Colegrove name meaning & history

1. English: probably a variant of Colgrove.

Probably an americanized form of German Kuhlgrube, a habitational name from any of 12 places so named, probably from Middle High German Kol 'coal' + gruobe 'pit', or an altered spelling of Kohlgraf, an occupational name for an overseer of the coal trade. / Dictionary of American Names,
Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-508137-4

Colegrove: is a surname or family name which developed between the 12th and 15th centuries in England.  The name may have originated from a grove along the River Cole, Wiltshire, a Tributary of the River of Thames in England.  Another explanation as to the origin of the name is from the Middle English cole 'coal' + grave 'pit', 'grave' (Old English col+graef).  Other forms of the spelling in the past include: COLGROVE, COLEGROVE, COLEGRAVE, COULGROVE, COALGROVE, COALGRAVE.  The first records of the Colegrove name were in the 15th century England and in the 1680's in the first American colonies.  There was a town founded in the 1800's as a Rail Road Depot, Colegrove, PA, in McKean County named after Colegrove founders.  The family name is found throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Austrailia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland and other nations around the world.

Our Colegrove Line: Starting with Curtis Christopher Colegrove.  Next person listed is his father, and so on. 

Curtis C. Colegrove 1916 - 1977                Jeremiah Colegrove 1777 - ?
Howard Colegrove 1893 - 1983 Jeremiah Jr. Colegrove 1737 - ?
Joseph B. Colegrove 1867 - 1930 Francis Colegrove 1698 - 1727
Melvin Colegrove 1844 - 1881 Francis Colegrove 1667 - 1759
Nathan Colegrove 1815 -1893 Said to be Francis Colegrove 1634 - ?

Although many Colegroves first settled first in New York, the first known (documented) Colegrove to settle in America was Francis Colegrove (1667 - 1759).  Most likely from Glamorgan, Wales, Francis was a colonial immigrant who settled first in Warwick, Rhode Island in about 1688.  His immigration is important in the fact that most people that bear the surname Colegrove in the United States can be traced back to him.  Separatists and Baptist from the Swansea area of Wales were moving in the American colonies for political and religious freedom, so it's also likely this is why Francis also made the move.

Francis Colegrove (1667 - 1759) and his wife Elizabeth came to America from England in 1688, per records that have been scantly put together.  Francis and Elizabeth had one daughter, also named Elizabeth.  She was born sometime the same year the two of them came to America.  Unsure if or when Francis' wife Elizabeth died (possibly during childbirth), but Francis married a woman named Ann, later in 1688.

In Newport, Rhode Island a man named Stephen Mumford who came to the colonies in 1665 started the Newport Sabbatarian Baptist Church which Francis and his wife, Ann joined and attended in 1671.  During the 17th century, many Baptists along with many non-conformists and separatists, found refuge from persecution in Britain and other colonies such as Massachusettes, in the colony of Rhode Island, which had been set up by Baptists Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson in the 1630's and 1640's.

Eli Colegrove (born about 1689), Stephen Colegrove (about 1694), Francis Colegrove Jr. (1697) and John Colegrove (about 1714) were atleast four of the children that Francis (1667 - 1759) and Ann had.  In 1710, their first son Eli died at Port Royal, Nova Scotia during the Queen Anne's War.

The "Narragansett Country" which was an area of land in Rhode Island named after the Narragansett (tribe) of Native Americans, shows that Francis owned some of the land.  Francis was a farmer is the new world.  To recompense the loss of his son, Eli (who helped with farming), Francis was given the land.  Here is an excerpt on Francis, known by some today as "The Patriarch", from William Colegrove's Book (mentioned below):

"He was evidently an active, enterprising, pioneer farmer, who attended to his own business and kept out of politics, - thus setting an excellent example - which has been followed by his descendents.  The death of his oldest son seems to have been a severe blow to him in respect to his business, compelling him to ask a little relief from the Legislature of the Colony, - which relief, it is pleasant to know, was readily granted.  The following is from The Rhode Island Colonial Records, V.4, p 136; "Proceedings of R.I. and Prov. Plantations at Newport, 27th February 1711-12."

A prominent land holder, Francis Colegrove owned land in other places.  On June 28, 1709 a committee that had been formed by the Rhode Island general assembly, sold a large tract of land known as the "Shannock Purchase" located near Richmond, Rhode Island- which our Francis Colegrove was amoung one of the recipients.

By 1712, Westerly, Rhode Island is were Ann and Francis ended up.  There are records indicating Ann involvement with the Sabbatarian congregation there.  Before Francis, Ann died around 1714.  No one knows for sure when Francis Colegrove died, but William Colegrove, author of the 1894 publication, The History and Genealogy of the COLEGROVE FAMILY in America, believed he may have died about 1759 or before in Hopkinton, R.I.  1725 - 1729 is when the more conservative researches suggest that he died. 

Francis Colegrove Jr. (1698 - ?) married a woman named Hannah Bailey (1698 - 1788).  Hannah Bailey's parents were Hugh Bailey (1663 - 1724) and Anne (1667 - 1721) both from areas in Rhode Island.  Frances Jr. & Hannah together had atleast three children.  Amie Colegrove (1731 - 1788), William Colegrove (1731 - 1811) and Jeremiah (1737 - ?)  Francis Jr. was born in Westerly, Kent Co., Rhode Island where his father settled last.  His wife, Hannah was born in Newport, Rhode Island.  Somewhere along their travels they moved from Warwick, R.I. to Kingston, R.I. and settled lastly (where they died) in Tioga Co., New York.

Francis Jr. & Hannah's youngest known son, Jeremiah (1737 - ?) married a Hannah Webster (8 Jun 1747 - ? ).  Hannah Webster's parents were James Webster (1719 - 1777) and Hannah Woodmansee (1724 - 1777).  Jeremiah Colegrove and Hannah Webster had three known children (per records).  Those records also indicate that their first two sons, Jeremiah and James were both born in 1777.  Their third child, Francis was born in 1779 and died sometime in 1836.  James died around 1827 and I have not found records indicating whem Jeremiah died.  Francis Jr. and Hannah moved from Rhode Island to Brattleboro, Vermont and then back to Rhode Island.

Jeremiah Colegrove (1777 - ? ) born in Brattleboro, Vermont married a woman named Olive Stephens (1790 - ?).  Olive was born in Canisteo, Steuben Co., New York.  Her parents were Jedediah Stephens (1757 - 1830) originally from New York and her mother, Abigal Corey (1759 - 1825) originally from New York.  Jeremiah & Olive married and started their family in Greenup County, Kentucky.  They had three boys.  Jedediah Darius Colegrove born 2 Nov 1811 and died on 29 Jun 1882, their second son born 9 Sep 1815 and died 24 Nov 1893 was Nathan Colegrove.  John Thompson Colegrove was their third son and he was born 6 Jun 1826 and he died 6 Jun 1888.

Jedediah Darius Colegrove (1811 - 1882) (not Ruby P. Stines Colegrove line: cousins) married Elizabeth Stump.  Left is a photo of one of their sons: Jeremiah Colegrove.  His first wife was Mary Ann Crank and his second wife was Ardelia Ann Crank. (Sisters, and yes Jeremiah married Ardelia after Mary died.  It has been told that Mary Ann Crank's mother was a Taylor; a cousin to President Zachary Taylor (#12) who had lots of Ky. roots.    (from: Laura Tilford)

 Nathan Colegrove (1815 - 1893) married Sarah Clark (1822 - 1896) on 2 Jan 1839 in Greenup Co., KY.  Unsure who her parents are, census records during her relationship with Nathan Colegrove state she was born in Kentucky.  Their children are as follows: Henry (1840 - ? ), Samuel (1841 - 1896), Melvin (1844 - 1881), Jesse (1846 - 1913), Hamilton (1852 - 1904), Nancy (1858 - 1938), Sarah (1860 - ? ), Wesley (1863 - ? ) and Mary (1865 - ? ).  They had nine children, three girls and six boys.

1870 US Fed. Census

Per the 1870 & 1880 United States Federal Census Records compiled on indicate that Nathan Colegrove and his family lived in Hunnewell, Greenup Co., Kentucky.  Then, also known as Precinct 5, Greenup, Kentucky.  At the time of 1870 Census Record, Nathan & Sarah's oldest four boys (Henry, Samuel, Melvin & Jesse) had already moved out of their house.  By the 1880 Census Record, Mary (their youngest child) was the only one left living in the house.  These census records also read that Nathan Colegrove was a farmer.
Click one of the census records to view larger.

1880 US Fed. Census

Melvin Colegrove
was born 20 Sep 1844 in Greenup Co., KY.  He married Zerilda (Sarilda) Davisson on 25 Jul 1864.  Zerilda was born on 14 Oct 1845.  Her parents were Joseph Davisson and Mary Shropshire.  Melvin and Zerilda had nine children.  They were Dora Alice (1865 - ? ), Joseph Bishop (1867 - 1930), William H. (1869 - 1875), Emarine (1870 - ? ), samuel N. (1873 - 1927), Charles (1875 - 1959), Theresa (1897 - 1912), Mary (1878 - 1952) and Sylvester (1881 - 1959).

As Melvin was the second oldest son to Nathan Colegrove & Sarah Clark, he himself was listed as the head of household during the 1870 & 1880 Census roll.  The 1870 US Federal Census listed Melvin his wife Zerilda and their four oldest children (all that was born at the time) living in the area of Greenupsburg (Precinct 1), Greenup Co., Kentucky.  The roll that was taken for the 1880 census shows them living in Yellow Creek, Greenup Co., KY.  It also states the Melvin's occupation was an ore miner.

The Civil War was between 1861 - 1865.  Melvin Colegrove was registered with the 10th KY Cavalry Unit with Company K.  Melvin was also listed on the Union side of the Civil War. (My source: US National Archives, Civil War Service Records. Box: 386; Extraction: 6; Record: 131.  On March 29th 1881, Melvin died.  Melvin's youngest son Sylvester was born 16 Nov 1881, just 7 months 17 days after he (Melvin) died.

Joseph Colegrove (1867 - 1930) was born on 21 May.  On 8 Oct 1890, Joseph married a  Lucy Bennett (1873 - 1935).  Marriage date per the Kentucky Marriage Index, 1851 - 1900,  The marriage document list Lucy's name as Lucy Sinnett, along with another document.  Other records / documents list Lucy's name as Lucinda or Ludy.  While census records were taken, often the spelling of a person's first or last name was change.  Names of people, towns, etc. were spelled however the person thought.  Because of this, I have had some trouble finding information about Lucy Bennett / Sinnett.

Joseph and Lucy had seven children.  It is possible that they may have an eighth child, but facts have not yet been found.  Their seven documented children are Howard (1893 - 1983), Christopher (1898 - ? ), Ralph (1901 - ? ), twins Sherman & Shirley born in 1903, Isabelle (1906 - ? ) and Nora born in 1912.

A census roll from 1910 for Ironton Ward 4, Lawrence, Ohio showed that Joseph, Lucy and their children lived in Ohio.  Joseph made this move after 1906.  But by 1912 (when their last child was born) the family had moved back to Kentucky.  Mud, Floyd Co., Kentucky was their residence when the 1920 Census was taken on 22 January.  On the 6th of Jan 1930, Joseph Colegrove died.  Four days after Joseph's death on 10 Jan 1930 another census roll was taken listing Lucy, Sherman and Nora living in the home.  A lot of times if someone was visiting a home when a census was taken, get are listed living in the household.  This often mis-lead us researches.  Which takes me back to the 1910 Ohio Census, were they visiting family?  Anyway back to the 1930 Census, it also listed that Lucy Colegrove owned the home valued at $1200.  In the area (other people listed on the same page) six other families owned their home having a lowest value of $300 and highest at $1200.  The other families listed on the page listed R, (Rented) paying only $5 and $10 a month in rent.

Joseph's death certificate list Clv. Nephritis, Myocorditis & artiris-sclerosis as the cause of deaths. (Cause of deaths listed is exact spelling on certificate.)  CLV Nephritis is also known as Brights Disease, a chronic renal disease, type of kidney disease.  Mycorditis is listed in the dictionary as myokarditis, a collective term for inflammatory disease of the heart muscle with different causes.  I am unsuccessful on finding information on the last cause of death.  Joseph's occupation listed was miner.  Lucy died sometime in 1935 in Betsy Layne, Floyd Co., KY.  Within a few acres is Justell, Floyd Co., KY and Betsy Layne.  Both Joseph and Lucy are buried in the Justell Community Cemetery, AKA Betsy Layne Cemetery.  Either way, the cemetery is located in the unincorporated community of Justell.  A woman named Betsy Layne died there and is buried in the same cemetery.

Click on image to enlarge

1910 US Federal Census

1920 US Federal Census

1930 US Federal Census

Joseph Colegrove's
Death Certificate



Howard Colegrove born on 13 Aug 1893 in Greenup County, Kentucky moved around a little with his family before he married Ella May Nichols (Nickels).  Ella May Nichols was born on 15 Mar 1899 probably in Alabama.

Howard and Ella had ten children.  Their children that I have birth and death days for are: Curtis Christopher (1916 - 1977), Lula Belle (1917 - 1989), Joseph Bishop (1920 - 1995), Everett Herman (1924 - 2001), Lucy May (1935 - 1937) and Orbie M. (1937 - 2003). Their other children whos names I have are, Howard Jr. (they also called him Red), Ned, Mary M. and Dorothy.  Lucy May was not even 2 years old when she died of pneumonia.  She is buried in the same cemetery as her grandparents: Joseph Bishop & Lucy Colegrove in the Justell Community Cemetery (a.k.a.: Betsy Layne Cemetery in Betsy Layne / Justell- Floyd Co., KY)

(During a trip to Vanceburg KY and to West Virginia, trying to locate headstones for Howard Colegrove, and others, I found the headstone for Howard & Ella May's son, Joseph B. 1920-1995 and Joseph's son, Joseph B. Jr. 1946-1991.)

Howard Colegrove's WWI Draft Registration Card: June 5, 1917.

Home: Mossy Bottom, KY (which is located in Pike County)
DOB: 13 Aug 1893
Born in: Greenup Co., KY
Occupation: Coal Miner for the Mossy Bottom Mining Company
Family: Wife & 1 Child (This was Curtis, his 2nd child, Lula Belle had not been born yet)
Howard's draft certificate also listed him as tall with a medium build.  His eye color was Blue and his hair was yellow. (Blonde)

Howard Colegrove and the World War I.  The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 was the immediate cause of the WWI, also known as the First World War, the Great War and the War to End All Wars.  The retaliation by Austria-Hungary against the Kingdom of Serbia activated a series of alliances that set off a chain reaction of war declarations.  Within a month, much of Europe was in a state of open warfare.  Numerous other states joined the allies, most notably Italy in April 1915, and the United States in April 1917.  The American Expeditionary Forces or AEF was the United States military force sent to Europe in the World War I.  By June 1917, there were 14,000 U.S. soliders in France.  By the end of May the following year there were one million American troops there.  Howard Colegrove was drafted into the war on June 5th, 1917.  These first American troops were called "Doughboys" (U.S. soliders who arrived in Europe in June 1917) by other Allied troops.  The World War I ended in 1918.  Howard Colegrove returned home and continued working as a coal miner.

After Howard returned from the war he and his family moved to Mud, Kentucky.  Mud is an unincorporated community in Floyd County.  This information is from a census taken on 22 Jan, 1920.  The township listed on the census (shown below, click to enlarge) is Mouth of Mud, Floyd County.  Sometime between the 1920 Census and the death of Howard & Ella May's youngest child Lucy (died in 1937) Howard & his family moved to Wheelwright, Floyd Co., KY.  Wheelwright is listed as the place of residence on Lucy May Colegrove's death certificate.  (Shown below, click to enlarge).

                            1920 U.S. Federal Census           Death Certificate for Lucy May Colegrove
(Click either record to enlarge)

Sometime or another Harlan County was another home for Howard's family.  It is told that he was a miner there, as he was in Mossy Bottom, Pike Co., KY and in Mud & Wheelwright, Floyd Co., KY.  It is also told that Howard & Ella May were of the medium class in Harlan County.  They weren't the richest, but they had the money to live on higher grounds.  Their home stood in a row with others on a mountain in Harlan.  Some of their grand kids from their son Curtis remember Ella not wanting Curt to bring those kids (Ruby's kids) in her home.  Curt & Ruby's kids remember feeling unwelcome.  However, of the only sibling left from the Howard & Ella's family, Mary M. Colegrove Moore, she only remembers Ella as a "Heart of Gold."  After Howard and Ella moved to Harlan, Mary remembers in detail how her brother Curt would eat breakfast with their parents every morning.  Mary remembers details about the relationship she and her brothers and sisters had with their loving parents.  Why is it that Ruby & Curt's children remember Ella differently. 

Pictured below is the home they lived in, in Harlan.  The home had caught fire sometime after they had moved out.  Other families had made it their home, etc.  The other picture is of Howard & Ella's headstone.  Howard is not buried next to his first wife, Ella.  Howard moved to West Virginia and married Lottie Elkins (18 Jan 1908 - 15 Sep 1987).  Howard was a little more than fourteen years older than Lottie.  Lisa Mack, a grandchild from Howard & Lottie, told me that Howard and Lottie married in Fairborn Ohio sometime between 1966 - 1969.  Lisa also informed me that the two (Howard & Lottie) did not have any children.  I am unable to locate their marriage certificate.  Howard died in June of 1983 and is buried in Sumerco, Lincoln County, West Virginia.  Below is a photo of the headstone for Howard Colegrove.

Howard & Ella May's Headstone
Howard is not buried with Ella.

One of the homes Howard & Ella
lived in, Harlan Co., KY.

Howard, Joseph & Joseph Jr. Colegrove are buried in the Orchard Hill Memory Gardens
Sumerco, Lincoln Co., West Virginia.


Google Earth: Lat: 38° 13' 28.59" North
Lon: 81° 55' 32.31" West
These points are at the entrance to the cemetery.
Midway Road (214) Sumerco, Lincoln Co., WV


Curtis Christopher Colegrove: Curtis was born 3 Apr in 1916.  Curt (as he was called later) was born in Pike County, KY.  The residence for Curtis’ parents listed on his birth certificate was Mossy Bottom, which is an unincorporated community in Pike County.  By 1920 they had moved to Floyd County and was living in another unincorporated community called Mud.  When Curt was 21, his youngest sister, Lucy May died. (1937) Unsure if Curt was living at home, his family was living in Wheelwright (Floyd), per Lucy’s death certificate. (See above) Like his father (and maybe even, with his father) sometime or another they moved to Harlan County, where it all began. 

I’m assuming now, that after Curtis moved to Harlan, he fell in love with Ruby Parolee Stines. (She was originally from North Carolina)  They married on 27 Aug 1938.  Curt’s new bride, Ruby was born on 25 Sep 1922.  Ruby & Curt’s children all say she was born in Marshall, North Carolina.  (See the Stines Family page, should be started by mid June ’08.)  She came from a smaller family with little money.  Her parents were John Stines & Belva Cooper.  Both died when she was a young girl.

When they started expanding their family, they moved to Floyd County.  This is what is on their first three children’s birth certificates.  Their first child, Belva Sue was born on 11 May 1939, Ruby was four months from turning 18.  Belva was born 8 months and 14 days after her parents married.  Johnny Roy was born 19 Jan 1941.  I’m sure that he was named after Ruby’s father.

Curtis Colegrove & WWII

World War II or also known as the Second World War was basically a global military conflict.  I started as two conflict starting with Asia in 1937 (Second Sino-Japanese War) and Europe in 1937 (German invasion of Poland).  Over 100 million military personnel were mobilized making it the most wide-spread war in history.  Sad but true there were more than 70 million people killed.  Civilians made up the majority of those killed.  And the over 70 million made WWII the deadliest war.  And because everything is based on cost, WWII was also costed the most, topping an estimated one trillion dollars.  (How much is that)
On 24 Aug 1942, Curt enlisted for WWII.  He enlisted into Huntington West, Virginia. Brach Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA.  The actual record describes Curt as 69” tall and being 146 lbs and living in Floyd County.  It wasn't long after when the war ended on 15 Aug 1945.  It is very likely that Curt returned home before the war actually ended.

After Curt returned home, he and Ruby had their third child, Sarah Louise who was born 9 Jan 1945.  The rest of their children’s birth certificates list them being born in Harlan County.  Patricia Ella was born 27 Feb 1947.  Their fifth child, Helen Belinda was born 18 Jun 1949.  About four years later, came Curtis Christopher (born 12 Feb 1953).  His birth certificate does not list him as being a Jr.  On 4 Aug 1954, Curt and Ruby had another baby girl.  Cathy Jean.  Being the eighth child, Cindy Jane was born 28 Feb 1956.  Tina Marie, which shares a birthday with the oldest sibling was born on 11 May (1960).  Their tenth child, Rebecca Faye was born on St. Patricks Day in 1962 (17 of March).  The baby of the family is James William who was born 21 Apr 1965.  Eleven children they had, spaced out over twenty six years.  WOW.

When Curt & Ruby (also known as Polly) were listed living in Wayland, Floyd Co., KY, Curt was a miner while Ruby was the housewife.  This was pretty much the way of it back then.  You moved and lived where the mines would work you.  Once they moved to Harlan, I believe that Curt was still a miner, only in Harlan.  There were times when miners would be gone in the mines for several days at a time.  This made home life hard on Ruby.  As she was the only one to keep the family going.

Harlan County had many many floods which forced Curt and his family to moved.  They weren't able to buy a house on a hill like Curt's parents.  Here are two pictures of the 1963 flood in Harlan.  I believe that most of Curt & Ruby's kids remember the hotel, downtown.  Lewellen Hotel.

Harlan County Flood 1963
Scene with Lewellen Hotel
in background

Harlan County Flood 1963
Picture of downtown

As mining was hard on a man's lungs and his body, sometime after Curt & Ruby's youngest son, Jay (James William) was born in 1965, Curt moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan for other work.  I'm not sure exactly when, but sometime or another Ruby & Curt's youngest son, Johnny Roy also moved to Michigan for work.  Curt found work Meijer Grocery Store.  (He also retired from there)

I'm unsure when, but shortly after Curt moved to Michigan, he sent John (Johnny Roy) to Harlan, KY to get Ruby and the kids (What kids were living at home).  Ruby didn't like it there much.  She told Curt, "With or without you, I'm moving back to Kentucky.  It's too cold."  Curt decided to stay in Michigan and Ruby and the kids, returned to Harlan.  Curt visited and would sometimes send money.

With Curt being gone, Ruby raised the kids.  I'm guessing by some of their children's ages, atleast Curtis (went by Chris), Cathy, Cindy, Tina, Rebecca (went by Becky) and James (went by Jay) were all still living at home.  Helen would have been about 17 years old, so she too maybe had still lived at home (I'm waiting on response from email to confirm).  Ruby had to find work herself and maybe had already been working before Curt moved away.  The Court Cafe', Jiffy Grill and Town Site Restaurant were some of the places that Ruby worked.  These were times where a burger cost just a few cents.  It was common that Ruby would take on ironing and sometimes the wash for wealthier ladies in Harlan.  She was the first in the house to wake up and the last to lay her head down at night.  I'm sure there were countless nights when she didn't sleep at all.

         (Still working on putting the rest of the info about Curt on this page.) Check back soon


Information from this website is gathered from one or more of the following resources: ,,,, census records, birth records, death records, marriage certificates, ancestors themselves