PETER COALBANK, father of
SAMUEL COALBANK, father of
WILLIAM JEFFERSON COLEBANK
William Jefferson Colebank was born on January 1, 1825 to Samuel and Elizabeth Everly Coalbank on
their farm in Monongalia County, West Virginia. This is where he grew up. He was about 19 when the
family moved 40 miles south to the Sandy Creek Valley which later became known as Colebank. The
creek forms the boundary beween Barbour and Preston counties in West Virginia. His father died only
two years later at the age of 55. Samuel Jr. operated the family farm after his dad died.
At the age of 21 William J. was converted and baptized, becoming a member of the German Baptist
denomination in the Shiloh Church in Barbour County (Dunkard Church, now Church of the Brethren).
He became a trustee and was ordained a minister of the gospel 4 years later. The following fall he
married Miss Anna Amelia Hayes (daughter of Elisha and Catherine Hayes). Following their marriage
William J and Amelia lived for a time in Wheeling, West Virginia where Marshall was born, then moved
back to Sandy Creek.
Little Marshall was a toddler of two, William J age 31 and Amelia 26 when they, along with a few
friends, neighbors and kin (including Amelia's parents) began a 600-mile westward trek to Knox
County, Missouri. They moved in seven covered wagons full of their belongings creaking and groaning
as they rolled slowly along. Everyone got out and walked to lessen the load for the horses as they
strained with all their might to pull the heavily loaded wagons up each hill and slope. At 10-15 miles
per day it took two months or more to reach their destination.
William J and family are found in the Knox County census in 1860, 1870 and 1880 where they lived for
28 years. All the children after Marshall were born here except for Andrew who was born 50 miles east
in Quincy, Illlinois. Samuel and Elizabeth were named after their Coalbank grandparents and Elisha
and Catherine for their Hayes grandparents. Samuel, Catherine and Elizabeth all married Dyers.
Andrew married a girl born in Preston County, West Virginia, which borders Sandy Creek where his
parents came from originally.
William J served in the church in Shelby County known as the Cherry Box Church. A book in the Shelby
County Library lists William J as "Bishop Colebank." He performed the wedding ceremony uniting his
son Marshall and Ida Lapp in marriage. His handwriting on their marriage certificate has a style with
flourish and beauty.
Between 1883 and 1887 Colebanks were moving west to take up homesteads in Frontier and Hayes
Counties in Nebraska. In 1890, three years after everyone was moved, William J's wife Amelia died at
age 60. William J then made his home with his son Samuel G and his gracious wife Clara on their
farm in Howell Precinct of Frontier County. They later moved to Morill County in Western Nebraska to a
farm near the former Cyrus Post Office near the town of Angora.
William J Colebank died in the home of his son Samuel G. Colebank, early on New Year's Day in
1908 on his 83rd birthday. He was five years old when this nation's first railroad began construction.
He had preached the gospel for nearly 50 years. His lifespan encompassed the tremendous
westward expansion of this nation. William J is buried in the cemetery at Bayard, Nebraska.
Reprinted with permission from "From Whence Came the Colebanks", Warren Colebank, copyright
1989, p. 324
The children of William Jefferson and Anna Amelia Hayes Colebank were:
Marshal Colebank - born December 2, 1853 in Wheeling, West Virginia. He married Ida A. Lapp and
died August 27, 1934 in Hixon, British Columbia, Canada. (See Marshal Colebank page)
Mary Colebank - born in February, 1858 in Knox County, Missouri. She married Indiana native Louis
Gilman (born December 3, 1858) on April 2, 1879 in Knox City, Knox County, Missouri. According to the
federal census, Mary and Louis farmed in Black Creek, Shelby County, Missouri in 1880. In 1885
Louis and Mary had moved to Roseland, Adams County, Nebraska. By 1900 the family had moved to
Reseburg, Clark County, Wisconsin where Louis was a day laborer. In 1910 the census placed them
at Worden in Clark County, Wisconsin and they still resided there in 1920. Their children were Laura
F., born in 1879, Frank, born in 1879, Bentley, born in 1881, Ervin, born in 1884, Lula Mae, born
January 1886, Pearl E., born April 1888, Effie U.,born February 1890, Alonzo, born October 1891, and
Cora Bertha, born October, 1894. Two of Mary and Louis's children did not live to adulthood. Louis
died on April 7, 1937 in Stanley, Barron County, Wisconsin. Mary died on May 17, 1929 in Stanley,
Chippewa County, Wisconsin.
Elisha Henry Colebank - born April 3, 1858 in Knox County, Missouri. Died in 1943 in Hixon, BC,
Canada. He married Lillie A. Dyer.
Samuel Garber Colebank - born August 19, 1860 in Knox County, Missouri. He married Clara Bell
Walker and died in 1930 in Hixon, BC, Canada. (See Samuel Garber Colebank page)
Andrew Jackson Colebank - born September 19, 1862 in Quincy, Illinois. He married Bertha Alice
Wills and died in 1951 in Vernon, BC, Canada. (See Andrew Jackson Colebank page)
Catherine Colebank - born April, 1866 in Knox County, Missouri. She married Herman B. Dyer, born
January 22,1863 in Wisconsin. In 1900 Herman was farming in Fenton Township, Big Horn County,
Wyoming and by 1906 had moved to Assiniboia West, Saskatchewan. Their children were Leroy E
Dyer, born October 1888,Charles F Dyer, born February 1890, William L Dyer, born June 1892, George
M Dyer, born August 1894, Herman G Dyer, born May 1897, and Anna E Dyer, born July 1899.
Elizabeth Colebank - born 1867 in Knox County, Missouri. She married Frank Dyer and they had at
least one child, Eva Lee Dyer, who was born after Elizabeth and Frank moved to Wisconsin. The family
then moved to Canada and from Canada to Portland, Oregon. Eva Lee married William Donahue and
they had one child, Jean Donahue, born in Portland, who married Joseph Reeve. Frank Dyer died in
1934 in Clackamas County, Oregon. Elizabeth Dyer died in July, 1932, also in Clackamas County.
(Updated information courtesy of Kathy Reeve)
Ann Amelia Colebank - born in 1870 in Knox County, Missouri. She died when still a child.
|William Jefferson Colebank, his son Andrew Jackson and Andrew's wife Bertha Alice, their sons
Gale and Glen. Taken around 1900.
The Gospel Messenger Oct. 15, 1890 page 638
COLEBANK – In Frontier County, Nebr., Sept. 22, Anna Amelia Colebank, wife of William. J. Colebank,
and daughter of Elisha Hays, aged 60 years, 8 months and 14 days.
They were joined in marriage June 10, 1852. Unto them were born 10 children and 19 grandchildren.
Three other children preceded her in death. She joined the Brethren church in 1858, and lived a
consistent and faithful Christian life until death! The last ten years of her life she was afflicted with
scrofula, and the few last years she was sorely afflicted and suffered much, but bore all with great
patience and Christian fortitude, never murmuring or complaining. Her remains were followed by a
large concourse of friends and relatives to her last resting place, in the Brethren’s new grave-yard,
she being the first one interred. Funeral discourse by the writer from Rev. 14: 13, to a large and
Eld. David Bechtelheimer.
"The Gospel Messenger", Dec. 17, 1889 p 798 Vol. 27 No. 50
At my last writing I was at Bro. Wm. Sandy’s, Lincoln County, Nebr., where I held seven meetings with
good interest. The one brother and the two sisters, composing the membership, were much built up.
from there, Bro. Wm. Sandy took me, Oct. 28, to Chase County, where there is a small organization. I
held seven meeting there with good attention and good interest.
I was next taken to Hayes County, to where my daughter lives. Then I went North to Frontier County,
where there are a few brethren. Bro. William J. Colebank is their minister. Here Bro. G. W.
Stambaugh, for Cass County, met me and we held meetings on Saturday evening and Sunday
forenoon. One was baptized and one reclaimed. We had meetings also on Sunday night. On
Monday we had council-meeting and organized the little band of brethren into working order. They
held a choice for the former fell upon the young brother that was baptized the day before. His name is
Alford Philips. The two deacons chosen are Benjamin and Oliver Lapp. May the Lord bless them and
enable them all to prove faithful in their several calling. We had meeting on Monday night and on
Tuesday, in the forenoon, at which time three more were reclaimed. Bro. Stambaugh now had to
leave and left the writer to continue the meetings until Saturday night, when another was reclaimed,
making, in all five reclaimed and one baptized.
I next went to the place where Bro. Alford Philips lives, where I held two meetings, which encouraged
them very much. Then I left for home, where I arrived in safety and found all well.
Eld. David Bechtelheimer
Obituary and meeting account courtesy of A. Wayne Webb, historian for the German Baptist Brethren
|OBITUARY OF ANNA AMELIA HAYES COLEBANK