A History of the Town of Keene from 1732: When the Township was Granted by Massachusetts, to 1874, when it Became a City by Simon Goodell Griffin, Frank H. Whitcomb, Octavius Applegate
John Colony (original name spelled as at present, but written Connoly and Conley in the early town records) was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1730; came to Wrentham, Mass., about the year 1740; enlisted in the army in the last French and Indian war, 1755-60; joined Capt. Rogers's famous corps of rangers; was in the battle near Fort Edward when Major Israel Putnam was captured and tied to a tree to be burned, but was finally released; served nearly through the whole war. For that service he received a grant of land in Maine, which he exchanged for a tract on Saxton's river, near the village of Grafton, Vt.
In 1761 he married Melatiah, sister of Ichabod Fisher, one of the early settlers of Keene, came to Keene about the same time and bought the farm in the west part which still remains in the possession of his descendants — his great granddaughter, Martha Colony, and her husband, William H. Woodward, now occupying the homestead.
He was a man of great energy and courage. At one time during the war he was in a fort, to which the settlers had fled with their families, besieged by the French and Indians. The infant children were in great need of milk, cows were grazing just beyond the enemy's outposts, and young Colony volunteered to get the milk. Taking his gun, his pail and his trusty dog, he stole through the enemy's lines, reached the cows, filled his pail, and started to return. When nearly half way to the fort his dog barked, and turning, he confronted an Indian, whom he quickly shot, then picked up his pail and ran for the fort. The dog and the gun had roused the savages and they followed in hot pursuit, but Colony reached the fort in safety, with his pail of milk intact. At another time, after he came to Keene, he heard a large bear foraging at night in his cornfield, a little to the southwest of his log cabin. He took the old musket that he had carried through the war and went out and shot him, and had his skin for a trophy.
He died in 1797. His children were:
Hannah, born in 1762;
Timothy, born in 1764;
Melatiah, born in 1766; and
Josiah, born in 1774.
Timothy Colony Timothy Colony, son of John and Melatiah (Fisher) Colony, was born in Keene in 1764;
married Sarah, daughter of Benjamin Dwinnell (her mother, Mary Estes Dwinnell, was a descendant of the parents of Rebecca (Towne) Nurse, who was hanged as a witch in 1692;
lived on the Colony homestead;
Josiah, born 1791,
Polly, born 1793,
John, born 1795,
Joshua D., born 1804,
and three other children.
He died in 1836, aged seventy-two.
Josiah Colony, eldest son of Timothy and Sarah (Dwinnell) Colony, and grandson of John Colony above, was born in 1791; brought up on the farm; educated in the public schools and by his own efforts in extensive reading and study, gaining thereby unusual general intelligence. Robust and athletic, and displaying a remarkable aptitude for mechanics, he was employed in early manhood in running the saw and grist mills where the Faulkner & Colony mills now stand. While thus employed, in 1814, he enlisted in the company of Capt. James M. Warner, of Acworth, in the regiment of Lt. Col. John Steele, of Peterboro, of the detached militia sent to Portsmouth in September to defend that town and harbor from an attack of the British, then threatened. After a service of sixty days, when the danger was passed, he was discharged, with his company.
Jn 1815, he formed a partnership with Francis Faulkner, clothier, and with him bought all the mills and water privileges where he had been at work, except those owned by Azel Wilder, west of the sawmill, and established and carried on a successful business, which their descendants still continue, greatly enlarged.
In 1817, Mr. Colony married Hannah, daughter of Danforth Taylor, of Stoddard. The children by this marriage were Timothy, George D., Henry, Mary A., Alfred T., John E. and Horatio, born between 1819 and 1835. In 1853, he married for his second wife, Mrs. Jane (Briggs) Buell, by whom he had one son, Josiah D., born in 1855. He died in 1867, aged seventy-six.
Mr. Colony was a remarkably keen observer, shrewd and persistent in his business affairs, but of the strictest integrity. He never sought public office, but was generous and public spirited in everything that pertained to the welfare of the community.