Category Archives: Coleman

Thomas Coleman, Wiltshire, England to Massachusetts, 1635

This is part of a series about my New England colonial ancestors who arrived by during the Great Migration. If you have early Massachusetts ancestry, be sure to check out AmericanAncestors, as the Great Migration Study Project can be viewed there with a membership to the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

It took me many years to find the connection and documentation linking my grandmother, Hazel Ethel Coleman Adams, to her immigrant ancestor, Thomas Coleman, who settled in Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636.

Unfortunately, she passed away in 1995 and didn’t live to experience the same joy that I felt when I was finally satisfied with the documentation.

Here is the family sketch of Thomas Coleman and wife, Susannah (“Raulines”) Rawlings of Wiltshire, England.

Thomas Coleman was born c1602, possibly in Wiltshire, England. It was there, in Wootten Rivers, Marlborough, England, that he married Susannah “Raulines” or Rawlings on 24 November 1623.

For the next decade or so, the young family lived in Marlborough. However, by 5 April 1635, they had traveled to Southampton, England and appear on a passenger list of the ship James.

The Coleman family first settled in Newbury, where they lived until Susannah died in 1650. Thomas Coleman then removed to Hampton, New Hampshire, where he married Mary (MNU), widow of Edmund Johnson, 16 July 1651. Mary died at Hampton on 30 January 1662/63. Shortly afterwards, Thomas removed to Nantucket, where he lived the rest of his life.

Thomas married for a third time to Margery (Fowler) (Osgood) Rowell, the widow first of Christopher Osgood and then Thomas Rowell. Although no marriage record has been found for them, Margery survived Thomas and then married Thomas Osborne of Nantucket.

Thomas died before 1 August 1682, when his estate administration began. He buried two wives and six of his children, as only Tobias, Joseph and John survived him.


  1. Dorothy, baptized 19 December 1624, St. Mary Marlborough, Wiltshire, England; buried 17 May 1625, St. Peter & St. Paul Marlborough, England.
  2. Dorcas, baptized 23 July 1626, St. Peter & St. Paul Marlborough, Wiltshire, England; died 1 January 1654, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts; married John Tillotson, 4 July 1648, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts.
  3. Hannah or Susannah, born c1630, probably Wiltshire, England; died January 1642, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts.
  4. Thomas, born c1632, probably Wiltshire, England; presented at court for striking William Richardson of Newbury on 26 March 1651; no further record.
  5. Tobias, born c1638, probably Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts; died after 1 August 1682, when his father’s estate was probated; married Lydia Jackson, 16 April 1668, Rowley, Essex, Massachusetts.
  6. Benjamin, born 1 May 1640, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts; drowned 21 October 1650, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts.
  7. Joseph, born 2 December 1642, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts; died before 12 August 1690, when his estate administration began; married Ann Bunker, by 1675.
  8. John, born c1644, probably Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts; died December 1715, Nantucket, Nantucket, Massachusetts; married Joanna Folger (Great Migration says all sources give this name, but no proof has been found.)
  9. Isaac, born 20 February 1646/47, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts; died 6 June 1669, drowning between Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard; apparently unmarried.

My line of descent:

  1. Thomas Coleman & Susannah Rawlings
  2. John Coleman & Joanna Folger?
  3. Thomas Coleman & Jane (MNU)
  4. Joseph Coleman & Rachel Norton
  5. Joseph Coleman & Eunice Coffin
  6. Joseph Coleman & Ruth Spur
  7. Thomas Coleman & Mary Elizabeth Astle
  8. William Coleman & Sarah Moriah Crouse
  9. Hartwell Thomas Coleman & Anna Elisabeth Jensen
  10. Vernon Tarbox Adams & Hazel Ethel Coleman
  11. George Michael Sabo & Doris Priscilla Adams
  12. Linda Anne (Sabo) Stufflebean – Me!



Adding Detail to Our Ancestors Lives with Newspapers: Case Study – Hartwell Thomas Coleman (1868-1938

The amount of details that can be learned from newspapers about our ancestors’ day-to-day lives is incredible. Even if we already know a lot about an individual, news items were very gossipy and informative back in the day and can give a much clearer sense of what life was like.

Hartwell Thomas Coleman is one of my maternal great grandfathers. I wasn’t fortunate enough to have ever known him personally, but Grandmother told me many things about him. I know his exact dates of birth, death and marriages – all three of them – know that he was a master mariner who lived and worked in Calais, Maine on the St. Croix River, but also spent several years working in Boston Harbor in the 1920s and am even fortunate enough to have inherited several photos, from Grandmother, of Hartwell both as a baby and in later years.

His work was mainly as a tugboat captain, piloting steamers up and down the St. Croix River. As he got closer to retirement, he opened a general store, which my mother and aunt loved, because he sold candy and would treat them when they came to Maine on vacation.

A photo of his store has even been handed down to me:

I am a big fan of trolling through old newspapers looking for family information. However, Maine hasn’t been quick to get on the digital newspaper bandwagon and the newspaper I would most like to read, The Calais Advertiser, is still nowhere to be found in historical newspaper collections.

However, Bangor, Maine isn’t all that far from Calais, about 95 miles) and I recently discovered it on one of the subscription websites. The Bangor Daily News in the early 1900s was truly a regional newspaper and had local news columns for Calais and other towns within a wide radius.

I wasn’t sure how much I would find, but Captain Hartwell Coleman was mentioned over 20 times between 1900 and the early 1930s.

Look at all the interesting tidbits I now know about his life:

Hartwell Thomas Coleman

15 April 1900 – earned his master mariner license
18 Nov 1911 – elected Calais harbor master
15 June 1912 – elected Senior Sagamore (1st Vice President) in Etchemin Tribe of the Order of Red Men
19 Aug 1912 – while master of the tug Wesley A. Gove, and while standing on deck of the schooner Ellen M. Golder, he was attacked with a belaying pin by a drunk mentally unstable sailor
13 April 1916 – elected Calais harbor master
15 Jan 1917 – elected trustee of Order of Red Men, 3 year term
28 Dec 1917 – served on committee that agreed to loan tug Henry Wellman for Canada’s use for two months
28 Mar 1919 -noted as having piloted the largest sailing vessel on the St. Croix
28 Mar 1924 – resigned his job in Boston as captain for Bay State Dredging Company & returned to Calais
2 Apr 1924 – Pump and gasoline tank privileges awarded by Calais
2 June 1924 – Grocery store and gas station opened at Bog Brook (Calais)
29 Oct 1932 – Piloted Norwegian steamer Mervion up & down St. Croix River. Carried 2500 tons of coal.
19 Feb 1933 – Subpoenaed as a witness in Bay State Dredging Company v. Grand Manan Steamboat Company.
1 Mar 1933 – Kickapoo ice breaker took on Captain Coleman to guide them through the St. Croix River to break up the ice and make is passable
2 Mar 1933 – Piloted Norwegian steamer Dagia up St. Croix River
27 Apr 1933 – Piloted Norwegian Boomstad down the St. Croix River
19 Sep 1933 – Piloted a Norwegian steamer carrying 1300 lbs of coal down the St. Croix waterway
23 May 1934 – Piloted Kickapoo ice breaker – took five days to open the waterway
15 Feb 1937 – Record for largest ice fishing catch at Nash Lake – 8 lb. salmon
13 May 1937 – Kenneth Scott, wife & 2 children called on Hartwell & his family. Kenneth arrived back home down hardscrabble Road before his family. Wife heard a gunshot and he had killed himself.
9 Feb 1938 – Captain Coleman has been in ill health, but feeling better
31 Mar 1938 – Death announcement of Captain Coleman

I have learned so much more about my great grandfather. I know exactly when he became a master mariner and I know the names and dates that he piloted various sailing vessels.

I’ve learned that he was an avid fisherman, not a surprise given where he lived, but that he also enjoyed ice fishing on nearby Nash Lake.

As for the general store that Mom remembered, I know exactly when it opened and even when he was okayed to sell gasoline.

Sadly, I did not know about Kenneth Scott. He married 17 year old Beryl Boone in 1929. Beryl was one of Hartwell’s step children by his third wife, which explains why the young family was “calling on” Hartwell.

I never knew Beryl, but did know her sister, Doris, and visited once with her and Grandmother’s half sister, Lydia. They told me many family stories, but they were focused on the Coleman family, not the Boones.

I didn’t know it at the time, but Doris was a distant cousin of Grandmother, Lydia and I through her father’s line. It also happens to be the line that adds Mayflower passenger George Soule as a branch on my family tree.

Now that I know how much news was picked up by the Bangor Daily News, I want to read the Calais Advertiser even more!




John Norton & Mary Torrey, Edgartown, Massachusetts

John Norton was born about 1674, probably in Edgartwon, Dukes, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Norton and Mary Bayes. John married Mary Torrey, believed to be the daughter of Jonathan and Ruth (Fry) Torrey of Weymouth, Massachusetts.

Edgartown is on the eastern edge of Martha’s Vineyard just northwest of Nantucket Island. Early families here mostly made their living at sea and often traveled the short distance between the two islands. It isn’t surprising that my Coleman and Coffin lines in Nantucket intersect with the Norton family in Martha’s Vineyard.

John and Mary were the parents of five known children:

  1. Mary, born c1700; died 15 January 1746, Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts in her 46th year; married Christopher Beetle, 25 October 1718, Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts. No death record has been found for Christopher, but he survived Mary.
  2. Jemima, born c1702; died 3 April 1794, Tisbury, Dukes, Massachusetts in her 92nd year; married Cornelius Dunham. He may be the Cornelius Dunahm whose death is recorded in Boston in 1766, no month or day noted.
  3. John, born c1704; reportedly removed to Connecticut
  4. Rachel, born c1706; died 16 October 1767, Nantucket, Massachusetts; married Joseph Coleman, c1729
  5. Jerusha, born c1708; buried 4 February 1769, Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts; married Ichabod Wiswall, 9 December 1735, Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts. He resided in Dorchester at the time of his marriage. Ichabod was buried in Edgartwon on 17 June 1784, aged 78 years.

John Norton died on 6 December 1730 in Edgartown, leaving a will, written a week before his death on 30 November 1730. Mary survived him by many years, dying on 29 July 1814, also in Edgartown.

In the name of God amen. I, John Norton of Edgartown in ye County of Dukes County in ye Province of ye Massachusetts Bay in New England Gentleman Being very sick & weak of Body but of perfect sence & memory Praised be almighty God for the same and calling to mind that is is Appointed for all men once to Dye & knowing ye Uncertainty thereof Do there fore make & ordain this to be my Last Will & Testament in manner & form following. That is to say

Imprimis I Give & Recommend my soul Into the hands of Almighty God who gave it hoping through ye intersession & mediation of our Blessed Lord & only Redeemer Jesus Christ to receive a full perfect & absolute forgiveness of all my sins & transgressions by his Meritorious Death & Passion —-

Item my Body I Recommend to ye Earth to be Decently Interred after my Decease in a Christian Like manner att ye Discression of my Executor hereafter named nothing doubting but to find a Joy full Resurrection at ye Last Day: – And as for what worldly Estate it hath pleased Almighty God to bestow upon me & Bless me with all I give will devise and bequeath ye same in manner & form following viz. First it is my will & desire yt my Just Debts to be truly paid & Discharged by my Executor hereafter named & out of his Proportion of my Estate –

Item. I give will & bequeath unto my loving wife Mary Norton the one Third part of all my whole Estate both Real & Personal in Possession & Reversion for & During ye sd Mary Nortons Natural Life & it is my will yt after her Decease the same shall desend unto my Son John Norton Junr his heirs Execs Adms and assigns for ever.
Item. I give will & Bequeath unto my Daughter Jemima the wife of Cornelius Dunham one acre of land: that is one acre of the North Westerly part of my now dwelling house lott in sd Edgartown beginning from the outermost part thereof & so running in full breadth Downwards so as to contain one acre & including the Dwelling houses wherein sd Jemima now lives. To her the sd Jemima Dunahm her heirs Execrs Adms and assigns forever.

Item. I give will devise & bequeath unto my aforsd Son John Noton Jur all the Residue & whole remaining part of my Estate both Real & Personall in Possession or Revision & all and Eney the Debts & dues that shall be found Due & owing to me to him ye sd John Norton Junr his heirs Execs Adms & assignes for ever. Provided Nevertheless that iit is my will & Pleasure that he pay & discharge all such just Debts as are due from me. (Turn over) and do also pay the several Legacys unto the persons hereafter named.

Item. I give will Devise unto my Daughter Mary ye wife of Christopher Beete ye sum of fifty Pounds money Currency of New England to be paid unto her the sd Mary by my aofresd son John Norton Jur according to ye time hereafter Expressed to her sd Mary Beetle her heirs Exers Adms & assignes for ever: –

Item. I give will Devise & bequeath unto my Daughter Jemima the wife of Cornelius Dunham ye Sum of Sixty Pounds money Currency of New England to be paid unto her in same manner as the aforesd Marys is to be paid to her sd Jemima Dunham her heirs Execrs adms and assigns for ever.

Item. I give will Devise & bequeath unto my Daughter Rachel the wife of Joseph Coleman the sum of fiftey Pounds Money currency of New England to be paid unto her sd Rachel in ye same manner as the aforesd Mary Beetle & Jemima Dunhams is to be paid. To her sd Rachel Coleman her heirs Execrs Admrs and assigns for Ever.

Item. It is my will & Pleasure that ye legacys to be paid unto my aforsd daughters Mary Beetle & Jemima Dunham & Rachel Coleman be paid unto them by my aforsd son John Norton Junr his heirs Execrs or Adms within he space or at ye expriation of two nears next after my Decease That is to Say ye one halfe of sd severall Legacys to be paid to each one Respectively according to their proportion or to their respective heirs Execrs Adms or Assigns at ye expiration of one year next after my Decease & ye remaining halfe part of Each ones proportion to be paid in like manner at ye expiration of ye above term of two years next after my decease. but if yt my sd son John Norton Jur shall see cause for to sett of any part of real or personall Estate or of both for to pay sd Legacys or any part thereof That then sd Mary Beetle Jemima Dunham and Rachel Coleman shall receive their proportion of ye sd estate as he shall Nominate & Appoint according as ye same shall or may be lawfully Apperized & such part as they shall receive shall be deemed & taken to be paid in part proportionally of their aforsd Severall Legacys & ye Reason that I have allowed unto sd Mary Beetle Jemima Dunham Rachel Coleman no Larger Legacys is yt on their Marriages & Since I have paid & given them Considerable Sums of Money.