My grandmother (Frances Collom) and her sister (Isabel Collom) referred to Jeremiah Colburn (the brother of their great-grandfather, Samuel Driscoll Colburn) as "Uncle Jeremiah". I found a letter to my great-aunt Isabel from the Bostonian Society telling her that Jeremiah's widow had donated many of his collections to the society. I was curious, did some research, and found an interesting man. Jeremiah was a world-class collector, was appointed Appraiser to the US Customs service by President Pierce, and was a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

I would like to have known him.

From the Biographies of Notable Americans, 1904

COLBURN, Jeremiah, antiquary, was born in Boston, Mass., Jan. 12, 1815; son of Calvin and Caroline Sibyl (Lakin) Colburn, and grandson of Nathan Colburn, a soldier in the Revolutionary war. He was engaged in mercantile business, as clerk and proprietor, 1830-52, and was appraiser in the Boston custom house, 1852-60, afterward devoting himself to literature incident to his various collections of coins, medals, autographs, paper tokens, books, portraits and engravings which were very valuable. He was married in 1846 to Eliza Ann, daughter of John Blackman of Dorchester. He was elected a member of the New England historic genealogical society in 1857; was a founder of the Prince society in 1858, of the Boston numismatic society in 1860 of which he was president 1865-91, and of the Boston antiquarian club in 1879, changed in 1881 to the Bostonian society. He supervised the publication of Wood's "New England Prospect"; edited the American Journal of Numismatics (1870-91); and compiled a Bibliography of the Local History of Massachusetts. He died in Boston, Mass., Dec. 30, 1891.

From the Descendants of Edward Colburn\/Coburn, Sixth Generation, Page 143-144

392. Jeremiah Colburn (Calvin, Nathan, Nathaniel, Robert, Edward) was born in Boston, Jan 12, 1815, and died at Copley Square, Boston, Dec 30, 1891; he married, April 30, 1846, Eliza Ann, dau of John and Eliza Thurston (Pollard) Blackman of Dorchester.
i. Son, John Blackman, died in infancy, March 19, 1849.

      Mr. Colburn's birth occurred in Boston while it was a town and before its incorporation as a city.

      He attended the public schools of the town, and we have no record of his school life elsewhere.

      His first occupation was that of clerk in a hat store on Washington St. His strict attention to business and thorough knowledge of his duties enabled him to to succeed to the business at the age of twenty-five.

      His honesty in dealing with customers made him successful in the business, which he conducted for twelve years. In 1853, he was appointed by President Pierce one of the U. S. Appraisers in the Custom House for the Port of Boston. He brought to the office the principles of honesty and faithfulness to duty which had governed his actions in his earlier life.

      He retired from office in June, 1861, after which he engaged in no regular business. When a schoolboy, he developed a taste for collecting old coins, and his time was devoted to the work after leaving the Appraisers' office.

      In 1860, with others who were interested in numismatics, he formed the Boston Numismatic Society, of which he was at first a Vice-President, and in 1865 became President, an office which he held until his death. In 1870, he was one of the committee of the Society to assume the publication of the American Journal of Numismatics. This work had been carried on under several names, but had not been successful, but through the energy and persistent effort of Mr. Colburn, it became the leading paper on this subject.

      In proof of his abilities, a brief list of his duties as an officer are appended; Resident member, in 1857, of the N. E. Hist. and Gen. Society, serving on committees of publication, finance and library, the last two as Chairman. For twenty-seven years, a member of the Board of Directors and member of the Registers' Club, which, for ten years, bore the financial responsibility for publishing the Register. He was one of the founders of the Prince Society for "preserving and extending the knowledge of American history," of which he was the first Vice-President and afterward Treasurer. One of the founders and life members of the Boston Antiquarian Club, afterward known as the Bostonian Society. He was a member of at least five State Historical Societies, corresponding member of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia, honorary member of American Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York, and foreign associate of the Royal Belgian Numismatic Society. It has been truly said of him, "He was an honest and upright man in every respect," and "his charming manners and agreeable ways will long be remembered, and his loss felt in many circles."

Genealogy Home  •  About  •  Site Map  •  Help  • 

Copyright © 2002-2003 J. Casmaer. All rights reserved.