BALCOMB FAMILY REUNION
Salem, Ma., Friday, February 12, 1897
Held at the home of Charles Bernard Balcomb of this city. Four
generations were represented. Genealogy of the family was read by C. S. Balcomb
The first reunion of the Balcomb family was held at the home of C. B. Balcomb, 18 Symonds Street, last evening. There were four generations present, many persons coming from long distances to attend. The company numbered about fifty persons, and the evening was most pleasantly passed in social intercourse. Many of the persons present, although related, had never met
before, and the making of new acquaintances proved equally enjoyable with that of renewing old. During the evening the following musical programme was rendered: Piano selections by Mrs. Henry Balcomb, entitled the Battle of the Prague, composed over 200 years ago, and now in the possession of the family; quartette singing by C. Bernard Balcomb, Miss Maud Balcomb, Mrs. D. Choate, and Ernest Choate; reading by Mrs. I. A. Balcomb of Boston, of a letter from Frank Balcomb of Indianapolis, Ind., who was unable to be present; Mrs. Annie Wheeler of Worcester read a very interesting and witty poem composed by herself, entitled A Bit of Yellow Bunting; reading by Mrs. Henry Balcomb; and recitations by Miss Ethel Holt.
Among those present from out of town were the following:
Mrs. Eliza M. Jones of Somerville, the OLDEST LIVING BALCOMB
Mrs. Annie Wheeler of Worcester
Mr. and Mrs. E. B. Balcomb of Peabody
Charles C. Balcomb of Boston
Mr. Frank L. Balcomb of Boston
Miss Lizzie Balcomb of Boston
Miss Alberta Balcomb of Boston
John Ingham of Boston
Mrs. Eliza Morse of Boston
Fred Balcomb of Boston
Miss Harriman of Georgetown
and many others from out of town and of Salem.
An essay on the genealogy of the family was read by Charles S. Balcomb of Boston. It was, in brief, as follows:
With the general exodus of pilgrims from England to the American shores immediately after 1620, there sailed from Southampton, England, on the ship Confidence, on April 24, 1638, Walter Haynes of the county Wilts, and Peter Noyes of South Hampton. They settled in what is now Sudbury. One of Noyes daughters married a son of Haynes, and to this couple was born, July 19, 1644, a daughter Elizabeth. This daughter married Henry Balcombe of Charlestown.
And you and I, my friends, are probably all descendants of that union. Of the ancestry of Henry Balcombe we know nothing, except that he was born in England. His youngest son, Joseph, married one Tabitha Mosman, and to them was born, Jan. 13, 1702, a son who was in turn christened Joseph. This man was possibly the father of our great-grandfather Silas.
A word about these men of the past generation. They were honest, God fearing men who BELIEVED IN PRINCIPLE, and sound doctrine; loyal to the Lord and loyal to their King. Henry Balcombe was very probably a member of the first parish Congregational Church of Charlestown. A petition for the formation of a new church on one side of the Sudbury River has affixed to it the names of John and Joseph Balcomb.
They were lovers of education. In 1701 John Balcomb became a school master. His pay per year was only 30 shillings. In a list of 19 Sudbury men who were at the capture of Louisburg in 1745, the name of Balcomb is given four times. In after days, after our family separated, the hands of these men did as valiant service for the Constitution as they ever did for George the Second. There were 35 soldiers of our name in the Revolution, and I want to say here that these names are spelled in 17 different ways.
At Lexington among the farmers who stood and fired the shots which startled the world, one of our name was there, Joseph Balcomb, a sergeant of a company of Minute Men, and who became a lieutenant in 1781. There was a Samuel Balcomb at the capture of Ticonderoga. The wife of Joseph, who was a scout at the battle of Bennington, used to tell before her death in 1826, of melting down her pewter plates to make bullets for the Continental soldiers.
I have the autograph of Silas Balcomb and his wife, Rachel Smith, my great- grandparents. I am tolerably confident that Silas Balcomb was among the original grantees of Annapolis County, Nova Scotia. He was born between 1730 and 1740. His son John (2) was born in 1767 and his death occurred probably between 1810 and 1820. Johns (1) children were Abel, Jonas, Joseph, Olive, Annie, Susanna, and John. His son John (2), our great- grandfather, was born in 1767, and was first married to Helen Gilmore of Edinboro. He was a man of strong, permanent character, farmer, shipbuilder, and house builder. The old Annapolis bridge was his work, and the clearings are still in existence. In December 1808 he took a cargo of fish from Annapolis to Boston. In his last letter, dated Dec. 27, 1808, probably the last he ever wrote, he spoke of his voyage of 24 days passage, and that he contracted a disease which became fatal. Arriving at Boston, he was carried to 15 Centre Street, and there he died on January 14, 1809. A man of sterling piety, a constant member of the Baptist Church, his death became triumphant. In a portion of a letter dated Jan. 14, 1809, the day of his death, we learn how a Christian ancestor died.
We are met here in cordial reunion. We thank our host and hostess for the kindly hospitality, and we would that this first reunion may not be the last.
After listening to the essay a bountiful collation was served to the many guests. This was the first reunion of the family, and was first thought of, arranged, and planned by Charles Bernard Balcomb. It is hoped that this is only the first of a great many more which will be held. There were others expected from *Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, New York, Maine, and Canada who were unable to attend, but sent words of greetings which were read.
Footnote: Feb 2/1999 - Stuart Balcomb has suggested that the Colorado Balcomb mentioned could have been his great-grandfather Robert Gilmore Balcomb.