John Coleman

ID # 33, (1760-1844)
FatherUnknown Coleman
Mother(--?--) Unknown
BirthJohn Coleman was born in 1760 at New Jersey. 
MarriageHe married Elizabeth Lawrason, daughter of Thomas Lawrason
DeathHe died on 5 October 1844 at Troy, Ontario. 
BurialHe was buried at Troy Cemetery. 
NoteAccording to John Cornell's history of Beverly, John Coleman came with his brother William to Beverly about 1812. They purchased lot 6 on the 3rd concession of Beverly in 1816 (transaction 33, Vol. A). The obituary for John's daughter Sarah states that they spent some time in Copetown prior to their purchase of the lot on the 3rd concession. In the transaction record, John is said to be of Beverly and so it may be inferred that he was living in or near Copetown at the time. We may now place the family in Beverly as of 1811 based on an application made by John Coleman for the lease of a Clergy Reserve. This is datelined Beverly.

Another source is a letter written back in the 1970s by Mrs. Dorothy Radoff of Brisbane, California. This was sent to a historical society in Hamilton. She discusses her Coleman and Moe ancestors, and states that Teressa Coleman, who married Henry Moe of St. George, was a daughter of John and Elizabeth. There is now no question that this is accurate. Documentary confirmation has been uncovered that Teressa was indeed a Coleman. Also, her given name was passed on to at least three nieces. Teressa appears in neither The Annals of the Forty nor Cornell's book. Further research has produced such a volume of evidence, however, that this is safely beyond argument.

Investigation of the family's origin suggests the following:

It is possible that the family's background was German. George Coleman, William's grandson, seemed to think so and gave German as the family background in census information. If this is the case then the name may originally have been spelled with a K. George, however, may have had his Abel ancestors in mind and therefore it can't be ruled out that the family's background was English. They came to Beverly Township from New Jersey. Several of the death registrations of the children show their place of birth in New Jersey. Helen gives her place of birth as Pennsylvania in census information. This also appears on her death registration. There are conflicting reports that Rachel was born in Pennsylvania. This may be correct. It would seem that the youngest child (youngest so far as can be determined) John Coleman Jr. was born in Beverly Twp. Sarah's obituary says that the family sojourned at Copetown for a short time before settling in the Troy area. Considering the marriage of William Coleman of Troy to Catherine Jones of Copetown, this is the likely scenario.

It is possible that there was another daughter. There is a record of a Phoebe Coleman in Beverly. She married John Wells of Beverly on 23 March, 1845. The marriage was performed by Rev. Smith and witnessed by John P. Lawrason and Elizabeth Wells. John P. Lawrason would have been a cousin to the children of Elizabeth Lawrason Coleman and so was likely, at some level, Phoebe's cousin. At this point it isn't known whether Phoebe was a daughter of John and Elizabeth or of John's brother William and his wife Catherine Jones. If she was John's daughter, then it would be likely that she had a late marriage; if she was William's daughter it can be inferred that she would have been younger. Research on Phoebe and John is ongoing. No other record has been found for Phoebe to this point.

In the study of the Coleman family of Beverly a note of caution is necessary. It can be said with some degree of certainty that there were four John Colemans in Beverly and three Coleman families in Beverly between 1814 (approx.) and 1865 (approx.)

Dealing with the latest Coleman arrival in Beverly first:

A John Coleman appears in Beverly at the time of the 1861 census with his family and is gone from future censuses. He is: John Coleman, born in Germany. He is 36 and his wife Phebe is 34. The have a daughter Christina Coleman, age 10, who is also said to have been born in Germany. Children Charles, Mini, Catherine and Henry are said to have been born in Canada West. This information is to be found on the 1861 census for Canada West, Beverly Twp, Dist. 1, page 11.

The next and last record found for this family is in the Tenth Ward of Detroit in the 1870 U.S. census. They appear on page 163, lines 29 thru 34. Here, they are said to have been born in Sachen (Saxony), one of the German states. The list of names isn't perfectly in accord with the 1861 census at Beverly, but a close examination is convincing enough, and here they depart from our story.

Second, to deal with the first Coleman arrival in Beverly, John Coleman with his wife Elizabeth Lawrason. They and their descendents are the subject of this tree. Except for a few years at Copetown, they lived their lives in the area of the Village of Troy and are buried in Troy Cemetery. By and large, their presence in Beverly is well documented, though there is documentation which is mentioned below that should be examined with care.

John and Elizabeth are the subject of a brief Coleman history in Cornell's History of the Pioneers of Beverly and The Annals of the Forty, information for which seems based in large measure on Cornell's history. Much of this may be correct, though there are children mentioned in The Annals for whom there is no documentation to be found in the available records. John is recorded as purchasing land on the 3rd concession, lot 6, in 1816, and then transferring half of it to William Coleman.

The third John to be mentioned is the youngest child of John and Elizabeth, John Coleman Jr. There are conflicting dates for the birth of John Coleman Jr. A history of Harrisburg, where John and his wife Sabrina had a hotel, places his birth year as 1808. This does not agree with his age as given in the 1861 or 1871 census. These conflict as well, but 1814 seems closer to it. Since one of his daughter's death registrations places her father's birth in Beverly and since this is way too early for him to be a member of the Coleman family referred to below, and since Cornell does refer to John Jr's daughter as being a member of the family, this researcher feels safe in saying that (a) John Jr. was a son of John Coleman and Elizabeth Lawrason and (b) that he was likely their only child born in Canada.

The fourth John Coleman:

Here, there has been much confusion. This John Coleman is referred to in most records as John W. Coleman. There is mixed information as to his background. Indeed one researcher places his sojourn in Canada in the village of Beverly in Leeds County. This is incorrect. The documentation has John W. Coleman with his wife Margaret Hayes in Beverly Township in the Gore District at the time of the 1825 census. Assessment documentation for Beverly is excellent and is the main source of information for John W. Coleman. Other evidence (mainly U.S. census records) regarding the years and places of birth for their children suggests that the family came to Beverly from New Jersey and that they arrived in Beverly no later than 1824 nor earlier than 1821. More research on this point is needed. It would seem that most of the members of the family moved on to Boone County, Illinois, by 1845. Evidence is to be found for this in the census for Boone County beginning in 1850. The one member of the family that can safely be said to have remained in Canada is William H. Coleman. His middle name was Hays according to his will, and more likely Hayes. He married Elizabeth Cope and they were in Caradoc Twp of Middlesex County by the time of the 1851 census.

James H. Coleman, the husband of Jane Blasdell, once had a place in this tree as a son of John Coleman and Elizabeth Lawrason. (James is buried in Troy Cemetery.) He is now listed as a son of John W. Coleman and Margaret Hayes. The argument for his being a son of John and Margaret isn't as clear as one would wish. This is a matter for ongoing research, however there is now enough circumstantial evidence relating him to John W. Coleman and William Hays Coleman that it seems reasonable to place James with them.

The one question that remains is: Was the John W. Coleman who moved on to Illinois related to John Coleman who remained and is buried in Beverly? Coincidence is always possible, but since both came from New Jersey, it seems at least a possibility that they were cousins. Since both were named John, it's safe to say that they weren't brothers.

(Note: There is actually another John Coleman who appears in Beverly in the 1871 census, age 30, and is a laborer on the farm of Samuel Wood and his wife Maria Coleman. No other information has been found for this John Coleman and who he was remains a mystery.) 

Children of John Coleman and Elizabeth Lawrason

Last Edited10 Apr 2018