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Benjamin F. Coburn, Livingston County

Benjamin F. Coburn (1858 - 1918), like other letter writers in 1880 related the story of how he came to be at the New York Juvenile Asylum. Although the dates accompanying his letter are inconsistent with the genealogical record, his life can be traced up until his death, based upon the clues in his letter.

Benjamin's father died when Benjamin was just four years old and his mother became intemperate, leading to his life on the street. He was then picked up and placed in the Asylum, from whence he was sent to Illinois at the age of 7. His first place was with a Mr. Mosley or Mosby, who was killed in a runaway team accident four years into Benjamin's period of indenture. Benjamin was then placed in a home in Livingston County with Robert and Lucy Spafford.

His story was one of redemption and generosity on the part of his guardians. Twice Benjamin ran away from the Spafford's and twice they welcomed him back to their home, providing him with a ticket to travel home the second time.

He married in 1880 to Sophia Baker and with her had five children, three of whom died in childhood.

The Coburn moved to Arkansas and and then Kansas, where he was a Presbyterian minister for 24 years. He died the 4th of April 1918 in his own home in Hillsdale, Kansas. His wife survived. I hope the God he preached was as merciful and sympathetic as the Spaffords.

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