Born: July 3, 1869, a son of Hosea Colbath and Kate Welthy Reynolds

Died: July 4, 1891, buried in Pine Ridge Cemetery. The stone was transcribed as "son of H. & R. Colbath." The "R" is probably a "K".



Robert A. Colbath was a lumberman who was killed by lightening while on a log drive at age 22. His tombstone at Pine Ridge Cemetery says that he was the "son of H. and R. Colbath." "H. Colbath" is likely Hosea Colbath.

Malone Palladium, July 9, 1891

Robert Colbath was struck by lightning at Morrisonville, Clinton county, on Saturday last, and was; instantly killed. He was at work driving logs, and was standing on a boom when struck. He was 22 years of age, and formerly lived at Saranac Lake, where his remains were taken for burial.

Plattsburgh Sentinel July 10, 1891

Saranac Lake

The Sad Fate of Robert Colbath

— Robert Colbath, of Saranac Lake, was killed by lightning, near Morrisonville, on July 4th, 1891. He was 22 years of age, and was at work on Turner's drive, and had his valise packed ready to go home when the day's work was finished. A terrible thunder storm came on. Two men were on the sorting boom, and were thrown into the river by the shock as the lightning struck, Cobath was killed. The other man did not lose consciousness, and seized hold of his comrade and drew him out of the water. His day's work was accomplished sooner than he thought. At home, his mother had made all preparations for his coming. His father, the well-known guide, Hosea Colbath, was at Mud Lake with a party. A dispatch was sent to Tupper Lake for him, which was forwarded from that office by special messenger, and a few hours sufficed the hardy boatman to cover the distance, fifty miles between camp and his home. Mr. Turner brought the dead body up on the Sunday train, and friends and neighbors met the sad procession and escorted them home. The funeral services were held at St. Luke's church. Robert was a young man of great promise, and his death is mourned by many. The sincere sympathy of the community is with those so suddenly bereft of son and brother.


During a fearful thunder storm on the afternoon of the Fourth, Robert Colbath was struck by lightning, and instantly killed, while at work on the dam near Purdy's mill with about thirty log drivers, in the employ of Benton Turner. He was standing on the boom, within six feet of a fellow workman, who was only slightly shocked, and who at once pulled him to the boom as he was about to sink. He was near-sighted, and while at work wore glasses, with heavy steel bows, and it is thought that the electrical current followed the spectacle bows as there rested a black streak around his forehead directly where the bows lay. No other marks were found on his body. He was carried to Emery's hall, followed by all the river drivers, who, with the ready service of Doctor C. B. Vaughan, used every means to restore him, but without avail, and his remains were placed in the hands of undertakers Sanborn and Emery, and on Sunday morning taken on the train by Mr. Benton Turner to the home of his father, Hosea Colbath, at Saranac Lake village, N. Y. He was 22 years old the day before his death, and was beloved by all his fellow workmen, with whom he had worked for several years on the Saranac river. During the drivers camp in our village, young Colbath was an attendent at the meetings in the M. E church. His genial manner, and lovable disposition won the friendship and good will of all.