An American Family History


Tristram Coffin




Tristram Coffin was born on March 11, 1609, Brixton, Plymouth, Devonshire, England. He was the son of Peter Coffin and Joanna Kember.

He married Dionis Stevens about 1630. Dionis was born on March 4, 1609 in Brixton.

Peter Coffin (1630, married Abigail Starbuck),
Tristram Coffin, Jr.(1632),
Elizabeth Coffin (1634)
James Coffin (1640)
John Coffin (1642),
Deborah Coffin (1642, died young)
Mary Coffin, (1645)
John Coffin (1647),
Stephen Coffin (1652)

The family emigrated to America in 1642. The group included Tristram, his wife, five children, his mother age 58, and two unmarried sisters, Enice and Mary.

At first they settled in Newburyport, Massachussetts. Then they moved to Haverill, Massachusetts.

After a few years, they moved back to Newburyport, where he operated a ferry and Dionis kept Coffyn's Ordinary.

In the 1650's, he sold his property and moved to Salisbury.

In the late 1650's, he and a few others purchased Nantucket island from Thomas Mayhew for the price of 30 pounds and two beaver hats. He was granted first choice of land and in 1659, he settled on the eastern slope of what is now called Trott's Hills.

Dionis died on October 16, 1676 on Nantucket. Tristram died on October 20, 1681 on Nantucket.









from American Genealogical Record

Tristram Coffyn (Coffin). Son of Peter Coffyn and Joan Thember. Born in Brixton, near Plymouth, England, about 1605. Married Dionis Stevens, daughter of Robert Stevens of Brixton, about 1630, and emigrated to America about 1642. He lived successively in Salisbury, Haverhill, and Newbury, Mass.; and finally,

with Thomas Macyand others, purchased the Island of Nantucket. See Life of Tristram Cofifyn, by Allen Coffin, Nantucket, 1881, and Macy Genealogy.

He died in Nantucket, 2 October, 1681.

Peter 1631
Deborah (d. S Dec. 1642) 16 Nov. 1642
Tristram, Jr. 1632
Mary 20 Feb. 1645
Elizabeth 1634
John 30 Oct. 1647
James 12 Aug. 1640
Stephen 10 May 1652
John (d. 30 Oct. 1642)


A hogshead is a large barrel or cask holding from 63 to 140 gallons.


from New England Magazine: An Illustrated Monthly, Volume 22

... "Tristram Coffyn's wife Dionis was presented for selling beer," at Coffyn's ordinary in Newbury, "for threepence a quart." Having proved. "upon the testimony of Samuel Moores, that she put six bushels of malt into the hogshead, she was discharged." It was a question of giving strong enough beer for the money; the law fixed the price at two-pence a quart, four bushels of malt to the hogshead. This was in 1653, six years after Tristram Coffyn came to Newburyport from Haverhill, where and at Salisbury he had lived since 1642, when, with his wife, mother, two sisters and five children, he came to Massachusetts from Devonshire. 

His Newburyport home was opposite Carr's Island, by the ferry. "He was a royalist and was, so far as I can ascertain," writes his descendant, Joshua Coffin, the Newburyport antiquarian, to whose history we owe so much, "the only one of the early settlers of Newbury who came to America in consequence of the success of Oliver Cromwell."

In 1659 he went to Nantucket, where he purchased for himself and his associates many thousand acres of land, becoming the head of the great Nantucket Coffin family. His son, Tristram, was perhaps the builder of the famous old Coffin house at Newburyport, which dates from the middle of the seventeenth centurv and which has belonged to the Coffin family, generation after generation, ever since. Perhaps the house was built by this Tristram's wife's first husband, and thus Tristram got his wife and the good house together. . .



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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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