Pilgrim and Sowams Settler Hugh Cole

Hugh Cole was baptized on June 29th,1628 in Barnstaple, Devonshire, England and traveled with his family at age five or six from England to the Pilgrim settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1631. As a six-year-old boy, he was paid 50 bushels of corn by the town of Plymouth for tending the cows of the townspeople. At the age of 40, he moved his family to Swansea and built a home on forty acres on the west bank of the Mattapoisett River, now called Cole’s River. He was a founder of the new town of Swansea in 1667 and became a prominent church leader in the newly formed Baptist Church at Nockum Hill. At the outbreak of the King Philip War, he was warned by Philip to leave and took his family to Portsmouth. Returning after the war, he rebuilt on the east bank of the Kickemuit River in today’s Warren, RI, where the well from his house can be seen today along the bike path behind the Kickemuit Middle School. After raising 12 children with his wife, Mary, he died on January 26,1699 at the age of 72 and was buried at Tyler Point Cemetery in today’s Barrington, RI. Click here for a 12-minute video presentation of his life.


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