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Tristram Coffin
abt 1609 - October 2, 1681

(Ed. Note: Tristram Coffin is one of my G-G-G-G-G-G-G-G-G-G grandfathers)

TRISTRAM COFFIN son of Peter and Joane, was baptized March 11, 1610, at Brixton parish near Plymouth in Devonshire, England. He was of the landed gentry and Owned estates in Dorset and Devon. His father's will stated that he was to be provided for "according to his degree and calling", this seeming to indicate that he was well educated and had a profession.

Circa 1630 he married Dionis Stevens, the daughter of Robert Stevens, Esquire, of Brixton, and in 1640, he was a church warden at Brixton, in 1641 a constable. In 1642, at the age of 32, he left Devon and came to Massachusetts with his wife and five small children, his mother then 58, and two sisters, settling first at Salisbury, and a few months later at Haverhill where two more children were born in the ensuing years. In 1642, Brixton was raising earthworks in prospect of war between the Royalists and parliamentarians, and was the site of numerous skirmishes in connection with the siege of Plymouth. Tristram's brother John died during that siege. It is thought that Mr. Coffin may have come to America with his friend Robert Clements in the latter's ship.

At Pentucket (later renamed Have hill), Tristram was one of five men to sign the deed of purchase November 15, 1642, the first two names being Rev. John Ward and Robert Clements. According to tradition he was the first to plough land there, having made his own plough. There, too, he became a freeman in November 1645. In 1644 and again in 1647, he held the license "to keep an ordinary and also a ferry" for the transportation of passengers from Newbury to Salisbury across the Merrimac River. In 1653 Tristram still kept the ordinary, and his wife was "presented for selling beer for 3 pence a quart". Samuel Moore attested that six bushels of malt were put into the hogshead and the case was dismissed.

In 1652 and 1659, he was taxed in Salisbury where he served on the trial jury in 1650, 1654 and 1659, and was the county commissioner in 1655. He formed a company in 1659 for the purchase of land in Nantucket, and Coffin, Macy and Associates paid œ30 and two beaver hats for the island property July 2, 1659. The following year, Tristram moved to Nantucket with his wife, mother and four of his children, receiving first choice of the lots, July 15, 1661. He built and maintained a cornmill, employing many Indians by whom he was regarded as a just and kindly friend. Tristram and his son Peter were the wealthiest of the island settlers, and in 1671 Tristram became Governor of Nantucket, serving again in that office from 1674 until 1680, the year before he died. He was described as "exhibiting Christian character". His mother died there in May 1661 at 77, Tristram died October 2, 1681, leaving a substantial estate, and his widow died after 1682. By 1728 their living descendants numbered 1,218.

FROM: A Genealogical History of the Clark and Worth Familes Author: Carol Clark Johnson Call Number: CS71.C6

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