Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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COAN, Titus, missionary, born in Killingworth, Connecticut, 1 February, 1801; died in Hilo, Hawaii, 1 December, 1882. He was descended from a family that had settled in Connecticut and at East Hampton, L. I., early in the history of the country. He studied under private teachers, and from 1819 till 1826 taught school in Saybrook, Killingworth, and Guilford. In 1826 he went to western New York, where four of his brothers were established, and taught for two years. He was a cousin of Asahel Nettleton, the evangelist, and had been influenced by the revivals that followed Nettleton's preaching ; he studied theology at Auburn, and was graduated there in 1833. Even before his graduation Mr. Coan was invited by the Boston board of missions to undertake the dangerous task of exploring southern Patagonia, with a view to the possible establishment of a mission there. He sailed from New York for the straits of Magellan, 16 August, 1833, with one companion, the Rev. Mr. Arms, on the schooner " Mary Jane," Capt. Clift. The perilous adventures of their trip are narrated in his "Patagonia." Escaping with their lives from the savages near Gregory's bay, the young explorers were taken off by a passing vessel and returned to New London, where they arrived 7 May, 1834. On 3 November, 1834, Mr. Coan married Miss Fidelia Church, and on the 5th of the following month the young missionaries sailed, with six others, in the ship "Hellespont," from Boston, for the Hawaiian islands. They arrived at Honolulu, via Cape Horn, 6 June, and at Hilo, which was to be Mr. and Mrs. Coan's home for life, 21 July, 1835. For two years Mr. Coan devoted himself to the study of the language, in which he became a powerful speaker. His energetic and affectionate nature, and his charming personal presence, gave almost unexampled success to his labors. The number of conversions in the years t838-'40 was more than 7,000, while he received in all, up to 1882, 13,000 persons into the Hilo and Puna church. Throughout this extensive district, 100 miles of coast-line, a region for many years only accessible on foot, Dr. Coan made regular and frequent tours and organized schools and churches; and he acted as its only physician until 1849, when the mission board sent out a medical man to assist him. Mrs. Coan established and for some time conducted a seminary for young Hawaiian Ms. Dr. Coan seized every opportunity to visit and to study the great volcanoes of Hawaii, of which no history can ever be written that will not depend, in large part, upon the data given in his published descriptions. The largest volcano in the world was in his parish, and for forty years he was the chief observer both of Kilauea anal of Mokuaweoweo, the summit crater. In 1860, and again in 1867, he made a tour of the missions in the Marquesas islands. In 1870, after a continuous absence of thirty-six years, Dr. and Mrs. Coan revisited the United States. His abounding energy exercised itself in making 239 addresses in twenty different states and territories during the eleven months of his stay. Mrs. Coan died, after their return to Hilo, exhausted by care and labor, 20 September, 1872. She was a woman of fine mind and great charm of character, and to her wise aid and counsel much of Dr. Coan's success was due. Dr. Coan's published writings are "Adventures in 666 COANACATZIN COBB Patagonia" (New York, 1880) : "Life in Hawaii" (1882); and a multitude of articles in the "American Journal of Science," the "Missionary Herald," and other journals.--His son, Titus Munson, physician, born in Hilo, Hawaiian islands, 27 September, 1836, was educated at home and in the royal school and the Punahou academy at Honolulu, where he was prepared for College. Coming to the United States in 1856, he spent a year at Yale, but went subsequently to Williams, where he was graduated in 1859. He studied medicine at the New York College of physicians and surgeons, and took his degree in 1861. Dr. Coan afterward served two years in the City hospitals, and more than two years in the United States navy, under Admiral Farragut as assistant surgeon, 1863-'5, being present at the battle of Mobile Bay. Resigning from the naval service in December, 1865, he resumed his residence in New York, which has been his home ever since. Dr. Coau first became known as a writer by his essays in the " Galaxy" (1869-'77). He has contributed many literary, critical, and technical papers, and poems, to various periodicals, and has published in book-form "Ounces of Prevention" (New York, 1885); a " Universal Gazetteer" (a supplement to "Webster's Dictionary," 1885); and he edited "Topics of the Time" (6 vols., New York, 1883). Dr. Coan has written much on the subject of mineral springs, to which he has given special study during repeated visits to Europe.
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