Monday, May 31, 2010

Nathaniel Coe

I was looking for Scipio information in old newspapers on, thinking I could find some of the articles written by William Wooden as I mentioned a few blogs ago. I haven't found them yet, but I did find an interesting article I wanted to share.
One of Scipio's very first settlers was Joel Coe, also a Revolutionary War veteran. He is one of 9 veterans buried in our Cornwell Cemetery, purportedly the oldest cemetery in Cayuga County.
The Thursday, October 20, 1960 edition of the Nunda News has an article about some of Joel's family. Nunda is a town in Livingston County, NY, several miles from Cayuga County.
Written under the title of “Woman Says” with a byline of M. C. F., here is the majority of that article:
The appointment as US Mail Agent for the Oregon territory brought honor to the Nunda man who received it soon after the territory was opened for settlement. He was Nathaniel Coe, who was given the appointment in 1851 by President Millard Fillmore. As many of you know, Millard Fillmore was born in Summerhill, Cayuga County and it is not unlikely he knew the Coes personally.
Born in September of 1788 in Chester, NJ, Nathaniel was the son of Joel and Huldah Horton Coe. The family settled in Scipio in Cayuga County, NY in 1795, paying a shilling an acre for 640 acres of land to which Joel said he had veteran’s rights. The trip from NJ to Scipio took a month. The family lived there until 1818 when they came to the section of Nunda that is now known as Portage. Nathaniel then was 20 and he immediately became one of the prominent young men of the area.
The wording gets pretty flowery here, but the article goes on to say that Nathaniel worked as a schoolteacher and a surveyor, and operated a general store for a time. He also was a supervisor of the town, and a justice of the peace, and served four terms as a NYS Assemblyman.
Nathaniel also spent 8 years in New Orleans as a teacher, going by boat all the way from Olean, NY with a brother and a friend. In 1828, he returned to NY and married Mary Taylor White, daughter of Lawrence Emery White of Auburn, Cayuga County, NY.
Nathaniel then operated a general store in Oakland NY with a partner, moving his family to Nunda a few years later.
According to the article Nathaniel first went to Portland, Oregon, by way of the Isthmus of Panama, eventually homesteading on the Columbia River at the mouth of the Hood River. The article mentions two sons, Lawrence and Eugene, and states that they were the first white men to navigate the turbulent waters of the Columbia River above The Dalles, where a huge dam had recently been built.
Nathaniel apparently sent back many communications to Nunda for publication, that described life in Oregon in those times of Lewis & Clark. Nathaniel died in Oregon October 17, 1868. One son is known to have returned to NY, and that was Henry Clay Coe for a visit in 1908.


Roger A. Post said...

Good find! As mentioned by a reader on this blog several years ago, one daughter of Joel and Huldah Horton Coe was Rachel (ca. July 1786 - 05 April 1874) who married Benjamin Olney (ca. June 1787 - 07 March 1850). Benjamin and Rachel are also buried in Cornwell Cemetery.

Sandie Stoker Gilliland said...

I am rarely disappointed when I search in Recently I stumbled upon an article giving details of the wedding of Byron Hitchcock and Mariam Peckham, my maternal grandparents!