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Mary Coffin md. Vernon Skiff, MO to Iowa; Jewel Tea
Posted by: Linda (Noland) Layman (ID *****8388) Date: August 26, 2004 at 16:38:46
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A friend had a book called "Classified Quotations" which was compiled by Mary Coffin Skiff. I am a Coffin descendant so I made a copy of the book. I put in a few key words and noticed there was a message on another man named Skiff who lived in Newton, Iowa. It is an unusual name to me, so these men were possibly related.

This introduction was written by Blanche Skiff Ross, apparently the daughter of Mary. I do not have the date the book was published. There is also a poem "To My Father and Mother" by Stella Skiff Janotta.

"Mary Frances Coffin was the daughter of Matthew Starbuck Coffin and Martha Ellen Thompson. On her father's side she came from a long line of Quaker ancestry leading back to the Tristan Coffins of Nantucket.... Mary Frances was born October 25, 1842, in Salem, Indiana where she attended school. Her father was in the commission business in New Orleans; he was deeply opposed to slavery. His cousin, Levi Coffin, was termed president of the nderground railway."

"In 1849 Matthew bought his father's old farm near Salem. In the fall of 1854 he sold the farm and moved his family to Newton, Iowa, where he entered in the dry good business in compoany with Jehu Lindley."

"In July 1857, ...he lost his wife, Martha, in childbirth. He secured the services of a housekeeper and the children, Mary Frances, Alice Virginia, Charles Thompson, and Mathew Starbuck went to school at the Hazel Dell Academy....Later he moved his family to Mt. Pleasant,Iowa so that he could give his children the advantages of the Iowa Wesleyan College."

"In 1866 Mary made a visit to Newton....where she again met Vernon Skiff. She later went to her aunt's in Chillicothe, Missouri, where she married Vernon Skiff on January 23, 1867. They first lived with Vernon's parents in the Skiff home in Newton. Their first two children, Stella and Frank Vernon were born. In 1871 they built a home of their own within the family block where two years later their daughter Blance Alice was born; their third and last child."

"In 1901 their son, Frank Vernon, and son-in-law, Frank Pierce Ross entered into a partnership and founded the Jewel Tea Company of Chicago."

"In 1900 Vernon and Mary moved to their new home in Oak Park, Illinois, to be near their children, all of whom resided in that suburb. Mary died December 30, 1918, at her home in Oak Park and was buried in the Newton Cemetery on New Years Day."

I have left out quite a bit of information, but included that of a genealogy nature. There are several pictures - one of the old Skiff home built about 1850 in Newton; one of Mary Frances Coffin just prior to her marriage; one of Vernon on his return from service in the Civil War; one which must be Mary taken in Palm Beach, Florida, January 23, 1917; and one of Vernon on their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

I will send copies of the article to anyone interested.

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