John Coleman was a crewman aboard the Dutch ship Half Moon, under the command of English explorer Henry Hudson. He was aboard Half Moon when she entered what is presently known as New York Harbor while Hudson searched for a faster route to the Orient on behalf of the Dutch East India Company.

On September 6, 1609, Coleman was part of a rowboat expedition of five exploring the harbor when it came under attack by the native population of the region. Coleman was struck through the throat by an arrow. He was buried by the crew at present-day Sandy Hook.