Tristram Coffin Homestead Site Marker History

Capaum Pond Road

Acquired 1981

The 1881 Coffin Reunion that engendered interest in the homestead of Jethro and Mary Coffin led to a search for the house site of Tristram Coffin (1609–81), one of the original proprietors and the progenitor of the Coffin family in America.

The site marker placed by Coffin descen­dants in 1881 locates Coffin’s first dwelling built “under the hill” near Capaum Harbor about 1661. One hundred square feet of land around the marker was donated to the NHA in 1981 by R. Draper Richards, a direct descendant of Tristram Coffin.

Tristram Coffin came to America from Devonshire, England, in 1642. In 1659, he joined eight other men from Merrimack Valley towns to purchase the island of Nantucket from Thomas Mayhew, who had secured the island from the English throne in 1641. Coffin was appointed the first chief magistrate of Nantucket. He and his wife, Dionis, had five sons who perpetuated the Coffin family name. Their daughter, Mary, married Nathaniel Starbuck and became known as “Great Mary” for her leadership in the early com­munity and her conversion to Quakerism.

Excerpt from the Nantucket Historical Association Properties Guide, Tristram Coffin Homestead Site Marker by Betsy Tyler, 2015.

Read the full history (PDF)

Banner image of Tristram Coffin Homestead Site Marker, ca. 1880s. (GPN3205)

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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