Not my branch, but he's an interesting individual::
LORENZO S. COFFIN was born in Alton, New Hampshire, on the 9th of April, 1823. He was reared on a farm with but little opportunity to secure an education. With two years' instruction in Oberlin College after leaving home he obtained a position as instructor in Geauga Seminary where James A. Garfield and the girl who afterwards became his wife, were pupils. In 1855 Mr. Coffin came to Iowa, taking a claim near Fort Dodge. Here he was elected superintendent of schools and made frequent addresses in the different parts of the county urging better methods of farming and improvement in the public schools. He was a frequent contributor to agricultural journals, and for several years conducted an agricultural department in the Fort Dodge Messenger. In 1883 he was appointed Railroad Commissioner, by Governor Sherman, serving five years. During his term it became his duty to investigate the cases of serious accidents and he became convinced that many of them might be avoided by the use of automatic couplers. From this time forward Mr. Coffin entered upon the formidable work of securing legislation to require the railroads of the country to equip their cars with automatic couplers. He has told the story of his successful work in the Annals of Iowa. It is sufficient to say that he was instrumental in procuring acts of the Iowa Legislature and also an act of Congress requiring the railroads to use the safety couplers. It is estimated that the loss of life of railroad employees has been reduced by this reform more than sixty per cent. Mr. Coffin has also for years carried on a movement among railroad men against the use of intoxicating liquors. His latest benevolent work is in behalf of discharged convicts from the penitentiaries. He has built on his farm a temporary home for this class of people called "Hope Hall," where ex-prisoners may live until employment can be found for them. For more than twenty years Mr. Coffin has given a large share of his time to reform work, chiefly in the causes here mentioned.
From various on-line genealogies, it appears that:
Lorenzo S. Coffin was the son of Stephen Coffin and Deborah Philbrick; Stephen Coffin was the son of Jonathan Coffin and Jane Brown; Jonathan Coffin was the son of Benjamin Coffin anf Miriam Woodman; Benjamin Coffin the son of Stephen Coffin and Sarah Atkinson; Stephen being the son of Tristram Jr. & Judith Greenleaf.
Lorenzo S. Coffin ran for Vice President as running mate of Daniel Braxton Turney in 1908 for the United Christian party. They received 400 votes. William Taft won the election with 7.7 million votes.
In reply to:
Correctionville News, Correctionville, Woodbury, Iowa
March 26, 1914
IOWA STATE NEWS
L.S. Coffin of Fort Dodge has filed an action in district court to dissolve the guardianship appointed some time ago by Judge Albrook. Mr. Coffin declares that he is now of sound mind. He also charged that C.V. Findlay, his guardian, is not a proper person for the position. Mr. Coffin fought the appointment of a guardian when action was brought by Mrs. John Rutledge, his only daughter, in 1913. The action followed the adoption by Mr. Coffin of a woman as his daughter, who since has married.
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