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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Jonathan Cole, 1728-1813, Swansea to Sackville

A brief recap of some of the history concerning the Maritime Provinces will help to make this all more understandable. The French had long been settled in those provinces, had built up their farms, built sturdy home and raised their families.  But along came the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. This was a peace treaty of sorts, more like a series of peace treaties. So nearly 100 years after the first French settlers arrived, King George of Britain decided there were too many of them and that they were a decided threat to his territories. It was then the Grand Derangement began, lasting from about 1755 - 1763. The French were driven from their homesteads, some were returned to France, some went to Maine, others scattered from Quebec to Georgia and many more ended up in LA. This is not meant to be a history of the politics of that time. It was not a peaceful time. It was time of the French and Indian War. There were skirmishes and battles. The French often destroyed their buildings and their crops before departing. The Indians also burned and looted. The population of the area was depleted which created the need to invite new settlers to these lands. In 1758, Governor Lawrence issued his first proclamation inviting New Englanders to come to Nova Scotia to settle the lands vacated by the French. This created a huge amount of interest and finally led to a considerable number of New Englanders settling in various parts of the Province. In some cases, the government offered to pay for the transportation of whole families to move them to Nova Scotia.  Many of these people were of the Baptist faith and whole congregations left as a group. In the 1760’s Nova Scotia included all the land that later became New Brunswick. For those doing any family research into the Sackville and Amherst areas of New Brunswick, it’s good to keep in mind that until about 1820 or so, those locations were still in Nova Scotia.

Jonathan Cole was still living in the area of Swansea/Warren/Barrington when he married Elizabeth West in 1750. She was from Rehoboth MA, the d/o Abigail Wheeler and John West. Elizabeth was the great granddaughter of Richard Bullock through her father John West, who was a Mayflower descendant through the Soules. Jonathan Cole was a great, great grandson of Richard Bullock through his father’s mother, Hannah Eddy. They were 3rd cousins once removed. Jonathan and Elizabeth had two sons, James and Edward. But then Elizabeth died in 1755 leaving Jonathan with two young boys to care for. As often was the case, Jonathan then married a young widow, with three children. This was Abigail Martin Estabrooks, widow of William Estabrooks.  To complicate things just a bit more, Abigail was the half sister of Jonathan’s first wife, Elizabeth West. Their mother, Abigail Wheeler, had married John West first and later married Ebenezer Martin. So now Jonathan and Abigail had five children, two of his and three of hers. They were married in 1756 in Warren RI. They then had three more children all born in Warren by 1762. At some time after the third child was born, they joined the exodus to Nova Scotia and appear on the rolls of grantees in 1763.

It’s time for another sidebar. When Abigail Martin Estabrooks entered the scene, she brought with her the connection to the Wheelers. Her grandparents were James Wheeler and Grizzell Squire. Their daughter, Abigail Wheeler (who first married John West and then Ebenezer Martin) is my 5x gt. grandmother. Abigail’s brother James Wheeler (jr.) married Elizabeth West, sister of John West.  This James Wheeler and his wife Elizabeth West Wheeler are 7x gt. grandparents of President George W. Bush. That means President Bush and I are 7th cousins twice removed.

Another interesting connection has been found through the Bullocks. Richard Bullock had three daughters who have played a role in the ancestry of many people. Elizabeth Bullock married Caleb Eddy; Abigail Bullock married Obadiah Bowen and Mehitable Bullock married John West (the father of the above John West). The Eddys and the Bowens are integral parts of the Cole family tree. Mehitable and John West were the parents of Elizabeth, the one who married James Wheeler jr. Therefore the Bullocks are also ancestors of the Bush family. But there’s more. Mehitable Bullock and John West are the 4x gt. grandparents of James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States, also making him my 5th cousin twice removed, the common ancestor being Richard Bullock, Mehitable’s father.
Back to Jonathan Cole and the migration north – It’s not known if the whole family traveled with him and arrived en masse or not. Many lists of people taking advantage of the land exist, but in that day, women weren’t mentioned often so it’s difficult to know how many of the women and families were actually in Nova Scotia during the early stages of settlement and development. In 1763, nearly 70 people made application for lands in the Cumberland area, Jonathan Cole, Jonathan Eddy, Elijah, Obadiah and Joseph Ayre. Nehemiah Ward and Josiah Throop among them. There were also people named King, Peck, Walker, Winslow, Martin, Danks and Gardner. Many of these people came and settled, clearing land and building roads and homes, yet not all of them stayed. An Isaac Cole of Providence Plantation in RI was one such man. (Many farms were called plantations. Isaac had a farm in or near Providence.) He was a 2nd cousin of Jonathan Cole, going back to Hugh and Mary Foxwell Cole as the common ancestors. Isaac was married to Sarah Estabrooks. She may have been related to the William Estabrooks who was Abigail Martin Estabrooks Cole’s first husband, but I haven’t tracked it yet, so I don’t know of any connection. The Estabrooks played a large role in the development of the new lands and the name shows up on a list of subscribers for the Township lying on the Tantramar River in 1761. A word of caution, this name has a variety of spellings, all of them for the same family. If you’re researching this name in Canada, look at all spellings. I’ve seen the name spelled three different ways all in the same document.  But Isaac Cole apparently did not go to Nova Scotia or settle there. He may have had good intentions, but for some reason, they fell through. Because Isaac did not settle in NS, it appears that Jonathan Cole was the only member of his family to go north. Other than Isaac, he is the only one named Cole to appear of any of the early lists.

Jonathan, his two sons, James and Edward, his wife Abigail and her three children, Elizabeth, Grizzell and William Estabrooks, and the three new Cole children Ambrose, Patience and Martin (all born in RI) settled in what is today Sackville, New Brunswick. Two more children were born in NB, Jonathan and Ebenezer (1767). Not much is known about Jonathan so it is possible this child died young. Ebenezer is my 3x gt. grandfather.


April 19 1775 the shot heard round the world was fired as the Minutemen and the Redcoats clashed at Lexington and Concord. This put considerable stress on all the families who had moved into Canada. They were still British citizens but many had deep loyalties toward the colonists and especially, family members who remained in New England. Some of the new settlers moved back to New England, some others joined various components of the Continental Army. It was a time of upheaval all up and down the eastern seaboard. How this affected Jonathan Cole’s family in Sackville, NB will be the subject of the next blog.

The Chignecto Isthmus and its First Settlers, Howard Trueman, 1902  

The History of Sackville, Dr. W. C. Milner, 1934


1 comment:

  1. Hi there, I am also a Cole and cannot get any further than my great great great grandfather Jonathan Cole born in 1813 in Pennsylvania or New York, died in 1870. Wondering if we may be related or you have any information?