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Sandstone Ranch Album

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- please click on an image to see a larger version -
(The images are courtesy of the Longmont Museum.)

Morse CoffinMorse H. Coffin
A Colorado pioneer (1859) and St. Vrain Valley civic leader. Morse is descended from the Coffeen family, which came from the Netherlands to England to fight with William the Conqueror in 1066. Mores’s first ancestor in America was Tristram Coffyn, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1642. Morse made his claim on Sandstone Ranch in 1860.

Julia Dunbar CoffinJulia Dunbar Coffin
A strong, dynamic and “progressive” woman, at home and in the community. Julia, whose family can also be traced back to Massachusetts, married Morse in 1865 and came here to make a home with him the following year. They had five children.


Morse’s parents (not shown) were Mary Ann Hull and Jacob Coffin, a blacksmith and farmer. Morse was born in 1836 in Roxbury, NY, and moved to Belvidere, Illinois when he was nine.
Interestingly coincidental to Julia’s history!

Elizabeth DunbarAndrew DunbarElizabeth Thomas Dunbar and Andrew Dunbar – Julia’s parents.
Julia was born in Otsego, New York, in 1844, the youngest of five children. When she was nine, her family moved to Afton, Illinois. Her father worked as a merchant, butcher and farmer.
(images from mid-1800s)



Morse and Julia's four childrenMorse and Julia’s four younger children.
(Geneva, born 1866, not pictured.)
Counterclockwise from top:
Merton, born 1868; Adelbert, born 1873; (Morse) Harry, born 1877; and (Julia) Etta, born 1883.

Everyone but Julia Etta was most likely born in the Coffin’s log cabin, before this house was completed around 1880. Harry died at age 19 from appendicitis.
(image circa 1885)

Camping trip“Camping trip. – our last camp, Aug. 29, 1885”
Commenting some years later on the hard journey west after they married, Morse said that Julia “has never desired much camp life since…. Mrs. Coffin thinks she has had her share of pioneering, but she has stood it well….”


Sandstone House-2004
Sandstone Ranch - 2004

Sanstone Ranch 1880sSandstone Ranch House was built around 1880. This is how it looked before the stucco was put on the walls, which were built of Fox Hills Sandstone. The stone was quarried from the bluffs right out back.

The two-story back porch, built of wood, faces south. It was renovated by the Frank and Andrea Bigelow family after they purchased the property in 1981; it is now a solarium.
(image from 1880s (?))

Sanstone Ranch 2004Sandstone Ranch
The vestibule at the front (west) door and the two-story addition on the north side were added during the Bigelow’s renovations in the early 1980s.
(image from 2004)


Adobe brick summer kitchenAn adobe-brick summer kitchen can be seen on the left (north) side of the Sandstone Ranch house. The kitchen, which had become run down, was removed during renovations the Bigelows made after they purchased the property in 1981. Notice the sandstone bluffs behind the house.
The three women are likely members of the Coffin Family.
(image from the late 1800s)


Lease agreement with david secor 1888Morse H. and Julia D. Coffin lease agreement with David Secor recorded by Boulder County on Dec. 22, 1888




Leased quarryA view of what became known as Secor’s Quarry, looking northwest with the Sandstone Ranch house in the distance. You can see the boom that was used to load stone onto wagons, and later, rail cars.
In 1888 Morse leased a portion of the bluffs to David Secor, and a railroad spur was run directly to the quarry in 1889. Morse was paid $2 per car load of stone.
(image circa 1880)

Rock carved initialsThe sandstone bluffs out back have several historic carvings, presumably, made by the quarrymen who worked there in the days of Secor’s Quarry. “AJ” carved his initials on 11-7-99. That’s 1899!



Family Reunion-1892 Family reunion in 1892 (click on image for larger version)





Siblings at 1892 reunionSiblings identified as Reuben, Morse, Elizabeth “Libbie” Patten, Miles, (Sabrah) Ellen Pennock, Emeline Daniels and George at the 1892 reunion.
William, John, (Sarah) Maria and Mary deceased. Half-brother Herbert not shown.



Uncles from the early 1900s“Uncle Morse, Uncle Reuben, Uncle Herbert (Coffins)”
Morse was one of eleven children. He also had a half-brother, Herbert. Morse’s brother George (not shown), who joined him in Colorado in 1860, was brutally killed by an unknown assailant in 1905.
(image from the early 1900s)

Mail WagonLuna Coffin Gardner in the mail wagon, “Belvidere, pulled by Florrie.”
Her uncles Reuben and Morse in front; their friend John Cochran behind.
(image from the early 1900s)



Stanley Steamer trip to Estes Park“Starting for Riverside (South St. Vrain). Reuben with Coffins. Right Hand Drive Stanley Steamer on way to Estes Park”
(image from the early 1900s)




Lydia and Reuben“Lydia and Reuben Coffin”
Reuben, Morse’s brother, homesteaded Walnut Grove Farm just northwest of here, at what is now Highway 119 and Weld County Road 1. Two-thousand black walnut trees were planted, and the site became a popular picnic and gathering spot. The 120 year-old trees were removed in 1991 for development. Lydia and Reuben’s descendants have donated many family photographs and objects to the Longmont Museum (image from the early 1900s)

Uncle Geo Coffin's family“Uncle Geo. Coffin’s family. Gertrude, George Jr., Mark, Lewis, Will, Edna.”
In 1860 Morse’s brother George joined him in improving their land claims. “George and I made a close partnership which continued until 1866, when I found another partner to whom I was more closely attached.”
(image from the early 1900s)


Adelbert Lynn CoffinAdelbert Lynn Coffin, Morse and Julia’s grand-nephew; grandson of Reuben and Lydia.
(image circa 1925)





Coffins-Boyntons-in-1910Coffins, Boyntons and other friends at a Sandstone Ranch gathering.
Seated second to the left in the middle row is Etta Dunbar Kelso, Julia’s older sister. Etta, an artist, lived at Sandstone Ranch until she married. Several of her paintings can be seen in the home today. And one of her hair-dye bottles, found hidden under the floor-boards, is on display in the house library.
(image circa 1910)

Coffins and Boyntons in AllensparkThe Coffins were close friends and neighbors of the Boyntons, shown here at their cabin in Allenspark.
(image from the early 1900s)



Boynton family mountain outingEven the dog is enjoying this beautiful mountain scene. A photograph from the Boynton family, close friends and neighbors of the Coffins.
(image from the early 1900s)


Mountain-outing-Boynton-familyHurray for suspenders! A photograph from the Boynton family, close friends and neighbors of the Coffins.
(image from the early 1900s)



Ralph-Cleveland-tenant-farmerRalph Cleveland was a child when he lived at Sandstone Ranch. He was here with his family, as tenant farmers. They leased the ranch from Geneva Coffin’s daughter, N. Jean Craig Evans. Ralph was in the early 20s when this photo was taken.
“1936 or 1937 at Sandstone – Ralph Cleveland and Richard Schlupp (behind).”



Schlupps and Clevelands-picnicThe Schlupp's and Cleveland's enjoy a picnic in the backyard at Sandstone Ranch.
1936 or 1937




Ice house Sandstone RanchThe Sandstone Ranch ice house and sandstone bluffs.
The ice house would have been used to store food as well as ice that the Coffins “harvested” in local ponds and the St. Vrain Creek.
(image from the mid1900s)


Morse Coffin with granddaughterMorse in a happy moment at Sandstone Ranch, with his granddaughter, (Neva) Jean Craig.
(image from 1910)





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