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Ancestors of

Alfred Clifton Coleman

1914 – 1965

Lynchburg, Virginia

For a printable version of this report go to:


Joyce Stevens Turel

September 2004

Revised August 2009

Robert Coleman


Robert Coleman was born between 1619 and 1622 in England. He came to Virginia from England May 2, 1638 as a headright of Thomas Symons. This means that Thomas Symons received a grant of fifty acres of land for having recruited Robert as an immigrant and having paid for Robert’s passage to the Virginia Colony. Robert settled near Tindall's Point at the South Branch of the Severne River at Mobjack Bay, later Gloucester County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth Grizzell about 1650 in Old Rappahannock County, Virginia. Elizabeth was the daughter of William Grizzell. She was born 1632 in Old Rappahannock County, Virginia, and died after 1666 in Gloucester County, Virginia. In subsequent generations, some Coleman daughters were named Grizzell (called “Gillie”) in honor of Elizabeth Grizzell. Robert Coleman died 1689 in Tindall's Point, Gloucester County, Virginia.

The children of Robert Coleman and Elizabeth Grizzell were:

John Coleman


John Coleman was born about 1665 in Virginia and lived in Abingdon Parish, Gloucester County, Virginia. Between 1685 and 1692, he married Margaret who gave him two sons, both of whom were baptized in Abingdon Parish. After Margaret died, John married Ann who gave him two more sons. The family lived in Abingdon Parish until after Richard, Ann’s first son, was born. Then John and his family moved to a 200 acre plantation on Bennet's Creek in Petsworth Parish, Gloucester County. On April 26, 1704 the governor granted to John 1200 acres on the south side of the Tappahannock River in Essex County as headrights for transporting 24 immigrants to the Virginia Colony. John’s youngest son and our next ancestor, Samuel, was born in Petsworth Parish, Gloucester County, Virginia. John died there October 4, 1710.

The children of John and Margaret Coleman were:

The children of John and Ann Coleman were:

Abingdon Episcopal Church

Gloucester County, Virginia

The Abingdon Episcopal Church is located on Route 17 almost midway between the towns of Gloucester and Gloucester Point. It’s a lovely, brick, cross-shaped (cruciform) building with walls two feet thick. Unfortunately, while Coleman ancestors may have attended services at this site, they didn’t attend services in this building which was built in 1755 on the site of the original church. The baptism records of this church have survived and are kept at the Swem Library at the College of William and Mary at Williamsburg, Virginia.

Samuel Coleman, Sr


Samuel Coleman, Sr was born about 1706 in Petsworth Parish, Gloucester County, Virginia. He relocated from Gloucester County to the Bent Creek area that was then in Goochland County, but is now in Appomattox County. Since Goochland County didn’t exist before 1727, we know Samuel relocated to Bent Creek after 1727. Between 1727 and 1845 the county lines for this part of Virginia were redrawn four times. This is more important to a researcher than it may seem. To locate a deed, for example, you must first determine what county the land was in at the time the deed was granted. This will determine where you will find the deed recorded. Depending on the year, you might have to visit the courthouse in the town of Appomattox, the town of Buckingham, the city of Charlottesville, the town of Goochland, or the city of Richmond, as these were the various county seats over the years. Samuel Coleman, Sr married Anne Mourning Christian July 17, 1731 in Goochland County, Virginia. Anne was the daughter of Thomas C. Christian and Rebecca New. She was born about 1710 in Henrico County, Virginia, and died about 1766 in Buckingham County. Samuel Coleman, Sr died September 20, 1748 in Albemarle County, Virginia.

The children of Samuel Coleman, Sr and Anne Mourning Christian were:

Bent Creek

Five generations of Alfred Clifton Coleman’s ancestors lived in the Bent Creek area. The county lines changed over the years as follows:

1634 Henrico County

1727 Goochland County

1744 Albemarle County

1761 Buckingham County

1845 Appomattox County

Samuel Coleman, Jr


Samuel Coleman, Jr was born about 1729 at Bent Creek in St James Northam Parish, then Goochland County, Virginia. On March 30, 1756 he married Nancy Ann Wright. She was born about 1734 and died in 1775. In 1779 Samuel Coleman, Jr married Elizabeth Doss. Elizabeth was born about 1754 and died between 1817 and 1818. The following is the will of Samuel Coleman, Jr written in 1803:

In the Name of God Amen: I, Samuel Coleman, of the County of Buckingham, being sick and weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory do make this my last will and testament this fourth day of April one thousand eight hundred and three.

Item: I lend to my wife Elizabeth Coleman during her natural life or widowhood all the lands in my possession (except one hundred and fifty acres being the land my son William Coleman sold to Robert Harris) and the following Negroes Tom, Charles, Bartley, Dick, Nan, Rose, Cloe, Pattey, Judea, Anica, Jane, Aggy and Dafney, with all my stock of every kind, household and kitchen furniture, and after her death to be divided among my children as undermentioned.

2nd: I give unto my two sons Robert and John Coleman and their heirs forever my land below and joining Bent Creek to a branch which runs up to Richard Phelp's line according to valuation.

3rd: I give unto my son-in-law Robert Harris one hundred and fifty acres above mentioned and his heirs forever it being part of that land I purchased of Williamson Burnett, and the balance of the said tract of land with an entry adjoining I give to my son Drury Coleman to him and his heirs forever.

4th: I give to my son Samuel Coleman all the land above Bent Creek, and another tract below said creek and above the branch that runs to Richard Phelp's line, to him and his heirs forever. I also give unto my sons Samuel and Drury Coleman thirty pounds each, as soon as they come of age, to be levyed out of my estate.

5th: I give unto my son James Coleman one Negro man named Frederick. I give unto my daughter Ann Wooldridge five shillings cash. I give unto my daughter Liza Coleman fifty pounds cash and after the death of my wife Elizabeth Coleman my wish is that the Negroes I lend to my wife namely Tom, Charles, Bartley, Dick, Nan, Rose, Chloe, Patty, Judea, Anaca, Jane, Aggy, and Dafney, and their increase to be equally divided amongst my children namely George Coleman, Sally Pendleton wife of Mace Pendleton, Mary Pendleton, Frances Harris wife of Robert Harris, Betsey Coleman, Ann Mourning Coleman, and my grandchildren Benjamin Pendleton and my daughter Jane to come in as one legatee and all my stock of every kind with all my household furniture after the death of my wife I give to my children that is to possess my Negroes. I appoint John Harris Sr and Edward Doss executors to this my last will and testament. In testimony whereof I have put my hand and affixed my seal the day and year above mentioned.

Samuel Coleman (Seal)

To a genealogist a will is a treasure. A will usually lists the children’s names and often has the married names of daughters. Family Bibles are another great resource. Many families carefully recorded the dates of births and deaths there. We have one will and one set of Bible records to help us. In addition, we have some helpful records from the Liberty Baptist Church.

Between 1835 and 1855, some family members requested formal letters of dismissal from the Liberty Baptist Church when they decided to change churches. The reasons for their changing churches aren’t always clear, but we’re grateful for the church’s records which help up by spelling out the ages and family relationships.

The children of Samuel Coleman and Nancy Wright were:

The Liberty Baptist Church as it appears today.

The children of Samuel Coleman and Elizabeth Doss were:

It was common at this time to name a child after another child who died. This seems to have been the case in the names of the three daughters named Jane. Only one “Jane” is mentioned in Samuel’s will.

Robert Coleman, Sr


Robert Coleman, Sr was born 1770 at Bent Creek and died there March 6, 1846. About 1791 he married Elizabeth Burks who was about sixteen years old at the time but is said to have been a widow. Elizabeth died in 1837 at Bent Creek.

The children of Robert Coleman and Elizabeth Burks were:

Samuel Coleman


Samuel Coleman was born 1794 at Bent Creek. He married Malinda Harris before 1822. Malinda was the daughter of Robert Harris and Frances Coleman. Samuel and Malinda were half-cousins, so to speak. The Harris family has been traced back to Capt. Thomas Harris, born 1583 in England, who immigrated to Virginia in 1611. Immigrants who came to the Virginia Colony before 1616 and survived the hardships were deemed to be “Ancient Planters” and were given land and afforded certain privileges. Capt. Thomas Harris made his home at Longfield Plantation in Henrico County, Virginia. There were many marriages between the Coleman and Harris families starting in the 1770's when they were neighbors in the Bent Creek area. Malinda Harris was born in 1802 and died in October 1838. Samuel Coleman died sometime between the 1860 census and the 1870 census.

The children of Samuel Coleman and Malinda Harris were:

Confederate Regimental Flag

Appomattox, Virginia

Clifton Smith Coleman


Clifton Smith Coleman was born September 25, 1836 at Bent Creek. His mother died when he was two years old. Clifton was raised by two maiden aunts, Elizabeth “Bettie” Harris and Mary P. Harris. In the 1860 census, Clifton was staying at the farm of Samuel Wheeler in the Walkers Church area of Appomattox as an apprentice carpenter.

Clifton served in the Civil War as a private in the Confederate Army, Company D, 38 Battalion, Virginia Light Artillery. This company saw duty at the Battle of Gettysburg July 1 to July 3, 1863. Clifton enlisted April 23, 1861, was wounded July 1861. He served until 1865.

On December 21, 1871 Clifton married Virginia H. Clay in Richmond, Virginia. She was the daughter of Joseph Clay and Purifey Hurt. The Clay family has been traced back to John Thomas Clay who immigrated to Virginia from Wales in 1613 and thus was another “Ancient Planter.” The Clays of Wales have been described as “Coal barons”. Virginia Clay was born August 1851 in Nottoway County, Virginia.

At the time of their marriage, Clifton and Virginia were living in Prince Edward County, and her parents were living in Richmond. In the 1880 census, Clifton, his wife Virginia, son Joseph, and aunt Mary P. Harris were living at the Harris farm at Bent Creek.

Mary P. Harris died around 1897. Clifton inherited the 176 acre farm at Bent Creek in Appomattox. He sold the farm and In the 1900 census, the family was living at 615 Franklin Street, Lynchburg, Virginia. His wife, Virginia, died between 1900 and 1910 in Lynchburg. Clifton Coleman died May 27, 1917 at the home of his son, Joseph Harris Coleman, at 2000 Grace St, Lynchburg, Virginia and was buried May 28, 1917 at the Presbyterian Cemetery, Lynchburg, Virginia.

The children of Clifton Coleman and Virginia Clay were:

Graves at the Presbyterian Cemetery

Clifton S. Coleman Virginia H. Clay

Joseph Harris Coleman


Joseph Harris Coleman was born March 18, 1873 at Bent Creek. He married Lula Monteze Page September 28, 1898. She was the daughter of Alfred Page and Elizabeth Hudnall. The Page family has been traced to immigrant, James Page Sr, an Anglican pastor, born 1740 possibly in Ireland. The Hudnall family has been traced to immigrant, John Hudnall, born April 28, 1616 on the Isle of Wight, England. Lula Monteze Page was born August 11, 1882 in Virginia. Joseph Harris Coleman died January 25, 1940 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Lula Monteze Page died February 6, 1948 in Lynchburg. Both are buried at the Presbyterian Cemetery on Grace Street in Lynchburg. Here is Joseph Harris Coleman’s obituary as published in the Lynchburg News and Daily Advance, January 28, 1940 (parts are not legible):

Funeral of Mr. Coleman

Funeral services for Joseph Harris Coleman were conducted yesterday afternoon at Trinity Methodist Church by Rev. George H. ~ assisted by Dr. Hawes P. Clarke. Burial was in the Presbyterian Cemetery.

Honorary pallbearers were members of the Board of Stewards of Trinity Methodist Church and H.P. Clarke and Mr. H. L. Johnson. These served also as flowerbearers. Other flower bearers were Allen Page, Clarence Hudson, J. Burton Evans, C.C. Candler, C.H. ~, C. L. McKenna, C.R. ~, J.W. Dupriest, P.P. Tyree, Garland Page, W.W. Clay, O.L. ~, C.W. Crist, R.C. Burkholder, J.W. Craddock, T.E. Driskill, J. ~ Payne.

Active Pallbearers were A.P. Pettyjohn, J.W. Crist, T.N. Giles, William H. Smith, O.L. Martin, S.J. Driskoll, O.L. Martin, and W.C. Woody.

The children of Joseph Harris Coleman and Lula Page were:

Alfred Clifton Coleman


Alfred Clifton “Al” Coleman was born January 3, 1914 in Lynchburg, Virginia. He married Hazel Edith Vaughan on July 2, 1938. Hazel Vaughan was born November 27, 1918 in Landgraff, McDowell County, West Virginia. She is the daughter of John Percy Vaughan and Virginia McClone Brown. The Vaughan family has been traced to William Vaughan, Sr born 1734 in Hanover County, Virginia. The Brown family has been traced to Lindsey Brown born 1813 in Rockingham County, North Carolina. Al died October 29, 1965 in Lynchburg, Virginia and is buried at the Presbyterian Cemetery on Grace Street in Lynchburg, Virginia. The children of Al Coleman and Hazel Vaughan are:

Lynchburg, Virginia 1877

Here’s a portion of a map of Lynchburg dated 1877. The street we know as Grace Street, unnamed here, runs in front of the Presbyterian Cemetery in the lower left., various data files

Cemetery readings at Presbyterian Cemetery, Lynchburg, Virginia

Census records

Chasin, Cheryl, correspondence

Coleman, Ronald D, correspondence

Death certificate of Clifton S. Coleman

Drinkard, Betty, correspondence

Gray’s New Map of Lynchburg, 1877

James, Tom, correspondence

Liberty Baptist Church at

Lynchburg News and Daily Advance, obituary

Marriage certificate of Clifton S. Coleman and Virginia H. Clay

Martin, Hazel Lee Coleman, correspondence

National Geographic, World Atlas, fifth edition, 1981, page 89

Nugent, Cavaliers and Pioneers, Volume One, pages 103 and 115

Parsons, Carol S., correspondence, photo of the Abingdon Episcopal Church

Joyce Stevens Turel

1015 Hidden Bluff

Clermont, Florida 34711


For a printable version (pdf) of this report, go to:

Coleman pdf