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William Cole, Sr

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... ... ... resided in the Southern Colonies in North America before 1776.
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This narrative may represent conflation of two William Coles, one of whom died in Maryland and the other of whom never left Virginia and died there.Day-1904 Differences in documentation are noted, as well as sources for each statement.

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1598 Birth

Agreement on father’s name, but difference in mother’s.
b. 1598, England [1]

William Cole I was the first Cole ancestor in our line to migrate to America. He was born in Essex County, England to Humphrey and Mary (Mott) Cole. [2]
OR -- William Cole was the eldest son of Humprhie Cole, "Clarke" of Tillinham, Essex, England, and his wife Hester. [3]


William Cole15 (Humphreys14, William13, William12, Thomas11, John10, William9, John8, John7, William6, John 5, John4, Roger3, Roger2, William1) [1]

Cromwell Officer

Disputed timeline
Prior to migrating to the US, he was reportedly an officer in Cromwell's army. Historically Oliver Cromwell led the Parliamentary forces (rebels) against the Royalists (King Charles I). William would have already been in the Colonies thirty years when Cromwell finally won in 1649. [2]

  • Since he would have been 20 when he migrated to Virginia in 1618, it is difficult to see how he could have squeezed in such a role before 1618.Day-1904 17:28, 1 January 2017 (EST)

1618 Migration to Virginia

William came to Virginia in the Neptune, 1618 and settled in Elizabeth City Norfolk County, VA, where he received a grant of land in 1625. [1][3][4] The Neptune's ship log only lists 26 passengers. [2]


The following entries were obtained from my Hotten book 8a from the Musters of the Inhabitants in Virginia 1624/1625 chapters, pages 201 thru 265, which lists the muster captain, and what ship the individual arrived on.
The ship Treasurer met with the Neptune during their voyage, eleven men were transferred from the Neptune to the Treasurer.
Beane, Christopher, 1618 voyage, aged 40 at muster as servant for Humfrey Kent on 1619 George.
Bennett, Thomas, aged 38 at muster at Besses Choyce, listed with Mary aged 18 on Southhampton, Roger Heford and Benjamin Simes.
Bolte, Amias, 1618 voyage, aged 23 at muster.
Cole, William, 1618 voyage, aged 26 at muster, Elizabeth City, listed with Francis Cole and Roger Farbrase.
Couper, Walter, 1618 voyage, aged 22 at muster, Elizabeth City, servant to Capt Francis West.
Edlow, Mathew, 1618 voyage
Evans, Richard, 1618 voyage, aged 35 at muster at Wariscoyack.
Ferrar, William, Aug 1618 voyage, aged 31 at muster at Jordans Jorney, Charles City, ten servants.
Contracted marriage with Cicely Jordan a few days after her husband death and after her contract to marry Greville Pooley June 1623
Fine, Richard, at muster at Mulberie Island under Capt William Pierce.
Garnett, Elizabeth, 1618 voyage, aged 26 at muster, Elizabeth City, with Thomas in the Swan.
Ibottson, Percival, 1618 voyage, aged 24 at muster, Elizabeth City, listed with wife (?) Elizabeth on the Flying Hart, John Davis and 2 servants.
Julian, Sara, 1618 voyage, aged 25 at muster in Elizabeth City with William Julian.
Mitchell, Francis, 1618 voyage, aged 38 at muster Elizabeth City, with Miles Prickett and other Mitchell's.
Newman, Robert, 1618 voyage, aged 25 at muster, Elizabeth City, with William Gayne. Parker, Thomas
Pawlett, Thomas, Aug 1618 voyage, aged 40 at muster.
Pierce, Richard and wife Elizabeth, muster at Neck-of-Land near James City.
Raymont, William, at muster at Mulberie Island under Capt William Pierce.
Waine, John, 1618 voyage, aged 30 at muster, Elizabeth City with Amyte on the Swan, George and Mary Ackland aged 7 and 4.
West, Thomas, 1618 voyage, Baron de la Warr, appointed Governor and Capt General by Counsel & Company of Virginia, died June 1618 on route.[5]

William Coale I migrated from Bristol, England to the New World in 1618, after a stormy, distressing voyage across the Atlantic, with much sickness and many deaths on board the ship Neptune. He first settled in Elizabeth City VA [The Complete Book of Emigrants (1607-1776)] at the age of 21, evidently a more dependable kind of adventurer, willing to do his part in the work of a now still struggling colony. He surely was moved by hope of monetary gain connected with tobacco. The young man knew agricultural operation from his past. Four years later, he escaped a horrible Indian massacre, because of his location in the more protected area of Elizabeth City. He very possibly had a part in subsequent armed expeditions to drive the natives back.[6]


From 1618 to 1625 he worked as a farmer in Jamestown and Elizabeth City. [2]

1625 First Marriage to Frances

William Cole married Frances and had son William, born in 1638, and probably two other sons, John and Richard, mentioned at that period in Warwick County. [1] At the time of the muster, 1624/25, he was living in Elizabeth City, aged 26, with his wife Francis (Frances) (maiden name unknown, b 1597 England[1]), aged 27, who came on the Susan, 1616, and Roger Farbrase, aged 26, who came in the Elizabeth, 1621. Their neighbor was Alexander Mountney who had patented 100 acres in the Corporation of Elizabeth City, 20 Sept, 1624, lying "east upon William Cole". His own grant of 50 acres at Kecoughtan (Elizabeth City) is of record,1625.[3]
-OR- About 1627, he married and started a family in a locale known for its religious dedication. [6]

1625 Land in Virginia

William had been in the Colonies for seven years and his 'indentured time' had been served. It was the custom that the Virginia Company would give 50 acres as a gift for surviving the many hardships, not-to-mention the Indian uprisings of 1624-25 had killed many settlers and left the land available to be worked. [2] In 1625 he obtained an early land grant of 50 acres, already planted to tobacco. He soon had his own home, established with two male companions. In making his start, he doubtless used benefits under the will of his father, who had died the preceding year, leaving certain bequests in money and in land to "William Cole now in Virginia (if he be living)."[6] Shortly afterwards, William advanced himself by relocating up-stream to Warwick Co., where he became a well-settled and respected planter. In 1629, he was chosen to represent his "Nutmeg Quarter" in the General Assembly. That body included 46 Burgesses, four of whom were from the large Puritan settlement on the opposite, south side of the James River. With these men, William surely became well acquainted during the time in Jamestown. A little later, William was to move to a place across the James near the border between Nonsemond and Lower Norfolk counties. Here, he was associated with congenial, freedom-loving Puritans, such as he would have known back in Essex, England.[6]

1628 North Side of James River

In 1628 he moved to the North side of the James River in Warwick County, Virginia. [2]

1629 House of Burgesses

He was a member of the House of Buresses in 1629, representing "Nutmeg" Quarter. [1][2] This settlement, bordering the James River in that part of Elizabeth City which became Warwick River County, 1634, was a few miles southeast of "Bolthrope", purchased by William Cole, 1671, and the seat of the Cole family for almost one hundred years. [3]

1631 South Side of James River

By 1631 he had moved to the south bank of the James River near the Jamestown-Puritan area. [2]

1633 Second Marriage to Sarah

In 1633 he married a Sarah while living in Virginia and began his family. [1][2]

1650 Migration to Maryland

Being a Quaker by faith, when the religious controls became overly strict in Virginia, he moved his family in 1650 or 1651 to St. Jerones in southeastern St. Mary's County, MD on a farm with 400 acres. [2]

However, because of growing discontent in the community with a new royal governor, who insisted on suppressing old prized liberties, including that of free self-government, William decided to move his family to lands of greater opportunity. He decided to relocate north along the Chesapeake Bay to a newly established province called Maryland. During the winter of 1650-51, in company with other Virginia emigrants, William took his family to Maryland. In his new country, William would be over 50, and devoting his old pioneer energy to the development of 400 acres of raw wilderness land. This was the size of the grant claimed for him as an immigrant settler with family. To help him at the start , he had one contract servant and probably a son nearly grown. This is supported via "demand" land patent, dated 24 Mar 165?, [Patent Record Book AB & H, p. 201, SR 7344, Maryland State Archives -- Land Office] [6]

The location was St. Jerome, on the lower western shore of St. Marys Co. Here community life would be with neighbors who also were former Virginians. The capital of St. Marys was only a few miles away.[6]

1657 Quaker

William changed the spelling of his name from COLE to COALE when he became a Quaker in 1657. He went on to become a famous Quaker preacher, a fact well-documented in "Quakers in the Founding of Anne Arundel County, Maryland," J. R. Kelly (Published by the MD Historical Society, 1963].[6]

At St. Jeromes, within the following fifteen or more years, William accomplished the building of a substantial estate. His operation was expanded when he added Negroes to the work force. The house came to exhibit a good degree of convenience and refinement with its generous supply of kitchenware in brass and other metals; and also of fabrics -- plain and finer, for use at the dining table and in the bedrooms. The home was equipped for the extending of hospitality, as well as for everyday good living.[6]

The Young Friends (Quakers) were moving north along the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay and so did the Cole's. [2]

1657 Son Moves to Baltimore

In 1657 his son, William Cole II, moved to Severn about 10 miles from Baltimore, MD. [2]

1662 Colbrook, Somerset Co

In 1662 William Cole I, acquired 550 acres in Somerset County, on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Whatever happened to this venture is unknown. [2]

After the main development of the home estate was well along, William turned in 1662 to a plan for increasing his holdings. He acquired a grant of 550 acres across the Bay in Somerset Co. He would start to work this tract with the help of four contract servants. The outcome of the ambitious project is not known. However, today the name, "Colbrook" is still attached to the original tract, lying near the mouth of Goose Creek on the north side of the Manokin River.[6]

1664 Death in Virginia

William died Bef 15 Sep 1664, Warwick Co. VA.2 [1]

William Cole had died by 15 Sept, 1664, for on 1 Aug, 1665, a tract of 100 acres in Accomack County, formerly granted "to William Cole, dec'd., and lately found to escheat." was assigned to Richard Hinman, the patent to Hinman stating that Col. Miles Cary, Escheator General, deposed concerning the facts.[3]

1669 Death in Maryland

21st day of March 1669, I William Coale of St. Jeromo in ye County of St. Maries in ye province of Maryland, planter . . .

I give and bequeath unto my daughter Sarah Beach, wife unto Elias Beach, one horse coult of a yeare old to be delivered in full after my decease and further my loving wife, Sarah Coale shall have my whole estate during her widdowhood to order and dispose of as shall seem most desirous and unto her and further my will and true meaning is first in case my wife, Sarah shall happen to marry then my will and true meaning is my estate shall be equally divided between my loving wife Sarah & my children, namely my sonn Richard and my sonn William, my sonne John, Charles and my daughter Mary Coale only my will is my said daughter Mary shall not have any part of my lands and further my will and true meaning is in case any one or more of my said children shall dye before they shall atain ye age of one and twenty yeares & then my will and true meaning is that their respective shares and estates shall remain to the survivors My dauther Sarah only excepted and further my will and true meaning is my loving wife Sarah Coale shall be my full and whole executrix of this my last will and testament in witness hereof the first above mentioned hath hereunto put his hand and seal this 25th day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred sixty and nine . signed with the mark of William Coale (looks like a large W).

The will was presented to the court on 17 JUL 1669. (See photos on right.)

Sarah Cole presented bond of 80,000 pounds of tobacco with her sureties, Thomas Griffin & Henry Penington.[7]


According to the will of William Coale, he was the father of two daughters, Sarah and Mary and four boys, Richard, William, John and Charles.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Dave Rigney, Compuserve. http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/dave_rigney/desc/cole.htm
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Research of Dave Cole
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Adventures of Purse and Person", pg 206,
  4. Steve Cole. <http://www.mesatop.com/cole/homepage.htm>
  5. "The First Republic in America" by Alexander Brown, pg 282 lists dates, owner. Research and compilation done by Anne Stevens of packrat-pro.com[1]
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 From the files of Wm. C. Hilles. Much of the foregoing material taken from Willis Coale's "Coales: Nine Generations...."
  7. Maryland Testamentary Proceeding Liber 3/251, Maryland State Archives

See also:

  • 1618 - U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s[2]
  • Marriage to Sarah Unknown - U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [3]


Thank you to Robert Hamilton for creating WikiTree profile Cole-4639 through the import of HAMILT~3.GED on Jul 6, 2013. Click to the Changes page for the details of edits by Robert and others.

WikiTree profile Cole-1660 created through the import of Edwards Family Tree.ged on May 29, 2011 by Kennon Edwards. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Kennon and others.

This person was created through the import of PittsPenn_2010-09-21.ged on 22 September 2010.


1597 Essex Co., England

William COLE, son, who lived in Virginia (note at bottom of Gleaning's gave his birth date as 1597, migrated to VA in 1618 and was a member of the House of Burgessess for Nutmeg Quarter in 1629). Will of his father, Humfrie Cole, proven 17 May 1624

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