OWEN VINCENT COFFIN was born in Mansfield, New York, on June 20, 1836. He was educated at New York’s Cortland Academy and the Charlottesville Seminary. Coffin taught school, was a salesman in the mercantile industry, and became president of the Brooklyn YMCA. After moving to Connecticut in 1864, Coffin served as executive officer of the Farmers and Mechanics Savings Bank, and he became president of the Middlesex County Agricultural Society in 1875. Coffin entered politics as a member of the Connecticut Senate, serving in 1887 and again in 1889. He won the 1894 Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected Connecticut’s 39th governor. During his tenure, a state board of mediation and arbitration was instituted, and a bill was enacted that disallowed children under the age of 14 from working. Legislation passed that prohibited the use of convict labor in the production of food, drugs, and tobacco products; and a bill was constituted that enabled a worker’s right to join a labor union. Coffin left office on January 6, 1897, retiring from public service. He stayed active in his business ventures, and in his civic and religious dealings. Governor Owen Vincent Coffin died on January 3, 1921, and is buried at the Indian Hill Cemetery in Middletown, Connecticut.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.