Dr Abraham Coles

Dr Abraham Coles

Birth
Scotch Plains, Union County, New Jersey, USA
Death 3 May 1891 (aged 77)
California, USA
Burial New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey, USA
Memorial ID 47042856 · View Source
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Abraham Coles was born 1813 in Scotch Plains, Union County, NJ, the 4th of 5 known surviving children (2 boys/3 girls) born to the prominent Dennis Coles and his wife, Katrina (Catherine) Van Duersen of Newburgh, NY, a descendant of Everardus Bogardus, the distinguished Dutch domine, and the famous Anneke Jans, his wife.

The family of Coles is of English origin, originally written as "Cole". In America the history of the family begins with that of the settlement of Massachusetts Bay Colony, while on the maternal side its history is traced from the early settlement of New Amsterdam. James Cole, the Puritan, and founder of the family in America, arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts, between 1620 and 1630. He became a proprietor of land at Plymouth, a part of which was called "Cole's Hill," a bluff of land about twenty feet high, at the foot of which is the famous Plymouth Rock. The name James is found with great frequency in the Cole generations, and the original settler so named his eldest son. Various members of the family left Massachusetts and made a settlement at Oyster Bay, Long Island, about 1665. In 1688 the family became established at Scotch Plains, New Jersey (then called East Jersey), and remained there for many generations.

Abraham Coles was son of Dennis, and grandson of James Coles and Elizabeth Frazee; gr-grandson of Sen. William Coles & Betsey Dennis; and gr-gr grandson of James Coles, Jr., son of the patriarch, James Coles Sr.

Abraham's father, Dennis Coles, was a man of great culture, skilled in mathematics, a lover of polite literature, a polished speaker, member of the state legislature, a charming reader and accomplished writer. He married in 1802 in Newburgh, NY where he established a newspaper "Recorder of the Times" for 3 years. A financial success, it ran under other names until 1876. At the solicitation of his parents, he sold the business in 1806 and came back to Scotch Plains.

Until the age of 12, Abraham Coles was educated by his parents, and in 1828, at age 15, he became a clerk in a New York dry goods store. By 1830, a learned student, he was teaching Latin and Greek at Plainfleld, NJ for a few months, and in 1831 began to study law, which profession he subsequently relinquished as his vocation in life for the study of medicine.

He attended the University of the City of New York, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York. In 1835, he received his M.D. degree from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, and the following year began his practice in Newark, NJ.

In 1842, the 29-year old physician married 25-year old Caroline Elizabeth Ackerman, eldest daughter of Jonathan Combs and Maria (Smith) Ackerman of New Brunswick, NJ. The marriage resulted in the birth of two children: Jonathan Ackerman Coles (1843-1926) and Emilie Smith Coles (1845-1919). Sadly, the marriage was short lived as his lovely bride died just a few months after the birth of their daughter, passing in 1845 at age 28. The 32-year old widower never remarried.

He several times visited Europe for study and travel, giving special attention to languages, both ancient and modern. He was one of the founders of the Newark library and of the New Jersey Historical Society, and a member of the Newark Board of Education and other organizations. He owned a valuable collection of books, paintings and statuary gathered during his lifetime.

A colossal bronze bust of Abraham Coles by J. Q. A. Ward, with its pedestal of stones quarried for the purpose in Galilee, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and on the Mount of Olives, Palestine, was unveiled in Washington Park, Newark, N.J., July 5, 1897. (Shown here.) The pedestal is founded on a rock weighing about seven tons, which was transported with much difficulty from a grove near the landing place of the pilgrim fathers at Plymouth, Mass.

He received from Rutgers college the degree of A.M.; from Lewisburg University that of Ph.D. in 1860; and from the College of New Jersey, Princeton, that of LL.D. in 1871. In 1847 appeared in the Newark Daily Advertiser his first translation of the "Dies Irae." This was extensively copied and made him famous throughout the literary world. In 1859 he published a volume comprising thirteen original translations of Dies Irae (6th edition, 1892), to which he subsequently added five other translations. He also published a translation of Stabat Mater Dolorosa (1865, 3d edition, 1892); a translation of Stabat Mater Speciosa (1867, 2d edition, 1892); Old Gems in Yew Settings (1866, 3d edition, 1892); Man, the Microcosm (1866, 5th edition, 1892); Thc Evangel (1874, 2d edition, 1884); The Light of the World (1884); and A -Veio Rendering of the Hebrew Psalms Into English Verse (1887). He was also a published poet and the author of many patriotic and devotional hymns.

Though now almost forgotten, except for his name appearing on several monuments in Newark, NJ, Dr. Abraham Coles was in his time, regarded as one of the most accomplished practitioners of Newark, enjoying the highest respect of his brethern in the profession, and of his fellow citizens generally. As some evidence of this, he was for twelve years a member of the Board of Education of the City of Newark, and in 1866 was President of the Medical Society of New Jersey.

Dr. Coles traveled the world, often with his children. His son, J. Ackerman Coles, later joined the medical profession in practice with him, and became the editor of new editions of his father's works.

Dr. Coles died while traveling to the West Coast with his children, taking his last breath at the Hotel Del Monte, near Monterey, California, on May 3, 1891. His body was returned to New Jersey and laid to rest next to his beloved Caroline.

Both his children lived long lives, though neither married, and so the line of Abraham Coles died with the passing of his son on December 26, 1926.


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  • Created by: pbfries
  • Added: 24 Jan 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 47042856
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Abraham Coles (26 Dec 1813–3 May 1891), Find a Grave Memorial no. 47042856, citing Willow Grove Cemetery, New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by pbfries (contributor 46951237) .