Genealogical and Family History
STATE OF MAINE
Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.
LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY
[Please see Index page for full citation.]
[Transcribed by Sandra Boudrou]
[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]
The family of Libby, one of the most ancient in Maine, is first mentioned in the herald's visitation of Oxfordshire, England, for 1574, as stated by Charles T. Libby in his valuable and comprehensive work, "The Libby Family in America," from which most of the data for this article is obtained. The name seems to have first appeared either in Cornwall or Devon, England, and spread into other parts of that country. Tradition states that the originator of the American family came from the west of England, but of what stock, whether of Saxon, Welch or French, is a matter of which no man has knowledge. The position of the members of this family with reference to rank has been in that sturdy, upright and honest division which constitutes the chief reliance of the nation for its character, and is generally termed the "middle class." Concerning this great family, one of the most numerous in Maine, it was recently stated by one best qualified to know, that he had never known of a criminal or a pauper in it. Strongly domestic in their nature, the Libbys have been builders and owners of homes where in many instances the same family has resided for generations. As love of home is next to a love of country, the family has shown its patriotism by sending many of its sons to every war in which the country has been engaged. One hundred and seventy-five were in the revolution from Maine and Massachusetts, and two hundred and fifty-six enlistments are credited to the family in Maine alone in the civil war. As a family, the people of this stock have been very devout, and much more largely in evidence in the religious than in the civil institutions of the communities in which they lived. The family has abounded in Christian ministers, elders and deacons, while generation after generation have died in the faith. In most recent years various members have made themselves prominent in the state in mercantile and professional pursuits.
(I) John Libby, born in England about the year 1602, stated in a petition in July, 1677, that "the good and pious report that was spread abroad, into our Native Land of this country, caused your petitioner to come for this land 47 yeares agoe, where he hath ever since continued." If the statement is literally true, he came to this country in 1630, but it is believed that his landfall occurred somewhat later. In 1631 Robert Trelawny and Moses Goodyeare, of Plymouth, Devonshire, England, procured a patent which included Richmond's Island, a small island on the coast of Cumberland county, distant about a mile from the coast of Cape Elizabeth, and soon after established a trading post, with John Winter as their agent, and carried on fisheries, bought furs from the Indians, and supplied the wants of people on the numerous fishing vessels who might come to them for such articles as they had use. John Libby was doubtless one of those sent overy by Trelawny to aid in the prosecution of his business. July 15, 1639, Winter made to Trelawny a report of his management of the station for the year. In that report it appears that John Libby received for his year's service the sum of five pounds, as follows: Aqua vitae (brandy), four shillings sixpence; wine, thirteen shillings; money paid to John Sharpe by Trelawny, three pounds; and the balance of one pound two shillings and sixpence he received in beaver skins at eight shillings each. From this and other accounts it appears that John Libby was in the employ of Trelawny four years, from the summer of 1635 to the summer of 1639, at five pounds a year paid to him, and another and probably larger amount paid for the support of his wife whom he had left in England. In 1640 he took up his residence on the neighboring mainland. On what has since been called Libby river, in Scarborough, he built a house and for years he seems to have been a tenant there, and probably devoted a good deal of his time to fishing until he could prepare the place for agricultural processes. January 1, 1663, John Libby received from Henry Joscelyn a grant of land, and finally became one of the principal planters of Scarborough. In 1664 he was constable, and his name stands first of the four selectmen in a grant made in 1669. In King Philip's war, which carried devastation to all parts of New England, John Libby lost everything he had except his plantation. In the late summer of 1675 he was compelled to leave his homestead and the diary of Captain Joshua Scottow, who had charge of the Boston soldiers who were trying to protect the settlers, contains the following: "Sept. 7, 1675, Being Lords day * * * * enemy * * * before of their designs early in the morning burnt those houses and barnes our Company saved the day before-they burnt also 8 or 9 deserted houses belonging to Libby and children." In October, 1676, Black Point Garrison was deserted, and most of the inhabitants fled to Boston. John Libby and his wife and younger children were still in Boston, July 10, 1677, and on that date petitioned the governor and council there assembled, that his sons Henry and Anthony, on whom he stated he was dependent for support, might be discharged from the Black Point garrison, which at that time had again been taken possession of by the English. The petition was granted the same day. John Libby probably returned to Black Point soon after and spent the remaining years of his life there, and acquired a comfortable property. He died at about eighty years of age. His will is dated February 9, 1682, and his inventory May 5, 1683. The value of the property enumerated in the latter was one hundred and eighteen pounds six shillings. From proceedings recorded in the probate court in 1720, it appears that John Libby left one hundred acres of upland, nine acres of fresh meadow, and one hundred acres of salt marsh.
His first wife was the mother of all his sons except Matthew and Daniel, and probably of all his daughters. Nothing more is known of her. His second wife was Mary. She survived her husband some years. The children of John Libby were:
(II) John (2), eldest child of John (1) Libby by his first wife, was born probably in England, in the year 1636. He was brought up in Scarborough. In August, 1668, which was probably soon after his marriage, he bought fifty acres of land adjoining his father's plantation. There he probably lived during his sojourn at Black Point. Afterward he received several other grants from the town. The part he took in town business was active, and he served as selectman during the years 1670-74-83 and 1687. In May, 1690, while the settlement at Black Point was still ill equipped to repel an invader, Fort Loyal, on Casco Neck, a few miles north of Black Point, was attacked by a large body of Indians and French. The fort stood a siege of five days, and then surrendered, and the inhabitants of Scarborough, not waiting to be attacked, immediately deserted their homes and fled to safer localities. John Libby assembled his family and betook himself to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, his youngest son Jeremiah then being ten years old. Mr. Libby remained in Portsmouth the remainder of his life, and followed the occupation of miller. During the earlier part of his term of residence there he was often chosen to fill minor offices. In 1720, when he was very old, he made a deposition about early affairs in Scarborough. How much longer he lived after that is unknown.
His wife's name was Agnes; she was living in 1717, but probably died before her husband. They had seven children, all born in Scarborough:
(III) James, fourth son and child of John (2) and Agnes Libby, was born in Scarborough about 1676. From the time he was fourteen years of age until his death he lived in Portsmouth. He followed the occupation of house carpenter, but received large grants of land, and lived on a farm up to 1747, when he sold to Colonel Nathaniel Meserve, and bought a house and garden spot, where he died in 1754. He was a man of considerable activity, and among the New Hampshire state papers is now to be seen an order about agreeing with James Libby, carpenter, for finishing a line of fortifications near Portsmouth. He was at the first town meeting of Scarborough. In 1712 he was constable "for Bank," that is, Strawberry Bank, the ancient name for Portsmouth, and subsequently had many town offices, from selectman down. He was a member of the Church of Christ.
He married, June 9, 1698, Mary Hanson, daughter of Isaac and Mary Hanson, of Portsmouth, who was probably the mother of his children. She is last mentioned in August, 1718. In 1736 he married a second wife, whose name was Elizabeth, and she survived him ten years or more.
His children were:
(IV) James (2), eldest child of James (1) and Mary (Hanson) Libby, was born in Portsmouth, November 23, 1700. He was a carpenter, but after receiving from his father all his lands and rights in Scarborough, he took up his residence there about 1729, and became a farmer. He lived to the east of Oak Hill, and died about 1770.
He married December 23, 1725, Elizabeth Meserve, who lived to an advanced age, and died about 1790. She was the daughter of Clement Meserve, who removed from New Hampshire to Scarborough soon after it was settled the second time. He died about 1740.
Among his children was Nathaniel, the celebrated New Hampshire colonel. The children of James and Elizabeth (Meserve) Libby were:
(V) Asa, fourth child and third son of James (2) and Elizabeth (Meserve) Libby, was born in Scarborough in 1737, and died in Belgrade, November 5, 1828. He was a farmer. A few years after his marriage he settled in Falmouth, and from that place shortly before the revolution he removed to Gray. He and John Nash went to Gray about the same time, and both lived with Daniel Libby until they had built houses and cleared some land. Asa Libby settled about two miles west of Gray Corner. There he lived until he was far advanced in age, and then took up his abode with his son Asa, in Belgrade. He was a revolutionary soldier; the Massachusetts Revolutionary Rolls state:
"Asa Lebby, private, Captain Samuel Knight's Company; enlisted July 15, 1775; service six months one day; company stationed at Falmouth, Cumberland County, for defence of sea-coast."
He married, April 15, 1759, Abigail Coolbroth, of Scarborough, who died in Belgrade at the house of Asa, her son, about 1814. The children of this union were:
(VI) Arthur, eldest child of Asa and Abigail (Coolbroth) Libby, was born in Scarborough, February 28, 1760. He moved before his marriage from Gray to Falmouth, and there resided several years on a farm which he subsequently sold, and settled in Windham. The original house on the latter farm, built in 1803, is still standing. He died in June, 1835.
He married Mary Allen, daughter of Isaac and Dolly (Leighton) Allen, of Falmouth, who died in March, 1846. Their children were:
(VII) William, eldest child of Arthur and Mary (Allen) Libby, was born in Falmouth, December 6, 1786, and died in the same town at the home of his son, Fernald, March 10, 1861. After his marriage he divided his time for some years between Windham and Gray. In 1820 he moved from Gray to Windham, and settled on the farm afterward occupied by his son Arthur. In 1832 he removed to Falmouth, and settled on a farm still occupied by his descendants.
He married, November 14, 1809, Hannah Gould, daughter of Moses Gould of New Portland. She survived her husband, and died in Portland, December 14, 1864. Their thirteen children were:
(VIII) Salome, eighth child of William and Hannah (Gould) Libby, was born March 16, 1824, and married, June 12, 1847, Alfred R. Allen, of Gray (see Allen VII).