The house dates to an era when Keene had about 100 homes, a meetinghouse, a courthouse, a jail and a population of approximately 1600 people. Two highways to Boston were in construction; one through Jaffery and Marlborough, the other through Troy and Fitzwilliam. Livestock were allowed to run free on Main Street. The mail was being carried from Boston on a daily stagecoach leaving Boston at 4:00 am and arriving at 8:00 pm. Thomas Jefferson was president.
This was 1806 and the house was built by Abel Blake. About 1833, Abel built what is now the east end of the Blake House at Keene State College. In 1847, Abel sold the 1806 Federal house on Main Street to the blacksmith, Elias Joslin. Elias and his wife Maria Emes Joslin had only one child, Emeline. Emeline married Horatio Colony I. Emeline inherited the house when her parents passed away and thus the house became part of the Colony family. In 1898, Emeline had renovations done to the house, which included installing beautifully patterned tin ceilings, honey colored oak floors and hand painted tiles in various fireplaces.
The Colony family trace their ancestry back to John Colony of Killkenny, Ireland, who settled first in Massachusetts where he served in the French and Indian Wars of 1755-60 as one of Robert’s Rangers. In 1761, John and his wife Melatiah Fische came to Keene . John and Melatiah’s grandson, Josiah Colony, co-founded the Faulkner and Colony Woolen Mill in 1815, which became the longest running family owned textile mill in the United States.
To learn more about the mill history and family members associated with the house, please click on the photos above or the button below.