vital records.

      He was a churchwarden in Brixton, Devon in 1639-40, and a constable in 1641.

      "Tristram Coffin, age 32, his widowed mother Joan (Kember) Coffin, about age 58, two sisters, Eunice, age 24 and Mary, about 22, his wife Dionis, also about age 32, and their five children (Peter, 12, Elizabeth, about 11, Tristram, Jr., about 10, James, age 2, and John, probably less than 1), all came to New England from Brixton, co. Devon, England, before 20 or 30 October 1642, when the death of son John was recorded at Haverhill. Tradition states that the Coffins came on the same ship as Robert Clements, with whom Tristram was associated in New England. For about eighteen years the Coffins bounced around from Salisbury to Haverhill, to Newbury, back to Salisbury, to Newbury again and to Salisbury once more. In 1660 Tristram and some of his children settled permanently on Nantucket Island." [Alicia Crane Williams, citation details below]

      In New England, he is first seen at Salisbury, then at Haverhill where he was a founder on 15 Nov 1642. In Newbury 1647, Salisbury 1648, Newbury 1649, Salisbury 1654. About 1658 he became interested in the island of Nantucket and formed a company for its purchase, moving there in 1659.

      He was chief magistrate of Nantucket, called "governor," from 29 Jun 1671 to an unrecorded date, succeeded by Thomas Macy, and again chief magistrate from 1677 to 1680.

      He settled a great deal of his fortune on his offspring well before his death, and a great deal of what remained to him was eaten up by an admiralty court fine imposed on him for having allowed the people of Nantucket to salvage a French castaway without making a proper accounting to the court. The fine, initially £477 14s., esd eventually reduced to £150, but it still left him with very little at the end.

  • Sources 
    1. [S630] Ancestry of Charles Stinson Pillsbury and John Sargent Pillsbury by Mary Lovering Holman. Concord, New Hampshire: The Rumford Press, 1938.

    2. [S544] Noyes-Gilman Ancestry: Being a Series of Sketches, with a Chart of the Ancestors of Charles Phelps Noyes and Emily H. (Gilman) Noyes, His Wife by Charles Phelps Noyes. St. Paul, Minnesota, 1907.

    3. [S756] Early New England Families Study Project: Accounts of New England Families from 1641 to 1700 by Alicia Crane Williams. Online database, New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    4. [S756] Early New England Families Study Project: Accounts of New England Families from 1641 to 1700 by Alicia Crane Williams. Online database, New England Historic Genealogical Society., says "Probably at Brixton".