YOUR SILENT NEIGHBORS, Lawrence Colton, Collins Company Inspector
by David K. Leff
Town Poet Laureate and Deputy Town Historian
Born in Monson Massachusetts, Lawrence Colton (1825-1889) was living in a “hotel” with other boarders and working for the Collins Company as an axe maker at age 25, according to the 1850 census. It’s likely the building was a large wood-frame structure called the Collinsville Hotel or Ocean House. It stood where the cannon does today, at the corner of River and Bridge Streets.
By 1860, Colton was an inspector in the Collins polishing shop. He would continue as a Collins Company inspector for at least two decades.
Colton married Ellen Bailey in 1851. The couple would have two sons and two daughters— Florence, Clifford, George and Carrie. It’s said that his two sons were educated at Yale. The elder died young of tuberculosis, and the other became an engineer for railroads out west. In 1858, the Collins Company sold him the house at 15 Spring Street. He sold the house back to the company in 1880.
Lawrence Colton is buried in the Village Cemetery, Collinsville.
“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past. Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.
A special thank you to Town Historian Kathy Taylor and Tyler Nye (who owns the Colton house) both of whom generously shared information on Mr. Colton.