An American Family History

Sarah (Sally) Dwinnell Colony


Various spellings of Dwinnell
Doenell, Donell, Donnall, Donnell, Duenell, Dunnel, Dunnell, Dwaniel, Dwaniell, Dwainel, Dwennel, Dwinel, Dwinell, Dwinnel, Dwinnill, Dwonill, Dwynel

New Hampshire was first settled by Europeans in 1623. It was separated from Massachusetts in 1679.
Women played an essential role in American society as mothers and homemakers.

Sarah (Sally) Dwinnell Colony was born in 1770 in Boxford, Essex County, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Benjamin Dwinnell and Mary Estey.

She (Sally Dwinnell) married a farmer named Timothy Colony on October 10, 1787 in Keene, New Hampshire. The Reverend Aaron Hall performed the ceremony. Timothy was born on April 5, 1764 in Keene, Cheshire County, New Hampshire. His parents were John Colony and Melatiah Fisher.

Their children listed in Keene Vital Statistics were: 
Benjamin Colony ( March 4, 1788),
Josiah Colony (April 8, 1791, manufacturer of flannel, married Hannah Taylor and Jane Briggs),
Polly Colony (September 30, 1793)
John Colony (June 24, 1795, farmer, married Almira Keyes),
Lockhart Colony ( May 3, 1800),
James B. Colony (January 23, 1803),
Joshua Durant Colony (December 21, 1804, merchant and postmaster, married Frances Blake), and
George Henry Colony ( January 30, 1811).

The family of Mr. Timothy Colony attended the church at West Keene. “One Sunday morning the horse, ready harnessed, stood at the door, the family was a little behind time and at the ringing of the bell the animal started and trotted to the church door, leaving the family to walk." (J. D. Colony)

In August 27, 1792, the town of Keene set up a school district that included Timothy Colony, Frederick Metcalf, and Thomas Dwinell's families.

The family (Tim Colone) appeared in the 1800 census in Keene. The family consisted of three boys under ten, one man between 26 and 45, one girl under ten, one woman between 26 and 45, and one woman older than 45.

Timothy died August 29, 1836. In 1850, Sarah was living with her son, John, in Keene. She died there on April 27, 1853.

Keene, Cheshire County, New Hampshire was settled after 1736 and was a fort protecting Massachusetts during the French and Indian Wars. It was called Upper Ashuelot. When New Hampshire separated from Massachusetts in 1741 it became Keene, New Hampshire. During King George's War, the village was attacked and burned.

Children of Benjamin Dwinnell
and Mary Estey

  • Jonathan Dwinnell
  • Thomas Dwinnell
  • Mary Dwinnell Pomeroy
  • Elizabeth Dwinnell Banks
  • Abigail Dwinnell Francis
  • Hannah Dwinnell Wheeler
  • Benjamin Dwinnell
  • Israel Dwinnell
  • Sarah Dwinnell Colony
  • Esther Dwinnell Metcalf
  • Three daughters of William Towne and Joanna Blessing were wrongly accused of practicing witchcraft in Salem. Rebecca Towne Nurse, Mary Towne Estey, and Sarah Towne Bridges Cloyes were persecuted in 1692. The children of people in the line below are all descendants of Mary Estey.

    William Towne,
    Mary Towne Estey,
    Isaac Estey,
    Aaron Estey
    Mary Estey Dwinnell
    Israel Dwinnell,
    Isaac Davis Dwinnell, Sr.,
    Isaac Davis Dwinnell, Jr.
    Victoria Zellena Dwinnell
    Robert Wilson Miller, Sr
    Robert Wilson Miller, Jr.

    Boxford, Essex County, Massachusetts is approximately 25 miles north of  Boston. Boxford was set apart from Rowley Village and incorporated in 1685.

    Lush forests in Colonial America allowed settlers to build wooden homes.






    The French and Indian War lasted from 1754 to 1763 and was the North American phase of the Seven Years' War.

    Settlers often built log cabins as their first homes.

    Boston was founded in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England.

    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
    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.

    A grist mill is a building where a miller grinds gain into flour.
    The Salem witch trials were between February, 1692 and May, 1693.
    A militia is a military unit composed of citizens who are called up in time of need.
    A sawmill was an important developmental step in a community. Before sawmills, boards could only be sawn by two men with a whipsaw. In a sawmill, the circular motion of a water wheel was changed to the back-and-forth motion of the saw blade with a pitman arm.



    John Adams, Jr. (1735-1826) was the second President of the United States (1797–1801), the first Vice President (1789–1797).

    from Gazetteer of Cheshire County compiled by Hamilton Child

    John Colony, son of a nobleman, was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1730, and came to Boston when he was sixteen years of age. He had with him a bag of gold which was subsequently stolen from him, leaving him but four cents. After paying the toll to Charleston he had two cents left and had had no breakfast. He, however, obtained a half cord of wood to saw, thus enabling him to buy himself something to eat. He prospered, being willing to do any kind of work he could get to do.

    He came to Keene in 1761, and rented the farm now owned by his great-grandaughter, Martha M. Woodward, on road 19. He rented the farm for five years, but soon bought it and resided here until his death. He served in the Revolutionary war, married Militiah Fisher, of Wrentham, Mass., and had born to him four children, as follows: Timothy, Josiah, Militiah, and Hannah. He died June 24, 1797, and his widow died June 16, 1810.

    Timothy was born on this farm April 5, 1764, married Sarah Dwinell, of Keene, who bore him seven children—six sons and one daughter. He died here August 29, 1836, and his widow died April 27, 1853. John, son of Timothy, then became possessor of the farm. He was born June 24, 1795, married Almira Keyes, and reared four children, three of whom are living. Of these, Charles lives in Keene; Sarah married William Spring and lives in Muscatine, la.; and Martha M., who lives upon and owns the old farm, married W. H. Woodward.

    This farm has never been out of the Colony family, six generations having lived here and five having been born here. The house that is now standing was built about 1785, by John Colony. The old gun that he used in the Revolution is in the possession of the family here, and Mrs. Martha M. Woodward has also the old wills and deeds, many of them being over a hundred years old. In the wood-house is stored wood cut by John Colony, 2d, over seventy years ago, and there is also hay in the barn that he cut sixty-five years ago.

    The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the 13 colonies which became the newly formed United States.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2020
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