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Starbuck / Coffin Family

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  • Edwin Chapin Coffin, Capt. Jr (1900 - 1952)
    Newspaper Article regarding death: Former Army Officer Shoots Brother, Self At Fort Worth FORT WORTH, June 9 Boyd S. Coffin, 39, loved his :big German shepherd dog, •Laddie. That love seemed to increas...
  • Alfred Coffin (1821 - 1844)
    )[0]=&TemplateProcessID=6000_3635&ProcessID=6000_3363(0)&KeyValues=KEY_coll488 Alfred Coffin (1821-1880), married to Lilias Marcus c. 1841. Farmer in Chautauqua County, New York, until speculating in ...
  • Lelia (Lilias) Coffin (1821 - 1875)
  • Addie Coffin (b. - 1875)
  • William Coffin (1844 - 1921)
    ? personID=I14879&tree=barney

Scope of Project

To build a single, validated and documented shared family tree for the Starbuck, Coffin, Gardner and related families, from earlier origins to near modern times


The Starbuck and Coffin families were a group of whalers operating out of Nantucket, Massachusetts from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. Some members of the family gained wider exposure due to their discovery of various islands in the Pacific Ocean.

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About Nantucket Island and the Whaling Industry

Also see the Nantucket Island project.


The towns of Long Island are believed to have been the first to establish a Whaling|whale fishery on the shores of New England sometime around 1650. Nantucket joined in on the trade in 1690 when they sent for one Ichabod Padduck to instruct them in the methods of whaling. Starbuck (1878), p.17. The south side of the island was divided into three and a half mile sections, each one with a mast erected to look for the spouts of right whales. Each section had a temporary hut for the five men assigned to that area, with a sixth man standing watch at the mast. Once a whale was sighted, whale boats were rowed from the shore, and if the whale was successfully harpooned and lanced to death, it was towed ashore, Flensing|flensed (that is, its blubber was cut off), and the blubber boiled in cauldrons known as "trypots." Well into the 18th century, even when Nantucket sent out sailing vessels to fish for whales offshore, the whalers would still come to the shore to boil the blubber.

In 1715 Nantucket had six sloops engaged in the whale fishery, Starbuck (1878), p.20. and by 1730 it had twenty-five vessels of 38 to 50 tons employed in the trade.Starbuck (1878), p.21-22. Each vessel employed twelve to thirteen men, half of them being Native Americans in the United States|Native Americans. At times the whole crew, with the exception of the captain, might be natives. Scammon (1874), p.204. They had two whaleboats, one held in reserve should the other be damaged by an angry whale.

By 1732 the first Yankee whalers had reached the Davis Strait fishery, between Greenland and Baffin Island. Starbuck (1878), p.168. The fishery slowly began to expand, with whalers visiting the West Africa|west coast of Africa in 1763, the Azores in 1765, the coast of Brazil in 1773, and the Falklands in 1774.


The island of Nantucket's beginnings in western history can possibly be traced to its conjectured sighting by Norsemen in the 11th century. In 1602 Captain Bartholomew Gosnold of Suffolk from Falmouth, Cornwall, England sailed his bark Concord past the bluffs of Siasconset.

The island's original inhabitants, the Wampanoag Native Americans in the United States|Indians, lived undisturbed until 1641 when the island was deeded by the English (the authorities in control of all land from the coast of Maine to New York) to Thomas Mayhew and his son, merchants of Watertown and Martha's Vineyard. Nantucket was part of Dukes County, New York|Dukes County, New York until 1691, when it was transferred to the newly formed Province of Massachusetts Bay and split off to form Nantucket County. The entire area of the New York county had been purchased by Thomas Mayhew (governor)|Thomas Mayhew Sr. of Watertown, Massachusetts|Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1641, buying out competing land claims. The earliest English settlement in the area began on neighboring island Martha's Vineyard, named after Bartholomew's daughter Martha who died on board, en route.

As Europeans began to settle Cape Cod, the island became a place of refuge for regional Indians, as Nantucket was not yet settled by Europeans. The growing population of Native Americans welcomed seasonal groups of Indians who traveled to the island to fish and later harvest whales that washed up on shore.

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Colonial America: Nantucket, Massachusetts After 1789: Nantucket, Massachusetts, United States

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Earlham College > Libraries >Friends Collection & College Archives > Manuscripts > C

  • Includes collections for:
  • Charles F. and Rhoda M. Coffin Collection. 1732-1916. FMS 1.
  • Charles H. Coffin Collection. 1881-1930. FMS 30.
  • Elijah Coffin Papers. 1820-1911. FMS 49.
  • Gordon R. Coffin Collection. 1942-1946. FMS 105.
  • Levi Coffin Collection. 1825- . FMS 54
  • William H. Coffin Papers. 1833-1925. FMS 20.

Appleton, William S. “Gatherings toward a genealogy of the Coffin family” (1896)[]

Appleton, William S. “Early wills illustrating the ancestry of Harriot Coffin, with genealogical and biographical notes” (1893) []

Amory, Rgomas, “The Life of Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin” []

Coffin, Addison, “The Life and Travels of Addison Coffin” []

Coffin, Allen “The Coffin family : the life of Tristram Coffyn, of Nantucket, Mass., founder of the family line in America; together with reminiscences and anecdotes of some of his numerous descendants, and some historical information concerning the ancient families named Coffyn” (1881) []

Coffin, Charles A, “Executive profile, GE Corp” []

Coffin, Charles Carleton “One hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the settlement of Boscawen and Webster, Merrimack Co., N.H., August 16, 1883. Also births recorded on the town records from 1733 to 1850” (1884) []

Elijah Coffin , Charles Fisher Coffin , Mary Coffin Johnson “The Life of Elijah Coffin: With a Reminiscence” (1863) []

Coffin, Gorham Bartlett, “A pioneer voyage to California and round the world, 1849 to 1852, ship Alhambra, Captain George Coffin” (1908) []

Coffin Henry, “A Memoir of General John Coffin” []

Coffin, Ida Gardner, Anna S. Jenks The oldest house on Nantucket Island, In two parts []

Coffin, Joshua "A sketch of the history of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, from 1635 to 1845" []

Coffin, Joshua “Constitution of the New-England Anti-Slavery Society : together with its by-laws, and a list of its officers” (1832) []

Coffin, Joshua “Have slave-holders any right to be compensated on being deprived of the power to continue to steal men's personal liberty” (1830) []

Coffin, Joshua “An Account of Some of the Principal Slave Insurrections,: and Others, Which Have Occurred, or Been Attempted, in the United States and Elsewhere, During the Last Two Centuries.”[]

Coffin, R. S. (Robert Stevenson) “The life of the Boston bard” (1825) []

Currier , John James “"Ould Newbury": historical and biographical sketches” []

Cutter, William Richard, assisted by William Frederick Adams: Genealogical and personal memoirs relating to the families of the state of Massachusetts 1910 []

Douglas-Lithgow, Robert Alexander, "Nantucket; a history" []

Johnson, Mary Coffin, “Rhoda M. Coffin, her reminiscences, addresses, papers and ancestry” (1910) []

Johnson, Mary Coffin, “Charles F. Coffin, a Quaker pioneer” (1923) []

Folger, Eva Celine Grear, "The glacier's gift"

Griffis, William Elliot, 1843-1928 “Charles Carleton Coffin, war correspondent” (1898) []

Hanaford, Phebe Ann (Coffin) “Daughters of America” (1882) []

Hallock, Charles ; The Hallock-Holyoke pedigree and collateral branches in the United States being a revision of the Hallock ancestry of 1866 prepared by Rev. Wm. A. Hallock, D.D., with additions and tracings of family genealogies to the present date and generation []

Hart, Joseph C. “The Whale-fishermen, a tale” []

Haskins, Charles Warren, The Argonauts of California, being the reminiscences of scenes and incidents that occurred in California in early mining days[]

Henry Fitz-Gilbert Waters “The New England historical and genealogical register –, New England Historic Genealogical Society” []

Hinchman, Mitchell and Swain, Lydia, "Early settlers of Nantucket, their associates and descendants" []

Hussey, Christopher Coffin; Hussey, Lydia Coffin, Mrs “Talks about old Nantucket” (1901) []

Locke, Arthur Horton A history and genealogy of Captain John Locke (1627-1696) of Portsmouth and Rye, N.H., and his descendants []



Lukins, Charles E “Tristram Coffin family” (n.d.]) []

Macy, Obed “The history of Nantucket ed. by W. Coffin” (1835) []

Macy, William Francis, The story of old Nantucket; a brief history of the island and its people from its discovery down to the present day []

Macy, William, F, The Nantucket scrap basket: being a collection of characteristic stories and sayings of the people of the town and island of Nantucket, Massachusetts []

Sinnott, Mary Elizabeth “Annals of the Sinnott, Rogers, Coffin, Corlies, Reeves, Bodine and allied families” (1905) []

Starbuck, Lucy Coffin “Seaweeds from the shores of Nantucket (1853) []

Stark, James Henry, “The loyalists of Massachusetts and the other side of the American Revolution” []

Worth, Henry Barnard, Nantucket Historical Association (1896) Quakerism on Nantucket since 1800 []

Worron, Harriet B. “"Trustum" and his grandchildren” (1881) []

Wyer,Henry Sherman (1906) "Sea-girt Nantucket" []

The Boston directory, ...including all localities within the city limits, as Allston, Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, Hyde Park, Roslindale, Roxbury, West Roxbury []

Ship registers of New Bedford, Massachusetts compiled by the Survey of Federal Archives, Division of Professional and Service Projects, Works Project Administration ; the National Archives, cooperating sponsor. []

History of the Marine society of Newburyport, Massachusetts, from its incorporation in 1772 to the year 1906 together with a complete roster and narrative of important events in the lives of its members. []

Argument settlers; what has happened on and around Nantucket. Published 1917 by The Inquirer and mirror press in [Nantucket, Mass . []