Robert Spilsbe Coleman (c.1717 - 1761)

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Nicknames: "Robert Spillsbee Coleman"
Birthplace: Essex, Virginia
Death: Died in Essex County, Virginia
Occupation: Operated an Ordinary in Tappahannock
Managed by: Elizabeth Ann Quick
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Robert Spilsbe Coleman

ROBERT SPILSBE COLEMAN    
d.  Will Probated 19 May 1761 \(WB 11, p. 304, Essex Co. Records\)
m.  Sarah Whitehead (d.  by 20 Dec 1762; son-in-law, John Richards, gave bond as her administrator)

21 Sept 1727 William and Richard Covington were appointed guardians Robert Spilsbe Coleman and his brother Richard Coleman at the death of his father Spilsbe (OB 1729-33, p. 108 & 110, Essex Co. Records\)

Robert Spilsbe Coleman wrote his will on 8 Dec 1760. His executors were wife Sarah, Andrew Crawford, brother Richard Coleman, Robert Brooking and Charles Mortimer.

On 5 Jan 1761, Robert added a codicil to his will stating he wanted his son James and James’ heirs to have 50 acres of land that Robert had purchased from Joseph Evans on 15 Dec 1760.

Robert added a second codicil to his will on 14 Feb 1761, after his son Richard died. He said his son Whitehead became the heir-at-law but would receive too great a share of Robert’s estate. The codicil then stated that son James receive all his lands in Spotsylvania, Orange and Culpeper Cos.

Robert operated an Ordinary in Tappahannock inherited from his father at the corner of Prince and Water, and a wharf at the end of Marsh St. built by his grandfather. He also operated a ferry over the Rappahannock River, operated plantations in both Essex and King & Queen Co., and owned land in Spotsylvania and Culpeper Cos. In 1753, Robert promised his daughter, Susannah, property in King & Queen Co. known as McGrath’s Tavern which she inherited in 1761. Robert bought 200 acres of Spotsylvania Co. land on Pleantiful Run in 1741, part of a 1732 patent to Thomas Allen and George Musick. Robert sold this 200 acres to his cousin (2)277 Richard Coleman in 1760.

While living in Essex Co., he bought 100 acres on the Pamunkey River from William Dyer on 6 Oct 1740. In 1747, he bought 420 acres of Spotsylvania Co. land. On 10 Sept 1760 \(Patent Bk. 33, p. 909) he was granted 77 acres of Essex Co. land.

In 1743, William Bird Richards./a> of King & Queen Co. was a Justice of the Peace & took the personal acknowledgment of Mrs. Elizabeth Taylor, wife of Francis Taylor of Drysdale Parish, to a deed for land sold by her husband to Robert Spilsbe Coleman of South Farnham Parish, Essex Co. VA. In 1754, Robert’s daughter, Susannah, married Capt. John Richards, son of William Bird Richards.

VA Colonial Abstracts King & Queen Co. 21-22 Dec 1750, p. 178, Fleet: Hugh Wilson & Catherine his wife of S. Farnham Parish, Essex Co. sell Robert Spilsbe Coleman of Drisdel (sic) Parish King & Queen Co. for L56., 112 acres in S. Farnham Parish, Essex Co. being part of 340 acres left by the will of James Taylor, late of King & Queen Co. to Ann his daughter...

In 1749, Robert Spilsbe and Sarah were living in Drysdale Parish, King & Queen Co. On 20 Nov 1752, Robert bought 300 acres of Culpeper Co. land from his cousin Richard Lort Coleman. This land was part of a tract patented by Robert Coleman on 28 Sep 1732 and conveyed to Richard Lort Coleman on 24 Sep 1746. Robert Spilsbe Coleman’s home in Tappahannock is still standing, part of a building known as the Anderton House on the campus of St. Margaret’s School, built on land originally called Coleman’s Island.

Seventeen acres of Robert’s land was included within the boundaries of the town of Tappahannock (Hennings Statutes at Large, p. 304, 305, 1744) Robert’s name can be found in a King & Queen Co. Merchant’s Account Book, Ledgers A,B,C from the period 25 Feb 1749-4 Aug 1752. Swem Library at the College of William and Mary has Ledgers A&B, the Virginia State Archives has Ledger C, accession #28893. \(Index to these account books compiled by Richard Slatten, Edgar MacDonald and Franklin Minor\) These ledgers were used to note credit sales, and came from the store of Ninian Boog, factor for Buchanan & Hamilton, Liverpool merchants. Boog’s King & Queen store "was located at Todds on the Mattaponi about a mile above Aylett where state road 628 now ends". See Magazine of VA Genealogy, Vol. 28, No. 1 \(Slatten\) & Vol.29, No.1 \(MacDonald\). Robert Spilsbe Coleman was listed, as were his sons John and Thomas.

Among other items, the Ledger Books show that Robert Spilsbe Coleman purchased "a boy’s fine hat, a pair of girl’s shoes, ¾ yards of Flanders lace, Piscattaway books, and a pair of women’s shoes", paid on account with 3hhd. tobacco at Todd’s warehouse (on the King & Queen Co. side of the Mattaponi River\). Other entries show he purchased material, clothing, nails, gilt buttons, tools, cutlery, sugar, salt, and a Japanned tea waiter. Items also offered for sale were pewter dishes, rum, cheese, saddles, bridles, furniture, spectacles, powder, shott, cinnamon, pipes, ivory combs, thinbles, needles, thread, paper, penknives, an iron compass, a scarlet cloak, soap, ink pots and razors. These account books offer a fascinating glimpse of life in colonial Virginia.

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Scots Arms Tavern: http://www.tappahannock.us/scots.htm

Anderton-Coleman House: http://www.tappahannock.us/anderton.htm

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Robert Spilsbe Coleman's Timeline

1717
1717
Essex, Virginia
1736
1736
Age 19
Essex County, Virginia, United States
1737
1737
Age 20
Tappahannock, Essex County, Virginia
1761
May 19, 1761
Age 44
Essex County, Virginia