An Ancestor's Home, The John Coffin House, Edgartown Massachusetts - Martha's Vineyard
Photos and text by Linda Smith Davis
When I first started working on New England Fine Living's latest media kit and print magazine in 2004, I came across a photo of a beautiful home surrounded by bright colored flowers, but I had no idea where in New England the home was located. It grabbed my attention and just spoke to me; I knew I had to use it in my marketing material. It screamed quintessential New England "Fine Living", so without hesitation, I immediately purchased the photo from one of my graphic suppliers. That particular photo was used in my media kit and video marketing campaign. Imagine my surprise, when I visited Martha's Vineyard a couple years later, I found the very same home I had fallen in love with years before while walking up and down the quaint streets of Edgartown.
Another fun surprise was that this home, a 1682 Colonial, belonged to my 10th Great Uncle, John Coffin, a blacksmith on the island. I have quite a line of ancestors that were early settlers of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, so I am always on the lookout for homes with family names attached when I visit. One of my 10th great-grandfathers was Tritram Coffin; he along with several other 10th great grandfathers were one of the purchasers of Nantucket Island. He was John's Coffin's father. I love knowing a distant family member once owned this New England home.
The same coincidence happened with a lighthouse photo I purchased for our media kit. I had no idea where it was, only that it was in New England, but during a drive along the rocky coast of Maine, my husband and I took a last minute turn down a side road in Maine, and there it was... the very same light house. I love when things like that happen. I recently found out that Tom Hanks ran to the light house during his run across country in the movie Forest Gump. The lighthouse was his turn around point on the east coast.
But getting back to the John Coffin House in Edgartown, MA; this home has been lovingly restored and is one of the many homes showcasing the magical touch of Architect, Patrick Ahearn.
The following photos were taken during several different October visits to Martha's Vineyard and most likely more will be added in years to come since my husband and I try to get the the island to celebrate our birthdays.
Whether set against blue skies or gray fog, this home stands beautiful and elegant. It's hard to believe this historic home, that once belonged to a blacksmith and distant relative, is over 300 years old and is a stunning updated family home.