Hon. James J Coit was born in
Griswold (formerly Preston Conn.) May 8 1803 and died after a brief illness,
at Central Square N.Y. September 10, 1884.
Mr. Coit was one of the pioneers
of Oswego county, having located in the town of Hastings at about the age
of twenty one and endured all of the hardships of an early settler. He
went into the wilderness, selected a tract of land, which he cleared up
and converted into a valuable farm, upon which he resided for about fifty
years. In March 1873 he removed to the neighboring village of Central Square
where he continued to reside up to the time of his death.
Mr. Coits family was a prominent
one in his native state. His ancestors for many generations were reckoned
among its educated and leading citizens. Some of them were officers in
the revolutionary army. The history of the family has been honorably interwoven
with that of the colony and state of Connecticut for more than two centuries
and their names are frequent in its rolls of clergymen, legislators, judges,
He received a thorough academic
education at Bacon academy, Colchester, Ct. and was the early schoolmate
and friend of the late Govenor Buckingham, eminet as the christian statesman
and great war govenor of that state during the late rebellion of the South.
After settling in the town
of Hastings Mr. Coit was for some little time engaged in teaching school
winters at Central Square or vicinity and clearing up and working his farm
He was always respected and
honored by all who knew him and held a prominent position of influences
in society and the county. While never an office seeker he held many positions
of honor and trust from his fellow citizens. He was superintendent of schools,
and for many years was supervisor of his town, was justice of the peace,
assessor, etc. In 1859 he represented the second assembly district of Oswego
county in the state legislature, of which body he was universally regarded
as an upright, intelligent and able member. For more then thirty
years he was land agent for Hon. William Jay, who owned a large tract of
land in the eastern part of this county. His neighbors frequently selected
him as the executor or administrator of their estates and in that capacity
he perhaps settled as large a number of estates as any man in the county.
Politically he was a
Republican but was originally a Democrat. When the slavery question came
to be an issue he identified himself with the free soil element of the
democratic party, and was one of the organizers of the Republican party---
having been a delegate to the convention which organized the party in this
county, and also a delegate to the first republican state convention held
He professed religion at fifteen
years of age and became a consistent member of the Presbyterian church.
He was also a liberal supporter of other evangelical denominations.
His highest honor in life
was in the nobility and perfection of his christian character and as a
devoted husband and father. He was twice married. His first wife was Augustina
S. Porter who died Nov. 5, 1841, leaving a large family of small children.
His second wife was Miriam Owen, who died March 27, 1876. These were noble
women and worthy of such a husband. Since the death of his second wife,
his daughter Rosetta has taken charge of his household and lovingly and
tenderly cared for him.
Mr. Coit leaves a large family
of grown up sons and daughters. They are Carolina A., wife of Lieutenant
E. F. Morris of Pulaski N.Y.; Rosetta A., many years a teacher in the south
and the real founder of the New Orleans Union University; James E., a merchant
of Adams N.Y.; Mrs. Jane Mogg (formerly Goodwin) wife of C. Mogg esq.,
a farmer of Euclid, N.Y.; Martha, wife of Rev. M.D. Kinney, president of
the Thousand Island Park association; Rev. Albert Coit, pastor of the Baptist
church at Wellsville N.Y.; Rev. Charles P., pastor of the Memorial Presbyterian
church of Rochester; John J. farmer of Volney N.Y.; Amelia M, teacher at
Geddes N.Y.; Mary F., wife of S.M. Coon. esq, counsellor at law of Oswego
and Prof. Judson B., professor of mathematics in Boston university.
He took great
pains in the educatuion and christian training of his children and considered
their good character and success in life as the highest and sufficent reward
of his efforts.
He would have adorned
any one of the learned professions, and had particularly a judicial mind.
He was a man of much intellectual capacity, clear, and strong, positive
in his opinions and had the courage of his convictions, but of solid conservative
judgement. He loved truth, justice and equity and was upright in all the
relations of life.
He was conscious to the last.
He contemplated his approaching death with christian resignation and joy,
firmly relying on the great principles of the christian faith which had
been his guide through life and died in the hope of a glorious immortality.
His funeral services were
unostentatious but beautiful and impressive. They were conducted by his
son-in-law Rev. M.D. Kinney, who made very appropriate and fitting remarks.
He was assisted in the services by Rev. D.D. Owen, for ten years and until
recently pastor of the Central Square Baptist Church and who was a nephew
of Mr. Coit. Rev. D. Marvin, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
also assisted in the services.
He was tenderly borne by his sons
to his last resting place by the side of his two wives, in the little cemetery
on the hill side, in full view of the old home where he lived so long and
brought up his family of children. Thus endeth a long useful and well rounded
life, A good man has gone to his reward.