Once Gottfried Nutsch made his way to Washington county and got settled nicely his family begin to follow him over. The next Nutsch sibling to come to Kansas was his sister Johanna and her husband Frank Sohofsky. Johanna’s family must have kept to themselves a bit more than the others and I have had to do quite a bit of searching in order to find the little information that I have found on her, but none the less…this is a link to our tree. Johanna and Frank Sohofsky make their way from Prussia to Kansas, and reunited with her brother Gottfried June 1884 .
Prussia History Lesson
To properly direct any genealogical information, you must know more about the country and specific location your ancestors came from. Prussia includes much of a large mass of the territory on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. Between 1668 and 1817 the country that is now called Germany was more than 300 independent states, city states, bishoprics, duchies, and more, some are very small regions with the exceptions in size, places like Bavaria.
There was no central government. Residents “belonged” to their little countries, which in some cases had two or more areas separated by other “countries”. They received orders to populate an area and were sent to start new towns, usually along a border, to ward off invasions. Much like the colonies when they were first started here in the United States.
To support the governments of such small properties, the merchants had to pay taxes in every little independent country they went through, whether by land or river, while traveling across the land to deliver goods, making goods almost impossible to afford.
Religion of an area was often designated by the royal leader of the time, and changed as leaders did. Churches were the primary keepers of family and individual information starting in the 1500’s. Most people worked in agriculture, for larger land owners as tenants. The lucky ones had small private farms that would barely sustain a family , and at the age of 10 years, children began to work alongside their parents to supplement family income.
Napoleon’s invasion ca. 1805 resulted in a reduction of the number of independent Germanic “nations” to 36. This remained the status until Prussia “united” those states and today’s Germany was formed in 1871.
Prussia, also “Preussen” and “Borussia” in old records, also claimed parts of Poland, Romania, Ruthvenia, and other formerly independent countries. Today, there is no Prussia on maps. Prussia is a name that has been applied to almost 60% of the German Empire at one time or another. Prussia includes much of a large mass of the territory on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea from approximately 1850 to World War I.
From 1701, the Kingdom was ruled by the Hohenzollerns and Berlin was the capitol. There were more than three dozen duchy’s under Germanic control, including the following: Brandenburg Electoral Hesse Hesse-Nassau Mecklenburg Poland–portions of Pomerania Posen Rhineland–portions of Saxony Schleswig-Holstein Silesia Thuringia Westphalia and the Duchies of Burg, Cleve, Crossen, Engern, Geldern, Juelich, Magdeburg, Stettin and Wenden and Cassubia and others that were smaller in size.
Smaller than a Duchy are the church district, which often encompassed several villages. It is helpful to become familiar with German terms like state church, serf and elector, perhaps more. A German dictionary and/or the German language list in the LDS Guide to German Research are important tools. Church district is Kirchenkreis. Stadt, means town, as in BrombergStadt, the city, in the County of Bromberg and the administrative district of Bromberg, similar to the Posen, Posen, Posen. The kirchenkreis (commonly mis-named “Kreis-Stadt”) was the most important because that is how records were kept in the early 1800s. 1817 was the year that Friedrich Wilhelm III combined the Lutheran and Reformed denominations into Evangelisch.
It helps when doing German research to have an understanding of Prussian history, and what was happening during the critical emigration years of 1850-75, and that Prussia only officially controlled western Germany after 1871 as the First Reich. Those emigrating before 1850 had mostly two motivations: economic disaster as the Irish Potato famine spread, and religious freedom issues, the Prussian Union church vs the several centuries-old state supported “Old Lutherans” (Evangelische), and the conservative factions squeezed by the mandated mergers of the current kaiser.
Brandenburg was ruled by the Hohenzollern family in the Teutonic knights since after the crusades, although they also held smaller ancestral territories in West Germany. At the invitation of Polish knights they helped to subdue “native peoples” of Latvian type called Prussi, and were given control over that land. They built castles and colonized the land. Unrest led to expulsion of the Teutons, but a treaty in 1460 left them with what is called East Prussia, thus Brandenburg-Prussia was born. It evolved into a Duchy under Albert of Hohenzollern who also disbanded the knights who became the land holders in both areas.
Albert of Hohenzollern also declared Brandenburg-Prussia to be Lutheran, since the head of state designated a state church. That didn’t please the Catholics. John Sigismund, a Hohenzollern and good administrator came to power in 1618, and his grandson Frederick William, elector of Brandenburg, secured ducal Prussia’s independence of Poland in 1660. By this time there was a system of seven “electors”, a higher title than duke but short of “king” who were responsible for naming the “Holy Roman Emperor” to whom all were to be militarily supportive. Frederick-I enticed the Pope to agree to his being called King in Prussia in 1701, and he shortly changed that to King “of” Prussia. That was another “milestone” of the rise of Prussia as a military power. Creation of the Prussian Union church from the previous Reformed (which the kaiser was) and the “Old Lutherans” (which his wife was) became a religious freedom and doctrinal issue that resulted in emigration of many “Old Lutherans” in the 1830-40s. Prussia’s state church had been “Old Lutheran” since the reformation, but the heads of state had turned Reformed. This mandated consolidation into the Prussian Union that forced emigration was a major factor in creation of the two most conservative Lutheran groups in America, the Missouri synod and Wisconsin synods. All because he wanted to go to communion with his “Old Lutheran” wife in her church and the “Old Lutherans” refused it.
They didn’t practice altar and pulpit fellowship with the Reformed or anyone else, including the kaiser if he didn’t qualify. It didn’t help that the Kaiser enforced the merger by force of police, something his successor backed away from, but it was too late then. The timing coincided with the opening of America where the kaiser didn’t tell you how to worship and you could buy as much land as you could afford, a huge step forward from being able to even buy a little land at all. So the “Old Lutherans” gave him a salute and many left.
Wisconsin immigrants prior to 1860 numbered many “Old Lutherans” among them, and they were responsible for organizing the eastern Marquette County axis of Lutheran churches besides filling in from Milwaukee northward. Prussia was also exceedingly militaristic, from their Crusader roots, from about 1250 AD onward.
It took about 600 years to achieve control of the German states–Denmark in 1864 to secure two NW provinces, Austria in 1866, France in 1870, all of those to demonstrate to the other states that Prussia was ‘the best leader’. The frequent wars that were part of Prussia’s rise to prominence over the previous 200 years, andthe taxes that were enforced, were another major cause of emigration. Germans had formerly sought “Lebensraum” (living space) by Germans moving into Poland and Russia for more room, but the system of war and taxes to pay for the military unceasing and ever increasing. By 1850 emigration was beginning to replace the colonization of the former years.
Our ancestors chose to leave everything familiar and to come to America for a variety of reasons, the most common being a combination of over-crowding, high taxes, nearly continual war, some crop failures and the potato famine spreading through Europe, religious matters, and to allow their children to avoid the new compulsory military service. We are told that the most compelling reason for our Nutsch family to leave was to get away from the military and to find a more stable way of life.
Johanna the oldest child of Johann Nutsch
Some of the information provided here comes from the book “Reedy, Schuessler, Nutsch, and Koch of Washington, Kansas” by Phyllis Reedy James 1993 and I have added what I have found along the way.
Johanna Nutsch, oldest child of Johann I and Marie (Mueller) Nutsch, was born 1840 in Ohlau, Schlesien, Prussia and married in Prussia, to Frank Sohofsky who was born 7 Oct 1833 in Prussia. Johanna died 1920 in KS and was buried in St. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Washington Co., Ks. Frank died 27 Oct 1893 just south of the Nebraska line in Ks and was buried in St. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Washington Co., Kansas.
Johanna and Frank spent the first years of their married life in Germany and all their children were born there. The family, Johanna, Frank, August, Paul and Bertha, came to America on the ship Lessing sailed by Captian Voss. They departed Hamburg, Germany 22 June 1884 and arrived in New York, 7 July 1884. Their twin boys were 19 and their daughter Bertha was 16. After their arrival in New York they ventured on to Washington Co., Kansas probably by train. It is believed they lived with Johann’as brother Gottfried, until they could find a place of their own.
The farm where Johanna and Frank made their home was in Lowe Township, Washington Co., Kansas which was then located on what is now HWY 15 just south of Fairbury, Nebraska. Their house was constructed of limestone, which was a major construction material for most of the settlers and quarried locally. Frank died a shortly after arriving in America. Johanna and her two sons were left to continue farming their homestead . . Some records show Frank died 27 Oct 1883. St. Peter and Paul Cemetery records show his death as 2 Oct 1898.
Life was not easy for Johanna she struggled the many hardships of the time. She farmed the next few years with a team of oxen with the help of her two sons and daughter. She had no automobile, as some families did, and she would haul all her supplies by wagon, however this was the norm at that time so my guess is she barely thought much about it. It was no simple chore since the family lived several miles from the nearest town. Some relatives remember the family raising 800 lb. hogs. I don’t recall Grandpa speaking much of Johanna so it could be that they did not spend as much time with the family as the others but we do know that she was a member of the St. Peter and Paul church as were all the other Nutsches so they probably gathered there to socialize. Realizing that her husband died shortly after arriving in America, you know that life had to be extremely hard for her and I’m sure there were times that she felt overwhelmed. However, her children were adults so she very possibly had their help to keep things going on the farm.
Paul and August Sohofsky
Fourteen years after Frank died, a tragedy struck when Johanna’s son, August, was mowing, and his horses became frightened. During the runaway, August was thrown into the mower and both legs were severely damaged. Though the doctors did everything that was possible at the time, his one leg had to be amputated and August died a short time later, July 20, 1907.
Paul and August twins born 1 Sep. 1864 in Germany never married. I found census records that states that Paul was living with his sister Bertha in Lincoln County at the time of his death August 4, 1941.
In 1908 he transferred land to Frank Koch (a brother to our great grandmother Creszencia and our great uncle.)
Bertha “Beillia” Sahofsky
Bertha was born in Prussia 19 August 1876 and came to America with her parents. The 1910 census shows her as widowed and living with her brother in law and his family, August May, and the occupation listed is “servant”. She secondly married Andrew J Hahn and they had one daughter, Anastasia (Anna) Hahn. The 1930 census shows her living Nowell, Lincoln, Nebraska, with Anna and is widowed and occupation listed as “farmerette” . The 1940 Census also shows her as widowed and living with Anna Hahn , and Sahofsky Hahn. Sahofsky is listed as her brother. This could possibly be Paul. To this point I have been unable to find any other information on her. She is listed on Find a grave as having died 25 December 1959 and is buried in North Platte, Lincoln County, Nebraska.
Anastasia Anna Hahn
Anastasia the only daughter of Andrew and Bertha Hahn was born 9 Oct 1915 in Hershey, Lincoln, Nebraska and died 30 June 1990, North Platte, Lincoln,Nebraska.
She married Carl Thompson and they had three daughters , Loretta, Kathleen, and Anita. Kathleen and Anita are said to have died young. I’m still searching for more information on them and have found little on Loretta. Loretta was born 1945 in Nebraska.
If you have any information on this family that you would be willing to share I’d love to hear from you.
Gottfried or Henry as he called himself was the first of our Nutsch immigrant family to leave Germany in search of a better life. People knew him as “Old Henry” not to be confused with his son, Henry Hannah, who was known as “Young Henry” and “Rooks Co. Hank”. When you realize the history of his native country and those that his family endured during the first years in this new world you must conclude that life in Germany had to have been pretty horrific if this was considered better.
Gottfried was born 5 Sep 1844 and raised in Ohlau, Schlesien, Prussia. Prussia has become a byword for Germany. It was first developed on the southeastern Baltic shore distinct from the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire hence many of our German ancestors were Roman Catholic. Prussia’s association with central Europe comes from the Hohenzollern dynasty, which came to rule both it and most of north Germany and helped forged areas into a major European power.
Culture in Germany at the time was rigid. As previously discussed, the young men were all required to have a trade and Gottfried was a Furrier. My Grandfather Henry Nutsch told that they were always at war over something and they were always building an army. At a young age boys were made into soldiers with no other choice. The soldiers were treated very badly and with unreasonable requirements. According to oral history passed down through the generations, one day Gottfried saw a group of soldiers ordered to walk out into the water (supposedly to teach them to swim). These soldiers were ordered to continue walking into deep water. Those that could not swim and attempted to return to shallow water were shot or shot at. As Grandpa told it that once they had a good army, like a well oiled machine…they would have to go out and test it. Gottfried, knowing that he was of draft age, and due to be drafted at anytime, made the decision to leave Germany and start a new life in America.
In the middle half of the nineteenth century, more than one-half of the population of IRELAND emigrated to the United States. So did an equal number of GERMANS. Most of them came because of civil unrest, severe unemployment or almost inconceivable hardships at home. From 1820 to 1870, over seven and a half million immigrants came to the United States — more than the entire population of the country in 1810. Nearly all of them came from northern and western Europe — about a third from Ireland and almost a third from Germany.
IN the decade from 1845 to 1855, more than a million Germans fled to the United States to escape economic hardship. They also sought to escape the political unrest caused by riots, rebellion and eventually a revolution in 1848. The Germans had little choice as only the United States and few others allowed German immigration. Unlike the Irish, the Germans generally had enough money to journey to the Midwest in search of farmland and work. The largest settlements of Germans were in New York City, Baltimore, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Milwaukee. German immigrants became known a reputation for being hardworking, thrifty, and law-abiding people. The Germans made numerous contributions to American culture, including inventions, traditions, sports and food. The flooding of German immigrants to America was the result of long-term social, religious, and economic changes occurring throughout the German states and news of the conditions in the US seemed much more favorable. .
With the vast numbers of German and Irish coming to America, hostility to them erupted. Partly because of religion with most being of the Roman Catholic faith, and parltly because of the political opposition. Most immigrants living in cities became Democrats because the party focused on the needs of commoners. Americans in low-paying jobs were threatened and sometimes replaced by groups willing to work for almost nothing in order to survive. Signs that read NINA — “NO IRISH NEED APPLY” — sprang up throughout the country.
The Know Nothing Party’s platform included the repeal of all naturalization laws and a prohibition on immigrants from holding public office.
Ethnic and ANTI-CATHOLIC RIOTING occurred in many northern cites, the largest occurring in Philadelphia in 1844 during a period of economic depression. Protestants, Catholics and local militia fought in the streets. Sixteen were killed, dozens were injured and over 40 buildings were demolished. “NATIVIST” political parties sprang up. The most influential of these parties, the KNOW NOTHINGS, was anti-Catholic and wanted to extend the amount of time it took immigrants to become citizens and voters. They also wanted to prevent foreign-born people from ever holding public office.
Though we have always referred to ourselves as coming from German ancestry. We are actually Prussian as Germany didn’t actually exist before 1871 but this area later became Poland, so it’s probably better for us to claim Euopean as our derivative. According to the information published by Phyllis Reedy in the Reedy, Schuessler, Nutsch and Kochs of Washington Co. , Kansas. Gottfried arrived in New York on April 13, 1866, aboard the Athena, under Captain Shilling. The Breman records were destroyed by fire, so no departing German manifest have been found from the Bremen port. Oral history, in reference to this part of Gottfried’s life, has two versions. One is that he was a stowaway and the other is that he worked his passage way to America. Most likely both are true. Either way he was listed on the arriving list in New York as: Gottfried Nutsch, age 21, male, occupation: Tailor (furrier), Destination: USA. Gottfried arrived in his new country penniless, could not speak English, and knew no one in this strange land. The first year he spent in New York he almost starved. The next year he went to Wisconsin and worked in the lumber business, and barely survived the winter. This does not coincide with the information I have found as you will see below.
In the mid 1800’s there were “Immigrant trains” organized for the western movement. The government gave the immigrants land grants to homestead, for the purpose of populating and building the nation. This opportunity was offered to other immigrants as the railroads expanded further west. It is believed that Gottfried came west on one of those trains. He received a land grant from the Concordia Land Office on May 20, 1862.(note the above date of his arrival) The description of this grant is as follows: north west quarter of section eighteen in township three south of range one west in the district of lands subject to sale at Concordia Kansas, containing one hundred and fifty acres and eleven hundredths of an acre. Gotfried Nutsch Land grant
Gottfried’s first homestead was 150 acres in Republic Co., Kansas near Cuba. He had a neighbor close by on another 160 acre homestead, Louis Stulle, who had married Barbara Rychtarik on April 11, 1873 in Republic Co., Kansas. According to their marriage license, Louis was age 29 and Barbara was 17. This marriage was short lived as soon after their marriage there was a prairie fire and Louis died as a result of fighting that fire. Barbara stayed on their 160 acre homestead and on November 30, 1873, Barbara and Gottfried were married. Their marriage license reads: GH Nutsch, of Republic Co., age 26 years, and Barbara Stulle of Republic Co., age 18, were married November 30, 1873. There is conflicting information regarding Barbara’s date of birth. Inscribed on Barbara and Gottfried’s tombstone is Gottfried H Nutsch Sept. 5 1844 – January 14,1928. And Barbara Rychtarik January 1 1847 – August 20, 1944.
In the Washington Co. records listing the people that came into the county each year, G. H. Nutsch is shown to have arrived in Washington County in 1873. He is also listed in another book of records as first arriving in Washington Co., in 1879. Regardless of the exact date, the family did move from Republic Co., to Washington Co. Their new home was in Lowe Township, near Morrowville. They built a two room dug out on the land and started their life as Kansas farmers.
There has been some mention through family ties that Gottfried was a boot legger during the prohibition. One of my favorite stories that has been passed down was that Gottfried, as you can see from his pictures, always wore a long beard. During one of his episodes of over indulgence he ticked Barbara off royally with some shinanigan. After he went to sleep or passed out whichever the case may be, she cut one side of his beard off really short. When he awoke and saw what she had done he simply said ” if she likes it that way that’s the way I will wear it” .
In 1877 Gottfried applied for naturalization papers. This was important in order to be able to help the rest of his family come to America. The first to arrive on May 26, 1880 was his sister and her family, Robert and Marie (Nutsch) Seidel, with one daughter that was eleven months old. In succeeding years, all of Gottfried’s siblings with the exception of his sister Rose, arrived in America. At least three, possibly more, came to his and Barbara’s two room dug out home.
Gottfried and Barbara became large land owners in Kansas. It has been said they owned over 4,000 acres. This also included the land in Rooks Co., Kansas, however that is oral history. The records show Barbara’s name on most of the land in Washington Co.,
Although Gottfried was a furrier by trade in Germany, he became a cattleman and farmer in America. In later years Gottfried and Barbara built a larger house and a barn. They were also among the families that built the St. Peter and Paul Catholic church in 1886-1887.
Gottfried and Barbara’s Children
Joseph Nutsch who married Marry Elizabeth Coufal
Katherine “Katie” Nutsch married John Keperta
Marylee “Marlinka’ who died as an infant.
Henry Hannah Nutsch “young Henry” or ” Rooks Co. Henry” married Eleanor Rea
Benjamin Franklin Nutsch married Christina Killover and Bessie King.
Adolph Edward never married and died in an automoblile accident.
Mary Barbara Nutsch married Frank Henry Weir
Arena “Annie” Lillian Nutsch married Frank Matthew Burke
Maude Agnes Nutsch married Frank Joseph Zach
Wilhelmina “Minnie” Nutsch married to William M. Burnham
I personally photographed all the graves at the St. Peter and Paul Cemetery near Morrowville, Ks. for find a grave and for my own personal records and I found only two graves in the cemetery that were NOT related to our Nutschs. In saying that I might add that I was not able to find a relationship. One in particular was a Mueller…which I suspect could be a cousin to our family but I have not found the link as of yet.
I hope you enjoyed the read. If so leave me a comment below or share a story if you have one.
The NUTSCH name is fairly rare in the United States. According to Google there are only 533 people in the United States with that surname. I find that a bit hard to believe but Google knows everything! When doing a google search for the name very little comes up. “OUR” Nutschs in the United States mostly started out in Washington, County, Kansas. Let’s take a leap to the other side and talk about our Nutsch family a bit.
Johann and Marie (Mueller which is sometimes changed to Miller) lived in Ohlau, Schlesien, Prssia, near the rest of the Nutsch Clan on the Oder River. This area today lies within the boundaries of Poland. Does that make us Polish? Most will say no…we are German.
The research and documentation of cousin Phyllis Reedy James gives us some insight on our Nutsch family back to Germany.
“Before 1740 Schlesien belonged to Austria, after 1740 this area belonged to Prussia. Prussia was very militant and there were many wars, most of them religious. The men were forced to serve in the military, and the soldiers were treated very badly. Beatings, confinement and unreasonable requirements were the norm. Generation after generation of these conditions caused many young men to leave their homeland in search for better conditions. Some were fortunate enough to be able to bring their families with them, while others fled for safety and sent for their families later. These people were willing to endure the hardships and difficulties of a strange land, with a strange language, rather than remain in their homeland under those conditions. Some immigrants made their choices to leave based on personal survival, while other’s choices were based on protecting their sons from the military draft and the hope of providing a better opportunity for their sons and daughters.
These were difficult decisions to make, leaving everything behind and starting over in a a new land with little or nothing. The passenger list of our ancestors show that they all came”Steerage” in the mid to late 1800’s, “Steerage”meant: literally the lowest decks of a vessel above the actual bilges. The following description was taken from a report to a congressional committee by the demoralizing… hunger, lack of privacy, and generally uncomfortable and unsanitary conditions…Sleeping quarters are compartments accommodating as many as 300 or more persons each…The berths are in two tiers and consist of iron frame work containing a mattress, more often a life preserver as a substitute and a blanket”.
This berth, “6 feet long and 2 feet wide”, had to accommodate the traveler and all his or her luggage, as well as provide sleeping facilities for a voyage of some seven to seventeen days. (Our ancestors were fourteen days aboard their vessels.) No place was provided for eating utensils, which most passengers had to provide for themselves. Wash basins were too few and the rooms too small to accommodate the number of basins. The only water available for general use was cold salt water, with perhaps only one warm-water faucet. “The food was usually spoiled by being wretchedly prepared, and all too often the food was old leavings (leftover) from the first and second galleys.” The conditions endured by passengers had improved very little since 1820.
In April 1866, at the age of 21, Gottfried Henry Nutsch was the first of Johann and Maria’s children to leave Germany. During the next fourteen years he survived many hardships, married and built a small dug out home for his family on his homestead in Kansas. Gottfried applied for U.S. Citizenship in 1877. This was necessary in order to help his brothers and sisters come to America.
May of 1880, Gottfried’s sister Mariea, and her husband Robert Seidel I, arrived at Gottfried’s home with their 11 moth old daughter, Emma. Gottfried and his wife Barbara had three children under six years old, and the eight of them were living in this dug out home. The winters in Kansas were cold, the dug out was damp, and out on the prairie, medical facilities were non existent. Mariea and Robert’s daughter, age 1, died of pneumonia in November (found in their bible records.) Gottfried and Barbara’s one year old daughter also died that winter. (Her exact date of death is un known.)
December of that winter (1880), Gottfried’s brother John Frank II and his wife Pauline arrived, bringing four children, ages 9 and under , with them. Gottfried’s brother Paul, Age 15, also came with John and Pauline. They all lived with Gottfried and Barbara that winter. There was also a man by the name of Joseph Hellman that came on the same ship with John II and Pauline. Oral history, tells us that he could possibly have been a cousin to John Nutsch. Joseph Hellman remained in New York, married and later moved to Washington County, Kansas.
There were 14 or 15 people living in that two room dug out. These four Nutsch children were united for Christmas that year for the first time. No records have been found confirming John Nutsch’s II middle name was Frank, but his grandchildren believe this to be correct. In the spring of 1881 the Seidels and the John Frank Nutsch II family moved to another farm.
Gottfried’s sister Anna and her husband Michael Karl arrived at their home in April of 1881. It is not known how long Anna and Michael stayed with Gottfried and Barbara before they moved to their own home.
February 1882, their brother Frank and his wife Bertha arrived with a one year old daughter. Frank and Bertha went to the home of John and Pauline.
It wasn’t until June of 1884 that Johanna and her husband Franz Sohofsky and their three children arrived in Kansas.
Seven of Johann and Maria’s eight children made it to America. Their daughter Rose, married to a military officer, Johann Weinert, remained in Germany. Five of these seven came over on the ship Lessing. Anna and Michael came on the Wieland and Gottfried came on the Athena. All seven settled in Washington County, Kansas.
Some of them eventually learned to speak English and some never did. Their first homes were one or two room dug outs. . These first dug out homes were constructed by digging back into a hill, always facing east, with bracing’s made of timber to support the walls. The roof was covered with sod, and the dirt pushed back up to the side walls. The two rooms, consisted of one area in the front for eating and dining and a separate area, further back into the hill, used as the bedroom.
Prairie fires were common during those times, and several stories have been told, of placing the oxen on top of the dug out’s sod roof (no grass) to protect them from the fire. This area was sparsely settled, and it was a long distance to town for supplies and to attend church. Some went to Fairbury (about 15 or 20 miles) and others went to Hanover or Lanham, (Kansas/Nebraska) Lanham is a town that is located on the state line, with Main street on the state line. The Catholic church is on the Nebraska side. Those born on the south side of Main street were recorded in Kansas records. The summer of 1885 some property was donated for the purpose of building a church and cemetery. In 1886 and 1887 a group of families built a church on that property. The name given this church was St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. All seven of these Nutsch brothers and sisters are buried in the St. Peter and Paul Cemetery. Since this was centrally located, the church and cemetery have withstood the test of time and are still being used today.”
I hope you enjoyed this introduction to our Nutsch Family! Stay tuned …there is more to come.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
We talked a bit about Mary Coffin Starbuck in our previous post but we only touched the surface of the the woman and her life. She was an example to all who came in contact with her and I hope in this post to give a little more insight into who this woman was what what her life was like. Great Mary, as she was called was instrumental in the developing of the Nantucket colony and the building of the Quaker religion on the Island and was considered a top influential leader among the Quakers and the islanders.
WAS IT ALL BASED ON RELIGIOUS BELEIFS?
When we think of the first settlers of the colonies most likely the first thing that comes to mind is the Pilgrims, the next would perhaps be the Puritans, and then of course the Quakers. In the early years of what later became the United States, Christian religious groups played an influential role in each of the British colonies, and most attempted to enforce strict religious observance through local town rules and colony governments. Laws mandated that everyone attend a house of worship and pay taxes that funded the salaries of ministers. In order to become a “freeman” you had to belong to a church. Eight of the thirteen British colonies had “established,” churches, and in those colonies anyone who sought to practice a different version of Christianity or a non-Christian faith were often times persecuted. Differing Christian groups often believed that their own practices and faiths provided unique values that needed protection against those who disagreed, driving a need for rule and regulation.
In Europe, Catholic and Protestant nations often persecuted or forbade each other’s religions, and British colonists frequently maintained restrictions against Catholics. In Great Britain, the Protestant Anglican church had split into bitter divisions among traditional Anglicans and the reforming Puritans, contributing to an English civil war in the 1600s. In the British colonies, differences among Puritan and Anglican remained. In the name of religion we have seen much division, prejudice, and war throughout history.
Between 1680 and 1760 Anglicanism and Congregationalism, an offshoot of the English Puritan movement, established themselves as the main organized denominations in the majority of the colonies. As the seventeenth and eighteenth century passed on, however, the Protestant wing of Christianity constantly gave birth to new movements, such as the Baptists, Methodists, Quakers, Unitarians and many more, sometimes referred to as “Dissenters.” In communities where one existing faith was dominant, new congregations were often seen as unfaithful troublemakers who were upsetting the social order. People were driven from one settlement to another because of their religious beliefs. Take a look at the Mormons and Quakers for instance here in this country. All of this began years before in other countries as well.
Most New Englanders went to a Congregationalist meetinghouse for church services. The meetinghouse, which served many agendas, was a small wood building usually located in the center of town. Services last most of the day and parishioners sat for hours on long wooden benches. These meeting houses became bigger and much less crude as the population grew after the 1660s. Steeples grew, bells were introduced, and some churches grew big enough to host as many as one thousand worshipers.
Colonial-Era Meeting House, Sandown, New Hampshire
In contrast to other colonies, there was a meetinghouse in every New England town.
In 1750 the population of Boston numbered about 15000 and had eighteen churches.
In the previous century church attendance varied and they were often times held in the homes of the colonist. After the 1680s, with many more churches and clerical bodies emerging more organization and attendance was enforced in New England. In even sharper contrast to the other colonies, in New England most newborns were baptized by the church, and church attendance rose in some areas to 70 percent of the adult population. By the eighteenth century, the vast majority of all colonists were churchgoers.
The New England colonists were mostly Puritans, who led strict religious lives. The clergy was highly educated and devoted to the study and teaching of both Scripture and the natural sciences. The Puritan leadership, especially in Massachusetts and Connecticut, included their version of Protestantism into their political structure. Government in these colonies contained elements of theocracy, asserting that leaders and officials derived that authority from divine guidance and that civil authority should be used to enforce strict religious conformity. Their laws assumed that citizens who strayed away from religious customs were a threat to civil order and should be punished, and many were, for their nonconformity.
New England churches operated quite differently from the older Anglican system in England. Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut didn’t have church courts to levy fines on religious offenders, leaving that function to the civil magistrates. Congregational churches most generally did not own property. The local meeting house was owned by the town and was used to hold town meeting and religious services. Ministers were called upon to advise the civil magistrates but played no official role in town or colony governments.
In those colonies, the civil government dealt harshly with religious dissenters, exiling the likes of Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams for their outspoken criticism of Puritanism, and whipping Baptists or cropping the ears of Quakers for their efforts to convert others to their opinion. Official persecution reached its peak between 1659 and 1661, when Massachusetts Bay’s Puritan magistrates hung four Quaker missionaries.
The actual experience of New England nonconformist varied widely, and punishment of religious opinion was varied. England intervened in 1682 and ended the corporal punishment of dissenters in New England. The Toleration Act was passed by the English Parliament in 1689 and gave Quakers and several other denominations the right to build churches and to conduct public worship in the colonies. While dissenters continued to endure discrimination and financial penalties well into the eighteenth century, those who did not challenge the authority of the Puritans directly were left alone and were not legally punished for their “heretical” beliefs.
As mentioned in previous post, it was due to religious beliefs and persecution that so many of our ancestors came to America, and also the cause for them to relocate time and time again.
ALONG CAME MARY
MY EIGHTH GREAT GRANDMOTHER
Mary was born 20 Feb, 1644 in Haverhill, Massachusetts shortly after her father Tristram Coffin’s arrival to the American colonies and his settlement there. She was their seventh child. Tristram being such an influential character in the development of the colony and a founding father of Nantucket, causes me to question what role he played in the development of his children’s character. So often it is the mother that instills the most influence in the upbringing of the children and from reading the history of the Coffins it is common knowledge that he could not have been home much having done so much traveling. It could be that Tristram and Dionis are both to credit for the upbringing of such influential individuals.
I’m sure watching the struggle of her parents while growing up played a big role in the woman that she became. Raised as a Puritan, Mary, no doubt early on, was raised with strict Puritan beliefs. The Puritans came from England to get away from the church there. Though they considered themselves part of the Church of England, they felt that it was adopting too many Catholic ideals and that it needed to be Purified.
Mary was fifteen when she moved to Nantucket with her father. Two years later she married Nathaniel Starbuck son of Edward and Catherine Reynolds Starbuck. She and Nathaniel were the first white couple to be married on the newly developing island. Nathaniel was a prosperous farmer, local official, and partner with her father in purchasing the area from the Indians. Their first child Mary, born in 1663 was the first white child born on the island of Nantucket. They built their home about 1677 which eventually became known as the Parliament House. The original site was near Hummock Pond. The house is now a private residence at 10 Pine Street, corner of School Street in Nantucket.
Nathaniel later went into the whaling business and Mary, seeing the need for commerce opened a merchant store. She, unlike her husband was very literate, her handwriting was exquisite, and her mathematical skills exceeded most. She kept detailed accounts on the business and was involved in the lives of nearly every person on the Island, from Wampanoag Indians to housewives to visiting dignitaries. Throughout the years Mary became popularly known as “mother of the settlement” but is most proclaimed for having brought Quakerism to Nantucket and into the lives of the inhabitants there. It is said that she was an easy and eloquent speaker with a silvery tongue. Her kind and gentle manner and influence gained her great respect from the neighbors and they looked to her for guidance and advice in every area… ‘ a ‘Deborah’ among them for her wisdom and great ability, she soon came to be called “The Great Woman”. Above all that she and her family were among the wealthiest on the Island.
MARY COFFIN STARBUCK’S “ACCOUNT BOOK with the Indians” is a sheepskin-covered ledger tracking the credits and debits of the two hundred Indians who patronized her store. She began keeping the account book in 1683 and the book was completed after her death in 1717 by her son, Nathaniel Starbuck, Jr., in 1766.
An example of one account in the book is for Tom Poney [Pone, Pony] who in 1734 and 1735 bought from the general store such items as blankets, corn-meal, meat, thread, tobacco, a great coat,
women’s shoes, candles, molasses, and seed corn among other things. For the same years he was credited for “fish caught at Siasconset,” a “share of a whale got with John Russel,” “share of a whale got with Shubael Folger at Cansco,” fish caught at Shawkemo, and a “share of a whale caught with Jethro Folger.” He was also credited for his labor, “washing sheep” and “plowing two acres.” In 1737 he was even given credit for labor per-I formed by his sister: “carding wool.”
A study of the account book, held in the NHA Research Center, introduces readers to Indian names, their businesses, and the economy of the island. According to Elizabeth Little, “it is a treasure trove of data about Indian life on Nantucket covering the years 1683, when the cod-fishing industry of Nantucket got under way, to 1764, when most of the Indians died of a tragic illness.” It is an invaluable research tool and a lasting document meticulously kept by a great woman of Nantucket.
The population of Nantucket in 1700 was approximately 300 whites and 800 Indians. Short of specie and needing loyal suppliers, traders would advance up to ten pounds of cloth, fish hooks, shoes, shot, kettles, and more in exchange for feathers and fish. The use of the credit system depended on the courts allowing the Indians to be sued for debt. Mary’s book shows accounts for as many as 200 Indians, who were primarily engaged in cod fishing and fowling but were also performing routine manual labor, and later whaling. In return for their efforts, they received necessary tools, cloth, and supplies.
Mary and Nathaniel raised ten children of whom five daughters and three sons lived to maturity. From this family all of the Starbucks of America are descended.
Introduction to Quakerism
Though being of Puritan faith Mary began practicing what was referred to as “radical spiritualism”.
Hearing of a strong woman with tendencies leaning towards the Quaker faith, English Quakers came to the island in hopes they could convert her to Quakerism. They believed her strength of character and influence among the islanders would help to spread the Quaker faith if only she could be converted. One Friend who especially influenced her was Thomas Story who held meetings in her home which became know as the Parliament House due to the fact that much of the public business was conducted there.
Unlike the Puritan faith the Quakers encouraged equality for all…men, woman, slaves, and Indians, therefore allowing women to minister. Mary would preside over meetings in her home to win many converts to the Quaker faith. John Richardson an early Quaker preacher said of her, “The Islanders established her a Judge among them, for a little of moment was done without her advice.” She held religious meetings in her home, being herself a Quaker preacher of power and eloquence. “Parliament House hosted the famous John Richardson meeting of 1702 and served for the first decade of active Quakerism on the island as the site of regular Meetings for Worship (1704-1711) and the business meetings that resulted in the formation of Nantucket Monthly Meeting in 1708. Women’s Monthly Meeting also met there from 1708 to 1716.”
Originally published in the Historic Nantucket, Vol 46, No. 4 (Fall 1997) p. 17 Mary Coffin Starbuck’s “Account Book with the Indians” By Helen Stehling
“June 28, 1702. (QN, p13) A visiting minister has come to Nantucket. Mary Coffin Starbuck has issued an open invitation to a meeting for worship that he will hold in her home, known as Parliament House. The preacher is a Quaker, and the few Quakers already living on the island are pleased that one of their number should be attracting so much attention. For some, it is true, the attraction is not as much the preacher as the chance to view the shining woodwork and comfortable appurtenances of Parliament House and the lifestyle of the affluent and influential Starbucks. A storekeeper, Mary is the island’s chief creditor, and few commodities leave or arrive on the island without passing through her hands.
Already people have filled the house, and the benches placed outside the doors have few spaces left. By the time the meeting begins, all the casement windows of Parliament House will have been removed, and virtually all the English settlers on the island will be pressed close to hear. Few forms of entertainment on Nantucket can compare to a visiting minister, and today’s meeting promises to be exceptional. Mary Starbuck is clearly leaning toward Quakerism; perhaps today will bring an open declaration.
Those who have met the minister-John Richardson is his name-report that he is a Yorkshire man, and his manner of speaking is exotic and even a bit unpleasant to most islanders’ West Country ears. The oldest Starbuck son, Nathaniel Jr., has offered hospitality to Richardson; the whole family has been more than a little taken with other Quakers who have come to the island. Father Nathaniel’s own sister has married into a Quaker family and been recognized as a minster herself.
Almost everyone has been to a meeting conducted by one of these Quakers before, and they know that the meeting will begin with a period of silence. When finally it comes, it takes a few moments for the quiet to ripple outward through the windows to the crowd in the yard. After some minutes, people stop shifting where they stand or sit, and a kind of deep tranquility sets in. Even the children are at ease.
The first to speak is James Bates, a Quaker from Virginia. Then at last a low voice is heard, hard and nasal-the Yorkshire preacher. He is not exactly praying, and certainly not preaching in the style of the Baptists and Congregationalists who have come to Nantucket before. There is a kind of rhythm to his speech, and a strange intonation. He is chanting.
As the listeners’ ears become accustomed to Richardson’s strange accent and manner of speaking, they realize that he is talking about Jesus. New Englanders are more comfortable with the temperamental deity of the Old Testament, but they know the parables of Jesus and the significance of the crucifixion and resurrection.
Richardson is talking about Jesus the man-a simple, good man whose words and teachings are not meant to be just cautionary tales against misbehavior. This Jesus is not an impossibly righteous divinity but rather a man whose words of common sense cut through anger, hatred, greed, and envy. The preacher is suggesting in a simple, eloquent fashion that the world could be a much better place-a paradise-if everyone followed these words, if everyone accepted the living spiritual rebirth proclaimed by Jesus. Skeptics raise their eyebrows; they have heard this before. But the Yorkshire Quaker puts the case well. One can almost imagine . . .
Those close to the front can see that Richardson has now turned his attention full on Mary Starbuck, who has begun to weep openly. Inspired by the palpable response of his listeners, Richardson becomes more eloquent, the vision he lays out more beautiful still.
Many are sobbing by now. More than an hour has passed, and for some time now most of the white population of Nantucket has been caught up in the words of the Quaker. Seeing their leaders succumbing to honest emotion, they surrender, too. When Richardson suddenly stops speaking, they hunger for more. His own emotional state, he will later write, is ‘beyond his measure.’
Mary Starbuck’s meeting has been a success, in more ways than anyone could have expected. The Quaker Richardson has shown the islanders a new path. It is not fire and brimstone that will fuse them into a spiritual community, but a simple testimony of peace, honesty, and love. As Mary stands at the meeting’s end, she holds out her hand. ‘This,’ she tells the gathered multitude, ‘is the overwhelming truth.'”
She is said to have been baptized by Peter Folger, in Waiptequage Pond; and about 1704 she became convinced of the truth as taught by the Friends, and Mary converted to Quakerism at the age of 56, and became one of their most influential ministers. Her family after that generally became Friends, and her son Nathaniel, and daughter Priscilla Coleman, and grandsons Elihu and Nathaniel Coleman, were at a later period Quaker ministers.”
Englishman John Richardson wrote of a meeting at which Mary “Spoke trembling… Then she arose, and I observed that she and as many as could well be seen, were wet with Tears from their Faces to the fore-skirts of their Garments and the floor was as though there was a Shower of Rain upon it”. Richardson wrote also that [She was a] “most extraordinary woman, participating in the practical duties and responsibilities of public gatherings and town meetings, on which occasion her words were always listened to with marked respect.”
Mary’s oldest son, Nathaniel Starbuck, Jr. (1668-1753), was very involved with his mother in preaching Quakerism. The Quakers on Nantucket were strong politically and financially, and many were involved in the whaling industry. (Nathaniel married his first cousin, Dinah Coffin.)
By the time Quakerism was fully established on the island and the island had been able to establish its own yearly meeting, Mary became one of the most celebrated Friends and Quaker leaders on the island. The Nantucket Meeting was formed in 1708, with Mary serving as an elder and her son Nathaniel Jr. as clerk. Mary became the first recognized minister among the islanders. Although the first Meeting house on Nantucket was built in 1711, Mary did not live to see the official Nantucket Monthly Meeting be established.
Mary Coffin Starbuck died on Nantucket Island November 13, 1717, at the age of seventy-two. Her body was laid to rest in the Friends’ burial ground next to the new meeting house built on land donated by her son and the Nantucket proprietors.
THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS
The Quaker (Friends) Meeting House on Fair Street was erected circa 1838 by builder James Weeks and originally served as a Friends school for the Wilburite sect. John Boadle, a Quaker schoolmaster from London, was the teacher, and the school was called “John Boadle’s School.” In 1864, with the decline in the number of Friends on Nantucket, the school was converted into a meeting house and the large South Meeting House next door was sold and removed. The existing meeting house was purchased from the Friends in 1894 by the Nantucket Historical Association and served as its first museum.
Quakerism in America Quakerism had its roots in England in the 1650s, when George Fox gathered together a group of “friends” who felt that the spirit of God, or the “Inner Light,” was within each person and that the worship of God did not require an intermediary (minister or priest). The Society of Friends, as it became known, was vehemently persecuted in England and many Friends died in prison. The first missionaries of the Society of Friends from England arrived in America in 1656, but only in the colony of Rhode Island were they cordially received.
Quakerism in Massachusetts was a radical departure from mainstream Puritan thought. In addition to their doctrinal differences, the seventeenth-century Friends, unlike the quiet, inward-looking Friends of the eighteenth century, were activists. Refusing to recognize rank, take oaths, or pay any kind of church taxes, they opposed the established church. Massachusetts took the strongest measures to suppress Quakerism, including hanging, and even those who communicated with Quakers were subject to fines. It was not until 1661, when Charles II was restored to the throne and ordered that Quaker trials be transferred to England, that pressure lessened in the Bay Colony. By the 1660s, Quakerism was spreading throughout New England, and Rhode Island elected a member of the society as governor. Even Massachusetts was fairly accepting of the Quakers by the beginning of the eighteenth century.
There does not seem to have been any organized religious group in the Nantucket English community during the seventeenth century. Obed Macy, in his History of Nantucket (1835; reprints 1880 and 1972), remarks that “During the first fifty years after the settlement, the people were mostly Baptists; there were some Presbyterians, a few of the Society of Friends.”
Quakerism in early Nantucket The Society of Friends was the first group to formally organize on the island. This firm commitment was a direct outgrowth of the missionary visits of Friends from off-island, including Thomas Chalkley, a Quaker missionary-merchant from Philadelphia, and John Richardson, a well-known English Friend. Between 1704 and 1708, a number of other Friends visited Nantucket from Rhode Island, Long Island, Philadelphia, and England.
In the forty-year period after 1708, the Meeting outgrew a series of meeting houses and expansions. By the late 1750s, the Friends meeting house at the corner of Pleasant and Main Streets served 1,500 persons. In 1762, with the Quaker community having grown to almost 2,400 persons, the much larger Great Meeting House was built at the crossroads of Main Street and Madaket Road.
The Quakers on Nantucket were strong politically and financially; many were involved in the lucrative whaling industry. They were in the majority for most of the eighteenth century, and their devotion to simplicity and strict adherence to traditional ways influenced Nantucket’s architecture, home furnishings, clothing, and social behavior.
Factionalism in Nantucket Quakerism The Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 were disastrous for the Society of Friends. Their doctrine of pacifism led them to read out of meeting dozens who had supported and/or participated in the “American Cause.” After 1820, Quakerism on Nantucket started to decline rapidly, with a great decrease in the number of Quakers by the 1840s. Members were read out of meeting for marrying non-Quakers and for nonattendance. Around 1830, the Hicksite division had a devastating effect on American Quakerism. The Nantucket Meeting broke into factions, with older, more orthodox, Quakers unable to accept the changing times. Three different sects—the Hicksites, the Gurneyites, and the Wilburites—held separate meetings on the island, thus shattering Quaker unity. By the late 1860s there were only a few Quakers on the island, and by 1900, it is said, there were none.
Quakers Today Since 1939, members of the Religious Society of Friends have used the Quaker Meeting House on Fair Street for worship according to the Quaker manner on Sunday mornings during the summer. Since 2000, a small group has been meeting there year round. Although under the oversight of the Friends of the New England Yearly Meeting, the group is without formal organization. Today, the Religious Society of Friends is one of the recognized Christian denominations with about 120,000 members in the United States and perhaps about 200,000 in all other parts of the world. Present-day Friends believe that the old Quaker principles and manner of worship are applicable in modern life.
For further information on current activities of the Nantucket Friends: May to October: 508.257.6101 Off-season: 508.228.1730 Or write to:
Nantucket Friends Meeting PMB 2 2 Greglen Avenue Nantucket MA 02554 The Quaker Meeting House has been the property of the Nantucket Historical Association since 1894.
Mary Coffin Starbuck is mentioned in Quaker Nantucket by Robert J. Leach and Peter Gow on pages 11, 12, 13, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 30, 36, 40, 43, 51, 58, 86, 147, 148, 149, 153, 158, 190 and 196.
Page 11, “Another leading citizen was Nantucket’s first storekeeper, Tristram Coffin’s daughter Mary. The energetic Mary quickly became an important figure in the young settlement, arranging credit and commerce among the growing white population and the Indians. Mary’s husband was Nathaniel Starbuck, whose sister, Sarah Starbuck Austin, was a Quaker minister living on the New Hampshire coast. Nathaniel’s investments in whaling, along with Mary’s profits from the store, became the foundation of one of Nantucket’s early fortunes.”
Page 12, “The next year John Gardner’s own niece Sarah married Joseph Paddock, nephew of Ichabod, in the Yarmouth Meetinghouse. It is doubtful whether her old Puritan uncle attended the ceremony, but he probably offered no objections. In 1698 Mary Coffin Starbuck’s youngest daughter, Hephzibah, stood up in the Apponegansett Meetinghouse (near where New Bedford would later be founded) to marry Thomas Hathaway. Hephzibah, like Puella Hussey Gorham, was soon acknowledged, by virtue of her eloquence in meeting, as a minister. There was no way to prevent this ministering young woman from going to visit her mother, the powerful shopkeeper, and her father, a founder of Nantucket’s whaling industry. Seeing the inevitable at hand and perhaps tired of controversy, John Gardner retired from the magistracy that same year.”
Continuing on page 12, “For nearly forty years Mary Starbuck and others had resisted the establishment of any kind of paid ministry on Nantucket. Denominationally diverse, the English settlement continued to look off island for religious sustenance. Now it was time for visiting Friends, many of whom had important family connections on the island, to try their hands at cultivating Nantucket’s spiritual garden.”
Page 13, “June 28, 1702. A visiting minister has come to Nantucket. Mary Coffin Starbuck has issued an open invitation to a meeting for worship that he will hold in her home, known as Parliament House. The preacher is a Quaker, and the few Quakers already living on the island are pleased that one of their number should be attracting so much attention. For some, it is true, the attraction is not as much the preacher as the chance to view the shining woodwork and comfortable appurtenances of Parliament House and the lifestyle of the affluent and influential Starbucks. A storekeeper, Mary is the island’s chief creditor, and few commodities leave or arrive on the island without passing through her hands.” “Mary Starbuck is clearly leaning toward Quakerism; perhaps today will bring an open declaration.”
Page 16, “Those close to the front can see that Richardson has now turned his attention full on Mary Starbuck, who has begun to weep openly. Inspired by the palpable response of his listeners, Richardson becomes more eloquent, the vision he lays out more beautiful still.”
Continuing on page 16, “Mary Starbuck’s meeting has been a success, in more ways than anyone could have expected. The Quaker Richardson has shown the islanders a new path. It is not fire and brimstone that will fuse them into a spiritual community, but a simple testimony of peace, honesty, and love. As Mary stands at teh meeting’s end, she hold out her hand. ‘This,’ she tells the gathered multitude, ‘is the overwhelming truth’.”
The chapter entitled, “Great Mary’s Children,” on page 21 states, “The first Quaker visitor to Nantucket with explicitly missionary ambitions was Thomas Turner, who arrived in 1698. A former traveling companion of Fox, Turner was accompanied by Hugh Copperthwaite, a Long Island Quaker, and, most probably, by Haphzibah Starbuck Hathaway, daughter
of Nathaniel and Mary Coffin Starbuck. Captain Peleg Slocomb, son-in-law of Christopher Holder, sailed the party to the island. Little specific information survives concerning this visit, but it is reasonable to surmise that Turner and company held an appointed meeting, perhaps at Parliament House, the home of Nathaniel and Mary Coffin Starbuck.”
Page 22, “The arrival on Nantucket of some of Newport’s leading Friends was tantamount to an offer: We in the narragansett region will undertake to defend your interests, in particular your religious freedom. We ask in return that you consider the Quaker way, and that commercial ties between our communities be strengthened. That the island’s storekeeper, Mary Coffin Starbuck, and one of its principal whaling entrepreneurs, her husband, Nathaniel, seemed favorably disposed to Quakerism suggested strongly that a positive response might be anticipated.”
Continuing on page 22, “Another facet of Quaker culture became apparent in 1698 when Joanna Slocomb Mott arrived on Nantucket t o preach. To the two hundred or so who turned out to hear her, the novelty of a female minister, traveling without her husband, must have been considerable, although it was well known that women Friends were welcomed into the ministry. After all, two daughters of the island, Puella Hussey Gorham and Hephzibah Starbuck Hathaway, had already been acknowledged as ministers on the mainland.”
Page 26, “For two years after Richardson’s 1702 visit, appointed meetings were held sporadically at Parliament House by ministers who came to Nantucket. The visitors commonly stayed for several weeks or more, preaching at public appointed meetings as well as passing among Quaker or Quaker-inclined homes and sharing private meetings of the host families. As the Quaker spirit on Nantucket was catalyzed, Mary Coffin Starbuck’s own convincement continued to deepen. From a passive role as benign protective spirit and host to Quaker visitors, she became more and more active in worship. At last she herself became a minister, and surviving reports describe her preaching as powerful and compelling. History has come to know Mary Starbuck as the ‘Great Woman’ or ‘Great Mary,’ and much of Nantucket’s later glory can be attributed to her leadership in bringing to the island a creed that promised community and stability as well as (for a time, at least) unity of purpose.”
ORIGINAL SOURCE MATERIAL to support the RELATIONSHIP between MARY COFFIN and her son JETHRO STARBUCK
1) Nantucket Vital Records to 1850, 5 vols. Boston, 1925-28, Births, page 507, Starbuck, Nathaniel, h. Mary (d. Tristram Coffin 1st and Dionis), s. Edward and Catharine Reynolds, , 1636 [? In Dover, N. H.], P.R. 38.].
2) NVR to 1850, Births, page 302, Coffin, Mary, w. Nathaniel Starbuck (s. Edward and Catharine), d. Tristram and Dionis (Stevens), 20th, 2 mo. 1645 (see Haverhill Vital Records), P.R. 38.
3) NVR to 1850, Births, page 501, Starbuck, Jethro, s. Nathaniell, Dec. 14, 1671. [h. Dorcas (d. William Gayer and Dorcas), s. Nathaniel and Mary (Coffin), 14th, 12 mo., P.R. 38].
4) NVR to 1850, Deaths, page 544, Starbuck, Jethro, h. Dorcas, 12th. 8 mo. 1770, C.R. 4. [h. dorcas (d. William Gayer and Dorcas), s. Nathaniel and Mary (Coffin), a. 98 y. 8 m., P.R. 38. A. 98 y. 8 m. 6 d., P.R. 63].
5) The History of Nantucket, County, Island, and Town including Genealogies of First Settlers by Alexander Starbuck, Charles F. Tuttle Company, publishers, Rutland, Vermont.
6) The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 162 vols., 1847-2009., page 181, 1853, A Record of Births, Deaths, and Marriages on Nantucket, Beginning in 1662, Communicated by Wm. C. Folger, of Nantucket, Corresponding Member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, “Jethro ye son of Nathaniel Starbuck was born ye 14th of Dec. 1671.”
7) NVR to 1850, Marriages, page 396, Starbuck, Jethro and Dorcas Gayer, 6th, 10 mo. 1694. Intention not recorded. [Jethro, s. Nathaniel and Mary (Coffin), and Dorcas Gayer Jr., d. William and Dorcas (Starbuck) (first w.), P.R. 38].
XX) Roland L. Warren, Mary Coffin Starbuck & the Early History of Nantucket (P.O. Box 803,Andover, NY 14806: Pingry Press, 1987). Hereinafter cited as Mary Coffin Starbuck & the Early History of Nantucket.
28. Jordan, John W., Colonial Families of Philadelphia, (Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago 1911), 566-7.
29. No Author, American Genealogical Record, The Robinson, (Genealogical Record Publishing Company, San Francisco, 1897), Vol. 2, p. 198.
30. Frank A. Gardner, MD, Thomas Gardner Planter and Some of His Descendants, (1731, Essex Institute, Salem, MA).
31. Jordan, John W., Colonial Families of Philadelphia, (Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago 1911), 566-7.
32. No Author, American Genealogical Record, The Robinson, (Genealogical Record Publishing Company, San Francisco, 1897), Vol. 2, p. 198.
33. Frank A. Gardner, MD, Thomas Gardner Planter and Some of His Descendants, (1731, Essex Institute, Salem, MA).
34. No Author, American Genealogical Record, The Robinson, (Genealogical Record Publishing Company, San Francisco, 1897), Vol. 2, p. 198.
35. Frank A. Gardner, MD, Thomas Gardner Planter and Some of His Descendants, (1731, Essex Institute, Salem, MA).
36. Macy: Silvanus J. Macy Genealogy of the Macy family from 1635-1868, Albany, Joel Munsell, 79.
37. No Author, American Genealogical Record, The Robinson, (Genealogical Record Publishing Company, San Francisco, 1897), Vol. 2, p. 198.
no copyright infringement intended
Hope you all enjoyed the read. If so let me know in the comments below.
Clifford W. Pierce was born in April, the 24, 1921 at home in Liberty. NE , the second son to Venus and Marie Pierce. He grew up during the depression when things were scarce, and times were hard and work was the way of living. As a young 12 year old boy Cliff entered a pony race in the little rural farm community of Reynolds, Nebraska, and won. There was a couple, the Presnells, there from California that had seen the race, and felt that young boy showed promise as a jockey. His parents agreed to let him go with them, the depression was hard on everyone, and they took care of him as if he were their own and a race horse trainer was born . So this young farmer boy left the country life and headed to the unknown for California. Was he excited? Was he nervous? Was he scared? If he was, he didn’t let it show and he went right to work. The following is a poem written for him by the woman that cared for him and she sent it to his mother.
On your Own Clifford Pierce
by Marie Presnell
You are on your own dear little man
and you know right from wrong:
Quite some time back your tones began
To change from high to strong.
Be guided well while on your own,
Increase the wisdom you have shown.
An honest man receives “the breaks”
That cheaters cry about:
And in temptations Neer forsakes
His mother’s faith devout.
Be guided well while on your own,
Increase discretion you have known.
Dear little lad, in deed and word,
Remember well and long–
“Tis easy to go with the herd”
It urges you to “come along”.
Be guided well while on your own,
If you would profit when you’re grown.
“Protect your honor and your name,”
You mother’s mother said.
She wished for you no blot of shame,
And for good morals plead;
Be guided well while on your own,
That heritage do not disown.
Grandmother Louise Blum’s exact words:
“Whatever you do, preserve and protect your name and honor.”
This woman started a scrap book for Clifford to keep track of all of his achievements for his mother, Marie Blum. At the time of Clifford’s death the books were handed down to his brother Cecil
and then to me, and one can see from looking at this scrap books that Clifford had many accomplishments to be proud of from the time he was just a boy. They are caulked full of newspaper clippings and photos of horses that Cliff owned and trained for others and his winnings as a jockey, and then a trainer. His life as a profession horseman has been well documented through pictures and newspaper clippings, and he was known by horsemen all over the US.
Some might think from a public viewpoint that horse racing consist of the excitement of betting, and warm beer in wax paper cups, and are unaware of the long hours,and hard work They train these big animals, work them and care for them, and hope to achieve a measure of success in the final run for the wire. , are the hopes and dreams of a horseman. This is exactly what Cliff learned right from the start, and it wasn’t long before his face was in the papers and his popularity among the horseman begin to grow. By the time he was 20 years old he had won many races and big purses in races in California and Mexico and had mad attainments way beyond his years.
A POEM by Marie Presnall
written of Cliff
A clean sweet lad in simple faith
decided he would ride
Would taste a jockeys gay renown
From play he turned aside
He left his parents and the farm
He travel oer five states
Observing all with watchful eyes
Avoiding argument and hates
In California he resides
In patience he prevails
He rides those silky mounts each day
In joy each task he hails
His doubtful weakness is his trust
May he not place it wrong
May wisdom take him ‘neath her wing
and make his morals strong.
THE COUNTRY CALLS
Clifford was called to the second World War as was his brother John. Clifford W Pierce, Technician Third Grade Medical Detachment, 409 Infantry and served as a medical technician, and was honorably discharged from the military service in February 1946. It has been said that he witnessed the worst part of the war and that the demons followed him throughout his life. His wife would tell that the only way to wake him up was to stand at the door and throw a shoe at him, as if you would touch him he would come up swinging.
After the war, Cliff returned to the home of his parents, in Belvedere, Nebraska. His father owned a big building there and Clifford turned it into a restaurant and bar, and he also ran the feed store. This property was left to him by his father after he died. Clifford sold the store but before it was paid for, a year later, a tornado went through the town and flattened it.
Cliff took up horse training and was well known and thought of by many horse breeders. I remember as a child going to Omaha, and Uncle Cliff taking us to the barns and letting us ride around the barns on the horses, and showing us how they were cared for and prepped for the races. He took a lot of pride in his nieces and nephews, and took every opportunity to show them off.
Clifford married a beautiful young lady by the name of Barbra Dowe when she became pregnant. She lost the baby and they never had any other, and after many years, I believe it was 26, of struggling to keep their marriage together, they were divorced.
My brother, Jeff, had to good fortune of spending a summer with Clifford and Barb. Uncle Cliff bought his a shoe shine box and encouraged him to make some extra money shining shoes at the race track. I remember crying as they took off together. I wanted to go so badly but because I was a girl couldn’t go. Jeff brought back many good memories of the time he spent with his Uncle, that lasted his whole lifetime.
After Grandma Pierce’s funeral, my sister and I rode with Uncle Cliff from the church in Omaha to the cemetery in Fairbury, NE. He occupied us on this trip by telling us stories about my father when he was young. He had a special way of keeping your attention when he told a story. He would often pause between sentences and you would have to wait patiently for him to begin again. We were never sure if he was finished or not.
Marie and Barbara Cliff’s mother and wife
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A HORSEMAN
In 1968 a young man by the name of Dennis Gottchall spent the day with Cliff to gain an understanding as to just what was involved in the training and caring for the horses. Cliff was his subject and he wrote: Cliff Pierce, a Reynolds, Nebraska farmer. He is a Veteran horseman having spent three years as a jockey and 27 years as a trainer. All horsemen dream of having a “big” horse, one that is capable of running against the best and winning. These horses are few and far between. In 1962 Cliff had one outstanding horse named Jerry Get up. He was destined to be a great horse, starting eight times that year, winning six and placing second twice. In 1963 he won $64,000. We was below par after that and Cliff was to know the heartbreak of having the horse die in his stall in Chicago. The cause of the death was an incurable liver ailment. ”
HOW JERRY GET UP GOT HIS NAME
Anyone who knew Cliff, knew about Jerry Get Up. I believe he was among the most favorite of all the horses Cliff owned and trained. He was his most successful horse and was owned by AW Dow, Cliff’s father in law. In 1964 Jerrry Get up started seven races, winning five and placing second twice. The horse also ran in Ak-Sar-Ben’s Princess Stakes and Ambassadors winning $27,329 for the year.
Jerry’s mother’s name was Janey Jump UP!
When the new foal was born they contemplated over a name for him. At the time, Cliff had a jockey named Jerry that seemed to have trouble getting up in the morning. Every morning Cliff would come to the barn and go to Jerry’s room and yell “Jerry! Get UP!”
Hence the name for the new foal.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Credit for the pictures below goes to Dennis Gottchall as well as most of the information shared here.
Cliff took care of about 20 thoroughbreds of various ages most of the time. He had two exercise boys and five stable hands to help get the job done.
There was much work that needed to be done by 10 o’clock when the track is closed in preparation for the races which would be held in the afternoon. This work required a lot of organization. Cliff instilled pride and confidence in his help with is soft outspokenness and quiet manner. Everyone began at daybreak.
The horses are fed at about 5:30 in the morning. Each horse must be galloped or walked each morning. I remember walking in the barns with the help as a child when I would get to go with Cliff. At 6 o’clock the horses were taken to the track to be galloped or to an open area to be walked.
When a horse was taken to the track someone cleans his stall and puts in fresh bedding and hay. When the horse returned he would get a bath. That is a picture that still stands in my memory.was that of the horses getting washed off. They were absolutely breath taking beauties. After their baths they were cooled down by walking.
Different trainers use different procedures for exercising their horses. Some walked them two horses at once using a saddle pony.
In 1968 Cliff had a horse by the name of Foreign Comet. He had been injured before in a race and Cliff gave the horse his personal attention. He took him to the track and worked him there. From the pictures below you will see his concern as he watches for any sign of a recurring injury. The responsibility was great when you have a horse that was valued at over 75,000 dollars.
THE MORNING OF THE RACE
FOREIGN COMET was entered in the $15,000 Nebraska Bred Three year old race at a mile and 70 yards. The day was bright and sunny and no trouble was anticipated. Things happen quickly and there is no time for mistakes. The horses paced nervously in their stalls. You could tell that he sensed he was going to run.
The call comes over the loudspeaker to bring the horses to the paddock within five minutes.. The tension and anxiety begins to build as the moment of the race draws near.
When the horses reach the paddock they are taken to stalls for saddling according to the numbers assigned them on the racing program. Number one had been assigned to Foreign Comet. A paddock judge checks identification on each horse. Horses are identified by numbers tattooed inside the upper lip.
A man from the State Racing Commission supervises the saddling so that each horse carries the weight assigned to him. Lead weight in the saddle is used if the jockey”s weight varies from the assigned weight.
LJ Dureusseau was contracted to ride Foreign Comet in this race. Before leaving the paddock, the trainer gives the jockey instruction on how he would like to have the horse ridden. Once they leave the starting gate, racing strategy sometimes changes abruptly so it pays to have a good, smart jockey aboard. This was something that Cliff knew first hand.
The horses are lead onto the track about fifteen minutes before the start of the race. This gives the public a chance to view the horses in the post parade, the jockeys then have a chance to warm up the horses and get the feel of their mounts.
For this race the starting gate was in position in front of the grandstand. Foreign Comet had the number one post position which meant he would start on the inside.
One by one the horses are put into the starting gate. When they are all quiet the official starter releases them with an electric switch.
Foreign Comet tried to break out on top, but the jockey settled him into second place. He maintained that position unchallenged until they reached the home stretch. Then Dureusseau called on the big horse to go all out. Foreign Comet answered with a burst of speed and won “going away”, leaving his closest competitor four lengths behind.
The horse is then led into the winners circle where pictures are taken of the horse along with the owner, trainer, and jockey by the track photographer. This picture is a symbol of the hard work and the ultimate achievement of all those involved in the effort. A silver plate was awarded to Foreign Comet’s owner, Bart Ford. His horse had just proven himself to be the best three year old Nebraska Bred. It is the big payoff for many long hours of hard work.
The prize money is divided with a percentage going to each of the first four places. In this case, Foreign Comet’s share of the purse was $12, 457. 60 .
The tension worry and stress are all gone now as Cliff leaves the winners circle chatting with his jockey.
The end of the race does not mark the end of the day for a horseman. There is still much to be done. The track is cleared immediately so it can be conditioned for the next race. All horses are returned to their respective barns for “cooling out”.
The winner of every race at Ak-Sar-Ben must be taken to the test barn which is managed by the Nebraska State Racing commission. Each winning horse is given a saliva test and a urine test to verify that drugs have not been give to the horse.
Now the horse has to be washed, and given an alcohol bath, and cooled out in the test barn area. His appearance after his big run shows the training and effort put forth by this particular horse with his big heart that is so clearly visible. He stands proud of his accomplishment with a winner’s blood pulsing through his veins. He is given only a small drink of water as he would make himself sick if he drank too much.
He is then blanketed and taken to his stall to rest. You can see the weariness of finishing the race where he put forth all he had.
This is just one day in the life of Clifford Pierce, horse trainer. He did it day after day almost every day of his life, and traveled all over the United States participating in races. I have a file cabinet full of pictures from the winning circle to prove that he was a man who knew his trade.
HIS LOVE OF FAMILY SHOWED
I have many wonderful stories of Uncle Cliff but one of my favorites speaks of his love for his family though I don’t think he really got to spend much time with them throughout the years. After a big winning race in which my mother and father witnessed, they got together and celebrated. Cliff gave my mom $900 dollars. One hundred dollars per child and said “It’s amazing that you have all those kids and not an idiot in the bunch!”
While at war he thought of his little sister at home and sent her the then popular Shirley Temple doll for Christmas. This is just a few of the ways that he showed his generosity and love for his family. He saw to it that his mother in her old age was well cared for and did without nothing.
He was visiting our house once when my sister was about three or four and she brought him every stuffed animal and doll she had. He held onto them with care while she would go to retrieve another one until his lap was full
IT TOOK IT’S TOLL
Like most of the Pierce’s, Cliff liked his drink, and as he got older and developed aches and pains he took to self medicating himself with horse drugs. I was told that he was hooked on them, and that at one time he even had his mother taking them. All that hard living took it’s toll on Uncle Cliff and his health started to suffer. He had heart problems and had a couple of small strokes.
While training a horse at the age of 64 he died of a stroke coupled with a heart attack at Osceola, Nebraska in August of 1985. Though he made a lot of money throughout his life, he died broke, and left his nephew as executor of the estate. Denny Pierce said that it was a night mare.
Though he left a family that loved him dearly, and many friends among the community in which he lived, I think that Uncle Cliff was a lonely man.
He is buried in Fairbury, Nebraska, with his father and mother, and brother Venus John.
I hope you have enjoyed this post. I enjoyed writing it. If so, do leave me a comment in the box below and let me know. If you knew Cliff Pierce or heard of him and have a story to tell. I would LOVE to hear it!
Edward, our 9th great grandfather, came with Thomas Macy, and James Coffin, in a small boat from Salsibury, England in 1635 during the early settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colonies and was among the founding fathers of Nantucket Island.
Born in 16 Feb 1604 in Leicester, Derbyshire, England, the son of Edward and Ann Starbuck, he was a young man when he set sail with other men for the new world landing on the shores of New Hampshire with his wife Katherine Eunice Reynolds of Wales, daughter of Robert.
STARBUCK THE NAME
They settled in Dover, New Hampshire which was probably still Massachusetts at that time and it was he that brought the surname Starbuck to the United States. . This rare name is locational and derives from the Village of Starbeck, near Harrogate in Yorkshire, originally spelled ‘Starbok’. This original spelling which appears in the 1086 Domesday Book, indicates a Norse-Viking pre 9th Century origin ‘Stor-Bokki’, literally ‘Great River’. The name “Starbuck” is of Scandinavian decent and it’s possible that the family was of Danish origin that settled in England during the Viking invasions.
Edward is first found in the records as receiving a land grant in 1643 for 40 acres of land on each side of the Eresh River at Cutchechoe, and a platt of Marsh above Cutchechoe where the brook runs out of the river, discovered by Richard Walderne, Edward Colcord,, Edward Starbuck, and William Furber. This definitely suggest that he was a man of exploration and adventure,
From 1643 to 1650 there are records of his many other grants of land.
In 1643, he was chosen as the first Representative from Dover to the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and served again in 1647. (This was before New Hampshire existed as a separate colony.)
He and two others were appointed “wearesmen” or official river fishermen for Dover for life and were required to supple the town and the church from their catch.
In 1647 and 1650 he was granted the right to erect a sawmill and went into the timber business with Rich Waldron, and in 1652 he was granted the right to the use of certain lands.
He sold half of his timber and water rights to Peter Coffin who was his son in law, in 1653.
Edward served on a six man committee to settle a boundary dispute between Dover and Kitter in 1654, and was one of the commoners chosen to lay out the boundary between the towns.
Edward was prosecuted for taking on Baptist beliefs and pronouncing the concept that baptism should not take place until a child was old enough to decide for themselves. His religious views were disturbing to the colony, though he was a Quaker his religious views were not acceptable to his fellow townsmen.
In ” Provincial Papers of New Hampsbire,” we find the following:
” Oct. 18, 1648. — The Court being informed of great misdemeanor Committed by Edward Starbuck of Dover with profession of Anabaptism for which he is to be proceeded against at the next Court of Assistants if evidence can be prepared by that time & it being very farre for witnesses to travill to Boston at that season of the year, It is therefore ordered by this Court that the Secretary shall give Commission to Capt. Thomas Wiggan & Mr Edw. Smyth to send for such persons as they shall have notice of which are able to testify in the sd. cause & to take their testimony uppon oath & certifie the same to the secretary so soon as may be, that further proceedings may be therein, if the cause shall so require.”
As a result he was heavily fined. There was no separation for church and state then and the puritans who ran the colony were intolerant of people like the Anabaptists.
In 1658 the Congregational minister swore out a peace bod against him due to his religious beliefs. His last official duty in Dover was serving on a coroner’s jury that investigated the accidental death of a man on Nov. 11, 1659.
REMOVAL TO NANTUCKET
Edward could have possibly lived quite comfortably in Dover had it not been for the religious conditions of the colonies. The strong persecution of religious beliefs was most likely the reason that Edward decided to go to Nantucket. At the age of 55, Edward, James Coffin and Isaac Coleman arrived on Nantucket Island with Thomas Macy and stayed throughout the winter. They returned to Massachusetts the next spring, and returned in 1660 with his wife and children, except for daughters Sarah and Abigail, and ten other families. More settlers arrived the following year. Sarah who had married
The white settlers found Nantucket inhabited by about 1600 Wampanoag Indians who were farmers and fisherman and hunters. The arrival of the white man brought disease, alcohol, and debt servitude to the island which cause a cruel toll on the peaceful people over the next 100 years. By 1763 only 358 Indians survived and that number was reduced later that year when more than 222 died of the plague.
It is not to be wondered at that Edward Starbuck was quite ready to leave Dover under existing conditions. He was fifty-five years of age when he joined Thomas Macy in his voyage from Salisbury to Nantucket; he spent the winter there and in the spring returned to Dover for his family, who accompanied him to the island excepting his daughters Sarah (Aus- tin) and Abigail (Coffin), who had married and settled in Dover.
” Dover lost a good citizen ” and Nantucket gained a much respected one ; ” he was a leading man on the Island and at one time a Magistrate; ” he is described as ” courageous and persevering.”
EDWARD THE PEACE KEEPER
Edward had great repose among the Indians and was often called upon to settle disputes that came up with the natives in Dover and Nantucket. A deed of land to him from the Indians in 1660 is the oldest original Nantucket document in existence and his name appears on many other documents until his death.
During the 35 years of his life on the Island of Nantucket he was Representative in the General court, and Elder in the Church, and in 1669 he and Peter Coffin were appointed by the town meeting to manage the government among the Indians. Four year later He was chosen one of the town’s five selectmen, was one of the highest ranking government officers.
As a clergyman it is said that Edward was the one that read from the Bible at the funeral of his dear friend Tristram Coffin.
Edward was instrumental in the development of the land and began the development of the whaling company.
It is said that at the time of his death he was the wealthiest man in Nantucket owning a third of the Island in land. He left most of his property to his only living son Nathaniel, as was the tradition at that time.
Nathaniel and Mary Starbuck
Nathaniel went with his father to Nantucket and married Mary there in 1662, the daughter of Tristram Coffin (Edward and Tristram being our 9th Great grandparents making Nathaniel and Mary our 8th) Their marriage was the first on the Island, and their daughter, Mary was the first white child born there.
The Nantucket Quakers became influential in every area of life including social behaviors, lifestyles, business, and politics and Nathaniel was highly involved in the lucrative whaling industry.
Quakerisn began to take hold in Nantucket largely due to the influence of Mary Coffin Starbuck, following her conversion to the faith in 1701. Mary (the Great) who eventually became a Quaker preacher, and her husband Nathaniel, led the Quaker movement and the first meetings were held in their home until a meeting house was built in 1711. Mary “esteemed is judge among them” was the moving force in establishing the Society of Friends, (Quakers) on Island.
Nathaniel was one of the strong men among the Nantucket settlers, and would have received more credit but for the superior intellect of his wife. He is said to have been a man of no mean abilities, but was outshone by the superior capacity of his wife, a woman of uncommon powers of mind.
He ran a trading post, where Indians swapped codfish and feathers (used in mattresses) for cloth, hooks, buttons, etc. When Ichabod Paddack of Cape Cod introduced whaling to Nantucket, it was Nathaniel who financed the venture. Due to Nathaniel’s whaling interests, land holdings and store profits, he became one of the wealthiest men–if not the wealthiest man on the Island. So much public business was conducted at this home that it became known as “Parliament House”. It was also there that Quakerism took root on Nantucket thanks mostly to the leadership of his wife, whose importance and fame quite outshone his own not inconsiderable accomplishments. (From James Carlton Starbuck’s book “Starbucks All” published in 1984)
His house was erected near his house lot, but on a spot a short distance southeast which was afterwards set off to him. It was a large house of a capacity sufficient for meetings, both religious and municipal, and was called “Parliament House.” It was located a few feet west of the present Cornish Barn and was placed near the spring. His house lot was on the northwest of the swamp, bounded north by that of James Coffin and south by the swamp and southwest by the lot of Thomas Mayhew. By purchase from Greenleaf and others and by set off, he acquired a large tract around the north head of Hummock Pond. It later was comprised in the Cambridge farm.
Nathaniel and Mary had 10 known children and spread their descendants throughout the US.
He made his will on 14 June 1716 in Sherbourne, Nantucket, Massachusetts. It was probated on 29 August 1719. The will was written while his wife Mary was still alive; codicil was dated 20 November 1717 after her death. Pecuniary legacies given to daughters Eunice Gardner, Priscilla Coleman, Hepsibah Hathaway, and the children of two deceased daughters, Mary Gardner and Elizabeth Barnard. His real estate was given to his sons Barnabas, Nathaniel and Jethro. Witnesses: Thomas Macy, Thomas Clark, William Stratton, John Macy.
The codicil was written shortly after his wife died and devised the household goods to Barnabase, Eunice, and Hephzibah. The three sons were made joint executors.
At the time of his death, he was one of the wealthiest men (if not individually the wealthiest) on Nantucket. He owned three full shares of land, having purchased a share of Stephen Greenleaf.
THE MOST ASK QUESTION
Are we related to the Starbuck coffee people? That is the most commonly asked question and the answer is no.
Actually the coffee company was not named after anyone. When they were searching for a name for the company they just started throwing out names when someone blurted out the name Starbuck. The name appealed to the literary trio and since characters in Moby Dick and the Rainmaker shared it, and it had a strong ring to it, it was chosen.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this, if so please leave a comment in the section below and let me know!
We learned a bit about the Gardners , namely Richard, Cape Ann Planters as they soon were to be called, in our previous post but I will now give a bit of our decent from that lineage in this one. The English Gardners came to this country in the days immediately following the landing of the the Pilgrims at Plymouth, as several merchants in South England sent fishing vessels to the shores of New England. The amount of time required by these slow moving vessels to return to the markets of England and Spain made it too late to dispose of their catch . Therefore a number of men in Dorchester, England, put together the Dorchester Company and came up with the idea of establishing a plantation at Cape Ann. Their thinking was that the fishermen might winter there, make their catch early in the spring, and return to England in season to dispose of the fish to advantage.
In 1624, The Cape Ann Planters landed at Stage Point on the west side of what is now Gloucester harbor. Col. Charles Edward Banks , “The Planters of the Commonwealth,” records the following in his list of ships arriving in 1624.
“Zouch Phenix. She was consort of the Unity, and arrived with her in the spring of this year. It is believed she sailed from Weymouth and brought the following passengers:
Thomas and Mrs. Gardner, George, Richard, Joseph Gardner.
John Balch, Mrs. Agnes Balch, Benjamin, and John Balch,
Thomas was born March 4 1592 to Sir Thomas Gardiner and Elizabeth White in Weymouth, Dorcet, England
Thomas, our 9th great grandfather, was placed in charge of the plantation and John Tilly of the fishing. The selection of the site for a plantation turned out to be unfortunate. The ground was rocky and the soil infertile and made farming impossible. There disappointment and struggle was great.
The fishing also proved a failure and many of the fisherman turned to agriculture for relief. The leader of the company in England, heard that Roger Conant was at Nantucket and thought perhaps he might be more successful so invited him to go to Cape Anne and take control. He went there in 1625 and soon realized that the lack of success had been because of the poor soil and that a settlement in this place could not be made profitable.
Conant searched the coast for a better plantation site and finally decided on the mouth of Naumkeag River which is now Salem. In 1626 The Dorchester Company gave him permission to move the little colony to the new location, though some of the first adventurers went to Virginia or returned to England. A few strong hearts stayed and became the founders of Salem.
Conant said that they stayed “to the hazard of their lives”, and it is a shame that many historical writers of old Massachusetts fail to give the due credit for the laying of the foundation of this grand old Commonwealth. They proved that a settlement was possible, and sent one of their spokesman back to England to convince the Reverend John White and his associates that this was a possibility and asked for help and supplies. This resulted in the formation of the London Company and the sending of John Endicott in the ship “Abigail” in 1628.
Thomas Gardner is thought to be the first man in authority on the land of what became the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
A meeting of the London company held July 28, 1629, it was mentioned “one Mr. Gardner, an able and expert man in divers faculties” by Mr. Webb, and he along with others were recommended for employment in the colony.
In 1635 we find that Thomas Gardner also signed his name to the grant of a three hundred a to Thomas Scruggs, and the next month to a grant of the same, to John Blackleech. His signature was of the town’s representative is appended to the records in the 11th mo, 1636.
In 1637 he was appointed to “survey all the fences between the meeting house westward of the Town, and in 1636 he was made a member of the First Church.
Massachusetts Bay Colony admitted him as a freeman, in 1637, and he was appointed deputy to the General Court that same year. In 1637 he was among the 12 men appointed of the town. He served as juror during 1637 and 1638.
The town voted that every working man should devote the seventh day of the first month in 1638 to labor in repairing the highways, and Thomas Gardner was appointed as one of the three overseers to make sure the work was done and done properly.
He was called “Constable” in the town records in 1639, and various sums were recorded as being paid by him for court expenses. He also served the town as surveyor for the mending and keeper of the roads and was one of the record keepers of such.
Throughout his life Thomas Gardener’s name is found among the records in the the history of the town and he is renowned for his service to the colony. “Ole Mr. Gardener” he became known by amongst the residents of Old Salem.
Thomas first married Margaret Fryer/ Friar and they had nine children:
1. Lieut Thomas Gardner born in England and died in 1693. He first married Hannah and they had Mary, Thomas Eliza, Abigaile, Bethiah, Hannah, and Jonathan. He then married Elizabeth Horne, daughter of 2. Deacon John Horn, and they had David, Susannah, and Dorcas.
He was a cordwainer by trade. A cordwainer (/ˈkɔːrdˌweɪnər/) is a shoemaker who makes new shoes from new leather. The cordwainer’s trade can be contrasted with the cobbler’s trade, according to a tradition in Britain that restricted cobblers to repairing shoes. He also kept a general merchandise store and owned a ketch, the “John Booneyventure,” which was used in the cod fishing industry. He was prominent in town affairs and served from time to time on the jury. He lived in a house which stood on a lane running along the eastern boundary of the meeting house lot. His second wife, Elizabeth, died in 1695
2. George born in England and was married three times.
3. RICHARD (8th great grandfather) born 1621 Matock, Somerset, England. He married Sarah Shattuck, Quakeress, (daughter of Samuel and Damaris Shattuck, she being the second wife of Richard’s father Thomas.) Richards first grant of land was in 1642, a ten acre lot near Mackrell Cove, and he had later grants in Salem and at Jeffrey’s Creek. His house was on the eastern side of what is not Central Street, on the site of the present Salem Fraternity building. He had a shop on the same lot. He became a devout Quaker and with others was convicted of “absenting themselves from the public ordinances. ” He moved to Nantucket not long afterward and purchased land there at Wesko, Feb 15 1667. Richard became one of the leading men of the Nantucket Island and the ancestor of many, now distributed all over the country. He served as Chief Magistrate and represented the town at New York. He died March 23, 1688. His widow died in 1724, at the age of 93. She was an energetic and leading Quaker throughout her life. Their children were Joseph, Richard, Sarah, Deborah (7th great grandmother) who married John Macy, Damarice, James. Mariam, Nathaniel, Hope, and Love.
4. Captain John born 1624 married Priscilla Grafton daughter of Joseph. He was called Captain and was a master mariner and surveyor. He was given permission to build a mill over the South River in 1663. In 1669 he was paid for services as surveyor in the town. He lived in a house which stood near the corner of the present Herbert and Derby Streets in Salem. He was granted 11 acres and meadow land in Nantucket upon agreement: ” unto Mr. John Gardner of Salem marrener, a seamans accommodation, with all appurtinances belonging unto it as fully as the other seamen and tradesmen have in their former grants, upon condition that come to inhabit and set up the Trade fishing with a sufficient vessel fit for the taking of Codfish. Captain became very prominent, serving as Chief Magistrate, represetative to the General Court, “Captain and Chief Military Officer of the Foot Company,” and town moderator.
He died in May 1706, at the age of 82, and his gravestone is still preserved in the old Coffin house (horseshoe house), and a new one replacing it in the graveyard. His wife is said to have died in 1717. Their children were, John, Joseph, Priscilla, Benjamin, Rachel, George, Benjamin, Ann, Nathaniel, Mary, Mehitable (?), and Ruth.
5. SAMUEL born 1627 married first Mary White, and then Elizabeth Paine. His name appears in the Town Records in 1649 when he was ordered along with his brothers George, Thomas, and Joseph, to survey and measure from the meeting house to the parcel of meadow upon the great river Westerly from Salem” . He was often hired to survey around the town and colony. He served as appraiser and overseer of estates and had many terms of service on the grand jury and jury of trials. He was coroner, constable, selectman and deputy to the General courts, and was a leader in the affairs of the the First Church. His children were: Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Samuel, George, Jonathan, Hannah and Abel. He has numerous descendants who were prominent citizens of Salem, where many of them were merchants and ship owners during the time of the town’s great maritime prosperity. Many of them had notable records in the wars of the Colony, Province, and commonwealth. Samuel died Oct 1639.
6. CAPTAIN JOSEPH born about 1628 and died 19 Dec 1675. Joseph married Ann Downing, daughter of Emanuel Downing, “gent” a prominent lawyer in London. He with his brothers John and Samuel was a surveyor and was frequently employed in that capacity. He kept a tavern and was called a vintner in some documents. He became a freeman in 1673 and served several times on the jury. In 1672 he was appointed with Henry Bartholomew, by the General Court on a committee for Essex and Norfolk, with others from Suffolk to settle accounts with Major Pynchon for pork received for the relief of his Majesty’s fleet in the Caribby Islands. In August of 1656 Lucy Downing, with the consent of her husband, Emanuel Downing, granted to him the plot of ground upon which the State Armory was built. As his dowry and marriage portion with Ann. The lot measured “fower acres of ground Intire”.
In the Massachusetts Bay Records May 15, 1672 it was recorded: “it is ordered that Joseph Gardiner be lieutenant to the foote company under the command of Walter Price, captain at Salem”. They marched with troops from Boston on the 8th. The 15th two of the men were killed and another wounded by Indians. Capt. Joseph Gardner, and others of the town went out immediately and killed an Indian who had slain one of the Salem troops and was wearing his cap.
The forces of Plymouth, Connecticut and Massachusetts attacked the Narragansetts in a swamp. After a three hour battle, the English took the enemy’s place and fired at their wigwams. One thousand of the Indians were killed. Eighty five of the English soldiers were killed or died of their wounds, and one hundred and forty five were wounded. Among those killed were Captain Gardner and six of his company, and eleven more of them were wounded.
“Major Church spying Capt. Gardner amidst the wigwams in the east end of the Fort made towards him; but suddenly, while looking at each other, Capt. Gardner settled down. The Major stepped up to him and seeing the blood run down his cheek, lifted his cap and called him by name. He looked up but spoke not a word, being mortally wounded, shot through the head, and observing the wound the Major ordered care to be taken of him.”
His widow, Ann, married, in 1676, Governor Simon Bradstreet. She died April 19, 1713, at the age of 79 years. Captain Joseph Gardner had no children.
7. SARAH born about 1630 and died Apr 5, 1686; married around 1650 to Benjamin Balch, the “Planter,” born in 1629 and lived in his father’s homestead. In 1930 the house was still standing on the corner of Cabot and Balch Streets in Beverly. He married two more times after her death.
They had seven sons and four daughters.
8. MIRIAM born about 1632 and died before Aug 1664 married John Hill who was born in Bristol, England around 1635. He was a wheelwright by trade ( a person who makes or repairs wooden wheels.) John and Miriam had two daughters, Miriam and Susanna.
9. SEETH was baptized October 25, 1636 and died the 17th of April, 1707. There has been some suggestion that her name could be a surname pasted down. She first married Joshua Conant, the son of Roger Conant, the “Planter”. He was a sea captain and lived in Marblehead. They had one child Joshua. Joshua (1) died in England in 1658 and Seeth married John Gratfton son of Joshua and Mary Grafton. After the death of Seeth, Mr. Grafton marriedd Judith Clark in Boston. He was a mariner and they had six children.
By now if you have been reading the history of our founding father’s you are starting to see the mention of several surnames that seem to intertwine. We are cousins of cousins for sure, but what an interesting story we have to tell.
I hope you have enjoyed this issue. If so please leave me a comment in the section below and let me know. If you have something to add I’d love to hear it also!
Researching Tristram Coffin comes quite easily as much has been written about him through out the history of the United States. Some of which is fact and some assumed so therefore you will find much conflicting information about him. He was one of the nine purchasers and founders of Nantucket Island and to him much credit is given. There are over 500 family trees on ancestry.com that connect to him so it could be said that he was also monumental in populating the United States from sea to shining sea.
I am proud to say that he is my 9th great grandfather. Our Pierce line descends from his daughter Mary “Great Mary” Coffin Starbuck who was the wife of 8th great grandfather Nathaniel Starbuck, son of Edward and Katherine Reynolds Starbuck (also 9th great grandparents) of which I will write at a later date.
WHERE WE BEGIN
The first of the Coffin name of which there is any record is of Sir Richard Coffin who removed to Normandy, England in 1066 where he entered the English Army and had land granted to him and he was Knighted by the King. He was of Scandinavian decent like all Nobles of Normandy. The Vikings were settling in Normandy around the 800’s AD through conquest and they were granted the “Duchy of Normandy” by the French King “Charles the Simple” as a defense against other Viking Armies. The First “Duke of Normandy” was Hrolf or Rollo 911AD (an ancestor of “William the Conqueror”).
Sir Richard, as he was called, fought as a General for “William the Conqueror” (formally “William the Bastard”) at the Battle of Hastings, during the Norman invasion of England and Williams successful claim for the English Crown.
We learn from Prince’s “Worthies of Devonshire” that the ancient family of the name settled at Portledge by the seaside in the Parish of Alwington, five miles from Biddeford and flourished there from the Conquest from the time of King Henry I to the age of King Edward the II. For two hundred years each successive heir of this family bore the name of Richard. (that’s a lot of Richards!)
Coffins are also in the Williams “Doomsday book” (1080) as current inhabitants of England, probably settlers from France at an earlier date. The Coffins spread out to Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Cornwall. By 1252 the name in its different forms (Colvin, Corvin, Cophen and Coffyn) are frequently found in records. The name is disputed in its origins. Welsh “Coffyn” meaning hill top boundary, English and French: occupational name for a basket maker, from Old French cof(f)in ‘basket’ (Late Latin cophinus, Greek kophinos). The modern English word coffin is a specialized development of this term, not attested until the 16th century.
and the most likely is meaning of “Coffer” or treasure box.
A short distance from Fallaise, a town of Normandy, stands the old chateau of Courtition, the home of the Norman Coffin.
The last Miss Coffin married Le Clerc in the late 18th century and since that time Le Clerc family occupied the Norman estates.
WHAT ABOUT TRISTRAM
Tristram Coffin (Coffyn as was signed by him) was born to Peter and Joanna (Kember) Coffin (10th great grandparents)and baptized in the parish of Brixton near Plymouth, England, on 11 March 1609/10. He married Dionis Stevens in 1630 and they had nine children, the first five born in England. He was of the the landed gentry, or simply the gentry, which is a largely historical British social class consisting in theory of landowners who could live entirely from rental income, or at least had a country estate.
Charles I inherited the throne of England in 1625 and initiated a long struggle with his parliament, which wanted to abolish bishops from the House of Lords which is an upper house of Parliament, and limit the king’s powers. Things came to a head when Charles raised his royal standard at Nottingham in August 1642, and England soon descended into Civil War (1642–1651).
Tristram Coffin’s brother John received a mortal wound at Plymouth fort, although it is not known exactly when or which side he was fighting on. It could be for reasons associated with these political upheavals, Tristram Coffin decided to leave his estates in England and emigrate to the new America though some suggest that it was after the death of his father that he decided to remove.
He bought with him his mother, and his sisters, Mary and Eunice, as well as his wife and the five children born in England.
Tristram immigrated to Massachusetts from England in 1642, and lived in Salisbury, Haverhill, and Newbury for sixteen years. For a short time he ran an inn in Salisbury, Massachusetts. He then moved to the new settlement of Pentucket, now Haverhill, Massachusetts. His children Mary Starbuck and John (the first John having died at the same place in 1642) were born at Salisbury. In 1648 he removed to Newbury, where his youngest son, Stephen was born. His name appears on a deed dated 15 November 1642 recording the sale of the land for the settlement by the local American Indian people.
He is said to have used a plow that he had made himself to cultivate the land. In 1648 he left the farm and moved to Newbury, Massachusetts and he operated a ferry across the Merrimack River . He and his wife Dionis ran a tavern in Newbury. In 1653 Dionis was “presented” for selling beer above the legal price of two pennies per quart but she was acquitted when it was found that her beer was much stronger than the ordinary. Coffin sold the inn and ferry in 1654 or 1655 and moved to Salisbury, Massachusetts, where he signed himself “Tristram Coffyn, Commissioner of Salisbury”.
THE PURCHASE OF NANTUCKET
In 1659, he made a voyage of inquiry and observation to the group of islands off the Massachusetts coast, with a view to this change of residence. He first visited Matha’s Vineyeard, and taking from there Peter Folger as an interpreter of the Indian language, proceeded to Nantucket.
He along with Thomas Macy led a group of nine investors that bought Nantucket Island from Thomas Mayhew for thirty pounds and two beaver hats made by his son, Tristram JR . Coffin was among the prime movers of the enterprise and was given first choice of land. In 1659 he settled near the western end of the island near Capaum pond.It has been supposed that religious persecution was the cause of these frequent changes and of his final departure from the main land.
Soon after settling, Tristram Coffin purchased the thousand-acre Tuckernuck Island at the western end of Nantucket. On 10 May 1660 the sachems conveyed title to a large part of the island to Coffin and his associates for eighty pounds. He became one of the first prominent citizen of the settlement and was appointed the first chief magistrate of Nantucket on 29 June 1671 being the most respected and wealthy settler on the Island.
He built a corn mill in which he employed many of the local Native Americans, and he employed others on his farm.
In 1671 Coffin and Thomas Macy were selected as spokesmen for the settlers, going to New York to meet with Governor Francis Lovelace and secure their claim to Nantucket. In 1677 he was again appointed chief magistrate for a term of four years and it was said by Benjamin Franklin Folgers, the historian, that he always exhibited a fair Christian character “in all the varied circumstances and conditions of that infant colony,” both to Indians and white settlers.
TROUBLE AMONG THE COLONY
The first settlers had bought their rights to Nantucket with the intent of using the land for their own benefit. But, as more and more people came to Nantucket to live and work in the late seventeenth century, the newcomers began to resent their limited power and representation in the island’s government.
Led by ambitious newcomer John Gardner (a great uncle of the Pierce line), many of the “half-share men” staged a peaceful revolt against the proprietary government led by Tristram Coffin. Through several appeals to the provincial government in New York, the half-share men eventually succeeded in having the original proprietary transformed in favor of a more democratic, town-meeting-based government, where all men who held property had equal voting rights.
At first Tristram Coffin was the leading spirit politically and little was done without his approval and sanction. And he also had the backing of the Mayhews who still retain their interest. After John Gardner arrived in 1672, who was also of strong and forceful personality, there was trouble. He soon became prominent in the affairs of the Island and was appointed Captain of the Fort Company by Governor Lovelace. Tristram and John Gardner soon locked horns.
In 1673 the freeholders were required to name two men for Chief Magistrate and Edward Starbuck (9th great grandfather) and Richard Gardner (eighth greath grandfather) were submitted The governor chose the latter and named his brother Jim for Captain of the military company. This did not please the Coffins as it made their rivals hold two of the principal offices and so began the long fight whenever there was a meeting held .It was noted on the records, Mr. Tristram Coffin enters his dissent whereupon all the other members of his party followed suit but Tristram has been well called the great dissenter. The Coffins believed that the whole share men should have two votes and the half -share men one vote while the Gardners stood firm for equal power.
Each faction were soon appealing to the authorities in New York and the first round was won by the Coffins.
In 1674 the Gardner faction still being in control fined Stephen Hussey for contempt for telling Captain John to “meddle with his own business”.
In 1676 Thomas Macy, then Chief Magistrate and William Worth sided with the Coffins and they regained control of affairs. William Worth was chosen clerk and Gardner and Folger were arbitrarily disfranchised and refused any participation in the affairs of the town.
On Feb 10, 1677, Peter Folger was arrested for contempt of His Majesty’s authority. He was bound over for 20 pounds to appear in Court and in default was committed to jail where he remained in “durance vile coery vile” according to Peter for the greater part of a year.
Tobias COLEMAN,and Eleazer Folger and his wife Sarah..(Richard Gardner’s daughter) were arrested and fined for criticizing the Court.
Peter Folger refused to deliver up the Courts books. So things went on till August 1677 when Governor Androstook took a stand and ordered a suspension of all further proceedings and later decided that Gardner and Folger’s disfranchisement was null and void.
Mayhew and Coffin were furious but Captain Gardner had won and the hatchet was soon after buried.
Finally, in June of 1678, everyone gets tired of the in-fighting and a settlement is reached. The Full-Share men will allow other parts of the island to be bought from the Natives and developed while the half-share men agree that it will all involve the town.
Coffin and Gardner still hate each other, but everyone else is willing to live and let live.Then, in September of that year, Tristram Coffin finds himself in very hot water. A French ship wrecked itself on the shoals and Coffin had supervised the salvage operation. After all the gear was grabbed from the boat, it needed to be stored and guarded. Coffin botched the job and was brought before the Admiralty Court. Faced with possible jail time and a steep fine, Coffin appealed to John Gardener to help him.
Gardner weighed in on the Coffin side and Tristram was set free. One year later, Tristram died.Without Coffin, the compromise began in earnest. The half-share and full-share men began talking and working again. Moreover, the Natives were granted grazing rights for their own horses and all three parties were at peace.The final symbolic closure came in 1686 when Peter Coffin’s son Jethro married John Gardner’s daughter, Mary. John Gardner gave the new couple land for a new house and Peter Coffin supplied the lumber. They built, atop Sunset Hill, a house now known as the oldest house on Nantucket.
THE COFFIN FAMILY
He and his wife, Dionis, had five sons who perpetuated the Coffin family name. A great number of his descendants became prominent in North American society, and many were involved in the later history of Nantucket during and after its heyday as a whaling center, though when researching his history little is said about that part of his life.
Several Nantucket families, including the Coffins, Gardners, and the Starbucks (from all we decend), began whaling seriously in the 1690s, and by 1715, the Coffins owned three whalers and a trade vessel.
In 1642 there were only 455 people living in Newbury. The town’s economy was primarily a combination of agriculture and husbandry. There was a limited number of artisans and manufacturers. Some of the earliest were weavers, tanners, and shoemakers.
Tristram Coffin and his sons at one time owned about one-fourth of Nantucket, and the whole of the little island adjacent to it on the west, called Tuckermuck, containing 1,000 acres, which he purchased of the old Sachem Potonet at the time of his visit in 1659.
He appears to have been a leading spirit among the first settlers, and was frequently selected by the inhabitants to transact important public business. His letters to the Colonial Government of New York (Nantucket was at that time a dependency of New York), are preserved in the Archives of the Department of State at Albany.“At a Court of Sessions held the 29th of November 1681 there granted administration unto me James Coffin, John Coffin and Stephen Coffin on the estate of Mr. Tristram Coffin deceased the 3rd Oct 1681 they having given security according to law.”The body of the Oath was evidently written by Peter Coffin (son of Tristram), the signature is an autograph.
During the years before his death, he had bestowed much of his property on his children and grandchildren.
Tristram Coffin died on 2 October 1681 at the age of 76.He was buried on his property on Nantucket Island
At his death he left seven children, 60 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.
Nearly all his descendants are enabled, by means of the accurate genealogical records in existence, to trace their linage back to him, although nearly two centuries have elapsed since his death.Almost all notable Americans with roots in Nantucket are descended from Tristram Coffin,
Their daughter, Mary, married Nathaniel Starbuck and became known as “Great Mary” for her leadership in the early community and her conversion to Quakerism, looking to escape harsh Puritan rule in New England.
Stephen died on 1 Dec 1690 in Drowned off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada, at age 62 .
THE COFFIN HOUSE
As the family grew, they added partitions and lean-tos so that different generations could continue to live together under one roof. In 1785 two Coffin brothers legally divided the structure into two separate dwellings, each with its own kitchen and living spaces. With rooms from the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, Coffin House depicts the impact of an expanding economy and new concepts, such as the notion of privacy, on architecture and modes of living.
The significance of Coffin House lies partly in the age of the original building but more importantly in the way in which it reveals how a home, built in 1678, grew and changed over the years to accommodate the needs of six generations of one family. The earliest part of the house, the southwest ell, is an example of what is known in New England as First Period or Post-Medieval style.When Tristram Coffin Jr. came to Newbury with his parents, siblings, aunts, and grandmother in 1643, it was a frontier settlement with Indian tribes nearby, wild animals, few roads, and most travel by water.
Most of the occupants of this house are buried across the street in the First Parish Burying Ground. Judith and Tristram JR. are buried on the left side of the burying ground if you are facing the front gate.
INTERESTING FACTS ON DECENDANTS
From Wikipedia we find this information on some of the Coffin descendants.
 His sons Peter Coffin, Tristram Coffin Junior and James Coffin also received land on the island. . One of his grandchildren calculated that by the year 1728, the number of his descendants was 1582, of whom 1128 were still alive.
Several of his descendants achieved prominence. His daughter Mary Coffyn Starbuck became a leader in introducing Quaker practices into Nantucket.
 A grandson, James Coffin, was the first of the Coffins to enter into the whaling business.
 A poem by Thomas Worth written in 1763 says six Captains named Coffin were sailing out of Nantucket. Sir Isaac Coffin (1759–1839) served during the American Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars and became an admiral in the British Royal Navy. He founded a school on the island in 1827 to educate descendants of Tristram Coffin – which included almost all the children on the island – with emphasis on nautical skills.Lucretia Coffin Mott (1793–1880) was a Quaker born on Nantucket, who became a prominent abolitionist and women’s rights activist. She helped write the Declaration of Sentiments during the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, and will be included on the back of the U.S. $10 bill to be newly designed by 2020.
Some branches of the Coffin family were prominent in New England, grouped among the so-called Boston Brahmins. For example, Elizabeth Coffin, daughter of a wealthy merchant from Nantucket, was mother of the prominent Massachusetts industrialists Henry Coffin Nevins and David Nevins Jr..
 Some retained the family links to Nantucket after the whaling industry had collapsed and many people had left the island. In the eighth generation, Elizabeth Coffin (1850–1930), an artist, educator and Quaker philanthropist, was known for her paintings of Nantucket and for helping revive Sir Isaac Coffin’s school with a new emphasis on crafts.
 Among the ninth generation, Robert P. T. Coffin (1892–1955) was an American poet who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1936 for his book of collected poems called Strange Holiness.
After the original struck medals were produced in 1826, the medal was cast and recast for family reunions on Nantucket, perhaps even as late as the first few decades of the 20th century.In the year 1826, Sir Isaac Coffin, a native of Boston (who went to England in early life and became a Baronet, and an Admiral in the British Navy), visited Nantucket and founded the ‘Coffin School’, which is still flourishing.
The Act of Incorporation provides for the establishment of a school by the name of Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin’s Lancasterian School, for the purpose of promoting decency, good order and morality, and for giving a good English education to youth who are descendants of the late Tristram Coffin who emigrated from England” etc. The act further provided that the Trustees shall all be the descendants of the above mention Tristram Coffin in the male or female line.
If you are interested in more history of the Starbuck, Macy, Coffin, Gardner line some great reads are
North American Family Histories
A genealogical History of Clark and Worth Families and other Puritain Settler in MA Bay Colony
Life of Tristram Coffin
Netherlands Genealogy Online
Colonial Families of the USA
The Great Migration Begins
Encyclopedia of American Biographies
As Always thanks for stopping in. Hope you are enjoying our family history…and please leave a comment below! I love hearing from you!
As discussed in my last post of our Quaker Ancestors…researching them has been made simple by the wonderful records that were kept, and stretching far back in our history we will find much written of their lives and travels. Following our lineage from the early days in the America’s can sometimes be confusing due to the many uses of like names and the tangling of our ancestors as they traveled together and intermarriage amongst each other. One will find that our lines cross over and over again down through the years.When trying to decipher the DNA matches you will find it difficult to find that common match due to the criss-cross in the lines. Our history from Nantucket Island and our Quaker Ancestors is proof of this for sure.
In 1659 it is recorded of Thomas Mayhew that the land in Nantucket was sold to nine men namely
Tristen Coffin, Thomas Macy, Christopher Ilussey, Richard Swain, Thomas Bernard, Peter Coffin, Stephen Greeleaf, John Swain, and William Pike.
Still suffering persecution in Massachuttes Thomas Macy and Tristen Coffin, set out to find a place of peace among them. They purchased the land from William Mayhew for 30 pounds and two Beaver Hats, one for William, and one for his wife. Seeing the promise of their plans William Mayhew chose to become a partner in the land also, and bought in his share. By the deed recorded it is observed that a share of the island was retained by Thomas Mayhew and in this way he became one of the proprietors who are said in all histories of the place to have founded the settlement.
Among these men I will discuss in detail those of our direct ancestors in the next few post, though for years the families of these mentioned intermarried and we will find that . we are descended in one way or another by the 16 earliest settlers of the Nantucket area. Just as in researching those Quaker ancestors that migrated to the Sugar Grove, Virginia area it seems we have relations to almost all in the area. You will find that within the migration areas (Gilford, N Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa and on westward) there are so many times intermingled relationships. Down through the years and a crossed the United States they traveled in families and groups together and married within these groups.
Pay close attention to the names mentioned within the posts, as they will come to play amongst each other.
Until the nineteenth century when more new people begin to come to the island, the very close-knit community was almost all related in one way or another. It is hard to separate the relationships among the early settlers as they each come together at some point.
Among these were men of varied experience and marked executive ability. Men who embraced every opportunity for the advancement of the settlement, and the establishment of an interesting society upon the island.
(EIGHT GREAT GRANDFATHER)
In the Parish of Chilmark, near the town of Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, Thomas Macy resided before his removal for America around 1635. We do not know the name of the ship that brought him to America but he arrived here no later than 1639. He was among the original settlers of the Salisbury, Massachusetts area and is in “The first or Original list of Englishmen of Salisbury” book of records.
It has been recorded that Thomas was “a merchant, a juryman, a preacher and one of the select men of the town. ”
Several people were prosecuted for violating the law of 1637 which prohibited entertaining Quakers. Among these was Thomas Macy, who was fined thirty shilling, and ordered an apology, and it was ordered he be admonished by the governor. It was recorded that he had sheltered Edward Warton, William Robinson, a merchant of London, and Marmaduke Stephenson, of Yorkshire, England. Of those the last two named were hanged in Boston the 27th of October in 1659.
His letter to the Court went like this:
“On a rainy morning there came to my house Edward Warton and three men more, the said Wharton spoke to me saying that they were traveling eastward and desired me to direct them in the way to Hampton, and asked me how far it was to Casco Bay, I never saw any of the men afore, except Wharton neither did I require their names, or who they were, but by their carriage I thought they might be Quakers and told them so, and therefore desired them to pass on their way, saying to them I might possibly give offense in entertaining them, and as soon as the violence of the rain ceased (for it rained very hard) they went away and I never saw them since. The time they stayed in the house was about three quarters of an hour, but I can safely affirm that it was not and hour.”
“They spake not many words in the time, neither was I at leisure to talk with them, for I came home wet to the skin, immediately afore they come to the house and I found my wife sick in bed. If this satisfy not the honored Court I shall be subject to their sentence. ”
“I have not willingly offended. I am ready to serve and obey you in the Lord.”
Thomas Macy was a Baptist, and on the Sabbath frequently exhorted (Exhort is a 15th-century coinage. It derives from the Latin verb hortari, meaning “to incite,” and it often implies the ardent urging or admonishing of an orator or preacher.) the people which was also in violation of the Massachusetts Law which prohibited all but the regularly ordained from service.
Tradition says that immediately after his sentence, Thomas Macy, left for Nantucket.
The Macy Genealogy relates that in 1659, Thomas embarked at Salisbury in a small boat with his wife and children and such household goods as he could conveniently carry, and in company with Isaac Coleman and Edward Starbuck, and set sail for Nantucket. ( James Coffin, son of Tristram is said to have accompanied him also).
Thomas basically, had had it with the authority over him, and could no longer submit to the ” tyranny of the clergy and those in authority.”
Having satisfied the requirement of the law, and paid his fine, he undoubtedly felt he could lead a more peaceful and independent life in Nantucket, and voluntarily exiled to the Island.
BEFORE HIS REMOVAL
Before his removal to Nantucket Thomas was commissioner, and representative to the General Court of Salisbury, and the citizens of that testified of their sympathy with him by electing his friend and defender, Robert Pike as his successor.
Apparently, according to records he returned to Salisbury and again at a later date removed to Nantucket which is evident from old records, in which it is found that on October 1, 1675, he was commission chief magistrate of the town.
Thomas was the first recorder appointed on the island, and a portion of the first Book of Records in the office at Nantucket was mostly written by him.
He died April 19, 1682, at the age of 74. His wife, Sarah Hopcott, who had accompanied him from Chilmark, survived for nearly a quarter of a century after.
Thanks for stopping by. If you have enjoyed this bit of history or are related in anyway please leave a comment in the box below.
If you’ve been following the Pierce family history, you will by now have come to the realization that our Pierce Family were mostly Quakers that immigrated in the early days of our country. When researching the Pierce family you will find them among the records of the Quakers, or other wise known as the Religious Society of Friends, and also referred to as the Quaker Movement. It was founded in England in the 17th century by George Fox. He and other early Quakers, or Friends as they were called, were persecuted for their beliefs, which included the idea that the presence of God exists in every person. Quakers rejected elaborate religious ceremonies and didn’t have official clergy. They believed in spiritual equality for men and women. Quaker missionaries first arrived in America in the mid-1650s as did our first Pierce Ancestor, George Pierce. Quakers, who practice pacifism, played a key role in both the abolition and women’s rights movements.
In the 1640s, George Fox, a reasonably young man left his home in the English Midlands and traveled around the country on a spiritual quest. It was a time of religious turmoil in England as well as other areas, with people seeking reform in the Church of England or starting their own churches.
Over the course of his journey, as Fox met others searching for a more direct spiritual experience, he came to believe that the presence of God was found within people rather than in churches. He experienced what he referred to as “openings,” instances in which he felt God was talking directly to him.
Fox shared his beliefs with others and spoke to increasingly larger gatherings. Even though his views were viewed by some as a threat to society and he was jailed for blasphemy in 1650, Fox and other early Quakers continued to share their beliefs. In 1652, he met Margaret Fell, who went on to become another leader in the early Quaker movement. Her home was at Swarthmoor Hall in Northwest England and served as a gathering place for many of the first Quakers. Fox and Fell married in 1667.
“Quaker” emerged as a nickname for Fox and others who shared his beliefs. The group eventually accepted the term, although their official name became Religious Society of Friends. Members are referred to as Friends or Quakers.
What Is a Quaker?
Quakerism continued to spread across Britain during the 1650s, and by 1660 there were around 50,000 Quakers, according to some estimates.
A number of Quaker beliefs were considered radical, such as the idea that women and men were spiritual equals, and women could speak out during worship. Quakers didn’t have official ministers or religious rituals. They opted not to use honorific titles such as “Your Lordship” and “My Lady.”
Based on their interpretation of the Bible, Quakers were pacifists and refused to take legal oaths. Central to their beliefs was the idea that everyone had the Light of Christ within them.
During the 1680s thousands of Quakers were persecuted and jailed. Fox spent much of the 1660s behind bars.
The basic unit in the organization of the Society of Friends is the Monthly Meeting, which receives, transfers and dismisses members, provides for the oversight of marriages and funerals, and deals with those who
depart from Friends’ principles and testimonies. The term Monthly Meeting may be applied either to the actual membership or to the monthly business sessions.
The Preparative Meeting is a constituent part of the Monthly Meeting and is subordinate to it. The Preparative Meeting holds business sessions to formulate recommendations to be acted upon by the Monthly Meeting. In the early periods of Quakerism, Monthly Meetings frequently included several congregations scattered over a large area, and the Preparative Meeting included one or more neighboring congregations.
Within these meetings some of the best records have been kept. Having a Quaker ancestor is a God send when researching your ancestors as you have access to some of the best records. George Fox established a rich system of record keeping.
Quaker missionaries arrived in North America in the mid-1650s.The first was Elizabeth Harris, who visited Virginia and Maryland. By the early 1660s, more than 50 other Quakers had followed Harris.
However, as they moved throughout the colonies, they continued to face persecution in certain places, such as Massachusetts, where four Quakers were executed.
In 1681, King Charles II gave William Penn, an English Quaker, a large land grant in America to pay off a debt owed to his family. We know from previous research that our George Pierce purchased land from Penn. Penn, who had been jailed multiple times for his Quaker beliefs, went on to found Pennsylvania as a sanctuary for religious freedom and tolerance.
Another of our ancestors, that being Hugh Roberts, (my 7th great grandfather) was among the 2nd Welsh party from Merionethshire, member of the Penllyn Month Meeting, who were purchasers of land in the “Thomas and Jones Tract,” This party is known as the “Hugh Robert’s party”, that came over in the ship Morning Star, of Chester. Thomas Hayes (of our Hayes line??? I’m not yet sure) was the master of the ship, sailing from Mosson, in September of 1683. The voyage took two months, and was described as uneventful with the exception of several burials at sea. They arrived in the Delaware, and at Philadelphia in the mid part of November.
The passenger list was large, outside of the Roberts’ party, in which there were 50 or more persons including servants, Welshmen and their families coming over to settle somewhere in the great Welsh Tract. “Divers of those early Welsh settlers were persons of excellent and worthy character, and several of good education, family, and estate.” as they were descriptively noted by Proud.
Some noted names in this party were :
Hugh Roberts, Edward Owen, William John, Gainor Roberts (sister of Hugh) Cadwalader Morgan, Hugh John, and Katherin Thomas.
Hugh Roberts of Kiltalgarth, yoeman (meaning freeman), headed the second party of settler’s from Merionethshire bound for the Thomas and Jones tract. In his immediate party, were is mother, his wife, his sister, Gainor Roberts, five children, and four servants.
Hugh was a man of education and an eminent minister among Friends, whom he joined in 1666, and described as a a “pleasant writer”. Not much is known of his ancestry, except that he was the son of Robert Hugh(eight great grandfather), Or “Robert Pugh, gent” of Llyndedwydd, a leased farm, near Bala, and the Lake, in Penllyn, Merioneth, by his wife Katherine Roberts (eight great grandmother), who being a widow at the time of the removal, came with her son to Pennsylvania, and is buried at the Merion Meeting, in 1699. Katherine was the daughter of William Owen (9th great grandfather), of Llanvawr parish, in Penllyn where Hugh Roberts lived before he set out for America.
Hugh Roberts, being so prominent and a minister of Friends’, in North Wales, suffered fines, annoyances, and imprisonment. He brought a certificate of membership, for his wife and family as well as for himself from the Men’s Meeting in Penllyn, Merioneth, dated 2 5mo 1688.
Hugh soon became well known in America as a travelling public minister, and in 1688 and 1697 and 98 he made missionary visits to North Wales. On his last trip, he kept and interest journal of his travels, beginning on Feb 15 1697. This trip took him to England and Wales by the way of Maryland and Virginia.
This journal is printed in full in the periodical of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and begins like this:
“In the year 1697 the 15th of ye mo. I set out from home to visit Friends in England and Wales, Samuel Carpenter and John Ascue accompanying me to Maryland.”
He held meetings along the way and in Maryland visited Mordecai Moor, Samuel Galloway, David Rawlins, and the widow Blackstone, “who was no Friend.” From her home, where he stayed for two days, he went to the Rapahannock river, alone he walked through the woods to “one Captain Taylor, who was very kind to me.” From there he he traveled “to a friend, George Wilson, a place where I had been before.”
“Here I had a very open Meeting amongst ye people of ye world.”
From there we went on to New Kent county, “Where there is a meeting of Friends,” and the next day to a Monthly Meeting at Curles on James river, “met dear James Dickinson,” “and I went to Edward Thomas at James river, Charles Fleming coming along with me” and attended a Quarterly Meeting at Tenbigh. Then he visited Alexander Llewellyn.
“We traveled that same day 46 miles, besides keeping ye Meeting, and it was not hard for us to do because ye Melting love and power of God was set over all.”
From this Welsh settlement Hugh went over the James river to Walter Bartlet’s, “and so on the Sevenech, where I had a good meeting at ye Meeting house.”
He visited the homes of Henry Wiges, William Cook, Richard Ratcliff, Daniel Sanburn, and John Coopland, and held a Meeting at Chuckatuck.
He also went to the homes of William Scott, Leven Buffstin, Elizabeth Gallowell, and Elizabeth Hollowell, having Meetings in each house.
“From thence on board ye ship, which was to ye mouth of James river, where ye Fleet met, we stayed on board 15 days before we sailed, and had several Meeting from ship to ship, and upon ye 7th day of ye 3d month we sailed.”
Hugh next saw land on 17 of July and arrived at Plymouth on the 22.
Once again on land Hugh continued his travels in England and at Bristol, “we met our dear friend William Penn, and were not a little glad to see one another.”
Entering Wales, he visited several Meetings, one at “Trefrug, where John Bevan liveth, and glad we were to meet one another.”
Together with his friend they made the rounds of many Meetings, at James Lewis’s Rediston; at Own Bowen’s, near Carmarthin ; at James Preece’s, City Boom.
In Radnorshire he visited Roger Hughes: From North Wales he traveled to many places in South Wales visiting friends Edward Jones, David Powel, and Thomas Gooin near Liwyn-du. “Penllyn where I was born and bred,” and there he visited Lewis Owen, near Dollegelly, then to Bala, and old friend, Robert Vaughn, and then made another trek through Wales.
GATHERING OF THE LAND
Upon his return he brought with him a large party of people from Merioneth, and North Wales, Many died at sea. He arrived at Philadelphia and settled the surviving emigrants, some in Merion, and others at Gwynedd, which he is considered the founder.
The Pennsylvania land record of his day show that he was a land speculator as well as a minister, to the day of his death. He bought and sold many parcels of land during his years. At one time he had total 1349 3/4 acres in Merion, and tracts of land in the townships of Duffryn Mawr, and Goshen, on Ridley Creek.
It has been said that Hugh Roberts died at the house of John Redman, in Long Island, New York, while on a visit in August 1702 and that his remains were brought over from Long Island and buried at the Merion Meeting House “after a large meeting was held.”
A letter from Judge Isaac Norris to Jonathan Dickinson provides evidence that it is probable that he actually died at home in Merion. The entry in the Merion Meeting minutes is “Hugh Roberts departed this life 6m 18 1702.” (Aug 18 1702)
In his will proved 7 December 1702 he names his children, and distributed about 1200 acres in Merion, and 1100 acres in Goshen township, a meadow called “Clean John”. He bequeathed 5 lbs to the Merion Meeting. He mentions his servants, Morris Robert, and John Robert, and boys, Griffth and Morris. His trustees were John Roberts, Cadwalader Morgan, Griffith Jon, and Griffith Owen. Witnesses: Samuel Bowne, Griffith Owen, and Samuel Jennings.
Hugh Roberts married twice. His first wife, Jane Owen daughter of Owen Even Robert Lewis, off Fron Goch, in Merioneth. She was the sister of Robert Owen, Of Merion and she came to Merion with him and brought the certificate mentioned above. Jane died September 1, 1686, and was buried at the Merion Meeting House.
His second wife, Elizabeth John or Jones, (some changed the name John to Jones after the move), he married at the Llwyn-y- Braner Meeting in Penllyn, Merionethshire, when on a visit.
Hugh and Jane had six children. Jane was of Royal Descent, and assumed the surname Roberts.
Robert Roberts (my 6th great grandfather) was born 7 Jan 1678
Ellin Roberts born 4 Dec 1675
Owen Roberts born 1 Dec 1677
Edward Roberts born 4 Apr 1680
William Roberts born 26 May
Elizabeth Robert born 24 Feb 1683
Within just a few years, several thousand Friends had moved to Pennsylvania from Britain.
Quakers were heavily involved in Pennsylvania’s new government and held positions of power in the first half of the 18th century, before deciding their political participation was forcing them to compromise some of their beliefs, including pacifism.
Katherine Roberts, of Llaethgwn, widow, and her daughter, Gaynor (several spellings are found) Roberts, of Kiltalgarth, spinster, both brought Certificates, dated 18, 5mo, 1683 (the 5th mo being July), from the Men’s and Women’s Meeting, Penllyn, and signed by the same Friends, Robert, Ellin, and Jane Owen, Richard Price, Evan Rees, Reece Evan, Elizabeth William, Elizabeth John, Gainor John, Hugh and Edward Griffith, Cadwalader Ellis, Thomas Prichard, William Morgan, Roger Roberts, David, John, Margaret John, Margaret David, and Margaret Cadwalader.
The Quakers took up the cause of protecting Native Americans’ rights. They also were early abolitionists. In 1758, Quakers in Philadelphia were ordered to stop buying and selling slaves. By the 1780s, all Quakers were barred from owning slaves.
There are several sources for Quaker records. The best-known source is probably William Wade Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. This six-volume work, available on CD-ROM from Genealogical Publishing Co., contains the most complete genealogical data on the Friends.In addition, there are several free online sources for researching your Quaker ancestry. The most comprehensive is The Quaker Corner. Prepare to spend hours exploring this site, which includes links to articles about Quaker history, lookups and archives.
Thanks for showing up! As always if you have any other information you would like to share please do so in the comments below!