The COOMBS Family of Plymouth, Plymouth, MA and Middleboro, Plymouth, MA


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JOHN COOMBS of Plymouth m. Sarah Priest
FRANCIS COOMBS (d. 1682) of Middleboro m. Mary Barker
FRANCES COOMBS (1682 - aft. 1762) m. Nathan Howland

Generation 1

JOHN COOMBS of Plymouth

Parents: Possibly Francis Combs and Jane Pope [Ref]

John, the son of Francis and Jane (Pope) Combs was baptised on 13 Mar 1596/7 at Hemel, Hempstead, Hertfordshire. [Ref] John Coombs died by 15 Oct 1647. [Ref] He married Sarah Priest by about 1632. [Ref] After the death of John Coombs, Sarah returned to England and William Spooner apparently agreed to take care of one of her children. On 15 Oct 1646 he appeared before the governor and said that he undertook to keep and provide for the child. [Ref] On 1 Aug 1648 the court ordered that Spooner keep Mrs. Combe's children for the present and not dispose of them without a future order of the court. [Ref]

'Even though John Coombs was consistently referred to as "Mr." or "gent.," he was constantly embroiled in situations that would have been more appropriate for someone at the opposite end of the social spectrum.... he was disenfranchised for excessive drinking. On several occasions he was involved in cases of debt, usually as defendant, and with judgment usually against him.' [Ref]

John came to New England in 1630. [Ref] He is on the list of those made freemen in Plymouth before 1 Jan 1632/3 and is also on the 7 Mar 1636/7 list. [Ref] On 3 Sep 1639 he was disenfranchised for drunkeness. [Ref] He was readmitted as a freeman on 5 Jun 1644. [Ref] He was assessed 12 shillings in Plymouth on 25 Mar 1633 and 9 shillilngs on 27 Mar 1634. [Ref]

On 8 Nov 1638 he posted surety for John Smyth, and on 4 Jun 1639 he posted surety for Richard Derby. [Ref] On 4 Dec 1638 John Comes, gentleman, was fined 3s. for nonappearance. [Ref] On 1 Jul 1637 John Coomes of New Plymouth, gentleman, assumed from John Holmes the remaining time of his servant, William Spooner. [Ref] On 5 April 1642 "Mr. John Combe" assigned to Mr. William Thomas for £12 the remaining time of his servant, William Launder. [Ref]

On 12 Oct 1630 Ralph Wallen sold Mr John Coombe his house, garden plot and fences. [Ref] On 24 Jan 1633/4 John Coomb, gentleman, traded 30 acres of land near the high cliff, in the right of Sarah his wife, to Thomas Prence for thirty acres of land near Winslow's stand. He also paid Prence £20 for housing on the land. [Ref] John was alloacated mowing ground at the watering place and thereabout on 1 Jul 1633 and additional mowing ground on 14 Mar 1635/6 and 20 Mar 1636/7. [Ref] On 14 Feb 1633/4 John Coomb, gentleman, sold a house on the west of Herring Weir to John Doane for £9 10s. [Ref] On 24 Jun 1639 John Combe, gentleman, mortgated to Thomas Prence 20 acres of land and a house which he had because of his wife. It was also agreed 'that whereas there was other ten acres of land exchanged with the said Mr. Thom[as] Prence which was the said Mr. Combe's mother-in-law's if the heir when he comes to his age do not legally confirm the said exchange so made that then the said ten acres shall be and remain unto the said Thomas Prence.' [Ref] On 3 Aug 1640.
On 3 Aug 1640 Plymouth court ordered that as it appeared that Godbert Godbertson had given John Combe, gentleman, and Phineas Pratt two acres of Upland at Wellingsly Brook upon their marriages [?] to his daughters, the court confirmed that the land did belong to Coomb and Pratt. [Ref] On 5 Aug 1640 'John Combe gent. and Phineas Pratt joiner' sold to John Barnes "all those two acres of upland which they had of Goodbert Godbertson in marriage with their wives'. [Ref]
On 31 Dec 1641 John was given land at the head of the ground he lived on to make up for land that he had formerly been granded and had given up. [Ref] On 5 Apr 1642 Mr. John Combe" sold two acres of marsh meadow to Mr Thomas Prence. [Ref] On 27 Oct 1646 Isaac Allerton assigned to his son-in-law Thomas Cushman a debt of £100 due to him from "Mr. John Combe". [Ref]

Children of John Coombs and Sarah Priest:

  1. John Coombs died about May 1668. [Ref] He married the widow Elizabeth Barlow on 24 Feb 1661/2 in Boston. [Ref][Ref] She died about Jan 1672. [Ref] She married third John Warren of Boston in 1669. [Ref]
  2. Francis Coombs was born before 1649. He died on 31 Dec 1682 in Middleborough. He married first Deborah Morton. He married second he widow Mary (Barker) Pratt.

Generation 2

FRANCIS COOMBS (d. 1682) of Middleboro

Parents: John Coombs and Sarah Priest

Francis Coombs was born before 1649. [Ref] He died on 31 Dec 1682 in Middleboro. [Ref][Ref] He married first Deborah Morton. [Ref][Ref] She died after 3 Jan 1674/5. [Ref] He married second the widow Mary (Barker) Pratt in 1678. [Ref] Mary was the widow of Francis' first cousin Samuel Pratt. [Ref] She died after 1711. [Ref] She married third David Wood on 5 Mar 1684/5 in Middleboro. [Ref]

Francis was one of the 26 men who purchased land for Middleborough from the Indian sachem Wampatuck in Mar 1662. [Ref] Francis was a Selectman in Middleboro in 1674 and 1675 and was chosen again in 1680/82. [Ref]

On 30 Oct 1678 Francis was licensed to keep a tavern or inn in Middleboro and to sell beer, wine and liquor. [Ref] His license was renewed to Mrs Mary Coombs on 1 Jul 1684. [Ref]

Children of Francis Coombs and Mary Barker:

  1. Lydia Coombs was born in 1678. [Ref] She died in 1734. [Ref] She married John Miller. [Ref] John was born in 1669 and died in 1727. [Ref]
  2. Frances Coombs was born on 6 Jan 1682 in Middleboro. She died after Oct 1762. She married Nathan Howland.

Generation 3

FRANCES COOMBS (1682 - aft. 1762)

Parents: Francis Coombs and Mary Barker. Lainart [Ref, p. 55] says that Frances is the daughter of Francis's first wife Deborah Morton.

Frances Coombs was born on 6 Jan 1682 in Middleboro. [Ref][Ref, p. 55] She died after Oct 1762. [Ref, p. 55] She married Nathan Howland [Ref] between 15 May 1711 and 2 Feb 1712. [Ref, p. 55]

The division of Francis Coombs' estate in 15 May 1711 included his daughter Frances Coombs. When the heirs divided land on 2 Feb 1712, Nathan Howland and his wife Frances were included. [Ref, p. 55]


Church Records

First Church in Middleborough, Mass., Mr. Putnam's century and half discourses, an historical account, and a catalogue of members, Boston, C.C.P. Moody, printer, 1990.


Anderson, Robert Charles, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, Vol. 1-3, Boston, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995.

Family Genealogies

Lainhart, Ann Smith and Robert S. Wakefield, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, v. 23 (Family of John Howland), Plymouth, General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2006.

Shaw, Hubert Kinney, comp., Families of the Pilgrims: Degory Priest, Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, Boston, 1955.

Talbot, Archie Lee, "Shaw Family: Middleborough, Mass.; Winthrop, ME," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 51, 1897, 191 -195.

Local History

Hurd, D. Hamilton, History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts: With biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men, Philadelphia, J.W. Lewis & Co., 1884.


Ordway, Frederick Ira, Jr., ed., Register of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the District of Columbia, 1970: in commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1620, Washington, D.C.: The Society, 1970.