People of Ontario County: Lloyd Colbert

Excerpt from Preston E Pierce’s A Tour Guide to Black History Sites in Canandaigua, NY.

Lloyd Colbert

The family of Lloyd Colbert was one of the longest established Black families in Canandaigua. Daniel Dorsey, who settled around Lyons, brought the Colberts to Ontario County as slaves from Maryland. Among them was Lloyd Colbert, oldest son of Phoebe Holland and James Colbert.

At the end of his life, Lloyd Colbert lived in a house on Butcher (Granger) Street with his sister, “Neckie” (Nancy). He eventually married a woman named Chloe, born in New Jersey. His unmarked burial place may be in West Avenue Cemetery, Canandaigua.

Lloyd Colbert was manumitted, or given his freedom, on October 12, 1814. The Ontario County Clerk recorded his manumission in the official records July 30, 1815. Colbert was given a copy of his manumission certificate as protection against capture under the fugitive slave laws. The certificate also proved that Colbert was entitled to a very few privileges denied to slaves. Among them was the right to own property, make contracts, and in a very few limited cases, vote. Although Lloyd Colbert could not give testimony in court, his manumission certificate could be accepted as a kind of testimony on his behalf. 

Lloyd Colbert’s manumission is found in the Canandaigua Town Highway Book, 1794-1846, p. 317. Many documents related to enslaved local people are found in Town Highway Books. The reason for that can only be guessed.