(--?--) Coleman1

ID # 942
     The parents of John and William Coleman are unknown. This, for the time being, is lost in the mists of time and in the New Jersey of 200 years ago. Many of the Beverly Township settlers claimed New Jersey as their place of origin. Indeed, the area was often referred to as the Jersey Settlement.

John Cornell, in his History of the Pioneers of Beverly, has John and William Coleman as brothers. A careful reading of Cornell's work indicates that he had conversations with Adam Misener and his wife Helen Coleman. Given the context of the brief Coleman history as it appears in Cornell's chapter on the settlement of Beverly Township, it seems safe to say that his information came from the Miseners. This does not get us past the fact that there was a 32 year difference in age between John and William. This researcher accepts that John and William were brothers. That they were half-brothers seems rather more likely.

That John and William had a father and son relationship seems reasonable to conclude, whatever their blood connection. John purchased lot 6 on the third concession of Beverly near what became the village of Troy in 1816. The transaction says that John is a resident of Beverly. John transferred the north half of this lot to William in March of 1822. No mention is made of their relationship in the transaction.

Sarah Coleman's obituary states that the family lived near Copetown for some time prior to moving to the Troy area. How long they were there is unknown. John Coleman Jr. was born in Beverly in approximately 1814. Cornell's history places them there in 1812. The Copetown sojourn seems reasonable given the marriage of William Coleman and Catherine Jones. Catherine's parents, Andrew Jones and Mary Slough, resided in Copetown during this period of time and this is like where William and Catherine met.

Some histories place the Colemans in the Niagara region as early as the 1780s or '90s. This researcher has found no support for this idea. All recorded children of John Coleman and Elizabeth Lawrason were born in the United States with the exception of their last child, John Coleman Jr. Believable documentation shows him born in Beverly in 1814.

A word here about marriages. Entries in the marriage register for the Gore District begin in 1842. It is believed that there was an earlier book dating back to at least the 1830s and that this book is now lost to us. James Young, in his History of Galt and the Settlement of Dumfries, states that 'The clergy of the Church of England were the only ministers at one time who could marry; magistrates could do so, however,when there was no Episcopal clergyman within a radius of eighteen miles, and Squire Ellis, of Waterloo, and Squire Murray, who resided near St. George, for many years did a thriving business in the matrimonial line.'

Prevailing wisdom suggests that marriages in early days were also carried out by itinerant preachers. When or where the line was drawn between clergy and secular authority isn't known by this researcher, but it seems reasonable that Squire Murray may have performed some early Coleman family marriages, as well as marriages for other families of the Troy and Beverly, given the proximity of Troy to St. George. Squire Murray's name does not appear in the Gore Marriage Register as having performed marriages, so, if Young is correct, then his marriages must have been performed prior to 1842.1

Last Edited=27 Jan 2010

Children of (--?--) Coleman


  1. [S1] Robert Coleman, 2009.