Alexander Coffin (1st New Zealand Coffin)

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Alexander Coffin (1st New Zealand Coffin)'s Geni Profile

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Alexander Coffin, Jr.

Birthplace: Nantucket, Nantucket, Massachusetts, United States
Death: Died in Canterbury, New Zealand
Immediate Family:

Son of Alexander M. Coffin and Catharine Coffin
Husband of Mary Coffin and Caroline Henrietta Coffin
Father of Alexander Bathurst – Coffin; William Henry Bathurst; Edward James Coffin; Henrietta Louisa Osborn; Silas Augustus Bathurst and 8 others

Managed by: Private User
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About Alexander Coffin (1st New Zealand Coffin)


Trying to track down the original Coffin in New Zealand has this Alexander Coffin, son of Alexander and Catherine Campbell as THE Alexander "Long Tom" Thomas Coffin of New Zealand...

(MAJOR Caveat - dates this photo from 1860, so he's 49 yrs old in the photo???) ***Update, looks like photo is undated, year is just is an estimate


Working off the assumption that this is Alexander "Long Tom" Thomas Coffin

Known: Born in Nantucket c. 1811 No known Campbell family on Nantucket in 1810, but lots close by on the mainland, so mother was probably not from Nantucket, may have worked there?

Campbell's (Scottish) not usually members of Quaker faith (English)

The wedding was recorded by Quakers, so she was a Quaker at time of wedding. Marrying a non-Quaker resulted in shunning, non-Quaker spouse's name would not have been recorded.

Parents and extended family moved to Easton, NY area c. 1812

(Many Quakers left Nantucket as a result of the War of 1812)

Grandfather died May 22, 1819, buried at Friends Burying Ground,, Easton, New York (Grandma died years later, buried there also)

A year later (1820) Father moved his family to Onondaga, New York The following year (1821) Father died (The year of the Hurricane Called "The Great September Gale")

Mother (Catharine Coffin (Campbell)) re-married a Quaker named Samuel Pitts when/where unknown,

Speculation starts here: Possibly mother and family (other kids?) moved to the nearby county of Dutchess County, NY., with Mr Pitts. Alexander Jr. not happy w/new step-dad ran away from home probably in the summer of 1823 The Erie canal was under construction, portions were open and in use, starting in 1807 steamboats were in use on the Hudson River, making travel much more affordable and common in the surrounding area. Fare from Poughkeepsie to NYC would have been $3.50 ( He made his way back to Nantucket, where he signed on with the Whale Ship Aurora, Captained by Captain Seth Coffin, Jr., That voyage went from 1823, Oct 2nd - 1826, Dec 22, Captain Seth's last voyage. ( Between 1826 and 1840 nothing is known of his whereabouts, presumably he went from whaling ship to whaling ship, by the time he showed up in New Zealand with a Peter Coffin of Dutchess County, NY., (possibly a younger brother or cousin.) he/they could have been on several whaling expeditions. This would make him 29 years old in 1840 in New Zealand. He may have been in New Zealand for some time already in 1840, that is just the first record of him being there.

Until 1839 there were only about 2,000 immigrants in New Zealand; by 1852 there were about 28,000. The decisive moment for this remarkable change was 1840. In that year the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. This established British authority in European eyes, and gave British immigrants legal rights as citizens. The treaty helped ensure that for the next century and beyond, most immigrants to New Zealand would come from the United Kingdom. It was also in 1840 that the first immigrants assisted by the New Zealand Company arrived.

One possibility is that Alexander Jr and Peter sailed on the ship Mount Vernon 1832-1835 Nantucket, MA to the Pacific Captained by Edwin Coffin Sr. On that voyage, the captain, and most of his crew were Nantucket natives, and the Nantucketers were so cruel to the non-Nantucket natives that one officer "went mad" from the whippings, beatings and other torture. A court later convicted Capt Edwin of "Unusually cruel punishment" If Alexander and Peter were on that ship, they had plenty of reason to jump ship.

Alexander Jr married a Mary Ainge 24th Aug 1853, never divorced. The marriage must not have went well, because Alexander Jr had a child with Caroline Henrietta Bathurst in 1855, and went on to father a total of 13 children with Caroline. (they never married) It appears the children were named Bathurst, and some later added the Coffin surname. Some were never told they were Coffins. British law at the time, an unmarried woman's children were named for the mother even if the father was known

Result: There is no glaring omissions that deviate from his story in New Zealand

Born on Nantucket, ran away age 12, sailed/whaled with Seth Coffin, connection w/upstate New York to explain traveling w/Peter Coffin of Dutchess County NY

Found a single mention of a Catherine Coffin, moving back to Nantucket in a Friend's "Creek Meeting House", Dutchess County, NY No way to know if it is Mother of Alexander. see:

To me sure looks like this should be the guy. That would also make him 44yrs old at the birth of his first child, and 66yrs old at his last

Parents Nantucket Marriage record

Grandparents Burial Records

Birth Record of Alexander Jr Alexander Jr., s. Alexander M. and Catherine Campbell, _____, PR38.

Two other Alexander Coffins that would be about the right age, and no history...

But neither born on Nantucket, so our candidate looks like the only known Alexander Coffin That fits on all fronts (age, birthplace, motive, opportunity) and has a 'unknown' history after birth...

  • **Alexander is a common name among the Coffins that moved into New York
    • *None of the three Alexanders have Seth Coffin for a 1st Uncle, so Uncle must mean 'older male relative' like it does in many large extended families
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Alexander Coffin (1st New Zealand Coffin)'s Timeline

Nantucket, Nantucket, Massachusetts, United States
Age 42
Age 45
Age 45
Age 47
May 11, 1860
Age 49
Age 51
Age 53
Age 54
Age 56