Adam S. Coe, 1782–1862


Cabinetmaker and chairmaker


Newport, Rhode Island

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Adam Simmons Coe was born January 23, 1782, in Little Compton, Rhode Island, to Benjamin Coe (1753–1818) and Sarah (Simmon) Coe (1759–1834). Sarah Simmon's father was Adam Simmons. His paternal grandparents were John Coe (1699–1784) and Rebecca (Taylor) Coe of Little Compton.(1)

Adam lived in Newport by July 1804 when the co-partnership of Gideon Palmer and Adam S. Coe advertised that they, "carry on the CABINET and CHAIRMAKING Business, in all its various branches, at their shop, a few doors below the Theater, on the Long-Wharf." They carried, "Furniture, of the most fashionable kind, constantly kept on hand, which they will dispose of as cheap as can be purchased in this town."(2) The partnership lasted until 1809, when Palmer and Coe announced that, "The Co-Partnership subsisting between PALMER & COE, is this day dissolved by mutual consent.-All business relative to the firm, will be settled by ADAM S. COE."(3) Several months after the dissolution of his partnership, he married Ann Peas of Newport (1790–1785).(4) Together they would have daughters Rebecca (1810– 1900)(5) and Sarah (married 1864).(6)

In 1810, he is identified as a Newport cabinetmaker when he purchased land in Newport from Hartford, Connecticut, spinster Martha Rogers.(7) Though he presumably maintained a cabinetmaking business throughout his professional life, he also intermittently made coffins. In 1811, the estate of Thomas Hicks includes a debt to Adam Coe for a coffin.(8) In 1812, he made a mahogany coffin for William Burroughs for nineteen dollars.(9) In 1818, the estate of Benjamin Ruggles recorded a twenty four dollar debt to Coe for a coffin.(10)

In 1814, Coe was a Captain in the Infantry State Corps when he advertised a ten dollar reward for the return of George W. Pratt, who had deserted his post at Fort Adams, Newport Harbor.(11)

In 1826, Coe once again advertised in The Newport Mercury, this time in partnership with Robert P. Lee in the firm of "Robert P. Lee and Co." They offered "an elegant Assortment of the most fashionable CABINET FURNITURE, all made after the very latest New-York patterns, and of the best workmanship" alongside "a complete assortment of Hardware," and "a large quantity of SPARS and MASTS."(12) The partnership was formally dissolved in 1846 when Simeon Hazard purchased the retail furniture component of the business. Robert Lee continued to operate under the same name, but focused his attention on ship spar and nautical hardware.(13)

Coe held a number of civic positions in Newport, starting in 1825 when he was appointed engineer to Fire Engine #5.(14) In June 1827. he was appointed one of Newport's

"Street-Commissioners," a position that he would hold intermittently through 1834.(15) He was appointed surveyor of joiner's lumber in 1840.(16)

Adam Coe died in December 1862, in Newport.

Benjamin W. Colman and Patricia E. Kane

1. Henry F. Coe, Descendants of Matthew Coe (Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, 1894), 13-14, 36.

2. The Newport Mercury, "Advertisement," August 4, 1804,

3. The Newport Mercury, "Notice," June 3, 1809,

4. Vital Record of Rhode, Island, 1636–1850,

5. Alphabetical Index of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Recorded in Providence, Rhode Island,

6. The New York Times, "Married," October 3, 1864,

7. Martha Rogers to Adam S. Coe, deed, August 1, 1810, Newport Deeds, vol. 12, p. 6.,Newport City Hall, R.I.

8. Thomas Hicks, estate account, October 22, 1811, Newport Probate, vol. 5, p. 41, Newport City Hall, R.I.

9. William Burroughs estate account, August 10, 1812, Newport Probate, vol. 5, pp. 146– 148, Newport City Hall, R.I.

10. Benjamin Ruggles estate account, December 14, 1818, Newport Probate, vol. 6, p. 388, Newport City Hall, R.I.

11. The Newport Mercury, "Ten Dollar Reward," September 17, 1814,

12. The Newport Mercury,"Co-Partnership Formed," May 6, 1826,

The Newport Mercury, "Notice," April 4, 1846,

Rhode-Island Republican, "At a Town Meeting," December 22, 1825.

The Newport Mercury, "Town-Meeting," June 9, 1827,

The Newport Mercury, "June Town Meeting," June 6, 1840,