- This collection consists of correspondence, genealogical materials, speeches, essays, newspaper clippings, autobiographical materials, and photographs documenting the lives of Charles F. and Rhoda M. (Johnson) Coffin, 1831-1917. Charles and Rhoda were Orthodox Quaker ministers with international reputations in prison reform. Charles was a banker in Richmond, Indiana, and the clerk of Indiana Yearly Meeting of Orthodox Friends from 1857 to 1884. Charles Fisher Coffin was born in Guilford County, North Carolina, April 3, 1823, the second of the seven children of Elijah and Naomi (Hiatt) Coffin. In 1824, the Coffin family and other relatives moved to Wayne County, Indiana, where Elijah Coffin kept a store in Milton. They then lived for a year in Cincinnati, before settling in Richmond, Indiana, in 1834, where Elijah was cashier of the branch of the State Bank of Indiana. Charles F. Coffin was educated in Quaker schools before entering his father's bank. When its charter expired in 1859, it was reorganized as the Citizens Banks, then the Richmond National Bank. He served as president from organization until 1884. In 1847, Charles F. Coffin married Rhoda Moorman Johnson, the daughter of John and Judith (Faulkner) Johnson. She was born in Greene County, Ohio, Feb. 1, 1826, the fifth of seven children. She was educated in Quaker schools. They were the parents of six children, five of whom, all sons, lived to maturity. After their marriage, both became active in Quaker affairs. In 1857, Charles was selected to succeed his father as clerk of Indiana Yearly Meeting. He was recorded a minister in 1866, and Rhoda in 1867. The Coffins took a wide interest in Quaker affairs and humanitarian causes. They were among the founders of the South Fifth (later South Eighth) Street Friends Meeting in 1864, and active in Quaker work for the freed people and Native Americans. They became especially well known for their advocacy of prison reform. Both were also active in temperance work. In the summer of 1884, the Richmond National Bank failed, and all of the Coffins' fortune was lost. Charles and Rhoda moved to Chicago, where he became an agent for the Provident Life Insurance Company, a Philadelphia Quaker firm. The circumstances of the bank failure were so questionable, however, that early in 1886 Whitewater Monthly Meeting disowned Charles for bad business practices. He was quickly received back into membership by the Orthodox Friends Meeting in Chicago. The Coffins continued to be active in prison reform and temperance, and Rhoda continued to travel as a Friends minister. After 1895, Charles became privately supportive of a younger generation of modernist Friends, such as Rufus M. Jones and Elbert Russell. Rhoda M. Coffin died in Chicago, September 29, 1909. Charles lived until August 9, 1916. Both are buried in Earlham Cemetery in Richmond. Series III, "Autobiography and Reminiscence," consists of works by Charles. It includes his autobiography, notes on a journey to Philadelphia in 1844 (the original of which is at Swarthmore), and "Presidents I Have Known."
AMDigital Reference: FMS 1.
- Original Version:
- Reproduction of: Homes at Richmond, Indiana, 1847-1884 1847-1884; 1916.
- Location of Originals:
- Earlham College Friends Library
- Copyright Note:
- Earlham College Friends Library
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