A word of warning: this is a complicated story, with numerous tangents. It starts with postcards that I recently acquired of wild animals, photographed around 1906 at Corbin Park in Grantham NH, by the famous naturalist-photographer, Ernest Harold Baynes.
Though not a native of New Hampshire, Ernest Baynes moved to Corbin Park, Sullivan County, New Hampshire when invited to work there in wildlife conservation. For the sake of this story, you can think of him as a New Hampshire Animal Whisperer.
Among many other things, he championed campaigns to save the American bison and Passenger Pigeons, both of which were near extinction. [Note Passenger Pigeons are now extinct, with the 100th anniversary of their extinction occurring last year, in 2014].
What is curious to me, is that each of these postcards have poetry written on them, along with a person’s name. I believe the author of all of these poems was Mrs. Alice (Atwood) Coit, wife of George Chandler Coit. She was a graduate of Smith College in 1894. One of her school-mates remembered her this way: “her never failing sympathy and humorous comments on various events lightened many situations. She was particularly notable for her dramatic ability; no house play was complete without her.” That description would seem to fit the Mrs. Alice Coit who wrote these poems.
That Alice also had close relatives with the same names as written on the other postcards. This fact makes my case even stronger–Elizabeth Coit, Gardiner C. Means, Winthrop J. Means, and Mary Chandler Coit, were the names of Alice’s nieces and nephews. All of these people went on to have interesting and remarkable lives, as you will see. And so with no further introduction, I present to you, my research on the Coit Family.
[Editor’s Note: there is an additional New Hampshire connection. The Reverend Dr. Henry Augustus Coit, the first rector of St. Paul’s School in Concord NH was a cousin to the Coit family that I have highlighted.
Dr. Henry Augustus Coit, b. 20 January 1830 Wilmington DE, son of Rev. Joseph Howland & Harriet Jane (Hard) Coit, grandson of Levi & Lydia (Howlard) Coit, great-grandson of William & Sarah (Lathrop) Coit, 2nd great-grandson of Col. Samuel & Sarah (Spaulding) Coit, 3rd great-grandson of Joseph & Experience (Wheeler) Coit Jr.; 4th great-grandson of Joseph & Martha (Harris) Coit, 5th great-grandson of John & Mary (Jenners) Coite. SEE GENERATION TWO BELOW.
=SOME DESCENDANTS OF JOHN COITE of England and New London, CT=
Early history of this family can also be found in: The Coit family, or, The Descendants of John Coit, who appears among the settlers of Salem, Mass., in 1638 at Gloucester in 1644, and at New London, CT in 1650, by F.W. Chapman, 1874
John Coite, came from Europe between 1630-1638, and d. 29 Aug 1659. He was in Salem MA in 1638 where he had a grant of land. In 1644 he moved to Gloucester and in 1648 was selectman there , and a freeman in 1647. He had land on Wheeler’s Point and Planter’s Neck, and received a grant of land in New London CT in 1650, where he moved the next year. In England he wedded Mary Ganners/Jenners. She died 2 Jan 1676. The will of John Coit, Aug 1, 1659 provides for his son Joseph and two daughters, Mary and Martha; but he refers to four other children, two sons and two daughters, absent from him, and leaves them a trifling legacy “if they be living.” [one son and two daughters possibly remained in England]
Children of John & Mary (Ganners/Jenners) [all born in England prior to emigration]:
1. John Coit, lived in Gloucester, probably died before 3 Oct 1667 when a widow Mary Coite married John Fitch in Gloucester. He m. 21 May 1652 to Mary Stevens, daughter of William Stevens. He was a ship builder “of high repute.” Children: John, Mary, Abigail, Nathaniel and Job.
2. +Deacon Joseph Coit, b. abt 1633
3. Mary Coit, m. John Stevens and removed to New Haven CT. Children: John, Mary, James, Samuel, Joseph and Thomas.
4. Martha Coit, m. 1) 11 June 1662 to Hugh Mould of New London CT. She m2) Nathaniel White. Children [MOULD]: Susannah and Mary.
Deacon Joseph Coit, son of John and Mary (Ganners/Jenners) Coit, was b. abt 1633 in England, d. 27 March 1704. He probably came with his father from Gloucester to New London in 1651 and he lived most of his life there, with the trade of ship builder with his brother-in-law, Hugh Mould. He m. 15 July 1667 to Martha Harris, daughter of William and Edith Harris of Wethersfield CT. She died 1 July 1710 They both joined the church in 1681, and he later became a deacon.
Children of Dea. Joseph & Martha (Harris) Coit: [b. New London CT betw 1670 and 1692]
1. +John Coit, b. 1 Dec 1670 in New London CT.
2. Joseph Coit, b. 4 April 1673; m. Experience Wheeler. Ancestor of Dr. Henry Augustus Coit, first rector of St. Paul’s School, Concord NH.
3. William Coit, b 25 Jan 1675
4. Daniel Coit, b 8 Dec 1677, prob. died young
5. Solomon Coit, b. 29 Nov 1679
6. Samuel Coit, baptized 4 Aug 1692
John Coit, son of Deacon Joseph & Martha (Harris) Coit, b. 1 Dec 1670 in New London CT, and d. 22 Oct 1744. He m. 23 Jan 1693 to Mehetabel Chandler, daughter of John and Elizabeth Chandler of Woodstock CT. She d. 3 November 1758. He lived in New London CT working in the ship building business. In 1699 the town granted him land for a shipyard near the Point of Rocks, where in 1729 he built a wharf.
Children of John & Mehetabel (Chandler) Coit: [born between 1796-1706]
1. John Coit
2. +Joseph Coit, b. 15 Nov 1698 in New London CT.
3. Samuel Coit
4. Thomas Coit
5. Elizabeth Coit
6. Martha Coit
Capt. Joseph Coit, son of John & Mehetabel (Chandler) Coit, was b. 15 Nov 1698 in New London CT, and d. 27 April 1787. He m. June 1732 to Mary Hunting, daughter of Rev. Nathaniel Hunting of Easthampton, Long Island, New York. She died 29 March 1733, leaving one child only., Jonathan born in that year. He married 2d) 9 Jan 1739-40, Lydia Lathrop, of Norwich CT, daughter of Thomas Lathrop. She was b. 1738 and d. 10 Jan 1794. Early in life he was a sailing master in New London, later mercantile and commercial pursuits until the American Revolution, when he removed to Norwich CT. He was received into the church in 1718.
Child of Capt. Joseph & Mary (Hunting) Coit:
1. Jonathan Coit, b. 1733
Children of Joseph & Lydia (Lathrop) Coit:
2. Elizabeth Coit
3. Lucy Coit
4. Lucretia Coit
5. Joseph Coit
6. Thomas Coit
7. Daniel Lathrop Coit, b. 20 September 1754 in New London CT, d 1833.
8. Jerusha Coit
9. +Joshua Coit, b. 7 October 1758 in New London, CT.
Hon. Joshua Coit, son of Joseph and Lydia (Lathrop) Coit, was b. 7 October 1758 in New London CT, died 5 September 1798. He married 2 Jan 1785 to Ann Boradill Hallam, daughter of Nicholas and Elizabeth Hallam, of New London CT. She d. 22 March 1844. Joshua graduated from Harvard in 1776, studied law and early settled in practice in New London CT. He represented the town of New London in the lower house of the General Assembly in 1784, 1785, 1788, 1789 and 1790, 1792 and 1793 serving often as cler and speaker. He was a representative in the United States Congress from 1793 until his death at the age of forty from yellow fever. He was a member of the Federal party, but disagreed on particular points in Congress, illustrating his own independent character.
Children of Hon. Joshua & Ann B. (Hallam) Coit:
1. +Robert Coit, 6 Nov 1785
2. Lydia Coit, b. 12 Dec 1787
3. Leonard Coit, b. 12 Nov 1789
4. Fanny Coit, b. 11 Feb 1792
5. Nancy Coit, b. 10 June 1795
6. Susan Coit, b. 28 April 1798
Robert Coit, son of Hon. Joshua and Ann Boradill (Hallam) Coit, was b. 16 Nov 1785, d. October 1874; He m. 15 Oct 1821 to Charlotte Coit, daughter of David Gardiner & Elizabeth (Coit) Coit. She died January 1874. “After making a few voyages on commercial business to the West Indies, Mr. Coit settled in New London in the ship-chandlery business, and later was a dealer in lumber and coal.” [Genealogical and Biographical Record of New London County, Connecticut, but J.H. Beers & Co.] He was president of the Union Bank, leaving there before 1867, but remaining president of the Savings Bank which he helped to found. He served as a deacon in the Congregational Church in New London CT.
Children of Robert & Charlotte (Coit) Coit:
1. Fanny Coit, b. 16 Feb 1823 New London CT, d. September 1904 Beloit, Wisconsin; m. 20 Aug 1861 to Rev. Aaron L. Chapin. He was a former president of Beloit College, Wisconsin.
2. Charlotte Coit, b. 27 May 1825 New London CT, d. 21 Feb 1890 in Amherst, MA; m. Rev. Thomas P. Field, D.D. He was a former pastor of the First Congregational Church in New London CT.
3. Ann Barrowdale/Boradill Coit, b 5 March 1827 New London CT; died unmarried.
4. Robert Coit, Jr. b. 26 April 1830 New London CT, d. June 1904; m. 1 Aug 1854 Lucretia Brainerd, dau of William Fowler Brainderd of New London CT. She d. 6 May 1906 in New London CT. He graduated Yale 1850, studied law at Yale Law School and began practice in New London CT; appointed judge of probate in 1866; treasurer of the New London RR Co in 1867; register in bankruptcy in the district court for the district of CT, holding both offices in 1870. She was for many years superintendent of the primary department of the Sunday School. They had 2 children: Mary Gardiner Coit, b. 1 Jan 1857, d. 1860; and William Brainerd Coit, b. 23 July 1862 in New London CT; m. 30 Oct 1885 Anna Blanchard Bancroft.
5. + Rev. Joshua Coit, b. 4 Feb 1832 New London, CT
6. Alfred Coit, b. 23 May 1835 New London CT; m. Ellen Hobron
7. Ellen Coit, b. Nov 1837 New London CT; m. Rev. Thomas P. Field, D.D. Resides in Beloit, Wisconsin.
Rev. Joshua Coit, son of Robert & Charlotte (Coit) Coit, b. 4 Feb 1832 in New London CT, d. 15 Dec 1907; m. 2 Oct 1860 Concord NH to Mary Lyman Chandler, daughter of Hon. George Bowen & Susan L. (Smith) Chandler. She b. 10 July 1837; d 1925 in Boston MA (she was living in Winchester MA in 1920 census); A.B. Yale 1853; grad Andover Theol. Sem. 1856; student Univ of Halle 1857, Univ of Berlin 1858. Clergyman. Ordained Cong’l ministry 1860; pastor Brookfield Mass 1860-70; sec Mass Prison Comm’n 1870-3; pastor Lawrence St. Ch., Lawrence Mass 1873-83; sec. 1883-1905, treas, since 1905, Mass. Home Missionary Soc. Residence: Winchester, Mass. Office: 14 Beacon St. Boston. Mrs. Mary L. (Chandler) Coit was one of the founders of the Winchester Hospital. [SEE: The Chandler Family: The Descendants of William and Annis Chandler, p. 893.] He is buried Wildwood Cemetery. See Who’s Who in New England.
Children of Rev. Joshua & Mary L. (Chandler) Coit:
1. +Robert “Robby” Coit, b. 29 June 1861 Brookfield, Mass
2. +Helen Chandler Coit, b. 26 January 1864
3. +George Chandler Coit, b. 3 Aug 1867 in Brookfield MA
4. Charles Gardiner Coit, b. 21 October 1869, d. 19 May 1884
Robert “Robby” Coit, son of Rev. Josiah & Mary Lyman (Chandler) Coit, b. 29 June 1861 Brookfield, Mass, d. 11 Aug 1942 in Tamworth NH; prep. edn. Lawrence (Mass.) High Sch., A.B. Harvard 1883; studied architecture at Mass. Inst. Tech; architect. m1st) 6 Dec 1888 in Salem MA to Eliza Richmond Atwood, dau of Edward S. & Elizabeth (Munroe) Atwood. She was b. 7 August 1861 in Grantville/Wellesley Hills MA, and d. 11 Nov 1905 in Winchester MA. She is buried in Wildwood Cemetery. He m2d) 1 Dec 1915 in Boston MA to Lucette Frances Abbott, daughter of Leander B. & Lucetta F. (Bean) Abbott. She was b. 22 Feb 1876 in Boston MA and d. after 1947 (when she was living in Boston MA); He practiced in Boston since 1890. Mem. Boston Soc. Architects, A.I.A., Republican. Clubs: Twentieth Century, City. Recreations: golf, fishing. Home: Winchester, Mass. Office: 85 Water St., Boston.
1900 US Census > MA > Middlesex > Winchester > 19 Hillside Ave
Coit, Robert Head W M June 1861 38 married 11 yrs MA CT VT architect
Coit, Eliza A. wife W F Aug 1861 38 married 11 yrs 4 ch 4 living MA MA MA
Coit, Dorothy daughter W F Sept 1889 10 single MA
Coit, Elisabeth daughter W F Sept 1892 7 S MA
Coit, Mary C., daughter W F May 1895 5 single MA
Coit, Robert S., son W M June 1897 2 single MA
Atwood, Elizabeth M. mother W F March 1834 66 widow 5 ch 3 living MA RI MA
McCravan Celia servant W F Oct 1879 20 single Ireland imm 1900 housework
Lyons, Maria servant W F Nov 1879 20 single Ireland imm 1894 housework
–living next door–
Coit, Joshua Head W M Feb 1831 69 married unk CT CT CT clergyman
Coit, Mary L. wife W F July 1835 64 married unk 1 ch 1 living VT VT VT
Coit, George C son W M Aug 1867 32 married 1 yr MA CT VT lawyer
Coit, Alice A. daughter in law, W F Dec 1870 29 married 1 yr MA MA MA 0 ch 0 living
Obituary. ELISABETH COIT, 94, an architect and specialist on low-income housing, died April 2 in Amherst, Mass. She attained prominence in 1941 with the publication of her report showing how low-income residents used their dwellings and argued that their point of view should be the primary concern in planning public housing.
Coit, Elisabeth, 1892-1987. Papers, 1899-1987: A Finding Aid
Series I. PERSONAL
1-5: Personal photographs.
FILED IN PHOTOGRAPH DRAWER.
1. Elisabeth Coit, 1938-1987, n.d.
Children of Robert & Eliza R. (Atwood) Coit:
1. Dorothy Coit, b. 25 Sept 1889 Salem, Essex, MA; d. 20 Oct 1976 in Southbury, New Haven Co. CT. One of the founders, along with Edith King, of the King-Coit School, children’s theater productions, in New York City.
2. Eleanor “Elisabeth” Coit, b 7 Sept 1892 Winchester MA; d. 2 April 1987 in Amherst, Hampshire Co. MA [see obituary notice above]; Radcliffe & MIT graduate, gained public recognition with her AIA Langley Fellowship study, published in 1941 on low-cost urban housing. In 1942 she received an emergency appointment with the Federal Housing Authority, and began a long career in public housing. She was named a Fellow of the AIA for her lasting contributions to the field of public housing.
3. +Mary Chandler Coit, b. 7 May 1895 Winchester, MA
4. Robert Sumner Coit, b. 7 June 1897 Winchester MA; d. 4 May 1991 Bar Harbor, Maine aged 93 years. [SSDI]. He was a Boston MA attorney. Graduated Harvard. In WW1 enrolled seaman 1st class U.S. Naval Reserve Force, assigned to Scout Patrol Eleanor April 29, 1917; transferred to Local Examining Board, Headquarters, 1st Naval District, Boston Mass July 24, 1918; to Harvard Naval Unit September 10; released from active duty March 1, 1919. He married Amy G. –. She was b. 22 Feb 1902 in NY, and d. 15 Nov 1976 in Rockport MA.
Helen Chandler Coit, daughter of Rev. Josiah & Mary Lyman (Chandler) Coit, she was b. 26 January 1864 and d. 25 December 1912. She married 25 May 1893 in Winchester MA to Rev. Frederick Howard Means, son of Rev. James Howard & Charlotte Abigail (Johnson) Means. He was b. 14 Aug 1865 in Dorchester MA, and d. 10 September 1919 in Boston MA, of polycythemia. He is buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, Jamaica Plain. He graduated from Roxbury Latin School in 1884, and received the degree of B.A. from Harvard in 1888. He then entered the Yale Divinity School. On 2 May 1893 he was ordained to the Congregational ministry at Windham, CT where he served as pastor for 10 years. From 1904-1908 he was active in the Religious Education Association and the Young People’s Missionary Movement. He was pastor at Madison, Maine starting on 1 January 1908 and remained there until 1917. He spent the next year as New England secretary of the Missionary Education Movement, and after until his death was a member of the staff of the home department of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission. Later in his life he was a member of the Leyden Church in Brookline MA. He was a director of the Johnson Building Corporation and a trustee of Atlanta University. He was a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and in 1908 served on the School Committee of Winchester, MA. [His bio from Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale College, by Yale University, 1921; p. 1654-1655.] She was a DAR member.
1900 US Census > CT > Windham Co. > Windham (town)
Frederick H. Means W M Aug 1865 34 married 7 yrs MA MA MA clergyman (Congr)
Helen C. Means wife W F January 1864 36 married 7 yrs 3 ch 3 living MA CT NH
Paul H. Means son W M Nov 1894 5 single CT MA MA
Gardiner C. Means son W M June 1896 3 single CT MA MA
Winthrop J. Means son W M July 1899 11/12 single CT MA MA
Annie S. Bemis domestic F 21 CT June 1879 20 single CT MA Wisconsin cook
Lucy Bemis domestic F 19 CT W F Feby 1880 19 single CT MA Wisconsin nurse
Albuquerque Journal, 15 Feb 1976, page 99
MEANS–Dr. Paul Howard Means, 81, a resident of Albuquerque for the past six years, passed away Friday evening. He is survived by three daughters, Ann Gulliver of Mt. Carmel, Conn.; Barbara Wilson of Albuquerque; Elizabeth Jennings of C–fer, Colo; two brothers, Gardiner C. Means of Vienna, VA; Winthrop J. Means of Cambridge Mass and none grandchildren. He was a member of the First Congregational Church, and the Harvard Clu bof New Mexico. Funeral services will be held Monday at 2 pm at the First Congregational Church…..
Children of Rev. Frederick H. & Helen Chandler (Coit) Means:
1. Paul Howard Means, b. 1 Nov 1894 in Windham CT, d Feb 1976 in Albuquerque NM; B.A. Harvard 1917, graduated Harvard Medical School, M.D. ; m. Averyl Dickinson. Had 3 daughters [see obituary].
2. Gardiner Coit Means, b. 8 June 1896 Windham MA; B.A.
Harvard 1918; member of the Near East Relief Expedition; economist* . In WW1, Entered Officers’ Training Camp, Plattsburg NY August 1917; commissioned 2d lieutenant Infantry November 27; stationed at Camp Dix, NJ; commissioned 2d lieutenant Aviation Section, Signal Corps January 29, 1918 and detailed to School of Military Aeronautics, Cornell University, NY; to Hazelhurt Field NY April 4; qualified as Reserve Military Aviator June 3; detailed to Camp Dick, Texas August 8; to
Ellington Field, Texas, August 30; discharged January 2, 1919. Along with Adolf Berle, he wrote the important work of corporate governance, The Modern Corporation and Private Property.
3. Winthrop Johnson Means, b. 26 July 1899 Windham MA; d 29 December 1976 Boston MA; Harvard graduate 1921. In WW1, Harvard Unit, Students’ Army Training Corps. He lived in Locust NJ, and South Tamworth NH. His daugther, Helen Coit Means married James Clyde Armstrong, son of Lieut Comm. Herbert Dow Armstrong of Stonington CT.
George Chandler Coit, son of of Rev. Josiah & Mary Lyman (Chandler) Coit, b. 3 Aug 1867 in Brookfield MA, d. 29 August 1934 in Winchester MA. Graduated Somerville High School 1886; A.B. Amherst 1890; LL.B. Boston U. Sch. of Law 1893; lawyer; married Alice Chapman Atwood, dau of Edward S. & Elizabeth (Munroe) of Salem, Mass., June 7, 1899. She was b. 30 Dec 1870 in Salem MA, and died May 25, 1945. He practiced at Boston since 1893; has been moderator, selectman, chmn. Sch. Com., chmn. Rep. Town Com., Winchester, Mass. Conglist. Mem. Mass. Bar Assn., Bar Assn. City of Boston, Psi Upsilon. Recreations: golf. Home: Winchester, Mass. Office: Pemberton Bldg., Boston. After her husband died, Alice traveled a bit, in 1936 to England and Italy, and in 1938 to Bermuda. In 1940 Alice is shown a widow, lodging at the Rice Hotel in Houston, Harris Co. TX, 5 yrs of college [Smith Alumnae 1894].
Smith Alumnae Quarterly – August_1945 – SAQ Archives
’94 Alice Atwood Coit (Mrs. George C.), May 25.
For three years in college my life was closely tied in with Alice’s. She supplied a discretion which I sadly lacked and her never failing sympathy and humorous comments on various events lightened many situations. She was particularly notable for her dramatic ability; no house play was complete without her. In ’99 she married George Coit, the brother of her charming sister’s husband, Robert Coit. George was well known to ’94 and was welcomed gladly into class relationships. His death in ’34 terminated an unusually happy marriage. Alice’s last service to us was as Fund chairman–a position which brought to the fore her loyalty to the College and constructive interest in its affairs. Her gay and friendly Fund reminders held us up to a high ideal of service. Her civic activities in Winchester, Boston, and since the war in Cambridge and Rockport, were many and useful. To Lucia, her able lawyer daughter, our affection and sympathy are sincerely given. –Eleanor Hope Johnson.
Smith Alumnae Quarterly – February_1948 – SAQ Archives
Alice (Atwood) Coit’s daughter Lucia (Coit) Palmer named her son born on her father’s birthday in Aug. for his father and grandfather.
Child of George C. & Alice C. (Atwood) Coit:
1. Lucia Coit, b. 14 May 1911 in Winchester MA; attorney; married October 1946 in Winchester MA to William L. Palmer. They had a son, (George Palmer?) b. 3 August 1948.
Mary Chandler Coit, daughter of Robert & Eliza R. (Atwood) Coit, b. 7 May 1895, d. 17 July 1984 in Farmingdale, Nassau NY, buried Long Island National Cemetery, Farmington NY. She m. March 1930 in Ames, Story IA to Oscar Hatch Hawley. He was b. 11 June 1871 at Evans, Erie NY, and d. 29 June 1939 in Bolton, Worcester MA, age 68. From the ISC Alumnus (May 1930) Coit-Hawley Marriage at St. Johns. Ms. Mary Chandler Coit, associate professor in economic science at Iowa State and Oscar Hatch Hawley, associate professor of music at the College were married the middle of March at St. John’s Chapel. Mrs. Hawley came to the College in 1927 and was later granted a year’s leave of absence tostudy for her doctor’s degree. She returned to the college in the fall of 1929. Mr. Hawley has been director of the Iowa State College symphony and band for the past nine years. He had also been associate editor of The Musical Courier.
Children of Oscar H. & Mary C. (Coit) Hawley:
1. Oscar Hatch Hawley, b. 1 June 1931 Ames, Story IA
2. Robert Coit Hawley, b. 15 Sep 1932 Ames, Story IA [or Nevada, Iowa], AB, Bowdoin College, 1955; Postgrad., Harvard University, 1958; Master of Library Science, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, 1968; Doctor of Education, University Massachusetts, 1972. American educational consultant. Certified teacher, superintendent, Massachusetts. Recipient Ford Foundation Fellowship, 1970-1972; named visiting scholar, Adelphi University, 1976, Bowling Green University, 1977. Trail master Mount Orient Trail Runners, since 1989; treasurer Grace Episcopalian Church, Amherst, since 1993. Member Association Supervision and Curriculum Development.