John Colby

I originally thought John COLBY (1633 – 1673) was Alex’s  10th Great Grandfather; one of 2,048 in this generation of the Shaw line.  However, I now believe that John’s one-time granddaughter Dorothy COLBY was not the daughter of Anthony COLBY IIbut instead was the daughter of his cousin Isaac COLBY and Martha PARRATT.

John Colby was born 8 Sep 1633 in Boston, Suffolk, Mass and was baptized at the First Church of Boston.  His parents were Anthony COLBY  I and Susannah [__?__]. He married Frances HOYT 14 Jan 1656 in Salisbury, Essex, Mass. John died 11 Feb 1673 in Amesbury, Essex, Mass.

Amesbury Monument – The Golgotha Burying Ground is also found on Rt. 110 (Macy St.), in Amesbury Massachusetts about a half a mile east. It is the first burial ground in Amesbury but there are no markers.

Over half the first settlers names on this memorial are our ancestors.  They are: Richard Currier, Orlando BAGLEY Sr., John Bailey, William BARNES, Thomas Barnard, Henry Blaisdell, Philip Challis, Anthony COLBY,  John COLBY, Edward Cottle, Jarret Haddon, John HOYT, William Huntington, Thomas Macy, George MARTIN, Valentine Rowell, William SARGENT and John Weed.

Frances Hoyt was born 1636 in Amsbury, Essex, Mass. Her parents were John HOYT and Frances [__?__].     Frances died 2 Jan 1720.

Children of  John and Frances:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Sgt. John Colby 19 Nov 1656 Salisbury, Essex, Mas Sarah Osgood (Eldridge?)
25 Dec 1675 Amesbury
Mrs. Ruth Ring
8 Feb 1715 Amesbury
6 Apr 1719
Amesbury, Mass.
2. Sarah Colby
17 Jul 1658 Salisbury Ebenezer Blaisdell
1680 Amesbury
14 Mar 1711
3. Elizabeth Colby 1660 Salisbury, Ephraim Weed
19 Jul 1704
4. Frances Colby 10 Dec 1662 Salisbury, Joseph Pritchard
11 Nov 1731
5. Anthony COLBY II 10 May 1665 Salisbury Elizabeth WEST
Sarah Pike
4 Feb 1685 Salisbury
4 Dec 1721 Salisbury
6. Susannah Colby 10 May 1665 in Salisbury, 1674
7. Deacon Thomas Colby 1667 or 1670 Salisbury, Mary Rowell
21 Nov 1688 Amesbury
25 Dec 1738
8. Mary Colby 1669
Amesbury, Mass
Theophillus Griffin (Son of John GRIFFIN)
Thomas Challis
3 Sep 1696 Amesbury
9. Hannah Colby 1671
William Osgood
8 Jun 1693 Amesbury
13 Jan 1752
Salisbury, Mass

John Colby was a planter at Amesbury, where he was granted land in 1658, 1659,

1658 –  He was granted thirty acres.

Oct 1663 – John entered a suit against the town of Salisbury, in the Old Norfolk Co. court, at Salisbury, claiming that he was a possessor of the estate of Mr. Samuel Groom in Salisbury, purchased by his father, Anthony Colby, decd.; and that he (John) was entitled to a townsman’s rights on account of Groom. As John had been admitted a townsman 8 or 10 years before, the case was decided in favor of the town.

11 May  1669 – “John Colby of Amsbery, planter, for 20 pounds, conveyed to John Easman of Salisbury, planter, my 30-acre lot of upland in Amsbery, bounded by John Hoyt, jr., Edmond Elliott, highway, and a brook called back river (yt leads to ye pond),  Wife Frances Colby (her X mark) signed. Wit: tho: Bradbury and William Hooke. Ack. by grantor and his wife frances, who released dower, May 11, 1669, before Robert Pike (son-in-law of Joseph MOYCE), commissioner.”

Oct 1671 – John Colby’s name heads a list of seventeen signatures on a petition presented to the Court at Hampton  by “divers of the Inhabitants and soldiers of the towne  & military company of Amsbery” that they may continue “under the Conduct of our loveing friend & neighbour John HOYT, senr, our chosen and established sergeant & chief military officer here.” (Weis, 1970; Hoyt, 1857)

29 Aug  1671 – “John Clough of Salisbury, house carpenter, for a 25-acre lot of upland, today  conveyed to me by Isaac Colby of Haverhill, planter, conveyed to Jn Colby of  Amsbery, planter, a 2-acre division of salt marsh in Salisbury at Mr. Hall’s farm, formerly of Mr. Sam Groome, and I bought it of said Isaac Colby, bounded by  Richard Singletary, (not in possession of said Cllough), Willi: Osgood and Tho:  Hauxworth,

25 Mar 1672 – John Hoyt, jr. of Amsbery, house carpenter, conveyed to John Colby of Amsbery a 4-acre marsh lot in Salisbury bouth by Willi: Barnes of Mr. Samuell Hall then of Salisbury, and by him given to me, bounded by George Martyn, Sam Felloes, Jn Eaton, Jn Ilsley and Tho: Barnard,   Wit: Jeremiah Hubbard and Tho: Barnard. Ack. , before Samuell Dalton, commissioner. His wife, Mary Hoyt, released dower same day.”

8 Apr 1673 – Wit: Tho: Bradbury and William Bradbury, Ack.  in court at Salisbury . John Hoyt, jr., of Amsberie, planter, wife  Mary, for 15 pounds, conveyed to Jn Easman of Salisbury, planter, 30 acres of  upland in Amsbery, bounded by grantee (formerly John Colby), Robert Jones,  a highway and a brook called ye back river yt runs into ye pond, –, 1669. Ack. in court at Salisbur

“Old Norfolk County Records, Vol. VII. 1903, pg. 89. “The Essex Antiquarian.”

“Frances Colby (her + mark) of Amsbury, widow, executrix of her late husband John Colby of Amsbury, deceased, conveyed to Richard Dole of Nubery a 4-acre meadow or marsh lot in Salisbury, bought of Mr. Sam Hall then of Salisbury by William Barnes, who gave it to John Hoyt, jr., who sold it to the deceased, bounded by George Martyn, Sam Felloes, John Eaton, John Ilsly and Tho: Barnaard, april 15, 1674. Wit: Daniel Ela, steven Greenleafe and Nath Clarke. Ack. April 15, 1674, before Nath Saltonstall, commissioner.” Vol XII, 1908, pg. 84

22 Jan 1673/74 – He signed a will on  in Amesbury, Essex County, Massachusetts.
24 Apr 1674 – He will was proved on  in Amesbury, Essex County, Massachusetts.

To my tow sons. To my wife Frances my dwelling house, land, orchard, etc. To my eldest son John Colby (minor), who is to remain with his mother, 1/2 of ye Grooms lot of meadow in ye higledee pigledes, in Salisbury, between ye lots of John Dickison and William Buswell. To my youngest son Thomas Colby (minor) my two lots of land in ye great plain, — one lot bought of Edward Goue, and the other I had of my father Colby, — and 1/2 of said Groom’s lot.

To my eldest daughter Sarah Colby my little pasture lying by ye Pawwaus riverside, which I bought of my brother Sam Colby, and my now dwelling house, orchard, etc. To my daughters Elizabeth and Frances Coleby (under 20 years of age). To my daughters Mary and Hannah Coleby (under 23 years of age and unmarried). My wife, executrix, Overseers, my trusty friends my brother Sam Colby of Haverhill and Thomas Barnard, jr., of amesbury. Part of his father Colby’s estate, after the decease of his mother, Susannah Whitredg. Wit: John Hoyt, sr., (his H mark) and Thomas Wells.

Inventory of estate of Joh Colby of amsbury, deceased, 6: 12 mo: 1674-4, appraised by William Barnes (his > mark) and Tho: Barnard, sr., of amsbury 2: 1 mo: 1673-4. Amount £234, 4 s. (real 170 pounds; personal 64 pounds, 4 s.). House, land, etc., by Pawwaus river, land at Bugmore, in ye great plain, in ye Lyon’s mouth, Groom’s lot, meadow in ye lower highlede piglede, bible, arms, spinning wheels, etc. Sworn to by Frances Colby, executrix.”

Vol. XII 1908, pg. 84-85

“William Sargent, jr., of amsberrie, planter, conveyed to Jn Hoyt, jr., of Amsberrie, house carpenter, 5 acres of land in aplace called the plain falls, bounded by a highway. John Colby, John Coleby and widow Rowell: also, 8 acres of upland in ye ox pasture, bounded by Tho: Barnard, sr., a highway, ye great swamp and Jarrett Haddon, May 18, 1670. Wit: Thomas Rowell and Louis Decamp. Ack. March 10, 1673-4, before Robert Pike, commissioner.

“John colby of Eamesbury, planter, for £10, 10 s., conveyed to Jn Hoyt, jr., of Eamesbery, carpenter, my 8-acre higgledee pigledee lot in ye Lyons mouth, in Eamsbery, bounded by widow rowell, grantee, a highway and great swamp, March 25, 1671-2. Wit: Jermiah Hubbard and tho: Barnard. Ack. March 25, 1672, before Sam Dalton, commissioner.”

Vol XII, 1908, pg. 178-179

Will and Estate of John Colby of Amesbury

“Know all men by these presents That I John Coleby off ye Towne off Amsbury in ye County off Norfolke NE being weake & infirme off body yett through Gods goodness off perfedt memory & undstanding Doe make this my last will & testamt as followeth:
1: Inprimis I commend my Sould into ye hands off X my Redeemr & my body to ye grave. decently to be buried att ye chardge off my Executrix whome I shall here after name & appoynt: In hopes off a joyfull resurrection.
2: I dispose off my worldly Goods as is hereaftr expressed: scil: My will is yt all my Just & due debts be duly payd & discharged by my Exccutrix: unto wch prupose, & not otherwise but only for ye payment off any Just & due debt off mine, & yt only only in such case off absolute necessity as yt ye debt cannot be otherwise dischardged & satisfied I doe Invest my Executrix with full powe to sell any part off ye land or estate in this present Instrument hereaftr by mee bequeathed unto my two sons or eldest daughtr. Alwayes provided yt itt be not done without ye advice off those whome I shall appoynt ovrseers off this my last will & testament: Whose advice also be her is to be had in ye disposall off any othr land or stock by way off sale & alienation in any case whatsoevr
3: Alsoe my will is yt in ye first mentioned case ye Damage done thereby unto any off my sayd children shall be born & sustained by every off them three proportionably to ye value off the severall legacies or protions by mee bequcathed vnto ym in this my last will & testament viz: yt child out off whose land or estate any such sale shall be made shall have his or her damage according to the formentioned ordr & proportion made vp out off ye land portion or estate off ye other twoe by such sale not damnified or less damnified: ye child damnified alsoe bearing his or her own poticulr proportion off ye loss or damage by such sale
4: Also I give & bequeath unto ffraunces Coleby my wife my now dwilling house & ye land orchard outhousen with all fences priviledges and appertiances & town rights thereunto belonging. As also one thired part off all the lands yt I now stand seized & possessed off during her life.
5 Also I give & bequeath unto John Coleby my eldest son to him & to the heirs off his body lawfully begotten for evr one halfe of a lott off meadow in ye towne off Salisbury commonly calle Groomes lott, seituate in a place commonly called the higglety pigleys laying betwixt the lotts off John Dikerson & William Boswell when he shall come to ye age off twenty one years. Att weh time iff my son john shall & will make oyr his right, title & interest unto his lott in ye childrens land commonly soe called in ye town off Amsbury: unto my Executrix then I doe moreovr give & bequeath unto him & his heirs as before sayd all yt land wch I purchased of the Town of Amsbury which iff my gd son shall refuse to doe my will is yt ye sd land purchased off ye Town shall be equally divided amongst all my children to |’be|| inherited by them & ye lawfull begotten heirs off their bodyes for evr.
6: My Will furthr is That my son John shall remaine with & helpe my wife his mother untill yt he come unto ye age off twenty one years
7 I give & bequeath unto Thomas Coleby my youngest sonn all my land in & adjoyning unto ye greatt plaine being two lott ye one purchased off Edwrd Gove more perticulary specified in the deed I had off him ye othr being a lott wch I had off my ffathr Coleby: & ye othr halfe off ye sd Gromes lott, every off which premises he is to be possesed ||of|| for an inheritance unto himselfe & ye heirs off his body lawfully begotten forevr aftr yt he shall come to ye age off twenty one years.
8: My will is yt iff any off my sons depart this life without an heir off their body lawfully begotten yt then the portions bequeathed to them shall be equally divided amongst all ye rest off my children then surviving
9: I give & bequeath unto Sarah Coleby my eldes daughtr my little pasture lying by ye Powow Rivr side, wch I purchased off my Brothr Samll Coleby to be immediately possessed by her for the Inheritance for herselfe & ye lawfull begotten heirs off her body for evr aftr my decease: As alsoe my now dwelling hous, land, orchard, & outhousen, with all priviledges & appertinances Thereunto belonging to herselfe & heirs as before aftr the decease off ffraunces my wife:
10 My will is yt my wives thirds out of every parcell off land bequeathed unto my tow sonns & eldest daughtr shall be excepted to remanine firme unto her propr use & benefitt during her life 11: I give & bequeath unto my daughtrs Elizabeth & ffrauces Coleby five pounds apiece to be payd unto each off ym att the day off mariage or att ye age off twenty years iff they marry not before my son John Coleby:
12 I give & bequeath unto my daughtrs Mary & Hannah Coleby unto each off them five pounds apiece to be payd unto Them by my son Thomas Coleby when he my sayd son shall come unto ye age off twenty three years.
13 Also my will is that iff any off my daughtrs sheall depart This life without an heir off their bodies lawfully begotten then ye portion or legacie bequeathed by mee shall be equally divided amongst the rest off my daughtrs then surviving.
14: I give also & bequeath all the rest off my whole estate both moveable & immoveable, lands, chattells both personalll & reall unto ffraunces my wife: whome I make, constitute & appoynt sole executrix unto this my last will & testament.
15: ffinally I doe make &appoynt my trusty ffriends; My brothr Samuell Coleby oof haverhll & my Loving friend Thomas Barnerd junr off Amsbury ovrseers off this my last will & testamentt, to see & take care yt in every ptielr itt be duly pformed. And in confirmation off ye forwritten premisees to be the ptieulr contents off my last will & testament I the Sayd John Coleby have hereunto subscribed my hand & seale. Dated this twenty second day off January Anno Domini: one thousand six hundred seventy three (Seventy four) 22:1:1673-4:

“It is alsoe declared before sealing to be ye will off this Testatr John Coleby: yt his part off his ffather Colebyes estate belonging unto him from & by virtue off a Court ordr aftr the decease off his mother Susanna Whithredg shall be equally divided amongst all his daughtrs: as Witness his hand the day & year abovesayd & seale affixed.”

John Colby (SEAL)
Witness: John (his H mark) Hoyt, senr., Thomas Wells.
Proved in Salisbury court Apr. 14 1674 by the witnesses.

Inventory of the estate of John Coleby of Amsbury, deceased 6: 12m: 1673-74, taken 2: 1m: 1673-74, by William Barnes and Thomas Barnerd, Sr. of Amesbury:

Eight sheep & a lanbe, £4.; twoe oxen at £5. pr. & four cowes at £3. pr., £22.; one two year old heifer, £1, 10s.; one yearling & a calfe, £1; five young swine, £1; ye dwelling house, outhousen, homestead & land by ye Powwow River, £30; a lott of land at Bugmore, £4; fourty acres of land in ye great plaine, £46; a parcell of land purchased of ye towne, £20; thirty five acre lott in ye woods, £20; lott in ye ox pasture, £5; a division of land in ye Lyons mouth, £5; a lot of meadow called Groomes lott, £20; a lot of meadow in ye lower higglety pigley, £20; beadstead, feather bed, bedding & curtaines, £8; trundle bedstead, flockbed & bedding thereto belonging, £3; twenty pound of wool, £1; his wearing cloathes, £1, 10s.; halfe a barrell of meat, £1, 10s.; and old chest, box & linnen therein & a bible, £2; his Armes, £2, 10s.; cart, sled, plow, yoke & tackling belonging, £3; flax, & a tenent saw, 16s.; axes, hows, sickles & a shave, 12s.; pott, pot hockes, tramell, kettle & two skillets, £2; frying pan & warming pan, 8s.; pewter, smothing Iron & a sieve, 12s.; trenchers, trayes, wooden platters, dishes & spoones, 10s; two spinning wheels, three payr of cards, 8s.; old tubs, barrels & payles &c, £1; a bill, £1, 18s.; total £234, 4s.
Attested Apr. 14, 1674 by Frances Coleby, the executrix.

Thomas Challis with Mary his wife acknowledged Sept. 3, 1696, the receipt from her brother Thomas Colby of Amesbury of the £5. bequeathed to the said Mary by the will of her father, John Colby of Amesbury.
Thomas Challis, Mary (her M mark) Challis (SEAL)
Witness: Thomas Wells, William Challis.

William Osgood of Salisbury with Hannah Coolby his wife, acknowledged Sept. 1 1722, the receipt from her brother Thomas Collby, of the £5 bequeathed to the said Hannah in the will of her father John Coolby, formerly of Amesbury.
hannah (her X mark) Osgood, William Osgood. (SEAL)
Witness: Joseph Osgood, Apphiah Osgood.
Essex County Probate Files, Docket 5,919

Joseph Prichitt and Fraunces his wife acknowledged Dec. 12, 1687, the receipt from John Collby of Amesbury of the £5 bequeathed to the said Fraunces by the will of here father Joh Collby, Sr. of Amesbury.
Joseph Pricte (SEAL)
Witness: Thomas Wells, Thomas (his X mark) Hoyt, Jr.

Elisabeth Collby of Amesbury acknowledged May 18, 1689, the receipt from her brother John Colby, eldest son of John Colby, of the £5 bequeathed to her by the will of her father John Collby of Amesbury.

Elizebth (her X mark) Colby (SEAL)
Witness: John Hoyt, Sr., Mary Hoyt.
Attested Nov. 22, 1723 by the witnesses, John Hoyt and his wife Mary Hoyt before Thomas Noyes and Joseph Woodbridge, Jus. of the Peace.
Essex County Probate Files, Docket 5,921.


1. Sgt. John Colby

John’s first wife Sarah Osgood was born 7 Feb 1653 in Salisbury, Essex, Mass. Her parents were William Osgood and Elizabeth Clear. Sarah died 8 Feb 1715 in Salisbury, Essex, Mass. Alternatively, John’s wife was Sarah Eldridge.

John’s second wife Ruth [__?__] was born 1660 in Amesbury, Essex, Mass. She first married about 1690 to Robert Ring. Robert Ring was born about 1665 in Salisbury, Mass, His parents were Robert RING and Elizabeth JARVIS. Robert died 3 DEC 1705 Amesbury, Mass. Ruth died May 1748 in Amesbury, Essex, Mass.

John Colby Jr. was a soldier in King Philip’s War, in the Falls Fight, under Capt. Turner, May 18 1676.

Sergeant John Colby took the oath of allegiance and fidelity, Dec 1677 and was a soldier in King Philip’s War, at the Falls Fight under Capt William Turner, 18 May 1676, and was sergeant of the Amesbury train band, 1680. Administration on the estate of John Colby was granted to Joseph Colby, the only surviving son, 21 April 1719. Robert Ring, son of the widow Ruth Ring, administered her estate, May 1748.
John rec’d “children’s land” in 1659 and a “township” in 1660. Member of “training band” 1680. He d. 06 Apr 1719 in Amesbury; adm est. gr Joseph Colby, only surviving son, 21 Apr 1719.

It is cetain from deeds that Sarah Osgood, b 1652/3, was in 1700 and 1708 wife of John Colby, and that she was dead in 1716. The only doubt is whether Sarah Eldridge and Sarah Osgood were the same person. The records may be reconciled in three ways: 1. Perhaps Eldridge should read Osgood. 2. Perhaps Sarah Osgood married 1st _____ Eldridge, of whom we have no other record, and m. 2nd John Colby. 3. the two may be distinct persons, as given above, which seems most probable, though we have no trace of the family of Sarah Eldridge. Wm and Anne Eldred, or Eldridge, of Yarmouth had Dau. Sarah, b.t 1850; but she was six years older than John Colby, and we know of no intercourse between Yarmouth and Salisbury. There was a John Eldred of Hampton in 1640, who apparently soon died or moved away.

2. Sarah Colby

Sarah’s husband Ebenezer Blaisdell was born 17 Oct 1657 in Salisbury, Essex, Mass. His parents were Henry Blaisdell and Mary Haddon. Ebenezer died 10 Aug 1710 in Amesbury, Essex, Mass.

3. Elizabeth Colby

Elizabeth’s husband Ephraim Weed was born 24 Feb 1666 in Mass. His parents were John Weed and Deborah Winsley. Ephraim died 22 May 1762 in Merrimac, Essex, Mass.

4. Frances Colby

Frances’ husband Joseph Pritchard was born 1 Mar 1658 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass. His parents were William Pritchard and Hannah [__?__]. Joseph died 10 Apr 1732 in Amesbury, Essex, Mass.

5. Anthony COLBY II (See his page)

7. Deacon Thomas Colby

Thomas’ wife Mary Rowell was born 5 Feb 1672 in Amesbury, Essex, Mass. Her parents were Thomas Rowell and Sarah Barnes. Her maternal grandparents were William BARNES and Rachel LORD. Mary died 3 Apr 1735 in Amesbury, Essex, Mass.

Thomas Colby - Gravestone

8. Mary Colby

Mary’s first husband Theophillus Griffin was born 2 Feb 1665/66 in Haverhill, Mass. His parents were John GRIFFIN and Lydia SHATSWELL. Theophillus died 17 Mar 1688.

Mary’s second husband Thomas Challis was born on 22 Jun 1673 in Amesbury, Essex County, Massachusetts. His parents were Lt. Phillip Challis and Mary Sargent. Thomas died at Amesbury, Essex County, Mass.

Thomas was a planter of Salisbury and Amesbury, and was a “snow shoe” man, 1708.

9. Hannah Colby

Hannah’s husband William Osgood was born 30 Jul 1673 in Salisbury, Essex, Mass. His parents were John Osgood and Mary Stevens. William died 1752 in Salisbury, Essex, Mass.


John Hoyt of Salisbury, by David W. Hoyt, C. Benjamin Richardson, Boston, pub 1857; (2). “The Colby Family in Early America” by Frederick Lewis Weis, Caledonia, The Colonial Press, pub 1970; (3). Colby Clan ancester sheets, submitted by various members; (4). Ancestral File (TM), data as of 2 January 1996, Family History Library, 35 North West Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150; (5). Early Essex County Vital Records to 1850, Salisbury, Massachusetts. Listed as Colebey; (6). “The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury Massachusetts” by David W. Hoyt.

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11 Responses to John Colby

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