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THE COOMBS OF MAINE


Descendants of Joshua2 and Elizabeth (Pratt) Coombs

John3 [Joshua,2 Anthony1] Coombs, born 11 Nov 1748; married 1st Savia Brown and 2nd Charlotte Tarr, who died 7 Nov 1844 at Bowdoin, ME; he died 20 Apr 1836 at Bowdoin, ME. Lived at Foster’s Point, on the east side of New Meadows River, and because of the loss of one thumb in some unknown way was sometimes designated as “John with one thumb.” He followed the sea many years as a sea–captain. He enlisted 9 Jul 1775, in Capt. Nathaniel Larrabee’s company and served on the seacoast in Cumberland County six months and seven days. He also served in Capt. Abraham Tyler’s company, Col. Thomas Poor’s militia regiment, which marched to North River, NY. He enlisted May 30, 1778, and was discharged 29 Jan 1779.

Children of John3 and Savia (Brown) Coombs:344

Children of John3 and Charlotte (Tarr) Coombs:345

Ebenezer3 [Joshua,2 Anthony1] Coombs, born 31 Jan 1741 at Newburyport, MA; married 26 Aug 1773 to Abigail Thompson; he died 5 Oct 1783, at sea.

Children of Ebenezer3 and Abigail (Thompson) Coombs:346

The following story of Ebenezer was told by his widow, after she had remarried and moved to Ohio:

Ebenezer Coombs was born in Newburyport in 1747. He was four years old when his father removed from Newburyport. He early showed an inclination for the sea. This one pursuit engrossed his whole attention; so much so that he would not be prevailed upon to engage in other business. His parents, not being willing that he should go to sea, wished him to learn a trade, but at the age of fourteen he left home without leave, and went a voyage in a coaster to Boston. When he returned his friends advised his father to let him go to sea. He accordingly was apprenticed to a sea–captain by the name of G. Gardner on the island of Nantucket. Whilst an apprentice he studied navigation, and became one of the most skilful of navigators. At the age of eighteen he was put by his master in command of a vessel. When nearly twenty–one he sailed from Nantucket to Newfoundland, thence to Spain and France, and returned to Nantucket, a voyage of eighteen months. He followed whaling three years. At the age of twenty–four he returned to his relations, but they did not know him. After remaining a few weeks he went to sea again. In about one year he left Nantucket entirely, and went to his relations again in Bath (then Georgetown). He got acquainted with his future wife. Not willing to undertake or engage in any other business, he soon went to sea again. An old man, the owner of the vessel, went in the capacity of captain, and he as mate, but he had sole command and management of the vessel.

A Captain Layman built a new schooner, and he went as first mate on two voyages. After this he married Abigail Thompson, in the year 1774. He went first mate of the same schooner until the Revolutionary War commenced, when it was fitted up as a privateer. He was employed to take command of a trading vessel. He had got it loaded and ready to sail, when the news of the embargo came. The vessel was accordingly detained. A volunteer company was made up consisting of mates and captains of vessels. They sailed to Penobscot to encounter the enemy, but were defeated, and lost all. He purchased a house and lot in the town of Topsham, where he settled his family. He entered into partnership with the owners of a vessel, and loaded her with lumber for the West India market. His interest in the loading was valuable. In a few hours after he sailed they were taken by the enemy, and lost all. He and his brother, John Coombs, his mate, were set on shore, and they returned home. He made a voyage to France. On returning with a rich cargo, having been very prosperous, he was again taken by the enemy and carried a prisoner to New Providence. He determined to see the governor. He went to the house and inquired, but was told he could not see him. He resolutely insisted that he must see him. The governor was very friendly and asked him what he wished. He told his situation, wishing to have liberty of the town for himself and his apprentice, Stephen Gould, that they might get work. His request was granted. He then made a similar request for the crew, but without success. He got employment for himself and apprentice at repairing and rigging a vessel, and continued to work until the exchange of prisoners took place. The governor appointed him to pilot the vessel which carried the prisoners to Baltimore to be exchanged. The crew returned home. He again fitted out for a voyage to Eutasia, was again taken by the enemy, and returned again to Baltimore. He went from there to Philadelphia. He went out from there on a privateering cruise. He took two prizes and returned home. He was afterwards commissioned captain of a privateer, of Boston, by Governor Hancock.347

The records say that a petition, dated Boston, April 18, 1782, and signed by Joshua Witherly and Jacob Fox of Boston, asked that Ebenezer Coombs be commissioned as commander of the schooner “Free Mason” (privateer), and it was ordered in council, April 18, 1782, that a commission be issued. Of his experience in this capacity let him tell in this letter to his wife, at Topsham:

Kennebec River, December 25. A.D. 1782.

My dear, By these lines I inform you that I have returned from my Cruize as far as the mouth of this river, and should a come home if I could. But our Provision is all out and a fair wind permits so that I cant come to sea you now, which I am very sorry for. But I shall return from Boston as soon as possible I can. I have taken nothing this cruise. I am in a hurry now or I would write the particulars of the cruise. I suppose you have heard by letters of my sickness, but thanks be to God I am in a great measure recovered of my sickness Which I never expected. So no more But I remain Your True and Loving Husband,

Ebenr Coombes.

N.B. I have sent by Mr. Samson a bag with some Sheeps wool and some feathers and a small bag of Board Nails and one Orger.348

The war closed not very long after this, and as he was about to start a voyage to the West Indies, he went back to tell his wife the joyful news and to assure her that her troubles now were over. Again we will let him tell the story of this West Indian voyage in a letter to his wife:

Guardelupe, at Point Peter, Aug. ye 18. 1783.

Dear and Loving Wife these are to inform you that this is the first opportunity I have had to right to you since I arrived at this port, and now I have a small prospect of getting to you a few lines by the way of Cape Ann in a brig bound to that port…. I am well and sincerely wish these may find you all as well as they leave me and all our friends.

I arrived here after a long voyage of thirty five days. We have all our cargo out and have begun to take on board molasses, but it is very scarce so that I cannot tell when we shall be ready to sail, But I hope in a fortnite or three weeks for Boston then with Gods permission I shall come home. Mr. Randall is well and desires to be remembered to all inquiring friends. There is so little hopes of your getting this letter that I shall not right any thing particular But hope you have got the money and things that I sent you and wish that you may do better than my expectations, The time will be but short now before with the blessing of God I shall see you all…. So after my duty to Mother and love to brothers and sisters shall conclude Your true and loving husband til Deth.

Ebnnr Coombes349

But troubles still remained, for on the voyage home he sickened and died of yellow fever. A little scrap of paper which appeared to have been torn from the logbook read:

On Oct 8 1783 Capt. Coombs departed this life and we committed his body to the deep.350

Stephen3 [Joshua,2 Anthony1] Coombs, born 1 Apr 1739; married Jemima Dow; he died 17 Nov 1808. He lived at Foster’s Point, on the east side of New Meadows River. On the breaking out of the Revolutionary War he was commissioned as a lieutenant by Governor Hancock.

Children of Stephen3 and Jemima (Dow) Coombs:351

Joshua3 [Joshua,2 Anthony1] Coombs, born 11 Jul (or Jun) 1737.

Children of Joshua3 Coombs:352


  1. Anthony Coombs and His Descendants, pages 164-5.
  2. Anthony Coombs and His Descendants, page 165.
  3. Anthony Coombs and His Descendants, page 192.
  4. Anthony Coombs and His Descendants, pages 84-86.
  5. Anthony Coombs and His Descendants, pages 86-7.
  6. Anthony Coombs and His Descendants, page 87.
  7. Anthony Coombs and His Descendants, page 88.
  8. Anthony Coombs and His Descendants, page 205.
  9. Anthony Coombs and His Descendants, pages 206-7.

Next: The Fourth Generation and their Children of the Fifth Joshua2 & Elizabeth Pratt


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