Life Sketch of Robert Cole(s),
Last known ancestor of James Barnet Cole
"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. Somerset. ------- Research by Robert Coles of Glen Cove Long Island, New York -------- 22 Dec. 1980.
Robert came from England in the fleet with Governor Winthrop in 1630 to either Ipswich or Roxbury (Massachusetts Bay Colony), and October of that year requested to be a Freeman of 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 because of drinking), 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, his property was distributed by the town. The same as it should have been had he left a will. He may have been Welch from near Bristol, Mass.
England Migration: 1630
First Residence: Roxbury
Removes: Ipswich 1633, Salem 1635, Providence 1638, Paxtuxet 16--, Warwick 1653
Church Membership: Roxbury Church member #8. Excommunicated at some later date. In 1639 , he was in Providence, Rhode Island and was one of the twelve original members of the First Baptist Church.
Freeman: admitted May 18, 1631. Disenfranchised March 4, 1633/4, readmitted May 14, 1634.
Education: Signed his name.
Offices: Representative for Roxbury to General Court 1632. Helped write arbitration law 1640.
August 16,1631: Fined 5 marks, for drinking too much aboard ship "Friendship"
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 ofXLs. for the first offense, and V (5) 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, Rhode Island to Richard Pray.
Feb. 27, 1654: he & his wife sold to Zacharoah Rhodes for 80 pounds his dwelling house at Pawtuxet and certain 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 ofProvidence, R.I.; dep. Gen. Ct.". Source: "Abridged Compendium" by Vircus, p 3468.
"COLES, ROBERT, Roxbury, came in the fleet with Winthrop request to be made freeman 19 Oct. 1630, and was admit 18 May following remission perhaps to Salem, and to Ipswich, was often punish for drunken. Yet in 1638 seems to be reform. If remission of fines may just be thus understood, though it may only have been act of policy to ensure his remmission from our jurisdiction. But at last he went to Providence, was reform. In earnest, and became one of the found of the first Baptism Church there. By wife, Mary, he had John, beside Daniel, Nathaniel, Robert, and daughters. Sarah, perhaps youngest; Ann, whom married to Henry Townsend; Elizabeth whom married to John Townsend; both from Long Island where Quakers were persecuted by the Dutch. He died before 18 Oct. 1654, when the town councel, exercise their duty of making distribution of his property in the way he should have made his will. The widow married to Matthias Harvey, and remove to Oyster Bay, Long Island with her sons, Nathaniel and Daniel, and the two daughters that married to Townsend follow" (Source: Savage, "First Settlers of NE Vol I", p 17)
"Mary Cole, the wife of Robert Cole, god also wrought upon her heart (as it was hoped after her coming to New England but after her husbands excommunication, and falls she did too much favor his ways, yet not as to incur any just blame, she lived an afflicted life, by reason of his unsettledness and removing from place to place."
(Source: "The Rev. John Eliot's Record of Church Members, Roxbury, Mass.")