Lucretia Coffin

Lucretia Coffin represented many of the old families of Nantucket, and a brief account of her ancestry will interest all of the descendants of Adam and Anne Mott.

The Coffin family in England is traced back to the time of William the Conqueror, when a Norman Knight, Sir Richard Coffyn, accompanied William in his invasion of England. The knight doubtless had his reward, for “Sir Richard Coffyn of Alwington in Devonshire,” became an hereditary name for centuries—from the reign of Henry I. to that of Edward VI. Richard Coffyn was Sheriff of Devonshire in the time of Henry VIII. Curious agreements in relation to boundaries between Sir Richard Coffyn and the Abbot of Tavistock are still preserved. In one of them the Abbot grants the privilege of his church to the Coffyn family.

The first of the family in America was Tristram Coffyn, as he still spelled the name, son of Peter and Joanne (Thimber) Coffyn of Brixham Parish, in the town of Plymouth, in Devonshire. They seem to have been people of considerable substance. Tristram married Dionis Stevens, and after his father’s death he came to New England, bringing his mother with him. He was said to have been the first person who used a plow in Haverhill. He was a Royalist, and appears to have come to America to escape the Parliamentary party, of which Cromwell soon after this date became the ruling spirit. And several of Tristram’s descendants were also Royalists in the time of the American Revolution.

Tristram Coffin was one of the original proprietors of Nantucket, but did not himself go there until the success of the colony had become assure. In 1660, he moved to Nantucket, taking with him his four children–James, John, Stephen and Mary.

Among Tristram Coffin’s descendants may be counted Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin of the British Navy, and the Admiral’s brother, General John Coffin of the British Army. Two of General Coffin’s sons were also British Admirals. Sir Isaac Coffin gave ten thousand dollars to the school of his name in Nantucket.

An interesting account of the lives of James and Lucretia Mott by their granddaughter, Anna Davis Hallowell, is now in print. Something of their relations with Adam and Anne Mott has also found place in the preceding pages of this volume, down to about 1825-30. At that time James Mott had become a merchant in Philadelphia, dealing in cotton and in cotton goods.

About 1830, James Mott became unwilling longer to deal in anything produced by slave labor, and determined to give it up, whatever it might cost him. He took up in its place a wool business, handling wool and woolen goods, and at one time he was interested in a woolen mill near Philadelphia known as the Penn Factory. Business was but moderately successful for some years, and the factory was burned. But he struggled on, and in the end prospered, and about 1850 was able to retire from business with a moderate competence sufficient for all his needs. He was at this time 62 years old. They had been living for some years at No. 338 Arch Street, and the house became a social centre for many relatives and friends. About 1857 they removed to a small farm on the northern borders of the city of Philadelphia, on which a stone house stood near the road, whence the place took the name of ROADSIDE.”

This house, remodeled and enlarged, thenceforth remained their home for the rest of their lives, and Roadside has become a name full of pleasant and ennoblind associations to the relatives and to all the friends of the family.

ADAM AND ANNE MOTT: Their Ancestors and Their Descendants
by Thomas C. Cornell; their grandson, Yonkers, N.Y.

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