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Samuel Cole

Birthplace: Mersea Island, Essex, England, United Kingdom
Death: February 13, 1667 (76-77)
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, British Colonial America
Immediate Family:

Husband of Ann Cole; Margaret Cole and Ann Cole
Father of Elizabeth Weeden; Catherine Gross; John Cole; Mary Jackson and Henry Cole Wiggleforth

Occupation: innkeeper and confectioner
Immigration: 1630 on the Arbella
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Samuel Cole

Samuel Cole (settler)

Samuel Cole (c. 1597–1666/67) was an early settler of Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, arriving with the Winthrop Fleet in 1630. He was an innkeeper and confectioner, and in 1634 established the first house of entertainment in the colony, called the Three Mariners.

Born by 1597, Cole and his family arrived in New England with John Winthrop in 1630, and established themselves on the Shawmut Peninsula, which soon became the town of Boston. He and his wife Ann were among the earliest members of the Boston church, having joined in the autumn of 1630. He opened the first tavern in the area on 4 March 1634 in what later became downtown Boston, but in 1645 relocated his business to the future Merchants Row between State Street and Faneuil Hall. Cole's establishment was a center of social and political life in Boston, and Governor Henry Vane had brought the Narragansett Indian sachem Miantonomoh, with his retinue, for a meal there. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow included Cole and his house of entertainment in his play John Endicott set in the early 1660s.

As a member of the Boston Church, Cole was caught up in the Antinomian Controversy that shook the young colony between 1636 and 1638. He signed a petition in support of the minister John Wheelwright who was banished from the colony, and after being threatened with losing his weapons, he signed a remission, calling his support of Wheelwright an error. While during the early days of the colony Cole was considered well off, and contributed to various causes, by 1661 he was suffering financial losses and in June of that year was granted 300 acres of land for being a respected and useful member of the community. Cole was married three times, and had at least four children, all with his first wife, Ann. His son, John, married Susanna, the only person to survive the massacre killing her famed mother, Anne Hutchinson, and many of her siblings. Cole wrote his will in December 1666, and died in Boston shortly thereafter, with his will being proved the following February.

Samuel Cole, born by about 1597, arrived in Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with the Winthrop Fleet in 1630, being accompanied by his wife Ann, and likely all four of his known children.[1][2] Several online accounts say that Cole was from Mersea in Essex, but it was the first husband of his second wife who came from that place, and Anderson finds no evidence supporting this provenance for him.[3] He and his wife joined the Boston church as members #42 and #43, this indicating that they joined in the autumn of 1630.[3] He requested to be made a freeman on 19 October 1630, and took the freeman's oath the following May.[2][3]

Boston magistrate John Winthrop wrote in his journal under the date 4 March 1634 that "Samuel Cole set up the first house for common entertainment," this being the first tavern or inn in the colony.[3][4] While claims have been made that this was the first tavern in the American colonies,[5] there is evidence that it was predated by about 20 years in Jamestown, Virginia.[6] The establishment is commonly called Cole's Inn,[7] but was called the Three Mariners by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his play, John Endicott. Cole, besides being called an innkeeper, styled himself as a confectioner and "comfitmaker" in several deeds.[8] In August 1636 he attended a meeting of the town's wealthier inhabitants, and donated 10 shillings towards the maintenance for a master of a free school.[9] Also in 1636, the colony's governor, Henry Vane brought the Narragansett Indian sachem Miantonomoh, with his retinue, to Boston, and they were served a meal there. Drake, wondering how the guests were seated since the natives were not accustomed to chairs, surmised that they all sat on the floor in a circle, with the pot of meat placed in the middle.[10]

As with most members of the Boston church, Cole became caught up in the events of the Antinomian Controversy in 1636 and 1637, and signed a petition on behalf of the Reverend John Wheelwright who was later banished from the colony. On 20 November 1637 Cole was disarmed for this participation, and rather than give up his weapons, he, two days later, was the first to sign an acknowledgment that "it was ill done, and unwarrantably, as transgressing therein the rule of due honor to authority, and of modesty, and submission in private persons, and therefore I desire my name may be put out of it."[9]

On the last day of February 1638, Cole sold the southern part of a new mansion house in Boston where he "lately dwelled" to Captain Robert Sedgwicke of Charlestown for £200. The other half of the house was "assured to" Thomas Mariott and others.[3] This same year the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company was founded, and he was one of its charter members.[11] On 20 May 1645 Cole sold his inn to George Halsell, and on the same day bought another property of Valentine Hill where he opened a new inn.[2][3] The location of this new establishment relative to later landmarks was on the west side of Merchants Row, about midway between State Street and Faneuil Hall.[2] Frank Cole called it "a famous old inn [that] entertained many of the illustrious guests of the time," and also noted that Samuel Cole "had the usual experience of the publican under the rule of the Puritan" and was fined several times for overcharging his customers and had his license taken away for a time.[2]

In addition to being the proprietor of an inn, Cole was briefly active in the affairs of the town, and from 1653 to 1657 he served as a Boston selectman, as well as being a sealer of weights and measures in 1654.[11] While during the early days of the colony Cole was considered well off, and contributed to various causes, by 1661 he was suffering financial losses. In June of that year the General Court made a grant to him, stating that "considering that Mr. Cole was an ancient adventurer in the public stock and hath been long out of his money, been at great charges and loss in this business, hath approved himself respective and serviceable to the Court, the Court judgeth it meet to grant Mr. Samuel Cole three hundred acres..."[12] Cole wrote his will on 21 December 1666, and died shortly thereafter, with the will proven the following February.[13]

Cole is featured during a scene in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's play entitled John Endicott, about the Bay colony's sometimes fiery governor. The play takes place in the early 1660s, shortly after four Quakers, known as the Boston martyrs, have been executed in Boston. During a conversation at Cole's Inn, Cole discusses his house of entertainment.[15] The reference to Lord Leigh concerns the time when Lord Ley, Earl of Marlborough visited Boston, shortly after Henry Vane lost the governorship to John Winthrop in May 1637. Though invited to lodge at Winthrop's house, the young aristocrat preferred to stay at Cole's Inn, saying that it was well governed, and that he could be as private there as elsewhere. This was one of many slights endured by Winthrop during the colony's difficulties from 1636 to 1638.[16]

Cole's first wife, Ann, died shortly after their arrival in New England, by one account,[2] but certainly before October 1647, at which time Cole was married to the widow Margaret Green, a daughter-in-law of Isaac Green of Mersey, Essex, England.[17] Following the death of his second wife, he married in Boston on 16 October 1660 Ann (Mansfield) Keayne, the widow of Robert Keayne.[17] Ann's sister Elizabeth was the wife of Boston minister John Wilson. Ann and Elizabeth are descended from King Edward III of England through their father, John Mansfield, and paternal grandmother, Anne Eure.[18]

Cole's children were all with his first wife, and very likely all born in England. Catherine (born roughly 1622) married Edmund Gross and Elizabeth (born roughly 1624) married Edward Weeden, the son of Samuel.[17] The only known son, John (born 1625),[19] married in Boston on 30 December 1651 Susanna Hutchinson, the only child of William and Anne Hutchinson to survive the Indian massacre in New Netherland that killed her mother and many of her siblings.[17] Susanna had been taken captive for several years before being returned to family members in Boston.[20] The Hutchinsons had been very close neighbors of the Coles in Boston before Mrs. Hutchinson was forced to leave the Massachusetts Bay Colony in early 1638 following the events of the Antinomian Controversy. The fourth child of Samuel and Ann Cole was Mary (born roughly 1628) who first married a Mr. "Gawdren" (a name not known in early New England at this time and possibly a corruption of another name), and married second on 7 January 1652/3 Edmund Jackson.[17] Among Cole's well known descendants, through his son John, are Stephen Arnold Douglas, who lost to Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election, and Willard Mitt Romney, who lost to incumbent Barack Obama in 2012.[21]



  • Samuel Cole
  • Birth: 1597 Colchester Borough, Essex, England
  • Death: 1666 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • There are many written documents concerning Samuel Cole in Boston history. Few other people in the early 1600s in Boston are so well documented. The following is a summary.
  • Parents
  • Attempts were made, in the 21st century by a British genealogist, to find Samuel’s parents and siblings, but none were successful. Other genealogists have suggested parents, but none have been verified
  • Early Life
  • Samuel’s birth place is sometimes given as Mersea or Mersey, Essex, England. These are two different spellings for the same location, which is a low-lying island off the south coast of Essex. Some believe that Samuel’s wife Ann lived on Mersea, but that Samuel himself was born and lived in nearby Dedham. The birth date of Samuel Cole is generally assumed to be 1597, based on the date of his marriage to Ann and ages of their children.
  • No recorded history of Samuel’s education has been found despite various attempts to locate existing records. However, a, English genealogist did find he probably was well educated at the excellent Dedham Grammar School. Although the records for his school years have been lost, his family had been active in Dedham Grammar School for yours.
  • Samuel owned property at several locations in Massachusetts and they are outlined in Land Section below. Samuel also held several positions in the Colonial government. He was also a charter member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company.
  • In the end, Samuel had financial reverses and was granted land to tide him over. He died in 1666 or 1667. His burial place is unrecorded. However, since he had owned Rumney Marsh, and had willed this land to his daughter Elizabeth Weeden, it is believed this was his final resting place.
  • Immigration
  • Samuel Cole immigrated to Boston in 1630 on the Arabella, the flag ship of the Winthrop fleet. Twenty five of the two hundred and forty-seven possible heads of families were of a social rank above that of yeoman (attendant), or husbandman (farmer). Some were Earls, Knights and Esquires. Next came persons who were given the prefix of ‘Mr.’ and Samuel Cole was in this class. This is not entirely surprising since he certainly had enough financial resources to build a fine house and Inn in Boston, just down the street from Governor John Winthrop. Samuel came with his wife Ann, daughters Katherine and Elizabeth and son John.
  • Land (Homes & Residences)
  • Cole’s Inn was located at No. 63 Washington Street and apparently Samuel lived next door. The Inn was near the First Church and the Old State House. A few houses away lived Will & Anne Hutchinson. Further down Washington Street lived Governor John Winthrop. Since the Hutchinsons and Winthrop had adequate financial resources, it can be assumed that Samuel Cole, at this time, did also.
  • In 1634, Samuel Cole opened the first house of entertainment in Boston and referred to himself as a confimaker. It is assumed that these were confectionaries made from dried fruit, berries, nuts and sugar. The first name of the Inn was Cole’s Inn and was later known as Hancock’s when he sold the Inn in 1642 to George Halsell.
  • The following appeared in 1924:
  • Cole’s, licensed in 1634 was the first house of entertainment in New England. It stood near the site well known today as the “Old Corner Bookstore.
  • In 1645 Samuel Cole bought from Valentine Hill another property where he kept his inn. This second place was on the west side of Merchant’s Row, about midway from State Street to Faneuil Hall. It was a famous old inn, and entertained many of the illustrious guests of the time. Mr. Cole had the usual experience of the publican under the rule of the Puritan, and was fined several times for selling above price and for allowing disorder, and had his license taken away for a time. Longfellow refers to his inn in his poem “John Endicott.”
  • Trouble arose over the doctrines of Anne Hutchinson, Samuel’s future mother-in-law, and the Rev. John Wheelwright. Samuel favored the Hutchinson-Wheelwright party, and had, evidentially, with others, petitioned the general court on their behalf. There is on the records an acknowledgement of this petition. This was signed by twenty-four persons, of whom Samuel was one. The court, on November 27, 1637, eight months later, passed an order disarming all the followers of Wheelwright. After this order, the Reverend Wheelwright and his wife returned to England.
  • Land, including Rumney Marsh
  • Rumney Marsh, now the Rumney Marsh Burial Grounds: On 8 January 1637/8, pursuant to a town order of 14 December 1635, “Mr. Samuel Cole” was granted one hundred and five acres as a “great allotment at Rumley Marsh and Pullen Point”. The land was originally owned by Samuel Cole. In his will, dated 21 December 1666 and proved 13 February 1666/7, “Samuel Cole of Boston “bequesth to “my daughter Elizabeth Weeden that land of mine at Rumney Marsh which at present her husband and she lives upon and have done so for some years past, which is the sixth part of my land”
  • 1. Hogg Island [Now Spinnaker Island in Boston Harbor near Hull] - The inventory of the Estate of Mr. Samuel Cole, taken 7 May 1666, totaled £156 15s. 2d.
  • 2. Nonatocke - On 18 May 1653, “Mr. Samuel Cole, of Boston, having long since distributed fifty pounds in the common stock, as appeared by good testimony to the court, hath 400 acres of land granted him at Nonatocke, to be laid out by Captain Willard”. On 2 June 1653, “in answer to the petition of Mr. Samuel Cole, of Boston, it is ordered, that Capt. Symon Willard shall and hereby is empowered to lay out 400 acres of upland, at Nonatocke, and is in satisfaction of fifty pounds by the said Samuel Cole, adventured in the common stock 23 years since”.
  • 3. On 26 October 1653, Mr. Samuel Cole of Boston in consideration of a marriage solemnized and fully finished betwixt Edmond Jackson of Boston, a shoemaker and Mary his daughter, deeded to the couple all that dwelling house lately purchased of William Halsey with the garden & well thereto adjoining.
  • 4. On 26 May 1658, the General Court granted petitioner Samuel Cole a neck of land lying within a mile and a half or two miles of “Nacooke” beyond the town of Chelmsford.
  • 5. Bendall's Dock – Land purchased by Samuel and later given to his son John and wife Susanna. The later name was Main Warf and is located at the end of Cornhill Street in Boston. Possibly Samuel sailed from here to his property on Hogg Island in Boston Harbor. The area was later filled in and is now the site of Faneuil Hall.
  • Schools / Education
  • 1. There is no written information about Samuel’s education. However, there are clear indications that he was educated since he owned a number of books, an uncommon practice in his day, and donated them to, and money to Harvard
  • 2. Samuel signed his will and numerous deeds. His inventory included 13 books bound in leather with some other books.
  • 3. On 12 August 1636, at a general meeting of the richer inhabitants of Boston, there were donations by numerous persons, including Samuel Cole, who gave 10s.
  • 4. He made a bequest to Harvard College, and on 13 December 1652, he was appointed to a Boston committee for collecting money for the college.
  • 5. Samuel’s Will states: Whereas I promised to give 20s to Harvard College & some part of it paid in wooden ware.
  • Employment and Government Positions
  • 1. Boston Selectman, 1653 through 1657
  • 2. Sealer of Weights and measures, 27 March 1654
  • 3. Surveyor, 13 March 1647/8.
  • 4. Assessor, 10 November 1634.
  • 5. Highway company, 10 January 1641/2
  • Legal (partial list)
  • 1. In 1630, Samuel Cole invested £50 in the common stock of the Massachusetts Bay Company.
  • 2. Samuel Cole requested acceptance as a Freeman on 19 October 1630 and admitted 18 May 1631.
  • 3. “Samuel Cole and Anne his wife” were admitted to Boston church as members #42 and #43, which would be in the fall of 1630.
  • 4. On 20 November 1637, Samuel Cole was disarmed for signing the remonstrance on behalf of Rev. John Wheelwright. Twenty four citizens were disarmed at this time. That meant that their guns and bullets were taken away by Robert Keayne, the Captain of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston. Thus these persons were prohibited from obtaining replacements. This was clearly a serious punishment since the threat of Indians was always present. On about 22 November 1637, Cole was the first to sign an acknowledgement that “it was ill done, and unwarrantably, as transgressing therein the rules of due honor to authority, and of modesty, and submission in private persons, and therefore I desire my name be put off of it.
  • 5. On 24 March 1653, “Samuel Cole of Boston and Margaret his wife sold to “William Halsey of Pullin Point in the parish of Boston all that their farm house, cottage or tenement in Rumney Marsh reserving part of the said bargained premises with the appurtenances, and also ten acres of upland ground & six acres of meadow or marsh excepted unto Edmond Grosse of Boston aforesaid”.
  • Organizations
  • Samuel Cole was admitted to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1638. His company included: a musket & bandoliers” valued at 10s.. He was probably one of the charter members and was listed as the ninth member under Captain Robert Keayne 1638-1647. Samuel would later marry the widow of Robert Keayne.
  • Spouses
  • Ann (or An) (1600-1647), married before 1622
  • Margaret Greene Greene, married 30 Sep 1647 (1589-1658)
  • Anne Mansfield Keayne, married 16 Oct 1660 (1596-1647)
  • Children
    • Katherine Cole Gross (1622-1657)
    • Elizabeth Cole Weeden (1624-1696)
    • Ann Cole Jackson (1628-1660)
    • John Cole (1629-1707)
  • Sources
  • Many, including The Winthrop Fleet, Massachusetts Bay Company Immigrants to New England 1629-1630, by Robert Charles Anderson and The Journal of John Winthrop, 1630-1649, edited by Richard S. Dunn and Laetitia Yeandle.
  • Family links:
  • Children:
    • John Cole (1625 - 1707)*
  • Burial: Rumney Marsh Burial Ground, Revere, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 154648647
  • From:


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Samuel Cole's Timeline

Mersea Island, Essex, England, United Kingdom
Billericay, Essex, Basildon, England (United Kingdom)
Essex, England
Colchester, Essex, United Kingdom
Mersea Island, Essex, England
Mersea Island, Essex, England, United Kingdom
Age 40
Boston, Massachusetts