One question we all ask is how much evidence is enough? Well, we ask that when we don't have the definitive answer and we are constructing circumstantial cases.
Moses4 (Moses3 Ichabod2 John1) Hayes married an Anna Coffin at Rochester, N.H. on 3 June 1785. [The History of the Town of Rochester, New Hampshire 1722-1890 by Franklin McDuffee (2 vols., 1892, reprinted as one volume, Somersworth, NH, 1988), 2:618] There is only one Coffin family who lived in Rochester at that time: Abner5 (Abner4 Stephen3 Tristram2-1) and Keziah (Cromwell) Coffin. Anna (Coffin) Hayes was alive in 1802 when she releases dower on a deed (Strafford County Deeds 41:131). She died in May 1812 when Enoch Hayes Place wrote in his diary “went this pm to the funeral of Uncle Moses Hayes’ wife” (11 May 1812). Why the good Rev. Place couldn't elaborate a bit more, is indeed maddening. He couldn't say, I went to the funeral of Uncle Moses Hayes' wife, she was born xxxx to yyyy? This family appears in John Hayes of Dover, New Hampshire; A Book of His Family by Katharine F. Richmond, 2 vols. (Tyngsboro, MA, 1936), and the manuscript notes for it are at the NEHGS. Nothing further is known.
In the pro column we know that:
- She is called Coffin in her marriage record. It is not a mistranscription of another name such as Cofrin, etc.
- On 18 March 1783 Keziah is warned out of New Durham, NH with her daughter Mary, both of Rochester: New Durham Town Records 1:57 and 59. This daughter married in Rochester as well in June 1801.
- Rebecca Coffin called daughter of Abner of Rochester in her marriage record at the Free Will Baptist records of New Durham on 22 November 1780.
- Abner mentioned in April 1779 as in Rochester in a court case between Benjamin Hayes and Isaac Bickford (Abstracts of Strafford County New Hampshire Inferior Court Records 1773-1783 by Laura P. Hulslander [Heritage Books, 1990], p. 74).
- The timeline works well.
In the con column:
- There is no record of Abner and Keziah naming her as a daughter or a record of Anna naming Abner and Keziah as her parents.
- Anna and Moses Hayes name their children: Ezekiel, Daniel, Moses, Nancy Ann, William, Mary, and Delilah. No Abner or Keziah!