Thomas Coleman is my 3X great grandfather, born 23 January 1800 in Richmond, then Lincoln County but today Sagadahoc County, Maine. Thomas was the fourth child born to Joseph Coleman and Ruth Spur, who had married in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts on 24 August 1793. This Joseph Coleman was a brick wall for many years, but I think his parents have been identified.
Thomas spent his early years in Richmond, but he was out of the house by the time he was twenty years old. The 1820 census includes one Joseph Colman living in Calais, Maine with two other males 16-25 years old. I have to wonder if this was Thomas, his brother, Joseph, and another brother (William?) checking out Calais as a possible new home.
Tax records show Joseph Coleman in Calais in 1820, but Joseph and Thomas Coleman were both on the tax list in 1821 with Joseph, Thomas and William on the 1822 list. Thomas’s brother, Joseph, disappears off the Calais tax list in 1822 and he married back in Bowdoinham, Maine on 28 December of 1822. Joseph and William are back on the list in 1823, but Thomas is now gone. Joseph and William remain on the 1825 tax list, which is the last year for which I have notes.
His brother Joseph had three daughters born in Richmond in 1823, 1826 and 1828; Joseph died on 18 May 1830 in Bowdoinham, Maine.
Thomas has an unidentified brother, born 1796-1799 who was at home in the 1810 census, but gone in 1820. I also wonder if William in Calais was his brother and Thomas named his one son for him? This part is all speculation, but Thomas left enough of a paper trail to fill in his life.
Whether or not Joseph Coleman living in Calais in the 1820s was related to Thomas or not, Thomas had made his way north to Ludlow, Northumberland County, New Brunswick, Canada, where he lived until the mid 1830s.
Thomas is next found on the poll tax list in New Brunswick as:
Colman, Thomas, £141.5.4, 8 July 1825 in Ludlow
Colman, Thos, £106.3.6, in 1827 in Ludlow
Coleman, Thomas 5/-/5 in 1834 in Nelson
Note that Thomas doesn’t appear on the poll tax list until 1825 and he is gone from Calais, if the Joseph Coleman household of 3 includes my Thomas, by 1823.
On 22 June 1830, Thomas Coleman married Mary Elizabeth Astle in Nelson, Northumberland County, New Brunswick, Canada. She was the daughter of Daniel Astle and Jane, whose maiden name is unproven, but might have been Parker, based on FAN club clues. She was the grandchild of Loyalist James Astle and his wife, Elizabeth McLane/McLean, who left Schenectady, New York at the close of the American Revolution.
Their marriage record is almost unreadable, but I do have an image of it. Getting a much better image is on my to do list for my next FHL trip.
Thomas Coleman-Mary Elizabeth Astle
One of the witnesses was Mary’s brother, George, and you can see she signed with her mark, so she was unable to write her name.
Thomas and Mary Elizabeth had one proven son, William, born 10 June 1834 in Nelson.
However, the 1840 census seems to indicate that they might also have had two daughters because there is one female 5-9 years old and one under five, in addition to son William.
I have never found any trace of the elder girl in the household and believe that if it was a daughter, she may have died before 1850. No Coleman marriages have been found in Maine before that time period.
I may have found the younger female, but that comes with its own set of problems. There is a Mary A. Coleman, born c1837 in Calais, Maine according to her marriage record in Boston, Massachusetts on 31 March 1858. She married Daniel Moran, born c1828 in Ireland. However, the marriage record was mis-indexed as “David Moran,” the date was entered incorrectly and her father’s name was listed as Daniel and Daniel’s father’s name was listed as Thomas.
I think the clerk recording the marriage might have switched the names of their fathers. The only Coleman or Colman living in Washington County, Maine in the late 1830s and 1840s was Thomas.
Daniel and Mary Moran moved between Massachusetts and New York, managing to miss the census takers and I have no idea what became of them. However, I do know that they lost two young children, their only known children, on 29 August and 7 September 1864. The second child’s cause of death is diphtheria and it is likely the first child also died of it.
By 1850, Thomas, Mary and a teenaged William were still living in Red Beach, Maine, but an adopted daughter, Margaret E., born in January 1846 in Maine, was living with them. Their own children were too young to be the parent of a child born in 1846 so I suspect that friends or relatives out of the area had a mother who died in childbirth and a father not able or willing to raise an infant.
Margaret married Henry A. Day on 5 September 1868 in Topsfield, Washington County, Maine. She died on 17 May 1901 in Calais. Henry and Margaret apparently separated soon as they were enumerated in separate homes in 1870. They had no children, but Henry apparently stayed in touch with the Coleman family. My grandmother remembers a Henry Day coming to the house to visit, but she thought he was just a family friend.
Thomas and Mary lived a quiet life in Red Beach and the years passed. Their son, William, married the girl next door, Sarah Moriah Crouse, on 6 February 1855 in Calais. They had a family of six children, which likely gave Thomas and Mary much joy in their senior years.
Thomas passed away at the ripe old age of 89 on 9 May 1888. Mary survived him by about 19 months, dying on 26 December 1889. Both of their deaths were noted in the Calais Advertiser newspaper, but there was no obituary.
It seems a bit strange, but I have no photos of Thomas or Mary Coleman. It’s odd because the Colemans did have family photos taken. I have pictures of William and wife Sarah when they were very young and probably newlyweds in the 1850s. I wonder if perhaps any photos of Thomas and Mary maybe passed down to one of William’s other children, not my ancestor, and have since been lost to time.
Gravestone of Thomas and Mary Coleman
Source: My personal collection