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Long Island Surnames

Database archives of Long Island Genealogy containing 3,2361,199 people, 1,278,169 families, 176,455 sources and 265,138 notes

Robert Coles

Male Abt 1597 - 1654  (~ 57 years)

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  • Name Robert Coles  [1
    Born Abt 1597  England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Burial Bef 28 Oct 1654  , Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 28 Oct 1654  Warwick, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried UNKNOWN  , Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Information submitted by John Carpenter via email
      June 17, 1999

      " The Records of The Coles family go back to Richard Colles of Pickwick
      Co., Warwick, England ,who sprung from the family of Collefern of Co.
      ------Research by Robert Coles of Glen Cove LI. NY. ----- 22 Dec. 1980

      Robert came from England in the fleet with Govenor Winthrop in 1630 to
      either Ipswich or Roxbury (Massachussetts Bay Colony) , and October of
      that yr requsted to be a Freemanof Roxbury. He was made a Freeman in 1631
      He was fined several times for intoxication. These fines were remitted
      possibly with the understanding that he was to leave the colony. He came
      to Rhode Island in 1637. (possibly forced out of town becaused of
      ,reformed in earnest and was one of the founders of the First Baptist
      Church along with Roger Williams and William Carpenter.
      When he died ,he did not leave a will,so his property was distibuted by
      the town " the same as it should have been had he left a will
      He may have been Welch from near Bristol England
      Migration: 1630

      First Residence: Roxbury

      Removes: Ipswich 1633, Salem 1635, Providence 1638, Paxtuxet, Warwick

      Church Membership: Roxbury Church member #8. Excommunicated at some
      later date. In 1639, he was in Providence ,RI and was one of the twelve
      original members of the First Baptist Church.

      Freeman: admitted 5/18/1631. Disenfranchised 3/4/1633/4, readmitted

      Education: Signed his name.

      Offices: Representative for Roxbury to General Court 1632. Helped write
      arbitration law 1640.
      From public records:
      August 16, 1631: Fined 5 marks, for drinking too much aboard ship
      May 9, 1632: Appointed on a committee to confer with the court
      about raising of a public stock.
      March 4, 1633: "The court orders that Robert Coles, for drunkenness
      by him committed at Roxbury, shall be disenfranchised, weare about his
      necke and soe to hange upon his outward garment a D made of redd clothe
      and sett upon white; to contynue
      this for a yeare, and not to leace it off at any tyme when he comes
      amongst company, under penalty of XLs. for the first offense, and V
      pounds for the second, and after to be punished by the court as they
      think meete; also he is to weare the D
      outwards, and in enjoyned to appear at the next general court, and to
      contynue thise until it be ended."
      April 1, 1633: Among those who had gone to Agawam (Ipswich) to
      plant a colony.
      1639: Providence. He was one of the twelve original members of
      First Baptist Church.
      1640: He was appointed with three others to form a committee on all
      matters of difference regarding the dividing line between Providence and
      Pawtuxet, and on July 27 of that year , he and 38 others signed a
      agreement to form a government. He was one of the 17 who purchased the
      Pautuxet meadows, and he made his home there. Three others were
      appointed with him to arbitrate disputes and make rules of government,
      and their report was the compact signed by all the settlers. He became a
      friend of Samuel Gorton when he came to Providence, driven from
      Massachusetts by the intolerance of the authorities of that colony, and
      gave him part of his land.
      The actions of Gorton and his followers were such, however, as to cause
      the older settlers to wish to be free of them, and he, with four others,
      in September 1642, appeared before the general court at Boston and
      yielded themselves up to the Massachusetts Colony, which accepted
      jurisdiction and appointed them magistrates. In the formal complaint of
      the Indians to the Plymouth colony in September 1652, the seventh article
      is as follows:
      "7th. Ninigrett bought a mastiff dog of Robert Cole, and gave 40
      shillings for him, which dog ran home to Robert Cole, who killed the said
      dog; wherefore, Ninigrett requires 40s. of said Cole."
      The commissioners found the charge true, and promised to write Mr. Cole
      to return the money.

      January 2, 1653 he sold his house & lot in Providence,RI to Richard Pray.

      Feb. 27, 1654 he & his wife sold to Zacharoah Rhodes for 80 pounds his
      dwelling house at Pawtuxet and certrain land.

      He married Mary Hawkhurst. He died previous to October 18, 1654, when
      his property was distributed by the town, "the same as it should have
      been had he left a will."
      After his death, Mary married Mathias Harvey and moved to Oyster Bay, NY
      where she died.

      " COLES, Robert (1598-before 1655), from Eng.
      to Roxbury, Mass., 1630; removed to Ipswich
      1633; a founder of Providence, R.I.; dep. Gen. Ct."

      (Source: "Abridged Compendium" by Vircus, p 3468)

      "COLES, ROBERT, Roxbury, came in the fleet with Winth. req. to be made
      freem. 19 Oct. 1630, and was adm. 18 May foll. rem. perhaps to Salem, and
      to Ipswich, was oft. punish. for drunken. yet in 1638 seems to be reform.
      if remis. of fines may just. be thus understood, tho. it may only have
      been act of policy to ensure his rem. from our jurisdict. But at last he
      went to Providence, was reform. in earnest, and bec. one of the found. of
      the first Bapt. ch. there. By w. Mary he had John, beside Daniel,
      Nathaniel, Robert, and ds. Sarah, perhaps youngest; Ann, wh. m. Henry
      Townsend; Eliz. wh. m. John Townsend; both from L. I. where Quakers were
      persecut. by the Dutch. He d. bef. 18 Oct. 1654, when the town counc,
      exercis. their duty of mak. distrib. of his prop. in the way he should
      have made his will. The wid. m. Matthias Harvey, and rem. to Oyster Bay,
      L. I. with her s. Nathaniel and Daniel, and the two ds. that m. Townsend

      (Source: Savage, "First Settlers of NE Vol I", p 17)

      Notes for MARY HAWXHURST:
      "Mary Cole, the wife of Robert Cole. god also wrought upon her heart (as
      it was hoped after her coming
      N.E. but after her husbands excommunication, & falls she did too much
      favor his ways, yet not as to incur any just blame, she lived an aflicted
      life, by reason of his unsetlednesse & removing fro place to place."

      (Source: "The Rev. John Eliot's Record of Church Members, Roxbury,
      Mass.")"ROBERT COLES, b. in Eng., came to New England, 1630, and d. before 1656. In 1632 was member of the first representative body from Roxbury, Mass. He removed to R. I. and is said to have died in 165 1 at Providence, where an order of the court was issued for the distribution of his estate. His wife Mary
      survived him, and removed with her 2d husband, Matthias Harvey, to Oyster Bay, L. I."

      Jones, John Henry, The Jones family of Long Island; descendants of Major Thomas Jones (1665-1726) and allied families, (New York: Tobias A. Wright, 1907).
      "The village is situated on the north shore of Long Island, on Hempstead Harbor, and about twenty-five miles from New York. For some forty years past, Glen Cove has been a favorite resort for the elite of New York and other cities...
      This village at its first settlement was called "the Place," then Musceata Coufe," and for some time went by the name of Pembroke." In 1834 by a vote of the people the name was changed to Glen Cove.
      In 1667 one Joseh Carpenter applied to the governor for permission to buy "a certain piece of land on each syde of the ryver at Musceata Coufe, where he proposes to settle two or three plantations and to erect a saw and fulling-mill." This petition was granted. On the 24th of May 1668 he joined with him as equal shareholders in the property Nathaniel Coles, Abia Carpenter, Thomas Townsend and Robert Coles. In 1677 Governor Andros granted letters patent to Joseph Carpenter, N. and R. Coles and Nicholas Simpkins for the land around Mosquito Cove. (See Coles Doc#230 for land references)
      I have given and granted and by these presents do hereby give and grant unto the said Joseph Carpenter, Nathaniel Coles, Daniel Coles, Robert Coles and Nicholas Simpkins, their heirs and assignees, the aforementioned track of swamp, mill run and premises, with their and every of their appurtenances; they making improvements thereon according to law and yielding and paying therefor yearly and every year unto His Royal Highness's use as a quit-rent one bushel of good winter wheat, unto such officer or officers as shall be empowered to receive the same. (More land references on Coles Doc#230) The tract contained according to the patent "seventeen hundred acres;" but from a list of the landholders dated November 11th, 1786 made out upon the occasion of a final payment of quit-rent and which gives the number of acres owned by each person within the patent, the total number of acres appears to amount to 3,678; which being more than double the quantity given under the hand of the surveyor points to a mistake somewhere, in which the Indians must have been the losers. In the following paragraph the number of acres of each owner is followed by the amount of his tax:
      Caleb Coles, 125, 2s. 6d.; Benjamin Coles, 100, 2s.;Jacob Valentine, 277, 5s.6d.; Coles Mudge, 80, 1s. 8d.; Jordan Coles, 19, 4d.; James Bennett, 3, 1d.; Henry Mott, 26, 6d.; Charles Thorne, 19, 4d; Thomas Kipp's estate, 6, 2d.; Joseph Wood, 120, 2s. 5d; Benjamin Craft, 73, 1s. 6d.; Joseph Craft, 147, 2s. 11d.; Solomon Craft, 60, 1s. 3d., Morris Carpenter, 15, 4d.; William Hyde, 11, 3d.; Coles Carpenter, 200, 4s.; Albert Coles, 75, 1s. 5d.; Derich Coles, 62, 1s. 3d.; William Coles, 48, 1s.; Benjamin Coles, Jr., 100, 2s.; Isaac Coles, 19, 4d.; Daniel Coles, 120, 2s. 5d.; Ananias Downing, 156, 3s.2d.; William Hopkins, 80, 1s. 8d.; Thomas Hopkins, 140, 2s. 10d.; Silas Downing, 20, 5d.; Jermoas Bennett, 80, 1s. 8d.; George Bennett, 80, 1s.8d.; Thomas Pearsall, 185, 3s. 9d.; Charles Frost, 3, 1d.; John Frost, 3, 1d; William Bennett, 6, 2d.
      Joseph Carpenter, the first purchaser, appears to have resided for some time with his father, William, at Providence, R. I.; from there he moved to Oyster Bay early in the year 1667, and thence to Mosquito Cove.
      Nathaniel Coles was the son of Robert Coles, one of the associates of Governor Winthrop in the settlement of Ispwich, Mass. He came to Long Island in 1654, in company with Robert Williams, and settled at Oyster Bay. Many of the descendants of these two men are still living in the village and vicinity.
      A saw-mill was built immediately after the settlement (by Joseph Carpenter), and soon afterward it was thought necessary to build a grist-mill for the convenience of the settlers. The saw-mill and grist-mill were erected upon a dam thrown across the stream, and we are told vessels would run up to the dam and load at the lowest tide. The saw-mill soon grew very advantageous to the colony, for in 1678 we find Carpenter receiving extensive orders for plank to be used in the construction or repair of old Fort James, which stood on the Battery, New York. The growth of the settlement was rapid...A year after the settlement orf the Cove the list of freeheolders in Oyster Bay included but forty-one; yet the increase in population was so rapid that in twenty years (1687) Governor Dongan stated that the people complained of a want of room....
      In selecting places for their homes the early settlers chose sites in proximity to springs or streams, or where water would be found near the surface of the ground, which fact is very noticeable along Cedar Swamp Valley."(History of Queens County, New York, printed in 1882 by W. W. Munsell & Co., pages 513-515)

      The Coles Family
      by Maureen McKernan
      Evening Star, Peekskill, N.Y., Wednesday, October 24, 1951

      Robert Coles, from Suffolk in Old England, must have been a gay young blade when he came to Plymouth Colony with Governor Winthrop in 1630. Handsome, too, one may assume from the little that is known about him. Not once but three times Robert Coles was chided by his grim, dour Puritan neighbors for frivolity and inciting others to frivolity.

      Robert, who is the ancestor of Westchester Coles families, was thirty when he became a pillar of the community is also indicated by records left by him in the establishment of the settlement at Warwick, R.I., where he died in 1655 "full of honors" and leaving behind him a family of four sons and three daughters.

      Two of his sons, Robert and Daniel, were among the founders of the settlement at Glen Cove and along the shores of Hempstead Harbor. Their children are the founders of the Westchester Coles families of Mamaroneck and of Mount Pleasant.

      Originally Muskito Cove

      When Robert and Daniel went to Glen Cove the pace was called Muskito Cove and this name continued until the niceties of the Victorian era dictated the more pleasing sound of the name Glen Cove. Proponent of the change in name meant it to be Glencoe, after the name in Scotland, but one old fellow unwittingly corrupted the name by saying in town meeting "Well, we can still call it The Cove, so you can change the name if you want."

      But all that happened more than a century after Robert Coles 2d came from Rhode Island to buy several hundreds of acres from the Indians. He built his house, laid out his farms and today he sleeps among Coleses of later generations in the Coles burying ground at the side of his own garden in The Place in Glen Cove where he died in 1718.

      Of Daniel there is little record except that his hon Samuel, who was born in Glen Cove in 1670, came to Mount Pleasant when he was 20, laid out a big farm on the west side of the Bronx River, and founded the family which is represented today by such descendants as Floyd Coles, retired feed merchant of White Plains; Allen C. Stevens, White Plains insurance man, and school boy John Carroll and his little sister, Gale, children of Eleanor Coles Carroll and Benjamin Carroll, White Plains newspaper editor.

      Cemetery was Coles Farm

      Kensico Cemetery and the institution for girls, St. Mary's of the Fields on Virginia Road west of Valhalla, were Coles farms. The guest house at St. Mary's is the James COles farmhouse. The Valhalla branch of the Coles family married into such families as Horton, Miller and Sniffen. Nancy Tompkins, sister of Governor Daniel D. Tompkins, married a Coles.

      John Coles, son of Robert Coles of Glen Cove, was born in Glen Cove in 1673 and moved to New Rochelle in 1730. Southern Westchester families of the name descend from his seven children who married into such old families as the Haights and Griffens. One of John's sons, Robert, who was 20 when the family moved to New Rochelle, married Jemima Griffen in 1738 and built two farm houses on Weaver Street in Mamaroneck Town that were landmarks until the late 1800s.

      Robert was a cooper as well as farmer. His first house stood opposite the entrance of today's Weaver Street firehouse. His second, a more elegant homestead, stood until 1873 on the other side of Weaver Street next to the site of the firehouse. Robert died in 1782, Jemima in 1770. Their son John married Charity Robinson whose mother was a Palmer and from them descend Grenville MacKenzie of Westport, Conn., one of the outstanding genealogists of today and an authority on early American history, to which he has devoted a lifetime of research.

      One of Robert's grandsons, John B. Coles, was a prosperous New York merchant after 1800. The Robert Coles of today, manager of the Hayden Planetarium, is his descendant. Many Coles families and collateral branches from Coles girls descend from Joseph and James, other sons of John of New Rochelle. It's a big family, in all its branches. In 1809 Caleb Coles sold one of his father's Weaver Street houses and moved to New York with his sons, Thomas and Caleb, where he founded a bank. Thomas and Caleb made a fortune in a wholesale shoes business in Franklin Street but were wiped out in the panic of 1837. This Thomas Coles was the great-great-grandfather of Grenville MacKenzie.

      17 March 1689/90 Will of Robert Coles: this will was replaced by the 1712 will

      Volume I of the "Oyster Bay Town Records" on page 653

      In the name of god amen
      I Robert Coles being in perfect memary doe Comit my body to the dust from whence it was taken and my soure to god that gave it I also despose of my asteat as folowes: first I bequeath all my land and meadowes unto my fore Sones nathan Robert John and Charles Coles to bee Equally devided amongst them onley my Eldest son nathan is to have his first Choyes when devided: I resarving for my wife there mother my houes and orchard be low the high way or Street with the land and meadow aloyning thereunto for here ues duering her widowhood and no longer: after to return to my sons as afore menshoned I also give unto each of my sones one Cow and two yeues when they Come of Age and if any of my sons dy without iseu then his part to fall to the sirvivers: also I bequave unto my wife mercy Coles all my moveable Estat to distrubt among my dafters as my sayd wife shall see case only my negro boye to fall to my sones after my wifes deth or widowhood: as also the Cows and Sheep abovementioned my sons must have when thay come of age my mill I give to my sones also among them as aforesayd my wife shall have the ues of all the esteat tell my Chrildren shall Com to age for the bringing of my Children up that is to say during her widowhood and not other wayes I desier my Cozen John Townsend my sister anns son and my Cozen nathaniell Coles my brothers son: with my wie to se this my will proformed acording to the tenner thereof this above wreten I doe owne And ecknowlidg to be my last will and testement as witeness my hand and seale
      In Musketacove this 17th of march 1689/90
      Signed Sealed in presents of us
      moses mudg John Newman
      George Codner

      Signed by Robert Coles

      memarandom that I Robert Coles the within wretten my Last will and testament do make and appoynt my eldest son nathan Coles and my wife to be the whole Executors of this the within wreten my Last will and testament and that John Townsend and nathaniel Coles my Overseres named in this my within wreten testament shall have full power to divide my land according as I have Given it to my Childrean in this my within wreten will and this I declare to be a part of this my within wreten will as witeness my hand and seal the 17th of march 1689
      Signed and Sealed in presents of us
      Moses Mudg John Newman
      George Codner

      Signed by Robert Coles

      Born near Groton, Norfolk Co., England.
      There are some basic facts about Robert Cole(s) here: <>

      In all my research through various old Massachusetts records (in MA libraries; Beverly, Salem, Andover), I have no quarrel with the facts on the above website and can verify those facts through other sources. It jives with my own sources.

      There is some speculation about whether or not Mary Hawxhurst was Robert Coles' first or second wife. The answer may lie in England but, unfortunately, I've seen it cited that Robert Coles was from Sudbury, Suffolk, as well as London and Navestock, Essex.

      In light of that, it's been difficult to pin him down. And, with such a common name and at least 3 places of possible origin in England, it is a hurdle to even begin to know where to look. "Coles" and its variant, "Cole", is a very common surname in the UK (as it is here) and it seems they were quite prolific, with Coles all over the country, even back then. Also, "Robert" was quite common and it's likely there were a number of Robert Coles living in England at the time.

      Since it's estimated that he was slightly over 30 years old when he arrived in New England, it's certainly possible that he may have married in England and perhaps was a widower. That is something to consider. Assuming that to be the case, there is no mention of a family in very early New England records (wife,children,etc.) and it's hard to connect any subsequent passengers of later arrivals as being possible family members. But, just because they're not mentioned anywhere doesn't mean that they didn't exist.

      Assuming he was married in England, did he have children? If so, did they join him later? Or, if he was married before leaving England, was his a childless marriage?

      I saw one claim that his father was a Nathaniel Coles of Sudbury, Suffolk, England, but was not able to find a verifiable source for that.
      In summation, things might make more sense if he can be connected through records in England. That's not a trip I'll be making soon, but as more UK records come on line or are available in books and on CDs, there's a chance that we will be able to connect the dots.

      Died before Oct. 28, 1654, at Warwick, R. I.
    Person ID I3492  Biggs
    Last Modified 3 May 2009 

    Father Nathaniel Coles,   b. Abt 1578, Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. UNKNOWN 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Mrs-Nathaniel Coles,   b. Abt 1582, , , England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. UNKNOWN 
    Relationship Stepchild 
    Family ID F1252  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mary Hawkshurst,   b. Abt 1602, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 Nov 1684, Oyster Bay, Queens Co., LI, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 82 years) 
    Married Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Married before 1630 probably in England.
     1. Deliverance Coles,   b. Warwick, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location  [natural]
    Last Modified 2 Feb 2018 
    Family ID F1250  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S25317] The Jones family of Long Island; descendants of Major Thomas Jones (1665-1726) and allied families, Jones, John Henry, (New York: Tobias A. Wright, 1907).

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