Reuben Colburn (1740 - 1818)

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Managed by: Tammy Swingle (Tucker)
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About Reuben Colburn

Reuben Colburn 1740-1818

Parents: Jeremiah Colburn and Sarah Jewell

Military Service: rank of major during the American Revolutionary War

In 1761 the Colburn family moved to Pittston, Maine on the Kennebec River, which was the remote community of Gardinerston in the northern territory of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Reuben became a prominent businessman and one of the first shipbuilders on the Kennebec River. In 1765 he acquired a square mile of land and in 1765 built a colonial home that still stands today.

George Washington never slept here but he knew the owner. Two other people who figured prominently in the American Revolution did sleep in this house - Benedict Arnold and Aaron Burr. Built in 1765, this colonial Federal-style house was home to several generations of the prominent Colburn family.

In 1775 Reuben led Abenaki Indians in their canoes to Cambridge for an audience with a surprised George Washington who immediately welcomed and enlisted the aid of the chiefs. Colburn offered his services to the Continental Army, complete with scouts, maps and boats for 1,100 men for a river journey of 300 miles through Maine wilderness to capture Quebec City. Colonel Benedict Arnold was the commander of the mission. He and a 19 year old volunteer, Aaron Burr, were entertained in the Colburn home by Reuben and Elizabeth for three days before moving the army upriver to Fort Western, a time that cemented the Colburns in history forever.

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