Obed J. Coffin

Obed J. Coffin, a well-known and progressive farmer of Blue River township, this county, former trustee of that township and for nineteen years one of the best-known and most popular school teachers in that part of the county, is a native son of Hancock county, and has lived here all his life. He was born on a farm in Blue River township, just south of the site of his present home, September 16, 1869, son of Ammiel and Mary J. ( New) Coffin, prominent members of the Quaker community thereabout, who are still living on the old home place established by Ammiel Coffin's father, Elihu Coffin, in 1856,.

Ammiel Coffin was born on June 12, 1843, near the village of Manilla, in Rush county, this state, and was about thirteen years of age when his parents moved to this county and settled in the Quaker settlement in Blue River township, both being earnest members of the Friends church. There were nine children in the family of Elihu Coffin, five sons and four daughters, Ezekiel, Ammiel, Henry, Francis, Leander, Irene, Norsica, Phoebe and Luzena, all whom are still living save Henry, Leander and Irene. Ammiel Coffin grew to manhood on the home farm and did well his part in assisting to develop the same from its primitive state to a well-cultivated tract. On June 30, 1867, he married Mary J. New, who was born on November 17, 1837, daughter of James P. and Sarah (Sample) New, who were the parents of nine children, seven of whom grew to maturity, John, George, Mary J., Sarah Ellen, Cyntha, America and Florence, all of whom are still living save John. After his marriage Ammiel Coffin established her home in Blue River township and has lived there ever since. He has a well-kept place of eighty-eight acres and a very comfortable home, he and his family being quite well situated. He and his wife are life-long members of the Friends church and helped in the work of dedicating the church in their neighborhood fifty years ago. Mr. Coffin is a Republican and has always been a vigorous supporter of the principles of his party. To him and his wife were born but two children, the subject of this sketch having a younger sister, Icydore, who married Elwood Jessup and also lives in Blue River township.

Obed J. Coffin received his elementary education in the Jessup district school, his first teacher being Elmira Farron and his last, Mattie Clark, both of whom are still living. He is an apt student and early secured a license to teach school. While engaged in teaching he extended his educational advantages by attendance at the State Normal School at Terre Haute, the Central Normal at Danville, in which latter he took the commercial and teachers' courses there receiving his diploma, and at Spiceland. For nineteen years Mr. Coffin was engaged in teaching in his home township, but his work was not confined to any one school therein. It was his custom to ride to and from his schools on horseback and he estimates that he has thus traveled something like four thousand miles horseback. Mr. Coffin is a Republican and in 1908 was elected trustee of Blue River township, serving in that capacity for six years, during which time one of his notable official works was the consummation of the system of consolidated school in his jurisdiction. In the meantime he continued his farming operations and has developed and is the owner of a fine farm in his home township, not far from his father's place.

It was on January 6, 1891, that Obed J. Coffin was united in marriage to Clara C. Wiggins, who was born in Center township, this county, daughter of Lawson and Margaret (Coble) Wiggins, and to that union two children were born, daughters both, Florence M., on June 29, 1904, and Ruth, September 6, 1906, both of whom now are in school. The mother of these children died on February 25, 1912. She was a member of the Friends church, as is Mr. Coffin, and was devoted to good works in her neighborhood. Mr. Coffin is a York Rite Mason, a member of the blue lodge at Greenfield, and is a noble of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Mystic Shrine, a member of Murat Temple, Indianapolis. He also is a member of the Greenfield lodge of the Knights of Pythias and in the affairs of all of these organizations takes a warm interest.

Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Pages 1121-1123.

Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI November 20, 2001.

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