Anthony Colby
Anthony Colby.jpg
20th Governor of New Hampshire
In office
June 4, 1846 – June 3, 1847
Preceded byJohn Hardy Steele
Succeeded byJared W. Williams
Member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1792-11-13)November 13, 1792
New London, New Hampshire
DiedJuly 20, 1873(1873-07-20) (aged 80)
New London, New Hampshire
Political partyWhig
Spouse(s)Mary Everett
Eliza Messenger Richardson
ChildrenSusan Farnum Colby
Robert Lane Colby
ProfessionBusiness executive

Anthony Colby (November 13, 1792 – July 20, 1873) was an American businessman and politician from New London, New Hampshire. He owned and operated a grist mill and a stage line, and served as the 20th governor of New Hampshire from 1846 to 1847.


Colby was born in New London, New Hampshire, on November 13, 1792. His was educated locally and became a successful business owner and operator, with his ventures including a stagecoach line, gristmill, and factory for producing scythes.

He was also active in the militia, serving as an ensign during the War of 1812, and attaining the rank of major general in 1837.

Colby entered politics as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving from 1828 to 1832 and 1837 to 1839. He was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress in 1833 and 1835, and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1843, 1844 and 1845.

In 1846, Colby ran for governor as the Whig nominee. He originally placed second to Democrat Jared W. Williams, receiving 32% of the vote to Williams's 48%. However, the state constitution imposed a majority-vote requirement in gubernatorial elections, so the failure of any candidate in the race to win a majority threw the election to the General Court. A Whig–Liberty Party–Independent Democrat coalition, led by Independent Democrat John P. Hale, won control of the state government and elected Colby as Governor over Williams.[1] Colby served from June 4, 1846, to June 3, 1847. He ran unsuccessfully for re-election in 1847, in which he lost to Williams.

After leaving the governorship, Colby remained active in business, the military and politics. He served again in the New Hampshire House from 1860 to 1861, and during the American Civil War served as Adjutant General of the New Hamspshire Militia from 1861 to 1863. He then became provost marshal of the militia, with his son Daniel succeeding him as adjutant general.

Colby was interested in higher education. He was a trustee of Dartmouth College from 1850 to 1870, and received an honorary Master of Arts from Dartmouth in 1850. He was also the founder of Colby Academy, which through expansions and mergers is now known as Colby-Sawyer College.

Colby died in New London on July 20, 1873, and was buried in New London's Old Main Street Cemetery.[2]

Colby's papers are held at Colby-Sawyer College.[3]


  1. ^ Yeargain, Tyler (2021). "New England State Senates: Case Studies for Revisiting the Indirect Election of Legislators". University of New Hampshire Law Review. 19 (2): 381. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  2. ^ The Granite Monthly
  3. ^ Anthony Colby's papers Archived July 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
Party political offices Preceded byEnos Stevens Whig nominee for Governor of New Hampshire 1843, 1844, 1845, 1846, 1847 Succeeded byNathaniel S. Berry Political offices Preceded byJohn H. Steele Governor of New Hampshire 1846–1847 Succeeded byJared W. Williams