Part of the Indiana Biographies Project
Elijah Coffin, deceased, was one of Wayne County's most prominent and enterprising citizens. He contributed toward the building up of its benevolent societies, assisted in laying the foundation of the banking interests of the county, and was one of the most influential members of the Society of Friends. He was the son of Bethuel and Hannah (Dicks) Coffin, and was born in New Garden, Guilford Co., N. C., Nov. 17, 1798. He received a fair education for the early part of the nineteenth century, and taught school some time in his native State. Feb. 2, 1820, he was married to Naomi Hiatt, and settled on a farm in his native county. In 1824 he came to Indiana and located in Milton, Wayne County, and resumed the occupation of teaching. In 1829 he opened a store in Milton, and his fidelity and ability became known to a wholesale firm of Cincinnati, who made him a liberal offer as clerk, and in 1833 he abandoned his store and removed to Cincinnati, remaining there a year and a half. At that time a branch of the Indiana State Bank as located at Richmond, and Mr. Coffin was chosen its Cashier, a position he was admirably fitted for. He therefore, in November, 1834, removed to Richmond. He was the bank's Cashier, holding the position twenty-four years, the limit of the charter. At a final meeting of the Board of Directors, Dec. 24, 1858, the following resolution was offered by Robert Morrisson and adopted: "It is unanimously resolved, That in consideration of the able and faithful services of Elijah Coffin, as Cashier of this branch, from its first organization till its close, and the fidelity and promptitude with which he has discharged the various and important duties confided to his care, the board embraces the opportunity to express upon our minutes the high sense entertained of his official services and private worth." With the closing of the bank Mr. Coffin gave up secular business. His religious affiliations were unabating and unswerving in the Society of Friends. He was at an early age Clerk of the Yearly Meeting in North Carolina, and in 1827 was appointed Clerk of the Indiana Yearly Meeting. Nothing was too arduous for him if it tended to the upbuilding of the society and of mankind. He was a friend of education, Sabbath-schools, and all associations to promote the circulation of tracts and the reading of the Scriptures. He was for many years a life member of the American Bible Society. His death occurred Jan. 22, 1862, and his wife followed him June 14, 1866. Their children were — Miriam A., Charles F., William H., Eliphalet, Caroline E., Mary C., and Hannah, three born in North Carolina and four in Wayne County.
Charles F. has, during the greater portion of his life, been in the banking business in Richmond. He was one of the original proprietors of the Citizen's Bank, established in 1853; was Cashier of the Richmond branch of the Bank of the State, and been President of the Richmond National Bank since its organization. After the death of his father he was chosen to fill many of the important positions of the church, and the part taken by his father has been continued by him with equal interest and ability. He married Rhoda Johnson, who is also an able and active worker in the Society of Friends. Their children are — Elijah, Charles H., Francis A., William E. and Percival.
History of Wayne County, Indiana. Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co. 1884. Volume 2
Elijah Coffin, son of Bethuel and Hannah (Dicks) Coffin, was born in New Garden, Guilford Co., N.C., Nov. 17, 1798. he was married, Feb. 2, 1820, to Naomi Hiatt, and settled on a farm in New Garden. In 1824, he removed, with his wife and three children, to this county, near Milton, and engaged in school-keeping in that town; a business in which he had been employed at times, in his native state, before and after his marriage. In 1829, he commenced the mercantile business at Milton, and continued it there about four years. In 1833, having received a liberal offer from Griffin & Luckey, wholesale wholesale merchants in Cincinnati, he engaged as clerk in their store, and removed to that city. He remained there about a year and a half, when the branch of the State Bank of Indiana having been located at Richmond, he was chosen as its cashier, a position for which he had, in a great measure, been fitted by his mercantile experience; and in November, 1834, he removed to Richmond. The branch bank commenced business Dec. 1, 1834, and closed at the expiration of the term of its charter, Jan. 1, 1859, after a successful, prosperous management of more than twenty-four years, during which period he was its only cashier.
At the final meeting of the board of directors, Dec. 25, 1858, the following resolution was offered by Robert Morrison and adopted: "It is unanimously resolved, that in consideration of the able and faithful services of Elijah Coffin, as cashier of this branch, from its first organization to its close, and the fidelity and promptitude with which he has discharged the various and important duties confided to his care, the board embrace the opportunity to express upon our minutes the high sense entertained of his official services and private worth."
He now gave up secular business. His religious activities, however, were unabated. His energies were thenceforth directed to the promotion of the interests of the church. Although he ever sympathized with evangelical Christians of other denominations, he ws peculiarly attached to the society in which he had been trained; and hence, to the various institutions and instrumentalities of its own appointement, he contributed largely by his personal efforts and pecuniary means. He was at an early age clerk of the yearly meeting of Friends in North Carolina; and, in 1827, was appointed clerk of Inidana yearly meeting. Not only was he prompt and faithful attendant at the various meetings in his own state, but he atended yearly meeting in many of he states. He was also a friend and patron of education, of First-day or Sabbath-schools, of associations to promote the circulation of religious tracts and the diffusion and reading of the Holy Scriptures; and he had, many years before his death, constituted himself a life member of the American Bible Society. He died Jan. 22, 1862. His wife died June 14, 1866, aged 68 years.
Elijah and Naomi Coffin had seven children: 1. Miriam A., who married Wm. A. Rambo, and had three children, Edward B., Naomi C., and Francis H. After the death of her husband she married Hugh Maxwell. 2. Charles F., who married Rhoda M. Johnson. Their children are Elijah, Charles II., Francis A., Wm. E., and Percival. Mr. C. has been, during a great portion of his life, in the banking business in Richmond. He was one of the origianl proprietors of the Citizens' Bank, established in 1853, and cashier of the Richmond Branch of the "Bank of the State" during its existence; and has been president of the Richmond National Bank from its commencement to the present time. 3. William II., who married Sarah Wilson, whose children are John W., William H., Albert, Robert, Frank. 4. Eliphalet, who died at the age of three years. 5. Caroline E., wife of Wm. H. Ladd, Brooklyn, N.Y. 6. Mary C., wife of Eli Johnson, Chicago. 7. Hannah, who married Mordecai Morris White, merchant in Cincinnati.