Abigail Coffin

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Abigail Coffin, daughter of James Coffin and Mary Severance, was born at Nantucket Co., Massachusetts, about 1675.1 She died at Nantucket Co., 15 March 1709,2,3 and was buried in the Gardner Burial Ground, Nantucket Co., Massachusetts.3

Abigail married, as his 2nd wife, Nathaniel Gardner, son of Richard Gardner and Sarah Shattuck, about 1695.3,4

Published accounts identify only one wife for Nathaniel, Abigail Coffin, the next to last child of James and Mary (Severance) Coffin. Abigail's birth is not recorded but is reported as about 1689. If this is true, she could not be the mother of Nathaniel's first 8 children, they being born between 1686 and 1702, and she would be about 23 years younger than Nathaniel. Not unheard of, but certainly unusual.

By the terms of his will, Nathaniel groups his children as younger or the older without naming most of them and not specifying who was in which group, implying that the children were by at least two wives. Hannah was singled out for "taking and bringing up her sister," presumably Susanna, but she is not specifically named.

There are two noticeable gaps in the births of the 9 children, and there are no records of any children either stillborn or who "died young" so one might suspect an unknown second wife, but in his will (1720), James Coffin names his daughter Abigail Gardner, deceased, and devises a share of plate to her children without naming them but strongly suggesting that there was more than one.

Given the terms of her father's and her husband's wills, and concluding that the reported age is probably more of a convienient wag, Abigail was most likely the second wife of Nathaniel Gardner born about or before 1675 and mother of his last five children; an unknown first wife having bore the first four.5,6,7


Nathaniel Gardner b. 16 Jan 1665/66, d. bef. May 1713
  • Margaret Gardner8,9 b. 28 Jan 1695/96, d. 16 Jul 1727
  • Nathaniel Gardner9,8 b. 14 Dec 1697, d. Jul 1727
  • Andrew Gardner8,9,10 b. 26 Dec 1699, d. 3 Mar 1782
  • Abel Gardner9,8 b. 6 Aug 1702, d. 11 Sep 1771
  • Susanna Gardner+11,9,8 b. 4 Aug 1706, d. 9 Jun 1781
This person was last edited on14 Dec 2017


  1. [S1330] Estimated from birth of first child (1696).
  2. [S1163] Vital Records of Nantucket, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850, five vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1925-28), 5:289, further cited as Vital Records of Nantucket.
  3. [S35] Alexander Starbuck, The History of Nantucket (Boston, Massachusetts: C.E. Goodspeed, 1924), 700-701, further cited as Starbuck, History of Nantucket.
  4. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 599, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).
  5. [S35] Starbuck, History of Nantucket, 663-664, 700-701.
  6. [S8] Mary Lovering Holman, Ancestry of Charles Stinson Pillsbury and John Sargent Pillsbury (Concord, New Hampshire: Rumsford Press, 1938), 605-615, further cited as Holman, Pillsbury Ancestry.
  7. [S1195] Nantucket County Courthouse, Nantucket, Massachusetts, Probate Records, 1706-1867, 1:29-30, 59-64, 80-82, FHL microfilm 906832, further cited as Nantucket Probate Records.
  8. [S1195] Nantucket Probate Records, 1:80-82; FHL #906832.
  9. [S1195] Nantucket Probate Records, 1:29-30,59-64; FHL #906832.
  10. [S2035] Elizabeth Pearson White, John Howland of the Mayflower: The First Five Generations: Documented Descendants Through His First Child Desire Howland and Her Husband Captain John Gorham, Volume 1 (Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1990), 340, further cited as White, JHMF1.
  11. [S1163] Vital Records of Nantucket, 2:78.