Chapter 04: In North Carolina, 1756-1775.

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The Robert Coleman from Virginia to Texas, 1652-1965

Chapter 04:  In North Carolina, 1756-1775.

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     CHAPTER 4

     CAROLINA, 1756-1775
     by J. P. COLEMAN

     ROBERT COLEMAN, the elder, of Halifax County, North Carolina and
       later of Fairfield County, South Carolina, who died late 1795.

     In this chapter we shall write of Robert Coleman, who died in late
     1795.  He is undoubtedly the common ancestor of all the Coleman
     family described in this book. Documentary evidence conclusively
     shows that this Robert Coleman was the father of that Robert Coleman
     who married Elizabeth Roe.
        Mrs. Jennie I. Coleman, in a chapter which appears later, wrote
     that the Colemans first came to Virginia, thence to North Carolina. .
        At the time this chapter is written (July 31, 1961) our earliest
     specific documentary record of Robert Coleman, the elder, is found at
     Page 174, Land Deed Book 8, Records of Halifax County, North Carolina
     (1756). On November 9, l756, the Right Honorable John Earl Granville,
     Viscount Carteret and Baron Carteret, of Hawnes, in the county of
     Bedford granted to Robert Coleman "of Edgecombe County, Province of
     North Carolina," 157 acres of land in Edgecombe Parish, said county.
     It was described as adjoining Drewry M. Coleman's land, on Rocky
     Swamp. For some reason, this grant was not proved for record until
     the September Court, 1762.
        The land in question had been granted to Earl Granville by 
     King George II, September 17, 1744.
       For Geographical identifications it may be mentioned that 
     Rocky Swamp runs from North to South and enters Big Fishing Creek
     about three miles West of the present city of Enfield, Halifax
     County, NC. This is about sixteen miles southwest of the
     town of Halifax.  The County is situated in Northeastern North
     Carolina, lacks only about six miles touching the Virginia State
     line, is approximately 90 miles South of Richmond, and is bounded on
     the Northeast by the Roanoke River, for which the Indian name was

       On March 13, 1761, Book 7, Page 255, Robert Coleman bought of
     William Roberts 100 acres in Halifax County on the West side of 

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     Rocky Swamp, beginning at the mouth of New Horsepin Run. 
     Francis Coleman was a subscribing witness and signed by mark.
        Halifax County, NC had been formed of Edgecombe three years 
     previously, in 1758.
        In the meantime, the Courthouse was moved from Enfield to 
        We next find the will of Thomas Mathis, Halifax County Wills,
     dated October 15, 1764, admitted to probate in April, 1765. It must
     be noted here that Mathis was one way of spelling Matthews. The
     testator mentioned his wife, but did not state her given name. He
     named his daughters, Frances Coleman, Sarah Hill and Millie Mathis.
     He also named sons, Charles, James, Isaac, Thomas and Benjamin. From
     a deed later to be described, we know that Frances Coleman, daughter
     of Thomas Mathis, at least from 1764 to 1774 was the wife of 
     Robert Coleman, the elder.
        On February 21, 1770, Book 11, Page 18, Robert Coleman conveyed to
     Thomas Coleman the same land, on the West side of Rocky Swamp,
     acquired of William Roberts in 1761. We know from a deed made by
     Robert Coleman in Fairfield County, South Carolina, March 31, 1795,
     that Thomas was his son.
        On April 11, 1771, Book 11, Page 323, by deed of gift, 
     Robert Coleman conveyed to Christopher Pritchett 100 acres "of the 
     land which Coleman now holds on the South side of the main road." 
     R.htm#N001932">Robert signed by mark "R." Thomas Coleman was a witness to this deed.
     By the Last Will and Testament of Robert Coleman we know that 
     Susanna, wife of Christopher Pritchett, was Robert Coleman's daughter.
        The 1782 Tax List, District 12, Halifax County, at the North
     Carolina Department of Archives and History, shows that Christopher
     Pritchett, John Pritchett, Elijah Humphries, Jeremiah Mathis, 
     Richard Mathis, James Mathis, Samuel Mathis, David Mathis, and 
     Susannah Mathis were all neighbors and residents of that Tax District.
     Also in that District were Thomas Williams, John Williams,
     James Williams, and John Thomas. David Roe Coleman referred to the
     Thomases as his cousins, but I have never learned how this came in.
        In Tax District Number 12, Halifax County, 1782, were found 
     Isaac Mathis, Mary Mathis, Sara Mathis, and Thomas Mathis.
        On January 25, 1774, Land Deed Book 13, Page 32, Robert Coleman
     and Frances Coleman, his wife, conveyed to Elijah Humphries 357 acres
     in Halifax County on the East side of Rocky Swamp. Frances Coleman
     signed by mark, as did her husband. She used an "x"; he used "RC."

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                                              THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     The Court Clerk certified that Frances Coleman, being privately exam-
     ined, acknowledged the relinquishment of her right of dower. Robert
     personally appeared before the May Court, 1774, to acknowledge the
     conveyance. The land was described in the face of the deed as being
     that land which Robert Coleman acquired by patent dated November 9,
     1756, and other deeds or grants of record, on Rocky Swamp, adjoining
     Humphries, the purchaser.
        After the May Court, 1774, Robert Coleman never again appears in
     the records of Halifax County. Mrs. Jennie I. Coleman, writing in
     1906, did not have these North Carolina records. Yet she then stated
     that Robert Coleman, the husband of Elizabeth Roe, came from Halifax
     County, North Carolina, to Fairfield County, South Carolina, in 1775.
     Since Robert Coleman, the elder, acknowledged the deed to Humphries
     in May, 1774, his last recorded transaction in Halifax, the family
     tradition known to Mrs. Jennie I. Coleman is documentarily proven to
     have been correct.
        Thus, we know that Robert Coleman, the elder, was a resident of
     what is now Halifax County, North Carolina, from 1756 to 1775. This
     goes back twenty years prior to the Declaration of Independence.
        Again, the family tradition, as related by Mrs. Jennie I. Coleman,
     was that this branch of the Coleman family came from Wales to
     Virginia, thence to North Carolina.
        We know that Robert Coleman's father-in-law, Thomas Mathis, whose
     will has already been mentioned, was in Edgecombe County, NC,
     as early as February 14, 1746. On this date, Land Deed Book
     3, Page 55, Thomas Mathis "of Edgecombe County" conveyed to his
     brother, Isaac, of Brunswick County, Virginia, 320 acres at 
     Turkey Ford, Conoway Creek. Brunswick County, Virginia, adjoins 
     Halifax County, NC.
        Thomas Coleman, son of Robert the elder, was a subscribing witness
     to a deed in the Halifax records from Barzilla Hewett to Anderson
     Nunnelly, June 14, 1766. This proves that Thomas was born no later
     than 1745. Thus, his father, Robert, was most certainly born as early
     as 1725, even if there were no children older than Thomas. Computed
     another way, if Robert the elder were eighty years of age at his
     death in 1795 then he would have been born as early as 1715. He had
     many children and we do not know their dates of birth.
        From Thomas' age we know that Robert was married not later than
     1744. Thomas Mathis does not appear in Edgecombe County until 1746.
     Except for the possibility that Robert had a wife before Frances,

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     Robert met and married her before either the Colemans or the Mathises
     came to Halifax County.
        The best evidence we have at this date of where Thomas Mathis came
     from is an entry in the Albemarle Parish Register of Surrey County,
     Virginia, showing that James Matthews, son of Thomas Matthews and
     wife, Eliza Matthews, was born August 4, 1739. The godparents were
     James Matthews and Frances Matthews. The name Matthews is used
     interchangeably with Mathis a number of times in the Halifax records.
     Thomas Mathis' will of 1764 names a son, James.
        Moreover, Deed Book I, Page 520, Brunswick County, Virginia,
     Records (1741) described one James Mathis as being from 
     Albemarle Parish, Surrey County, Virginia.
        An extensive search of the records of Lunenberg, Mecklenberg, and
     Brunswick Counties, Virginia (which are perfect back to 1720) fails
     to reveal the presence of Thomas Mathis or Robert Coleman the elder
     in any of these counties prior to removal to North Carolina. 
     Thomas Mathis did have numerous relatives in Brunswick County, who
     will be described, for genealogical interest, in the Appendix.
        The only other documentary record of Robert Coleman, the elder, in
     Halifax County, is an entry on the Crown Docket, Item 16, January
     Court, 1767, styled The King vs. Robert Coleman-indictment. This
     entry does not name the charge, but does give Benjamin Taylor as the
     prosecuting witness, and carries the notation "not a true bill,"
     reflecting that the grand jury declined to indict Robert, whatever
     the charge.
        On December 7, 1779, Book 14, Page 325, Halifax Records, 
     Thomas Coleman and his wife, Sarah, sold the 100 acres "whereon the
     said Thomas Coleman now lives," being the same land that Robert had
     deeded him in 1770, to his brother-in-law, Christopher Pritchett.
     The deed recites that the land had been acquired from Robert Coleman, Sr.
     This, of course, shows that by 1779 there was a Robert, Jr, in
     the family. The appellation "Junior" could refer only to the Robert
     who married Elizabeth Roe. This deed further indicates that Thomas,
     in 1779, was moving away. It was not until November 29, 1790, that
     William Con, by mark, conveyed to Thomas Coleman, of Fairfield
     County, 250 acres of land on the waters of Beaver Creek. Thereafter,
     on March 31, 1795, Thomas Coleman was a witness to the Will of 
     Robert Coleman, the elder.
        On March 31, 1795, Fairfield Land Deed Book K, Page 302, 
     Robert Coleman conveyed to "his son," Thomas Coleman, a Negro boy
     named Moses.

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                                                THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

        On the same day, Robert made his last will and testament, with
     Thomas as a witness, above mentioned. Among the appraisers of the
     estate was David Roe Coleman, son of Robert and Elizabeth Roe
     Coleman, as was his brother, Wiley.
        On March 25, 1795, Land Deed Book K, at Pages 124, 126, 128, and
     130, Robert Coleman, who signed by the mark "R," conveyed property to
     his sons-in-law, William Chapman, Isaiah Mobley, and William Mobley,
     as well as to his son, Stephen Coleman. Thus, Isaiah Mobley, was a
     brother-in-law of Thomas Coleman. As we shall see in another chapter
     they moved together to Warren County, Kentucky (Bowling Green) in
        The warrant for the appraisal of the estate of Robert Coleman, the
     elder, is dated January 20, 1796, which shows that Robert Coleman had
     died previous to that date, cither in late 1795 or early in January,
        His will refers to Susanna Coleman, his well beloved wife. This
     shows that the Frances Coleman, the wife of 1764-1774, had died after
     signing the deed of the latter date, but we do not know when nor
        The deed of record at Page 80 of Land Deed Book I, Fairfield
     Records, dated April 26, 1792, from Robert Coleman, Sr. and wife
     Susanna, for 200 acres on the south side of Little River, recites
     that the land in question was granted June 23. 1774, unto William
     Jones, "and whereas said Robert Coleman has since the decease of
     William Jones married his widow, Susanna."
        Deed Book B, Page 77, December 1, 1779, William Jones and his wife
     conveyed 100 acres to William Phillips on Phillips Branch of Little
     River, granted July 15, 1768. This shows that William Jones died
     after 1779.  Thus, Robert, the elder, married Susanna after that
        On May 16, 1744, Book 5, Page 264, William Jones (senior) sold to
     Francis Jones of Northampton County, land on Rocky Swamp. James
     Mathis, Jr. was a witness. This is the same neighborhood in which
     Robert Coleman obtained his patent in 1756. This shows that the
     Joneses and Colemans had known each other long before they appeared
     in Fairfield, and also shows the close connection with the Mathises.
        This William Jones made a conveyance to William Jones, Jr. on May
     18, 1748, and he, no doubt, was the husband of Susanna who later
     became the wife of Robert Coleman.
        We next encounter the recitations of the deeds from Stephen
     Coleman (son of Robert the elder) to Robert Coleman (the husband of
     Elizabeth Roe) dated December 7, 1808, which clinches the matter.

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        Land Deed Book Y, Page 158, Fairfield County, Stephen Coleman
     conveyed to Robert Coleman 17 acres of land "being a part of a tract
     of land containing 100 acres granted to a person by the name of
     Wadey and then conveyed to Albert Beam, and by Beam conveyed to
     Robert Coleman, the father of said Robert Coleman, and by him devised
     by his last will and testament to said Stephen, situated on Reedy
     Branch of Beaver Creek, situated near the old Post Office."
        Robert Fitz Coleman was one of the subscribing witnesses and made
     affidavit before D. R. Coleman, Justice of the Peace, that he was
     personally present and saw the within named Stephen Coleman sign,
     seal, and deliver the within deed to Robert Coleman, Sr., and that he
     together with Wiley F. Coleman witnessed the execution of the deed.
     Robert Coleman, the husband of Elizabeth Roe, was then a senior
     because he had a son named Robert, born February 1, 1769.
        Land Deed Book Y, Page 293, January 10, 1811.  Deed of 
     Francis Coleman and Elizabeth Coleman, children of Robert Coleman 
     who married Elizabeth Roe, to Robert F. Coleman. The instrument 
     conveys 17 1/2 acres, being a part of a tract of 100 acres 
     "conveyed to Albert Beam, and by him to Robert Coleman, Sr., and 
     by him devised to Stephen Coleman, and by Stephen conveyed to
     Robert Coleman, father of Francis and Elizabeth, who devised this
     and other land in his last will and testament to Francis and Elizabeth."
        The Fairfield Census of 1800 enumerated Susannah Coleman, widow,
     the head of a family.
        Deed Book 1, Page 79, Abraham Jones and wife, Mary, executed a
     deed reciting that Abraham Jones was the oldest son and heir at law
     of William Jones.  This Abraham Jones was thus the son or stepson of
     Susannah Jones, who married Robert Coleman, the elder.  He was
     personally close enough to Robert Coleman, who died in 1809, that he
     was one of the witnesses of his will.

              "AMELIA COUNTY, VIRGINIA--Deed Book 3. P. 318--

     Abraham Jones Sr. of Amelia County conveys to Abraham Jones Jr. by
     deed of gift a tract of 421 acres on the west side of Sweathouse
     Creek said land being part of a larger tract granted Abraham Jones by
     patent 28 Jan. 1733."

        "Deed Book 4, P. 150--Abraham Jones Jr. of Edgecombe County, NC
     conveys to Abraham Jones Sr. of Amelia County, Virginia--for
     the sum of 300 pounds-a tract of 421 acres on the west

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                                                THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     side of Sweathouse Creek said land being part of a larger tract
     granted Abraham Jones, Sr. 28 Jan. 1733. Recorded 25 Sept. 1751."

        Apt. 2, File #51, Fairfield County, recorded in Book 2, Pages 117
     and 118, February 15, 1796:

                           WILL OF ROBERT COLEMAN

        IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN I Robert Coleman of the State of South
     Carolina and County of Fairfield Farmer being Very Weak of Body but
     in perfect mind and memory thanks be given unto God Calling unto mind
     the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men
     once to die do make and ordain this my last will and testament That
     is to say principally and first of all I give and recommend my Sole
     into the hands of Almighty God that gave it and My Christian burial
     at the discretion of my Executors nothing Doubting but at the general
     resurection I shall receive the Same again by the mighty power of
     God and as touching Such worldly Estate wherewith it has pleased God
     to bless me in this life I give, devise and dispose of the same in
     the following manner and form:
        First, I give and bequeath to Susannah Coleman my well beloved
     wife one Sorrel mare, Seven head of Cattle to be taken out of the
     Stock I had by my wife in marage, fifteen head of hogs, two feather
     beds and Furniture, one large Chest, third of all my geese, one Iron
     pot, One Small leather trunk, one duch oven to Her and her heirs
        Item, I lend to my well beloved wife Susannah Coleman the Third
     part of one hundred acres of land during of her life.
        Item, I give and bequeath to my well beloved Children, Thomas
     Coleman, Sarah Chapman, Mary Parker, Cloey Mobley, Fanney Mobley,
     Nancy Mobley Susanah Prichet or the lawfull heirs of her body one
     Shilling Sterling each to be paid out of my Estate if demanded.
        Item, I give and bequeath to my three well beloved children
     Stephen Coleman, Morening Coleman, Tabitha Coleman, all my personal
     Estate except what I have given away which is above mentioned.
        Item, I give and bequeath to my well beloved Son, Stephen Coleman,
     one hundred acres of land whereon I now live.
        Lastly, I make, constitute and appoint William Chapman and Isaiah
     Mobley my lawful Executors of this my last will and testament, and I
     do hereby utterly disalow and revoke, disanul all and every other
     form of testaments, wills, legaces, bequeaths and Exers. by me in any
     ways before named, willed and bequeathed, ratifying and confirming
     this and

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     no other to be my last will and testament in witness whereof I have
     here unto Set my hand and Seal, this 31 day of March, 1795.
        Signed, Sealed, published and declared in presence of us.

                             Robert R. Coleman     Seal

        Anderson Thomas
        Thomas Coleman

                           Proved 20 January 1796
                                  D. Evans

                    Recorded in Book 2, Pages 117 & 118
                             February 15, 1796
                               Apt. 2 File 51

        R.bert Coleman signed by the mark "R." His estate was appraised by
     D. Coleman (this was David Roe Coleman, born 1765, died 1855), 
     Wiley Coleman (his brother), and William Mobley. The warrant of
     appraisement is dated January 20, 1796, which shows that
     Robert Coleman had died previous to that date. The warrant spells
     William Mobley's name "Moberly" but he signs Mobley. Thomas Means was
     also named as an appraiser, as was Isiah Moberley. The oath,
     however, was signed only by D. Coleman, Wiley Coleman and 
     William Mobley, William Chapman and Isiah Moberley being the Executors.

Wes' Note 7/18/02:
     Thus it would appear we have these family relationships:
     Robert Coleman, Sr., b c1720-25, was he the one who d. 1809?
        married Susanna, widow of William Jones, Jr., after 1 Dec 1779
      1 Robert Coleman, Jr. + Elizabeth Roe
           David Roe Coleman
              Robert Fitz Coleman fits in here?
              Wiley F Coleman fits in here?
           Wiley Roe Coleman
           Robert Roe Coleman, b. 1 Feb 1769
           Francis Roe Coleman, 
           Elizabeth Roe Coleman
      2 Thomas Coleman, of Halifax Co., sold land 7 Dec 1779 leaving area?
           sold it to his brother-in-law, Christopher Pritchett
           b. <=1745
           bought 250 acres of land on Beaver Creek 29 Nov 1790
           witnessed his dad's will 31 Mar 1795 and received negro boy
           Moses on same date.
           moved his family to Bowling Green, Warren Co., KY along with 
           Isaiah Mobley's family.
      3 Sarah Coleman married William Chapman
      4 Mary Coleman married Mr. Parker
      5 Cloey or Fanney? Coleman married Isaiah Mobley
      6 Cloey or Fanney? Coleman married William Mobley
      7 Nancy Coleman married Mr. Mobley
      8 Susanah Coleman married Christopher Pritchett
      9 Stephen Coleman
           to brother Robert he sold inherited land on Reedy Branch of
           Beaver Creek
     10 Morening Coleman
     11 Tabitha Coleman
        The Estate consisted of the following:

     One horse
     One colt
     One mare
     One bed and bedstead
     50 bushels of corn
     12 heads of hogs
     3 head of cattle
     1 spinning wheale
     1 grindstone
     4 head of geese
     1 pewter dish and four plates and two tin pans
     2 cowhides
     1 meal tob

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                                            THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     1 axe
     1 axe
     1 broadaxe
     Two sides of leather
     One drawing knife and iron wedge and two reap hooks
     1 Loom
     1 half bushel
     1 sithe blade
     1 sledge and clevis and Srivin
     1 half set of wagon boxes
     1 wheate sive
     1 shovel plow
     4 chair fraims
     1 pair saddle walletts
     350 pounds of bacon and 100 pound of cotton
     1 saddle
     1 barsheare plow and table

                           WILL OF THOMAS MATHIS

     Halifax County Wills proved April Court, 1765, as follows:

     October Ye Fifteenth, 1764, this being my last will and testament in
     the name of God Amen.

        I Thos. Mathis being in perfect sence and memory and knowing it to
     be appointed once for all men to die I give my soul to God who gave
     it me and my body to the earth to be buried to the discretion of
     executors and my worldly estate as followeth:

        Item. To my daughter Frances Coleman I give ten shillings besides
     what she was possessed with before. Item. To my son Charles Mathis I
     give five shillings besides what he already has had of me. Item. To
     my daughter Sarah Hill I give ten shillings besides what she has
     had of me.  Item. To my son James Mathis I give my Negro fellow Will.
     Item. To my daughter Milly I give ten shillings besides what she
     already has.  Item. To my son Isaac Mathis I give 160 more or less
     acres of land lying over the creek being part of the Coles survey and
     the remainder tract of the land I give to my son Thomas Mathis. Item.
     And my home plantation I give to my son, Benjamin Mathis, being 150
     acres, more or less. I.htm#N002411">Item. To my loving wife I give three Negroes
     Cook, Rachel and Hannah during her life if after her death the Negro
     feller Cook shall

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                                             THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     return to my son Isaac and Rachel to my son Thomas likewise and
     Hannah to my son Benjamin. Likewise, also to my son Isaac, I give
     Dinah and Daniel aFter my wife's decease. Also to my son Benjamin I
     give Neil and David after my wife's decease. Item. To my son, Isaac,
     I give my mill observed Thomas and Benjamin I give equal part
     with my son lsaac til they come of age. Item. To my son Thomas, I
     give my Negro Peter as soon as he comes of age, and Kate to my son
     Benjamin as soon as he comes of age, and to my son James, I give one
     bed and furniture and to my son Isaac I give my still and him l leave
     to pay all my worldly debts. item. To my son, Isaac, I give one bed
     and furniture and to my son Thomas another bed and furniture and to
     my son Benjamin another bed and furniture after my wife's decease I
     leave everything that is not already given I give to my three
     youngest sons, Thomas, Isaac and Benjamin to be equally divided among
     them. My son Charles and my son lsaac l leave my executors.

                                               Thomas (his mark) Mathis

     Test: William Pullen, Isaac Mathis, Thomas Mathis.
     North Carolina, Halifax County, April Court, 1765.

        The above will was exhibited in open court and duly proved by the
     oath of Thos. Mathis a witness thereto, who on his oath did say that
     he saw the testator, Thos. Mathis, seal, publish and deliver the same
     to be his last will and testament and that at the same time he saw
     William Pullen and lsaac Mathis the other two subscribing witnesses
     sign the same as witnesses thereto whereupon Isaac Mathis one of the
     executors therein named came in Court and was duly qualified by
     taking of the oath by law directed wherefore return shall be

     Test: Joseph Montfort, Clerk of the Court.


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