Additional information regarding William Gaston Coffin

“The old lady” constantly praises her Heavenly Father for exceptional memory. Information about the misdeeds of William Gaston Coffin prompted her (me) to search the website created for scanned documents. Here is the information from Our Island Ancestors  prepared in 1992 by Lorraine Frantz Edwards. The bold emphasis has been added for this message.

231. William Gaston Coffin (Elihu, 224). Born, 26 Feb 1811

David Coffin writes, in the Coffin Family Newsletter, Vol. I, No. 3, August
1985, pp. 3-4: “During much of the Civil War, the man in charge of Indian
Affairs in the West was Colonel William G. Coffin, superintendent of Indian
affairs for the Southern District of Kansas. In a private letter to the
Secretary of War, Gen. Jas. G. Blount had the following to say.
‘Among the second class [Government peculators] are Thomas Carney,
Governor of Kansas, and Colonel Coffin, Superintendent of Indian Affairs.
Two greater thieves do not live. Their wholesale robbery of those poor
unfortunate refugee Indians is so gross and outrageous that their names
are a stench in the nostrils., .. ‘ Official Records of the Union and
Confederate Armies in the War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. 48, p. 543.
“A few months earlier Colonel Wm. A, Phillips had written:
‘I find that there has been a gigantic swindle by Coffin and
McDonald in corn in the nation …. The President authorized the
expenditure of $200,000. What do you think the rascals did? Coffin
telegraphed that McDonald & Co. could furnish corn for $7. … He sends
agents all through the Cherokee country buying at $2 and $2.50.’
“It gets even worse after this. The genealogical spot for Wm. G. is not known,
but should be easy to find in the archives.”

David P. Coffin writes, in the Coffin Family Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 9, Feb.
1987, p. 10: “We believe that the true facts and nature of our ancestors
should be reported, and events and traits which cannot be ‘pointed to with
pride’ should be included along with the honorable and the exemplary. We also
believe that we should all strive to know the true facts and look askance at
and not be carried away with those statements which are based on wishful
thinking along with careless research …. “

David P. Coffin: “Chapter two of Donald Lines Jacobus’ Genealogy as Pastime
and Profession, is entitled ‘Puritan Peccadilloes’ and in it he discusses
Puritan humor and the lack thereof, witchcraft and ‘fun and games’ our
ancestors engaged in. He states, ‘It should never be forgotten that truly
religious people were no more common in 1630 than they are today.’ In chapter
three, ‘Family Pride,’ he discussed faults beyond peccadilloes, pointing out
that genetically, we have nothing to fear about any traits beyond those of our
grandparents; he says family pride may be the motive that first attracts us to
genealogical studies. As we progress, this pride suffers one or more jolts when
we discover ancestors with whom we would not care to associate. If we retain
our interest in spite of wounded pride, and persevere in our genealogical
studies, we pursue these matters in better perspective and discover that we
have gained something in cultural experience. The above is setting the stage
for mention of some of our much respected ancestors who are not above reproach.
“We won’t mention the many cases of children born out of wedlock and the
many premature births, they were probably no more or less common in colonial
times than in this century …. In newsletter No. 3, we mentioned some of the
wrongful actions of Indian Affairs Superintendant Col. William G. Coffin during
the Civil War. Here are a few more at which we can frown. We hope no one takes
offence at this unveiling of reputed blemishes on otherwise untarnished and
laudable records.

INTERMARRIAGE WITH ABORIGINES? Ms. Grace Joyce Page has recently sent a
copy of an article from the Fall/Winter 1973 North Carolina Genealogy
written by William Perry Johnson and entitled ‘North Carolina Families
from Nantucket Have Indian Ancestry?’ Johnson tells undocumented tales
about marriages between Nantucketers and Indians, all based on rumors,
tradition and imagined Indian characteristics of some Nantucket
descendants …. Inbreeding among the settlers of Nantucket became so bad
that it was common practice for a widower, rather than remarry another
cousin, to take an American Indian wife. This Indian wife would then be
christened with the name of the first wife, whose date of death would be
obliterated from the records, thus covering up the Indian blood in the
record.'” Coffin Family Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 9, Feb. 1987, pp. 12-14.
Reference to Donald Lines Jacobus’ Genealogy as Pastime and Profession, can
also be found in the Coffin Family Newsletter, Vol. II, No. 7, Aug, 1986, p. 15.


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