Robert Coles1,2,3

M, b. circa 1597, d. before 28 October 1655
     Robert was born circa 1597 in Sudbury, County Suffolk, England. Robert married Mary (?) circa 1630. Robert came with the fleet that brought Winthrop to America. Robert requested to be freeman in Roxbury on the 19th of October 1630 & was admitted on the 18th of May 1631. He was disenfranchised on 4 March 1633/4 but readmitted 14 May 1634. He was admitted to the Church of Roxbury as its 8th member & his wife Mary as its 34th member. On the 16th of August 1631, he was fined five marks for being disorderly with drink. On the 6th of March 1631/2, he was fined 20s. for being drunk at Charlton in October last & on the 3rd of April 1632, he confessed his fault in attempting to excuse himself at the previous court, and had his fine remitted. On the 9th of May 1632, he was representative for Roxbury to General Court. On the 3rd of September 1633, he was fined £10 for "abusing himself shamefully with drink, enticing John Shotswell his wife to incontinency, & other misdemeanor". On the 4th of March 1634/5, it was ordered that he "shall not pay more of his fine of £10, for drunkenness, &c, than hath been already levied in strong water". On the 28th of December 1635, He was granted 300 acres of land about three miles from Salem. By the 16th of July 1638, Emanuel Downing had purchased this three hundred acres. On the 25th of December 1637, he was granted one acre of marsh and meadow, for a household of eight. He received a share of meadow as a Patuxett proprietor, 8 October 1638. All his fines were remitted or discharged in the general amnesty of 6 September 1638. The following is a Salem court record regarding Robert. "The court orders Robert Cole for drunkness by him committed at Roxbury, shall be disenfranchised, wear about his necke and soe to hand upon his outward a "D" made of redd clothe and sett upon white, to contynue this for a year and not to leave at any time when he comes amongst company, under the penality of XLs for the first offense, and V pounds for the second and after to be punished by the court as they think meet; also is enjoyned to appear at the next general court, and to contynue this until it shall be ended." The same month, he went with John Winthrop Jr. to occupy Agarnam (Ipswich) and began settlement of that town. He apparently reforms and is one of the twelve men who joins Roger Williams in the settlement of Providence, Rhode Island in October of 1638. He was one of the founders of the first settlement of Providence March 16 of 1639. He was one of the seventeen who purchased the Pautuxet meadows and he made his home there. He paid a town rate at Providence on the 2nd of September 1650 totalling £3 6s. 8d., placing him among the five richest men in town. Long after his death he continued to draw land from his rights in Providence. By 1648, Robert had moved to Warwick and was there until his death.
[Note: There has been question as to whether Robert had one or two wives - presently, it is believed the evidence shows two wives: Mary & Mary Hawkhurst - klm 23 October 2004] Robert married 2nd Mary Hawkhurst, daughter of Samson Hawkhurst and Miss ___ (?), circa 1637 in Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island. Robert departed this life in Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island.4 On the 28th of October 1654 [probably intended to be 1655] the Warwick town council met to deal with his estate noting he was late deceased & intestate. His inventory showed that the estate totalled £501, with debts of £112 13s. His wife Mary was appointed administrator. The distribution of the estate was ordered as follows: to his eldest son John £80 & a mare; to 2nd son, Daniel £50 when twenty-one; 3rd son, Nathaniell £40 when twenty-one; 4th son, Robert £40 when twenty-one; & to Sarah £40 at marriage or at twenty-one. The children under age to be in care of their mother. On the 5th of December 1655, his son John having "agreed before the Town Council to receive fourscore pound and a mare of my mother-in-law of my portion and accordingly it is ratified by writing bearing date the 25 of October 1655, relinquished any claim he might have "unto any of my deceased father's estate, housing or lands belonging to me in New England". On the 20th of January 1655/6, his wife, Mary confirmed a deed wherein "my husband before his death sold unto my son-in-law Henry Townsend a certain parcel of meadow being 3 acres". On the 5th of April 1656, she granted to "my son-in-law Richard Townsend 8 acres of meadow".

Family 1

Mary (?) d. b 1637

Family 2

Mary Hawkhurst b. c 1604, d. 1656


  1. [S38] Daniel Hoogland Carpenter, History & Genealogy of the Carpenter Family In America From the Settlement at Providence, R. I. 1637 - 1901
    , pages 51-52.
  2. [S457] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Robert Coles.
  3. [S886] Matthias Harvye, A Very Public Man, pages 11-16, 87-93 - Robert Cole's children of Mary Hawkhurst, sister of Christopher.
  4. [S38] Daniel Hoogland Carpenter, History & Genealogy of the Carpenter Family In America From the Settlement at Providence, R. I. 1637 - 1901
    , page 51 - footnote.