SEEING TRIPLE: CONNECTING THREE GENERATIONS OF WILLIAM TEMPLE COLES BEFORE THE TIME OF VITAL RECORDS
Early colonial times consisted of hardship, wars, and the lack of documentation. Finding proof of familial connections using diaries, wills, and early court records will help to connect three generations of the Coles family and break down the brick walls of adversity.
The name William Temple Coles goes hand and hand with Rowan County, North Carolina. Researching the timeline of William Temple Coles Sr. helps us to differentiate Senior from his son, William Temple Coles Jr. The name William Temple Cole(s) was a very popular name and it has come to this genealogists attention that there is another William Temple Cole that is not related to this line of the Coles family.
This case study is to determine without a doubt the direct lineage of three generations of William Temple Coles and prove that the other William Temple Cole is not related to this particular line. Without the use of vital records finding a direct source proves to be a roadblock, but with the use of early deed recordings, wills, and journal entries the roadblocks shall be overcome.
THE LIFE OF WILLIAM TEMPLE COLES SR. AND SARAH JOLLY
The year is 1735 in Dublin, Ireland and a young couple, Thomas and Henrietta Maria Coles welcome a baby boy into their family. William Temple Coles was Christened on 27 June, 1735, at Saint Peter and Saint Kevin Church in Dublin1.
Not much is known about William’s early life in Ireland, In a 1929 newspaper from Hasting, Nebraska, an article mentions that William Temple Coles “had been educated for holy orders, in the old country but hearing of the New Eldorado on this side of the Atlantic, he determined to see for himself the wonders of the New World. He came to America in 1755 in the ship with General Braddock when that officer took command of the English forces against the French and Indian War”2.
There are no records showing that William ever fought in the French and Indian War. The first three years of his life in America have been lost to time. The first entry we find for him in the new world finds him in South Carolina when he married Sarah Jolly Wilson, the widow of William Wilson, in 17583.
A year after their marriage, in 1759, William and Sarah welcome a baby boy into the world. It has been said that William thought highly of his Temple family, therefore they named their son William Temple Coles, Jr4. The Temple name can be found in numerous descendants of William.
In 1761, William was listed as a witness on three different land transactions. Two in Prince George Town5, and one in Anson County, North Carolina6. This marks the beginning of many years in the rosters in the Carolinas.
In 1763, William and Sarah Welcomed a second child, Henrietta Maria Coles7, named in honor of William’s mother, who still resided in the old country.
William was listed as a witness in numerous transactions of land throughout the years, but in 1765, he became a landowner in his own right. On 12 January 1765, James Carter and Hugh Forster, trustees of the Township of Salisbury, deed William Temple Coles “all the remaining vacant lotts in the Town of Salisbury.” He paid 100 pounds at the time of his purchase with the agreement to pay 5 pounds annually, payable beginning 25 March, 17668. Three days later, on 15 January 1765, William and his wife sold 15 “lotts” in the East Square of Salisbury to John Lewis Beard for 16 pounds9.
On 13 July 1765, Hugh Forster appointed William as his “Lawful Attorney”, indicating that William would act as his Power of Attorney10. This gave him the power to buy and sell lotts and collect rents in the name of Hugh Forster.
In November of 1766, at the Inferior Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions meeting, William was appointed Justice of the Peace11.
Throughout the years of 1766-1768 the wealth of William Temple Coles was apparent due to the numerous lotts he purchased in Salisbury. He was considered a well-liked, prosperous, and trustworthy gentleman and on 18 November 1769, he was appointed High Sheriff of Rowan County12.
As the new world adjusted and more immigrants arrived, new laws were formed. The government of North Carolina named eleven men as Commissioners of Salisbury, Rowan County. This was not an elected capacity, and once appointed they were a Commissioner for life. William Temple Coles was named one of these eleven Commissioners in 177013.
On 25 January 1771, the town of Salisbury appointed William as Coroner along with John Oliphant and James Craig14. 1771 through 1773 showed William selling numerous lotts in Salisbury.
In all the years in Rowan County that William served as High Sheriff, one occurrence stands out above the rest. The year that William Temple Coles arrested Daniel Boone. On 25 April 1950, the Statesville Daily Record newspaper from Statesville, North Carolina wrote an article entitled, “Boone’s Family Roots Deep in Rowan County.” In this article, the author states that Daniel Boone was once arrested by William Temple Coles for indebtedness.
One of the many records in the Rowan Courthouse relating to the Boone Family is an old warrant showing that Daniel Boone was being sought by officers in 1771-72 for non-payment of a debt of 14 pounds. On November 9, 1772, the frontiersman was hauled into court with the following warrant:
North Carolina, Rowan County, William Temple Coles, Esq., seal. George the mad, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, Ireland and kind defender of the faith, to the coroner of Rowan County,
“Whereas, Ebenezer Frost has complained on oath to William Temple Coles Esq., to keep the peace for said county that Daniel Boone, late of your county, is justly indebted to him in the sum of 14 lbs., 5 shillings, provisional money and oath having been made also that the said Daniel Boone has privately removed out of your county or so absconds and conceals himself that ordinary group of law cannot be served upon him and has given bond and security to the directions of an act of the assembly in such case made and provided…We therefore command you that you attack the estate of the said Daniel Boone if to be found in your bailiwick, or as much thereof as available…to satisfy the said debt and cost. ..that the same may be liable to fourteen pounds, thereupon to be held at our next Superior Court for the District of Salisbury…on the 15th day of March next; so as to compel the said Daniel Boone to appear and answer the above complaint of the said Ebenezer Frost when and where you shall make known up to our said court how you shall have executed this writ.
“Witness: William Temple Coles, Esq., our said justice of Salisbury, the 17th day of February, the eleventh year of our reign, A.D.,1771.” The judgment in the case, “Ebenezer Frost vs. Daniel Boone, jury impaneled and sworn, and find for the plaintiff the sum of 14 pounds, 3 shillings, 2 pence.”15
William continued to show up as a witness for deeds and other actions throughout the next few years, but nothing was of a personal capacity until his will came forward for probate on 6 February, 177716. In his will, he mentions his son, William Temple Coles, Jr., our final proof of parentage, and his daughter Henrietta Maria Coles, as well as his mother Henrietta.
In his will, it states” “All my Estate Land and Tenement, inheritances, freehold and Leasehold; Goods and Chattles, Rights and Credits, in the county of Wicklow and in the county of Wexford at or near Gorey in the Kingdom of Ireland, including Coolalug and Mackley Farms formerly occupied by James Machan and being a part of the Marquis of Rockingham Estate, I give and bequeath the same to my dearly beloved and ever honored Mother, Henrietta Maria Coles during her natural life for her sole use and benefit without Impeachment of Waste; and after her decease, I give and bequeath the same to my well beloved and only son William Temple Coles, Junr., his heirs and assigns forever.
I also give and bequeath to my son William Temple Coles, Junr. The whole Town of Salisbury, under the same Trust (and) under the same Covenants as the same was conveyed to me by one certain Deed of Trust from Hugh Foster to me bearing date, _______ _______ 1775 (line at bottom of page completely faded out) on condition nevertheless, and it is my express order and I do hereby direct and require that my said son William Temple Coles, Junr shall procure all the ground rents of the several lotts in said town by James Carter and Hugh Foster or either of them which have heretofore been sold out to common purchases to be paid into the hands of his Mother, my said wife Sarah during her natural life.17”
Now that an affirmed parental link has been established to connect William Temple Coles, Junior to his father, William Temple Coles, Senior, we will delve deeper into the life of the younger William to establish a connection between him and his son, William Temple Coles III.
WILLIAM TEMPLE COLES, JUNIOR – LIFE AND LEGACY
William Temple Coles, Junior, was born in the Cheraws District of South Carolina ca. 1759, to William Temple Coles, Senior, and Sarah Jolly Wilson Coles18. His only sister, Henrietta Maria Coles Fishburn was born in 1763 in the same district19. Henrietta plays an important role in establishing a timeline for William.
The Coles family moved from South Carolina ca. 1765 to Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina20. It was in this place that both Williams made a name for themselves. William Senior required numerous lots of Salisbury and his son soon followed in his footsteps. The younger William was the tender age of 13 when his father purchased in his name “Lott 20 in the South Square from William Dry” in Salisbury on 11 May, 177221.
By the time he was 16 years old, William was appointed the Captain of the Youth in Salisbury to guard the house of Benjamin N. Boote. Boote had in his possession letters of value that he was refusing to turn over to the local officials. William’s job was to see that no “sustenance” was delivered unto Boote until he complied with the Safety Committee of Rowan County22.
William was appointed Captain under Colonel Poke’s Regiment and was in the 4th North Carolina Regiment23. During his time as Captain he fought in three known battles; 11 September 1777, Brandywine Creek, Pennsylvania24, 04 October 1777, in Germantown, Pennsylvania25, and 20 June, 1779, Stono Ferry, South Carolina26. William removed his family from Salisbury when British General Gage and his troops drew too close. They first went to Pennsylvania and then on to Frederick, Maryland, where they stayed for about a year27. His regiment was encamped at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania with General George Washington from 1777 to June 177828.
There are no records of marriage for William but it is a known fact that his wife’s name was Mary, as evidenced by William and his wife Mary selling a parcel of land to William Brandon in Salisbury in 178029. Mary’s life during the Revolutionary War was spent following her husband’s regiment. The wives of the soldiers played important roles at the encampments, including cooking and laundry30. Raising children on the march must have been difficult and the fact that they were encamped at Valley Forge in 1777-1778, Mary was likely pregnant with their son, William Temple Coles, III.
William’s sister, Henrietta, first visited her brother and his family when she was fifteen years old, in all likelihood to help Mary with her newborn son. With the war waging around them peril lurked around every corner. One such incidence was when Henrietta became aware of British troops in pursuit of her brother’s regiment. She quickly mounted her horse and skirted through the woods around the British to reach her brother’s men to warn them. With her aid, they were able to rout the British detachment with little harm to them31.
After the war, William and his family settled back in their hometown of Salisbury. For his contribution to the war efforts, he was awarded 404 acres in Rowan County on 04 November, 177832. William settled into his role in the community and remained in Rowan County until 1785. On 31 August 1785, he sold his 404 acres to Frederick Mourner for one hundred pounds33.
Through records of the courts, it is determined that William moved his family to Burke County between 1785-86, though he did continue to hold property in Rowan County34. William was quiet for a few years, not showing up in any court records until he surfaces in Lincoln County, North Carolina proving deeds for numerous people.
A person has to wonder at the character of William Temple Coles, Junior, because he has been sued and convicted numerous times in each county he has set up residence in, as well as almost being subject to a court-martial while in the service. After the war was over William was sued in Rowan County on 07 May 1783 for 12 pounds and 6 pence plus 7 pence cost of court. The next day he was sued again but only had to pay the 7 pence court cost. On 6 August 1784, a woman by the name of Mary Fitzpatrick sues William for 7 pence.
William was sued 4 more times in Rowan County spanning from 1784 to 1788. In July of 1789, we find William in Lincoln County, North Carolina where he was sued by Jacob Dellinger and had to pay 10 pounds plus costs. William went to Ireland in 1795-96 and did not appear in any lawsuits until April of 1798 when he was sued by Wallace Alexander in Lincoln County and had to pay 30 pounds, 6 pence, plus costs.
On 19 September 1800, William Temple Coles III married Mary Polly Brown in Wilson County, Tennessee, which had just split from Sumner County the previous year. No record of his father has been found in Wilson County, but in doing research through the tax lists it was discovered that in Sumner County, listed on the tax list of 1824, there is listed two William Coles. One, listed as William T Coles owns 35 acres, and the other William Coles owns 115 acres. This listing of both father and son is the final proof of parentage for William Jr and William III.
1“Ireland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1620-1911”, Online Database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/153978468:2533?ssrc=pt&tid=25476363&pid=1660843199; accessed 26 April, 2021), entry for Willm Cole, 27 June, 1735.
2Spencer, Lue R, “One of Few Women on D.A.R. Honor Roll is Ancestor of Mrs. Van Sickle of Hastings.” The Lincoln Star, 31 March 1929 (http://www.newspapers.com/image/58140884/; accessed 26 April, 2021), p. D-2.
3Phillip Fishburn, William Temple Coles Family, From Ireland to North Carolina and Beyond, (Nashville: Fields Publishing, Inc., 2010), p. 8.
4 Spencer, Lue R., “One of Few Women on D.A.R. Honor Roll is Ancestor of Mrs. Van Sickle of Hastings,” The Lincoln Star, 31 March 1929 (http://www.newspapers.com/image/58140884; accessed 25 April, 2021), P. 34.
5Phillip Fishburn, William Temple Coles Family, From Ireland to North Carolina and Beyond, (Nashville: Fields Publishing Inc., 2010), p. 9.
6“Anson County, North Carolina Record of Deeds, Scanned Index Books, 1749-1989,” AnsonCountyNCROD.org (http;//www.ansonncrod.org/DocumentView.asp?DocumentType=Deed&Instrument=000600708Close=True; accessed 01 May, 2021), entry for William Temple Cole, 1761.
7Phillip Fishburn, William Temple Coles Family, From Ireland to North Carolina and Beyond, (Nashville: Fields Publishing Inc., 2010), p. 110.
9Phillip Fishburn, William Temple Coles Family, From Ireland to North Carolina and Beyond, (Nashville: Fields Publishing Inc., 2010), p. 32
11Phillip Fishburn, William Temple Coles Family, From Ireland to North Carolina and Beyond, (Nashville: Fields Publishing Inc., 2010), p. 10.
13 “Acts of the North Carolina General Assembly 1770-1771, Vol. 23, Pages 787-849,” Online Database, Docusouth.unc.edu (http://www.docusouth. Unc.edu/csr/index.php/document/csr23-0051; accessed 01 June, 2021), entry for William Temple Cole.
14Phillip Fishburn, William Temple Coles Family, From Ireland to North Carolina and Beyond, (Nashville: Fields Publishing Inc., 2010), p. 15.
16“North Carolina, U.S. Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” Online Database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9061/images/004780115_00118?pld=2071784: accessed 27 April, 2021), entry for William Temple Coles, 1777.
17“North Carolina, U.S. Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” Online Database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9061/images/004780115_00118?pld=2071784: accessed 27 April, 2021), entry for William Temple Coles, 1777.
18 Spencer, Lue R., “One of Few Women on D.A.R. Honor Roll is Ancestor of Mrs. Van Sickle of Hastings,” The Lincoln Star, 31 March 1929 (http://www.newspapers.com/image/58140884; accessed 25 April, 2021), P. 34.
22John Hill Wheeler, Historical Sketches of North Carolina from 1584 to 1851, Compiled from Original Records, Official Documents, and Traditional Statements: with Biographical Sketches of Her Distinguished Statesmen, Jurists, Lawyers, Soldiers, Divines, Etc, PDF E-Book (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Lippincott, Grambo and Company, 1851), p. 683.
23Will Graves and C. Leon Harris, “Southern Campaign American Revolution Pension Statements & Rosters,” Revwarapp.org (http://www.revwarapp.org/r9038.pdf: accessed 02 June, 2021), entry for William Temple Cole.
24J.D. Lewis, NC Patriots 1775-1783: Their Own Words, Volume 2, Part Two, PDF E-Book (Little River, South Carolina: Self Published, 2012), P. 190.
28“4th North Carolina Regiment,” Valley Forge Legacy, The Muster Roll Project (http://www.valleyforgemusterroll.org/regiments/nc4.asp; accessed 01 May, 2021), Captain William Cole.
30“The Women Present at Valley Forge,” NPS.Org (https://www.nps.gov/vafo/learn/historyculture/valleyforgewomen.htm#:~:text=Women%20Following%20the%20Continental%20Army&text=The%20Valley%20Forge%20encampment%20included,to%20the%20army%20as%20sutlers; accessed 12 May 2021).
31Phillip Fishburn, William Temple Coles Family, From Ireland to North Carolina and Beyond, (Nashville: Fields Publishing Inc., 2010), p. 99.
32“North Carolina, U.S., Land Grant Files, 1693-1960,” Online Database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/60621/images/44173_355580-00246?pld=131476; accessed 12 May, 2021), entry for William Temple Cole, 1784.