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generations or missing branches, be sent in to him, as he intends to continue his research on the family. If there is sufficient reason for it a supplement may be issued later. Putnam, Conn., April, 1905.



Bardsley's “Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames gives the following: Corbyn, Carbine, Corbin; (1) local, ' of Corbyn,' probably a Norman locality; (2) baptismal, “the son of Corbin.' Probably two origins."

Arthur's Dictionary of Surnames gives: “Corbin, local; the name of a place in Glencreon, Scotland, signifying a steep hill, from the Gaelic Cor-beann or Corbein."

I think, however, that both of the above explanations of the origin of the name are inadequate. The clew to its real origin is in the fact that the Corbin coat-of-arms had on it three ravens, with the motto, Deus pascit corvos," “God feeds the ravens.” It seems, therefore, that the sign of the Corbin family was the raven or crow Latin, Corvus, French, Corbeau, or ancient form, Corbin

- from which the name was undoubtedly derived. It seems that the hardy warriors belonging to this clan adopted the raven as their sign; hence the name.

The Corbins were originally French, or Norman, and the name in France today is spelled as with us, Corbin. In England, however, the prevailing spelling has been Corbyn. One branch of the descendants of Clement Corbin, the family of Joseph P. (William, Philip, James, Clement), in which there were three brothers who were Episcopal clergymen, adopted the spelling Corbyn, which they continue to the present day. These brothers, on traveling in England, found the name spelled Corbyn there and considered that the more correct, as formerly i and j were the same.


The history of the Corbins goes back to the time of the Norman Conquest, when William the Conqueror defeated the Britons at the battle of Hastings in 1066 and was crowned king of England the next year. Then began the Norman emigration to England, when many Norman families crossed the English Channel and became the ruling families of England.

A book, “ The Battle Abbey Roll,” published in London in 1889, which gives the list of those who were with William the Conqueror at the battle of Hastings, mentions the Corbin name four times. The book states that on the settlement of England by the followers of William, the Corbins were undertenants until about the year 1154-6, when they became possessed of large estates through marriage, and had at least three coats-of-arms.

The Corbins were of Normandy prior to the eleventh century. There are many Corbins in France today. This may have given rise to the theory held by some that the American Corbins are of Huguenot origin. A branch of the Corbins from Normandy settled on the Isle of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, belonging to Great Britain. This branch had a coat-of-arms, described in Burke's “ General Armory as follows: “Argent (white] on a chief or (gold), three ravens sable," etc. Motto, Deus pascit corvos." (God feeds the ravens.)

The exact date of the settlement of a Corbin in England is not known, but the earliest record now existing shows that Robert Corbin of Normandy was in Staffordshire, England, in 1180 and in 1195. Geoffrey Corbin is also mentioned in 1194, and Walter Corbin in 1272.

(See the “ History of Staffordshire," by Shaw, II, p. 230.)

One of the branches of the Staffordshire Corbins settled in Warwickshire later. A MSS. left by Camden Clarenceoux, King-at-Arms in 1612, mentions as follows: “ The family of Corbin, whose ancient seat is Corbin's Hall, within Trinford Parish in Staffordshire, where most of them had their residence." The earliest settler in Warwickshire is given in Dugdale's “ Visitation of Warwickshire," p. 1119, to wit: “ Nicholas Corbin married Johanna Sturmie and by her inherited Hall End, in Whittington, in the time of King Richard III.” A descendant of his, Richard, lived in the reign of King Henry VIII. Richard's son Thomas, who died in 1584, had a son George, who died in 1636. This George Corbin is mentioned also in MSS. of the King-at-Arms as being of the seventeenth generation in direct descent from Robert Corbin of Normandy. To him was confirmed by the Kingat-Arms the Corbin coat-of-arms. He married Maria Fount of Foston, and they had a son Thomas (18) born May 24, 1594, who died a young man in 1631, leaving three sons, Thomas (19), born 1624, Henry, and George. The coat-of-arms confirmed to George Corbin by the College of Heraldry, London, about 1600, is given by Burke as follows: “Sable, on a chief or, three ravens proper. (Black, on a chief of gold, three ravens proper.)

The older main branch of the Corbins in Staffordshire bore the same arms, except that the lower part of the shield was silver instead of black. Most of the Corbins of England use the latter style, with the silver shield; and the crest of the Staffordshire Corbins is given by Burke as: “A dexter hand proper, holding a cross pattee fitchee, azure.'


Several Corbins seem to have emigrated from England and settled in Virginia and Maryland. The most prominent of these was Henry Corbin, who was born in Warwickshire, England, in 1629. He was son (?) of Thomas Corbin, sixteenth in descent from Robert Corbin the Norman. Henry Corbin came to Virginia in 1654, and settled finally on a tract of land called Peckatone, in the parish of Strathon Major in Westmoreland County, where he built a fine brick mansion, which stood until destroyed by fire a few years ago. Henry Corbin was prominent in the colony of Virginia. His son, Garvin Corbin, became president of the Council of Virginia.

Garvin's son, Richard Corbin, used his influence to procure Washington a commission as lieutenant in 1752. This family of Corbins intermarried with the Lees and other prominent families of old Virginia. (See Bishop Meade's “ Old Churches of Virginia.”) Other Corbins lived in Northampton and Accomac counties.

The Henry Corbin family had a coat-of-arms as follows: Sable on a chief or, three ravens proper. Motto,

Probitas Verus Honos." (Honesty is True Honor.)


The earliest mention of a Corbin in New England is of a John Corbin, who was master of a fishing ship, and carried a letter from William Holton at Piscataqua to John Winthrop at Agawam, April 18, 1633.

(N. E. Hist. and Gen. Register, Vol. 31, p. 180.)

The next Corbin mentioned is Robert Corbin. In Winthrop's “ History of New England,” Vol. II, p. 348, we read: “Richard Knight of Weymouth undertook for Robert Corbin, Master of the Speedwell, to appear at the next court to answer the action of Edward Wyatt and to abide the order of the court." This was June 15, 1637. Robert Corbin married Lydia, daughter of Richard Martin; no issue. (Savage's Gen. Dict.) On May 20, 1658, he received a grant of land at Casco Bay. (4 Records of Mass., p. 357.) He settled at Casco Bay, now Maine, and on October 19, 1658, signed a statement, acknowledging himself subject to Massachusetts. He was killed there, as stated in Hubbard's “ Indian Wars," Vol. II, pp. 138, 143, 144: “On the morning of August 11, 1676, a party of Indians began their attack on Casco Bay. One picket, not knowing this, went up in a canoe towards Robert Corbin's house. After a little while he heard guns shot off. He came back. The Indians appeared on the shore. The Indians, passing from Anthony Brocket's to Corbin's, killed Corbin himself. Corbin's wife, with one of the other men's wives and the children of another of them, they carried off.

This Robert Corbin was a cousin of Clement Corbin, as is shown by the York Deeds, Vol. VIII, Folio 166, where Clement Corbin proved by John Phillips and Jabez Buckminster, August 28, 1681, that he was a cousin of Robert Corbin. James Corbin, son of Clement, sold“ the residence of his kinsman, Robert Corbin," at Casco, to John Rogers of Boston, October 20, 1698; the deed was acknowledged October 24th of the same year. James was styled “mason,” of Woodstock, County of Suffolk, Province of Massachusetts Bay.

A Robert Corbin of Weymouth, Mass., was a soldier in King Philip's war in 1675. This was probably not the

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