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John Coles II

John Coles II (1745-1808) was an Albemarle County merchant, a colonel in the county regiment, and a farmer. He was the brother of Isaac Coles (1747-1813), a Congressman from Hanover County, Virginia. In 1769, John Coles married Rebecca Tucker and the couple had five sons. Two of their sons were Isaac and Edward, both born at Enniscorthy, the family estate in Albemarle County.

In 1769, John Coles was appointed overseer or surveyor of roads from Green Mountain road to the Hardware River.1 According to John Hammond Moore, Coles was also elected to a safety committee during the American Revolution. The safety committee was assigned to enforce resolutions, handed down by the First Continental Congress, to restrict trade with England in the area.2

For nearly fifty years, John Coles conducted various business with Thomas Jefferson, including the purchase of nails from the Monticello nailery. Jefferson represented Coles in a family suit in 1770-1771 and again in 1774. In 1781, Coles gave refuge to Jefferson and his family when Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton sent a detachment of dragoons to capture Jefferson at Monticello. The family dined with Coles at Enniscorthy before they headed to Amherst County the next day.

- Douglas Evans, Jefferson's Neighbors, Monticello Research Report, 1995

Primary Source References

1769 c. July 5. "Have J. Coles appointed overseer in the room of John Fortune on the Green Mountain road from Ballenger's creek to Hardware."3

1770 July 28. "Coles v. Coles Spa. in Canc."4

1770 August 9. "John Coles (Alb.) Isaac Coles (Halfx.) George Mutter & Sarah ux. (Hal.) Henry Tucker et Mary ux. (Hal.) v. Walter Coles (Hal.). Make these parties pls. or defs. as may be proper to determine in friendly way the question as to the slaves appointed by Mr. Coles. I am to state the three several claims to the court & take their opn. wch. parties agree shall be decisive."5

1770 November 6. "Edwd. Champion Travis (Jas. city) v. John Coles et Rebecca ux. (Alb.). An appeal brot. to the prest. court frm. Jas. city. Appear for defs."6

1771 August 31. (List of balances due June 1. 1771). "Coles John. Albem. £10."7

1771 September 3. "Bot. of John Coles 10. barrels corn at same price Colo. Carter sold me."8

1773 January 30. "Coles John. Alb. £10."9

1773 December 3. "Pd. G. Wythe for Jno. Coles £5."10

1774 February 10. "John Coles (Alb.) v. Richd. Oglesby (Amh.). Ent. cav. or petn. for 200 as. Alb. on the So. side of Little Eppes’s cr. and on the head of Hudson's cr. patd. (if patd. at all) by def. about 4 or 5. y. ago."11

1774 March 29. "Accepted John Coles order on me for £7 in favr. of Messrs. Trent (afterwards paid by John Coles himself)."12

1775 March 28. "Advanced to Treasurer of my own money to make up the Congress money ... do. for John Coles 20/."13

1776 December 18. "Pd. Ben Harris for a gin for Colo. Coles 10/."14

1777 January 1. "Pd. John Coles £4-10."15

1777 February 1. "Pd. John Coles £10-16."16

1777 October 15. "Left with T. Garth for Edward Carter £90 in part of £190. to which the 483 acres of land I bought of him were valued by N. Lewis & J. Coles."17

1796 June 6. "Received from Colo. Coles on acct. of nails £4-11."18

1796 September 3. "Recd. from Rand. Jefferson a negro boy Ben, Peter's son who is to be valued by John Coles & James Cocke, and I am to pay the valuation to Donald & co. in discharge of their acct. agt. him."19

1797 September 20. "Colo. Coles & Mr. Cocke have valued the two boys I bought from Rand. Jefferson (Carey & Ben) at £155."20

1798 November 5. "Recd. from Colo. Coles (by his son) £6-3-3 for nails. There is a mistake in our acct. to be examined."21

1798 December 3. "Recd. from Colo. Coles in full for nails 15.D. & afterwds. delivd. him 26 lb X & 20 lb XVI on a new account."22

1799 January 28. "Gave Wm. Richardson ord. on J. Barnes for 29.D. Note 11.5 D. of this is for spectacles for Colo. Coles ...."23

1799 April 1. "Recd. from Colo. Coles the 11.5 D. for spectacles ante Jan. 28."24

1799 November 4. "Recd. of Colo. John Coles in full for nails £8-9-8 1/2."25

1800 September 18. "Recd. from Colo. J. Coles in full for nails 50/6."26

1800 November 3. "Vales at Colo. Cole's 3/."27

1802 May 20. "Recd. from Colo. Coles £10-1-10 in full for nails."28

1802 September 29. "Vales at Enniscorthey .5."29

1805 July 27. "Colo. Coles vales 1.D ...."30

1806 August 17. "Enniscorthy vales 1.D."31

1807 April 20. "Gave Isaac .50 for bringing cyder & trees from Colo. Coles' yesterday."32

1807 September 11. "Enniscorthy. vales .5 ...."33

Jefferson-Coles Correspondence

Further Sources

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