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  • ID: I0143
  • Name: Reuben Colburn
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 1740 in Dracut, Mass
  • Death: 16 SEP 1818 in Pittston, Kennebec, Maine
  • Military Service: 1775 A American Revolution patriot gave financial aid and was a member of the Committee of Safety for Pittston, Maine DAR #154961 ,enlisted into Continental Army for 3 years
  • Occupation: Ship builder
  • Religion: Congregationalist
  • Residence: Agry Point near Gardiner-Randolph bridge; Colburn house, shipyard, cemetary with Colburn monument
  • Census: 1800 Kennebec, Maine
  • Burial: Riverside Cemetary, Pittston, ME
  • Note:
    In 1763 came to Pittston/ Gardinerston/ Kennebec area after the end of the French and Indian War. As a staunch well-known Patriot he played an important role as a shipbuilder in the 1775 Arnold- Quebec campaign ( now the Arnold Trail is a state historical site). He promised and built over 200 bateaus-flat bottom boats for carrying heavy loads- for Benedict Arnold's troops. His house in Pittston/ Agry Point is still used by the genealogy society there.

    Maj. Reuben Colburn, built some of the first vessels on the Kennebec River. He was a man of great energy and earnestness of purpose, in illustration of which it is related by Hanson in his history of Gardiner and Pittston, that it was the major's custom, throughout the Summer months, to take his family in a canoe every Saturday, and paddle down to Georgetown, thirty-five miles, to attend church, returning on Monday. Hanson also relates that on the breaking out of the Revolution, the few surviving warriors of the Kennebec Indians were persuaded by Paul Higgins, who had lived among them from childhood, to join the Americans. Headed and guided by Maj. Colburn, they went, to the number of twenty or thirty, in their canoes to Merry Meeting Bay, whence they proceeded on foot to Cambridge, arriving Aug. 13, 1775, and tendered their services to Gen. Washington. Washington, however, did not fancy the introduction of their style of warfare into the contest, gave them but little encouragement, and they returned.
    Maj. Colburn built the bateaux for transporting Arnold's troops above tide water, in his expedition to Quebec, and accompanied the expedition; but as late as 1852 neither he nor his heirs had ever been paid for these boats, though they had repeatedly asked Congress to reimburse them. ( It is somewhat interesting to read excerpts regarding these boats in which Benedict Arnold was not pleased with the quality of the workmanship nor materials used- Colburn used what he really had available which may not have been the best and did complete this project in haste as probably was required )

    From a 1975 article written by Cecil Pierce , Arnold Expedition Historical Society: Reuben Colburn- unlike the other great landowner across the river from him, Sylvester Gardiner- was a staunch Patriot and well known as such to those who were dedicated to freedom in Boston and other posts. He was destined to be, next to Arnold, the most important man as regards the expedition to Quebec. For without the drive of this man there would not have been built the crucial bateaux. In 1759, the formidable Wolfe had taken the fortress of Quebec with a resulting treaty, in 1763 signed by France giving up Canada. This was the end of the French and Indian War. The Redman was no longer a menace to Maine lands. It was this year and undoubtably the cessation of hostilities threat brought Reuben Colburn ( later he would be Major Colburn) and others to Gardinerston on the Kennebec. He settled on 250 acres on the east side of the river where the town of Pittston is today. Here he proceeded to build a shipyard and back of it a fine dominating home which stands today much as it was originally built. Indeed he must have been a man of extraordinary energy and prevision for in the next ten years he was to acquire additional land by the square mile. In August of 1775 Colburn made three trips by horseback to Cambridge where planning for a Quebec campaign was going on. He acted a a consultant on all matters relative to the route, type of conveyance, and availability of provisions on the Kennebec. On the third trip he brought home with him an order the likes of which few men would have had the courage to accept; an order to construct 200 bateaux complete with 800 oars, 400 paddles, 400 setting poles, all to be, hewn by hand. When completed the bateaux placed end to end would reach up the river a mile. In about 20 days Arnold and 1100 men would be in Gardinerston for them. The journey home which was to take two of his precious days must have been laden heavily with thoughts of accomplishing this tremendous task of construction. Where would he get the 20,000 board feet of long wide boards? Would the sparce working population, half of them Torys rise to the occasion? It would take thousands of hand made nails; were they or the iron to forge them available? Of one thing he was certain this bountiful region had unlimited supply of virgin pine and oak needing only to be cut and sawed but would the water power mills on the little Nahumkeag Stream and Togus Stream up river have enough water running in late summer for operation? We today only know that he was successful in mastering all problems for when Arnold and the expedition arrived the boats were ready. ( In addition he assembled food supplies for the trip and sent shipbuilders along for repairs) After the Revolution this influential man was a very successful shipbuilder and lumber producer, active as a town officer and the Region's first representative to the General Court. Today the granite shaft of his monument towers above the little graveyard across the highway from his home much as he did to his contemporaries in life.

    Reuben Colburn served on a Committee of Safety: Committees of Safety, executive bodies established by towns and legislatures in colonial America, just before the American Revolution, to direct the struggle against British rule. As the conflict between the colonies and Great Britain deepened, many colonial towns created local Committees of Correspondence, Committees of Inspection, and Committees of Safety. The Committees of Inspection were charged with the task of checking and reporting violations of the boycott of British trade initiated by the First Continental Congress. The Committees of Safety for corresponding on a local scale to the Continental Congress. One of their tasks was supplying the Continental Army with men and equipment.
    The first Committee of Safety appointed by a colonial legislature was probably that established in October 1774, by the first Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, to function as a general executive body for the entire colony.
    The decision of the Committee of Safety established by the second Provincial Congress of Massachusetts in February 1775, to occupy Charlestown and Dorchester Heights, led to the Battle of Bunker Hill. The New York Committee of Safety in the same year seized British arms and stores and virtually compelled the British to evacuate that city. When state constitutions were adopted, these committees were replaced by constitutional bodies, but many functioned unofficially during the American Revolution. "Committees of Safety," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    According to the cemetery records of Riverside Cemetery in Pittston, Maine, Reuben Colburn served in the Revolutionary War.

    " The History of Gardiner, Pittston, West Gardiner, Maine 1602-1852" by J.W. Hanson, published by William Palmer, 1852
    "November 9, 1763, Reuben Colburn [Wiscasset Records] received 250 acres on the eastern side of the river. The conditions specified were substantially the same as those attached to the other settlers' lots. He was required to build a house 20 feet square, and 7 feet stud; was to reduce 3 acres to tillage in 3 years; he or his heirs were to occupy the land for 10 years, and work two days each year on the ministerial lot. Jan. 1, 1773 he bought a lot five miles by one half a mile, of James Bowdoin, excepting one lot of 100 acres, granted to John Shanny. Maj. Colburn built some of the first vessels on the Kennebec, and took an active part in the Revolution. His location was near Agry's point." Page 71

    " On the breaking out of the Revolution, the few remaining warriors of the Kennebecs gathered at Gardinerston, where they were persuaded by Paul Higgins, a white man who had lived among them from childhood, to join the Americans. Headed and guided by Reuben Colburn, they went, to the number of twenty or thirty, in their canoes to Merry-meeting Bay, whence they proceeded to Cambridge on foot, and arrived August 13, 1775 (Drake, B, III. p. 156) They were not much encouraged by Washington, and returned. Swashan, (Ibid) a chief formerly distinguished around the western part of the State, but who lived in 1775 at St. Francois, came to Cabbassa with the Canibas, designing to aid the Americans. He told Washington that half of his tribe, and nearly all of the Canadians, were ready to fight against the English, who seem to have made efforts to obtain their favor and that of the Canadians, in vain. In 1795 there were but seven families, and there is not one of all that noble race now on the earth."

    Father: Jeremiah Colburn b: ABT 1710 in Dracut Mass
    Mother: Sarah Jewell b: BET 1710 AND 1714 in Dunstable, Middlesex, Mass

    Marriage 1 Elizabeth Lewis b: 1743 in Dunstable, MA
    • Married: ABT 1765 in Pittson, Maine
    1. Has Children Elizabeth Colburn b: 29 MAY 1768 in Pittston , Kennebec, Maine
    2. Has No Children Reuben Colburn b: 1770 in Pittston, Kennebec County, Maine
    3. Has No Children David Colburn b: 1773 in Pittston, Kennebec County, Maine
    4. Has No Children Abigail Colburn b: 1775 in Pittston, Kennebec County, Maine
    5. Has No Children Abiah Colburn b: 1777 in Pittston, Kennebec County, Maine
    6. Has No Children Ebenezer Colburn b: 1779 in Pittston, Kennebec County, Maine
    7. Has No Children Sarah Colburn b: 1782 in Pittston , Kennebec, Maine
    8. Has No Children Olive Colburn b: 1784 in Pittston, Kennebec County, Maine
    9. Has No Children Martha Colburn b: 1787 in Pittston, Kennebec County, Maine
    10. Has No Children Lydia Colburn b: 1791 in Pittston, Kennebec County, Maine
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