- David W. Jordan
Coode, John (1648–between 27 Feb and 28 Mar. 1709), one of the most colorful and persistent rebels in American colonial history, was born in Penryn, Cornwall, the second son of John Coode, a lawyer, and Grace Robins. Coode matriculated at age sixteen at Exeter College, Oxford. He was ordained as a deacon in July 1668 and later claimed ordination as a priest. Coode served briefly in a chapel under the vicar of St. Gluveas in Cornwall before being turned out of the ministry for unspecified reasons. By early 1672, Coode was in Maryland, first settling in St. George’s Hundred where he officiated as a minister on several occasions. Two years later he moved to St. Clement’s Hundred after marrying Susannah Slye, the recent widow of a wealthy merchant, Robert Slye, and the daughter of Catholic Thomas Gerard, a powerful landholder and opponent of the proprietary family. At least fifteen years older than Coode, Susannah was subject to periodic fits of madness exacerbated by the recent deaths of a son, her first husband, and her father. Marriage provided Coode a measure of financial security through his management of the estate Robert Slye had left for his children. Coode devoted considerable attention during the next few years to law suits and other measures to build upon these holdings and to acquire land and wealth of his own....