Colby Homes



    Cadillac, Wexford County, Michigan -- built by Rothwell and Birdella Colby, my great grandparents.  Rothwell was the son of Horace.  I don't know when the house was built but the little boy standing on the fence is my grandfather, Henry Howard Colby who was born in 1895.  My father, Howard Colby was born in the house and the house was in the family until the death of Henry and his wife Irma in 1988.  The house has been remodeled several times and is still standing. -- Jane

Cortland, Kent County, Michigan -- built by Horace and Ruth Colby, my great great grandparents.  They settled in Michigan and built the house in the 1850's.  He was the son of Joshua and Abigail Colby from Claremont, New Hampshire.  The house burned down  -- I think in the 1940's.-- Jane.

When the Colby Mansion was constructed around 1870 it was described as possibly the finest in the State outside Montpelier. It was designed and built by local Waterbury industrialist George J. Colby. The mansion was the execution of Colby's ideas on proper house construction. Although Colby had no known architectural training, he was a self-educated innovator, attempting to improve upon healthy ways of living through architecture and modern conveniences. The house is not only a well-designed, well-preserved upper class home from the Victorian era, but it also reflects the philosophy of a local, influential individual whose ideas were shared by many Americans at the turn of the century, and eventually found widespread application throughout the country.

Colby was well-known locally for his financial empire, which included a print shop, machine shop, the manufacture of willow ware and wringers, and the invention of a bark-peeling machine. He also wrote political pamphlets and helped organize the local library and cemetery association. In 1871 he published his ideas on domestic architecture in a series of eight articles in The Household, entitled "Household Architecture." The Colby Mansion was the embodiment of these ideas. It was symmetrically designed (promoting circulation), with forced hot air heat, a well-lit and ventilated basement, natural-finished interior woodwork, shallow hipped roof, and indoor plumbing. The marble sinks originally installed in each bedroom are still in place. In addition to these basic features, to promote healthful living, Colby also accentuated his home with features typical of the Victorian era, including a lavish degree of decorative detail, a projecting entrance bay, porch, and two bay windows.

The Colby Mansion is located north of Waterbury on Vermont Rt. 100. It is currently the Colby Mansion Home for the Aged, and not open to the public.

Capt. Abraham Colby home Amesbury, MA.

Morrill, True, Colby home Amesbury, MA.

Hannah Colby home, Dunbarton, NH.

Ambrose & Benjamin Colby Home in Wiscasset, ME

Kate Forster standing in front of ancestors home

In Embden Town of Yore, Walker states that Benjamin was a blacksmith "like his grandfather, Ambrose."  His house, now an antique store called "Lilac Cottage" may have been built on the site of Ambrose's blacksmith shop.  Some Wiscasset residents say the house was built in the road; others say it was being moved to Ambrose's land when it broke down, and was left where it landed.  Benjamin lived in this house at the time of the Revolution, and served with Massachusetts troops for a total of about seven months as a sergeant.  Maine was part of Massachusetts until 1830.

Fannie Chase's Wiscasset in Pownalborough describes the house:
The house of Benjamin Colby at the foot of the Common, known to the older generation as "the Clapp house" is a very old house.  The primitive construction found in the cellar where stone piers placed far apart to support the big central chimney are spanned by joists of white oak 14 by 16 inches thick, hewn into an archway; the floors held up by adze-cut beams, and above, at the side of the chimney, the glory hole; the fireplace, 5 feet wide and 4 feet high, all bear witness to its antiquity, but the exact date of its erection is unknown.

In 1789 it was conveyed "to John Adams, mariner, by Benjamin Colby with the house thereon standing in consideration of 50."  Benjamin Colby lived with his grandfather Ambrose Colby, a blacksmith at Wiscasset Point, before the above mentioned date, at which time he removed to Colby Island in the Kennebec River.

In the past century old residents who had lived long lives in the immediate neighborhood, told the story of a blacksmith squatting on the townway.  They said that in the early perambulation of the village, Fifth or Court Street was designed to cross State Street and continue in a northerly direction to Warren Street, not then so-called, thereby forming the eastern boundary of the rectangular training field or Common.

The smithery, presumably belonging to Ambrose Colby, stood where is now the barn, and the blacksmith, with a fixed determination to live near his stiddy, built his cabin in the street, where he apparently held the fort (or forge) in peaceable possession for the remainder of his life.  (p. 550)

Kate Forster