Name origin: Place name from Kolbye, a town in Denmark; Coe, with or near, the by--town.

See article on Anthony Colby's Ancestry which says Thomas is not his father: Published in The American Genealogist Whole number 202 Vol. 51, No 2; April 1975, Anthony Colby's Purported Ancestry, by Glade Ian Nelson.

Matthew Colbie; parents ukn
r.Pointon, Sempringham, Lincolnshire, England
bur.Oct. 10, 1591 Mary ______
bur.Dec. 18, 1591


  1. William Colbie
  2. Agnes Colbie
  3. Thomas Colbie "Senior" (older brother of the father of Anthony) m.May 18, 1590 Joan Booth
  4. Elizabeth Colbie bapt. May 30, 1563 d.y.
  5. John Colbie bapt.July 26, 1565 m.Oct. 23, 1593 Elizabeth Davye
  6. Thomas Colbie "Junior" bapt.Dec. 20, 1567 bur.Dec. 11, 1625 m.May 4, 1595 at Horbling, Anne Jackson aka Agnes
  7. Edward Colbie bapt. Oct. 5, 1570 bur.Dec. 31, 1591
  8. Elizabeth Colbie bapt.March 14, 1572/3 bur. Jan. 10, 1591/2

NOTES: The first record of a Colby in Sempringham is a deed dated 3 February 1421/2 by which William Stanenstone of Pointon conveyed to John Oche and his wife Alice three selions of land in the fields west of Pointon, two of which parcels were bounded by William Colby. This William Colby was undoubtedly an ancestor of the Colbys who lived in the village of Pointon in the parish of Sempringham several generations later. On 7 May 1505 Robert Rogerson of Pointon granted to John Huchyson and Robert Colby of Pointon "one messuage and 20 acres of land and meadow with all of the appurtenances in the village and the fields of Pointon, which lately was inherited after the decease of William Rogerson his father and Alice his wife." This Robert Colby was probably the great grandson of the above William Colby and was probably the grandfather of Matthew Colby, the father of Thomas, and grandfather of Anthony. The name of the father of Matthew is a mystery.

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Thomas Colbie

bapt.Dec. 20, 1567 Sempringham, Lincolnshire, England; s/o Matthew and Mary Colbie
d.bur.Dec. 11, 1624
m.May 4, 1596 Horbling, Lincoln, England; Anne Jackson; d/o Richard and Elizabeth Jackson of Horbling


  1. Margaret bapt.Sept. 25, 1597 at Aslackby, "dau. of Thomas" prob.d.y.
  2. William prob. b.1598, named first in father's will. m.Oct. 12, 1626 at Horbling, Anna Sewell, widow of Anwick.
  3. Abraham bapt.Sept. 13, 1600 at Aslackby, bur. Sept. 2, 1625 at Horbling.
  4. Richard bapt. Jan. 30, 1602/3 at Horbling; m.Ann ______
  5. Anthony Colby bapt. Sept. 8, 1605 at Horbling. d.Feb. 11, 1660/1 Amesbury, MA
  6. Arthur
  7. Matthew bapt. Dec. 13, 1607 at Horbling
  8. Robert b.prob. abt.1609, named last in his father's will of 1625. There is a possibility that he [Robert] was actually an adopted nephew, his mother having died when he was about 11 months old.

NOTES: From The Great Migration Begins by Thresfall: Anthony Colby, born 1605 (bp 8 Sept. 1605) at Horbling, Lincolnshire. Horbling is next to Sempringham where the Colby ancestors had lived for several generations. He was apparently named for his uncle Anthony Jackson.

Thomas Colby (Matthew) was baptized on 20 December 1567 at Sempringham, Lincolnshire. 4 May 1596 at Horbling, he and Anne Jackson were married. She was born probably about 1571 the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Jackson of Horbling. There are no surviving baptismal records for Horbling from 1567 through 1575.

From his will and burial record, we learn that Thomas was a tailor. He made his will 10 December 1625 and was buried 11 December 1625. His wife survived him.


10 December 1625---the will of Thomas Colbie of Horbling, County of Lincoln, taylor, sick of my five sons William Colbie, Richard Colbie, Anthony Colbie, Mathew Colbie and Robert Colbie half of my good to be equally divided amongst them, but my will is that my son William Colbie shall have my house at Donington for part of his portion of goods aforesaid, which cost me eight pound...if any of these my sons die before age 21 at which time the legacies shall be due unto them, then his or their shares to be divided amougst the overlivers.

Residue to wife Agnes Colbie whom I make executrix. Robert Allen supervisor. Witnesses: Rob't Allen, Thomas Baxter. Signed by mark. Proved 21 April 1626. (Lincoln Consistory Court Wills 1626/292) (The names Anne and Agnes were used interchangeable in those days, as are Elizabeth and Betty now.)

Nowhere is there any mention of Anthony or Matthew after their father's will of 1625.

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Anthony Colby

b.1605 England; s/o ukn; possibly Thomas Colby and Anne Jackson
chr.Sept. 8, 1605 Horbling, Lincolnshire, England
d.Feb. 11, 1660/1 in Salisbury/Amesbury, MA; Susannah (________) Waterman, widow of ______ Waterman of Boston, She m.(3)1663 William Whitridge [Whittredge]
d.July 8, 1689 Salisbury, MA


  1. Joseph/John Colby bapt. Boston Sept. 8, 1633 d.1675 d.Feb. 11, 1674 in Amesbury, m.Jan. 14, 1655/56 Frances Hoyt d/o John and Frances Hoyt
  2. Sarah Colby m.Mar. 6, 1653/4 Orlando Bagley
  3. Samuel Colby, b.abt.1638/39 d.1715/6 m.bef.1668 Elizabeth Sargent, dau. of William Sargent (progenitor of Ambrose Colby, pioneer to Deer Isle about 1768-BLN)
  4. Isaac Colby b. July 6,1640 d.1684 m.Martha Parratt (progenitor of the Joseph Colby line, settler in the No. Stonington part of DI not far from 1766-BLN)
  5. Rebecca Colby b.Mar.11, 1643 Salisbury, MA, d.1672 m.Sept. 9, 1661 John Williams Jr. at Haverhill
  6. Mary Colby b.Sept. 19, 1647 Salisbury, MA, m.Sept. 23, 1668 William Sargent s/o Wm Sargent
  7. Thomas Colby b.Mar. 8, 1650 Salisbury, MA, d.bef.March 30, 1691 Amesbury, MA m.Sept. 16, 1674 Hannah Rowell b.Jan. 1652/23 Salisbury, MA d.Aug. 9, 1707 Amesbury,MA

NOTES: Anthony Colby came to America from England with John Winthrop's fleet in 1630. He was a Sawmill owner. Freeman May 14, 1634.

Near the end of her life, Susannah Wittredge was described by the selectmen of Amesbury as: an ancient and helpless widow belonging to the town of Amesbury...notwithstanding a comfortable and competent maintenance being allowed unto her out of the estate of her former deceased husband Anthony Coleby...yet she being a woman attended with many infirmities both of body and mind, is utterly incapable of doing anything that may contribute to her livelihood or comfortable subsistence...she living alone, wanting such help and attendance as may be convenient, continually laboring under such infirmities of body as usually attend old age often times sick and many times destitute of (divers?) necessaries and always of the conveniences of life, any otherwise than she is supplied by one or two of her children, whose families in the meantime want the same at home, and very much defective and decayed in her understanding...September Term 1682. The court ordered that her sons, Samuel, Isaac and Thomas Colby, provide for her and sell what land was necessary to maintain her from the Colby estate. [Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts. 1636-1686, 9 volumes (Salem 1911-1975) 8:388]

From Directory of the Ancestral Heads of New England Families 1620-1700 by Holmes: COLBY, ANTHONY: Came with Winthrop from the eastern coast of Eng. to Boston, 1630; removed to Cambridge, Mass., 1632, and to Salisbury, Mass., 1634, finally to Amesbury, Mass., 1647. ARTHUR, a brother to the preceding, was at Ipswich, Mass., 1637.

This line is covered in the Great Migration Begins, Vol. 1, A-F

The Colby Family Association gives Susannah's maiden name as Haddon.

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Isaac Colby

b.July 6, 1640 Salisbury, MA; s/o Anthony Colby and Susannah ________
d.July 13, 1723 in Amesbury [from Colby Family Assoc.]
m.1668 at Rowley, MA, Martha Parratt (or Parret); d/o Francis Parrett and Elizabeth Northend and sister of the wife of Deacon Ezekial Jewett; and also sister of Mary wife of John Sawyer--BLN.
b.Oct. 6, 1649 Rowley, MA
d.July 13, 1730 Amesbury, MA


  1. Anthony Colby b.Jan. 24, 1669/70
  2. Elizabeth Colby b.Oct. 30, 1671 m. Henry Dow of the Thomas Dow Family of Newbury and Haverhill
  3. Martha Colby b.Feb. 7, 1672/3 prob.d.y.
  4. Sarah Colby b.Jan. 28, 1674/5 m.Samuel Silver
  5. Dorothy Colby b.June 15, 1677 m.Samuel Hadley
  6. Isaac Colby, Jr. b.July 15, 1680 m.Mary Fowler
  7. Abraham Colby b.Oct. 7, 1683 m.Sarah Buckman
  8. Rebecca Colby b.bef.1684 m.Jeremiah Fowler

Issac was called a "planter" of Salisbury in 1663.

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Anthony Colby

b.Jan. 24, 1669/70 Haverhill, MA; s/o Isaac Colby and Martha Parrat
m.(1)Oct. 23, 1701 at Rowley, Essex, MA, Mary Currier
b.Jan. 28, 1675 Haverhill, MA; d/o Samuel Currier and Mary (Hardy) Thomas
d.Apr. 8, 1719 Haverhill, MA
m.(2)Dec. 4, 1721 Elizabeth West
bapt.July 1677 in Salem, MA; d/o Thomas West and Mary Tennee of Bradford, MA
d.June 25, 1738 Haverhill, MA

CHILDREN of Mary and Anthony, five sons all born in Haverhill, MA:

  1. Anthony Colby, Jr. b.Nov. 1, 1704
  2. Elijah Colby b.Sept 14, 1707 d.abt. 1746
  3. Richard Colby b.Jan. 18, 1709/10 m.(1)Hannah Davis [5 children]m.(2)Tabitha Ely [2 children]
  4. Isaac Colby b.Mar. 23, 1711/12 m.(1)Sarah Davis [11 children] m.(2)July 4, 1718 Hannah Heath, widow of Timothy Colby
  5. Moses Colby bapt.May 24, 1713

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Elijah Colby

b.1707 Amesbury; s/o Anthony Colby and Mary Currier
m.May 21, 1734 [Hoyt ref says "A mistake in some of these dates] Elizabeth Davis; d/o Joseph Davis and Jemima Eastman of Amesbury, MA. Widow Elizabeth m.(2) Nov. 26, 1746 Abraham Chase of Plaistow, N.H.
b.Sept. 25, 1711 Amesbury, MA


  1. Elijah Colby, Jr. b.Apr. 12, 1734 d.May 27, 1734
  2. Anthony Colby b.Nov. 1, 1735 d.Nov. 23, 1736
  3. Anthony Colby b.Oct. 19, 1737 m.Sarah ______ [had 9 children]
  4. Joseph Colby, b.Dec. 1, 1740 bapt. Dec. 28, 1740 in Second ch. of Amesbury; d.1828 m.March 27, 1760 at Deer Isle Sarah Thurlow; emigrated to DI 1766-7

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Joseph Colby Sr.

b.Dec. 1, 1740 Amesbury; s/o Elijah Colby and Elizabeth Davis
d.1823 Deer Isle, ME [DIVR says he d.6. Apr. 1826; Hosmer says 1828 age 84]??
m.March 27, 1760 Sarah Thurlow; d/o Thomas Thurlow and Joanna Pike
b.July 6, 1737 Newbury, MA d.Dec. 29, 1833/4 Deer Isle, ME


  1. Eunice Colby b.June 22, 1761 d.Apr. 26, 1828 at Deer Isle m.bef.1782 Thomas Stinson Jr. [9 children]
  2. Elizabeth "Betsy" Colby b.May 2, 1763 m.Nathaniel Robbins Sr.
  3. Joseph Colby Jr. bapt.Mar. 30, 1766 Newbury 1st Congo. Ch; m.(March?) 26, 1789 Eunice Thurlow
  4. Thomas Colby b.Deer Isle Feb. 24, 1769 d.Aug. 6,1837 m.(1)Patience Norton d/o Noah Norton and Jerusah (Dunham) of Brooksville; d.Jan. 16, 1799 ; m.(2)Elizabeth "Betsey" Thurlow of Newbury b.Sept. 2, 1770; m.(3) Mary "Polly" (Sheldon) Pressey Merchant, the widow of Nathaniel Merchant and d/o Nathaniel Sheldon, her 1st husband was John Pressey, Jr.; her fourth husband was Thomas Cooper of North Haven (Thomas Colby was credited by Hosmer as being the first child born of white parents in the south end of the island. Thomas is well remembered by the older people from his peculiar manner of talking--having been tongue tied. He was a master mariner--BLN)
  5. Hannah Colby b.March 27, 1772 Deer Isle, m.(May 12?)1793 Edward Small s/o Job Small [10 children]
  6. Sarah Colby b.June 4, 1774 Deer Isle m.(pub)Feb. 24, 1800 Leonard Judkins [6 children]

Joseph Colby, Sr. was a cordwainer.

Article The day before YESTERDAY from the ISLAND AD-VANTAGES, Stonington,ME March 6, 1997 by Clayton H. Gross: "...Joseph Colby Sr. was born in Newbury, MA , in 1744. When he was 18 years old he married Sarah Thurlow who was then 26...Apparently Joseph was apprenticed to someone to learn a trade, and in order to free him to marry her, Sarah (who must have felt drastic action was necessary lest she end up an old maid) "bought up his time"; that is, she paid the person to whom he was apprenticed for the work remaining on his contractor indenture."

From March 13, 1997 issue: "...Mrs. Joseph (Sarah) Colby was an interesting character. During the American Revolution, tradition says that she carried the news of Cornwallis' surrender to the British at Castine.

Mrs. Colby and her two oldest sons went to Castine in a longboat to do their trading. When passing down the thorofare, they met Seth Webb who was returning from Kimball Island where he had spent a good deal of time hunting. The previous evening a passing ship had anchored in Isle au Haut Thorofare. Her captain had given Webb some handbills proclaiming the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. He asked Webb to distribute as many as he could, and the first one given out was to the Colbys. Upon their arrival at Castine, an officer at the wharf asked if they brought any news. Mrs. Colby looked him in the eye and said, "My Lord Cornwallis has surrendered his army at Yorktown." the officer was shocked and incredulous because he realized, if true, this meant that the British cause in America was in a bad way. He asked Mrs. Colby to accompany him to see the commanding officer at Fort George, who after he had read the handbill said sadly, "Alas, we fear that it is too true." [Compare this version of the story with the same one as passed down in the family, as told by Amasa Holden.]

Joseph Colby, Sr. was a Revolutionary War Soldier. He enlisted Aug. 3, 1779. He was a private in Capt. Nathaniel Fales Co., service 13 days. Discharged Aug. 15, 1779. Company marched to Majorbagaduce by order of Gen. Lowell.

From handwritten copy: Will of Joseph Colby of D. Isle, Yeoman, mentions wife Sarah. Eldest son Joseph "the new field in fence" & to son Thomas, the "old field with buildings that is within fence now" also a strip of land between the fence and Edward Small's line to him and his wife and after that to his sons. Eldest dau. Eunice Stinson ++land on line of Edward Small (?) on the road +++to Joseph Colby's line. dau. Hannah Small (woods?)land +++ to Joseph Colby jrs. and to my dau. Elizabeth Robbins ++ land by Hannah Smith's ++southward of Thomas Colby's and Sarah Judkins.--my dau. Sarah Judkins land by the spring+++ westward of Judkins barn. Appoints Samuel Webb executer. Sept. 17, 1922 signed by Joseph Colby Witnessed by: Stephen Babbidge, Samuel Webb, and Richard Warren. p.359 Vol. XI, probated June 1, 1826 by Samuel Webb. p.481 Appraisers report of inventory by Stephen Babbidge and Richard Warren shows Real Estate: 760.88, personal prop. 71.06, 1/2 value of home 25.00, and two cows at 9.00=18.00.

Record of the "Court of common pleas" Lincoln Co., Maine Sept. 1791 shows BISHOP VS COLBY, John Bishop of Medford, Middlesex Co., Mass. Merchant vs Joseph Colby of Deer Isle. Yeoman.

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Joseph Colby Jr.

bapt.March 30, 1766; s/o Joseph Colby and Sarah Thurlow
d.1833 Deer Isle, ME
m.Eunice Thurlow; d/o Abraham Thurlow and Lydia Boynton
b.Jan. 13, 1772 Newbury, MA

CHILDREN (12) included:

  1. Abner Colby
  2. David T. Colby b.Oct. 14, 1806 bapt.Oct. 7, 1807 d.Sept. 13, 1839 m.Nov. 26, 1829 Mary Lane b.March 20, 180(6 or 8?) dau. of Benjamin Lane and Polly ______; Mary m.(2)April 18, 1843 as the second wife of Anthony Colby, s/o Thomas & Betsy (Thurlow) Colby; David T. Colby was a fisherman and seaman and was master of the schr. Georgianna of Castine and lost with all aboard on a codfish trip. They had all been ashore to a gathering and aboard late, no watch being awake outside. A gale sprang up and the vessel dragged and struck on Eastern Point, P.E.I. They were all found and buried on the point in rotation--about twelve lives, Sept. 13, 1839, besides the following Deer Islanders; David Colby, Master; John Sellers, Abial G. Sylverster, Isreal Dorr, Jr., Joseph G. Do(rr?), Henry Kellar and Thomas J. Colby.
  3. Stephen Thurlow Colby b.Jan. 16, 1811 m.(1)Jan. 30, 1834 Martha G. Lane [Martha was a very small woman, not weighing 100 pound. She died childless and used to say to Eunice Ware, that "Everybody but her could have a child in this town, and that she only longed that she might have one. She died childless, March 30, 1841] Stephen m.(2)Abigail Right (Duncan) Sellers m.(3)Thankful (Snowman) Staples; Stephen had at least seven children
  4. William R. Colby b.June 7, 1817 d.unmarried
  5. Abraham Colby b.Aug. 3, 1796 d.Nov. 8, 1799
  6. Lydia Colby b.Dec. 19, 1791 bapt.July 21, 1799. m.(1) Feb. 13, 1810 William Small [William d.June 12, 1815, from the effects of a Thompsonian Doctor. Hosmer says: He was not in good health and consented to put himself in the care of this person, going through the process of steaming practiced by that class of persons; and the succeeding operation was the pouring of cold water over him to such an extent that he died in an hour after. The doctor, finding what was the result of his practice with him, immediately made his escape and had but time barely to get away from the island, being followed by the two brothers of the deceased, who would perhaps have dealt violently with him had they overtaken him, being much enraged.] Lydia m.(2) Nov. 26, 1816 Israel Dorr of Frankfort
  7. Patience Colby b.Sept. 27, 1797 [BLN Note: Patience was stooped forward, rounded over, to an extreme degree, and as Frank Trundy says, looked just like a rainbow in shape.] m.June 19, 1821 Samuel Stinson Jr.
  8. Eunice Thurlow Colby b.Feb. 9, 1800 or Jan. 7, 1799(?) m.abt. 1830 Nathaniel Ware [7 children]
  9. Abraham Colby b.March 26, 1802 d.May 7, 1839 m.Sally Lane
  10. Sarah Colby bapt. Oct. 7, 1807 m.abt.1857 William Thompson of Belfast
  11. Sabrina T. Colby b.Oct. 22, 1809 m.Dec. 1, 1831 William B. Lane m.(2?)Richard Warren
  12. Hannah T. Colby b.Aug. 26, 1814 m.Henry Keller

Joseph Colby, Jr. was a farmer, millwright, shipbuilder, and carpenter. He and his brother Thomas, and his brother-in-law David Thurlow, built a mill at the mouth of the pond on Crotch Island where they sawed lumber for houses and vessels. They built several large vessels there. One was the old topsail schooner, the "St. Paul", which came ashore (Capt. Moody Thurlow) and rotted about 300' south of the Will Smith-Noyes Store lot. Another was the "Massey" or "Mercy" which was blown ashore on the south side of Greenhead and rotted there.

Re: BLN interview with James Duncan Ware, b.Dec. 30, 1831:..says that, his "grandfather (Joseph Colby, Jr.) was a very strong man and could carry four bushels of corn on his shoulders and carry it upstairs (so my mother says)."

Marion Dixon's version of Grandmother and the Handbill. The family version of the story of how the British at the fort in Castine learned of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis which ended the long Revolutionary War.

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Abraham Colby

b.1796 Deer Isle, ME; s/o Joseph Colby Jr. and Eunice Thurlow
d.May 7, 1839
m.(pub)Feb. 7, 1824 Sally Lane; d/o Oliver Lane and Hannah Babbidge. Sarah m.(2)Timothy Saunders

CHILDREN included:

  1. Oliver Lane Colby b.Dec. 24, 1826 m.Abigail Yeaton Knowlton
  2. Sarah Colby b.Sept. 27, 1828 m.George Paine they moved out west where she died.
  3. Susan Matilda Colby b.Sept. 3(?), 183(?) d.single
  4. Abraham Thurlow Colby b.Nov. 19, 1831 d.Oct. 1836
  5. Zina Franklin Colby b.Nov. 8, 1833 d.y.?
  6. Abraham Colby d.March 1848
  7. William Raynes Colby b.Sept. 10, 1837
  8. Stephen Babbidge Lane Colby b.Sept. 20, 1839 d.y.?

From B.Lake Noyes Notes: Abram Colby was drowned returning from Bangor May 7, 1839. James Duncan Wear, states that his father Nathaniel was with Abram Colby when he drowned in the Penobscot River. His body was found in the Frankfort Marsh. He went to Bangor in his pinkie, The Three Brothers, and upon returning with a load of lumber was knocked overboard by the jibbing of the main boom.

James Ware also says that Abram, as he is sometimes called, was a farmer and a fisherman and lived in a house he built opposite where Bill Gross now (1903) lives, probably on lot given to him by his father.

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Oliver Lane Colby

b.Dec. 24, 1826 Deer Isle, ME; s/o Abram Colby and Sally Lane
d.Nov. 13, 1904 at Tea Hill, Stonington, ME "of right cerebral apoplexy"...Dr. BLN
m.May 6, 1846 Abigail Yeaton Knowlton,
b.March 7, 1825 Isle au Haut, ME; d/o Robert Knowlton and Sarah Buckminster
d.Jan. 25, 1905 "due to a paraxysm of angina resulting from cardiac aclerosis"--BLN

CHILDREN included: (not in order of birth)

  1. Melissa Elwood Colby b.May 27, 1844 d.Oct. 13, 1920 of acute synovitis of left shoulder and meningitis bur.Woodlawn cemetery, Stonington, ME m.(1)abt.1865 Joseph Davis s/o Jonathan & Elizabeth Davis [4 children]; m.(2)abt.1870 Samuel E. Holden s/o Amasa and Abigail Holden [1 child]; m.(3)Charles Cousins Cousins
  2. Oliver Colby
  3. Abigail [Florence Abigail] Colby
  4. Sarah Knowlton Colby b.Nov. 16, 1850 d.aft.Oct. 15, 1920 [her sister's funeral] m.July 29, 1868 Joseph Smith Eaton son of Isaac Billings and Barbara (Smith) Eaton [no issue]
  5. William Henry Colby b.June 10 (or 16), 1854 d.Sept. 2, 1928
  6. Alonzo Knights Colby b.Apr. 19, 1858 d.aft.Oct. 15, 1920 [his sister's funeral] m.(1)Adelaide "Abbie" Fifield dau.of John J. Fifield and Sarah Tyler. He m.(2)a Boston woman. Alonzo died in a Mattapan Hospital, MA.[2 children-Maud and Jessie]
  7. Abraham Thurlow Colby b.Feb. 22, 1862 d.June 1, 1863(?)(Sarah, his sister, says he died about age three.--BLN)
  8. Elsie W. Colby (twin) b.July 4, 1865 m.July 3, 1886 James E. Thomas s/o Capt. Henry Thomas and his 1st wife of Breman, ME.
  9. Elmer C. Colby (twin)b.July 4, 1865 abt. 2 1/2 yrs of measles.
  10. Abbie Francis Colby b.May 27, ____, m.(1) Ernest Robbins [2 daughters] m.(2)Fred Gray

From Interview with B.Lake Noyes: "Oliver Colby says he was b.Dec. 24, 1826 in the old Colby house that stood where the present one is at Jack's Corner and m.May, 6, 1846 Abigail Yeaton Knowlton d/o Robert and Sarah (Buckminster) Knowlton. She was b.March 7, 1825 at Robinson place, Isle au Haut, Thoroughfare."

Oliver and Abigail are both buried in the Knowlton Cemetery at Tea Hill. Oliver was listed by 1850 census as a sailor.

From The day before YESTERDAY, "Eagle and Mark Island", by Clayton H. Gross; ISLAND AD-VANTAGES, SEPTEMBER 28, 2000:"...In 1847 a lighthouse was erected on Mark Island to mark the western approach to Deer Island Thorofare, the eastern end being marked by Dow Ledges. It had been pointed out that the approach to the Thorofare could be dangerous and traffic there was increasingly heavy. In 1856 the government purchased Mark Island from Capt. David Thurlow, the owner of nearby Crotch Island. The cost to the government was $175.

The Light List of 1900 describes the light as follows; A fourth class having a fixed white beacon 52 feet above mean high water and visible for 12 1/2 miles. It had a square white tower with a dwelling attached. The red fog bell tower and a red brick oil house stood about 91 feet northeast of the light tower.

In 1872 or 1873 the keeper's post was given to Samuel E. Holden of North Deer Isle, probably in recognition of his service in the Civil War. He was married to Melissa Colby who seems to have been the daughter of Oliver Colby of Tea Hill. On one occasion Melissa was alone on the island with some of their five children while her husband was in Rockland. That night she heard the sound of muffled oars as prowlers made a landing. When the intruders crept under her bedroom window, she poured the contents of a common crockery bedroom "appliance" down over their heads, causing them to flee, much the messier and, perhaps, wiser!

On one occasion when her husband was ashore, Melissa went into labor and by herself delivered their youngest child with only the older children to help. When Holden became ill she assumed the duties of keeper for two months. Holden died on March 31, 1874. On April 2 Melissa was appointed acting keeper, a post which she held for 25 months, eventually losing out to a man. Among the things she successfully accomplished while there was to change over from the use of animal fats and whale oil to kerosene to fuel the light. This evidently was considered a difficult feat. At the end of her tenure on Mark, she moved ashore to Green's Landing, eventually married Charles Cousins and had several more children...

See more stories of Melissa and Mark Island Light linked from Cousins Family web page.

Other sources used: The Colby Family in Early America by Frederick Lewis Weis, Th d., 1970; 3 5081 00154953 3

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This page last updated on May 10, 2015