Salathiel C. Coffinberry

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Salathiel C. Coffinberry, PGM,
Salathiel C. Coffinberry, PGM (From the Michigan Masonic Museum and Library Collection)

Most Worshipful Grand Master 1866-7-8

Salathiel Curtiss Coffinberry was born in Lancaster, Ohio, on February 26, 1809. He studied law with his brother in Mansfield, Ohio. He was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1829. He came to St. Joseph County, Michigan in 1843 and continued to live there until his death. He 1832 he married Miss Catherine Young of Martinsburg, VA. Three children were born to this union: Theodore, Pauline, and Sarah. In 1843, he married Miss Artemisia Cook at Mansfield, OH. Miss Cook's ancestors came over on the Mayflower. This marriage resulted in five children: Pullina, Hermia, Marie E., Estevena, and Herman Napoleon.

He was an enthusiastic lover of the fine arts, and was proficient in music, painting and poetry. He was a great student and acquired a thorough knowledge of the German and French languages. In conversation he was peculiarly fascinating and entertaining; as an advocate he was eloquent and convincing; in public speaking brilliant and forcible.

He was raised as a Master Mason in Mt. Hermon Lodge No. 24 in Centreville on May 8, 1848. He was Worshipful Master in the years 1851 and 1852. He moved to Constantine and was Worshipful Master of Silam Lodge No. 35, in 1857, 1858 and 1859. He presented both of these Lodges at Grand Lodge. In 1865 he was elected Deputy Grand Master, and in 1866 was elected Most Worshipful Grand Master and served with distinguished ability for three years.

He became a member of Grand Lodge when there were only forty-four Lodges, and when he laid down the gavel after these three years of service as Grand Master, there were two hundred and fifty-six. Eighty-seven of these were organized under his administration.

He was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in Centreville Chapter, No. 11, on January 4, 1853, and for a number of years was High Priest of that Chapter. He was Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter for the years 1857, 1858 and 1859.

He died on September 20, 1889. He was buried in the cemetery at Constantine Michigan and was later moved to Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA.

TAKEN FROM HIS OBITUARY-----------------

Died at his home in Constantine, Michigan, September 20, 1889 at 5 AM. At the time of his death he was the only survivor of a family of thirteen he being the second youngest of the same.

His father, George L. Coffinberry was born in Martinsburg, Va. His mother, Elizabeth Klein (Little) Coffinberry, was born near Strasburg in Alsace Lorraine, about 1769. Both were children of German parentage. His father entered the military service as a soldier in the Revolutionary War at the age of eighteen and remained there until the close of the war. His parents moved from Martinsburg to Wheeling thence to Lancaster Ohio, where Salathiel was born on February 26, 1809. At Mansfield, the deceased studied law with his brother, Andrew, and was admitted to practice there in 1829. After a time he moved to Canal Dover, Tuscarawas County, Ohio, where he opened an office and remained a short time. From there he returned to Mansfield. where he practiced law most of the time until he came to Michigan.

Salathliel was an officer in the War of the Patriots in Canada on the part of the Patriots, took part, with his men in battle, and with his American comrades, narrowly escaped capture by crossing to the American side and hiding when closely pressed.

Deceased came from Ohio to St. Joseph County Michigan, in 1843, where he has resided ever since and where he had all along been engaged in the practice of his profession until failing health compelled him to give up two or three years ago.

He had long been a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity, a Knight Templar, and had taken consistory degrees in Masonry up to the thirty-second. He was Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Michigan and also Grand Master of the State for many years respelctively.

In the practice of his profession, almost invariable, his clients became his personal friends. He was eloquent as an advocate and was a brilliant and scho1arly public speaker.

He was for many year a prominent Democrat of the state and the candidate of that party for national and state offices of high rank. He was enthusiastic in his love of the fine arts and was proficient in music painting and poetry. Many of his productions in both prose and poetry are of a high order of merit. After attaining to years of manhood he acquired a thorough knowledge of the French and German language. His scholarly attainments, together with the great natural versatility of his mind conferred on him powers of conversation that were remarkably rare and fascinating. He had no ambition to accumulate money for money's sake. No inclination to toil in the gold mill that he might have bonds mortgages and certificates of deposit Immeasurably above that, he valued peace on earth, good will toward men. His impulses were amiable and tender, his generous nature quick to hear the cry of his fellow men in trouble and distress. His kind social intercourse and friendly companionship will be greatly missed, not only by members of his own family and kindred, but by a large circle of friends besides related to him by ties of blood.

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