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- 54 - . CHAPTER 4 THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY IN NORTH 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 "Moratuck." On March 13, 1761, Book 7, Page 255, Robert Coleman bought of William Roberts 100 acres in Halifax County on the West side of - 55 - . THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY 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 Halifax. 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." - 56 - . 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, then - 57 - . THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY 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. - 58 - . 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 1807. 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, 1796. 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 where. 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 date. 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. - 59 - . THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY 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 - 60 - . 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 forever. 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 - 61 - . THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY 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. his Robert R. Coleman Seal mark 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 - 62 - . 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 - 63 - . 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 recorded. Test: Joseph Montfort, Clerk of the Court.
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