Oswego County's: Guide To Government

James J. Coit

*Obituary of James J Coit*

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, etc.

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 summers.

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 at Saratoga.

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.