Francis Milton Colby was born in January 1846 in Sutton, Caledonia County, Vermont, son of Jesse Colby and Lavina Hull. On 11 September 1850, he was living in Dracut, Middlesex County, Massachusetts with his parents and sister Martha. His father worked as a shoemaker.
On 30 July 1860, Francis lived with his parents in the household of Sewell Hull in Jefferson, Cass County, Michigan. He was working as a farm laborer and had attended school in the last year.
Francis served as a Private in Company M of the 1st Michigan Cavalry. He enlisted on 13 February 1864 at Kalamazoo, Michigan and was mustered out on 10 July 1865 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
He was married circa 1867 to Almira Hellen McClusky. Almira was born on 16 July 1848 in Pennsylvania, daughter of Robert McClusky and Martha McKeson. On 30 October 1850, Almira lived with her parents and siblings Emily, Lois, Edward, Martin, Caroline, Hannah, Ira, and Wallace at Pulaski, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania.
Th family has not been located on the 1870 census.
On 8 June 1880, the couple lived in Dover township, Lake County, Michigan with five children- Ora Eugene, George, Freddie, Ernest, and Elmer. Francis was working as a farmer while Almira kept house. The two oldest boys had attended school in the previous year.
In 1890, Francis lived in Dover township, Lake County, Michigan. He reported that he was suffering from a disease of the foot caused by frostbite.
On 11 June 1900, Francis and Almira and their sons Elmer and Ernest lived at 336 W. 10th Street in Traverse City. He was no longer working, while both sons were teamsters.
On 25 April 1910, Francis lived at 337 W. 10th Street in Traverse City with his wife Almira and son Ernest. Francis was reported to have his own income while Ernest worked as a teamster. Son Elmer and his family lived next door.
Almira died on 22 April 1917 from senility at 341 W. 10th Street.
Francis was married second on 7 May 1919 in Traverse City to Sarah Evelyn (Moore) Wells. Clergyman I. W. Minor conducted the ceremony, which was witnessed by Thomas Ghering and Harvey Allen. Evelyn was born circa 1866 in Canada, daughter of James Moore and Mary Hempstreet.
On 10 January 1920, Francis and Evelyn lived at 334 W. 10th Street in Traverse City.
Francis died on 15 March 1924.
Francis and Almira are buried in Oakwood Cemetery.
Francis and Almira (McClusky) Colby were the parents of six children (one died before 1900 and is unidentified):
i. IRA EUGENE COLBY was born circa 1868 in Michigan.
ii. GEORGE A. COLBY was born on 28 March 1872 in Killbuck, Lake County, Michigan. He died on 6 January 1895 in Dover, Lake County.
iii. FREDERICK M. COLBY was born on 3 August 1875 in Glencoe, Lake County, Michigan.
iv. JESSE ELMER COLBY was born on 14 September 1879 in Dover, Lake County, Michigan.
v. ERNEST R. COLBY was born on 14 September 1879 in Dover, Lake County, Michigan.
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