Thomas Coleman

Thomas COLEMAN (1602 – 1685) was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather, one of 2,048  in this generation of the Shaw line.

Thomas Coleman(Coutman) was born about 1602 in Marlboro, Wiltshire, England. His father was also Thomas COLEMAN. He married  Susanna RAULINES on 24 Nov 1623 in Wootton Rivers, Wiltshire, England. Thomas Colman was one of fifty-three men (plus women and children) who shipped at Southampton on 6 April 1635, on the brig “James” and landed at Boston on 3 Jun 1635, William Cooper, Master.   The historian Joshua Coffin says he spelled his name “Coultman.”  The year after Susanna died, he married Mrs. Mary Johnson 11 Jul 1651 in Hampton, NH. He married (3) Margery Fowler about 1655.   Thomas was one of the original Nantucket partners and removed to to the island before 1663 where he died 14 Aug 1685.

Susanna Raulines was born 14 Apr 1605 in Wiltshire, England.  Susanna died  17 Nov 1650 in Newbury, Mass.

Mary [__?__] married Edmund Johnson about 1638 in England. After Edmund died 30 Jan 1663, she married Thomas COLMAN.

Margery Fowler was born 25 May 1615 in Marlborough, Wiltshire, England.  Her parents were Philip Fowler and Mary Winsley. She first married 28 July 1633 at St. Mary’s, Marlborough, Wiltshire, England, to Christopher Osgood. She and Christopher immigrated on 6 May 1635 to Massachusetts; on board The Mary & John. After Christopher died, in 1651 she married Thomas Rowell. Margery and Thomas moved in 1652 to Ipswich, Mass and in 1658 to Andover, Mass. After Thomas died, she married Thomas COLMAN. She was the widow of Thomas Rowell of Andover, who had been widowed of first Christopher Osgood of Andover. After Thomas died, she married Thomas Osborne.  Margery died 20 Nov 1701 in Andover, Essex, Mass. at age 86 years, 5 months and 26 days.

Children of Thomas and Sussana

Name Born Married Departed
1. Dorothy Coleman 19  Dec 1624,
Marlboro, Wiltshire, England
17 May 1625 Marlborough, Wiltshire, England
2. Dorcas Coleman c 1630,
Marlboro, England
John Tillotson
14 July 1648
Newbury,  MA.
02 Jan 1653/54
3. Hannah Coleman c 1630
Marlboro, England
Jan 1642 Newbury
4. Thomas Coleman c 1632
Marlboro, England
21 Oct 1650 Newbury
5. Tobias COLEMAN c. 1638
Newbury, MA
16 Apr 1668
settled in Rowley, Essex, MA
c. 1715 in Newbury MA
6. Benjamin Coleman 1 Apr 1640
Newbury, MA
21 Oct 1650
Hampton, NH
7. Joseph Coleman 2 Dec 1642
Newbury, MA
Ann Bunker
Nantucket,  Mass
Apr 1690
Nantucket MA
8. John Coleman 4 Apr 1644
Newbury, MA
Joanna Folger (Benjamin Franklin’s aunt, Joanna’s sister Abigail was Benjamin Franklin’s mother)
17 Dec 1715
Nantucket MA
9. Isaac Coleman 20 Feb 1647
Newbury, MA
6 Jun (6th 6 mo) 1669
drowned while crossing from Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard
10. Jemima Coleman c. 1649
Newbury, MA
11. Joanna Coleman c. 1650
Newbury, MA

Children of Thomas Coleman and Mary Johnson are:

Name Born Married Departed
12. Susannah Coleman c. 1651
Newbury, Mass.
13. Thomas Coleman c. 1653
Newbury, Mass
14. Dorcas Coleman 2 Jan 1654
Newbury, Mass
2 Jan 1654

The family of Coleman in Nantucket are descended from Thomas’ sons Joseph and John while the Colemans in Newbury are descended from Tobias.

Nantucket Settlers Monument

From Grandma Miner’s copy of a letter to her Uncle Ammi in 1882 by his Aunt Elvira Coleman Gilbert.  She had copied a response  by William Temple to a request for information about the Coleman family.  William Temple was the son of Zervia Richardson Temple Colemen from her first marriage before she married William Coleman, son of Benjamin COLEMAN.

Thomas Colman weighed about five hundred pounds at the time of his death. (I have heard Uncle Chas Colman say he (Thos. Colman) never saw his feet for years, and had to weat a large leather girdle to hold up his bowels. (You will remember that your Aunt Maria Foster weighed 316 pounds when she died.)

Here we have the original of the Colmans in America, and here was the family seat. Thos. Colman was a native of Marlboro, Wiltshire, England and arriving in Boston in 1635, came down to Newbery with the party under Parker in the same year. He wrote his name Coultman, this is, Colt man, which originally meant one who took care of colts and horses.This appears to have been the employment of the family in England and it was to that he first gave his attention in America, as will be learned from the old town records. The name came, as in many other instances, from the occupation or the calling, and the knowledge of that business seems to have been hereditary for we do not call to mind now a person of that name who was not a good judge of horses and did not appear to have a love for horses.

Col. Jeremiah Colman may be referred to as proof of the fact. He not only knew the character and value of horses, but he was one of the best riders who ever sat upon such an animal, carrying himself at military parades, at cattle shows or ordinary riding with an ease and grace that a King might envy.

The Thos. Colman referred to lived to be 85 years old, and longevity is a family trait.

From ” Early Settlers of Nantucket.” — Children of Thomas Coleman  were as follows : First wife Susanna had Benjamin, b 1640; Joseph, b 1642.  Second, wife had Isaac, Joanna and John. Third, wife Margery had one son Tobias COLEMAN. Most other records show Tobias as the first son born in America.

The name Coleman first appears in history in AD 664 in the person of a noted Scotch Bishop of Lindsparne, he died 676. Five branches of the family have been honored with coats of arms.

1635 – Sir Richard Saltonstall, Henry Sell, Richard and Stephen Drummer with others from Wiltshire, England, had organized a company for the purpose of stock raising at a time when prices for cattle horses and sheep were at their highest, and Thomas Colman had been employed by the projectors of the company to provide feed for the cattle and take care of them for a specified 2 years.

Thomas Colman becoming dissatisfied, for some reason, declined to carry out his part of the contract, and the General Court ruled he was negligent and unfaithful.  The Court ordered a division of the grain that had been imported and instructed each owner to take care of his own cattle.

1635 – Thomas received two lots in Newbury.

17 May 1637 – Admitted Freeman.  Thomas Coleman, we learn from the historian, Coffin, took great interest in Governor Winthrop’s campaign for the governorship against Sir Harry Vane, as the close of the latter’s term drew near. So Mr. Coleman, with nine others including John CHENEY,   Henry Sewall Jr, Nicholas Noyes [son-in-law of Capt. John CUTTING and Cheney’s future father-in-law], Robert Pike [future founder of Nantucket, liberal dissenter, witch trial critic and son-in-law of Joseph MOYCE], Archelaus Woodman [Edward WOODMAN‘s half-brother], Thomas Smith, James BROWNE, Nicholas Holt [future son-in-law of Humphrey BRADSTREET, and John Bartlett, .walked forty miles from Newbury to Cambridge on foot to take the “freeman’s oath” and qualify themselves to vote in the election which was soon to take place.  It was by such prompt movements that Winthrop was elected and the conservative party triumphed.

Vane lost his position to the elder John Winthrop  in the 1637 election.  The contentious election was marked by a sharp disagreement over the treatment of John Wheelwright, a supporter of Anne Hutchinson [daughter of our ancestor Francis MARBURY  (1555–1611) (wikipedia)] Winthrop won in part because the location of the vote was moved to Cambridge, reducing the power of Vane’s Boston support.  In the aftermath of the election Anne Hutchinson was put on trial, and eventually banished from the colony.

Many of her followers seriously considered leaving after the election. At the urging of  Roger Williams, some of these people, including Hutchinson, founded the settlement of Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island in the Narragansett Bay (later named Rhode Island and joined to Providence to form the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations).

Vane decided to return to England, apparently with the notion that he would acquire a royal governorship to trump the colonial administration.  Before his departure, he published A Brief Answer to a Certain Declaration, a response to Winthrop’s defense of the Act of Exclusion; this act was passed after the election to restrict the immigration of people with views not conforming to the colony’s religious orthodoxy..

Oct 1638 – The reverend Stephen BACHILER and his company, who had received permission from the general court when united together by church covenant, commenced a settlement at Winicowett. He was at this time residing in Newbury. On Mr. Rawson’s request, the place was called Hampton. The following persons, residents of Newbury, went with Mr. Bachiler. John Berry, Thomas COLEMAN, Thomas Cromwell [Giles CROMWELL‘s brother], James DAVIS, William Easton, William Fifield, Maurice Hobbs, Mr. Christopher Hussey [BACHILER’s son-in-law], Thomas Jones, Thomas Marston, William Marston, Robert Marston, John Moulton, Thomas Moulton, William Palmer, William SARGENT, and Thomas Smith. Smith, however, soon returned to Newbury. A few went to Salisbury.

Our ancestos’ lots are underlined in red. Thomas Coleman’s lot was on today’s Winnacunnet Road. — Map of the homes of the original settlers of Hampton, NH, recreated from published maps and ancient records in 1892

  • Lafayette Road, and Winnacunnet Road, Hampton, NH on Google Maps
  • The main road going horizontally across the top of the map then, at right, angling down to the right corner, is today’s Winnacunnet Road. At the bottom right corner it leads “To The Sea”.
  • Today’s Lafayette Road/Route One starts in the top left and goes vertically down (south) into the thicker road, then about 2/3 of the way down angles sharply off to the left corner in the small road reading “To Salisbury”. That road today is pretty much straight as an arrow north to south.
  • Midway down that same road a small road angles off to the left that reads “To Drake Side”. That is today’s Drakeside Road.
  • The fat road leading from the point where Route One angles off “To Salisbury” to the right and its meeting with Winnacunnet Road, is today’s Park Ave.
  • The two roads leading off the bottom of the map both say “To the Landing”, and at the time were both ends of a single road that went in a loop. Today they are still there, called Landing Road, but are cut off in the middle by a new highway.
  • Lastly the small road in the top right is Mill Road.

First called the Plantation of Winnacunnet, Hampton was one of four original New Hampshire townships chartered by the General Court of Massachusetts, which then held authority over the colony. “Winnacunnet” is an Algonquian Abenaki word meaning “pleasant pines” and is the name of the town’s high school.

In March 1635, Richard Dummer and John Spencer of the Byfield section in Newbury, came round in their shallop, came ashore at the landing and were much impressed by the location. Dummer, who was a member of the General Court, got that body to lay its claim to the section and plan a plantation here. The Massachusetts General Court of March 3, 1636 ordered that Dummer and Spencer be given power to “To presse men to build there a Bound house”.

The town was settled in 1638 by a group of parishioners led by Reverend Stephen Bachiler, who had formerly preached at the settlement’s namesake:Hampton, England.  Incorporated in 1639, the township once included SeabrookKensingtonDanvilleKingstonEast KingstonSandownNorth Hampton and Hampton Falls.

22 Dec 1645 – In a history of Newburyport and West Newbury 1635 to 1845 by Joshua Coffin published in 1845 appears the following:

Thomas Coleman having taken a farme so that he cannot attend to lay out lottes, John Pemberton was appointed lott layer in his roome, and to joine with Richard Knight and to have four pence per acre, and what they are not paid for the towne is to see them satisfied for, the leag means being first user to obtayne it.

1650 – Moved to Hampton, NH.  He is named with Christopher Hussey and others in a list of those who settled Hampton, New Hampshire.  Hussey was the son-in-law of Stephen BACHILER (c.1561 – 1656) (Wikipedia) see BACHILER’s page for the story of the founding of Hampton.

1654 – Selectman, Deputy to General Court, 25 sessions, and Deputy from Wethersfield, Connecticut

1659 – Thomas Coleman was one of the partners and purchasers of 1/20th part of the Island of Nantucket being of those chosen by one of the first 10 purchasers as his partner.  He had a house, lot and other lands set off to him at different times by the committee for laying out lands.

The Island of Nantucket, situated about 30 miles south of the mainland, was discovered in 1602 by Bartolomew Gosnold, an Englishman, and in 1641 was deeded to Thomas Mayhew and his son, by James Forrett, Agent of the Earl of Stirling.  The right of the Mayhews was bought by a company of ten persons, who, finding it necessary to encourage immigration agreed at a meeting held at Salisbury, Mass in 1659, for each owner to take a partner or assistant which should be left the choice of each individual to elect one.

Thomas Mayhew sold his interests to the “nine original purchasers”: Tristram Coffin, Thomas Macy, Christopher Hussey, Richard Swayne, Thomas Bernard, Peter Coffin, Stephen Greenleafe, John Swayne, and William Pike for, “thirty pounds…and two Beaver hats one for myself and one for my wife.”

Sherbourne, Nantucket Early Homesteads

Here is a link to a Google Maps Satellite View of the present day location of Thomas Coleman’s Nantucket homestead.  It’s a couple miles west of the town of Nantucket and looks to be located in land owned by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation.

10 May 1660. Thomas was chosen by John Swain as his partner.

1661 – Thomas was an original signer at Hadley Mass

29 Jan 1671 – Thomas’ name appears among the grantees of a deed of the Island of Nantucket made by the Wanackmanak Chief, Sachem of the Island

30 Oct 1673 – Thomas is recorded as “drawn on jury” in Nantucket.

3 Nov 1673 – Thomas deeded his lands, houses, etc.  to his son Tobias (Our Ancestor) , to take  effect after his death,  at which time he was by his own declaration in the deed, a resident of Nantucket, as well as his son Tobias, who had a wife, Lydia, and a
son Thomas. (Our Ancestor)

Be it known unto all men and by these presents declared,  that I, Thomas Coleman of Sherbourne, on the Island of Nantucket, for divers good and weighty considerations me therunto moving, do hereby freely give, grant, ratify and confirm unto my son Tobias Coleman, ten akers of land, part of it being that on which his home standeth, and the remainder on the north side of his house above the highway.

This I give to him, at present to have and to hold, to him and his heirs forever. I also hereby give unto the said Tobias, my son, to enjoy the same after my decease, all my other land, both upland and meadow, upon the Island of Nantucket, with all the housing that is or may be upon it at the day of my death.

Thomas and Tobias Coleman, both inhabitants in the town  of Sherbourne, upon the Island of Nantucket, sell Saml. Bickford
half a share of Land, Nov. 12, 1678, in the presence of
Peter Folger. (sg.) Thomas Coleman.
Wm. Worth  (sg.) Tobias Coleman

1680 – Moved to Nantucket. Nantucket Island had been purchased from the Indians by twenty men, one of which was Thomas, for 26 pounds in English money.


2. Dorcas Coleman

Dorcas’ husband John Tillotson was born 29 Jun 1618 in Halifax, Yorkshire, England. His parents were John Tillotson and Mary Mitchell. John died 7 Jun 1670 in Lyme, New London, CT.

5. Tobias COLEMAN (See his page)

6. Benjamin Coleman

Benjamin drowned 21 Oct 1650 in Hampton, NH

7. Joseph Coleman

Joseph’s wife Ann Bunker was born 1654 in Topsfield, Essex, Mass. Her parents were George Bunker and Jane Godfrey. Ann died 1698 in Nantucket, Nantucket, Mass.

8. John Coleman

John’s wife Joanna Folger was born 1645 in Marthas Vineyard, Dukes, Mass. Her parents were Peter Folger and Mary Morrill. Joanna died 18 Jul 1719 in Nantucket, Nantucket, Mass. Joanna was Benjamin Franklin’s aunt, her sister Abiah married Josiah Franklin and was Benjamin Franklin’s mother.

Abiah Folger, was born into a Puritan family among those that fled to Massachusetts to establish a purified Congregationalist Christianity in New England, when King Charles I of England began persecuting Puritans. They sailed for Boston in 1635.

Peter Folger was “the sort of rebel destined to transform colonial America”; as clerk of the court, he was jailed for disobeying the local magistrate in defense of middle-class shopkeepers and artisans in conflict with wealthy landowners. Ben Franklin followed in his grandfather’s footsteps in his battles against the wealthy Penn family that owned the Pennsylvania Colony.

In November 1689, Josiah Franklin married his second wife, Abiah Folger, in the Old South Church. Abiah of Nantucket, Massachusetts, was the daughter of Peter and Mary Morril Folger. Peter Folger was a schoolmaster and a miller. Abiah went on to bear Josiah ten more children: John (1690), Peter (1692), Mary (1694), James (1697), Sarah (1699), Ebenezer (1701), Thomas (1703), Benjamin (1706), Lydia (1708), and Jane (1712).

Josiah insisted that each of his sons must learn a trade. He had great dreams of Benjamin becoming a minister, but Josiah could only afford to send his son to school for two years. Benjamin attended Boston Latin School but did not graduate Though he continued his education through voracious reading, his formal schooling ended when he was ten. He then worked for his father for a time and at 12 he became an apprentice to his brother James, a printer, who taught Ben the printing trade. When Ben was 15, James founded The New-England Courant, which was the first truly independent newspaper in the colonies. When denied the chance to write a letter to the paper for publication, Franklin adopted the pseudonym of “Mrs. Silence Dogood”, a middle-aged widow. “Mrs. Dogood”‘s letters were published, and became a subject of conversation around town. Neither James nor the Courant’s readers were aware of the ruse, and James was unhappy with Ben when he discovered the popular correspondent was his younger brother. Franklin left his apprenticeship without permission, and in so doing became a fugitive. At age 17, Franklin ran away to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, seeking a new start in a new city.

9. Isaac Coleman

Isaac went in his first boat to Nantucket when he was 12 years old. He drowned when he was 22 on 6 Jun (6th 6 mo) 1669 with John Barnard and Bethiah (Folger) Barnard out of a large freight canoe between Martha’s Vinyard and Nantucket while returning from a supply trip. Bethia’a older brother Eleazer Folger survived by clinging to the drifting canoe. It is assumed that the Nantucket Indians who were crewing the large canoe also drowned. Bethiah was also Benjamin Franklin’s aunt.


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19 Responses to Thomas Coleman

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