B. 1618 in England
M. (probably) in Ipswich, Massachusetts
Wife: Hannah (last name unknown)
D. 17 Feb 1700 in Dracut, Massachusetts
Emigrated: July 1635 on the ship Defence
Edward Colburn (also spelled Coburn, Colborne or Colbourne) was born in England in 1618 and seems to have migrated to America with an older brother Robert on the ship Defence, which sailed in July 1635, arriving in Boston on October 8th.
Edward settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and was said to be employed by one of the Saltonstall family, probably Richard, a prominent man in Ipswich. As his employee, Edward cultivated a farm, but didn't own the land. He is later mentioned as "Nathaniel Saltonstall's farmer" in Ipswich town records. In 1664, Edward seems to have been renting a farm from the Saltonstalls that was transferred from Richard to his son Nathaniel, described as a "farm in Ipswich at the new medows containing by estimation eight hundred acres now in the occupation of Edward Colborne."
While living in Ipswich, Edward married a woman named Hannah (possibly with the last name Rolfe). They would have nine children of whom seven were boys. The records of Ipswich burned in a fire in 1831, and their exact birth dates are unknown.
On November 22, 1671, Edward became a landowner when he purchased 16 acres of wilderness on the Merrimac River. Edward was settled there by 1673 and was believed to be the first permanent white settler in "ye wildernesse on ye Northerne side of Merrimac River." A man named Samuel Varnum was also living nearby and the two families would have a long history of intermarriage. Eventually the land would be incorporated into the town of Dracut.
It was said that Edward "erected a Garrison House, and, with his seven stalwart sons and his sons-in-law, he was able to protect himself from the thieving bands of Indians, while aid could be summoned in time of danger, when larger bands would be on the warpath." It was said that this homestead remained in the Colburn family for five generations, though it was added onto so many times, the original structure was obliterated.
The land where Edward lived was in a vulnerable position during King Philip's War and on March 18, 1676, he suffered an attack by the Wamesit Indians, who burned down "three or four [houses] that belong to the family of Edward Colburn." Edward was a corporal in the militia then; his second oldest son was in the militia as well, and was killed in an Indian ambush in August 1675 at Brookfield. Edward also served as corporal in King William's War in command of the local garrison in July 1689.
In Edward's later years, he deeded land to each of his sons. The youngest one, Joseph, was given property with the condition that he "provide for me and my dear wife so long as it shall please God to continue both or either of us in this life." Edward died in Dracut on February 17, 1700. It is not known when his wife Hannah died.
Famous descendants of Edward Colburn include former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bartlett Giamatti and actor Paul Giamatti.
1. Edward Colburn – B. 1642, Ipswich, Massachusetts; D. 2 Aug 1675
2. John Colburn – B. 1644, Ipswich, Massachusetts; D. 1695; M. Hannah Read (?-1739), 10 Mar 1671
3. Robert Colburn – B. about 1647, Ipswich, Massachusetts; D. 17 Jun 1701, Concord, Massachusetts; M. Mary Bishop (1651-?), 16 Mar 1669
4. Thomas Colburn – B. about 1648, Ipswich, Massachusetts; M. (1) Hannah Rouf (or Rolfe), 6 Aug 1672; (2) Mary Richardson, 17 Sep 1681, Chelmsford, Massachusetts
5. Daniel Colburn – B. about 1654, Ipswich, Massachusetts; D. 1 Aug 1712; M. Sarah Blood (1658-1741), 18 Jun 1685
6. Hannah Colburn – B. Ipswich, Massachusetts; M. (1) Thomas Richardson; (2) John Wright
7. Ezra Colburn – B. 16 Mar 1658, Ipswich, Massachusetts; D. Jun 1739, Dracut, Massachusetts; M. Hannah Varnum (1661-?)
8. Joseph Colburn – B. 16 Jun 1661, Ipswich, Massachusetts; D. 13 Nov 1733, Dracut, Massachusetts; M. (1) Hannah ______ (?-1721); (2) Deborah Stevens, 5 Jul 1726
9. Lydia Colburn – B. 20 Aug 1666, Ipswich, Massachusetts
History of Lowell and its people, Frederick William Colburn, 1920
Genealogy of the Descendants of Edward Colburn/Coburn, George A. Gordon and Silas R. Coburn, 1913
GeneaStar: Famous Family Tree and Genealogy [website]