Tag Archives: Ebenezer Coffin

Ebenezer Coffin & Eleanor Barnard, Nantucket, 1700s

It took me many years to find a family for my 4X great grandfather, Joseph Coleman, but when I did, it filled in a huge branch of Nantucket, Massachusetts ancestors. I’ve written about most of them.

Today, the family sketch of Ebenezer Coffin and Eleanor Barnard completes the stories of most of my Nantucket ancestors.

Ebenezer Coffin was born on 30 March 1678, on Nantucket Island, the child of James Coffin and Mary Severance. Eleanor Barnard, fifteen months younger than her husband, was born 19 June 1679, also in Nantucket, to Nathaniel Barnard and his wife, Mary Barnard (subjects of yesterday’s post). They lived their entire lives on the island. Ebenezer died on 17 October 1730. Eleanor survived Ebenezer by many years, passing away at the age of 90 years, five months and six days, on 25 November 1769.

Ebenezer and Eleanor married on 12 December 1700, in Nantucket, and raised a large family of ten children, although two died in childhood.

Ebenezer and Eleanor also strayed from the common given names found so often in colonial Massachusetts. Yes, they had Hannah, Joseph and Benjamin, but they also named children Oliver, Prince, Love, Cromwell, Alexander, Valentine and Kimbal, which were much less common in Massachusetts in the early 18th century.

Children, all vitals in Nantucket, unless noted:

1. Oliver, born 30 August 1701; no further record
2. Prince, born 19 June 1703; died 10 October 1729, Chilmark, Dukes, Massachusetts; married Mercy Skiff, 10 September 1727.
3. Love, born 17 January 1705; died 25 May 1782; married Elias Coffin, 15 January 1728/29
4. Hannah, born 20 July 1707; died 2 October 1708
5. Cromwell, born 1 September 1709; died about 5 April 1783, Newport, Rhode Island; married Ruth Coffin, 25 November 1731
6. Alexander, born 20 December 1713; died 4 November 1741, West Indies; married Judith Bunker, 12 January 1737
7. Valentine, born 21 December 1716; died 1782, at sea; unmarried
8. Joseph, born 19 November 1719; died 1805; married Judith Coffin, 1740
9. Kimbal, born c1722; died 1782, Virginia; unmarried
10. Benjamin, born 27 January 1725/26

This family was a bit unusual in a couple of other ways. Three of their children – Love, Cromwell and Joseph – all married Coffin cousins. Intermarriage was widely accepted on Nantucket Island, given the many marriage records I’ve reviewed. I guess when there are only X number of people living on a relatively small island (Nantucket is just under 48 square miles), the marriage pool is quite small after a couple of generations.

Next, although life at sea was a major occupation for island dwellers, mariners still married and came home to families. Valentine and Kimbal both died far from home and left no descendants.

My Coffin line of descent:

Peter Coffin = Joan Kember
Tristram Coffin = Dionis Stevens
James Coffin = Mary Severance
Ebenezer Coffin = Eleanor Barnard & James Coffin = Ruth Gardner
Cromwell Coffin = Ruth Coffin
Joseph Coleman = Eunice Coffin
Joseph Coleman = Ruth Spurr
Thomas Coleman = Mary Elizabeth Astle
William Coleman = Sarah Moriah Crouse
Hartwell Thomas Coleman = Anna Elisabeth Jensen
Hazel Ethel Coleman = Vernon Tarbox Adams
Doris Priscilla Adams = George Michael Sabo
Linda Anne Sabo Stufflebean – me!