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Robert Coe 1596 – 1689 : I267


  1. Bartlett, Joseph. 1911. Robert Coe, puritan; his ancestors and descendants, 1340-1910. Boston. Full text online at
Boxford Church, Suffolk. Valerie Thornton (British, 1931-1991) 1974 etching and aquatint on paper

Boxford Church, Suffolk. Valerie Thornton (British, 1931-1991) 1974 etching and aquatint on paper

databaseflagRobert Coe. Farmer, Magistrate, Commissioner and Sheriff. Robert Coe, son of Henry Coe, was born in 1596 in Thorpe-Morieux, Suffolk County, England. He was raised under Puritan influences and became imbued with their faith and desire for religious liberty. Robert’s first wife was Mary (also known by Marie according to her burial records of Boxford Church, Suffolk County, England). Boxford is about eight miles south of Thorpe-Morieux.

They were married about 1623 in England . Mary had all four of Robert’s children.

On April 18, 1625, he was chosen Overseer of Cloth and in 1629 ‘Questman’ (the Sideman of the Boxford Church).

In 1634 he met and married his second wife, Anne Dearsley.

On April 30, 1634, Robert, Anne and their children, John, Robert and Benjamin, appeared in Ipswich, County Suffolk, and boarded the ship ‘Francis’ bound for New England. They were among the many who, desiring liberty from the prevailing religious oppression, set sail for the primitive wilderness of America to brave the hardships of pioneer life. He was one among the some 25,000 who emigrated from England (two-thirds of whom had resided in counties Essex and Suffolk) to New England between 1620 and 1643, mostly Puritans searching for religious liberty. He was the earliest immigrant of the name Coe.

Wikipedia entry:

Robert Coe (26 October 1596 – 1689)

was an early English settler and the progenitor in New England of many Coes in America.

Robert Coe was born at Thorpe-Morieux, in the county of Suffolk, England, and baptized in the ancient church there on October 26, 1596, as recorded in parish registers. His father, Henry Coe, had been a yeoman, probably a clothmaker, and for several years was church warden.

In 1625 Robert Coe is shown as living in Boxford, Suffolk, then a thriving rural and manufacturing parish eight miles south of Thorpe-Morieux, where he lived until leaving for America in 1634. Robert Coe and his family took passage from the port of Ipswich in Suffolk county aboard the Francis, commanded by Capt. John Cutting.

Experience in the Colonies

Once in New England, Coe and his family located for a brief time in Watertown, Massachusetts, where several other Puritan families from Boxford had located.

In June 1635 Coe joined a few others in starting a new plantation at Wethersfield, Connecticut, in the fertile Connecticut River Valley. There he lived about five years where his house was situated at what is now the northwest corner of East Main and Broad Streets. A division within the church caused Robert Coe and his adherents to purchase lands for a new plantation at Stamford, Connecticut.

While in Stamford he rose to become a magistrate on April 5, 1643, and to serve as a deputy to the General Court at New Haven the same year and also in 1644. Once again a dispute within the church caused Robert Coe and the Rev. Richard Denton to cross the Long Island Sound in 1644 to Long Island, then under Dutch rule. There Coe helped to establish a new settlement called Hempstead. A church was immediately organized with Robert Coe chosen as the elder. There he remained for eight years, acquired extensive land, and was magistrate of the town under the Dutch government.

Eventually Coe helped to form another new settlement, a few miles west on Long Island at a place known as Mespat, which had been previously settled in 1642 but destroyed in an Indian attack the following year. A new church was formed with Rev. John Moore as the pastor and Robert Coe the elder. The settlement took on the name of Middleburg and Hastings before being permanently named Newtown. Mr. Coe remained there for four years, being the most prominent man and local magistrate his whole time there. In 1653 he went to Boston as a deputy of the town to ask for protection from the Massachusetts Bay Colony against Indians, who were threatening attack. In November of the same year he was sent as deputy to New Amsterdam to confer with the Dutch on the same issue.

From Middleburg, Robert Coe, his youngest son Benjamin Coe, and several others purchased a large tract of land south of Newtown, today Jamaica, Queens, and settled there. The Dutch appointed Robert Coe magistrate for Jamaica in 1658, an office which he held until 1664. When the English population on Long Island revolted from the Dutch at New Amsterdam and transferred their allegiance to Connecticut, Coe went along as well serving as deputy for Jamaica to the General Court at Hartford by which he was appointed commissioner (or magistrate) for Jamaica. He last served as high-sheriff of Yorkshire after governance of this portion of Long Island fell under the jurisdiction of New York.

Near the end of his life, Robert Coe settled his estate among his three sons. He married a third wife, Jane Rouse, when over 80 years of age. He bought a farm of fifty acres at Foster’s Meadow in Hempstead on November 29, 1678, and lived out his remaining years there. His home on Long Island stood until 1930 when it was destroyed to accommodate construction of LaGuardia Airport.

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