Phoebe Hanaford

May 6, 1829, Siasconset, Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.

June 2, 1921, Rochester, New York.

In an unmarked grave in Orleans Cemetery, Phelps, New York, next to her daughter, Florence Hanaford Warner.


Daughter of Quaker ship owner George F. Coffin, Phoebe was cousin to feminist Lucretia Mott. A gifted writer, she was published in the local paper by the time she was a teenager. She studied Latin and mathematics and taught school for a few years, then in 1849 married Dr. Joseph H. Hanaford. The couple lived in Newton and Reading, Massachusetts, and had two children. Phoebe continued her literary efforts, producing poetry, children’s stories, essays, and biographies (her biography of Abraham Lincoln sold 20,000 copies). She also edited a Universalist magazine, and, urged by Rev. Olympia Brown, she eventually became a Universalist minister (the first woman ordained in New England, and the first female chaplain to the Connecticut state legislature). She served churches in Hingham and Waltham, Massachusetts; New Haven, Connecticut; and Jersey City, New Jersey. Her works include:

  1. Amid the Hours That Rapid Fly
  2. Blest be the Sacred Tie That Binds
  3. Cast Thy Bread upon the Waters
  4. Come, Join Our Youthful, Happy Band
  5. Come unto Me, Earth’s Weary Ones
  6. Faith Works by Love
  7. Glorious God, We Come to Bless Thee
  8. He’s Gone to That Fair Land
  9. In Childhood’s Hour with Careless Joy
  10. In Life’s Fair Dawn All Bright and Gay
  11. In That Better Land
  12. Miriam’s Song We’ll Echo
  13. No Power but Thine, O, God
  14. Not They Are Happiest
  15. Now the Ills of Earth Surround Us
  16. O God of Glory, God of Grace
  17. Our Home Is Beyond the Tide
  18. Our Little Band Is Full of Hope
  19. Praise, Praise to Him, O Lord on High
  20. Ring the Bells, the Golden Hours
  21. Sailor on the Boundless Sea, The
  22. Strife for Freedom, The
  23. This Life Is All a Battle Field
  24. Thou Art, O God, the Giver Great
  25. To the Sabbath School We Come
  26. To Yonder Glorious Land
  27. Voyager on Life’s Stormy Ocean
  28. We Praise Thee, Father
  29. When from the Scenes of Earth I Turn
  30. When Youth and Health Their Roses Bring
  31. Young Man, Afar from Home, Sweet Home