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THE COOMBS OF MAINE


Anthony COOMBS of Wells, ME 1684

There are no known records of Anthony’s parents, date of birth, or location of birth. However, because four of Anthony’s children and two of his grandchildren moved back to the New Meadows River area of Maine in the 1730s and settled on the exact same land that had been claimed by Allister COOMBS in 1675, it is almost certain that Anthony Coombs was a son of Allister Coombs.

The first time that we hear of Anthony Coombs is in 1684, when he was brought to Wells, ME by Lewis Allen as an apprentice blacksmith.34 To date, a copy of the apprenticeship contract has not been located. Nor is there any indication of where they were before coming to Wells.

Lewis Allen (Louis Allain) was probably born in France about 1654, according to the censuses of Acadia.35 Reportedly, he “passed from Canada to New England.”36 However, there is no record of specifically where he came from, where and how he met up with Anthony Coombs, or when he arrived in Wells, Maine. Based on his purchases, we know that he was a man of substantial means for being only 30 years of age. We do know from subsequent records that he was a blacksmith and windmill owner. On 24 Jan 1684, in Wells, Allen witnessed Jonathan Curwin’s payment of ten cattle to Nicholas Moorey to settle accounts. Samuel Stover sold to Lues Allen one–half part of the 45–ton Brigandine Indeavour of Wells on 6 Aug 1685.37 Later that same year, on the 9th of September, William and Mary Frost, who lived near Little river,38 sold their 100 acre lot, dwelling–house, and one–third of the saw–mill which was built the year before, with all the iron work, to Lewis Allen, and another hundred acre lot on the east side of Little river, for £62. Within two years, Allen was in Port Royal, Nova Scotia, where, on 3 July 1687, Alexandre LeBorgne de Belle–Isle gave Louis Alain authorization to construct windmills at Port Royal Louis is referred to as a blacksmith and an “Enterpreneur des moulins.”39 Allen was married to Margeurite Bourg in Port Royal around 1690 and had a son, Pierre [born about 1691], and a daughter, Marie [born about 1693].40 He took the oath of allegiance to the English king in August 1695 while in Port Royal.41 It appears that Allen stayed in Port Royal until about 1704 when he was sent by the French Governor to Wells to spy on the English. The English arrested him and somehow he was able to get back to Port Royal.42 A year after the British took control of Port Royal and changed the name of the settlement to Annapolis Royal, the British Governor [in 1711] confined Louis Allain and his son to the dungeon, where he put them in irons for encouraging desertion among the troops of the Annapolis Royal garrison.43 After being freed, “Lewis Allen of Annapolis Royal blacksmith formerly of Wells in ye county of York appointed his trusty and well beloved friend Lewis Bane of York to be his attorney to recover his title to a parcell of Land or Ground Together with one house & mill with a stream Adjoyning thereunto lying and being Near ye Little River on ye East part of wells“… on 2 May 1719.44 One year later, on 10 May 1720, Allen sold this land, house, and mill to Lewis Bane and “Margaret Allen the Wife of me the sd Lewis Allen doth give up her Right of Dowry & Power of Thirds.”45 Louis Allain died 16 June 1737, in Annapolis Royal.46

When Lewis Allen abandoned his property in Wells in 1686 or 1687, he left Anthony Coombs on his land.47 At that time Anthony may still have been bound by his apprenticeship contract. However, that compact had undoubtedly expired by February 1688, since apprentices were normally barred from marrying during their period of servitude.

On 5 Feb 1688 Mr. Martin, minister, married Anthony to Dorcas Wooden in Wells, ME.48 At that time, Dorcas was almost 17 years old, having been born 10 Feb 1671. The date of this marriage is also given as 5 Sep 1688.49

Rev. Richard Martin graduated from Harvard College in 1686 and was engaged to preach in Wells 21 June 1689 “tho then several years resident.”50

Dorcas was the daughter of John and Mary (Johnson) Wooden. She was born in Rowley, MA on 10 Feb 1671.51 Dorcas’ parents frequently moved and seldom owned land. John Wooden was described as a brick–maker and husbandman. He was resident in: Hampton, MA in 1643; Haverhill, MA in 1646 where he had granted 150 acres by the government of MA; Hampton in 1654; Salisbury, MA in 1656; Portsmouth, NH working for John Cutts in 1660; Newbury in 1667; Rowley, MA in 1671; Beverly, MA in 1679;52 and Wells, ME in 1688. Dorcas’ siblings settled in Essex County, MA. Dorcas’ father, John Wooden, presumably died prior to 25 Jun 1722 [see below].

Shortly after their marriage, the King William’s War [1689–1697] broke out and Anthony sent his young bride to live with her family in Essex County, MA. Meanwhile, Anthony spent much of his time in Wells; his section of the town was often in the hands of the Indians.53

Based on the birth records, Anthony made a number of trips to Massachusetts to be with his growing family.

The inhabitants of Wells were beleaguered throughout the French and Indian Wars, with devastating attacks in 1692 and 1703. In August, 1703, Wells was attacked with such desperation that in a short period of time 39 of its inhabitants were killed or made prisoners, besides many wounded.54

On 15 Apr 1697, Anthony was in Wells and served on a Jury of Inquest: “Upon the body of John Mackaney who: was found drowned in a gunqued [Ogunquit] Rever: wee Judge it was occasioned through his onaquaintednes with the River and not by any other means”55

Jonath: Hammond
John Wheelwright
Josiah Littlefield
Eliab Littlefield
Antoney Coomes
Mark Rounds
Samuel Jones
James Ros
Nathaniell Frost
John Drisco
James Denmark
John Rodgers

On 8 Nov 1699, John Wooden (Dorcas’ brother), with the consent of Katharine, his wife, sold a certain parcel of land in Wells, ME to Nathaniel Clark of Wells that abutted “Land claimed by Anthony Comes & Nicholas Cole near Little River Mill….”56 This was the same land purchased by Lewis Allen in 1685.

October 13, 1703, Anthony was one of “Seven Christian men of Rochester [MA], in addition to Mr. [Samuel] Arnold [minister], signed the covenant that day….” establishing the First Church of Rochester.57 Six years later [1709] there were thirty–five members of the church, including Anthony, but not Dorcas.58

Anthony Coombs purchased “one half of the thirty first lot of fresh meadow & medow ground & swampy land…in the Township of Rochester aforesd & lyeth on the easterly branch of Sippican River….” from William Clarke “for six pounds and ten shillings in corant money of New England….” This purchase was made on 9 Feb 1703/4.59

In 1704, Anthony was granted land in Rochester near Peter Blackmer’s mill at Leonard’s Pond, on the condition that he “do the work of a smith among us for seven years”.60 In the same year a road was laid out “towards the mill [the Sippican mill dam] touching John White’s land, and an old bridge, Anthony Coombs’ land, and so to Kennel Winston’s land.”61

Anthony Coombs and Dorcas, his wife, of Rochester, Plymouth county, along with “John,2 Wooden of Salem, Essex, John Raymond and Martha [Wooden], his wife, of Middlesex, Plymouth, James Tufts and Hannah [Wooden], his wife, all heirs of John,1 Wooden, formerly of Haverhill in Essex, for six pounds paid by Robert Peaslee of Haverhill, bargain & sell all right & title to ye commons in Haverhill which became ours in ye right of our honored father, John Wooden, as an after right in a four acre accommodation in said town”, on 25 Jun 1722.62

There is no record of the death of either Anthony or Dorcas. However, it is assumed that Anthony and Dorcas died after 25 Jun 1722 and before 1730, when their children began the move back to Maine.

While not a known relative of Anthony1, it is interesting to note that on 15 Dec 1685, a Robert Coombs of Hull, MA, sold his half share of land in Rochester, MA, to Abraham Jones (recorded in Plymouth County, 1744). This was 14 years before Anthony’s family is known to have settled in Rochester.63


  1. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, Noyes, Libby & Davis, page 161
  2. Dictionnaire Généalogique, by Stephen A. White, Centre D'Études Acadiennes - Université de Moncton, 1999, page13.
  3. Public Archives of Canada (PAC), MCI, AC, C"d, 6, Correspondance générale, Acadie, 1707-1708, pages 365-384: Goutin au Ministre, Port Royal, 29 déc. 1708.
  4. Registry of Deeds, York County, ME, Book VI, Folio 6.
  5. History of Wells and Kennebunk, by Edward E. Bourne, p. 188 and Registry of Deeds, York Co., ME, Book VI, Folio 5.
  6. Dictionnaire Généalogique, page 14.
  7. Dictionnaire Généalogique, page 14.
  8. Massachusetts Archives, Vol. II, Folio 540.
  9. History of Wells and Kennebunk, pages 260-261.
  10. History of the County of Annapolis, by Calnek & Savary, page 63.
  11. Registry of Deeds, York County, ME, Book IX, Folio 272.
  12. Registry of Deeds, York County, ME, Book XII, Folio 7.
  13. An Acadian Parish Remembered, The Registers of St. Jean-Baptiste, Annapolis Royal, Register RG 1 Vol. 26a, page 164.
  14. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, page 161.
  15. New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Marriages in County York, Maine 1686-1699, Vol. 28, page 118.
  16. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, page 464.
  17. Harvard Graduates, by Sibley, 3:179.
  18. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, page 769.
  19. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, page 769.
  20. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, page 161.
  21. History of Wells, Maine, by George J. Varney, Boston 1886, page 2.
  22. Maine Provence and Court Records, Vol. 4, page 93.
  23. Registry of Deeds, York County, ME, Book XIV, Folio 32.
  24. Mattapoisett and Old Rochester, MA, The Grafton Press, NY, NY, page 73.
  25. Mattapoisett and Old Rochester, MA, page 74.
  26. Pejepscot Papers, Vol. 10, page 723.
  27. Mattapoisett and Old Rochester, MA, page 41.
  28. Anthony Coombs and His Descendants, by William Carey Coombs, Addison C. Getchell & Son, Boston, 1913, page 34.
  29. Essex County Registry of Deeds, Book 58, page 165.
  30. Plymouth County Deeds, LR 37-11 according to the New England Gen. & Hist. Register, Vol. 113, 1959, page 44.

Next: Anthony Coombs And His Descendants


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