Timothy Coe of Northampton and Accomack Counties
I could not help noticing mention of Thomas Leatherbury and John Parker in recent posts. These men played an important role in the life of early Northampton and Accomack Counties pioneer Timothy Coe. Below is a summary of information collected on this early Eastern Shore colonist.
Carl Robert Coe
Marysville, OH 43040-9012
TIMOTHY COE OF NORTHAMPTON AND ACCOMACK COUNTIES, VA
The earliest mention of Timothy Coe in Virginia is the record
of his transport dated November 27, 1652. He, along with twenty others, are given as headrights of John Browne, who was granted 1000 acres on the Machipongo River in Northampton County for bringing them into the colony. With the headright certificate Browne purchased a plantation bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the south by Phillips Creek. Headrights were John Marvell, John Hordwell, Thomas Major, Mary Griffeth, William Alsworth, John Martin, Walter Wood, Thomas Crew, James Hill, Robert Winley, Robert Mapps, William Ebourne, Robert Hearne, Thomas Solbey, Prissell Feelee, Thomas Greene, Daniel Shetworth, Millisent Green, Joseph Ingram and Timothy Coe.
It is not certain that Timothy Coe actually arrived in Virginia in 1652. Certificates were not always turned in immediately. Often they were held until the transporter found a suitable tract of land. Timothy Coe's first patent in 1661 would be about the average length of time for most headrights to establish themselves and acquire their own land. There is no record of him marrying until 1660. As has been earlier presented, eligible women were scarce in the colony.
The year of Timothy Coe's birth is fixed by two entries in the records of Accomack County. The first was recorded on the 18th day of October 1671, and the second on July 16, 1672. On both occasions he had been called into court as a witness. In both cases the depositions begin by stating "The Deposition of Timothy Coe aged forty years or thereabouts." Thus his birth can be placed in 1631 or 1632.
Timothy Coe was married September 29, 1660, to Elizabeth Teague. The minister of Hungars Church in Northampton County performed the ceremony. His wife lived only eighteen months after marriage and was buried in Hungars Parish, March 7, 1662.
On April 12, 1661, Governor William Berkeley granted Timothy Coe 300 acres of land in northern Northampton County. The land was bordered on the east by "the main woods", on the south by the Otterdam Indians, on the north by the lands of Chief Occahannock, and on the west by the lands of William Colbourne. The original patent appears below:
"To all to whom these shall come . . . Greetings. Know ye that I the said William Berkeley, Knight, Governor & C. . . . do give and grant unto Timothy Coe three hundred acres of land, situated in Northampton County . . . Beginning westerly at the land of William Colbourne, bounded on the South Parts by the land of the Otterdams, and on the north by the lands of Occahannock and Easterly by the main woods. The said lands being due for the Transportation of Six Persons. To have and to be held by the said Timothy Coe. Yielding and paying & c. . . . which payment to be for Seven Years after the date hereof. Dated the 12th of April 1661. William Berkeley"
This land was originally granted to Robert Bayly on July 4, 1653, part of a 600-acre tract patented by Benjamin Matthews.
Timothy Coe received the tract for the transport of six persons to the colony. They were: Elizabeth York, Jane Blay, Sarah Redden, Anne Smith, Jane Corelson, and Margaret Manses. It is possible that he arranged for their immigration while still living in England.
Timothy Coe's neighbor to the east, William Colbourne, was a well-known figure in the early history of the area. In 1660 he, along with Henry White, Thomas Leatherbury, and Ambrose Dixon, were arrested for showing kindness to Quakers. Sent to Jamestown and forced to appear before the council for their ``crime,'' shortly afterward Colbourne, along with Dixon and several others, moved across the Maryland line to Somerset County. Colbourne later became chief commander of the militia of Dorchester and Somerset Counties. About 1680 he was appointed to a commission that was sent by the Maryland government to negotiate a dispute with the Nanticoke Indians at Chicacone.
Thomas Leatherbury also lived near Timothy Coe. The first Quaker meetinghouse on the Eastern Shore was built on Leatherbury's property. In 1659 James Jones sold Thomas Leatherbury 300 acres of land in Northampton County, stating that it "was half of the Johnson patent which had been assigned to Christopher Kirke and George Truitt, who assigned to John Ellis, James Jones and John Taylor, and the other partners had assigned to Jones." Johnson received the land as a patent of 600 acres in 1646.
Later in 1659 a patent of 516 acres was granted to Thomas Leatherbury and Alexander Maddox. Leatherbury's wife Ellinor may have been the widow of Alexander Maddox. On April 12, 1661 -- the same date Governor Berkeley issued the above patent to Timothy Coe -- Leatherbury received a patent of 600 acres. The land was bounded on the west by the land of John Williams, a 500-acre plantation which he received by patent April 5, 1666. It was bounded on the north by Onancock Creek and on the east and west by two branches of the creek. The eastern branch was known as Leatherbury's Creek. The plantation of George Truitt formed its southern boundary. Williams received his land by certificate for transporting ten persons to the colony, namely Jude Morgan, Benjamin Pride, William Seward, Arthur Shore, William Fennet, Mary Tyre, Peter Scott, Ann Morgan, Judith Smart, and William Stevens. Leatherbury received his land for the transport of twelve persons to the colony.
In 1671 Leatherbury purchased a tract of 1,000 acres from Captain John West. At Leatherbury's death in 1673, the land went to his son Perry. He left the Johnson patent to his son Charles. Leatherbury's son Thomas moved to Sussex County, DE. After Leatherbury's death his widow married Major Edmund Bowman.
Timothy Coe held his patent for four years, during which time the land was apparently productive. In 1665 he and his wife Sarah sold this tract to Daniel Esham. In 1671 Esham purchased an adjoining 100 acres from Edward and Dorothy Dolby, making the tract a total of 400 acres. Esham left the land to his children at his death in 1693.
In September 1661 Timothy Coe purchased an additional tract of 1,000 acres. This tract was in the southeastern section of what would become Accomack County, bounded on the east by the northern branch of Machipongo Creek (also known as Matipony Creek), on the north and west by "the woods," and on the south by the plantation of John Smith.
Smith's plantation consisted of 500 acres, bounded on the south and east by two branches of Machipongo Creek. Both Timothy Coe and Smith purchased their land from Lt. Col. William Kendall, who received it by patent May 29, 1661, from Captain Francis Potts, who received the land as a patent of 1,500 acres in 1653. After Potts' death his widow Susanna married Colonel Kendall: "William Kendall of Northampton Co. to Timothy Coe of Accomac. 10,000 pounds of good tobacco, 1000 acres of land, pat. 29 May 1661, situated in Accomac being part of a divident containing 1500
acres. Sept. 30, 1661."
On April 5, 1666, Governor Berkeley issued Timothy a certificate for the land:
"To all to whom these shall come. . .Greetings. Where now Know Yee, that I the said William Berkeley, Knight, Governor, & c. do give and grant to Timothy Coe 1000 acres of land situated in Accomack County bounded on the eastern part by the great northern branch of Natchepungo Creek, on the southern by a right line parting this from the land of John Smith, on the northern by another right line running Westerly into the woods. The said 1000 acres being the northern part of a tract of 1500 acres of land granted to Captain Francis Pott by patent dated 24th of January 1653 and since confirmed unto Lt. Col. William Kendall by patent dated the 29th of May 1661 and by the said Kendall assigned to the said Timothy Coe. To Have and to Hold and to be Held by the said Timothy Coe. Yielding and paying & c. . . . Dated the 5th of April 1666."
In 1669 Timothy and Sarah Coe sold the Kendall Plantation. The northern 500 acres went to Edward Hammond for 10,000 pounds of tobacco. The southern half was sold to Francis Roberts for 6,000 pounds of tobacco. Roberts, an Accomack County barrel maker, owned a plantation of 500 acres "beyond doegs Island," which he received in 1657 for transporting 10 persons to Virginia. The bills of sale appear below:
"Timothy Coe to Edward Hammond for 10,000 lbs. of tob., 500 acres of land situate on Matapony Creek now in the possession of Edward Hammond, it being a moity of one thousand acres granted to me by patent April 5, 1666."
"Timothy Coe of Accomac Co. planter to Frances Roberts, cooper, Bill of Sale, for 6000 lbs. of tob. 500 acres in a place called Mattiponi in Accomac Co., bounded on the south by John Smith (now lands of Edward Hammond) joind land formerly granted to Capt. Francis Potts (pat. 1653) later confirmed to Col. William Kendall by Kendall assigned to Timothy Coe, 25, Jan. 1664. Sarah Coe to Francis Roberts, Assignment about land above, her husband sold."
Timothy had married Sarah Hinman by the time this deed was made. She was a daughter of John and Sarah Hinman of Nasswadox. Hinman, who made his will in Northampton County, August 6, 1660, named his children, John, Richard and Sarah and cousin Richard Bayly. Witnesses were John Tilney and Morice Matthews. Hinman was buried August 29, 1660, in Hungars Parish. In his estate inventory dated December 1662 the court ordered an equal division of his estate with half to go to Timothy Coe who had married his daughter Sarah.
Hinman's will, which was probated November 28, 1660, in Northampton County, named son John as the beneficiary of the 500-acre home plantation on Nusswattox Creek. Son Richard received 800 acres at Occahannock. The remaining property was to be equally divided between the three children. John, who was under eighteen, was to live on the plantation but was not to dispose of anything except by consent of Richard Bayly. John was named executor and Bayly was named overseer.
In 1673 John Wallop surveyed the original patent and discovered that it actually contained 1100 acres instead of 1000. He ran an east west line, dividing 550 acres each to Hammond and Roberts. The following year Kendall discovered 268 acres of unclaimed land on the western boundary of the tract, for which he applied for and received a patent. He never improved the land, however, and eventually abandoned it. In 1688 Richard Garryson "rediscovered" Kendall's 268-acre patent and obtained his own patent on the parcel.
Timothy Coe first appears on the tithables list of Accomack County in 1663. All male members of a household, whether or not related to the head of the house, were required by law to pay a tithe, or tax. Females were not generally entered on the list; however, some clerks included them as well. Many immigrants and headrights lived with a relative or landowner until they were able to find their own means of support. If they were sixteen or older, the head of the house was required to pay a tax on them. Timothy Coe paid a tithe on four adult males in 1663.
Interestingly, the number of tithables in a person's home was a fairly accurate measure of wealth for the Accomack Colonists; the wealthier colonists were able to employ, support and maintain a larger number of persons. The lists of tithables from 1663 to the end of the century show that an exceedingly small number of planters housed a comparatively large number of tithables. In 1664, for example, in Accomack County three persons held eight percent of the tithables; in 1667 two persons had nearly thirteen percent. But with increased division of estates as the eighteenth century approached, there were fewer and fewer tithables among the prosperous planters. In 1667 Edmund Scarburgh had forty-three tithables; in 1690 his eldest son Charles had thirteen. In 1675 Daniel Jenifer had forty tithables, in 1680 twenty-six, in 1690 fourteen; and in 1695 his son Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer had seven tithables. Indeed, some of those early colonists were not unlike the patriarchs of old with their flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants. . . .
Timothy Coe appears on the tithables list through 1688, except for the year 1666; no tithe was taken for the years 1672-73. In 1666 he was marked "gone." It is quite possible that he was in Annamessex, Maryland, that year. At least two adult males appear in his home every year of record, and in 1664 five were listed. That year there was a total of 424 tithables listed in Accomack County, living in 128 homes. Of the 128 persons listed with tithables, only eighteen had more tithables under their care than did Timothy Coe: Captain George Parker, six tithes; Devorax Browne, fifteen; Colonel Southy Littleton, six; Richard Kellum, seven; Levin Denwood, six; Charles Rackliff, six; John Renny, six; John Parker, six; Colonel Edmund Scarburgh, twenty-seven; Robert Huitt, eight; Captain Edmund Bowman, eleven; William Roberts, six; John Lewis, eight; Richard Hill, six; George Hack, eight; Hugh Yeo, eight; Phillip Fisher, six; and a Mrs. Jordan, six tithes. Slaves and Indians were included as tithables.
In 1664 Timothy Coe was appointed to the Accomack County grand jury. While seated on the jury he was fined 500 pounds of tobacco for obstinate and perverse behavior. He may have refused to take the oath -- a point of conflict between the state and the Quakers. Fox taught his followers to take literally the commands of Jesus and "Swear not at all; neither by heaven for it is God's throne; nor by earth; for it is his footstool . . . ." To this day a Quaker when called to court may "affirm" to tell the truth, rather than swear. At any rate, five hundred pounds of tobacco was an unusually severe penalty.
Again in 1667 Timothy Coe found himself in conflict with local authorities. That year he and George Johnson were presented before the justices for speaking at Quaker meetings: "There were occasional clashes with local authorities. In 1667 Timothy Coe and George Johnson, a headright of 1656, were presented for unlawfully assembling themselves amongst other companies as speakers at Quaker meetings."
Timothy Coe appears on record again in 1666 when he sold Thomas Marshall a colt. On July 15, 1667, he sold John Evans a six-month old red mare.
In 1671 he purchased 900 acres on the western shore of Accomack County, near the town of Guilford. He obtained the land in two separate purchases. The first was a tract of 400 acres of mostly marsh on the north side of the neck extending up to the mouth of Muddy Creek, bought from Miles and Ann Gray: "Miles and Ann Gray sold to Timothy Coe land near the mouth of Muddy Creek which had been patented to Gray for 400 acres."
The second tract consisted of 500 acres purchased from Daniel Jenifer, a Roman Catholic, sheriff and justice of Accomack County. Jenifer was born in 1637. In 1664-65 he was in St. Mary's County, MD, where he kept an ordinary. He was a staunch supporter of Governor Berkeley during Bacon's Rebellion, assisting him in many ways. After he was restored to power, the governor felt under such obligation to Jenifer that he appointed him to a number of high public offices. Jenifer served on the court martial at the close of hostilities. In December 1676 he became one of the justices of Accomack County. In the spring of 1677 he was appointed high sheriff of the county. He eventually acquired the title of lieutenant colonel of the Shore militia. He died in 1693.
Jenifer's wife, Anne Toft, was born in 1643 and owned about 2,000 acres of land in Accomack County, plus 4,000 acres in Jamaica and a plantation in Maryland. Her plantations near Guilford were known as "Gargaphia" and "Arcadia." The parents of Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, in 1672 they held title to 11,300 acres.
Jenifer's land joined the 400 acres that Timothy Coe purchased from Miles Gray. It was east of the Gray patent and extended to the present bayside road (Route 658), bordered by the plantation of Morris Dennis. Richard Hinman, son of John Hinman, who patented 800 acres of land on Onancock Creek, October 3, 1655, also owned a plantation in the area. Hinman received the land by will from his father November 3, 1660. His home near Guilford was on the east side of the bayside road. Morris Dennis purchased 500 acres from Jenifer on the main branch of Muddy Creek in 1672. This land was on the east side of the bayside road, which separated it from Timothy Coe's plantation.
The Jenifers received 1500 pounds of tobacco for the land:
"Daniel Jenifer of Northampton County to Timothy Coe for 1500 lbs. of tobacco, 500 acres of land lying on the branch of Guilford Creek, bounded by the lands of Miles Grey (now Timothy Coe's), lands of Morris Dennis; lands of Richard Hinman, the 500 acres being part of a dividend of 2600 acres having been granted by patent to. . . Ann Toft, who is now the wife of Daniel Jenifer. 5th day of ______ 1671."
This land, together with the Gray land, became known as "Coe's Out Neck." Situated just to the north and west of the town of Guilford, there has been considerable speculation as to the exact size of the plantation. If the various land records are closely followed -- all of which are probably not preserved -- it would seem to have contained about 1200 acres, minus 300 acres sold to Phillip Fisher in 1678. The 1704 tax list of Accomack County lists Timothy Coe's widow with 900 acres of land. This would appear to fit if it weren't for another entry in the list. The second entry shows Timothy Coe II as owing taxes on 4,100 acres, with no mention of the land left to John, William and Benjamin; nor the land the Coe girls must have inherited. It is known that John inherited at least 100 acres on Muddy Creek: "from bridge to Morris Dennis." John Coe's son Thomas sold this parcel to John Riley in 1734. The portion of the plantation left to Timothy II was no doubt considerably larger. Timothy Coe III sold 600 acres of "Coe's Out Neck" in 1740 and 1741 to William Andrews. According to deeds, part of the plantation was known as "Coe's Island."
Timothy Coe's grandson Daniel Coe apparently inherited part of the original Coe plantation. In 1732 -- while living in Somerset County, Maryland -- he gave Avery Morgan power-of-attorney for all his rights in Accomack County. It is possible that the entire tract was still in Timothy Coe's name in 1704, and the reference to 4,100 acres actually referred to all of the Coe land there, excluding that which belonged to his widow. It is not certain what became of the 900 acres she held in 1704. She may have remarried; thus the land may have passed to her second husband or his heirs. The last of the plantation officially passed out of the Coe family in 1744 when Timothy Coe III sold the last 400 acres to William Arbuckle.
The Coe lands in Accomack County have changed little since they were first acquired nearly three hundred and fifty years ago. At the time of acquisition, the plantation was mostly undeveloped marsh, becoming more tillable farther inland from the Bay. This is still the case, and the entire area appears much the same as it did when Timothy Coe set up a home there. From the Bay to at least a quarter of a mile inland, the plantation is still undrained marsh and forest, with many of the trees no doubt still standing from colonial times. The soil on the plantation is grayish and sandy, although fairly fertile, as is the case with much of the soil on the peninsula. The eastern border of the plantation was formed by the bayside road, which begins just north of Muddy Creek and goes south as far as Onancock.
Near the site where Timothy Coe's home stood, there is an existing home, known as "Muddy Creek Farm." Built about 1850, it is presently owned by the Berhman family. They were told by the previous owner that there had been a colonial brick beside the existing house, which fell into disrepair and oblivion after the new home was built. There are presently two deteriorating colonial style homes in the immediate area of "Coe's Out Neck," but no attempt has been made to determine who built them or when they were built. On the section of the plantation which Thomas Coe sold to John Riley in 1734 there is an old burial ground, known as the "Topping Cemetery." Most of those buried there are Rileys, including John and Susanna Riley's son William who was born October 7, 1730.
There apparently was a sawmill on the Coe land. When John Kelly made his will in Accomack County, April 6, 1724, he left land to his sons Dennis and George, stating that they were to have all my land from Edward Bell's line to the slash by Timothy Coe's old saw pit. The sawmill was evidently operated by Edward Smith, Millwright, who was listed as ``gone'' in the Accomack County tithe list of 1666, as was Timothy Coe. Smith was listed numerous times on the tithe lists next to, or very near, Timothy Coe. It is possible that they operated the mill in partnership.
During the years that Timothy Coe appeared on the Accomack County tithables lists, it is fairly easy to determine who his neighbors were. Of course, with the changing nature of the colony -- persons constantly arriving from England, and others moving up the peninsula -- the community in the area of Muddy Creek was seldom the same from year-to-year. Following is a list of some of those who lived in the immediate area of ``Coe's Out Neck'' during the time that Timothy Coe lived there: Phillip Fisher, Richard Smith, William Roberts, George Johnson, Daniel Quillion, Samuel Jones, Anne Toft, Thomas Leatherbury, Captain George Parker, John Michael, John Parker, Charles Scarburgh, Roger Michael, Griffin Savage, Captain John West, John Wallop, William Custis, Morris Dennis, Dennis Morris, Thomas Foulkes, Wornal Macklany, Richard Hinman, Teague Miskell, Joshua Smith, John Renny, Captain Daniel Jenifer, John Bloxom, John Drummond, Captain Richard Hill, Maximillian Gore, George Truitt, Thomas Edward Revell, Thomas Nixon, William Major, Ralph Justice, Thomas Crippen, Thomas Bagwell, and Edmund Kelly.
On the 18th day of October 1671 Timothy Coe was called before the court of Accomack County to help settle a dispute between Richard Kellum, Edward Hannaford and John Turner. Turner had been pasturing some cows on a point of land, which had been owned by Coe in 1665. In his deposition Timothy stated that six years previous he had given Turner his permission to pasture the cows there. Hannaford and Kellum were engaged in a dispute over the land.
Timothy Coe testified in another case in 1672. On July 16 of that year he was again called to appear before the court to help settle a suit filed by a Mrs. Abdell. She had entered a complaint against Lieutenant Colonel John Tilney for failing to give her a cow and calf with its increase, which, according to her, he had promised to her for services she had rendered to Mr. Tilney. Timothy had been present when Tilney agreed to the transaction and testified to the validity of Mrs. Abdell's claim in court.
On May 26, 1673, William Major was granted 200 acres in Accomack County for transporting four persons to the colony: Abraham Buckley, William Morgan, Joseph Clarke, and George Hasleup. The land he was granted was owned by an orphan named Teague, but was at that time in the possession of Timothy Coe. It is possible that the Teague orphan was a son of Timothy Coe's first wife; or perhaps a nephew. At any rate, the land was in Accomack County, between Nassawadox and Occohannock Creeks. It must have been near the plantation that was sold to Daniel Esham in 1671. The land lay next to the plantation of William Colbourne.
On December 18, 1678, Timothy Coe purchased 300 acres on Messongo Creek from John Parsons, paying him 10,000 pounds of tobacco for the land.
It should be noted that this land was not connected to ``Coe's Out Neck.'' Messongo Creek is located about three miles north of Muddy Creek, beginning near Groton Town and drains into Chesapeake Bay just above Michael Marsh. The land was on the south bank of Messongo Creek. It joined the plantation of George Johnson, whose land joined "Coe's Out Neck." Parsons purchased it from Edward Moore in 1669.
On March 16, 1682, Timothy and Sarah Coe sold this land to Phillip Fisher:
"To all Christian People __ Know Yee: that I Timothy Coe of the County of Accomack in Virginia in consideration of 16,000 lbs. of tobacco paid by Philip Fisher of Northampton County . . . receipt acknowledged, have sold all that, my plantation containing 300 acres situate and being in Accomack with all houses & c. which I purchased of John Parsons late of Accomack, carpenter, bearing date of 18th day of December, Anno Do. 1678. Timothy (thumb mark) Coe Recorded March Ye 16 1682 Sarah Coe, lawful wife of Timothy Coe as her voluntary act relinquishes her dower to Philip Fisher."
When the Quakers purchased land near Guilford in 1683 to build a meetinghouse, Timothy Coe's name appeared on the deed. On September 13 of that year John Parker conveyed to Timothy Coe, who was acting as a trustee of the Muddy Creek Quaker Meeting, an acre of ground for the above stated purpose. The transaction is abstracted from the records of Accomack County:
"John Parker et als (Richard Moore & Thos Morris) 13th Sept. 1683 to Timothy Coe et als (George Johnson, George Truitt, Thos. Fowlkes, Wonie Maklanie & Jno Drummond). Know all men by these present that we John Parker and Thomas Morris doth firmly assign and confirm unto Richard Moore all our rights to certain land metes and bounds given -- 3 January 1683 -- with the following __ Indenture __ 19 of the 9th month called November 1683 __ Betwixt John Parker, Thomas Morris and Richard Moore all of Accomack in Virginia of the one part and George Johnson, Timothie Coe, George Truet, Thomas Fowlkes, Wornal Makane, and John Drummond all of the same county and followne aforesaid, Witnesseth That the said Parker, Morris and Moore for divers good causes and considerations paid by the said George Johnson with consent and on behalf of the partners the said Parker, Morris, and Moore, receipt acknowledged and themselves satisfied, have granted for themselves and assigns one acre of land lying in the county aforesaid, being part of a patent of land granted unto Clay Misk by patent bearing date 30 February 1669 and by him conveyed in 1679 to William Jarman and by Jarman conveyed to John Parker, Thomas Morris and Richard Moore and now in their possession -- lying and being near Guilford -- its southern branch. . . To have and to hold to them the said George Johnson, Timothie Coe, George Mues, Thomas Fowlkes, Wornl Maklane and John Drummond, and theirs forever. Day and year written above. Signed: In the presence of John Parker, Daniel Eyer, Thomas Morris, William Nock, Richard Moore. Recorded -- Feb'y ye 15, 1683"
Timothy Coe last appears on record in Accomack County, July 9, 1683. On that date he, Wornal Macklany and John Drummond witnessed the will of Joshua Smith. Smith, who was obviously a Quaker, owned a small plantation of 200 acres just south of Parksley, about three and one-half miles south of Guilford. Leaving his property to his wife Margaret, sons John and Joshua, and daughter Mary, the sons died not long after their father and their portion of the estate went to their sister Mary, who married John Melson.
Timothy Coe died six years later. He was at that time a man of 58. His wife must have been considerably younger, and out-lived him by some 29 years.
He had been in Virginia 37 years, during which time he had left an enduring mark on the colony. Not only had he acquired considerable property, he had become a local civic and religious leader, and had left
a lofty legacy for his children. And it was no doubt his passing, along with that of George Johnson in 1692, that was the beginning of the end for Accomack County Quakerism. There was reportedly a burial ground on the Quaker property at Muddy Creek and it was probably here that Timothy Coe was buried.
Quaker burials were simple affairs. The corpse was normally wrapped in a simple shroud, placed in a simple wooden coffin and interred in an unmarked or simply marked grave, located in a simple, unornamented communal burying ground. In their extreme practicality, John Woolman, an early Quaker of the Delaware Valley, requested that his coffin be made of ash rather than oak, because "Oak . . . is a wood more useful than ash."
Placing markers on Quaker graves became an issue of considerable discussion and dissension among early Friends. The London yearly meeting recommended in 1766 that all markers should be removed from Quaker gravesites. Many Quakers refused to comply, but the majority did, making it practically impossible to locate the final resting place of early Quaker progenitors. Not until 1850 did the main body of Quaker authority sanction the placing of "a plain flat marker without ornament or elaborate inscription."
Timothy Coe left a will dated September 7, 1688, which was probated June 20, 1689. He left at least four sons and two or more daughters. The will reads as follows:
"In the ffeare and dread of Almighty God I Timothy Coe Going weake in body but of Sound and perfect memory praised be to God I do make this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form ffollowing And first I comitt my Soule to the hands of Almighty God my Savior and my boddy I comitt to ye Earth to be buried as my ffriends and Dear wife shall See meet
And for what God hath Graciously lent me I give and bequeath as followeth And first of all I give to my Son Timothy all my Land from ye bridge over to the Gutt against George Johnsons and So downward to him & to his heirs
for ever in want of heirs to fall to ye other children.
I give unto my son John Coe ye remainder of my Land from Said bridge up
to Morris Dennises to him & to his heirs for ever my Will is that my Dear
wife shall for & during her widowhood shall ____ably enjoy the Seat or
place where She now liveth as like with So have priveledge through the
which devident for her occasions.
The rest of my Estate I give equally amongst my Dear wife and the rest
of my Children and my will is that if any of them is stubborn or
disobedient to their mother and will desert and go from her without her
approbation then in that case they Shall be excluded from any Such part
as otherwise they should Enjoy _____ __ And my Will is _ my Sonns Shall
be of age at Twenty one years and the Girls at 20
And I appoint my ____ ____ wife to be my whole & Sole Executrix of
this my last will & testament
I ___ if also ye George Johnson Thomas Brown [Browne] William
Knock [Nock] and Thomas Ffookes [Foulkes] may be assistants to my Dear wife
Sealed with my Seal & Dated this Seventh day of this ninth month __ yeares
Witness George Johnson Timothy X Coe
June ye 20th day Sarah Coe relicit of Timothy Coe Presented ye Last Will & Testament of her deceased husband . . . might be Recorded and produced George Johnson Richard Moore Mary Johnson. . . .
Recorded June ye 26th 1689"
Timothy Coe's death did not spell the end of Quaker persecution. As so many Accomack Quakers had done before, in 1692 Sarah Coe took her children and moved to Somerset County, Maryland, although her Accomack home was still used for mid-week Quaker meetings. Her oldest son Timothy also left and moved on to Sussex County, Delaware, although he later spent considerable time back in Accomack County. Others of the Muddy Creek Meeting who left that year were John Drummond, Roger Michael and Thomas Everden; also George Truitt of the Mulberry Grove Meeting.
Sarah Coe later returned to Accomack County, as did her sons Timothy and Benjamin. She died there intestate in 1718. On August 5, 1718, Benjamin Coe petitioned the court of Accomack County for the administration of his mother's estate. The court granted him letters of administration and appointed Charles Stockley and John Metcalf as securities on his behalf.
Children (b. in Accomack County, VA):
i. TIMOTHY, b. about 1665.
ii. JOHN, b. about 1667.
iii. WILLIAM, b. about 1670.
iv. ?Sarah, possibly the wife of Benjamin Nock.
v. a daughter, possibly the first wife of Edward Mifflin.
vi. ?Alice, was apparently unmarried as late as 1724.
vii. BENJAMIN, b. about 1677.
viii. Dorothy, b.c. 1680; m. Thomas Bell.
Web site copyright 1996-2005 by Barbara Cox. Page updated March 21, 2005 (bc)
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