Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Anthony Colby of Horbling, Lincolnshire and Salisbury, Massachusetts

In my previous post I wrote about the ancestors of Anthony Colby, this post will be about him and his life in Massachusetts.

english origins
Anthony Colby was baptized in the centuries old parish church of Horbling in Lincolnshire on 8 September 1605. The church, St. Andrew's, was vastly different from the one in which Anthony would baptize his children. In fact, the building in which his children were received  into the Puritan fold was not even a church, just a multi- purpose building used for town meetings and worship services on Sundays, it was known as the meeting house.

So why did Anthony leave Horbling and the parish where his family had lived for centuries. What called him to start a new life in what must have been a frightening  place, so far from home. The root of his desire to leave most likely began with Theophilus Clinton the 4th Earl of Lincoln. The Earl had studied at Emmanuel College in Cambridge, a hotbed of Puritan belief, and he, and his family became great promoters of the Puritan movement. The County seat of the Earls of Lincoln was Tattershall Castle in Lincolnshire, but they also had a manor house in Sempringham, a stones throw from Horbling.

Simon Bradstreet
It was at a manor house in Sempringham in August of 1629 that John Winthrop signed the Cambridge Compact and was elected as Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company. The decision to immigrate was agreed, and the company could move forward with their plans. Also attending the meeting were employees of the Earl of Lincoln including Simon Bradstreet and Thomas Dudley, the Earl  of Lincoln's steward. Simon's father, the Rev. Simon Bradstreet, was vicar at St. Andrew's Horbling. So it would seem that our Anthony was raised in a center of Puritanism and knew some of the key players in the migration to America. Although there is no proof, it has been theorized that Anthony Colby was an employee, read servant, of Simon Bradstreet.

coming to america
The Winthrop Fleet, as it has come to be known, left  England for America in two waves, one in April and one in May of 1630. It consisted of 11 ships and about 700 brave men, women and children. They arrived in Massachusetts in June and July. I have seen on some websites that Anthony sailed on the flagship Arabella, but there is no list of passengers for that ship or any ship and very few of the Arabella passengers have been positively identified. Suffice it to say that all of the immigrants no matter the name of their ship were brave, maybe a bit crazy, and share equally in the great feat they accomplished. In any case Anthony was in Massachusetts by the summer of 1630.

I have also seen it written that Anthony landed in Boston, but he didn't.  There was no Boston in the summer of 1630. The fleet landed at Salem, which had been established as a sort of "beachhead" for the immigrants. At the time of their arrival Salem was a small village of about 10 houses and one muddy street. John Endicott and others  had scouted out a location for the new colonist to set up shop, they had even built a large Governor's house for John Winthrop to live in and conduct colony business.  This new location was further to the south and would become Charlestown.

So, if there were no passenger lists and very little documentation on who immigrated at that time, how do we know that Anthony Colby was on one of those ships?  The answer is in the records of the First Church of Boston.  This church really began in Charlestown when the settlers, beginning with John Winthrop, signed a covenant to form a church.  Names were added as they joined the church. Anthony Colby's name is the ninety third on that record.  People, smarter than me, have surmised that he must have become a member in the winter of 1630/1.  This would mean that he would have had to sail with the Winthrop Fleet to be there at that time.

The new settlement in Charlestown was hard hit by disease. Many of the colonist suffered from scurvy and malnutrition. A high number  of the immigrants died in the first few weeks. Charlestown was particularly hard hit.  The lack of fresh water seems to have been to blame.  It was decided, despite the approach of winter, that they group should move to the Shawmut Peninsula where there was a spring with sufficient water. This new settlement was named Boston, in honor of Boston, Lincolnshire. Anthony's first home in Massachusetts is said to have been Boston.

By 1632 Anthony was living in Cambridge or Newtowne as it was first called.  Thomas Dudley and Simon Bradstreet both lived in Cambridge in the early days so Anthony might still have been working for Simon. The location of the town of Cambridge, some five miles up the Charles River from Boston,  was chosen based on the ability to defend it in the event of an attack. It was laid out in an orderly manner and was at one time surrounded by a wooden palisade. Anthony received two house lots with land, both outside the center of the town.  They were both on the Watertown side of Cambridge possibly where Brattle Street is today.

1632 was also the year he married.  His wife was the widow Susanna Waterman, her maiden name is unknown.  Their first child was baptized by the Rev. John Cotton in Boston on 8 Sept. 1633, shortly after his arrival in Boston. Anthony also traveled to Boston to take his Freeman's Oath on 14 May 1634. His freeman status would allow him to vote and perform other civic duties, such as serve on juries.

For reasons unknown to us, Anthony decided to leave Cambridge. He was briefly in Ipswich, some 30 odd miles to the north.  His name is found on a 1637 Ipswich petition and he was in court in Oct. 1637 in a case recorded as Anthony Colbie of Ipswich. He did not stay long for in  1639 Anthony sold at least one of his Cambridge houses and lands to Simon Crosby.

By 1639 Anthony had moved once again, this time to the newly formed plantation of Salisbury.  He was then about 35 years old and entering the prime of his life.  How his wife felt about packing up and starting over with four small children we'll never know, but I bet I can guess! With each move the family would have to build a new home, plow virgin fields, and establish new bonds with their neighbors and fellow citizens.

The history of Salisbury is of great interest to me, my family is descended from many of the original proprietors. When I read about him and his family and their dealing with their neighbors, I am reading about other ancestors. Case in point, Anthony was a co-owner operator of a saw-mill.  The other owners were William Barnes (ancestor), William Osgood (ancestor) Phillip Challis and Samuel Worcester. I imagine many of their customers were my ancestors as well. Anthony also bought and sold land to and from other ancestors, including William Sargent.

Beginning in 1648 Anthony served multiple times on juries, both the Jury of Trials and the Grand Jury. He was chosen once to serve as a Prudential Man. There are some strange things written about Anthony Colby on the internet, and much of it is copy and pasted onto various websites, none of which give a source for their information.  I am going to post, here, what I think is the most incorrect but much copied paragraphs copied and pasted into numerous webites and ancestry.com pages, as follows:

Anthony Colby seems to have been always at odds with the leaders in town affairs and was often in controversy, legal or personal, with the authorities. Once he was fined for making a speech in the Town meeting on the grounds that he had created  a disturbance.  He worked incessently to have the new settlement at Amesbury set off from Salisbury as a town. The fight was carried on after his death by his sons, and the separation was finally accomplished in 1666.
Colby was an industrious man, and in spite of moving every few years, and in spite of many children, he became one of the largest property holders in Amesbury. His lots included “Black River,” “Fox Island,” “Lion’s Mouth,” “Great Swamp,” “Hampton River,” “Whiskers Hill,”  and lots from the third and fourth divisions. His inventory for his will set a value of 359 pounds sterling upon his property.

I don't know who wrote it or when, but much of the information is flat out wrong, so don't copy it! There is also a picture of a drawing on an Anthony Colby floating around the internet and ancestry.com that is said to be this Anthony Colby, but it is not. The picture is of Anthony Colby, born 1792, who was once a governor of the state of New Hampshire. There are no pictures of the immigrant Anthony, got it, good.

children of anthony and susanna:
Anthony and Susanna had at least seven children, which was less than average as some of my ancestors had 10-12 children. Many of their children died before age 45. Samuel is the only one who is known to have lived to a good age of 78. Samuel and Mary are both ancestors, they married Elizabeth and William Sargent, children of William Sargent of Salisbury.

1. John baptized in Boston on 5 Sept. 1633, m. 14 Jan 1655/6 Frances Hoyt, d. 6 Feb 1673/4 age 41
2. Sarah b. abt. 1635 probably in Cambridge, m. 6 March 1653/4 Orlando Bagley, d. 18 May 1663 age 28
3. Samuel b. abt. 1638 probably Ipswich, m. abt. 1667 Elizabeth Sargent, d. 1716 age 78
4. Isaac b. 6 July 1640 Salisbury, m. Martha Parratt, d. April 1684. age 44
5. Rebecca b. 11 March 1642/, m. 9 Sept. 1661 John Williams, d. 10 June 1672 age 30
6. Mary b. 19 Sep 1647, m. William Sargent 23 Sep 1668, d. unknown
7. Thomas b. 8 Mar 1650/1, m. 16 Sep 1674 Hannah Rowell, d. March 1691 age 41

Macy-Colby House Wikipedia
Although Antony originally settled in Salisbury, he eventually moved across the Powwow River onto land that would eventually become the new town of Amesbury. The sawmill was on the Powwow River near some waterfalls.  In 1654 Anthony bought the home of Thomas Macy who was leaving town after being caught in the act of sheltering folks during a rainstorm.  Unfortunately the 'folks' were Quakers and it was against the law to aid or give shelter to any of that religious persuasion.

The house was probably built around 1649 so it was a mere five years old when Anthony purchased it. The house still stands today, it is a museum owned by the DAR.  It is a traditional saltbox house that was modified in the 1740's. I would love to go and see it someday!

rip anthony
Anthony died in February of 1660/1, apparently without a will at the youngish age of 55. I suppose he may have died quickly, not having been ill and not feeling the need for a will. His youngest child was only ten years old. An inventory of his estate was done by his neighbors shortly after his death and presented to the Quarterly Court. He was not one of the largest land owners in Amesbury as so others have claimed.  His total estate was valued at about 359 pounds, of which about 185 was in real estate.

excellent book on many
 colonist, click to see
Not much was written about Susanna which is not unusual for the times.  Unless a wife got up to no good, she was hardly, if ever, mentioned.  Susanna remarried two years after Anthony's death to William Whitridge of Amesbury.  He died  five years later. Three times a widow, she did not marry again. Susanna lived in her house until her death at age of about 81.  Her last years were not good. Her well being was the topic of some town meetings where she was described as being very much defective and decayed in her understanding. At a meeting of the Quarterly Court her sons Samuel, Thomas and Isaac were ordered to sell what land was necessary to pay for her maintenance. She died on 8 July 1689.  Her estate was divide between her single surviving child, Samuel, and her grandchildren.

The Records of the First Church of Boston
The Great Migration Begins
50 Great Migration Colonist 
The Register Book of the Lands and Houses of New Towne and the Town of Cambridge

Merrill, Joseph. History of Amesbury including the First Seventeen Years of Salisbury, to the Separation in 1654, and Merrimac, from Its Incorporation in 1876. Haverhill: F.P. Stiles, 1880. Print.

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