Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Charles Lewis Colby and Family Line

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From Direct line of Anthony Colby of Amesbury, Massachusetts Charles Lewis Colby son oGardner Colby (1810-1879) and Mary Low Roberts (1813-1895) Josiah Chase Colby (1777-1840) and Sarah Davidson (1791-1868)
Samuel Colby (1740-1797) and Sarah Cummings (1743-1818) Lot Colby (1717-1790) and Ann Walker (1717-abt1764) Abraham Colby (1683-1739) and Sarah Buckman (1689-1742) Isaac Colby (1640-1723) and  Martha Paratt (1649-1730) Anthony Colby (bapt in London 1605-death 1660) and Susannah (a widow of Waterman)
Born May 22, 1839, in Roxbury, MA. 1858 graduated from the Brown university. He was engaged in the shipping and warehouse business in New York city; interested in railroad construction and mining. 1876 he served with distinction as a member of the Wisconsin state legislature. He has been president of the following institutions: Wisconsin Central Railroad; Minnesota, St. Croix and Wisconsin Railroad; Milwaukee and Lake Winnebago Railroad; Chicago, Wisconsin and Minnesota Railroad; Chicago and Great Western Railroad; Chippewa Falls and Western Railroad; and other business corporations. He lived in NY city, and was one of its most influential citizens.
From  Magazine of Western History, Volume 10 It was well for those great railroad interests of the Northwest that when Gardner Colby was compelled by advancing age and the approach of disease to lay down the burdens he had so manfully borne, there was one who by reason of youth, industry, keen natural sagacity and financial genius, was able to step into the breach and carry all forward to a magnificent success. Charles Lewis Colby from his father much more than was set down in any formal bequest; for no mention was there made of the traits of character that made the one conspicuous and honored, and that shine so steadily and truly in the life and works of the other. The son, Charles L., who is now and has been for years ranked as one of the foremost railroad men of the country. His youth was passed under the care of a father and mother alive to his best moral and mental interests; and after the usual preparatory schooling he entered Brown University, from which he graduated in 1858. 
He soon after entered upon his business career in Boston with Page, Richardson & Co., ship-owners, who run a line of packets to Liverpool, and also conducted a large average adjusting business. At the end of three years he went to New York city, where he enentered into partnership with Capt. Albert Dunbar—a man much older than himself—under the firm name of Dunbar & Colby. Their business was the building and general management of ships. The senior partner soon after became unable to attend to business because of sickness, and in two years died, leaving Mr. Colby the control of their great enterprises almost from the commencement of their partnership. Nothing daunted he kept fearlessly along the road upon which he had entered, commanding unusual success. He soon added a general warehouse business and admitted a brother as partner, the firm being known as C. L. & J. L. Colby—E. B. Bartlett being afterwards also admitted.

In 1870 Mr. Colby entered upon what may be well considered the great work of his life, giving up his New York connection that he might aid his father in the Wisconsin Central enterprise. He was soon set to a task that was calculated to try his powers to the fullest, being sent in 1870-71 to Europe to negotiate securities and sell the railroad bonds. He was laid under no special instructions by the management but left free to compass the desired ends by his own methods, and the results showed that the trust had been committed to the right hands. Upon reaching Europe Mr. Colby made the acquaintance of Henry Villard, and through his assistance negotiated a large amount of railroad securities in Germany. The next three years were spent in alternating between Europe and America, with occasional visits to Wisconsin, his attention being mainly given to the financial part of the enterprise. In 1874 it was found that his attention was almost continuously required in the West, and he accordingly closed up his affairs in New York, sold out his Eastern interests, and removed to Milwaukee, which has since been his home. He was first treasurer of the Phillips & Colby Construction Co., and held that office for several years. He was connected with the Wisconsin Central from its beginning, and it may be said in passing that he has raised all the" money needed by the extensions and improvements of the great system until now, and has carried into the State of Wisconsin over twenty million dollars, besides ten millions or more which has been invested in Chicago in connection with the same great enterprise.

From  Railroad Gazette, Volume 39

In 1877 Mr. Colby was elected president of the Wisconsin Central and remained continuously in that position until now except during an interim of a few months when he resigned for a time, to cover an expected absence in the east. The grand work he has accomplished in connection therewith; the service he has given to his adopted state; and the results accomplished by the seed sown by his father and nurtured by himself in that now teeming portion of the west, may best be learned from the following tribute from one of the leading journals of Wisconsin, the Sentinel, of Milwaukee:
"Mr. Colby has been a resident of Wisconsin nearly seven years; he has been identified with many enterprises of a public character; has interested himself greatly in all benevolent and charitable institutions; and in many cases, as all know, has contributed largely both of his means and of his time to increase their usefulness and their power. Through his untiring and ceaseless efforts is due, more than to any other cause, the final completion and success of the Wisconsin Central Railroad, which has done more for the recent development of the state than any other enterprise.
"In Mr. Colby's efforts to accomplish these great results he has met with much opposition from many who should rather have given to it their heartygood will and help. He has been hampered in the courts, in the legislature, and by these same prosecutions to which reference has already been made; but he has fought his way to success. Many of those who once bitterly opposed him are now his warmest friends; and the day has already come when the whole state recognizes the energy, enterprise, integrity and pluck of the man who has yielded to no obstacle and to no enemy. The few who now oppose him appear to be merely those who have been dismissed from employment of the company for reasons that were sufficient to warrant it in so doing. The congratulations that have poured in upon Mr. Colby from not only the business men and best people of Milwaukee, but from all over the state and the northwest, indicate the high esteem in which he is held by all communities who know him. Few men, if any, have ever become identified with the interests of Wisconsin and who have, in the brief period of seven years, attained to so high position in the regard of the people of the state. Although standing aloof from desire for political preferment, and only accepting public service when it has been forced upon him, he even became the first choice of a considerable portion of the communities where he is best known, for the position of United States senator; and was persistently brought forward in connection with that position, although at no time in any way or degree a candidate.

  The town of Colby took its name from the railway station on the Wisconsin Central Railway, which had been built through that country a short time before, and the station was named for Gardner L. Colby, father of Charles L. Colby, who was so long identified with the railway. 

"To those who appreciate, first, the herculean labor and grit required to push the Wisconsin Central Railroad through the northern wilderness of the state; second, that the work accomplished was the entering wedge to the present rapid development of the entire upper half of the territory of the commonwealth ; third, that thereby the greatest natural resources of Wisconsin were made known and became utilized; fourth, that from this beginning, made less than ten years ago, the northern half of the state has become reclaimed from absolute wilderness to equally productive wealth with that of any other region; fifth, that to this beginning is alone due the present stride of railways across and through the long neglected territory that fairly teems with grand riches of forest, mine and field, and that is to be in the near future the most steadily flowing tributary to Milwaukee's commercial greatness; then, indeed, there can be but one sentiment in regard to the good accomplished by the long hindered yet finally successful labors of Mr. Charles L. Colby and his immediate associates in the great work of building the Wisconsin Central Railroad through the wilderness that was so long deemed impregnable. To-day Milwaukee and Wisconsin owe much to the management of the Wisconsin Central, and northern Wisconsin owes everything." The details of railroad work accomplished in that portion of the northwest by Mr. Colby and his associates in creating the presentWisconsin Central system, would fill a volume if relatedin full. They built the Wisconsin & Minnesota, Milwaukee & Lake Winnebago; bought the Chippewa Falls & Western; built the Minnesota, St. Croix & Wisconsin; built the St. Paul & St. Croix Falls; built the Packwaukee & Montello, the Penokee Railroad, and the Chicago, Wisconsin & Minnesota; and also created the Chicago & Great Western, a terminal company holding the terminal facilities of the system in Chicago and its suburbs. These companies make up what is called the Wisconsin Central lines; some having been consolidated, and all brought into one system and under one control. Mr. Colby is president and treasurer of all the companies named.

  In addition to these connections, Mr. Colby is also closely identified with the various important lines leading clear to the Pacific; being on the boards of direction of the Northern Pacific Railroad company; the Oregon Trans-continental company; and the Oregon Navigation company. He is also a memberof the executive commitees of each of these great corporations.
As if the above business connections were not enough to keep even the giant industry and executive genius of Mr. Colby engaged, his name, capital and energy, may be found working for the general good through other lines of commercial activity. He is connected with various equipment companies; is president of the Penokee & Gogebic Development Company, which owns the famous Colby and Tilden mines—which developed the Gogebic regions ;—he and his friends own a half interest in the Ashland Iron Mining Company, of which he is also president; and also of the Colby Consolidated Mining Company, organized for the purchase of interests in other mines. These several companies put out from five to six hundred thousand tons of ore annually.

Not alone in a career of business success, has Charles L. Colby conformed his life to that of the beloved father whom he well may choose for a model; but in works of educational and religious usefulness, and in a broad charity that seeks only for the best results, and takes little note of the outlay that must go before. Like his father, he is a trustee of Brown University; a member of the board of trustees of Wayland University, at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin; and connected with various other institutions of a like character, among which may be specially mentioned the American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society. His heart and his means have been for years devoted to the interests of the Young Men's Christian Association in its various branches; and he has given liberally to that department of Christian work. He has been a member of the international committee for six or eight years, and was at one time president of the international convention. He is constantly giving to many worthy objects, and wherever his heart is interested, his benefactions are sure to follow.
It is to be regretted that the constant and ever increasing demands of business have prevented Mr. Colby from giving more of his talents and energy to the public use, as he is fitted in many essential ways to wield a wide influence in public and political affairs, and such part as he has taken has measured the ground there is for such regret. A speaker of magnetic eloquence, a clear and deep thinker, with a compactness of expression that combines the whole theme in a few glowing words, a natural leader of men, and a close student of public events, he would soon make his mark in any field to which he might be called. An earnest Republican, he is often called upon to speak in important campaigns, and one of his speeches, delivered in Wisconsin during the campaign of 1884, may be—as it then was—regarded as one of the strongest political documents furnished in that great presidential year. He is often called upon to speak in Y. M. C. A. gatherings, and in other church and mission gatherings; and has always something new to say, and says it with an earnest vigor that carries all before him.     See Letters of C L Colby
The only public position that Mr. Colby has consented to accept, was that of member of the Wisconsin State Legislature in 1876, where he went for the purpose of forwarding certain important public interests. While there he became conspicuous by the brilliant fight he made against the restoration of capital punishment to the state; and to his speech, delivered on February 24th, the defeat of that obnoxious measure was almost entirely due. It was an eloquent argument from the ground of a true Christian humanity, and brought commendation from the people and press from all quarters of the state. For the purpose of illustrating Mr. Colby's clearness as a thinker, and power of statement, the subjoined brief extracts are taken here and there from some of his most important public addresses:
From the speech against capital punishment, above described: "The death penalty is a failure. Aye, it is worse. I say it boldly, it increases crime. It lowers moral sentiment. The government sets the example to the people and declares that human life is not sacred. You have heard already that public executions were always attended by the most unhappy results. Hundreds of instances are on record where those who witnessed an execution went away to commit the very crime for which death had just been inflicted. The very sight of it hardens the sensibilities; brutal instincts which lie in most men dormant are aroused, and they go from the place to perpetrate new deeds of violence and blood."
"It is a fact that the gallows is the emblem of vindictive justice, and vindictive justice belongs to heathenism."
"It has been said by an eminent writer, 'There is a long twilight between the time when a god is first suspected of being an idol and his final overthrow.' There has been a longtwilight since the penalty of death was first suspected of being otherwise than divine. But the day is dawning; the light is breaking. The idol is tottering, and in Wisconsin at least there is nothing left of it but its ashes. And I believe, Mr. Speaker, that from its ashes it will never rise!"
In an address upon "Christian Education," delivered before the Wisconsin Baptist State Convention on October 5, 1882: "The subject under discussion this evening is Christian education. I believe in it fully and firmly. I believe in the full development of every human being, body, mind and soul. He who misses this loses just so much of the possibilities of life."
"Thousands are born into the world, grow up to manhood, and die without ever gaining any knowledge of the world they entered, without ever tasting the delights of learning. They never lift the corner of the curtain which hides from their view the wonderful beauties of created things. They never have a glimpse into the mind of the Infinite Creator. They have no knowledge of that which lies beyond the range of their natural vision, of things which have been in the past, and out of which have gradually evolved the world-encircling and world-filling wonders of the present. They have no knowledge of the brains which planned and the genius which executed the great movements of history—of the peoples and nations—the overturning and up buildings, the grand achievements of men, the establishment of governments, the formulation of laws, the conquest of arms, the advance of science, the progress of humanity toward civilization and God. They behold not the footprints of the Almighty in His steady march through the ages."
At the formal opening of the Milwaukee Museum of Fine Arts, at the Exposition building: "The study of art plumes the wings of the imagination, and makes it strong in flight. It helps men to use the things which are seen, as stepping stones upon which they may rise to the enjoyment of the things which are not seen but which are eternal." Such selections might profitably be culled from many other addresses of like character, but enough have been given to serve our purpose—to show that the man of many business cares, upon whom great responsibilities are constantly resting, has found time not only for the constant broadening and cultivation of his own mind, but to lift his voice again and again for the advising, the encouragement, and the bettering of his kind. And although Charles L. Colby has done great good in the world in many material, moral and educational ways, he has not yet, let us prophesy and hope, begun to touch the high mark of his usefulness, nor fulfilled all the purposes of good for which he was sent into the world.
C L Colby Home New York

Photo by Alice Lum  In the spring of 1890 Charles L. Colby was one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in New York City. A close friend of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., he oversaw his family’s extensive railroad interests and sat on the board of directors of the Northern Pacific Railroad among others.
This is an article from Saturday, August 5, 1916 Charles and son Everett Colby (December 10, 1874 – June 19, 1943) Paper: Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID)

COLBY JOINS TANK CORPS New Jersey Political Reformer Enlists As Private New York Sun
Everett COLBY, pioneer Progressive of New Jersey, has enlisted as a private in the Tank Corps and will leave his home at Llewellyn Park, West Orange, October 1, for Gettysburg, where he will start training. Essex county has always been mighty proud of Mr. COLBY, even the youngsters on the street know him, and but little was talked about by his friends and neighbors yesterday except that he had given up his extensive law practice, his work as an assistant to Mr. HOOVER, to spread the gospel of food saving to the American people and the pleasures of his social position to do his part in the war. The first intimation that Mr. COLBY would become a "buck private in the tanks" was dropped by former Mayor Farnham YARDLEY at a meeting of the West Orange Liberty Loan executive committee in the Essex County Country Club Saturday afternoon and later Mr. COLBY modestly confirmed the news, which he had been holding back from his friends for some time. He is 44 years old. His wife was Miss Edith HYDE, a member of a wealthy Plainfield family. They have two sons and two daughters. In 1910 he went to England to aid Lloyd George in his campaign. Mr. COLBY is reputed to be wealthy and his home is one of the show places of Llewellyn Park.
This is a poem written about C L Colby and his father Gardner.

From The National Cyclopedia of American Biography By James Terry White Gardner Colby railroad developer, philanthropist, and founder of Colby University, was born at Bowdoinham, Me., Sept. 8, 1810. His father, Josiah Chase Colby a wealthy merchant of Maine, lost his fortune in consequence of the second war with England, and dying soon after, left his infant children to the care of their mother. She removed to Charlestown, Mass., and there bravely undertook to provide for the needs of her growing family by her own industry. See A Tribute to Garner Colby

Gardner Colby received a good common-school education, and began his business life by a year's employment as clerk in a grocery store. He then entered the dry goods business, opening a store of his own when but twenty years of age. Later embarking extensively in the manufacture of woolens, he laid the foundations of his great wealth. During the civil war he was one of the largest contractors to supply clothing to the Federal army. His prudeuco and industry caused his rapid advance in prosperity, while his watchfulness and enterprise led him to branch out into many lines of activity and investment outside his regular occupation. At one time he was largely interested in navigation, engaging extensively in the China trade.

Colby Abott Building Milwaukee. At 60 he & son Charles built the Wisconsin Central RR in the 1870s

He also made profitable investments in real estate, especially at South Cove, near Boston. Later his interests were most particularly attracted to railroads, the building of the transcontinental lines rendering that field especially attractive to enterprising capitalists. He became first prominently identified with railroads in 1870, when he was elected president of the Wisconsin Central, at the start showing his great executive ability and courage by undertaking the construction of 340 miles of road through primeval forests and unsettled territory. With this initial achievement he became one of the most extensive railroad developers and executives throughout the northwestern part of the United States, becoming connected in prominent official capacities with one after another of the great companies operating in that region. Amid all his vast and well earned successes he was,first place, the philanthropist, even from early life, when a clerk on a moderate salary, regularly devoting a proportion of his income to charity.

1863 Gardner's Clipper Ship built for his 1850s woolen trade. Made his 2nd fortune providing woolens to the Union army
As a devout Baptist he became one of the most generous benefactors of the institutions of his denomination, but such was his largeness of heart and breadth of human sympathy that he allowed no worthy object to suffer for want of assistance. Brown University benefited much by his generosity, and from 1855 until his death, he was annually chosen trustee. His donations were also liberal and unfailing to the Newton Theological Institution, of which he was for many years treasurer, and "flowed in a perennial stream to the Missionary Union and other agencies for Christian work at home and abroad."

In 1864 the trustees of Waterville College, Maine, realizing the great difficulty of longer continuing work with the meagre funds which had so long handicapped the institution, appealed to Mr. Colby for assistance. He responded at once, and making a visit to Waterville to ascertain the real condition of affairs, he unhesitatingly pledged $50,000, subject only to the subscription of an additional $100,000 by other friends of the college. This act of his was its real salvation, and by unanimous consent the name was changed to Colby University. Mr. Colby's business life was passed in Boston, Mass. His two sons, Charles Lewis Colby, who succeeded him in the management of his railroad interests, and Rev. Henry Francis Colby, a noted Baptist preacher, have nobly continued his activities in the cause of religion and humanity. Mr. Colby died at his home in Newton Centre, Mass., Apr. 2, 1879.

From History of the Colby family with genealogical tables

Josiah C. Colby was a wealthy shipbuilder of Bowdoinham, Me. He lost his property by the war of 1812, and on his death his widow came to Charlestown and started a millinery store. Gardner, the second son, when 22, opened a dry goods store in Boston, and as an importer became one of the merchant-princes of that city, and was rated at over $2,000,000. He was afterwards a chief builder of the Wisconsin Central R. R., and its first president. He was an active Baptist, and a beneficent contributor. To Colby University, Waterville Me., he gave $50,000; and it now, unsolicited, bears his name ; also the Colby Chapel of Newton Theological Institution.
At his death in 1879, his wife took up his benevolent labors, and was long known as one of the foremost philanthropists in the State. She died in 1894. Their sons are Charles L., late president of the W. C. R. R. ; Rev. Henry F., pastor of the Baptist Church in Dayton Ohio ; and Joseph L., a New York merchant.

Mary Low Roberts Colby & Gardner Colby

Mary Low Roberts-Mrs Gardner Colby
Colby Family - youngest Mary Francis Colby Walworth

                                                            Colby House Newton

From Colby University Commence At Waterville, Me., Aug. 14, 1867 Date: Sunday, August 16, 1807 Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA)

From Mortuary Notice Friday, February 28, 1896 New York Tribune (New York, NY)

Everett Colby; Col. Baldwin, Balt.; A.E. Moreland; J.E. Bathgat Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Bain Collection

Brown University Everett Colby '97, D. Fultz '98, Chris McCarthy '96, and E.N. Robinson '96.

Read more about Colby marriages and social life with the Hyde, Vanderbilt s an More From Mortuary Notice Thursday, August 25, 1898 New York Tribune (New York, NY)

Howard Augustus Colby Tennis Archives 

Letter to C.M. Bailey by Page Richardson & Co. on Nov. 4, 1865 from Boston, MA

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