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Robert Cole

Robert Cole

Male 1628 - Aft 1662  (> 34 years)

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  • Name Robert Cole 
    Born 1628  Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3
    Gender Male 
    Died Aft 2 Apr 1662  England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5
    Alternate death 1663  [6
    Person ID I11265  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of PNH
    Last Modified 8 Jul 2018 

    Father Thomas Cole,   b. Bef 15 Dec 1594, Lampton, Heston, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 1662  (Age < 67 years) 
    Family ID F3038  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Rebecca,   b. Abt 1630, of St. Olaves, Southwark, Surrey, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1662  (Age ~ 32 years) 
    Married Bef 1652  [1, 7
    +1. Edward Cole,   b. 9 Nov 1657, St. Clement's Hundred, St. Mary's County, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 20 Dec 1717, St. Clement's Hundred, St. Mary's County, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age < 60 years)
    Last Modified 18 Oct 2018 
    Family ID F5354  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Robert Cole's World: Agriculture & Society in Early Maryland.
    Robert Cole's World: Agriculture & Society in Early Maryland.
    By Lois Green Carr, Russell R. Menard, and Lorena Walsh. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1991.

    Book description from

    In 1652 Robert Cole, an English Catholic, moved with his family and servants to St. Mary's County, Maryland. Using this family's story as a case study, the authors of Robert Cole's World provide an intimate portrait of the social and economic life of a middling planter in the seventeenth-century Chesapeake, including work routines and agricultural techniques, the upbringing of children, neighborhood relationships and community formation, and the role of religion.

    The Cole Plantation account, a record that details what the plantation produced, consumed, purchased, and sold over a twelve-year period, is the only known surviving document of its kind for seventeenth-century British America. Along with Cole's will, it serves as the framework around which the authors build their analysis. Drawing on these and other records, they present Cole as an exemplar of the ordinary planter whose success created the capital base for the slave-based plantation society of the eighteenth century.

  • Notes 
    • Emigrated to Maryland 1652. Died in London during a business trip back there.

      The idea that the mother of Robert Cole (1628-1663) was Jane Mainwaring (1595-1663), daughter of Oliver Mainwaring (1547-1634) and his wife Margaret Torbock (1558-1643) has been argued by Todd Whitesides in the SGM posts appended below.

      Post to soc.genealogy.medieval:

      Subject: Royal Ancestry of Robert Cole (ca. 1626-1662) of Heston, Middlesex & Maryland
      Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 13:54:31 EDT

      Like so many of the Roman Catholic individuals who settled in Maryland during its formative period, Robert Cole came from a family with years of recusancy in its history. In spite of being the subject of Dr. Lois Green Carr's Robert Cole's World (1991), Cole and his English ancestry have been left on a back burner for some time. So in an attempt to bring him perhaps a little closer to the forefront of discussion, I am presenting some notes on him and his predecessors.

      Luckily for his descendants, Robert Cole appears in many extant records on both sides of the Atlantic. On his father's side he was descended from yeoman stock that teetered on the cusp of gentry status; individuals in his family's past appeared as one, then another, and sometimes back to the former again. His mother though was clearly from a gentry family, albeit a Catholic one. She was dignified with the epithet "Mris" despite her convictions for recusancy.

      By 1651 Robert Cole had married Rebecca, widow of Francis Knott of St. Olaves, Southwark, Surrey; and they resided at Heston, Middlesex, where their first child Robert was born on 15 Oct. 1651. Hugh Gore, Gent., of Heston requested his uncle Robert Cole to be an overseer to his 19 May 1651 will which was recorded on 13 Aug. 1651. Hugh Gore was married to Robert's niece Anne Cole, daughter of Robert's older brother William Cole (d. testate 1663), yeoman, of Heston. Robert Cole sold his property in Heston Manor in 1651, and in 1652 resettled his young family on a freehold in St. Clement's Manor in St. Mary's County, Maryland. He was perhaps aided in his relocation by his uncle Benjamin Gill (d. 22 Nov. 1655), chandler, of St. Andrew Holborn, London, who had already settled nearby on the Wicomico River. When Gill died his nearest relative in Maryland was young Robert Cole who assumed executorship of Gill's estate. The whereabouts of Gill's only surviving child Anna Maria was unknown in Maryland. Actually she was in residence with her husband James Neale, Esq., who was serving as ambassador to Portugal. During the settling of the accounts of this estate, Robert Cole was described as "next of Kinne, to the sd Gill", "his Cozen Robert Cole", and as being "near alyed to the said Gill". A letter dated 2 Aug. 1658 arrived in Maryland later that year from James Neale, Gent., stating "I heare tht Robin Cole hath layd some claime to my ffathers & my Estate, wch I conceiue hee did, supposing I & my Wife had bene dead. But god be praysed wee are both aliue, & in health, & haue Three Children lyuing; Soe hee now may excuse the clayming any thing & deliuer all ouer to you [William Bretton] for my use." Preparing for a return voyage to England, Robert Cole wrote his will on 2 Apr. 1662, mentioning his mother Mris. Jane Cole of Heston, Middlesex, and left an accounting of the ages of his children [since his wife Rebecca had died recently]. On the list of the family record appeared my ancestor Edward Cole who was born 9 Nov. 1657. Robert died while on this visit to England; he could very well be the Robert Cole who was buried on 16 Aug. 1662 at the Church of St. Leonard in Heston. In the surviving accounts of the estate of Robert Cole a response is mentioned to an inquiry from his mother; among the receipts from 1663 is one stating "by a Certificate under the Seale of the office to send into England to Mrs. Cole to sattisfy her how many children Mr. Cole had Living in this Country & Recording the same".

      The connection between Robert Cole and Benjamin Gill was that Cole's mother and Gill's wife were sisters, both being daughters of Oliver Mainwaring (d. testate 1631) of Windleshaw (in Prescot), Lancashire and his wife Margaret Torbock. Jane Mainwaring had married by 1615 to Thomas Cole, yeoman, of Heston, a younger son of Robert Cole (d. 1614-15) of Heston and his wife Alice. Mary Mainwaring had married by 1622 to Benjamin Gill, chandler, of St. Andrew Holborn, London. In 1622 Benjamin Gill, his wife Mary, and Jane wife of Thomas Cole appeared on the same roll as convicted recusants in Middlesex.

      The royal ancestry for these individuals through their mother and grandmother Margaret Torbock can be followed in Mr. Douglas Richardson's Plantagenet Ancestry (2004), pp. 490-491.

      Post to soc.genealogy.medieval:

      Subject: Re: Royal Ancestry of Robert Cole; Addition to Mr. Richardson's Plantagenet A...
      Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2008 14:28:17 EST

      The case for identifying Robert Cole's mother as Jane Mainwaring, a daughter of Oliver Mainwaring (d. testate 1631), gent., of Windleshaw & Margaret Torbock, was a result of explaining the relation between Robert Cole and Benjamin Gill.

      My tentative reconstruction of the Cole family involved in this identification is:

      1. Robert Cole of Lampton (in Heston), who seems to have died 1614-15 --

      m. (1) sister of George Evelyn (d. testate 1603), Esq., of Wootton, Surrey.

      Child (by ------ Evelyn):

      a. George Cole, Gent., of Cliffords Inn (son & heir). Admitted to Middle Temple 20 Feb. 1579.

      m. (2) 14 Sep. 1559 Harrow-on-the-Hill to Alice Norwood (who was repeatedly convicted for recusancy as late as 1616). She was deceased by 1625.

      Children (by Alice Norwood):

      b. Thomas Cole of Lampton (in Heston), who held his mother's property jointly with his brother Robert in 1625.

      Father of Thomas Cole who was christened 15 Dec. 1594 at Lampton, and who married Jane*, & resided in Lampton.

      Thomas & Jane - parents of Robert Cole of Maryland.

      c. Robert Cole.

      Robert Cole demanded letters of administration upon Benjamin Gill's estate "as being next of Kinne," as shown in Archives of Maryland 41:90. This description is broad enough as to be almost useless. But two other descriptions that appear in the court proceedings help narrow the scope of the kinship. In 1656 Robert Cole "made it appeare to this Court that he is near alyed to the Said Gill" (see Archives of Maryland 10:450). Mrs. Jane Clarke (wife of my ancestor Robert Clarke), stated in 1658 that "Mr Benjamin Gill late of this Prouince Deceased dyed att her howse att Portoback the 22th of Nouembr in the yeare 1655" (see Archives of Maryland 41:169). She further stated that "Hee [Gill] did bequeath to his Cozen Robert Cole fiue hundd pownds of Tob" (see Archives of Maryland 41:173). The descriptions "near alyed" and "his Cozen" are to two to which I'm referring. "near alyed" I take to mean related by marriage, and "his Cozen" I take to mean his nephew. Combined I read them as nephew by marriage.

      If Cole's mother was a Gill or Gill's wife was a Cole, then Cole would have been more than merely "near alyed." That leaves a possible family connection between Cole's mother and Gill's wife. This is supported by the appearance on the same Middlesex recusant roll dated 1622-23 of Benjamin Gill, chandler, of St. Andrew Holborn, Middlesex, and Mary, his wife, with Jane, wife of Thomas Cole, yeoman, of Heston, Middlesex (see Jacobean Recusant Rolls For Middlesex: An Abstract in English, by John J. LaRocca, S.J., Catholic Record Society, 1997, pp. 134-135).

      So we have Mary (Mainwaring) Gill and Jane (----------) Cole, both convicted recusants, appearing together, and later Robert Cole, son of Jane, being a nephew by marriage to Mary's husband Benjamin Gill. Jane would also be considered a likely family name by Margaret (Torbock) Mainwaring, since she was the legatee of 100 marks in the will of her grandmother Jane Gerrard. This would also place Robert Cole within the kinship network of Thomas Gerrard, Esq., of Maryland, within whose manor in St. Mary's County Cole was a freeholder.

      Post to MDSTMARY-L:

      From: "Linda Reno"
      Subject: Re: [MDSTMARY] KNOTT
      Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2013 09:07:56 -0500

      Robert Cole was a nephew of Benjamin Gill, not his son-in-law. From all of the research that has been done, it appears that Benjamin Gill only had one child and she was Ann Gill who married James Neale.

      Benjamin Gill's wife was Mary Mainwaring a sister of Jane Mainwaring who married Thomas Cole and they were the parents of Robert Cole.

      Robert Cole married Rebecca, widow of Francis Knott (some say John Knott).


      Set against all is the fact that Robert Cole's will mentions, along with his mother "Mrs. Jane Cole of Heston in the County of Middlesex," his "Cousin Mr. Henry Hanks of Holbourn in the City of London." If "cousin" is to be read as strictly as we would, this is strong evidence that Robert Cole's mother was born Jane Hanks. Of course, "cousin" might not mean literal first cousin here.

  • Sources 
    1. [S136] Todd Whitesides, 25 Oct 2006, post to soc.genealogy.medieval.

    2. [S248] Robert Cole's World: Agriculture & Society in Early Maryland, by Lois Green Carr, Russell B. Menard, and Lorena S. Walsh. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991.

    3. [S247] Maryland State Archives, Biographical Files of 17th and 18th Century Marylanders, by Dr. Lois Green Carr., year only.

    4. [S248] Robert Cole's World: Agriculture & Society in Early Maryland, by Lois Green Carr, Russell B. Menard, and Lorena S. Walsh. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991., year and country only.

    5. [S1108] To Maryland from Overseas by Harry Wright Newman. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2002.

    6. [S247] Maryland State Archives, Biographical Files of 17th and 18th Century Marylanders, by Dr. Lois Green Carr.

    7. [S138] St. Mary's Families, compiled by Linda Reno.