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History of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical

NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920

p. 25 - 27:

JOHN W. COGGESHALL.  --  Coggeshall is an early English surname of local origin, and denotes residence in the parish of St. Albans, in the town of Coggeshall.

Arms - Argent a cross between four escallops sable.
Crest - A stag lodged salbe, attired or.
The Coggeshall family, whose history is wrapped inseparably with that of Rhode Island, from the very earliest times, is one of the most distinguished in the annals of the colony and in its later history.  The progenitor of the Coggeshalls in America, John Copggeshall, was the first president of the struggling little Colony of Rhode Island, a man of great prominence and public influence.  The family has been honorably connected with the several wars of the country since its establishment here, and has borne well its part in the making of the Nation.  Its sons have held high places in the councils of the State.  The late Hon. James Haydon Coggeshall, one of the most prominent public men of his day, was a direct descendant in the seventh generation of the founder, John Coggeshall.

(I)  John Coggeshall, progenitor of the family in America, and first president of the Colony of Rhode Island, was a member of an ancient and honorable English family, whose lineage has been traced to the early part of the twelfth century, to one Thomas de Coggeshall, the owner of vast estates in Essex and Suffolk, England, in 1135-54.  He was born in Essex, England, about 1591, and died at Newport, R. I., November 27, 1647.  He emigrated from England to the New World in the ship 'Lyon', arriving at the port of Boston, Mass., in 1632, with his wife Mary, and three children, John, Joshua, and Anne, on September 16, 1632.  His name and that of his wife are on the original records of the church of Roxbury, of which John Eliot was pastor.  He was admitted a freeman of Roxbury, November 6, 1632, and two years later, in 1634, removed to Boston, where he became a merchant.  John Coggeshall became one of the leading citizens of Boston, and in the year of his arrival there was elected a member of the Board of Selectmen and a deacon of the church.  His name also heads the list of deputies to the General Court of Massachusetts from Boston, May 14, 1634, and he served, with three interruptions, until November 2, 1637.  He was one of the staunchest supporters and defenders of Anne Hutchinson, and upon her banishment was expelled from the Court, and from the State of Massachusetts, in company with eighteen other men, who were also identified with her. These eighteen men, and a company including William Coddington, John Clarke, the Hutchinson family, and others, settled on the island of Aquidneck, by the advice of Roger Williams, who had already settled in Providence.  The land was purchased from the Narragansett sachems, and the form of government there established was one of the first in New England which separated the civic from the religious issues.  The colony grew with great rapidity and to accommodate newcomers and the overflow, the town of Newport, R. I., was established.  On the return of Roger Williams from England with a charter, they organized a government, in September, 1644.  In May, 1647, John Coggeshall was elected president of Rhode Island, with Roger Williams as assistant for Providence, William Coddington for Newport, and Randall Holden for Warwick.  While in this office, he was the founder or was largely influential in founding two cities, two states and two separate and independent governments.  He died in office, November 27, 1647, at the age of fifty-six years, and is buried on his estate in Newport.  He married, in England, Mary Surgis, born in 1604, died November 8, 1684, at the age of eighty.

(II)  Joshua Coggeshall, son of John and Mary Coggeshall, was born in England, in 1623, and accompanied his parents to America in 1632. He removed to Portsmouth, R. I., after the death of his father.  Here he purchased a farm on the west side of the island, where he resided until his death.  A large part of this original purchase still remains in the hands of lineal descendants.  Joshua Coggeshall became a man of prominence in Portsmouth, and served in public office on several occasions. He was a deputy to the General Court of Rhode Island in the years 1664, 1666, 1667, 1668, 1670, 1671, 1672, and was several times assistant. He married (first) December 22, 1652, Joan West, who died April 24, 1676, at the age of forty-one years, and he married (second) June 21, 1677, Rebecca Russell, a Quakeress of London, England.  Mr. Coggeshall joined the ranks of the Quakers in 1660, and on a visit to Plymouth Colony, Mass., shortly afterward, was seized, deprived of his horse and thrown into jail, because of his religious convictions.  He died May 1, 1688.

(III)  Josiah Coggeshall, son of Joshua and Joan (West) Coggeshall, was born in November, 1662.

(IV)  Josiah (2) Coggeshall, son of Josiah (1) Coggeshall, was the father of four children:  John, mentioned below; James, Mary, Catherine.

(V)  Major John Coggeshall, son of Josiah (2) Coggeshall, was born October 5, 1757, in Rhode Island.  About the year 1770 he removed to New Bedford, Mass., where he purchased a farm.  He served with distinction during the Revolution, and was prominently identified with the miliary affairs of New Bedford.  He was a member of the train band in 1773, and  upon the outbreak of hostilities in the Revolution joined the American army.  He served for three months in 1775 as a corporal in Captain Kemton's company, Colonel Danielson's regiment, from Dartmouth, Mass., enlisting in May of that year. He also served in 1778 and 1780, and is said to have participated at the battle of Bunker Hill, at the battle of Dorchester Heights, and was a member of the first regiment to march into Boston after the evacuation of the city by the British troops. He held the rank of major in the American army. Major Coggeshall died July 19, 1830, at New Bedford, Mass., at the age of seventy-two years, and was buried on the Coggeshall farm there.  He married Abigail Haydon.

(VI)  John (2) Coggeshall, son of Major John (1) and Abigail (Haydon) Coggeshell, was born in New Bedford, Mass., September 10, 1777.  He was one of the famous merchants and ship owners of New Bedford, his vessels plying to and from all foreign ports.  He was one of the wealthiest men of his day, and his beautiful mansion was the scene of many notable gatherings in the early days of New Bedford.  He married Elizabeth Brown, of Providence, R. I. His death occurred June 23, 1853.

(VII)  Captain Samuel B. Coggeshall, son of John (2) and Elizabeth (Brown) Coggeshall, was born September 11, 1808, and became a famous mariner of New Bedford and sailed the seas as captain before he attained the age of twenty-one.  He distinguished himself in the Civil War and was appointed by Gidon Welles, July 18, 1861, as acting master of United States Steamship 'Richmond'.  He married Ellen Chipman Welles, on September 27, 1853.  She was born in Genesco, N. Y., April 2, 1835, and died April 3, 1912.  Captain Coggeshall died February 19, 1885.

(VIII)  John (3) Coggeshall, son of Captain Samuel B. and Ellen Chipman (Welles) Coggeshall, was born in New Bedford, Mass., July 22, 1854. He married Maria Amelia Wood on September 24, 1874.  John Coggeshall was for many years prominently identified in the newspaper world with the 'San Francisco Chronicle'; for more than ten years, was confidential man for Elias J. (Lucky) Baldwin, representing his hotel interests in California. Mr. Coggeshall is one of the few survivors of a fleet of sixteen whaling vessels which were crushed in the ice in the Arctic Ocean in 1876, all but two of these vessels being lost.  These two vessels brought the survivors to San Francisco, where Mr. Coggeshall made his home for thirty-two years.  He has given up all active work and is living in retirement in Providence.

John W. Coggeshall(IX)  John Welles Coggeshall, prominent in the textile industry of Rhode Island, and agent of the great Riverside Mills in Providence, is a son of John (3) and Maria Amelia (Wood) Coggeshall.  He was born in New Bedford, Mass., May 16, 1875.  He attended the public and New Bedford High schools and later the famous Philips Andover Academy at Andover, Mass. He later returned to New Bedford, where he spent another year in high school and one year in a business college.  Upon completing his studies, he accepted a position in the Washington Mill at Lawrence, in order to learn all branches of woolen manufacture.  He remained with that concern for fifteen years, during which time he rose to the position of assistant agent.  He had established for himself a reputation, acquiring a thorough knowledge of the mill business and was offered the position of agent with the Riverside Mills, which he at once accepted.  Since that time Mr. Coggeshall has continued to hold this responsible position and has contributed considerably to the present prosperity of the concern by his capable handling of its affairs.  Besides his connections with the Riverside Mill, Mr. Coggeshall is associated with a number of other large and important interests hereabouts, and is himself the sole owner of the Tillotson Humidifier Company of Providence, which is engaged in the manufacture of mill specialties. He is also founder and owner of the Middlebrook Wool Combing Company of East Boston.  He is treasurer and director of the Atlantic Mining Company of Oxbow, Gila county, Arizona, with valuable gold ore deposits. In politics Mr. Coggeshall is a Republican, but the demands made upon his time by his various business interests prevent him from taking an active part in public affairs.  He is a very prominent member of the Masonic order, having gained his thirty-second degree in Free Masonry, and is affiliated with Grecian Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of Lawrence, Mass.; Mount Sinai Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Lawrence Council, Royal and Select Masters; Bethany Commandery, Knights Templar; Aleppo Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, of Boston, Mass., and the Consistory, of Boston.  He is a member of the Boston Athletic Club, of Boston, and the Turk's Head Club, of Providence.  What he would describe as his hobby is his fine collection of violins, which is said to be one of the best of its kind in the United States.  Various famous artists, who have seen and played these instruments, claim it to be the best and finest individual collection in existence, many being the product of the famous makers of the Old World. Through the expert knowledge of Julius D. Horvath this wonderful collection of instruments was made possible. Mr. Horvath is a native of Budapest, Hungary, born 1860, and has devoted the past thirty-five years in the study and restoration of rare violins, and claims to have re-discovered the lost art of Italian violin tone.  His theory is the importance of the varnish used and the chain-like process in the intricate application of the same.  He has examined hundreds of high grade and rare makes of violins and is accepted to-day by the public as one of the foremost experts on violins, relative to construction, tone and value.  He has been very active in creating the fine collection of violins of various wealthy people in America.

Mr. Coggeshall is a lover of fine music and of good books, his library containing several thousand volumes of rare and modern editions.  He is also very fond of fast horses and owns a large number of these animals. In addition to his city home Mr. Coggeshall is the owner of a delightful place known as 'Puritan Farm' at North Scituate, the old residence standing there having been built in 1794 by Captain Rhodes, of Revolutionary fame. Mr. Coggshall has remodeled the exterior of this interesting old building so that it now presents a most pretentious appearance.  Although modern in every respect it still retains the old Colonial appearance.  This property contains one hundred and fifty acres of valuable farm land which he has developed in such a way that it is now unquestionably one of the show places of Rhode Island.  Here Mr. Coggeshall breeds fast horses and at the present time is the owner of the fleetest racer in the State, holding the title and cup for 1918.  Mr. Coggeshall is of exceedingly affable and genial disposition, and a devotee of the pleasures of life in which he finds his various recreations.

John Welles Coggeshall was united in marriage, November 18, 1896, at Lawrence, Mass., with Madeline Allen, of Harmony, N. J., a daughter of John and Maria (Holden) Allen.  Mr. Allen was born at Harmony, N. J., and was once agent of the Assabet Mills of Maynard, Mass., at which place he died September, 1907.  His wife was born at German Valley, N. J., and died October 22, 1910, at Providence, R. I.  To Mr. and Mrs. Coggeshall the following children have been born:  John, Nov. 10, 1897, a graduate of the high school at Providence, after which he studied for a year at Brown University, and is now attending the Belasco School of Acting in New York City; William Wood, born Jan. 15, 1902, and is now a student at the Cranston High School; Otis Welles, born Dec. 14, 1902, and also a student at the Cranston High School.

Mr. Coggeshall has been an energetic and consistent worker, and in the various industries which he has founded and developed is reflected the genius and ability of a family which has figured prominently for many generations throughout the New England States.


These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project. Transcription and pictures 2001-2 by Beth Hurd

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