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THE COOMBS OF MASSACHUSETTS


In Massachusetts there were two very early Coombs settlers and two unattached persons who were first noted 40 years after the arrival of the first two.

In addition, at the start of the King William’s War, Anthony Coombs and his family relocated from Maine to the relative safety of Massachusetts.


John COOMBS of Plymouth, MA 1630

The life and line of John COOMBS of Plymouth is well documented by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. While John did not come to this country on the Mayflower, he did marry Sarah Priest, the daughter of Degory Priest who was aboard the Mayflower. John COOMBS arrived in Plymouth Colony by October 1630.

Before exploring the known record of John Coombs, it is interesting to explore several omissions in the record of John and a possible link back to England. All of the following is speculative and must be confirmed before being accepted as fact. I offer it only as possible clues to be further researched:

John COOMBS might have been the son of Francis Combe who married Jane Pope of Oxfordshire, England, before 1583. Francis and Jane had 12 children including a son, John, who “came to America.”548 The following pedigree shows a possible family and ancestry for John of Plymouth”

Richard Combs of Co. Middlesex
|
John Combe
|
Robert Combe married Agnes Waterhouse
|
Richard Combe married Elizabeth Marshall of Buckinghamshire
|
Francis Combe married before 1583 to Jane Pope of Oxfordshire
|
Francis
m. twice
No heir
Richard
d. young
Tobias
married
Mary Theede
|
CharlesWilliam Richard John
“came
to
America”
5
daus.
|
Sir Richard Combs m. Anne Frere, of Stoke, Co. Suffolk
|
|
RichardThomasAnne

Minor credibility to this possible ancestry is gained by the fact that (1) John COOMBS of Plymouth was always referred to as “gentleman;” (2) John’s wife Sarah Priest, who was born in Leyden, Holland, immediately removed to England after the death of John, leaving two of her children (John age 14 and Francis age 11) to be cared for by their indentured servant, William Spooner; suggesting that there might have been a comfortable situation for her in England; there is no record of Sarah ever returning to Plymouth; and (3) the will of John Coombs3 [John,2 John1] dated 11 March 1707 bequeaths to his wife Elizabeth the use of “his housing and lands, wharf in Boston and estate in Great Britain.”549

It is also interesting to consider the possibility that John1 and Sarah Priest Coombs might have had more that two children. According to the records, John married Sarah Priest circa 1631. They had a son, John2 born about 1632 in Plymouth and a second son, Francis2 born about 1635 also in Plymouth. However, there is an eleven year gap without any more known children before Sarah Coombs returned to England in 1646 and William Spooner was ordered to care for her child/children. Were there other younger children and, if so, who cared for them?

Without the addition of other possible children born to John1 and Sarah Priest, the male descendants of John COOMBS of Plymouth die out by the fifth generation and the Coombs family name is terminated for this line.

To Be Provided At A Later Date


Henry COOMBS of Salem & Marblehead, MA 1635

The following information is primarily based on Maine Genealogies, by Little, pages 1128 and 1129.

These are the only records that we have for John COOMBS of Sheepscot., by Little, pages 1128 and 1129.

Henry Coombs, a fisherman, was a proprietor at Salem, MA in 1635, mortgaged land there in 1648. Removed to Marblehead, MA, as early as 22 Dec 1648, when he with others had lots of land laid–out in the swamp. On 11 Apr 1653, he sold a cow lease to John Legg, and in 1656 he had temporary charge of the ferry, near which he appears to have lived. In 1667 he was complained against for having uttered alleged slanderous reports concerning the minister at Marblehead, the Rev. Mr. Walton, saying that he “preached nothing but lies, and that he could prove him to be a knave.”550

In 1668, Henry was one of 140 persons to have signed a petition against Imports asking the government to have “a custome imposed on all goods and merchandizes…imported into this jurisdiccon (Marblehead)….”

The administration of his estate (Essex Probate) was granted to his widow, Elizabeth _____ for herself and her children on 2 Oct 1669.551 Inventory of Henry’s estate was taken 16 Sep 1669, by Henry Bartholomew, Moses Maverick, and Hilliard Veren and was valued at £85. 05. 06.552 Elizabeth deeded land in 1670 to her daughter Susanna and her husband, Francis Grant.553

Henry’s wife, Elizabeth, apparently died in 1709 as administration was granted on her estate 13 June 1709, to her son–in–law, Francis Grant, and his wife Susannah, the latter was the youngest daughter of the decedent.

Henry1 and Elizabeth Coombs are recorded by Little as having had eight children. Based on the history of John2 of Sheepscot, it seems logical to add a ninth child. However, based on the estimated span of implied births, it is too extensive to be ascribed to just the single Elizabeth. Therefore, it was likely that Henry1 had more than one wife or that we are looking at more than a single generation:

“The early settlement at Sheepscot [ME] grew and flourished for several decades, but the Indian War of 1675, King Philip’s War, brought complete devastation to the village. Many of the settlers were killed, and those who were fortunate to escape abandoned their small village. Some who escaped returned after the end of King Philip’s War and rebuilt the village, but it was again completely destroyed during the Second Indian War [King William’s War] which began in 1688.”559

In 1686, just before the outbreak of King William’s War, John Coombs petitioned Peter Andros for a grant of land at Sheepscot, “having been in these parts a considerable time.”560

According to the records of Rev. Samuel Parris of Salem Village, MA, a John Coomes, age 25, died 22 Oct 1689.561

This is probably the brother of Henry2 Coombs of Salem & Marblehead, MA, who settled the estate of his brother, John Coombs, in Salem in 1690. Based on the following information, it is assumed that John2 Coombs may have had a son, John3 Coombs, who:

On 16 Oct 1721, John Coombes witnessed a deed from Samuel Ingersol, Sr., of Gloucester, MA, to Mary Sargent, for land in Falmouth, York County, ME.562 Presumably, this is the same Samuel Ingersol who was the chief beneficiary of Henry Coombs of York, ME and who was referred to as Henry’s “cousin,” or more correctly Henry’s “nephew,” son of Henry’s sister Mary. Based on this information, it is assumed that John Coombs of Sheepscot was probably the brother of Mary2 Coombs and Henry2 [Henry1] of Salem, MA; Henry2 “settled the estate of his brother John,” according to Maine Genealogies, by Little, pages 1128 and 1129.


Michael2 COOMBS son of Henry1 and Elizabeth Coombs of Marblehead, MA

Michael2 [Henry1] Coombs married Joanna _________, and by her had two children:

Michael3 [Michael,2 Henry1] Coombs, son of Michael and Joanna Coombs, was born 22 March 1668–9 and died 26 July 1730. He was witness to a nuncupative will made by Thomas Rhoades, of Marblehead, to John Sampson, on board the ship “Essex” at sea, wherein it was agreed that if either died during the voyage the survivor would have whatever clothes and wages the other possessed at the time of his decease. It so happened that Sampson was killed during the voyage. Mr. Coombs married 12 July 1694 to Ruth Rhoades and had six children:


Joshua4 COOMBS son of Michael3 and Ruth (Rhoades) Coombs

Joshua4 [Michael,3 Michael,2 Henry1] Coombs, son of Michael and Ruth (Rhoades) Coombs, was baptized 11 June 1699 and died before 27 Feb 1764, the date that his will was proved. He was a member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church of Marblehead. He married 29 Jan 1721, Mary Goree, and by her had four children:


Michael5 COOMBS son of Joshua4 and Mary (Goree) Coombs

Michael5 [Joshua,4 Michael,3 Michael,2 Henry1] Coombs, son of Joshua4 and Mary (Goree) Coombs, was baptized 25 Feb 1727–8 and died 1806. On 4 Jan 1753, he married Sarah Girdler. In his will he mentions only one son, Nicholas, to whom he gives his great coat, and to Joshua, son of said Nicholas, he gave all the rest of his wearing apparel. To his wife, Sarah, he gave one–third part of his real estate.

During the Revolution Michael cast his fortunes with the British, and having become a Tory he fled from home and all his property, with that of other Tories in the vicinity of Marblehead, was confiscated. In regard to his movements the following announcement was made by the committee of correspondence at Marblehead, in June, 1781, through Jonathan Glover, chairman of the committee: “This may certify that Mr. Michael Coombs, late an inhabitant of Marblehead, in the said county [Essex], mariner, has absented himself for 3 weeks and upwards from the usual place of his abode and we verily believe went to our enemies.” On 19 Feb 1782, Michael Coombs’ wife presented a petition to the general court asking that a portion of his estate which had been confiscated should be set off and sold, which request was granted and one–third of it was set off, including the house and the land around it, located “on training field hill.”

Michael5 and Sarah had at least one child:

PLEASE NOTE: The foregoing history of Henry COOMBS of Marblehead is transcribed directly from Maine Genealogies by Little, pages 1128 and 1129. Mr. Little’s dates and relationships do not always agree with other sources and therefore must be further researched and documented before being accepted as fact. The only modification has been the addition of Mary2 and John2 as children of Henry1 and the connection of Henry2 to Henry COOMBS of North Yarmouth, ME.


Peter COOMBS of Boston, MA 1670

Another Coombs who makes a fleeting appearance in America during the 1600s is Peter Coombs.

16 Jan 1670, “Samuell Ryall, Coop., Peter Comes, blacksmith, & John Hurd senr were all prohibited from frequentinge of publique houses of entertainmt vpon the penaltie of Law lately published and read vnto them” in Boston.563

Of Salem, MA 1675.

There is a Peter Coombs listed as having been a soldier in “Capt. William Hathorne’s militia” during King Philip’s War (1675–1676). Peter was owed £03, s08, d00 for his services.564

Note: It is interesting to note that the primary trade of many of the early Coombs in Maine and Massachusetts was that of being a blacksmith.


Robert COOMBS of Boston, MA 1671

Very little is known about Robert Coombs.

13 Jul 1671, Robert Coombs witnessed a deed of land in Boston sold by James Bracket to John Harris.565

On 6 Jul 1680, Marey/Mary Cooms was born, daughter of Robert and Marcey Cooms in Hull, MA.566

In 1681 there is a record of a Robert Comby or Combee in Boston, MA.

15 Dec 1685, Robert Coombs of Hull sold a half share of land in Rochester, MA, to Abraham Jones. The deed was not recorded until 1744.567

The marriage of Mary Coom and Benjamine Vicrey took place on 7 Jul 1709, but the intention of marriage is not recorded.568

Children of Robert1 and Merey Coombs:

Note: It is interesting to note that about 14 years after Robert sold his land holding in Rochester, MA, Anthony and Dorcas Coombs settle in the town of Rochester, MA.


  1. Letter from R. P. Graham-Vivian, Windsor Herald, College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, London, England; letter dated July 22, 1963 in the possession of Whitney J. Coombs.
  2. Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, volume eight, Family of Degory Priest, edited by Robert S. Wakefield, published by General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1994, pages 40-1.
  3. Maine Genealogies, by Little, page 1129.
  4. The Pioneers of Massachusetts, page 116.
  5. Essex (MA) Court files, vol. 60, page 72)
  6. The Pioneers of Massachusetts, page 116,
  7. Salem Births, Vol. I, under Coombees.
  8. Salem Births, Vol. I, under Coombees.
  9. Genealogical Dictionary of New England, by James Savage, page 453.
  10. Genealogical Dictionary, page 161.
  11. Maine Genealogies, by Little, pages 1128 and 1129.
  12. Maine Rivers: The Historical Sheepscot, by Robert E. Foye, Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Game, 1967, page B-125.
  13. Genealogical Dictionary, Noyes, Libby & Davis, page 161.
  14. “Records of Rev. Samuel Parris of Salem Village, MA, 1688-96”, by Marilynne K. Roach, New England Historical & Genealogical Register, Vol. 157, Jan 2003, pages 6-30.
  15. York County Registry of Deeds, Book XI, Folio 67.
  16. Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, Volume 7, page 59.
  17. New England Genealogical and Historical Review, Volume 39, 1885, page 177.
  18. New England Genealogical and Historical Review, Volume 106, 1952, page 19.
  19. Vital Records of Hull, MA to 1850, pages 15, 44, and 64.
  20. Plymouth County Deeds, LR 37-11 and New England Genealogical and Historical Register, Volume 113, 1959, p.44.
  21. Vital Records of Hull, MA to 1850, pages 15, 44, and 64.

Next: Coombs of New Hampshire


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