Alexander T. Coffin (New Zealand Pioneer)

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Alexander Thomas Coffin, Jr.

Birthdate:
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
Last Updated:

About Alexander T. Coffin (New Zealand Pioneer)

Alexander Thomas Coffin (nickname Long Tom Coffin)

Background

In 1840 a young man named Alexander Thomas Coffin (nickname Long Tom Coffin) was documented as working in Timaru, NZ at the Rhodes Brothers Whaling Station.(he was with the "mystery Peter Coffin") Alexander Jr later 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 14 children with Caroline. (they never married) It appears the children were named Bathurst, and some later added the Coffin surname.

Family members had the following information:

-He was born in Nantucket, MA

-He ran away to sea at the age of 12 years.

-He came out on a whaling ship captained by his uncle, Seth Coffin

-A grandson reported that Alexander left the States in 1832 (Seths last voyage was on Ship Aurora Oct 1823-Dec 1826, Nantucket, MA Pacific Captain Coffin, Seth, Jr.) (Seth's previous voyage was Ship Criterion May 1820 - April 1823 Nantucket, MA Pacific)( Both trips were highly successful, combined Seth would have netted about $600,000 in todays dollars)

-Record of him in Timaru NZ in 1840 at the Rhodes Brothers Whaling Station

-He was traveling/working with a Peter Coffin of Dutchess County NY

-he named one of his sons Seth Silverneil after the captain of his ship (Silverneil? no idea)

-Alexander died on 26 July 1901 in Okains Bay, Banks Peninsula, New Zealand.

Timeline:

Born C 1811

age 1 Moves to Easton NY 1812

age 8 Gramps dies 1819

age 9 Father moves family to Onondaga, New York 1820

age 10 Dad dies 1821

age 11 Mom Remarries 1822 -1823 Samuel Pitts(1 yr mourning?)
--20 miles away from her home in Onondaga, NY 1830 Census First Name - Samuel Last Name - Pitts Census Year - 1830 State - New York County - Onondaga City/Township - Pompey

age 11 Moves to Duchess County (100 miles S, down Hudson river valley)

age 12 Runs away 1823

This leads us to Alexander M. Coffin, Catharine Campbell, and their son Alexander Coffin Junior.
http://www.nantuckethistoricalassociation.net/bgr/BGR-o/p254.htm#i7600

Jr's Born date unknown I have seen 1791, 1811, 1813 and 1818

(If he was 12 when he sailed on Seth Coffins last voyage, he was born 1811-1812)

Two other Alexander Coffins that would be about the right age, and no history... http://www.nantuckethistoricalassociation.net/bgr/BGR-o/p163.htm#i4873 http://www.nantuckethistoricalassociation.net/bgr/BGR-o/p558.htm#i16774

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 age 10...

Parents and extended family (Jacob and Albert Coffin) moved to Easton, NY area c. 1812 (Many Quakers left Nantucket as a result of the War of 1812) Many families moved in stages, one group at a time.
Alexander Jr's Grandfather Albert and his GF's brother Jacob lead the move to NY. Barney has all of Albert (9) and Jacob's(2) kids moving to NY

  • **Family moves in 1812, most G-kids are native NY'ers

Alberts

William Coffin+ b. 23 Jan 1787, d. 16 Sep 1863

  • Harriett B. Coffin
  • William Henry Coffin+ b. 22 Jan 1812
  • Jabez W. Coffin b. 14 Nov 1813, d. 23 Oct 1870
  • Alfred M. Coffin+ b. 28 Oct 1815
  • Lysander W. Coffin+ b. 5 Dec 1820
  • Charles B. Coffin b. 12 Mar 1830

Thomas Coffin+ b. 3 Jan 1789, d. 25 Apr 1864

  • Jane Ann Coffin b. 29 May 1814, d. 26 May 1846
  • John P. Coffin+ b. 21 Apr 1816, d. 10 Apr 1855 (not Elusive Peter married Polly Ann Green. died on 10 April 1855)
  • Martin Coffin+ b. 15 Jun 1818
  • Sandford Coffin+ b. 28 Aug 1821
  • Lewis Coffin+ b. 28 Dec 1823
  • Harriett Coffin b. 24 Feb 1825
  • Harvey Coffin b. 23 Sep 1828, d. 17 May 1852
  • Sidney Coffin+ b. 21 Dec 1831
  • Helen Coffin b. 11 Nov 1834, d. 25 Nov 1855
  • Sarah Ellen Coffin b. 10 Oct 1836, d. 5 Sep 1855
  • George Henry Coffin b. 30 Jun 1840, d. 6 Jan 1849

Alexander M. Coffin+ b. 1791, d. 1821

  • Alexander Coffin Jun.

Elishai Folger Coffin b. 1796 Lydia Coffin b. 1798 James B. Coffin+ b. 29 Mar 1800, d. 23 Mar 1868

  • Albert B. Coffin b. 10 Sep 1826, d. 18 Sep 1863
  • Frederic T. Coffin+ b. 17 Jul 1828, d. 27 Dec 1862
  • Elisabeth Coffin+ b. 23 Aug 1830
  • Mary Cornelia Coffin+ b. 4 Aug 1834

Charles Griffin Coffin+ b. 28 May 1801

  • Family 1
  • Miranda Hastings b. 25 Nov 1805, d. 12 Oct 1830
  • Children
  • Deborah T. Coffin b. 10 Feb 1825, d. 16 Mar 1825
  • Charles Augustus Coffin+ b. 10 Aug 1826
  • Miranda Augusta Coffin b. 3 Sep 1828
  • Griffin Alexander Coffin+ b. 23 Jan 1830
  • Family 2
  • Margaret Ann Douglas b. 18 Jan 1806, d. 27 Sep 1863
  • Children
  • William Hughes Coffin b. 13 Feb 1832, d. 12 Apr 1833
  • James Albert Coffin b. 12 Nov 1833, d. 5 Feb 1870
  • Margaret Ann Coffin b. 9 Oct 1835
  • Sarah Elizabeth Coffin b. 28 Jul 1838, d. 17 Aug 1840
  • Josephine Rodman Coffin b. 14 Jul 1840, d. 2 Mar 1841
  • Henry Judson Coffin b. 29 Jun 1842, d. 8 Jul 1863
  • George Phineas Coffin b. 24 Oct 1844
  • Mary Louisa Coffin b. 21 Apr 1848
  • Family 3
  • Esther D. ?

Frederic W. Coffin+ b. 4 Jan 1809

  • Sophia W. Coffin+ b. 29 Dec 1832
  • Martha W. Coffin+ b. 3 Feb 1835
  • Frances H. Coffin+ b. 12 Apr 1837
  • George M. Coffin b. 31 Dec 1839, d. 28 Aug 1840
  • Thaddeus Coffin+ b. 2 Mar 1841
  • Emma H. Coffin+ b. 10 Mar 1844
  • Eugene Coffin b. 14 Aug 1847
  • Arthur Coffin b. 14 Aug 1847
  • Frederic W. Coffin b. 14 Oct 1851, d. 2 Jan 1852
  • Harry S. Coffin b. 24 Jun 1853
  • Edward W. Coffin b. 7 Apr 1855

Mary Ann Coffin+ b. c 1814

  • Family 1
  • Henry Smith
  • Children
  • Charles Delevan Smith
  • Henry Herbert Smith
  • Family 2
  • Asa Lowell

Jacobs

  1. Sally Coffin
  2. Reuben Coffin

Washington County NY Records http://www.co.washington.ny.us/277/Historian

Washington Co History https://archive.org/details/historyofwashing00john

Washington County Historical Society http://www.wchs-ny.org/library.php

 In 1813 Scipio Monthly meeting of Friends lists new member from Easton: Jacob Coffin. http://www.cayugacounty.us/portals/0/history/friends/index.html

Quakers in Eaton NY: Eaton Meeting House: Continuous records of the business transaction of this Meeting have been kept since 1676 to the present time, and they are of such value that the Meeting has placed them on deposit at the Hall of Records, Annapolis, Md.

http://www.thirdhaven.org/history.php

Easton, NY, Monthly Meeting, part of the New York Yearly Meeting. The meeting’s records, 1778 to 1950, are on four rolls of microfilm at the Family History Library.

http://media2.fwpublications.com.s3.amazonaws.com/FTM/articles/OctNov12/religious_records_researching_quaker_ancestors.pdf

Quaker Basin
A number of Quakers came in soon after 1800, and settled in a romantic spot which was named Quaker Basin. Among these families may be mentioned the Russels, Woods, Rings, Shephards, Breeds, Abram Sutton and others, men of considerable competence, whose sober, in- dustrious habits have left an indelible impress upon the character of the town. Abram Sutton came early and set- tled a half mile north of DeRuyter village; he reared a large family and a promment one. The only surviving son, ■ Allen, resides in this village. In 1816, the "Friends" meetinghouse at" Quaker Basin " was built, and is still standing, a specimen of the archi- tecture common among the Friends all over the country at that day. It was built of excellent material, which its shingled sides have protected from decay, in spite of the wind and weather of more than a half century. Its builder was Abram Sutton, who performed the job for the sum of $999, one dollar less than the figures of any other bidder. In the west part of the town a number of Quakers settled. Prominent among them were: Joseph Collins ist, Solomon and Hezekiah Collins, a Mr. Sheffield, Gideon Kenyon, Thomas Kenyon and James Larkin. The three sons of Joseph Collins, Job, Peter and Joshua, and Albert Button, built up a place called Moscow, now Delancy. The Collins brothers were saddle and harness makers. Peter Collins built a tavern, Albert Button built a store, and Job and Joshua Collins had a number of shops for the several trades of harness and saddle making, wagon making and blacksmithing. For about ten years a considerable business was done in Moscow; but near the year 1830, these proprietors, desiring a location where better facilities in the form of water-povver, and easier access to large business centers were offered, sold out, moved away, and the abandoned village soon decayed. Some of the best of those deserted buildings have been converted into farm houses upon the very good farms in the neighborhood.

Quaker Hill Oblong Meeting House
The Quakers had a large society ; they were connected with that of the town of Madison. For many years their meetings were held at the house of Thomas Kenyon. About 1820, their house of worship was built, which was well filled with devout worshipers at all their meetings, for about twenty-five years, when death began to decimate the aged and faithful, the children married "out of the meeting," or moved away, the leaders became so few that the meet ings grew fewer and farther between, and finally the house was closed. To-day, the dilapidated building upon Quaker Hill, once the center of attraction to a large number of devoted, faithful hearts, where the sunlight of the bright Sabbath mornings once beamed through lattice and doorway upon an exquisitely neat and orderly interior, presents naught to the eye, exteriorly and interiorly, but broken windows, rotting casements, decaying walls, and gathering dust and cobwebs. The atmosphere of the whole location seems pregnant with loneliness. The hill is one of the highest in this hilly region ; far around are to be seen broad grazing farms, dotted with herds of cattle, and now and then an isolated barn, but with very few farm houses in view ; between the church ruin and highway is the grave yard, — not all neglected, but quiet and silent as, it seems, suited the undemonstrative habits, when in life, of those whose forms are reposing beneath the unostentatious marble headstones.

https://archive.org/stream/historyofmadison00whit/historyofmadison00whit_djvu.txt

Breed, Henry C. History of Quaker Basin, Quaker Hill and the Eastern Part of the Township of DeRuyter and Muller Hill, from 1800 to 1900. DeRuyter, N.Y.: Gleaner Press, 1931. “The late Henry C. Breed of Quaker Basin, grandson of pioneer Quaker settlers in DeRuyter, left in manuscript form a local history . . . .” [His Col Ref 974.764 Bre] http://www.midyorklib.org/oneida/local-history-room/selected-bibliography/

Grandparents Burial Records buried at Friends Burying Ground,, Easton, New York Coffin, Albert, b. Nov. i8, 1766; d. May 22, 1819.  Coffin, Mary Fay, wife of Albert, b. 1777; d. Feb. 17, 1849. 

http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/new-york-genealogical-and-biographical-society/the-new-york-genealogical-and-biographical-record-volume-99-ywe/page-44-the-new-york-genealogical-and-biographical-record-volume-99-ywe.shtml

A year later (1820) Father moved his family to Onondaga, New York The following year (1821) Father died

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 (http://www.accessgenealogy.com/newyork/hudson/hudson_steamboats.htm)

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. (http://nmdl.org/aowv/whindex.cfm)

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., He/they could have been on several whaling expeditions. 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.

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/history-of-immigration/page-3

Little is known about Peter Coffin, I sure he's not Jr's brother because that would have been known. Alexander Jr claimed Nantuck as home even though he left when he was a year or two old. (being from Nantucket was whaling royalty)

My first guess would be a cousin born after the extended family arrived in NY. Probably very close to Alexander Jr in age. (partners in crime that ran off together) However Barney shows no Peters as grandkids of either Albert or Jacob

Junior- Born Nantucket Moves to Easton NY age 1-3 Moves to

There are 2 Peter Coffin's listed as lost at sea, it's possible one survived, hooked up with Alexander Jr ?

Peter H. Coffin

M, b. 20 August 1802, d. 1829

Father Simeon Coffin b. 4 Mar 1761, d. 20 Dec 1839

Mother* Polly Whippey b. 14 Oct 1763, d. 24 Jan 1818

Peter H. Coffin was born on 20 August 1802. He died in 1829; Single. He died at sea.

http://www.nantuckethistoricalassociation.net/bgr/BGR-o/p480.htm#i14408

Peter Coffin

M, b. 7 March 1793, d. October 1806

Father Daniel Coffin b. 22 Aug 1754, d. 5 Oct 1839

Mother Huldah Bunker b. 1 Mar 1760, d. 30 Jan 1844

Peter Coffin was born on 7 March 1793. He died in October 1806 at age 13; Single. He was lost at sea.

http://www.nantuckethistoricalassociation.net/bgr/BGR-o/p480.htm#i14408

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.

Whaling crew members were famous for 'missing the boat' and moved from ship to ship frequently.

http://www.uridge.org/Phoeby_Uridge.htm

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/history-of-immigration/page-1

http://coffinnz.blogspot.com/

http://www.nantuckethistoricalassociation.net/bgr/BGR-o/p254.htm#i7600

http://nmdl.org/aowv/whindex.cfm

http://www.whalingmuseum.org/learn/research-topics/overview-of-north-american-whaling/life-aboard

http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/new-york-genealogical-and-biographical-society/the-new-york-genealogical-and-biographical-record-volume-99-ywe/page-44-the-new-york-genealogical-and-biographical-record-volume-99-ywe.shtml

Parents Nantucket Marriage record Alexander Jr., s. Alexander M. and Catherine Campbell, _____, PR38. http://dunhamwilcox.net/ma/nantucketd45.htm

Alexander Jr Birth Record (no date) Catherine and Alexander M. Coffin, s. Albert and Polly (Fay) (second w.), _____, PR38. http://dunhamwilcox.net/ma/nantucket9.htm

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/history-of-immigration/page-1

  1. Elishai Folger Coffin b. 1796
  2. Lydia Coffin b. 1798
  3. James B. Coffin+ b. 29 Mar 1800, d. 23 Mar 1868
  4. Charles Griffin Coffin+ b. 28 May 1801
  5. Frederic W. Coffin+ b. 4 Jan 1809
  6. Mary Ann Coffin+ b. c 1814

Jacobs

  1. Sally Coffin
  2. Reuben Coffin

 In 1813 Scipio Monthly meeting of Friends lists new member from Easton: Jacob Coffin. http://www.cayugacounty.us/portals/0/history/friends/index.html

Grandparents Burial Records buried at Friends Burying Ground,, Easton, New York Coffin, Albert, b. Nov. i8, 1766; d. May 22, 1819.  Coffin, Mary Fay, wife of Albert, b. 1777; d. Feb. 17, 1849. 

http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/new-york-genealogical-and-biographical-society/the-new-york-genealogical-and-biographical-record-volume-99-ywe/page-44-the-new-york-genealogical-and-biographical-record-volume-99-ywe.shtml

A year later (1820) Father moved his family to Onondaga, New York The following year (1821) Father died

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 (http://www.accessgenealogy.com/newyork/hudson/hudson_steamboats.htm)

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. (http://nmdl.org/aowv/whindex.cfm)

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., He/they could have been on several whaling expeditions. 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.

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/history-of-immigration/page-3

Little is known about Peter Coffin, I sure he's not Jr's brother because that would have been known. Alexander Jr claimed Nantucket as home even though he left when he was a year or two old. (being from Nantucket was whaling royalty)

My first guess would be a cousin born after the extended family arrived in NY. Probably very close to Alexander Jr in age. (partners in crime that ran off together) However Barney shows no Peters as grandkids of either Albert or Jacob

There are 2 Peter Coffin's listed as lost at sea, it's possible one survived, hooked up with Alexander Jr ?

Peter H. Coffin

M, b. 20 August 1802, d. 1829

Father Simeon Coffin b. 4 Mar 1761, d. 20 Dec 1839

Mother* Polly Whippey b. 14 Oct 1763, d. 24 Jan 1818

Peter H. Coffin was born on 20 August 1802. He died in 1829; Single. He died at sea.

http://www.nantuckethistoricalassociation.net/bgr/BGR-o/p480.htm#i14408

Peter Coffin

M, b. 7 March 1793, d. October 1806

Father Daniel Coffin b. 22 Aug 1754, d. 5 Oct 1839

Mother Huldah Bunker b. 1 Mar 1760, d. 30 Jan 1844

Peter Coffin was born on 7 March 1793. He died in October 1806 at age 13; Single. He was lost at sea.

http://www.nantuckethistoricalassociation.net/bgr/BGR-o/p480.htm#i14408

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.

Whaling crew members were famous for 'missing the boat' and moved from ship to ship frequently.

http://www.uridge.org/Phoeby_Uridge.htm

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/history-of-immigration/page-1

http://coffinnz.blogspot.com/

http://www.nantuckethistoricalassociation.net/bgr/BGR-o/p254.htm#i7600

http://nmdl.org/aowv/whindex.cfm

http://www.whalingmuseum.org/learn/research-topics/overview-of-north-american-whaling/life-aboard

http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/new-york-genealogical-and-biographical-society/the-new-york-genealogical-and-biographical-record-volume-99-ywe/page-44-the-new-york-genealogical-and-biographical-record-volume-99-ywe.shtml

Parents Nantucket Marriage record Alexander Jr., s. Alexander M. and Catherine Campbell, _____, PR38. http://dunhamwilcox.net/ma/nantucketd45.htm

Alexander Jr Birth Record (no date) Catherine and Alexander M. Coffin, s. Albert and Polly (Fay) (second w.), _____, PR38. http://dunhamwilcox.net/ma/nantucket9.htm

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/history-of-immigration/page-1

view all 17

Alexander T. Coffin (New Zealand Pioneer)'s Timeline

1811
1811
Nantucket, Nantucket, Massachusetts, United States
1856
1856
Age 45
1856
Age 45
1858
1858
Age 47
1860
May 11, 1860
Age 49
1862
1862
Age 51
1864
1864
Age 53
1865
1865
Age 54
1867
1867
Age 56