Reader Request - Benjamin Coomer
Today’s article is a bit different than usual.
One of my readers, Denise, asked me if I knew anything about a Founder named Benjamin Coomer. I had not, and this turned out to be unsurprising.
Coomer is by far the most obscure Founder I have researched, but hey, I like a challenge!
So, today we will look at the limited information available on Coomer and discuss some of the issues I ran into while doing research.
If you have a Founder you’d like to know more about, please let me know! This was a really fun to do and I’d love to try again.
Benjamin Coomer was born on March 8, 1747 in Providence, Rhode Island.
By the time he was 28, he had moved just across the border to Rehoboth, Massachusetts and married a young woman by the name of Ruth Goff.
Though I was unable to determine Mr. Coomer’s profession, he was an active member of his society and joined the local militia.
Sometime during the night of April 18 and 19, 1775, a rider came to town.
A Minute as a Minute Man
The Battle of Lexington and Concord had begun, and Benjamin Coomer mustered in Captain Samuel Bliss’ Company of Minute Men.
Coomer and his fellows marched fifty miles to witness the beginning of the Siege of Boston. Here, they joined the Colonel Timothy Walker’s Regiment.
Benjamin had only signed up for eight days of service, however, and the next set of enlistments does not include his name.
Coomer must have returned home, as his name does not reappear until a document lists him as a Sergeant in Lippitt’s Regiment. This is not surprising, as Ruth gave birth to the couple’s first son three months later.
As stated above, Benjamin rejoined the military when he signed up for Lippitt’s Regiment.
Originally organized by Henry Babcock in January of 1776, this outfit was quickly taken over by Colonel Christopher Lippitt and was a Rhode Island Militia which was created to prepare for an attack by the Redcoats.
Although Coomer was from Massachusetts, it is not surprising men from towns just outside of Rhode Island would join the small State’s forces for their mutual protection.
Here, I am forced to make an assumption about Coomer’s life.
I will assume that he continues with Lippitt’s Regiment at least until the one year enlistment expired.
I am comfortable with this because Coomer’s name does not appear on any desertion lists nor was he given trouble after the war ended. Had he quit his enlistment early, he would have been hung.
Lippitt’s Regiment built fortifications in Rhode Island before being called to action alongside the Continental Army.
They set out to New York City, arriving in the aftermath of the disastrous Battle of Long Island and joining George Washington’s Main Army.
Lippitt’s Regiment participated in the daring Battle of Trenton and shortly thereafter the Battle of Princeton.
The men wintered with the Continental Army at Morristown before returning to Rhode Island in early 1777.
At this point, Benjamin Coomer’s life becomes extremely hard to trace.
It is possible he signed another enlistment elsewhere, but I cannot find a record of his name. It is more than likely that, after a year away, he needed to return home to tend to his business and family.
Coomer would have two more children before the war was done. At some point, he relocated to Upstate New York along Lake Ontario where he would spend his remaining days.
So, do you have a Revolutionary War veteran in your family line?
If so, reach out to me. I’d love to hear about it and if you’d like me to do a little research for you I’d be happy to.
Before Coomer, Southy Simpson was my most obscure Founder.
This is one of the articles I am most proud of, so if you liked reading about Coomer, I assure you you’ll find the Simpson essay just as interesting.
Benjamin Coomer obviously does not have a biography.
Since I can recommend any book in the world today, I’m going with ‘Founding Martyr’
I have become friendly with the author, Christian Di Spigna who spent 20 years of his life researching and writing about Joseph Warren, one of the most underappreciated Founders of the United States.
Pick up a copy through the Amazon affiliate link below (you’ll support this site, but don’t worry, Amazon pays me while your price stays the same) but be warned, it is very rare and therefore expensive.