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THE COBURN FAMILY

The Coburns arrived in Massachusetts four years before the Jewett brothers. Edward Coburn and his brother Robert are believed to be from Wiltshire. In a number of large vellum bound volumes kept in the "Rolls Office" in London are records of a few of the early immigrants to: New England and other American colonies. On the wrapper is the inscription:

The Register of the names
of all ye Passinger(s) wch
Passed from ye Port of
London for an whole
yeare ending at
Xmas 1635

One of the lists reads as follows:

Theis under written names are to be transported to New England imbarqued in the Defence p'red p'r Cert from the ministers and justices of their conformitie and y't they are no Subsedy men.
Sarah Jones 34 Dorthie Knight 30
Sarah Jones 15 Nathaniel Hubbard 6
Jo Jones 11 Richard Hubbard 4
Ruth Jones 7 Martha Hubbard 22
Theophilus Jones 3 Mary Hubbard 20
Rabecca Jones 2 Robert Colburne 28
Elizabeth Jones ½ Edward Colburne 17
Tho Doan 25 Dorthie Adams 24
Suzanna Farebrofher 25 Francis Nutbrowne 16
Eliza Fenick 25 Wm Williamson 25
Sawkynn25 Marie Williamson 23
Wm. Hubbard 25 Luce Mercer 19
Judith Hubbard 25 Jo Fitch 14
John Hubbard 15 Penelope Darno 24
Wm. Hubbard 13 Martha Banes 20
Wm. Read 48 Jasper Gonn 29
Mabell Read 30 Ann Gonn 25
Geo Read 6 Febe Maulaer 7
Ralph Read 5 Sym Roger 20
Justice Read mm 18 Jo Jenkynn 26
Roger Keyne 40 Ben Keyne 16
Eliz. Keyne 18 Jo. Burtes 29
Sarah Knight 50 Mary Bently 20
Anne Keyne 38    

Edward Colburne was born in Wiltshire in 1618. Late in July 1635 he and his brother Robert left London in the Defence, Edward Bostock, master. The ship carried 100 passengers and arrived in Boston October 8. The Coburn brothers settled first at Ipswich. He was known as Mr. Saltonstall's farmer and is referred to as such on many early documents. Richard Saltonstall and his son Nathaniel were early settlers in Ipswich and were enterprising land owners. It was probably through their influence that Edward came to America.

From the early records we learn a little of Edward Coburn. On May 20 1648 he signed his name as witness to a will. Sixteen years later in August 1664 Richard Saltonstall conveyed to his son Nathaniel a farm in Ipswich at the new meadows containing by estimation eight hundred acres now in the occupation of Edward Colborne. The same document shows that he also owned land on Hog Island of the Ipswich shore. in 1665 Edward was a member the committee to establish the boundary between Wenham and Ipswich. He was appointed to appraise a stray horse in 1668. In 1671 he sold a tract of land in Ipswich on the Wenham lyne.

In 1668 Edward learned of the sale of a large tract of land in ye wildernesse on ye Northerne side of the Merrimac River. He purchased the land from the owners Jonathan Tyng, Major Thomas Henchman and John Webb a group of land speculators.

DEED OF JOHN EVERED, ALAIS WEBB, TO EDWARD COBURN

Edward Coburn was probably the first permanent settler and landowner -in Dracut. The names of Tyng, Hinchman and Webb appear as owners on many old records, but they held their lands as speculators and not as settlers. Previous to this time Samuel Varnum had purchased land on the Northerne side of Merrimac River, but because of Indian raids Varnum lived on the Chelmsford side crossing the river in a boat to cultivate his lands. In 1671 Edward purchased another tract of land from Thomas Hinchman. From a deed dated April 3, 1671;

"Lying and being within the bounds and limits of the place Dracut aforesaid being a part of that land which Richard Shatchell purchased of Mr. John Evered deceased it contains that wholl part of land that was the Division of ye Sd Shatchell at Merrimac below, bounded between ye Sd. Coburn on the West and Samuel Varnum on the east. Also that parcell of meadow land lying at the great meadows commonly so called which by agreement between me, Mr. Evered & Samuel Varnum aforesaid and Richard Shatchell aforesaid fell to the share and part of the Sd Richard Shatchell in that place which parcell of meadow is not yet Divided betwene ye Bd Sam' l Varnum and Shatchell."

About this time the Indian Chief King Phillip, foreseeing the time when the natives would be driven from the home of their forefathers, was inciting the tribes to make war on the white settlers. Roving bands of Indians attacked a number of settlements burning buildings and killing the inhabitants. Edward Coburn was guarding the ferry across the Merrimac River on March 18, 1 675 when the Wamesit Indians...

fell upon some houses on the North side of the River burnt down three or four that belonged to the family of Edward Colburn: the said Colburn with Samuel Varnum his Neighbour being persued as they passed over the River to look after their Cattell on that side of the River.

Edward Coburn's eldest son Edward Jr. was born Ipswich in 1642. In July 1675 the Nipmuc Indians under the influence of their chief King Philip murdered a number of settlers near the town of Mendon. The people of the neighbouring towns feared a general uprising, but the Indians expressed a desire for peace and appointed a time and place to discuss a treaty. A force of twenty men including Edward Coburn Jr. under the leadership of Captains Wheeler and Hutchinson was sent to deal with the Indians. When Captain Hutchinson and his men arrived at the appointed place, a small plain about three miles from the town of Brookfield the Indians did not appear. The officers . suspected a trap but were urged to proceed further by a number of the selectmen from Brookfield who were confident of the good intentions of the Indians. The Indians were believed to be encamped in a swamp several miles away. When the party arrived at the swamp they found the approach difficult having an impassable swamp on one side and a steep rocky slope on the other. The English were forced to ride along this narrow pass single file. After the foremost troops had ridden 300 yards or so into the pass the Indians moved to close off a retreat, they then opened fire on the force with a sudden and terrible Volley. Eight men were killed in the attack including Edward Coburn Jr.

He remained in charge until after 1692.

It soon became apparent to Edward that it was necessary to protect his family against the assaults of the roving Indian bands. He erected a Garrison House, and with his seven sons and his sons-in-law he was able to protect his family from the marauding Indians. Following the attack on Chelmsford in February 26, 1676 Edward strengthened the garrison house.

"Settemt of the Garrison in the Wt Regiment of Middx March 1691/2
Chelmsford March 16 1691/2
Edward Colburne and with him Jno Colburn."

The Coburn family and their neighbour Samuel Varnum were ready to defend their land and homes but at the same time were also ready to live peaceably with the Indians, often granting and complying with their demands when they were under no obligation to do so. In a deed dated April 4, 1701 they paid John Sagamore an Indian of Natick 300 in silver for lands in Dracut already owned by them and which had been granted to the original owners by the British government.

The British government claimed the right to dispose of these lands without recognizing the rights of the Indians. After clearing the land and building their homes the settlers found it easier to make a money payment to the Indians rather than abandon their settlements. In the deed of 1701, John Thomas Sagamore, Minister of Natick conveyed to Thomas, Daniel, Ezra, Joseph, John, and Robert Coburn, their sister Hannah Richardson, widow, Thomas, John and Joseph Varnum two or three thousand acres lying on the Merrimac River.

In June of 1690 Edward Coburn and others served on a coroners jury at Chelmsford.

We whos names are under written being caled y the Constable of Chelmsford to give in our verdict conserning one Elias Keyes of Sunbury who was taken up dead in Merrimac River we find yt he was padeling on said river in a small canoe, the streame being strong and the wind very high: he was turned into the water & a person taking hould of him after much striving to preserve life: wear both by the providence of God drowned: said Keyes was taken up about ten or eleven days after they wear drowned, as witness our hands.
Corporall Edward Colbourn Bennoni More
Mr. Nathaniel Howard Joseph Wright
Elizar Brown Ebenezer Essetight
John Sheple Ebenezer Parkhurst
John Walker Samuel Spaulding
Thomas Colbourn Joseph Parham

Edward died in 1700, his lands were willed to his sons. His wife Hannah died in 1712.

Joseph Coburn the youngest son, was born at Ipswich June 16, 1661. At the age of twenty-one he received one eighth part of the Webb purchase. Eleven years later in 1693 he and three brothers came into possession of the Satchell land. He was chosen to care for his parents in their declining years as is shown in a deed dated 1690.

For divers causes me thereunto moving especially in consideration of that care to provide for me and for my dear wife so long as it shall please God to continue both or either of us in this life I do convey unto my son Joseph Coburn my old dwelling house in said Dracut and upon my farm thereon, which was the Garrison House, and which he is actually posessed of. Together with a half part of my lot if land to said house adjoining to the land of my son Ezra Coburn the said land lying northeast and up the river. It is the half part of that latter field which is commonly called the Barn Field.

He was prominent in town affairs holding the office of selectman from 1712 to 1721, quartermaster in 1716, fence viewer in 1714 and 1715, and surveyor in 1716.

In December 1697 Joseph was appointed guardian of Ebenezer Goodhue, son of Joseph deceased and Mary; a minor of 12 years of age.

Hannah his first wife died September 11, 1721. He remarried July 5, 1726, Deborah (Stevens) widow of Joseph Wright. He died in Dracut November 13, 1733.

Moses the youngest son of Joseph and Hannah was born in Dracut on January 7, 1702. He married July 7 1730, Deborah Wright (his stepsister?) daughter of Deborah (Stevens) and Joseph Wright. They had eight children. Moses died June 5, 1742.

Moses, the son of Moses and Deborah (Wright) was born at Dracut June 7, 1735. He married April 15, 1762 Elizabeth Peabody of Andover the daughter of John and Sarah Peabody of Boxford. Elizabeth died April 7 1763 in childbirth or shortly afterward. They had one son Stephen born April 17, 1763. In 1767 Moses left Dracut and settled at Sheffield on the Saint John River.