All material copyright 2000, Michael Collins Dunn
A Collective Biography
The Scattering of the Clan
The Collins Brothers (and Cousins) in Georgia
The Brothers in the War of 1812 and Indian Wars
The Georgia Census Evidence
Holland's Move to Kentucky: Another Sandy Creek Settlement?
The Re-Gathering of the Clan: The Move to Tennessee
The First Land Henry Owned
A Forgotten First Attempt to Settle in the Ozarks
Henry Rejoins His Brothers in Tennessee
The Land and the Neighbors on Spring Place Pike
The Glenn Connection
Where Was the "Crossroads at Henry Collins'?"
Notes on the Crossroads' Likely Location
The Children of Henry and Frances (Fannie) Martin
As we move through the 19th century in this family history, the amount
of material available increases considerably. As I have indicated, it is
my intention to provide as thorough a biography of each ancestor, with
as much related detail about family and environment, as possible. At times,
discussions of the evidence on a given point naturally takes up several
pages. For this reason, beginning with Henry Collins (1795-1860), it seems
appropriate to begin, as I will also do in later chapters, with a brief
summary of the life which will be discussed in great detail in the pages
Henry Collins was born 18 December 1795, the 9th of 16 children born
to James Collins "II" and his wife Temperance Vinson Collins. Born in the
Sandy Creek area of Franklin County, North Carolina, Henry moved, perhaps
while still quite young, to Greene and Oglethorpe Counties, Georgia with
(or following) his brother Willis. Other brothers moved to Georgia as well.
On 1 May 1817, Henry married Frances "Fannie" Martin, younger sister of
Willis' wife Phebe, and a daughter of Revolutionary War veteran William
Martin. They were to have nine children together.
In 1826 or very close to that date, Willis and Henry moved to Maury
County, Tennessee, to a part which was to become Marshall County. There
they lived near their older brother Durham, who had moved directly to Tennessee
from North Carolina. Jones Collins followed from Georgia a little later;
Holland Collins, who had moved with some of his uncles to Kentucky, and
Elisha Collins from North Carolina all followed as well. So, later, did
the youngest son, George Washington Collins.
For a brief period around the year 1830, Henry Collins attempted to
settle in northwestern Arkansas, an event apparently forgotten by the family
but recorded in census and other documents. He had returned to Tennessee
by about 1832 if not earlier, and soon settled a few miles to the east
of his previous land, in then Bedford County, but in a part also to become
part of Marshall County at its formation in 1836.
Henry and Willis seem to have been close, though they were 11 years
apart in age. Their mutual father-in-law, William Martin, followed from
Georgia by 1834, living in Marshall County until his death in 1842. Though
close in other ways, Willis voted Whig and Henry voted Democratic.
Henry Collins's farm was apparently a prominent place, located at a
crossroads on the road to Reed's Gap, now known as Spring Place Road.
Frances Martin Collins died 26 December 1841. Henry later married Nancy
Elvira Cunningham Shephard, widow of O.P. Shephard, by whom he had one
son, Henry Lenoir Collins. Henry died 17 September 1860.
There is hardly a statement in this brief summary, however, which does
not require considerable elaboration, documentation, and proof. Let us
meet Henry Collins in greater detail.
Henry Collins (1795-1860) was the 10th child of James Collins, the 9th
of 16 born to Temperance Vinson Collins. His father had had a brother named
Henry, who later moved to Kentucky(1), and
it is presumed that it is for him that this Henry Collins was named. The
younger Henry we are discussing now -- my third-great-grandfather -- moved
from North Carolina to Georgia and then to Tennessee, and (as will be demonstrated
in this biography) also attempted a move to Arkansas at one point, though
that effort seems to be preserved only in the public records and not in
I must note at this point that in some ways my biography of Henry Collins
will be less complete than those of his father or grandfather, or of his
son John Collins. For the Georgia years, most of the information offered
here is from census and marriage records, and from only partially investigated
military records. Fuller research in the land records of the counties where
the Collinses left traces in Georgia may provide a much fuller picture
in a future edition of this history. I did not myself visit Marshall County,
Tennessee until 1998, and until then relied on microfilmed county records,
a number of published sources and the materials collected by Donald C.
Jeter on the Marshall County Collinses, as well as research provided by
others who have worked in those records. I know that I have not examined
more than a small fraction of the land records in Marshall County relating
to Henry; there are reasons, however, for thinking that this may not be
necessary to draw conclusions about his land. Also, there are probably
Georgia land documents not yet found.
This Henry Collins was born in Franklin County, North Carolina on December
18, 1795.(2) He probably had little formal
education, but unlike his father and (perhaps) grandfather he was certainly
literate. He signed various deeds and other documents. He and his brother
Willis signed their affidavit about their father-in-law William Martin's
Revolutionary service. An 1841 letter to his brother survives. We later
hear that his son by a second marriage's education was "almost wholly neglected"(3),
but Henry Collins was at least moderately literate; that surviving letter
(below, Page 197) is in his own hand; four books, at least, are listed
in his estate inventory (See below, Page 201) and his eldest son John showed
a good solid grounding in many areas of education, though we know of no
formal study beyond the local level (though there was a fine local academy
in Marshall County). And John knew an early version of Pitman shorthand,
no mean accomplishment in the time and place.
On the other hand, the evidence is mixed for Henry's brothers, suggesting
that some could write and others could not. When James Collins II, their
father, died back in North Carolina in 1838, there was considerable paperwork
generated by the settlement of the estate; a document signed on 7 August
1840 by the Tennessee brothers showed signatures by Willis, Henry, Elisha,
and G.W. Collins, but Holland and Jones signed by mark.(4)
We know nothing else about Henry's youth until he and his brothers moved
to Georgia, though his youth was obviously spent in the Sandy Creek area
of Franklin County, North Carolina, where his father lived. His father's
life is described in the previous chapter.
A Collective Biography
For the years which Henry Collins spent in Georgia, and in fact for
much of what we know about his life before he moved to Tennessee after
the age of 30, we need to look at a body of evidence which, with a couple
of exceptions, does not mention Henry at all. Any reader who has made it
this far knows that the Collinses were an extended, intermarried clan,
and once they began migrating they often migrated with kin as well. While
Henry appears in a handful of records during his years in Georgia, his
brothers appear in more, and thus for this period it is best to write a
sort of collective biography of all the brothers who moved to Georgia,
not just of our ancestor Henry. Henry and his older brother Willis married
sisters, and despite an almost 10-year age difference, they seem to have
been close in other ways, moving to Tennessee at the same time, for example.
Henry named a son Willis and Willis named a son Henry. The brothers are
also probably in the same cemetery, though Henry lacks a marker. In addition,
though the sons of James and Temperance Collins and at least one of the
daughters moved in different directions initially, most ended up, at some
point in their lives, in Marshall County, Tennessee, and thus the history
of the clan re-gathers after scattering for a bit.
of the Clan
Of the children of James Collins the Revolutionary War soldier (1758-1838),
almost all who lived to adulthood seem to have at some time or other tried
settling elsewhere, though several would return to Franklin County, North
Carolina. Although James Collins' son Peter Collins, treated by the legal
documents as his son though he is not a son by Temperance Vinson Collins,
probably never left North Carolina, there is at least a hint that some
of those who died in Franklin County had left initially. The clan scattered
and then later regathered to a large extent, with many of those who had
gone to Georgia and Kentucky, and some who had stayed in North Carolina,
eventually following their eldest brother to Tennessee. For the most part
these moves do not seem linked to any economic downturn or other motive,
except as part of the US westward movement generally.
The eldest son by Temperance, Durham Collins (1784-1833) was in central
Tennessee already by 1812 and perhaps a bit earlier. (Documentation appears
below.) Holland Collins (1788-1843) went to Kentucky first, to Logan County
by 1813. As we will see below (Page 161 and following), he was following
other kinsmen -- two of his uncles and perhaps some cousins -- there. Of
the remaining brothers, we are certain that Willis (1786-1854), Henry (1795-1860),
Jones (1797-1889) and Wilson (1787-1875) moved to Georgia first. David
Collins (1791-1861) did not certainly leave North Carolina but the fact
that his wife there was named Patsey suggests she was the Patsey Lyons
a David Collins married in Georgia in 1810, so David may have tried Georgia
as well. Of the younger brothers, James III (1803-1860) seems to have left
traces in Georgia as well, though he ended up back in North Carolina and
also spent some time in Tennessee. Elisha Collins (1807-1872) may have
gone directly to Tennessee from North Carolina; and later on, the youngest
son, George Washington Collins, moved back and forth more than once between
the two, seemingly without having gone to Georgia first. But those who
went to Georgia all ended up eventually in Marshall County, Tennessee,
except for Wilson Collins, who may have moved directly to Alabama, where
he lived out the rest of his life in Barbour and Choctaw Counties. Those
who migrated eventually to Marshall County, Tennessee, tended to stay there,
except for the youngest, George Washington Collins (1809-1870), who eventually
moved to Mississippi.
The one son of James of the Revolution not known to have ever married
is John Collins (born 1790) who died "a soldier in the United States Army"
prior to 1819, when his father James administered his estate. He apparently
died in the Army during one of the early frontier wars. (On him, see the
discussion in his father's biography, above at Page 128.)
Of the daughters, Polley Collins (1793-1801) died aged just over eight
years old, and Patsey Collins (born 1794) and Elizabeth Collins (born 1799)
are unaccounted for and probably also died young; at any rate in 1839 after
James Collins' death neither they nor anyone identified as their children
were listed among the legal heirs, while children of others who had died
(Peter and Durham) did appear. Sarah "Salley" Collins (born 1800) married
Willis (Will) Leonard and eventually moved to Georgia.(5)
Temperance "Tempy" Collins (born 1805) married Bennett Stallings in Franklin
County, North Carolina and apparently never left. David and James, though
they may have tried Georgia and Tennessee, went home to Franklin County
as well, so Collinses still in the area today are descended from them,
or from Peter Collins, or from descendants of the brothers of James Collins
"II".(6) (More detail on each of the children
just mentioned appears in the biography of their father, and details on
most also appear in the pages below.)
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about this "scattering
of the clan" is that virtually no one went off and settled somewhere by
himself. The Collinses who went to Georgia were moving with brothers, and
probably cousins as well. When Holland Collins went to Logan County, Kentucky,
he was joining (or traveling with) his uncles Henry and Elisha, a cousin
of some sort, Dixon Collins, and other kinsmen from Sandy Creek, North
Carolina from the Gilliam and other families.(7)
Our frontier ancestors may have sometimes gone to new country, but they
rarely went alone: they moved with their extended families, "kin" of various
It is easy to show that whole neighborhoods sometimes moved. If we look
at Marshall County, Tennessee in the mid-1850s we can still find numerous
names which originated in Kingsale Swamp, Virginia, and passed through
Sandy Creek, North Carolina. Tennessee names also found in the Sandy Creek
area are, besides Collins, Guptons, Leonards, Vincents (Vinsons), Stallings,
Elys or Eleys, Gilliams, and many others: those named are all linked in
one way or another with the Collinses. And some of these turn up in Logan
County, Kentucky as well. Nobody just left home for a totally unknown frontier
-- not our Collins kin anyway -- but they moved to where their cousins
and brothers, uncles and in-laws had already scouted the ground, or they
moved together and scouted it together.
This pattern continued down through the Collins settlement in the Ozarks,
where John Collins followed a similar pattern, following apparently after
one in-law (his wife's brother-in-law Joseph Simmons, who settled south
of Springfield and then moved to Texas) and drawing three of his sisters
and their husbands in his wake.
Collins Brothers (and Cousins) in Georgia
Most later references to the years the Collinses spent in Georgia before
moving to Tennessee are brief, and if one is not careful it is easy to
succumb to the assumption that the stay itself was brief as well. But Willis
Collins had reached Georgia by at least 1810, when he married there, and
Jones Collins apparently did not leave Georgia until about 1832, so there
is a period of more than two decades during which our Collinses, or some
of them, were living in Georgia. As just mentioned, we know that certainly
Willis, Henry, and Jones Collins all lived in Georgia and married there;
it is quite probable that at least two more brothers, Wilson and James
(III), were there at one time or another, and a clue that another, David,
may have married there. It is also possible that John Collins, who died
in the US Army prior to 1819, may have also been in Georgia, where several
Collins sons served in the military. In addition to these -- between three
and seven of the sons of James Collins II -- some of their first cousins,
the children of William Collins of Franklin County, also seem to have been
in Georgia; Nathanael or Nathaniel Collins almost certainly, Littleton
Collins probably and William (II) possibly. This amounts to a fairly substantial
migration of the Collins clan.
As we have seen in the biographies of James Collins and Temperance Vinson
Collins, despite Tempey Collins' complaint in her old age that all of her
children had left her, the family seems to have remained in fairly close
touch after the migration. Both James III and George W. Collins lived for
a time in Tennessee, and I will argue that James III was also in Georgia,
but both returned to North Carolina. Because of the commonness of some
names, it is not always certain whether a given Collins is or is not the
same man who left Franklin County, unless we have enough information to
let us identify him.
It is hard to date precisely the first move to Georgia, except to say
that Willis was certainly there by December of 1810, when he married. That
is close enough in time to the earliest dates for Durham in Tennessee and
Holland in Kentucky that we may guess that somewhat before the War of 1812,
those Collins sons who were of age already began to move out of North Carolina.
Several would serve in the war from Georgia. But when Willis married in
1810, though he was nearly 25 at the time, his younger brother Henry was
just 15, and Jones only 13. That they were in Georgia soon after is clear;
what we do not know is whether they followed Willis later, or whether they
went with their older brother when they themselves were still in their
teens. It would be interesting to know. But we don't.
In what follows, and in tracing the Collins move to Tennessee as well,
two elements complicate our story. One is that not all the Collinses in
these parts of Georgia or Tennessee were related (or at least not so far
as we know); the other is the problem of identifying such common names
as James and William Collins. We are on firmer ground with Jones and Willis,
Durham and Elisha, though even here the frequent repetition of those names
by our Collinses sometimes makes it hard to determine which is which.
For an example affecting my own line, my great-great-grandfather John Collins,
son of the Henry we are profiling here, was born in 1819. So, seemingly,
was his first cousin, Durham Collins' son John Collins. Both lived in what
was later Marshall County, Tennessee, a few miles from each other at one
time. When we find a John Collins in militia service, even if we know the
age, we cannot be sure which is meant. This problem recurs frequently.
Both public records and family traditions allow us to put together a
general outline of the Georgia sojourn. Some details remain confusing,
but I believe we can offer at least a general impression of this period
in the Collins history.
As mentioned, the earliest definite Georgia date for a Collins is 1810, when we find the marriage of Willis Collins to Phebe Martin in Elbert County, Georgia.(8) (Her name appears in some family records with the more "proper" spelling Phoebe, but is Phebe in the marriage record and on her tombstone in Tennessee.) This is the only link with Elbert County: most other indications point to Oglethorpe County or Greene County. These counties are all in east central Georgia near each other, but all were in existence a good 20 years before the Collinses arrived, so it is not a question of successor counties. It seems likelier that we are dealing with land close to the county line affected by shifts in the boundary line. There were such shifts in boundary between Greene and Oglethorpe over the years, and this may account for the fact that Collins traces appear in both, presumably lying in a border area. (Actually, the only census records are for Oglethorpe, but none of the marriage records are, for some reason, in Oglethorpe, and most of them are for Greene. Willis also turns up in the tax lists for Greene.)
Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that while there do seem to have
been a number of adjustments in the line between Greene and Oglethorpe
Counties, it is not easy to document them. For example, the State of Georgia's
own reference work on changing county boundaries lists no official land
transfers between Greene and Oglethorpe Counties after 1799, but the maps
in the back of the same book show a number of boundary changes between
the two during the 1800s, including a period just before the civil war
when much of what is now Greene was absorbed by Oglethorpe.(9)
Some of this may account for the confusion in the records, but it gives
us a general areawhere to look in Georgia. I have not done sufficient work
in surviving land records, at this time, to be more precise about the location
of the Collins' land. What we know of the 1820 census, when Henry and Willis
are in Oglethorpe and their mutual father-in-law is in Greene, however,
argues strongly for something near the county line.
Although it requires us to depart from proper chronological order for
the moment, it may be helpful to look at a whole group of Georgia marriages
and how they may relate to us.
Phebe or Phoebe Martin, the wife of Willis Collins, is understood to
be the sister of Frances Martin who married Henry Collins. While I am not
sure any legal document firmly states this as a fact, and Phebe (born 1787)
was a decade older than Frances, there is plenty of indirect evidence.
Willis Collins and Henry Collins both served as witnesses to William Martin's
Revolutionary War pension application; William later moved to Marshall
County, Tennessee; and there seems to be a family tradition that the brothers
married sisters. Donald C. Jeter states it as fact without citing his evidence.(10)
Jeter says that Henry Collins married Frances Martin in Greene County,
Georgia. I have found no record of the marriage in Greene County, where
Jones Collins did marry Sophronia (or Sophia) Wright and where, years later,
William Martin married a later wife, Jane Copeland.(11)
The date Jeter gives for the marriage of Henry and Frances is the same
one given in the family traditional material (See below.) And some of the
other Greene County Collins marriages, as will be noted below, seem to
be brothers or cousins as well, so the marriage may well have occurred
in Greene County, with the record not surviving. Jeter does not seem to
have known of the Willis Collins/Phoebe Martin marriage record in Elbert
County, so perhaps he based his statement on the fact that Jones' marriage
was in Greene County and that William Martin married his second (or at
any rate, last) wife there. This will be dealt with in more detail in the
notes on the Martin family. But Greene seems a good guess, for the record
also does not appear in Oglethorpe, where Henry is to be found in the 1820
The date of Henry's marriage to Frances or Fannie(12)
Martin is given in family records in both Tennessee and Missouri, as May
1, 1817.(13) I believe a Bible record may
lie behind this repeated date. Despite Jeter's reference to the marriage
as occurring in Greene County, I have not found a marriage record to confirm
this in Greene or in any of the Georgia counties where other records appear.
As we have seen, Jones' marriage in 1819 was in Greene County, but Willis
married Phoebe, presumably Frances' sister, in 1810 in Elbert County. Of
course the Martins as well as the Collinses may have been moving around.
As will be discussed in the Martin notes, there is some reason to think
William Martin had his land in the area where Oglethorpe and Greene counties
join, as also seemed to be the case with the Collinses. At any rate he
is in Greene in the 1820 census when the Collinses are in Oglethorpe. Until
more is learned from land records, little more can be said about why the
marriage records are usually in Greene and the census mostly in Olgethorpe.
Some other marriage records besides these, however, seem to add a bit
of detail to the story. In Greene County, Georgia, we find not only the
marriage of Jones Collins and the second marriage of William Martin mentioned
above, but several other Collins marriages with a familiar ring to them.
When we combine these with military enlistment records and the 1820 census,
we start to get a picture of something broader than just the migration
of Willis, Henry, and Jones Collins to Georgia. As already noted, we get
a sense that not only did several other brothers come at one time or another,
but that some first cousins did as well.
First, we need to recall that the sons of James Collins II were not
the only Collins kin in Franklin County. For one thing, William Collins,
the next eldest brother of James II, left a number of children; his will,
discussed above on Page 88, mentions his wife Nancy, sons Jesse, James,
William, Theodorick, Littlebury, Littleton, daughters Nancy and Patience,
and son Nathanael. Theodorick and Littlebury turn up again in later Franklin
County records, but what happened to the others? We know that one of Nathanael's
sons, William C. Collins, married a daughter of Willis Collins, Sally,
in Marshall County, Tennessee, in 1840(14).
This marriage between second cousins shows that at least one descendant
of William Collins of Franklin County made it to Marshall County. There
is evidence suggesting that Nathanael Collins was, in fact, in Georgia
with his first cousins Willis, Henry, and Jones. In Greene County again,
we find a Nathanael or Nathaniel Collins marrying Elizabeth Coleman on
November 25, 1818.(15) During the Seminole
War of 1817-1818, we find in Little's Second Regiment of Georgia Militia
both a Nathaniel Collins and a Jones Collins.(16)
In the 1820 census for Clarke County, Georgia -- just west of Oglethorpe
-- we find a "Nat. Collins" and wife, each 16-26 , with a boy under 10
(William C.?) and a girl 10-16. The older girl does not fit the 1818 marriage
date and could be some other kind of kin, or this may be a different Nat
Collins, but everything else points to Nathanael or Nathaniel Collins,
son of William Collins, living in the same general area as his first cousins.
And his son, William C. Collins, at least, moved on to Tennessee.
He was probably not the only son of William Collins to go to Georgia.
Remember William's fondness for unusual names -- Theodorick, Littlebury,
and Littleton. Theodorick and Littlebury remained in Franklin County. A
Littleton Collins turns up in Richmond County, Georgia, marrying Nancy
Woods there November 8, 1815.(17) In the
1820 census for Columbia County, which is adjacent to Richmond, we find
a Littleton Collins, age 16-26, though he does not seem to have a wife
entered in that census. Since we lack a date of birth for William Collins'
son Littleton we cannot be certain, but this certainly looks like a likely
Columbia and Richmond Counties are further to the south and east than
the counties mentioned so far. But they may hold other clues as well. Also
in Richmond County, a David Collins married Patsy Lyons on October 3, 1810.(18)
Could he have been the David Collins who was a brother of Willis, Henry,
Jones etc.? That David Collins, born in 1791, lived in Franklin County
in his later years, adjacent to his father's land. Franklin County records
show he died in 1861, leaving a widow known as Martha or Patsey (Patsey
was often a nickname for Martha), and the census records confirm this.
(See the profile of James II.) But the Franklin County marriage records
do not show his marriage: did he marry in Georgia and then return to North
Carolina? One must, however, note that there are also many Collins marriages
recorded in Richmond County whose names do not seem to fit with
any of ours, and therefore the Richmond County Collinses may well have
been a separate family. After all, more than one David Collins might have
married a woman named Patsey. Though one living near a Littleton Collins
narrows the odds a bit.(19)
Thus it is not impossible that this is the same David, for in fact further
evidence exists of considerable links in Georgia, even with those Collinses
who later returned to North Carolina. In the Greene County, Georgia, marriage
records we find a December, 1826 marriage record of a James Collins to
Rebecca Carr, witnessed by a Joseph Wright. Jones Collins had married a
Wright in Greene County; the Carrs, of course, were an old family of both
the Kingsale Swamp and Sandy Creek areas with earlier links to our Collinses.
And James Collins III (1803-1860), who died in Franklin County, but seems
to have had connections with Tennessee as well, left a widow named Rebecca.
It looks as if he, too, married in Georgia, though admittedly this is not
absolutely certain. The fact that this is in Greene and most Collins marriages
in Greene seem to be kin of ours adds to the likelihood, however.
One can even bring in additional evidence allowing us to speculate further,
though when we come to people named John and William Collins the common
nature of the names make it hard to be sure they are kin to us. So such
speculation has to be tentative. Could the marriage of John Collins and
Polly O'Kelley in Oglethorpe County, Georgia on September 11, 1807 be that
of the John Collins who died before 1819, the brother who died in the Army?
Perhaps, but there is no evidence that he left a widow behind. Could one
of the William Collinses who married in Oglethorpe County have been William,
son of William of Franklin County and thus a brother of Littleton and Nathanael?
There are too many Collinses of all sorts in Georgia to be confident, but
a picture does appear to be emerging. The fact that the David and James
Collins who married in Georgia married wives with the same first names
as the David and James who later died back in North Carolina looks like
they are the same. And this suggests that the three brothers who went to
Georgia before going to Tennessee were just part of the clan's migration;
that other brothers and their cousins were in Georgia, too, some later
going back to North Carolina. We can also say with confidence that Wilson
Collins went to Georgia, based on military records and the fact that he
would end up in Alabama.
The Brothers in the War of 1812 and Indian Wars
Having looked at the marriage records, we may assume that the Collins
brothers, or at least some of them, were in Georgia as early as 1810, when
Willis married there. The next major clue comes in military records for
the War of 1812 and for the various Indian Wars and the conquest of Florida
which followed it. As only the indexes to these records are available on
microfilm, I have not yet seen most of the actual compiled service records,
since obtaining the originals is somewhat time consuming. I expect to see
them before a final version of this history is prepared, but the indexes
offer us quite a few clues.
It looks as if several of the Collins sons served in the War of 1812
from Georgia. Henry, our direct ancestor, apparently did not, though he
would have been of militia age (over 16) at the time and both his older
brothers and his younger brother Jones did serve. Later family traditions
confirm that Willis served in the War of 1812, and a late record from Tennessee
says that he served under Jackson. Although there was a Willis Collins
in the 4th Regiment of North Carolina militia during the war, our Willis,
here, is more likely the Willis Collins who served in the 2nd Regiment
of Georgia Volunteers and Drafted Militia (Jenkins' Volunteers), since
we know he had married in Georgia before the war and since the same unit
of Jenkins' Volunteers contained a Wilson Collins as well.(20)
Though he does not show up in the 1820 census, there are other clues that
Wilson Collins (1787-1875) also went to Georgia. A Wilson Collins is mentioned
in an 1815 tax list in Baldwin County, Georgia.(21)
That is well to the south and west of the other Collinses, but our Wilson
later settled in Barbour County, Alabama, which is not that far to the
westward. (The Barbour County link is both proven in the James Collins
II estate papers, and in the fact that the Wilson of Barbour County named
a daughter "Tempey".) For more on Wilson in Alabama, see the brief profile
and references above, beginning on Page 126.
It is also interesting to note that the same unit, the 2nd Regiment
of Jenkins' Volunteers, in which this Willis and Wilson served, there were
a William Collins, a Samuel Collins and a Lewis Collins as well. William
might conceivably be William son of William, but Samuel and Lewis do not
seem to be names popular among our Collinses in the early generations,
so these may be unrelated.(22)
Jones Collins (born 1797 and thus younger than our Henry) also served
in the war, in Captain Mauris and Strong's Companies, Georgia Militia.
He later filed for a pension.(23) Jones,
in fact, seems to have been the most militarily active of the brothers.
In addition to his War of 1812 service, he is probably the same Jones Collins
who served in Little's Second Regiment of Georgia Militia in the Seminole
War of 1817-1818, and, after the move to Tennessee (which in Jones' case
was about 1832), probably the Jones Collins who served in Warner's Company
of Tennessee Mounted Militia called for service to defend the Sabine Frontier
during the Texas War of Independence in 1836.(24)
The latter case may seem to be too old for this Jones, who would have then
been almost 40, but his nephew Jones Collins son of Holland Collins would
have been too young, and years later a Tennessee biography of Jones' son
said that Jones, at the outbreak of the Civil War, "led some fourteen of
his children and grandchildren to the front"(25).
If true, Jones -- who would have been 64 when the war broke out (but lived
past 90) must have either genuinely enjoyed the military life or felt a
strong obligation to serve.
It seems unusual if Henry did not serve while all his brothers in the
vicinity did, for in fact Henry was older than Jones, who did serve. There
seems to be no such memory of 1812 service in the later family traditions,
and no record I have located which might seem to be he. I might add that
the tradition that Willis served under Jackson has not yet been confirmed.(26)
There do not appear to have been Georgia troops under Jackson at New Orleans,
at any rate, according to the only Order of Battle I have so far managed
to track down, but it may not be accurate. More likely, though, Willis
was in one of the earlier campaigns against the Creeks, also commanded
by Jackson, which formed part of the War of 1812 and included Georgia militia
This discussion of Collinses in military service brings up the issue
of their brother John. It may be remembered that John Collins, born 1790,
died "while in the service of the United States" prior to 1819. (See above,
Page 129.) It is not clear whether this brother served in the military
from North Carolina or Georgia, or when he died precisely, or whether he
died in war or merely while in the service. Several John Collinses served
from both North Carolina and Georgia, but given the date of the administration,
one wonders if this John served in the Seminole War of 1817-1818. I have
not identified him further at this time; a John Collins served in Sparkman's
Independent Company of Florida Mounted Volunteers in the Seminole War,
and if this means the first Seminole War, when Florida was still Spanish,
then the "Florida" Volunteers may have come from Georgia or North Carolina.(27)
Several John Collinses also served from North Carolina or Georgia in the
War of 1812.
The Georgia Census
Tax lists and the 1820 census provide most of our other evidence for
the Collinses in Georgia. An 1815 tax list for Greene County, Georgia,
lists a Willis Collins in William Hammond's collection district and another
in Porter's district.(28) These may actually
be the same man, paying taxes on land in two different collection districts.
Though the name "Willis Collins" is often repeated in our family, there
is no reason to believe anyone else of that name, other than Willis the
son of James and Temperance, was in Greene County, Georgia in 1815.
In the 1820 census, Willis, Henry, and Jones Collins all appear in the
census for Oglethorpe County, Georgia. Jones and Henry appear one after
the other, and Willis two census pages away. They all were listed as farming.
The later Tennessee tradition says that at some point during the stay in
Georgia, Willis worked as an overseer.(29)
This was not a popular occupation even among strong defenders of slavery,
so the fact that it is remembered suggests that it is likely to have been
true at some point.
In the 1820 census we find Henry also engaged in agriculture; he is
16-26; his wife in the same bracket, and there is one son under 10, obviously
our ancestor John, born September of 1819. There is also one slave girl
under 14, presumably a household servant since she would be too young to
do field work and would not be used to do so alone anyway.(30)
However, adding to the mystery of the Greene/Oglethorpe County links,
William Martin, father of Frances and Phoebe, seems to have been in Greene,
not Oglethorpe, at the time of the 1820 census. There is, in Oglethorpe,
a Wilbord or Willboord Martin a few pages away from the Collinses in the
census, but he is only a man of 16-26, even if his first name was really
William.(31) Our William Martin seems likely
to be the one who shows up in Greene County, where so many Collins marriages
were recorded: we know from his pension application he was born about 1760,
and this William Martin is shown in 1820 as a man of over 45 (the oldest
age category shown in that year, so he could easily have been 60), with
two females aged 26-45 and one female, presumably his wife, over 45.(32)
We have already noted some other Collinses in the 1820 census who may be kin: the Nat. Collins in Clarke County, which adjoins Greene and Oglethorpe, may be the brothers' first cousin Nathanael Collins son of William Collins, whose son at least later moved to Tennessee and married Willis Collins' daughter.(33) And in Columbia County we find a Littleton Collins, an unusual enough name to make us suspect he is Littleton, brother of Nathanael and another son of William.(34)
We know almost nothing of Frances or Fannie Martin personally. Her birth
date is said to have been May 30, 1797, in Georgia.(35)
That she was the sister of Willis' wife Phoebe and that both were daughters
of William Martin, a Revolutionary veteran of the Virginia line, seems
to be clear enough, as noted in the marriages section above. William Martin
was a Virginian who had moved to Georgia, lived in the Greene County area
at the time of the 1820 census, later moved to Marshall County, Tennessee,
and when he filed for his pension, used Willis and Henry Collins as witnesses.
It seems clear enough they were his sons-in-law, and family tradition said
Frances and Phebe were sisters. A separate profile of William Martin will
discuss the origins of the Martin family in greater detail. William (c.
1760-1842) was born in Albemarle (later Amherst, and probably in the part
which is now Nelson) County, Virginia; had served in the Continental Army
during the Revolution, fighting in the battles from Trenton to Monmouth;
and then later joined the Virginia militia, allowing him to witness Yorktown.
So the descendants of Henry Collins and Fannie Martin had Revolutionary
ancestors on both sides. We do not know the name of Fannie's mother; William
Martin remarried later in Georgia and that wife, Jane Copeland, survived
him in Marshall County, Tennessee.(36)
Frances was a decade younger than her sister Phoebe or Phebe. As noted
earlier, the date of marriage to Henry Collins reportedly occurred May
1, 1817, according to family records. Frances would have been just under
20, and Henry 21. It must have been in Greene or Oglethorpe County, Georgia,
though the record was apparently not recorded in either County, and, as
we've noted, must have been in the border area. Their earliest children
were born in Georgia, and in the 1820 census we find Henry with a son who
must be John Collins, born in March of 1819.
The fact that Willis and Henry married sisters may have added to the
bond between them. The brothers were nine years apart, the sisters 10,
and according to Goodspeed's history of their children Willis would be
a Whig and Henry a Jacksonian Democrat, but (in addition to the fact that
they moved together in about 1826 and that their father-in-law followed)
the two brothers seem to have been linked in other ways, and are probably
buried in the family same cemetery, though Henry has no headstone.
Holland's Move to Kentucky: Another Sandy Creek Settlement?
Before moving on to Marshall County, Tennessee, we should look at one
other Collins settlement: Holland Collins' move to Logan County, Kentucky.
Holland (1788-1843) was the only son of James Collins II, so far as is
known, to have gone to Kentucky before later moving to Tennessee, but he
was apparently not the only Collins from Franklin County, North Carolina,
to do so. I recently came upon some interesting material suggesting that
two of his uncles, Henry and Elisha Collins (brothers of James II, the
Revolutionary War soldier) moved from the Sandy Creek area to Logan County,
Kentucky. Also there was a Dixon Collins, probably the one mentioned in
James Collins I's 1815 will naming "Dixon Collins, son of Esther Gilliam".
Henry Collins is discussed in James I's profile on page 89, and Elisha
just after him on page 89, above.
The last we heard of this earlier Henry Collins, uncle of our Henry
and probably the third son of James I, was in the 1800 Franklin County
census, when he was a man aged 26-45. Elisha was in a 1799 tax list and
an 1801 deed in Franklin County. The Henry and Elisha Collins who appear
in Logan County, KY in the 1810 census are both men of over 45, which fits
what we know about the brothers of James II.(37)
Elisha Collins was still there in 1820.(38)
There is more than the coincidence of names and ages. One Eli Ely wrote
a will on 21 May 1812 in Logan County, Kentucky, mentioning among others
his wife Prudence, sons Lawrence, Edward, and Ely Junior, and a son-in-law,
Elisha Collins. He also mentioned a son-in-law, Mark Gilham.(39)
Now those readers with good memories may remember the name Ely or Eley
from both Kingsale Swamp, Virginia, and Sandy Creek, Franklin County, North
Carolina. In 1809 James Collins II paid the taxes on the estate of one
Eli Eley, who had died by then. (On the Eleys generally, see the comments
above at page 87 in the biography of James Collins I.) There was also an
Elias Eley mentioned in Nansemond County, VA. So when we find an "Eli Ely"
in Kentucky, naming a son-in-law Elisha Collins, it sounds as if the man
might be from the same areas as our Collinses, and kin to those Eleys or
Elys. But there's more.
We also find in the Logan County, Kentucky deed records mention of a
Dixon or Dicson Collins, both times in conjunction with Lawrence Ely, presumably
the same Lawrence Ely listed as a son in the will of Eli Ely just mentioned.(40)
And above, in the will of Eli Ely, we heard of another son-in-law besides
Elisha Collins, named "Mark Gilham". But in James Collins I's 1815 will,
Dixon Collins is said to be a son of "Esther Gilliam"! (On the Gilliams,
see the biography of James Collins I, p. 86, and on Esther, the same at
page 90.) While her precise identity is unclear she was certainly related.
Gilham for Gilliam is easy enough, but also keep in mind that there was
a "Marcus Gilliam" in Sandy Creek! Was Marcus Gilliam the father of, or
the same man as, "Mark Gilham" of Logan County? We clearly seem to have
an intermarried group of Sandy Creek families here in Logan County, Kentucky,
in the early 1810s.
And that is when we encounter Holland Collins, who married "Caty Edwards"
there on 17 March 1813.(41) Holland's descendant
Jim Larsen informs me that his ancestor, Elizabeth Rebecca Collins, was
born in the Russelville, Logan County, Kentucky area in 1825.(42)
She was the fifth of Holland's children, and at least these first five
were apparently born in Kentucky before he moved to Marshall County, Tennessee.
Larsen has also told me he believes he has seen evidence of Holland
being in Logan County by 1809, which would be consistent with the time
frame in which the other brothers began moving to Georgia and Tennessee.
It would also leave open the question of whether he followed his uncles,
who we can say moved sometime between 1800 (when they are in Franklin County)
and 1810 (when they are in Kentucky), or simply went with them.
Either way, it seems clear that while several of his brothers and cousins
headed off to Georgia, Holland Collins was not adventuring out all alone
into the unknown: he was choosing instead to move to an area where two
uncles, various cousins and cousins-in-law of some sort, and others from
Sandy Creek were already settled.
The Re-Gathering of the Clan: The Move to Tennessee
Henry is said to have moved to the future Marshall County, Tennessee
in 1826, along with his brother Willis.(43)
Marshall was not formed until 1836; the area where most of the Collinses
settled was then part of Maury County, though the area where Henry would
later live was in extreme southern Bedford County before 1836. Marshall
was formed from parts of several counties, Lincoln, Maury and Bedford (with
a part of Giles later thrown in to add to the confusion). The map shows
the problem. The land where the Collins brothers first settled was then
in Maury, while Henry -- after a move west to be discussed below -- eventually
settled on the Spring Place Road in what was originally Bedford County.
Both areas were in Marshall County after its formation. Those of us descendants
of John Collins who also share a Cowden ancestry face the added problem
that some Cowden land was in Maury, and some in Lincoln, County before
the formation of Marshall. While keeping this complication in mind, I ask
the reader to bear with me if I sometimes refer to "the future Marshall
County" to avoid confusion. (Note too that the town of Cornersville, near
which my Cowden ancestors lived, takes its name from once having been at
the four corners of Giles, Maury, Bedford and Lincoln Counties.)
Marshall County is a very important area for our Collins family history.
Of the children of James Collins and his wife Tempey, at least six sons--
Durham, Willis, Holland, Henry, Jones and Elisha -- died there; two others,
George Washington and James, lived there at one time or another. Some cousins
moved there as well. It was both a re-gathering place for the clan who
had moved to Georgia, to Kentucky, or remained in North Carolina, and also
the center from which Collins moved on to Texas, Missouri, Mississippi,
This area, south of the Duck River in central Tennessee some distance
south of Nashville, was heavily settled by Scotch-Irish. Lewisburg, the
town near which the Collinses settled, was for a time site of a law office
of James Knox Polk, the Jacksonian Democrat from nearby Pulaski elected
President in 1844. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the famous Confederate cavalryman,
was born in Chapel Hill in now-Marshall County, though he grew up in Mississippi.
(His middle name came from Bedford County, where Chapel Hill lay when he
Any Collins descendant familiar with the Collins land in the Missouri
Ozarks feels right at home in Marshall County today. The land is hillier
and more rugged than Franklin County, North Carolina, and in fact the areas
where the Collinses settled are actually steeper and more hilly than the
immediate area around the John Collins home in the Ozarks (though the Ozarks
has higher hills elsewhere). Goodspeed's History of Tennessee put
it back in 1886:
The surface of the county is comparatively level, yet there is sufficient
undulation to give ample slope for drainage. The backbone known as Elk
Ridge extends from east to west and rises to the height of 300 feet. This
is the water-shed south of Duck River and separates the county into two
distinct parts in that part of the county.(44)
This sounds, frankly, like an attempt to make the place sound flatter
than it really is. Elk Ridge, according to the topographical maps, is indeed
only a few hundred feet above the neighboring farms (though 400 feet rather
than 300 seems more accurate), but the ascent is steep, some of the drops
rugged, and it feels much higher. It also had to be a formidable obstacle
to travel: it is a steep climb from the north side even in a modern car.
Certainly most roads ran either north or south of it, and the road to its
top, run from Henry Collins' place, apparently did not come down the southern
side until later in the century.
The county was settled in the rich bottomlands of several creeks, while
there is timber in the limestone formations elsewhere in the county. Lewisburg
is still a major center of pencil manufacture, and the Sanford Company
there is said to be the largest pencil factory in the country. The Sanford
Pencil factory today is just up the road from Henry Collins' place. (And
again, there are similarities to Christian County, Missouri, which was
also a major timber producing area, with a major product being railroad
Elk Ridge, mentioned above, was certainly a key feature in the life
of Henry Collins, since as we shall see, his farm lay along the road to
its crest and it, and some hills such as Davis Knob which are linked to
it, dominate the landscape. Topographical maps and photos will appear at
several points in this history.
Like most limestone formations, it is rocky ground. At one time the
Marshall County World Wide Web site carried a line to the effect that "there
is only one rock in the county, but it runs from one end to the other".
The old pioneers seemed to enjoy talking about what rocky ground they had
settled, as if raising a crop from this ground was a matter for pride in
itself. Though certainly most of the early settlers farmed the rocky soil,
and even cotton was once grown there, it seems better adapted to cattle
and horses. In fact, Marshall County is at the heart of the Tennessee Walking
Horse country, and the Tennessee Walking Horse Association is headquartered
in Lewisburg. The annual Walking Horse Celebration is held in Shelbyville,
seat of Bedford County just to the east.
The lands where Collinses settled were mostly in the river bottoms of
hollows between the ridges, or in land close to but not actually in the
rougher hills. It is pretty country, very much like the Ozarks, and one
understands how, when Henry Collins' son John went west to Texas, he kept
complaining about the flatness of the prairies, the lack of free-running
streams, the dependence on well water -- all the things hill people disliked.
He wasn't happy till he found an Ozark farm which looked a great deal (indeed)
like the land where he grew to adulthood in Tennessee. Collins Creek, which
ran through Henry Collins' land and presumably took its name from him,
is just the sort of rocky little creek coming down from the ridges which
attracted Scotch-Irish pioneers for its water running free over limestone.(45)
Before we look at the evidence for the move by Henry Collins to Tennessee,
however, we need to look at the earliest Collins traces in this area, for
eldest brother Durham had been there for years and apparently went there
directly from Tennessee. Elisha, one of the younger brothers, also may
have gone directly to Tennessee (though much later) without going to Georgia
first. This would be where the dispersed clan re-gathered, with Holland
coming from Kentucky, several brothers from Georgia, and some perhaps directly
from North Carolina.
Durham, the Collins clan's eldest brother, the eldest son of James and
Temperance Collins, had been born in December of 1784. Unlike the other
brothers he seems to have moved directly to what later became Marshall
County from North Carolina. Durham is one of the hardest of these early
Collinses to grasp fully, since he died in 1833 and much of the documentation
which survives is in fact about his children: he died before his father
did, and thus there is plenty in his father's estate settlement about Durham's
own kids. Yet Durham managed to have two wives and some 12 children between
them, which means he plays a significant role in any accounting of the
total progeny of James Collins II.
According to Donald C. Jeter, Durham appears in an 1812 tax list for
Bedford County, Tennessee.(46) I have not
seen that tax list but can state that he does not appear in other, earlier
tax lists in Bedford or neighboring counties, especially Maury where he
settled, so he must not have been in Tennessee much before 1812. Durham
certainly seems to turn up from 1814 onward in the records of Maury County,
assuming he is the "Drum" Collins of July 1814(47),
Derom Collins of 1817(48) and so on. Durham
seems to have reached Tennessee by 1812, when his brothers were still relatively
new in Georgia.
Durham seems to have originally settled a few miles west of Lewisburg,
which would become the Marshall County seat. (One wonders what coincidence
brought the Collinses from Franklin County, North Carolina, a few miles
from the county seat of Louisburg, to what would be Marshall County,
Tennessee, close to the county seat of Lewisburg. The Tennessee
town, by the way, was named for Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame.
But since other Franklin Countians settled in Marshall County, it may not
be entirely coincidence.)
The material collected by Donald C. Jeter deals in several places with
this original settlement, and for the specific landholdings in particular
I am largely dependent on Jeter's work. He says that Durham bought land
in Maury County in 1814 and that they lived "just north of the 'New Lake'"
(in modern Marshall County),(49) with part
of their land now under the lake.
Interestingly, according to Jeter, many of the original settlers of
this area came from the Sandy Creek area of North Carolina as, of course,
did the Collinses.(50) He notes that the
Guptons, Leonards, and Westways as well as Richard Hill and John Wadkins
came from there: the Guptons and Leonards had long had close links with
the Collinses, and I gather the others did too. Durham presumably moved
to the area directly from Sandy Creek, later being joined by his brothers
from Georgia and by Holland from Kentucky. Jeter assumes the Vincents who
lived in this same area were Vinsons/Vincents and thus kin of Temperance,
though the James Vincent of Marshall County is not, as he suggests, her
brother, since the James Vincent who died in 1809 was certainly not her
father but more likely a brother.(51)
This area was then part of Maury County, and we should perhaps take
note of another group of Maury County land records relating to one James
Collins, who received a land grant of 160 acres registered 18 May 1821,
and subsequently bought and sold land in the same area.(52)
The land is not close to the other Collins land, nor is it in the later
Marshall County, but along the Little and Big Bigby Rivers in what is still
Maury County, somewhere to the west or southwest of Columbia, Tennessee.
This is at least 15 miles or so, perhaps more, from Durham Collins' settlement.
Although members of the Osborne or Osborn family appear in some of these
deeds, and also owned land in the later Marshall County and had Collins
links, it is not at all clear that this James Collins is one of ours. James
Collins "III", brother of the other Collinses who came to Marshall County,
did live in Marshall County at some time, or at least visit, as
is shown by the "when you were here" reference in Henry's 1841 letter to
him(53); but that James was born in 1803
and would have just turned 18 (and I believe the age of majority was 21
for signing a deed); if it is this James he is some distance from his brothers.
The eldest James of the next generation, Durham's son James, was born in
1817. (Peter Collins' son James was a couple of years older but remained
in North Carolina.) At this time I have serious questions about whether
the James Collins in those 1821-1822 deeds has any connection with us,
though they could be from one of the collateral Franklin County lines.
There were other Collins families in Maury County later, who probably are
not related. (One aside to other researchers: be careful of any modern,
transcribed version of the census, deeds, etc. if you have not seen the
original, as often Jones Collins' name, being unfamiliar, has been misread
as "James" Collins by transcribers.)
The date of migration of the other Collins brothers to the future Marshall
County is a little clearer, though not always precise. Henry and Willis
are both said to have come in 1826, according to biographies of their sons
in Goodspeed's History of Tennessee(54).
The move may not have occurred all at once. Those for whom "1826" is close
enough may jump ahead a page or so, but I feel we should pause to look
at the evidence for his coming to Tennessee a bit earlier (or even a bit
later). The 1826 date is confirmed in general terms, but perhaps undermined
in detail, by an indenture carrying the date of "the twenty-ninth day of
January" of 1825, in which John Radford of Maury County sold land to Henry
Collins "of the same", suggesting Henry was already in Tennessee at the
beginning of 1825. This deed, however, was entered at the October Court
term of 1827, and not actually entered in the deed book it now appears
in until November 7, 1833.(55) While the
deed certainly seems to say on its face that Henry was in Maury County
by January 1825, the long delay in recording it, while not unusual in those
days (often a deed was recorded when the same land was sold again), might
make us a bit cautious. If the familiy believed he came in 1826, is it
possible that he bought the land in January of 1826 and the deed was misdated?
Anyone who has written the wrong year on checks through most of the month
of January will understand the problem. Perhaps whoever wrote the deed
(not the county recorder, for it wasn't recorded until October 1827) wrote
1825 when it was really January 1826. The fact that it was recorded in
1827 may stem from the fact that Henry sold land which probably included
this parcel in that year. (See below, page 171.)
What is clear is that Willis and Henry came to the future Marshall County
(the part of it then in Maury) in about 1826. It is interesting
to note, however, that their mutual father-in-law, William Martin, remained
in Georgia after that date, for he married his second wife, Jane Copeland,
in Greene County, Georgia, on 27 November 1828.(56)
He and Jane moved to Bedford County, Tennessee, sometime after -- a part
which soon became Marshall County.(57)
But it is not absolutely certain that he was there much prior to 2 September,
1834, the date he signed his application for his Revolutionary War Pension.(58)
The exact date of Henry Collins' move would be a little clearer if we
had better or more consistent information on where his children were born.
(The children themselves are described in detail later in this chapter.)
His daughter Sydney (or Sidney) was born 30 December 1823, a date when
by most accounts Henry was still in Georgia, yet the 1850 census of Tennessee
gives her a Tennessee birthplace.(59) That
would seem to suggest an even earlier migration, until we look at the 1860
Christian County, Missouri, census, which claims that Sydney was born in
North Carolina!(60) That seems to
be a case of listing her birthplace as the same as her husband's, who came
from North Carolina, and in that same census John Collins, who was certainly
born in Georgia, was listed as being born in Tennessee.(61)
The next child after Sydney, James Collins, was born 27 December 1825 and
his place of birth would tell us whether Henry had moved to Tennessee yet,
but he died in 1844, and the census did not list states of birth until
the census of 1850. The next youngest, Willis Collins, born 26 January
1828, almost certainly was born in Tennessee, but he died in the Mexican
War so he, too, never appeared in an 1850 or later census. So we can say
that the 1826 date given in Goodspeed is about right for Henry's (and presumably
Willis's) move to Tennessee, but that Henry might have been in Tennessee
as early as the start of 1825, and was (almost(62))
certainly there by late in 1827, when the deed was recorded.
Henry, according to Jeter, had bought land in the half mile strip north
of the original grant in which Durham's land lay, prior to moving to the
Spring Place Road. Jeter and the Collins family tradition generally overlooked
the evidence to be discussed below that between his living on this first
land and his move to the second, Henry lived for a while in Arkansas. (See
Below.) In any event, by the 1830s the Collins clan of North Carolina had,
after some wanderings, managed to regroup in central Tennessee. Durham
was there by 1814, Holland around 1820, Henry and Willis about 1826, and
Jones in the 1830s, if we accept various statements by their descendants.
Elisha Collins lived in an area nearby still called Collins Hollow.(63)
The other brothers' arrival in the future Marshall County is a bit harder
to document. Jeter says that Holland Collins came "around 1826"(64),
but he may have been guessing based on the dates for Willis and Henry,
though Holland of course was coming from Kentucky; in a later publication
Jeter had said Holland came "around 1820"(65),
which seems too early. Certainly Holland moved sometime between 1825, when
his daughter Elizabeth Rebecca was born in Logan County, Kentucky(66),
and 1830, when he is in the census for Maury (future Marshall) County,
Elisha Collins also must have come, perhaps directly from North Carolina,
sometime in the late 1820s. This Elisha, born in 1807, was married in Maury
County on 9 January 1830 to Elizabeth F. McGregor.(67)
The last of the brothers to move seems to have been Jones Collins, who
-- if we can rely upon Goodspeed, which was published while Jones was still
alive -- did not move to the future Marshall County until 1832.(68)
(Jones was still alive when Goodspeed was published because, living to
about the age of 91 in 1889, he was the last of the 17 children of James
Collins II to die.)
Collins Hollow and Collins Hollow Road are still shown on maps of the
area. Collins Creek, which parallels the Spring Place Road, flows past
Henry Collins' later land and presumably was named for him. The map on
page 168 shows both the original Collins areas (New Lake and Collins Hollow
being shown) as well as Spring Place Road and Collins Creek where Henry
later moved. The Collins Hollow area is shown in more detail in the map
on page 173. Henry Collins' later land will be discussed below, beginning
at page 176.
The First Land Henry
For the record, it may be worthwhile to offer the description of the
land Henry owned prior to his moving, first it appears to Arkansas, and
then to the later Collins' creek. For reasons already discussed above,
The deed dated 1825, first recorded 1827 and not written in the deed book
until 1833, discussed above at Page 168, was for 53 acres purchased from
John Radford for $500 and described as follows:
[in Maury County] on the Waters of Rock Creek Beginning at an Ash a
Small Beech and Dogwood on the Section Line and Road South three degrees
East an hundred and f[our?] poles to an Elm thence South sixty-three and
a half degrees West seventy-six poles to an Iron Wood, then North five
degrees West an hundred and thirty-one and a half poles to an Ash Then
North Eighty four and a half degrees East Seventy four poles to the Beginning
containing fifty-three acres more or less(69)
The reference to the "Section Line and Road" may make it possible someday
to identify this land, though there are some problems for those of us used
to Section lines elsewhere.
This is as good a place as any to introduce the problem. In 1806 the
Tennessee legislature provided for the survey of middle Tennessee into
six-mile-square "Sections" -- equivalent of "Townships" to the north of
the Ohio and west of the Mississippi. But this system was gradually abandoned(70).
Though Henry's land on Rock Creek is here described as beginning at a "section
line", the rest of the description uses the old "metes and bounds" approach
which Tennessee soon reverted to. The problem with "metes and bounds" is
that the "calls" of the survey are so-and-so's-corner, or a poplar tree,
or a hickory: landmarks no longer present.
On 15 November 1827 Henry Collins sold 94 acres on the Waters of West
Rock Creek for $300 to Russel Bryant. This was most likely the sale preceding
his experiment in Arkansas (to be disucssed next), and may also be why
the 1825 purchase was not recorded until late 1827. What is curious here
is that, though again described as being on the Waters of West Rock Creek,
both Henry and his buyer are stated as being of Bedford County,
not Maury. Because of a reference to the Shelbyville Road, it is at least
possible that this land is farther to the east than the land just dexcribed,
and that it is near the land Henry would own in the 1830s. But I frankly
suspect that the 94 acres included the previously purchased 53. If so,
it is interesting that Henry paid $500 for 53 acres and two years or so
later sold 94 acres for $300, certainly suggesting he took a loss if the
second land included the first. The land sold in 1827 is described as:
[in Bedford County] on the Waters of West Rock Creek bounded
as follows Viz. Beginning at a White Oak by the Shelbyville Road and runs
north 81º East 61 ½ poles to a Stake in the Road then North
40 poles to a Stake then West 40 poles to a Dogwood then North 66 poles
to a Stake then West 94 ½ poles to an Ash then South 75 poles to
an Ash then South forty-six Degrees East Eighty poles to a Stake by the
Shelbyville Road then North 45 1/2º East 22 poles through a pond to
the Beginning Containing Ninety four acres more or less(71)
There is enough uncertainty about the exact location that I am not entirely
willing to rule out the possibility that Henry Collins actually owned land
as early as 1827 in the same area where he owned it later, in the 1830s,
to the east of where his brothers lived in Maury County. But if this land
does include the 53 acres bought earlier, it is a sign of how close
that must have been to the Maury/Bedford line, if not in fact right on
it. I may in the future be able to resolve the precise location of this
land more exactly, but in fact Henry seems to have left his first Marshall
County settlement within two or three years of arrival, only to return,
later, in the 1830s.
In fact, it is more important that we know where Henry lived the last
30 years of his life in Tennessee than the first two or three. The basic
story is clear enough: he first owned land in the Collins Hollow area,
though he may also have owned some land farther east, in what came
to be known as Collins Creek or to its west. (His brother Holland, at least,
seems to have owned land in both areas, including some land in Bedford
County before it became Marshall.) The map on the nest page provides
a view of the Collins Hollow area and at least a general idea of what may
have been the area of Henry's earliest land.
But before Henry would settle in the area which would later be most
associated with him, he first tried to settle somewhere else entirely.
And that is another story, which begins after the map on the next page.
A Forgotten First Attempt to Settle in the Ozarks
The account of Henry in family traditions makes it clear he spent the
latter part of his adult life in Tennessee, in Marshall County or its predecessors,
and Goodspeed's History simply says he came there from Georgia in
1826 and implies that he spent the rest of his life there. But public records
add a story the family seems to have forgotten. The 1850 census shows that
his son Holland was born about 1829-30 in Arkansas. (Later census records
continue to show Holland's birthplace as Arkansas as well.) We know from
the family record that Holland was born on August 19, 1830, so his parents
must have been in Arkansas then, in a census year. Did Henry and Fannie
make an attempted migration to Arkansas and then return?
There is persuasive evidence that this was the case, and not only did
he go to Arkansas, but apparently to the Arkansas Ozarks, the same general
part of the country where our ancestors, Henry's son and three of his daughters,
would settle more than 20 years later. The evidence is entirely derived
from the census and seems to have been forgotten completely in family tradition.
The evidence follows:
Holland's birthdate was August 19, 1830, as mentioned. Since we have
totally consistent later census records showing him as being born in Arkansas
(indicating that both his father and he himself understood this to be the
case, as they are found both while Henry was alive and later), Henry and
Fannie must have been there in 1830. Thus they should not show up in the
1830 census for Tennessee, and should show up in that for Arkansas. And
this seems to be the case.
Whether the sale of 94 acres of land mentioned in 1827 (discussed just
above) was made in order to move west is not certain, for Henry's son Willis,
born 26 January 1828, is usually considered as being born in Tennessee.
(But since Willis died in the Mexcian War, before the first census to list
birthplaces -- 1850 -- this is not certain.) It does seem clear that Henry
did leave Tennessee for a while. The evidence goes beyond the birthplace
listed for his son Holland.
In the 1830 Maury County, Tennessee census we find Willis and Durham
Collins living "next door" to each other (listed one after the other, though
not necessarily adjacent) and Holland Collins living nearby (there are
nine names between him and Willis). But there is no sign of Henry. Nor
does he show up in neighboring Bedford County, in the part of Marshall
where he would later live, nor in Lincoln, the other parent county of Marshall.
So where was he?
Arkansas was not yet a state in 1830; in many areas it was quite sparsely
settled, and, I gather, still quite wild. The census for the whole of Arkansas
Territory fills only one small microfilm reel. And lo and behold, there
is precisely one Henry Collins in the whole territory. He is in Washington
County. Today, that is the county around Fayetteville, though Washington
County was much larger then, essentially the whole Ozark part of the state's
This Henry Collins in Washington County lists a family with two males
under five, one 10-15, and a male (presumably Henry) 30-40; two females
5-10, one female 20-30 and one female 30-40. (Remember that relationships
are not indicated: we may only guess whether these are sons and daughters,
nieces and nephews, cousins, or even white servants.) The husband and wife
are the right ages: Henry and Fannie would have both been about 33. The
two sons under five could be James (2) and Willis (just under 5) assuming
Holland had not been born when the count was made. The two daughters 5-10
would be Magdalene (9 or 10: we have two years for her birth) and Sydney
(7). The fit is perfect, except that we do not know who the female aged
20-30 is. The age makes her look like a probable younger sister of either
Henry or Fannie, or perhaps a household helper of some sort. If this isn't
our Henry, then the coincidence pushes improbability beyond its limits.
This Henry Collins shows up neither before (in Arkansas tax lists) nor
after (in tax lists or later censuses) in this part of Arkansas, so he
must have been a transient, as our Henry was. If he isn't our Henry, he
is a man with a family which is nearly identical to our Henry's. He must
There are other Collinses in Washington County, Arkansas, later, but
no Henrys. The exactness of the age matches and the other considerations
demand that we recognize that this is in fact our Henry, and that for whatever
reason he tried life in the Arkansas Ozarks, somewhere near Fayetteville
in northwest Arkansas, for a time before moving back to Tennessee. Except
for Holland's having been born there, we would have had no evidence of
this first migration to the Ozarks. The stay cannot have been a long one:
his son Willis was probably born in Tennessee in 1828, Holland in Arkansas
in 1830, and daughter Frances Ann in Tennessee in 1833, and there is other
evidence that he was back in Tennessee by 1832, suggesting that he was
only in Arkansas for two or three years at most. Had he not had a son there
and shown up in the census there, this first settlement by a Collins ancestor
in the Ozarks would be totally unknown to us. It looks as if Henry migrated
to Arkansas and perhaps did not like it. (His son John, crossing Arkansas
in the 1850s, was quite harsh on the state in his journal.)
His Brothers in Tennessee
The same 1850 census which shows Holland (son of Henry) being born in
Arkansas shows the next child, Frances Ann, who we know was born 25 May
1833, being born in Tennessee. A Henry Collins also witnessed a bill of
sale back in Tennessee in 1832 and this is almost certainly our man.(72)
Thus the whole Arkansas experience lasted less then four years (1828 to
1832 at the most), and possibly quite a bit less. We can only be confident
that he was in Arkansas in the year 1830, for the two attestations we have
are both from that year (Holland's birth and the census record). In 1834
Henry and his brother Willis signed testimony to support their father-in-law
William Martin's Revolutionary War pension application, in Tennessee. It
was a short, but because forgotten and in the Ozarks, important interlude
from the point of view of his Ozark descendants.
The Land and the Neighbors on Spring Place Pike
We also know where Henry was living by 1836, southeast of Lewisburg,
not in the original Collins area where his brothers had first settled.
The general area of his settlement is clear enough: the two Collins cemeteries
lie there today, and the creek paralleling the Spring Place Road (or Spring
Place Pike as it used to be called) is called Collins' Creek.
At least at the moment, I cannot be quite as precise about the delineation
of the land as I was for the North Carolina land, or will be for the Missouri
property in the following generation. There are two reasons. One is that
there seem to be some gaps in the record; Henry sold his old land to the
west in 1827 before moving to Arkansas, but was clearly in the Spring Place
Road area by 1836 and probably soon after his return, which occurred by
1832. I have not yet located deeds in Bedford County to support this dating,
however. They may exist. They do not appear in the published abstracts,
and I have not seen the full documents. The earliest deeds clearly placing
Henry in the area are dated from 1839 and 1840, after the 1836 creation
of Marshall County, and clearly are additions to his existing land, to
be discussed shortly. Other records clearly show he was in the area before
The other reason is the difficulty, in the absence of a plat, of identifying
precisely what the boundary of the land was, even when deeds do exist.
This is because of the shift from a (nonstandard) system of "sections"
equivalent to townships elsewhere, to a metes and bounds system, as described
above on Page 171.
What is clear enough is this: Henry Collins' land lay along the Spring
Place Road, or Spring Place Pike, which runs southeast of Lewisburg, now
Tennessee state road 272. IT adjoined and probably included Collins Creek,
which is almost certainly named for Henry, the one Collins who lived here
It probably included at least the older Collins cemetery on that road,
now much neglected, though it is less certain that it ran to the larger,
newer one. It also included a crossroads referred to several times, with
one indication referring to the "old Shelbyville road"; that may
be the present crossroads of Spring Place Pike and Caughran Road, an argument
to be made in detail below, where the more northerly, and today neglected,
Collins cemetery lies. As that is where Henry probably is buried, it is
likely near his own home, and thus the "crossroads" -- Caughran road today
is a paved road but not wide enough for two cars to pass. This identification
is not certain, but the Caughran road does connect with other roads which
probably represent old roads to Shelbyville, the Bedford County seat. (Of
course, this land was once in Bedford County, and communications with Shelbyville
would have been important then.) (If it is the same "Shelbyville Road"
mentioned in the 1827 sale of 94 acres, perhaps Henry owned part of this
land before selling it to go to Arkansas. But the "Old Shelbyville
Road" ran west to east and may have crossed both properties.) One should
keep in mind that a 19th century wagon track was never as wide as a modern
road, and that may be the reason for the narrowness today.
One can, as Donald C. Jeter has done for some areas and as I tentatively
did in one or two cases in North Carolina, compare all the neighboring
deeds and draw a rough outline of where the land lay. Because I have not
had complete access to the Marshall County records, there may be more information
to be found there. But let us look at what we do know.
The Glenn Connection
The Tennessee legislature established Marshall County in February of
1836, and on Monday, October 3, of that year, the first County Court met
in the home of Abner Houston in Lewisburg. The very next day it issued
an order mentioning Henry Collins and a neighbor whose family would be
linked in many ways with Henry's. Minutes of the Court for October 4, 1836
describe the laying out of a road "commencing at Lewisburg" to run "near
James Glenns and Henry Collins" on to Reed's Gap in Elk Ridge and then
beyond in the direction of Fayetteville.(73)
In fact, these road orders seem to have been voted on the day before.(74)
This is certainly the same as the Spring Place Pike or road southeast of
Lewisburg, near which two Collins cemeteries still stand; this road also
more or less parallels a stream called Collins' Creek, and it is quite
clear that Henry, rather than one of the other brothers living farther
west, gave his name to it. (In fact Collins' Creek rises near one of the
Collins cemeteries.)(75) This 1836 record
may actually be the original road order for laying out the first road along
what became Spring Place Pike.(76)
Other references to land also show Collins adjacent to James Glenn and
like Glenn along the Spring Place Pike. The Glenns are a family intermarried
several ways with the Collinses both in Tennessee and Missouri, and important
enough to our story to spend some time examining the evidence.
In a June, 1838 court order we hear of an overseer for the road "beginning
at the forks of the road thence to the widdow Nowlins thence to the widow
Burminghams thence to the widow Willis's thence to Henry Collins thence
to James Glenns thence to Alexander Glenns thence to old Mr. Bethoors thence
to John Collins . . . "(77) John Collins
is my ancestor, Henry's oldest son; Alexander Glenn married Henry's daughter
and was a son of James Glenn; the widow Willis was the mother of John Collins'
first wife, and so on. This was a close-knit community living near each
When Henry Collins bought 49 acres of land in 1840 from Grisham Bills
(Bell?), the land was described as beginning "at a point in James Glenns
South boundary line in the Centre of the publick Road Running thence South
. . ."(78) In the 1840 census Henry Collins
and James Glenn appear a couple of pages apart, but usually closer together
after that: in the 1850 census James Glenn is in dwelling number 20 enumerated
in District #15 of Marshall County, while John Collins (Henry's son, my
ancestor) is in dwelling number 26 and Henry Collins in dwelling number
28.(79) These numbers do not represent
addresses, merely the order in which the census-taker reached them. In
1860 Henry Collins is listed immediately after James Glenn.(80)
By that time John Collins had moved to Missouri. The fact that the census
takers probably moved out from Lewisburg, that the 1840 deed starts Henry's
land at James Glenn's southern boundary, and that the Glenns are buried
in the Hardin Cemetery not far to the north of the smaller, older Collins
cemetery(81), make it abundantly clear
that James Glenn lived just north of Henry Collins, both of them owning
land along Spring Place Pike.
This appears to be the point where the Glenn family enter into generations
of links with the Collinses. This James Glenn (1787-1868)(82)
was the father of William Alexander Glenn, who married Henry's daughter
Magdalene; the younger Glenns, like the younger Collinses, went west to
Missouri. Wayne Glenn of Nixa, Missouri, who is both a Glenn and a Collins
descendant, is the source of much of what I know about the Glenns.(83)
They seem to have followed a fairly typical Scotch-Irish migration pattern,
turning up in Old Tryon County, North Carolina, but with possible links
to Glenns who moved from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to Orange (later
Caswell) County, North Carolina, then to Lincoln County, NC. James Glenn
of Tennessee was the son of Robert Glenn of Old Tryon County, NC. Most
of Robert's sons, according to Wayne Glenn, ended up in White or Marshall
Counties, Tennessee.(84) From about 1814
or so, James Glenn moved to Tennessee and bought and sold land in several
middle Tennessee counties before settling along the Spring Place Pike.
James Glenn's third son, William Alexander Glenn, married Henry Collins'
daughter Magdalene (Maggie). But James Glenn's youngest daughter, Margaret
Ann Glenn, married David Collins, son of Henry Collins' brother Jones.
And years later in Missouri, John Raymond Collins, a great-grandson of
Henry Collins, married his cousin Minnie Magdalene Glenn.(85)
Furthermore, Sydney Collins White, another daughter of Henry, married Thomas
L. White, and their daughter, Lucy Frances, married Newton "Mitch" Glenn
in Christian County, Missouri; Mitch Glenn may be another descendant
of James Glenn of Marshall County as well.(86)
In any event it is clear enough that the Glenns are closely interlinked
with the Collinses from the 1830s onward. Old James Glenn, born in 1787,
lived on until 1868, and like many long-lived citizens of the American
backcountry, came to be known as "Uncle Jimmy".(87)
I emphasize once again that here, as in the later material on the Glenns
of Missouri, I have derived my information on the Glenns primarily from
the work of Wayne Glenn and (partially) Donald C. Jeter for Tennessee,
unless I cite specific sources.
How Much Land
Did Henry Own?
While I have tried to use the Marshall County deed records so far as
possible, the "metes and bounds" descriptions make it hard to keep track
of where the land was (that is what we are discussing form other sources
above and below), we can, as will be seen in the next section, say a lot
about where the land lay. (The presence of another Henry Collins, his nephew,
in the county complicates matters and makes it necessary to determine which
deeds belong to which.) We can also gain some clue as to the general size
of his holdings in the early period, though since no one deed dealt with
the whole land Henry held, tax records are the best way to do this.
Not all the tax records for pre-Civil War Marshall County survive, nor
have I seen all of those that do. What follows is based on the published
tax records of the years 1839-1841, a snapshot rather than a full picture
since this was apparently fairly early in Henry's landholding in the Collins
Creek area. In 1839 we find Henry in District No. 15 (the land along Spring
Place Pike) with 322 acres, valued at $3000, no apparent slaves, and one
taxable poll taxed four dollars total.(88)
In 1840 he appears with 400 acres, valued at $3500, one slave valued at
$1000, and one poll with a tax totalling $5.87.4. (Partial cents were sometimes
used in taxation.) The one slave has been added since 1839, and the 1840
census (See below under Henry's slaves, page 204) shows him with two, but
one is under 10 and probably not taxable. Also in the district in 1840
and listed above him is his son (my ancestor) John Collins, with 48 acres
valued at $483 and paying 60.3 cents in taxes.(89)
In 1841, Henry appears with 241 acres -- a drop of 80 acres in the year
-- valued at $1928, still one slave but now valued at only $450, and a
total of $3.22.2 in taxes. His son John still has 48 acres (but now valued
at $750) and a tax of 87.4 cents, while Henry's brother George W. Alexander
("Washington") now appears in the same district with 128 acres valued at
$1400 and a tax of $1.75.(90) (For comparison,
the 1850 census would list Henry as owning $1150 worth of real estate.)
Washington must have come to Tennessee soon after his father's estate setlement,
but he would later return to North Carolina by the time of his mother's
Was "The Crossroads At Henry Collins'"?
One landmark of Henry Collins' land, which turns up frequently in county
records, is that it lay at or included a crossroads. Because of the problem
of identifying land boundaries today given the "metes and bounds" calls
used in Tennessee in the mid-19th century, I have not attempted to pursue
every deed showing a purchase or sale by Henry: there are many in the deed
books. But since the "crossroads" is important and probably lay near Henry's
house, I feel it worth spending some time discussing. Those wishing to
skip this discussion and the maps which go with it may jump ahead if they
wish, to page 189, below.
We have already seen generally where the land was, as shown on the map
on page 176, and dealt a bit with the geography in discussing the Glenn
connection: it lay close to the point where the ground begins to rise,
actually amid ridges and "knobs" such as Davis Knob, rising as high as
1,200 feet above sea level while the valley of Collins' Creek is around
800 feet. The valley of Collins' Creek almost demands to be the natural
route for a road from Lewisburg to Elk Ridge. We mentioned above, on Page
178, the October 4, 1836 court order to lay out a road to the top of Elk
Ridge, "commencing at Lewisburg" to run "near James Glenns and Henry Collins"
on to Reed's Gap in Elk Ridge and then beyond towards Fayetteville, Tennessee.
This road, the present Spring Place Pike or Tennessee Route 272, is clearly
one of the roads involved in the crossroads.
We learn more about the road after its initial authorization. A month
later, on November 7, 1836, the County Court appointed John Harden and
Henry Collins overseers of a road "leading from Lewisburg and terminating
at the top of Elk Ridge". In fact, as a late 19th century map reproduced
below shows, the road seems to have been little more than a track beyond
the crest of Elk Ridge at Reed's Gap, at least as late as 1899. So the
further extension of the road towards Fayetteville may have come later.
An October 2, 1837 court mention speaks of land stretching from "Henry
Collins to Henry -- [illegible to transcriber] on the old Shelbyville Road".
We have also heard of an old Shelbyville Road when Henry was selling his
earlier land. Shelbyville, the seat of Bedford County, lay to the east
of Lewisburg, and there is today an "Old Shelbyville Road" east of Lewisburg,
but that is along way from Henry's land. The "Old Shelbyville Road" mentioned
in both his older and newer land descriptions seems to have been one which
has since lost the name.
That there was a crossroads, however, is clear enough. Thus for example in the March court term of 1839, Frances K. Rambo is named overseer of the road "from the X Roads at Henry Collins to the top of the Elk ridge near James Reeds".(91) A similar reference to "the X road at Henry Collins" appears a year later.(92) Clearly, the crossroads at Henry Collins' place was a landmark of sorts.
Marshall County Court minutes for 3 November 1846 and 7 March 1848 both
name overseers on the "Pulaski-Shelbyville Road", the first "from the cross
with Lewisburg road near Henry Collins to McEarlies Creek" and the other
"from where Lewisburg road crosses at Henry Collins to McCurleys Creek".(93)
I have not identified McCurley's or McEarlie's Creek, which may be an old
name for Collins' Creek, but clearly this implies a road between Pulaski
and Shelbyville which did not pass through Lewisburg but which crossed
the road out of Lewisburg at the point Henry Collins lived. This could
fit with the suggestion just made.(94)
The shortest distance from Pulaski to Shelbyville would run somewhere north
of Elk Ridge, not through Lewisburg as the modern roads do.
All this makes it imperative to identify this "Old Shelbyville Road"
and where it crossed the Spring Place Road. But there is a problem. The
oldest really detailed map of Marshall County anyone seems to use dates
from 1899. There are, of course, many earlier maps showing the county,
but not in great detail. The old "road orders" we have been quoting give
us some clue as to the roads, but usually by describing them as going form
so-and-so's to the widow somebody's; they give us a rough relationship
but not a clearcut one. As a fairly recent Marshall County history put
To try to understand the course these old roads took is a marvel of
confusion today as they pass mills, churches and shops no longer in existence,
farms that have changed owners many times since then, cross creeks at certain
fords, go around orchards or ponds and follow lanes past "the widow Ewing's",
on the Crossroads' Likely Location
We've already noted that the "Old Shelbyville Road" crossed the Spring
Place Road at Henry Collins'. But the road today called the "Old Shelbyville
Road" runs east out of Lewisburg, several miles to the north of Henry's
land. But there was an older Shelbyville Road, which existed before
Lewisburg was founded. I believe that is the road referred to. But where
did it run on today's map?
Early maps of the state of Tennessee, from prior to the creation of Marshall County and the foundation of Lewisburg, show a road running from Cornersville to Belfast and on to Shelbyville in Bedford County, running north of Elk Ridge. However, I have not found a map detailed enough to show the precise course of this road, which I believe is the "Old Shelbyville Road". It also seems to have been part of the main route from Pulaski to Shelbyville, via the future Marshall County.
A map confirming the road exists, but with far too little detail to show its route, hangs on the wall of the Tennessee State Library as one enters the microfilm room; it dates from the 1830s but I do not have a reproduction of it. Civil War era maps confirm a road from Belfast on to Shelbyville, however, suggesting that with the rise of Lewisburg the road from Belfast to Cornersville may have been less used. The earliest detailed map of Marshall County I have seen, dated 1899, shows roads which essentially follow those of today, and also on a 1938 map. Because of the prominent rise of Elk Ridge and its northern "knobs" and outliers, there are only so many natural places to run roadbeds.
If the Old Shelbyville Road is the road shown on one old map as running from Cornersville to Belfast, north of Elk Ridge, where would it have crossed Spring Place Road?
The fact that -- except for modern bypasses cut by 20th century construction technology -- the roads shown on 1899 and 1938 maps are the same as those found on topographical and other maps of the 1980s and 1990s, makes it likely that much of the old road ran along present roads or farm lanes. It is also likely that Henry Collins' farmhouse would have been fairly close to the intersection of these two roads, for the sake of convenience. At this point the presence of the old, overgrown cemetery where Henry and Willis are believed to be buried at an intersection is particularly interesting; at almost the same point the little stream known as Collins' creek crosses the road.
The road today known as Caughran Road is extremely narrow: two ordinary
cars could not pass on its roadbed today. That makes it highly likely that
it was laid out before the age of the automobile, and indeed it appears
on the 1899 map above. The old, overgrown cemetery lies in the crook of
this road and Spring Place Road, and if one follows Caughran Road to the
northeast one quickly intersects the Old Belfast Road, which does indeed
lead to Belfast.
However, there is no obvious extension of the Caughran Road west of
Spring Place road. There is, however, an obvious reason for its absence:
the hill known as Davis Knob. An outlier of Elk Ridge, it rises about 400
feet above the level of the Spring Place Road and makes any major road
unlikely. But about half a mile to its south is the next road to the west
which connects, via other farm lanes, to other major roads; this is the
road known as the Twitty Road today, which runs west from Spring Place
Road a short distance above the larger, newer Collins Cemetery.
This is a logical route; furthermore, it seems to be the best way to
cut between Elk Ridge and Davis Knob, jog a half mile on Spring Place,
and then continue eastward. It also conjoins Collins Creek and the old
Collins Cemetery with the route, and as one may notice, the Old Marshall
Academy lay along this road (based on the location of the Old Marshall
Academy Spring, at any rate.)
The whole suggested route from Cornersville to Belfast would look something
like the map shown below. Advantages of this theory include the proximity
of the old cemetery to the crossroads see next paragraph), the fact that
other routes are discouraged by the topography, and that there is no surviving
trace of another road from Conrnersville to Belfast which would have crossed
Spring Place Pike.
None of this is certain. Still, I must confess that I can think of no other explanation which fits the facts, the existing maps, etc. The presence of the "old" Collins cemetery, where Frances Martin Collins, wife of Henry, his brother Willis and his wife (frances' sister) Phebe Martin Collins are all buried, and where Henry is most likely buried as well, at this very crossroads makes me much more confident of the interpretation.
It is also worth noting that W. M. Carter's 1899 Map of Marshall County
shows several Collinses along the Spring Place road. Henry of course was
long dead by then. But at about the spot on the Spring Place Pike where
the more southerly Collins cemetery is located, there is an "Edw Collins"
marked. West of the Pike, perhaps half a mile or so away along the northern
edge of Elk Ridge, there is an "H. Collins" shown, and just the other side
of Elk Ridge, an "Alex. Collins" and a "D. Collins". H. Collins might be
Henry Lenoir Collins, Henry's youngest son, who lived into the 20th century.
In any event it is clear that Collins descendants remained in this general
area of original settlement by Henry.(96)
Children of Henry and Frances (Fannie) Martin(97)
Henry and Frances (Fannie) had nine children together. These were:
John Collins. Born in Oglethorpe (or possibly
Greene) County, Georgia, September 13, 1819, died February 8, 1888. Our
ancestor, fully profiled in the next chapter.
Magdalen or Magdalene
("Maggie") Collins. She was born September 11, 1821 (though some Collinses
have 1820 in their records, 1821 is more widely attested) in Greene or
Oglethorpe County, Georgia. Once in Tennessee, she married William Alexander
Glenn. We have already met the Glenns above on page 179 They moved to Missouri
in 1855-56, following John Collins. Magdalene and Alexander Glenn are discussed
in greater detail in the biography of John Collins, for they lived in the
Riverdale area with their land in places adjoining his on the west. Maggie
had nine children and died on March 6, 1860 during the birth of her tenth,
a daughter who died. She is said to have been the first person buried in
the Glenn Cemetery near the original home. "Alec" came down with typhoid
in the hard Civil War winter of 1861-1862 and died on 22 March 1862.(98)
They have numerous descendants, some others intermarried with the Collinses.
The original Glenn in Marshall County, old James Glenn, lived on until
Sydney (often spelled
Sidney) Collins. The use of Sydney or Sidney as a female name is another
characteristic of Collins naming; his brothers Holland and Willis also
named daughters with the name. This Sydney was born December 30, 1823,
presumably in Georgia. (As noted above, her birthplace in the census is
listed variously as North Carolina or Tennessee, but these appear to be
erroneous.) On 6 July 1843, she married Thomas L. White, who was originally
from Rowan County, North Carolina, in Marshall County, Tennessee. The Whites
also followed John Collins to Christian County, Missouri, in 1859-60, one
of their children born in 1859 being born en route. They settled
near the later community of Highlandville. They had 11 children.(100)
More material on the Whites appears in the biography of John Collins.
James Collins. James was the name of Henry's
father and grandfather and of one of his brothers. This fourth generation
(at least) James was born December 27, 1825 in Oglethorpe County. Died
in Pickens County, Tennessee (Memphis) on July 23, 1844, when he was only
18. We know nothing about the circumstances of the death or why he was
in Memphis. The fact of his death is recorded on his Marshall County tombstone,
which apparently reads "Pichett County" but has been glossed as "Pickens
These three children were apparently born in Georgia, though as we noted
earlier, if Henry was in Marshall County in 1825 instead of 1826, as one
document suggests is possible, then James would have been born in Tennessee.
After the move in 1826 to Tennessee, the following were born (with Holland,
of course, being born during the Arkansas sojourn):
Willis Collins. Born January 26, 1828 in
Tennessee, Henry presumably named this son for his own brother Willis,
with whom we know he was close. This younger Willis Collins fought in the
Mexican War under Zachary Taylor; his tombstone says that he died at "Brazos
St. Tago" (Brazos de Santiago) in Texas on his return from the war on January
9, 1847. His military records and others show that he enlisted in Lewisburg
on May 28, 1846, and his company, Company B of the First Tennessee Infantry,
then marched to Nashville, arriving June 3, where it was mustered into
US service. At the time of muster-in he was made third corporal of the
company. The force then proceeded via New Orleans to Brazos de Santiago
off the Texas coast, between Brazos and Padre Islands. Moving inland via
Camargo, the force, like most others in the Mexican war, suffered severely
from disease. Its service record notes in August 1846 that "For the last
month the regiment has been very sickly near forty having died within that
time and there are now near three hundred on the sick list". The regiment,
and apparently Willis, were engaged in the battle of Monterey on September
21-23. He had, for unknown reasons, seen his corporal's rating ended on
September 14; he was subsequently a private. There is no indication in
the records that he was wounded at Monterey, but he was discharged there
on a surgeon's certificate in December of 1846. It seems most likely that
he was ill from one of the many camp diseases plaguing the American troops
in Mexico. He was returning home via the US staging area at Brazos de Santiago
when he died on January 9, 1847.(102)
He is buried in the Collins Cemetery near his mother and (probably) father,
and his inscription notes that he died at "Brazos St. Tago" (others read
"St. Iago") on his return from Monterey, Mexico.(103)
(This stone, if still present, is invisible in the overgrown cemetery today.)
Holland Collins. Born August 19, 1830. Obviously, this Holland must have been named for his uncle, Holland Collins, maintaining the old Kingsale Swamp name. The 1850 census lists him as born in Arkansas 20 years before, and as shown above he was presumably born during Henry's brief stay in Arkansas, in the general region around Fayetteville. He was later, in the 1870s and 1880s, a correspondent of his nephew Dr. John Day Collins; I have seen some of the letters. This younger Holland married Mary P. McGregor in Marshall County on 16 October 1855; she was related to the Elizabeth McGregor who had married his uncle Elisha Collins; Donald Jeter thinks they were sisters, though there would be about 15 years' age difference.(104) This Holland Collins can be located in the 1850, 1870 and 1880 census of Marshall County. I also have copies of letters he wrote to his brother John Collins in Missouri in 1885, shortly after John's rail trip to Tennessee, and to Dr. John D. Collins in 1888 after John Collins' death.(105)
Thus he was still living in the Marshall County area as late as 1888 (the 1885 letter is dated from Archer, the 1888 letter from Petersburg, Tennessee). Both letters include mentions of various family members' health, which neighbors have died, and farm prices. In the 1885 letter Holland mentions having arrested a Negro boy, though I do not know if he held some office of authority. Nor do I have a date for his death, nor did Jeter's "Collins Chronicle".
Holland presumably lived out his life in the Marshall County area. The 1885 letter just mentioned is dated from Archer, Tennessee, a small locality south of Elk Ridge in the Richland Creek valley (where my Cowden ancestors lived). The 1888 letter is dated from Petersburg, Tennessee, on the Marshall/Lincoln county line. Neither is very distant from the old Henry Collins land.
It is perhaps worth noting that after his older brother John Collins
died, Holland may have inherited a watch with some family connection. At
the end of his letter to Dr. John D. Collins on February 25, 1888, he adds
the lines "P.S. Send the watch to Petersburg Tenn by Express -- I will
pay charges. Holland Collins."(106) Whether
this was an heirloom, or something John Collins willed to Holland, I do
Frances Ann Collins. Born May 25, 1833,
she married James C. Richardson in Marshall County, Tennessee on 18 November
1855. We have encountered Richardsons associated with the Collinses since
the North Carolina days, and this Richardson appears to be one of them,
according to the research of Randolph Richardson of Ohio, a great-great-grandson.
The Missouri tradition as preserved in some versions of the Nelson/McLean/Hanks
material said that Frances Ann married a Mr. Richardson in Tennessee and
it was said that they later moved to Arkansas. (On the other hand, another
Missouri tradition correctly had her staying in Marshall County.)(107)
The Arkansas part is apparently in error, unless it is a confused recollection
of Henry Collins' attempt to settle there in 1830, for Randolph Richardson's
information shows several generations of Richardsons in various parts of
central Tennessee.(108) The couple had
seven children; Frances Ann lived until 6 January 1909 and is buried in
the McAteer Cemetery in Marshall County; James Richardson had died 15 September
Edna (sometimes "Edney")
Catherine Collins. Born March 22, 1836.(110)
Edna Catherine married Frank Waddle or Waddel in Marshall County on 20
November 1855(111) and eventually came
to Missouri. (They were still in Tennessee as late as the 1870 census,
and in a Springfield directory by 1889. Certainly Edna Catherine was the
last of the sisters to move to Missouri. Edna died in Springfield; some
of her children lived in Christian County.) The Waddles (sometimes Waddel
in Christian County, apparently always Waddle in Greene) had six children.
My own line is doubly related: Edna's son Beverly "B." Waddle, married
Annie Heidie, daughter of Katie Heidie Kentling of Highlandville, Missouri,
whose unusual story is told in the biography of Dr. John Day Collins. Katie's
son (Annie's half-brother) Ben Kentling married Lulu Mettie Collins, daughter
of Dr. John Day Collins, my great-grandfather.) The descendants today spell
the name Waddle.(112)
Mary Gupton Collins. Born February
25, 1838. Married Wiley Woods in 1853; they had one son. After Woods' death,
Mary then married N.J. Cook, in 1859; they had eight children. Once again
the Missouri tradition had it that she and Woods came to Arkansas,(113)
but in the 1880s she was still in/or back in Tennessee, writing to her
in-law Polley Cowden Collins.(114) N.J.
Cook was also in Tennessee when Henry died in 1860, for he appears in the
estate sale. Probably the Arkansas tradition here is confused. Although
I do not know the date of her death, Mary Gupton Collins was also still
in Tennessee when John Collins visited in 1884, for on January 18 [1885?]
she wrote John and Polley Collins that "polly I cannot tell you how glad
I was to see brother Jon come to see me I never exspect to see hem agane
I shed tears the next weak after he left"(115).
Before we look at what we know of Henry Collins' personality, we should
conclude the discussion of his marital history, for he was to have one
Frances Dies and
Frances Martin Collins died December 26, 1841. She was only 44 and her youngest child had been born less than four years before. If her death was from childbirth, the most common cause of early death for women in those days, there is no record in the family of a child born at the time, and even those who did not live often were recorded. Her cause of death is unknown.
Frances is one of those typical 19th century farm women we encounter often in genealogy: we know more about her father and her children than about herself. We know (or are confident, anyway) that her sister Phebe had married Willis Collins, but Phebe is also just a few names and dates; it is the husbands who left real records. The family did somehow preserve a copy of a "Memorial" -- presumably a published encomium as it does not appear to be from her gravestone(116) -- from Tennessee, but it reads like a mass-produced, saccharine sentiment which probably had little to do with this woman we know so little about. It reads:
She lies beneath this lonely tomb
in silent death and sable gloom
She lived in peace, a foe to none
And died beloved by everyone
But though her frame lies 'neath this clay
We hope she lives in endless days
Where angels join in heavenly choirs
To praise God with their golden lyres
For she in youth, despite of shame
Professed her great Redeemer's name;
And firmly stood the pangs of death
In hopes of an immortal rest.(117)
Second Marriage and a Problem in the Records
Henry Collins married a second time, this time to Nancy Elvira Cunningham
Sheppard, the widow of O.P. Sheppard. She had had one child by that first
marriage.(118) She was born on April 6,
1821, so she was some 24 years his junior.(119)
There is a curious question about the date of marriage. Marshall County's
Marriage Bond records -- very roughly comparable to the issuance of a marriage
license today, and requiring someone to officiate at the marriage after
the bond was issued -- show a bond between "Henry Collins and Elvira Sheppard"
dated May 22, 1843(120). But no minister
or justice of the peace is listed as having performed the marriage itself.
We find another marriage bond issued almost five years later, May 11, 1848
between Henry Collins and Nancy E. Sheppard (remember her name was Nancy
Elvira) and dated May 11, 1848. This one shows that James A. Yowell, Justice
of the Peace, officiated at the marriage.(121)
On the face of it one might suspect that a marriage bond was paid in 1843
but that for some reason the ceremony did not take place and that the couple
decided to finally proceed with the marriage in 1848. There is one basic
problem with this interpretation: namely the birth of their son, Henry
Lenoir Collins, on September 28, 1845.(122)
And since in each case the listing is surrounded by other listings of the
same year, there is no chance that the "3" and the "8" have simply been
confused. Since the couple had already indicated their intention to marry
by paying the marriage bond in 1843, it seems unlikely that Henry Lenoir
Collins' birth was illegitimate, or at least knowingly so, though there
is no real evidence (other than a grasping for proprieties) to support
this interpretation. One possible explanation is that the couple failed
to properly record the 1843 marriage but were not aware of this until sometime
after their son's birth, and that they remarried in 1848 to erase any doubts
as to his legitimacy. Perhaps they even thought the marriage bond alone
was sufficient. We have no real evidence at all, except for the two marriage
bonds (no sign of a divorce between) and the fact that no officiating minister
or official is listed in the first record. We probably will never know
the real reasons for the two bonds.(123)
Henry Lenoir Collins, the son of Henry
by his second wife, was born -- as mentioned -- September 28, 1845. A county
history tells us that "His early education was wholly neglected, but he
has overcome this deficiency by study during his leisure moments, and now
has a fair general education". In 1863 he joined Nathan Bedford Forrest
and rode in the 11th Tennessee Cavalry. Forrest -- the famous "get thar
the fustest with the mostest men" cavalry leader(124)
was the most glamorous of Tennessee rebels and had in fact been born in
what became Marshall County but grew up in Mississippi. Henry Lenoir Collins
-- called "Henry Lee Collins" in family tradition (including letters preserved
in the Missouri Collins line) and presumably by his friends, married another
Fannie Collins by whom he had 10 children, of whom eight were living in
1886. His wife was Lucinda Frances Collins, known as Fanny; she was a dughter
of Thomas Collins, son of Willis Collins, and thus was her husband's first
cousin, once removed.(125). A Democrat,
Henry Lenoir Collins owned a 330 acre farm in 1886 and "takes great pride
in raising fine Hostien [sic] cattle".(126)
He died on August 27, 1917.(127)
Henry lived in Marshall County until he died, but he apparently did
travel, at least once, back to North Carolina. Following the 1838 death
of his father, James Collins, Henry -- and perhaps his brother Holland
-- returned to Franklin County, North Carolina, to deal with the settlement
of their father's estate. There are essentially two pieces of evidence
strongly suggesting that this took place: the fact that most of the other
Collins kin in Marshall County gave Henry their power of attorney in settlement
of their father's affairs, and the fact that Henry (and Holland) purchases
slaves when their father's slaves were sold off.
The power of attorney appears in both the Tennessee and the North Carolina
records.(128) Henry also served as "Attorney
in fact" for the guardian of Durham's children, and he and G. W. Collins
also represented those of Durham's children who were already of age in
the settlement of James Collins' estate.(129)
As for the slave sale in 1839, we have already seen in his father's
biography that Henry acquired two of the slaves and Holland two; their
mother and brothers Washington, David, and James were among the other buyers.
(See the sale above, on Page 141.) Though Washington frequently lived in
Marshall County he also had returned at some point to live in Franklin
County; David, James and their mother had remained in North Carolina (or
returned there earlier). The implication is that Henry and Holland were
physically present for the sale in March of 1839, or perhaps that Henry
was and acted as agent for Holland.
I must confess that none of the legal documents surrounding James Collins
II's estate sale unambiguously state that Henry or Holland actually traveled
back to North Carolina, but the implication seems to be there. The later
documents relinquishing power of attorney, etc., are in 1840, and seem
to have been excecuted after Henry's return, while the slave sale occurred
in 1839, which would thus be the likeliest year for this trip.
All the legal correspondence relating to that estate sale has fortuitously
provided us with a personal letter. Why it is included in the file is unclear,
but it offers a better glimpse of Henry than all the legal documents do.
A Personal Letter to His Brother
Henry Collins, unlike his father, could read and write, but we have
nothing as personal and autobiographical as his father's Revolutionary
War pension records, which gave us so much detail in his father's biography.
In addition, I have not yet seen all the Marshall County records which
may give us additional information about his land once future research
We are, however, fortunate to have at least one personal letter from
Henry Collins to his younger brother, James Collins "III", back in North
Carolina. This letter turns up, apparently by luck, in the estate settlement
papers of his father James Collins "II"'s estate in Franklin County, North
Carolina. It apparently was submitted along with other letters from brothers
and sisters in order to support James' right to acquire the land left by
their father. Henry's letter actually does not seem to directly relate
to the estate at all, though his reference to a letter which he has not
received from James may mean that in fact this letter was submitted as
evidence of some sort, perhaps of why some release form had not yet been
received from Henry. In any case, the letter is the only personal document
I have found so far by Henry.
Lewisburg Te Jany 5. 1841
Myself, family and our Connexion are all well, and our neighborhood
Prices of land are much as when you were here, produce as low as I wver
saw it and likely to be so, there is land for sale in the neighborhood.
Holland has traded for his land back and Washington is living near to me.
We have yet(130) recd a letter that
I understand you have written, or I could have wrote sooner.
We have hard times and harder notwithstanding Old Tip is elected President.
The Whigs say we will have good times after awhile. They now say the president
cant make times easy, that the people will have to git out of debt by industry
and economy. We all wish to be remembered to our mother and you and family.
Holland is going as usual. Little William Collins is married to bro Durhams
Yours with respect
The letter itself is reproduced (Image to come)
For so short a letter this is a very interesting one. It confirms several
family relationships, offers a bit of neighborhood gossip, and some rather
ironic political commentary. It was written during the settlement of James
Collins "II"'s estate, and a little under a year before the death of Henry's
Like any farmer, Henry is interested in the prices of produce and of land, and is complaining. But he also brings a bit of political commentary into his message. We know from the Goodspeed history that Henry Collins was a "Democrat and farmer"(131) and from family tradition that he was (as seems inevitable in the time and place) a Jacksonian Democrat. He was not, therefore, an admirer of the Whig Party, though Goodspeed also claims that Willis Collins was an "old-line" or southern Whig(132). "Old Tip", mentioned in his letter, is President William Henry Harrison, "Old Tippecanoe". Harrison was elected in the 1840 Presidential elections, following the presidencies of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, who must have been more popular with Henry Collins. So his remark that "We have hard times and harder notwithstanding Old Tip is elected President" is ironic, and his note that now that they are elected "the Whigs say we will have good times after awhile. They now say the president cant make times easy, that the people will have to get out of debt by industry and economy" is obviously a criticism -- exactly the sort Americans still make when the party they do not support takes power.
The letter tells us a bit more about the family, since of course Henry
is updating his brother James. The statement about land costing as much
as "when you were here" confirms that James had lived in, or at least visited,
Marshall County. Holland Collins, we hear, "has traded for his land back",
indicating he had for some reason lost or sold it, though I have no other
information about this. Holland, we also hear, "is going as usual", whatever
that may have meant. Certainly we know that Holland Collins had links to
the Spring Place Pike area though he, like Henry, had originally settled
farther to the West. In 1835, before Marshall County was created, Holland
Collins, stated to be of Maury County, bought land in Bedford County: this
may represent land in the same general area as Henry, and the two appear
near each other in successive census records.(133)
(In all these instances, I presume, we are referring to Holland Collins
the brother of Henry, who lived 1788-1843. We must remember, though,
that Henry also had a son named Holland, born in Arkansas in 1830;
he is the Holland who turns up in all the post-1843 references.)
Washington -- George Washington Collins (1809-1870), the youngest of
James Collins "II"'s sons -- "is living near to me". Washington Collins
would be back in Franklin County, North Carolina, in a few years' time,
where he would be involved with his mother's pension settlement, yet he
apparently also moved back and forth between North Carolina and Tennessee
more than once before dying in Mississippi.
Another interesting note is the statement that "Little William Collins
is married to bro Durhams daughter Sally", with which Henry ends his letter.
Durham had died in 1833, and his daughter Sarah or Sally married William
C. Collins, son of Nathanael (or Nathaniel) Collins. As we have noted previously,
that is pretty clearly the Nathanael son of William Collins, that William
being the brother of James Collins "II". In short, Durham's daughter Sally
married her second cousin, William C. Collins. Calling this William "Little
William" Collins is typical southern usage if he were the grandson of Henry
and James' "Uncle William" Collins, as he appears to have been.
I do not wish to put more emphasis on this letter than it deserves;
Henry may have written dozens or hundreds of such letters. But this one
has been lucky enough to survive.
Henry Collins Personally
For all that we can say about him as a landholder, father, husband and
so on, we must dig a bit to learn much about Henry Collins the man. He
was a farmer, of course.
We hear from the Goodspeed county history already cited that he was
a Democrat, like several of his sons. A Jacksonian Democrat almost certainly,
given the time and place: for Old Hickory was one of his own people, the
Scotch-Irish, and The Hermitage lay not that far north of his eventual
settlement in Marshall County, Tennessee. James K. Polk, the last of the
true Jacksonian Presidents, was a near neighbor from Pulaski who at one
time had a law office in Lewisburg, and there was even a tradition that
Polk had been in Lewisburg when notified he was nominated for the Presidency(134).
And in Henry's letter to his brother James, cited above, Henry is sarcastic
about "Old Tip", Whig President William Henry Harrison, who had just been
elected after years of Jacksonians in the Presidency. (See the letter on
page 197.) Since there is evidence that, in other ways, Henry was close
to his brother Willis, it is interesting to note that, also according to
Goodspeed, Willis was a Whig.
But Henry apparently did not dictate his politics to his family. His
son John Collins seems to have been, later on in life at least, a Republican
with rather radical, even abolitionist tastes, (as will be seen), a man
who could name a son for Henry Clay, the great Whig, and another for Lincoln,
while we are told his brother Willis -- remember he and Henry married sisters
-- was a Whig, and one of John's sons in Missouri later was in the Union
Labor Party. The family seems to have been fairly divided politically in
the most divisive political period of our history, though no one on this
side of the family seems to have been a real secessionist. But then we
must remember that Andy Jackson was a Unionist first and foremost, and
that in 1861 Old Hickory might have deserted the party he helped create.
That Henry's son Henry Lee Collins rode with Forrest suggests that the
sons who moved west before the war had different attitudes from those who
stayed at home, though. (This was also true among the Glenns: the Missouri
wing were Unionists, the Tennesseeans Confederate.)
In 1850 Henry owned $1150 worth of real estate, according to the census.
We have discussed his earlier tax payments previously.
In 1850 we find an apprentice named William Hashaw, 17, living with
the Henry Collins family on the farm; in 1860 another, this time John Cunningham,
18. John Cunningham is presumably a relative of some sort of Nancy Elvira's,
since her maiden name was Cunningham. Hashaw, on the other hand, is not
a name which seems to be related. "Apprentice" farming is not a concept
I have found widely spread, unless it is a fancy term for a farmhand, and
I wonder if they were apprenticed to some other function or profession
of which we have lost memory. (Blacksmithing comes to mind as a rural requirement,
A Note on Books and
We know that Henry was literate, as his letter reproduced on page 197
and numerous legal documents demonstrate. As mentioned, while Henry Lenoir
Collins is said to have had no real education or at least to have had it
"wholly neglected", John Collins wrote both a fine handwriting and a form
of Pitman shorthand. How John learned what he learned we do not know, but
he probably attended some school or academy in the area (one lay very near,
as will be noted in John's biography); it is hard to assume Henry was less
than at least self-educated, given this. On the other hand, as noted in
the early part of this chapter (above, page 148), some of Henry's brothers
always signed with a mark, while he always signed his name.
Estate sales are interesting because of the insight they provide. Although
James Collins I may or may not have been able to do much more than sign
his name, unspecified "books" were sold with his estate. (See above, Page
97.) And James Collins II, though he always signed with a mark, had a "Testament"
mentioned among items sold with his estate. (See above, Page 138.)
We know a bit more, however, since after Henry's (and Nancy Elvira's)
deaths, the inventory of their estates lists a few books. This also offers
a brief insight into something which may have already occurred to some
readers, and which that "testament" of James II also reminds us of. Throughout
the Collins line so far, there has been very little indication of religious
affiliation. Although we used records of the vestry of the Anglican Church
in Nansemond County in the colonial period, that was at the time the equivalent
of a local government body; it does not mean those Collinses were Church
Anyone who has done genealogy in the 18th and 19th centuries knows that
religious affiliations are frequently mentioned; but in the Collins biographies
in the Goodspeed histories, both for Tennessee and Missouri, the
male Collinses are generally not stated to belong to any denomination,
though sometimes their wives are. In Missouri, the membership of both John
Collins and John Day Collins in the Oddfellows is emphasized, not a religious
Given this lack of evidence that the Collins males were members of any
particular chruch, the reference to the "Testament" in James Collins II's
inventory is interesting, but even more so are several references to books
in the sale of the estate of Henry Collins and his second wife, Nancy Elvira.
First, among the "inventory of articles sold as the property of Henry Collins
deceased after the death of Nancy E. Collins on the 4th day of November
1861" (that is the date of the sale: Nancy died in October):
Holland Collins 1 Bible 1.95
J.C. Richardson 2 Testaments .05
Hol Collins 1 Lot Books 1.50
W. McLean 1 Lot " " .25
[two intervening entries, then:]
J. C. Richardson Book Case 3.00(136)
Of the buyers, Holland Collins here is Holland, son of Henry. N. J.
Cook was the second husband of Mary Gupton Collins, daughter of Henry;
J.C. Richardson married Henry's daughter Frances Ann Collins. I do not
know the identity of J.M. Moore or W. McLean.
Most of these books appear to be religious in nature: the two Bibles
of course, the "2 Testaments", the otherwise unidentified Life of Christ,
and almost certainly, the "Life of Dow". I believe this almost certainly
refers to Lorenzo Dow (1777-1834), a Methodist minister known for his highly
charismatic preaching who evangelized much of the inner south, including
Tennessee, for Methodism from the turn of the 18th/19th century onward.
(The Tennessee connection seems the strongest reason for assuming this,
and the religious nature of the other books except perhaps for the history
of the world. (Nothing more is said of this book, but many 19th century
histories of the world were indeed religious in their orientation, a retelling
of Bible history followed by classical history.)
The only other well-known "Dow" in the era was Neal Dow (1804-1897),
a New England temperance advocate whose greatest fame lay later than the
time of this reference.) Assuming the "Life of Dow" refers to Lorenzo Dow,
and the Tennessee conenction suggests it does, it also suggests some exposure
to Methodism or at least to the "Second Great Awakening" revival movement
of the early 19th century, with which Dow was closely linked in the south.
The book may have been The Life and Travels of Lorenzo Dow, written
by Himself, in which are contained some Singular Providences of God
(Hartford, 1804), Dow's autobiography. The only other book listed in the
Library of Congress catalog which might apply is the memoirs of Dow's wife,
Peggy Dow (1780-1820), Vicissitudes in the Wilderness; Exemplified in
the Journal of Peggy Dow, To which is Added an Appendix of Her Death, and
also Reflections on Matrimony, by Lorenzo Dow (Norwich, CT, 1833).(137)
The former would seem more appropriately called the "Life of Dow"; other
biographies listed by the Library of Congress are later than the date of
Henry's estate sale.
There are a couple of points to be made. The phrasing of the inventory
makes it sound as if the first list, with the first three book mentions,
relates to Henry's property and the second to Nancy Elvira's. However,
both of the sales in question occurred after the death of Nancy Elvira
Collins, and in fact the first list of books appears just after some household
furniture and just before a spinning wheel and a wash pot. The second list,
which seems to say it refers to Nancy Elvira's property, includes the cattle,
rifle, and much of the farm equipment. It is therefore hard to tell if
one set of books belonged to one spouse and the other to the other; it
may be that both were Nancy Elvira's, and that she was the admirer of Dow;
so it may tell us little about Henry. The fact that there seem to have
been two bibles may suggest that they each brought one into the marriage,
which of course was a second one for each.
At any rate, someone in the family probably had an interest, if not
with Methodism as a religion, then with the charismatic preaching and camp
meetings which swept through the South in the early 19th century and with
which Dow was closely identified. (The Collinses in Missouri, or at least
the wives who were church members, were affiliated with the Selmore Christian
Church, but the Christian Church itself sprang from the same Second Great
Awakening which is so closely linked with men like Dow.)
There is clearly not much to go on here, but at least we do have a clue,
and know the names or subject matter of four books in Henry and Nancy Elvira's
home after their deaths.
Henry Collins' Slaves
We do not have the same sort of information about Henry's slaves that
we do about his father's, and he never was a major slaveholder, but he
does seem to have usually owned a small number. In 1820 in Georgia he had
owned one female slave under 14, as noted earlier in this chapter. In 1830,
assuming that he is indeed the Henry Collins in Washington County, Arkansas
(for certainly he was in Arkansas in that year), he held no slaves.(138)
It will also be remembered that when his father's slaves were divided
in 1839, he purchased two of them, one male named Austin for $902 and a
female named Mary for $715. It is possible that these are two of the slaves
shown in the "List of Ages" in James Collins' and Temperance Collins' pension
files: "Olston", which could well be Austin, who was born 10 July 1815,
and "Merry" who was born 31 March 1822. (On the sale, See above, page 141.
On their possible birthdates, See above, page 140.)
On the other hand, these do not match Henry's slaveholdings in the 1840
census. There are several possibilities: most likely the slaves sold in
North Carolina to divide up James Collins II's estate were resold rather
than carried back to Tennessee, with Henry taking the sale price. Or, possibly,
the new slaves had simply not arrived in Tennessee by the date of the 1840
census. This seems less likely, though when we note as we did above that
Henry paid no tax on any slaves in 1830, but paid tax on one in 1840, who
must have been one of those purchased.
In that 1840 census, Henry is shown as owning only two young female
slaves. One is under 10 years of age, and one is aged 10-24. The latter
could be Mary, or Merry, born 1822, but Austin is missing.(139)
(Keep in mind that the census never listed slaves by name, which
of course would have helped a great deal.) On the other hand, the fact
that Henry paid no tax on any slave in 1839 but paid tax on one (the one
adult, presumably) in 1840, makes it likely that this is, indeed, the slave
he bought from his father's estate. (On the taxation, see above, Page 182.)
In the 1850 census, in the slave schedules (which are separate from
the regular population census schedules), Henry was listed with one male
black, age 27, one female black, age 25, one male black age six and one
female aged nine months.(140) Could the
25 year old female be Mary, who would actually have been 28? The male is
probably too young to be Austin, who would have been 35, though again the
census ages may have been only approximate for slaves. And the best we
can do is guess, unless further information is forthcoming.
In the 1860 census, the last in which Henry appears, the slaves are listed in this order: one female black, aged 25, one female mulatto, aged two; one female mulatto, aged one; one male black, aged 26. The order suggests that the male is not the father, besides which the children are listed as mulattos, presumably having a white father. If the ages are correct or even approximately so, they are not the same slaves as in the 1850 census. On the other hand, age data may have been extremely carelessly given in the slave census.
As we noted earlier, Henry's estate was not sold until after the death
of his widow Nancy Elvira. At the time of that sale, Holland Collins (presumably
his son Holland as his brother Holland had died previously) bought "1 Negro
boy hired" for $37.60 and F. S. Richardson (initials not certain) bought
"1 Negro Woman hired" for a price which looks like "$00.00".(141)
A slave who was "hired" is one who was owned by Henry or Nancy but hired
out to someone else for money paid (usually) to the owner. It is possible
the woman's price is meant to be $60.00, though the 6 does not look like
other sixes, or $100 and the clerk has omitted the "1".
Also as part of the estate inventory we find a list of notes due to
Henry's estate, which includes "Notes for the Hire of Negros of Henry Collins
Decd". These notes had been drawn with payment due generally in 1861, that
is, after Henry's death; they include notes due from his sons Holland,
and sons-in-law J.C. Richardson, N.J. Cook and F.M. Waddle, and several
people I cannot identify.(142)
Glimpses of the Farm from the Inventory
We have already cited the inventories of Henry's and Nancy Elvira's
estates after their death, as evidence of the books they owned and in connection
with our discussion of the slaves. But the inventories, as they often do,
offer some other insights into the everyday life of the Collinses in the
years just before the Civil War.
For the most part the picture is of a standard farm, and there is little
to be gained by listing every pot, plate and bedstead. On the other hand,
a few items may be mentioned -- besides the books already discussed --
as shedding some light on their life.
There were a shotgun, a "Rifle Gun", a sword, a clock, all but the sword
of obvious use; and many tools and other implements. There also seem to
be the usual range of materials for home canning and preserving, and household
furniture of various sorts.
Of the livestock (and remember, this is a sale after Nancy Elvira's
death, so others may have been sold earlier), 17 hogs were sold, at two
different prices, plus four sheep and three cows, a calf, a Bay Mare (all
capitals as in original), two Black Mules (one of which went for $106,
more than any of the horses), a Bay Horse, a Gray Mare, and a Sorrel Colt.
In addition we find five Bee Stands, so Henry must have raised bees
for honey. In terms of agricultural products the sale included mention
of oats, cotton, some apple grafts, plum grafts and peach "scions", several
stacks of hay, and "1 box peas" which may suggest they were not home-grown,
and plenty of plows, tack of various kinds, several soap troughs and other
equipment.(143) Crops in the ground would
not have been mentioned, only those already ready for sale.
Since I made considerable mention of the stills, brandy, and cider presses
in James Collins II's estate, I should note that none of these are mentioned
The estate also includes quite a number of outstanding notes: loans
made by Henry or Nancy and due at a specific date for the most part. We
already mentioned a number of these listed for the hire of Henry's slaves,
above. Other notes, accounts, and agreements due, including loans to his
sons and sons-in-law for land, totaled $820.88, in one list.(144)
Clearly Henry was generous, particularly to sons and sons-in-law, in loaning
money or granting credit. That list appears to include those notes for
which payment was expected. In a list a few pages later (which includes
the notes for hire of slaves quoted earlier), we find an annotation in
the margin "These are worthless except M.J. Hardin".(145)
Most are due from people I cannot identify. Only two relatives seem to
appear: an 1859 note on T.L. White, husband of Henry's daughter Sidney,
who had since moved to Missouri, and an 1860 note on F.M. Waddle, a son-in-law
who however is also listed among the good debts for several notes.
Nancy Elvira's Deaths
Henry Collins died September 17, 1860,(146)
though some accounts (apparently all following Goodspeed) say he died in
1861 without giving a precise date.(147)
Henry was not yet 65 when he died; his Jacksonian Unionism did not have
to be tested by the war and Tennessee's secession. His second wife followed
about a year and a month later, October 16, 1861.(148)
The record of his death apparently was preserved for a long time. There
is no marked tombstone for him, either next to his first wife Frances in
the small, overgrown cemetery near the Spring Place Road/Caughran Road
junction. But that is an old and broken up cemetery which may have lost
stones even before it was transcribed in the 1950s, or he may have had
an unmarked grave. Nor is he in the cemetery where his son Henry L. Collins
was buried, unless there was no marker.(149)
Don Jeter says he is buried with Frances, without a marker, in the smaller
cemetery, and since this is where his brother Willis is also buried, it
seems most likely that this is correct.(150)
It is certainly the more appropriate. It is most likely on his old land,
perhaps at the very "crossroads at Henry Collins'" if the "Old Shelbyville
Road" is followed by today's tiny Caughran Road with the mother of nine
of his children, and seems the most fitting as well as the likeliest resting
place. Jeter may well have had anecdotal evidence for his statement.
So far as I have been able to determine, Henry
left no will. The estate inventories we have quoted several times. Henry's
son Holland was apparently the executor. It should be noted that final
settlement of the estates of Henry and Nancy Elvira did not take place
until July 19, 1866(151), nearly five
years after Nancy's death and the sale of the estate. The obvious reason
for the delay in final settlement was the Civil War.
Because already before Henry died, his son John
had moved to Missouri, followed alrady by two daughters and soon after
by a third, the main theme of our story also moves West with the next chapter.
But it is worth saying a bit more about the Collinses in Tennessee.
Of course, Henry was not the last of the Tennessee
Collinses. Although four of his own children -- a son and three daughters
-- would move to Missouri, including his eldest son John, and two sons
died young, one son -- Holland -- lived in Marshall County for some time,
and his son by his second marriage, Henry Lenoir Collins, died there and
left progeny. So did several of his daughters.
Of the other children of old James and Tempey
of North Carolina, we cannot be sure of when most of the daughters died,
but the sons can be accounted for. Peter and John, as we have seen, died
before 1820. Of the others, Durham had died in (later Marshall County)
in 1833 and Holland in 1843, and Willis in 1854, all before Henry. Elisha
lived until 1872 and is buried in Lewisburg. James, who seems to have spent
some time in Marshall County, died back in Franklin County, North Carolina,
in 1860, early in the same year in which Henry died. David Collins, who
may have never left North Carolina, died there at the beginning of 1861.
Washington moved to Mississippi and died there in 1870. Wilson died down
in Alabama in 1875. Jones, who fought in the War of 1812, a number of Indian
wars and, it is said, the Civil War as well, lived on until 1889, dying
at the age of 91, almost certainly the last of the 17 children of James
Collins "II". Every one of these men left several children. Their descendants
Since Henry Collins died on the very eve of the
Civil War, this is perhaps as good a place as any to note that his children
were divided in their allegiance in that conflict. Most of the Collinses
who remained in the Marshall County area either served or sympathized with
the Confederacy. Those who migrated to Missouri seem to have been Unionists
for the most part.
Thus in Tennessee, Henry Collins' youngest son,
Henry Lenoir Collins, rode with Bedford Forrest, who'd been born not far
away. Jones Collins' sons and grandsons served the Confederacy, and so
did some of the descendants of the other brothers. The war swept through
Middle Tennessee several times, and Marshall County lies between the two
main railroad lines southwest and southeast from Nashville, and was close
to much of the action.
Though Christian County, Missouri was deeply divided
in the war, the Collins clan seems to have mostly been pro-Union there,
unlike their brothers and cousins and nephews in Tennessee. In the biography
of John Collins which follows this one, we will look more closely at how
the war affected John Collins -- who was sheriff of Christian County, Missouri
during part of the war -- and his in-laws, the Whites and the Glenns.
John Collins' eldest son was the only one of his
children who reached service age before the war ended and that son, Henry
Clay ("Clay") Collins joined the Union cavalry only in the last weeks of
the war, and saw service on the plains watching Indians instead of in the
war. Several Missouri Glenns served for the Union; some of the Tennessee
Glenns served the Confederacy. A Glenn who married into the Whites may
have been a Tennessee Glenn who deserted the Confederacy and joined his
Union kin in Missouri.
Many of the Collinses of Marshall County and adjacent
areas descend from Durham, Willis, the elder Holland, or Elisha. Henry's
eldest son John moved to Missouri, of course, and two sons -- James and
Willis -- died young.
By the time Henry died, only two sons apparently
remained in Marshall County: his son Holland, not shown in the 1860 census
(though he was executor of the estate, or at least handled the estate sale,
in 1861 after Nancy Elvira's death), and appearing again in 1870, and Henry's
youngest son (by Nancy Elvira), Henry Lenoir. Henry Lenoir Collins' descendants
remained and many apparently still live in the area. (Henry Lenoir did
not die until 1917 and one of his sons lived until 1980.) Holland may have
moved away sometime after 1870: I have never been able to track him after
Of Henry's daughters, three (Magdalene Collins Glenn, Sydney Collins White, Edna Catherine Collins Waddle) moved to Missouri and settled within reasonable distance of their brother John Collins. Two of the girls remained in Marshall County or nearby, leaving progeny in Tennessee: Frances Ann Collins Richardson, and Mary Gupton Collins Cook. Years later, in 1884, John Collins and his wife Polly returned for a visit to Marshall County, traveling by rail. But that is a story for the next chapter.
Next Chapter (To Come)
1. . For this Henry, see above, Page 89, and for Kentucky, below beginning on page 161.
2. . List of children's birth dates in James Collins' Revolutionary War Pension. The list appears in Temperance Collins' application, again on the sheet captioned "List of Ages", and also in other Collins records, so there are numerous attestations. It is confirmed again in the sources cited below in Footnote 283 on Page 154.
3. . Goodspeed's History of Tennessee, From the Earliest Times to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Bedford and Marshall Counties..., Nashville, Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1886, p. 1198, under Henry L. Collins.
4. . Here I am citing a power of Attorney in Marshall County, photocopy from Deed Book C, p. 466(?), provided me by Randy Richardson. Similar copies of this power of attorney appear in the Franklin County, NC loose estate papers in the file "James Collins 1839".
5. . The Will Leonard with wife Sarah who later lived in Marshall County, Tennessee are not the same couple; they were born in South Carolina and Tennessee, and his name was William, while Sally Collins' husband was Willis Leonard.
6. . Except where modern migrations have reversed the process; I am in correspondence with at least one descendant of Willis Collins who lives in the Raleigh area, for example.
7. . See the discussion below beginning on page 161.
8. . Elbert County, Georgia, Mixed Records Book MX9, p. 188, 2 December 1810. For Phoebe's (Phebe's) tombstone see Cemetery Records of Marshall County, Tennessee, p. 121.
9. . Georgia Counties: Their Changing Boundaries, Compiled by Pat Bryant, Revised by Ingrid Shells, Georgia Department of Archives and History, 1983. On pp. 43 and 61-62 land transfers between Oglethorpe and Greene are shown only down to 1799, but the maps in the back show many more changes.
10. . Donald C. Jeter, "The Collins Chronicle", Marshall County Historical Quarterly, Vol. VI, No. III, Fall 1974, 89ff and "An Addition and Correction to 'The Collins Chronicle'", Marshall County Historical Quarterly , Fall 1988?, p. 90ff.
11. . Jones Collins m. Sophronia Wright (Sophia in some later family records) on May 3, 1819 in Greene County. William Martin married Jane Copeland or Copelan there on November 27, 1828. History of Greene County Georgia 1786-1886, Data by Dr. Thaddeus Broket Rule, Ed. by Carolyn White Williams, Macon, 1961, pp. 520 and 573.
12. . "Fannie" appears as a variant in Goodspeed's History of Tennessee, From the Earliest Times to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Bedford and Marshall Counties..., Nashville, Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1886, p. 1198, under Henry L. Collins.
13. . While I have never found an original record of this marriage in Georgia records, it apparently comes from an early, frequently copied, presumed Bible record. It has appeared, for example, in a transcript of the John Washington Richardson Bible published in the Marshall County (TN) Historical Society Quarterly, Volume I, No. 2, Fall 1970, p. 42; it also appears in a printed, typeset page labeled "Family Record" and provided to me by Mrs. Joan Robertson, granddaughter of J.L. Collins (date of typesetting not known but no later than early 20th century); and it appears in the family materials collected by Lena Collins Nelson, Ethel Buxton McLean and Muriel Collins Hanks, apparently based on Bible transcripts made by Mrs. Nelson. This material, discussed in greater detail in the biography of John Collins (1819-1878), I refer to in the notes as the "Nelson/McLean/Hanks material". It exists in several forms. The "Family Record" and the Richardson Bible both include Mary Gupton Collins' descendants, and both give no date of death for Henry Collins. The "Family Record" notes his marriage to Nancy Elvira Cunningham without giving a date; the Richardson Bible notes the birth of Henry Lenoir Collins to "Henry and Nancy Elvira Collins" in 1845. It would seem that the records both capture Henry sometime between 1845 and 1860, though for children on the Cook and Richardson lines, they come down much later.
14. . Donald C. Jeter, "The Collins Chronicle", Marshall County Historical Quarterly, Vol. V No. 3, Fall 1974, p. 89.
15. . Greene County, GA marriage records.
16. . Index to Volunteer Soldiers in Indian Wars and Disturbances 1815-1858, Vol. I, A-K, transcribed by Virginl D. White, Waynesboro, TN 1994, pp. 281 and 282.
17. . Richmond County marriage records, reproduced in several sources.
18. . Richmond County marriage records.
19. . The Logan County, Kentucky material to be discussed, shows that uncles and cousins of James II's sons moved with or before them, and this may have been the case in Georgia as well.
20. . These records have been taken from the abstract, Index to War of 1812 Service Records for Volunteer Soldiers from Georgia, abstracted by Judy Swaim Kratovil, Atlanta, 1986, p. 32; I have also confirmed several of them (Willis, Wilson, Jones) independently at the National Archives.
21. . The tax list shows him in Wood's district of Baldwin County, on (unnumbered) page 274, according to An Index to Georgia Tax Digests 1814-1817, Vol. V.
22. . On the other hand, the name Lewis Collins does turn up in Logan County, Kentucky, where Holland Collins nad his uncles Henry and Elisha of the older generation settled, so Lewis may not be unknown in our family. So these Collinses in the same unit might also be kin of some sort.
23. . War of 1812 Pension Application S.O. 15,502. The abstract gives no more information than that given here.
24. . Index to Volunteer Soldiers in Indian Wars and Disturbances 1815-1858, Vol. I, A-K, transcribed by Virgil D. White, Waynesboro, TN, 1994, p. 281.
25. . Goodspeed's History of Tennessee, From the Earliest Times to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Bedford and Marshall Counties..., Nashville, Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1886, p. 1197 in the profile of David Collins. Goodspeed publishers were major producers of local county histories with biographies in the 19th century; often these were done by subscription so, of course, the person written about essentially provided the information. Goodspeed's History of Tennessee was done in several different volumes, each including four, five, or six counties along with a state history and biographies of key figures in the counties. Goodspeed's Central Tennessee volume including Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Bedford, and Marshall Counties included biographies of Thomas Collins, son of Willis (p. 1197), Willis P. Collins son of Thomas and grandson of Willis (same page), David Collins son of Jones (also p. 1197), James W. Collins son of Elisha (pp. 1197-1198), and Henry Lenoir Collins, son of our Henry (p. 1198).
26. . Goodspeed's History of Tennessee, From the Earliest Times to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Bedford and Marshall Counties..., Nashville, Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1886. (Hereafter Goodspeed/Marshall), on p. 1197 in its biography of Thomas Collins, refers to Willis' background.
27. . Index to Volunteer Soldiers in Indian Wars and Disturbances ..., p. 281.
28. . An Index to Georgia Tax Digests 1814-1817, p. 20, citing original records at p. 48 in Porter's district and p. 78 in Hammond's, though these were actually unpaginated.
29. . Goodspeed/Marshall, 1197.
30. . Oglethorpe County, Georgia, Census for 1820. Willis Collins appears on page 187, with one male under 10 and one 26-45, one female under 10 and one 16-26, and several slaves. Henry appears on p. 189 with the data shown in the text; Jones on the same page wiht one male 16-26, one female 10-16, one 16-26, and one 26-45. On page 191 appears a man apparently named "Anderson Collings", with two males under 10, one 26-45, one female under 10, and one 16-26. No such name is known to occur in our family.
31. . Oglethorpe County, GA Census of 1820, p. 194; Wilbord Martin with one male 16-26, one female under 10 and one 16-26.
32. . Greene County, GA Census of 1820, p. 240.
33. . Clarke County, GA Census of 1820, p. 151, has Nat. Collins with one male under 10, one 16-26, one female 10-16, and one 16-26.
34. . Columbia County, GA Census of 1820, p. 33. Littleton Collins, one male 16-26, no other family shown.
35. . Mrs. Ethel McLean's tradition had it 1795 in a version of her work I had, but one page later, in transcribing the "Memorial" of Frances Martin Collins, she gives the full birthdate of May 30, 1797. In fact, the tombstone in the smaller, more northerly cemetery on Spring Place Road has 1797, as do the sources cited in footnote 283, Page 154. See also footnote 357, below.
36. . A separate history of the collateral lines of Vinson, Martin, etc. is being prepared. At this time the ancestry of William Martin is uncertain, there having been several Martin families, most with sons named William, in the area of Virginia from which he sprang.
37. . Transcript of Logan County, KY 1810 census compiled by Montgomery Vanderpool, no place, no date, pp. 41 (Henry) and 42 (Elisha).
38. . 1820 Census, Logan County, KY, p. 42, again showing him as a man of over 45, the oldest category used.
39. . Abstracts of Wills and Settlements of Logan County, KY, 1795-1838, Logan County Genealogical Society, Russelville, KY, [1994?], p. 15, citing Will Book A, pp. 234-238.
40. . Logan County, Kentucky Deed Abstracts, 1813-1819, Abstracts of Deed Books D,E,F,G, Abstracted by Joyce Martin Murray, Dallas Texas, p. 77 and p. 81. The first reference is to Deed Book E, p. 541, Indenture of 24 May 1817, John Hill and wife Elizabeth Hill sell to David Sawyers, witnesses Laurence Eley and Dicson Collins. Second is Deed Book F, p. 48, indenture of 7 May 1817, Benjamin Sawyer and wife sell to Lawrence Ely with Dixon Collins as a witness.
41. . Logan County, Kentucky Marriage Records. I owe Holland Collins' descendant Jim Larsen for pointing me to Logan County for Holland's Kentucky period. Later Tennessee census records show his children were born in Kentucky, but do not specify where.
42. . Personal correspondence.
43. . According to Goodspeed/Marshall, biographies of Thomas Collins, p. 1197, and Henry L. Collins, p. 1198.
44. . Goodspeed's History of Tennessee, From the Earliest Times to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Bedford and Marshall Counties..., Nashville, Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1886, p. 884, at the beginning of the Marshall County section.
45. . Given the tradition of James Collins' stills, it may perhaps be noted for the record that these free running streams still supply the water, in neighboring Tennessee counties, which produce the Jack Daniel's and George Dickel Tennessee sour mash whiskies.
46. . Donald C. Jeter, "The Collins Chronicle", Marhsall County Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. V #3, Fall 1974, p. 89.
47. . Maury County Tennessee Will Books A,B, C-1, D and E, by Jill Knight Garrett and Marise Parrish Lightfoot, Southern Historical Press, Easley, SC 1984, p. 30, Sale of John Love, 20 July 1814. He also appears in an 1814 tax list and in tax lists regularly from this period onward.
48. . Maury County...Will Books..., p. 117, Sale of Mary Greene, May Session 1817; "Duncan Collins" as recorded by the copyist, sale of Milly Walton, 18 May 1822, p. 120; Duncan Collins again, administrator of Mill Waton (sic), p. 120.
49. . Jeter in "The Collins Chronicle", p. 89. Jeter has also provided a great deal more material on this first settlement in his detailed study of how one North Carolina Land Grant in Tennessee, Grant No. 51, was divided up and resold. The two parts of this account, which is extremely valuable as several of the families involved were from Sandy Creek, appeared in the Marshall County Historical Quarterly, Vol. V, No. III, Fall, 1974, pp. 69-74, and a more detailed account (part of a multi-part series I have not seen all of) in Vol. XXI, #4, Winter 1990-91, pp. 90-112.
50. .Jeter's detailed discussion of Grant No. 51, Marshall County Historical Quarterly, Winter 1990/91, especially pp. 110ff.
51. . Until the full material dealing with my rersearch on the Vinson family is ready, my comments on Temperance's father and her father's land in the biography of James Collins II may serve as a general introduction.
52. . The grant is in Maury County Deed Book J., no. 122. Several other deeds appear in the Maury County records, sales of smaller parcels by or to James Collins.
53. . See below, Page 197.
54. . Goodspeed's History of Tennessee, pp. 1197 (biography of Thomas Collins, for Willis' date) and 1198 (biography of Henry L. Collins, for Henry's date).
55. . Maury County Deed Book R, p. 199, Entry No. 441.
56. . Greene County, GA marriage records.
57. . William lived until 1842, when the Marshall County records show his estate's distribution. Jane survived him. He was in Bedford no later than the early 1830s when he filed his Revolutionary War pension application.
58. . William Martin pension files. Several supporting documents were also filed in September and October 1834 in Bedford County.
59. . 1850 Marshall County, Tennessee census, 15th District, house no. 44..
60. . Christian County Census, 1860, Galloway Township, house no. 41.
61. . Christian County, Missouri 1860 census, Finley Township, house nos. 24 and 34.
62. . He could have still been partly resident in Georgia, but he is referred to in the deed as of Tennessee.
63. . Jeter's work on the land grant, Marshall County Historical Quarterly 1990/1991, p. 100.
64. . Jeter, "The Collins Chronicle", p. 90.
65. . In his work on the land grant, 1990/1991, p. 110.
66. . Information from her descendant, researcher Jim Larsen.
67. . Maury County marriages; Jeter, "Collins Chronicle", p. 92.
68. . Goodspeed, History of Tennessee, p. 1197, in biography of David Collins. On the other hand, Goodspeed said that in 1886 Jones was 94 years old, though in fact he turned 89 in that year.
69. . Maury County Deed Book R, p. 199 No. 441.
70. . Land Deed Genealogy of Lincoln County, Tennessee, 1828-1834, compiled by Helen C. & Timothy R. Marsh, Greenville, NC 1996, introductory page opposite copyright, says that "By 1850, this system of surveys had been abandoned". In fact, in my own limited experience of the Tennessee records, even Maury and Bedford County deeds from the 1820s do not appear to use it. The sections do not seem to have been surveyed below the six-mile square level, equivalent to a "township" elsewhere, and that made it difficult to desribe property, unlike the case where the survey was carried out down to 40-acre quarter sections or below.
71. . Marshall County Deed Book C, p. 328. It was recorded 19 February 1840, though it carries the date of 15 November 1827. This is why the deed was in Bedford County but it appears in the Marshall County Deed Book after Marshall's creation in 1836.
72. . Maury County, Tennessee, Chancery Court Records, case of Cochran vs. Hill, 1840, cites an 1832 bill of sale witnessed by Henry Collins, accompanying depositions taken in 1839 or 1840 in Marshall County. Families named Cochran and Hill lived south of Lewisburg in the same general area as Henry's later area of settlement.
73. . Tennessee. Records of Marshall County. Court Minutes, Volume A, 1836-1840. Transcribed by WPA Historical Record Project, 1936; copied by Helen Ewing. I have used a copy in the DAR Library. The citation is to p. 14 of the typescript; Book A, page 17 of the original, with John Harden and Henry Collins to oversee the road to the top of Reed's Gap and (p. 16) Robert Luna to do the same beyond it to the County Line.
74. . They are summarized briefly on page 7 of Book A (p. 8 of transcript), apparently referring to the first day's meeting.
75. . The inscriptions have been published in a collection of cemetery inscriptions of Marshall County, Cemetery Records of Marshall County, Tennessee, pp. 120-121, already cited in full in the James Collins section and hereafter cited as Cemetery Records. One is easy to find: it is well kept up, right beside the road and has a fine little sign labeling it "Collins Cemetery". Henry L., Henry's son by his second wife, and several other Collinses are in this, the more southerly of the two. The other is older, about half a mile to the north, in the corner formed by the tiny Caughran Road and Spring Place Road. In May 1998 it was heavily overgrown and fenced, only to be entered from adjacent farm property. These two Collins cemeteries are both shown on the US Geological Survey 1:24,000 map for Lewisburg.
76. . Road orders can be very useful in identifying landholdings when the deeds use metes and bounds. A road order was an order from the County Court that certain people living along a road would lay out and maintain it; subsequently people living along it would rotate as "overseers" of the road. Basically in an era before public works departments and county maintenance, this both provided for the building and upkeep of roads by the people living along them and benefiting from them. Road orders will be quoted a number of times in this work.
77. . Court Minutes, Book A, pp. 150-151, June Court Term, 1838; p. 151 of the transcript.
78. . Marshall County TN Deed Book C, p. 388, 49 acres sold by Grisham Bills to Henry Collins dated 15 January 1840.
79. . Marshall County, Tennessee 1850 Census, District 15, p. 1333, dwellings 20, 26, 28.
80. . Glenn's family is dwelling and family number 98 on p. 128 of the 1860 Marshall County Census; Henry Collins family is dwelling and family number 99.
81. . Marsh, Marsh and Whitesell, Cemetery Records of Marshall County, Tennessee, shows (p. 127) James and Mary Glenn buried in the Hardin Cemetery along Spring Place Road, near the Linton Pencil Factory, in a record copied in 1959. Two Hardin cemeteries are transcribed while only one is shown on the USGS "Lewisburg" map. It is near the present Sanford Pencil Factory, which may mean it is the one with James Glenn in it.
82. . Cemetery Records shows him as buried in the Hardin Cemetery on Spring Place Road near the Lincoln Pencil Company. His dates are September 1787 - March 28, 1868; his wife Mary Glenn (December 1, 1787 - March 28, 1868) is buried with him.
83. . We corresponded some years ago, but I am drawing much of my Glenn material from two of his published articles: one, "The Glenn Family", appears the Marshall County Historical Quarterly, Spring 1990, Vol. XXI, No. 1, pp. 4-9; this article is followed on pp. 10-16 by an article on "Glenns of Tennessee" by Donald C. Jeter, and another by Jeter on "The Other Glenns of Marshall County, TN" beginning on pp. 17-19. I had earlier used the (previously published) piece by Wayne Glenn, which is very similar to the MCHQ piece, "Glenn Family Genealogy", Bulletin of the Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County [North Carolina], Part I in Volume XIII, Number 4, November 1985, pp. 161-165, and Part II in the same, Volume XIV, Number 1, February 1986, pp. 10-13.
84. . Wayne Glenn, "The Glenn Family", 4-9; "Glenn Family Genealogy", Part I, pp. 161-164.
85. . Some material from Wayne Glenn's material in both places cited, and other from the Nelson/McLean/Hanks material from Missouri. The version of "The Glenns of Tennessee" by Jeter in MCHJ already cited, p. 14, reads "James Collins and Sophia Wright" for David Collins' parents; it is correctly "Jones Collins".
86. . On this relationship, I am drawing material from Francis G. Hawkins of Tulsa, OK, a descendant of this union, who in turn had consulted with Wayne Glenn on how Mitch Glenn related to the other Christian County Glenns. There seems to be some likelihood that Mitch was drafted into the Confederate Army but, being pro-Union, deserted and went to Christian County, MO where his Glenn cousins were Unionists. This is, however, mostly anecdotal and derived from Mr. Hawkins.
87. . Wayne Glenn's work; see the MCHJ version pp. 8-9, and the Old Tryon County version Part II, pp. 11-13.
88. . Marshall County, Tennessee Tax Record 1839-1841, copied by Miss Deane Porch, West Nashville, Tennessee, introduced by Ralph Whitesell, Marshall County Historian, January 1966, p. 30.
89. . Tax Record p. 76.
90. . Tax Record, p. 120.
91. . Court Minute Book A, p. 240, p. 210 of transcript, March 1839 term.
92. . Court Minute Book A for March Term, 1840, p. 349, p. 285 of transcript.
93. . Marshall County, Tennessee Court Minutes 1845-1848, Marshall County Historical Society 1984, p. 37 (p. 170 of original) for 1846 mention with "McEarlies"; p. 81 (orig. 341) for 1848 mention with "McCurleys".
94. . I should also acknowledge here that there were other Collinses with the first name Henry in the County, but that so far as I know most of those referring to an adult landholder in this time period are our Henry.
95. . Marshall County, Tennessee: A Sesquicentennial History. Marshall County Historical Society 1986, p. 12.
96. . Portions of this map have appeared a number of times in the Marshall County Historical Quarterly on a number of occasions. That reproduced above appeared in Vol. VII #1, 1976, facing page 24.
97. . The following is from the Nelson/McLean/Hanks material, with a few dates rectified from Marshall County records and some from data Don Jeter passed to Judge Taylor. Only in the direct line have I given much detailed documentation. The John Washington Richardson Bible, extracted in Marshall County Historical Quarterly, Vol. I, No. 2, p.42 gives birth dates of all the children as well, so there is multiple confirmation, this latter a published and citable one for anyone seeking, for example, to join a patriotic society and prove these dates.
98. . Wayne Glenn, Part II of his "Glenn Family Genealogy", pp. 10-11; Nelson/McLean/Hanks material; Glenn Cemetery records, a transcription of which is in the DAR library in Washington..
99. . Wayne Glenn, Part II, pp. 11,13; Cemeteries of Marshall County, (Hardin Cemetery), p. 127.
100. . I am grateful to Mr. Francis Glenn Hawkins of Tulsa, Oklahoma for sharing his own researches on the White family and those of other White descendants. Other material in this paragraph is based on the Nelson/McLean/Hanks material. Sydney Collins White is buried in the White family cemetery near Highlandville, Mo.
101. . Cemeteries of Marshall County, p. 121.
102. . Willis Collins Compiled Service Records, Mexican War, US National Archives, Company B, 1st Tennessee Infantry; First Tennessee Infantry's record of service, in Compiled Service Records, National Archives. Goodspeed's History of Tennessee, in the Marshall County section, lists the Marshall Countians in this unit and lists Willis among the corporals: Goodspeed, p. 893. Note that another Willis Collins served in another unit, the Fifth Tennesee Mounted Infantry, Marshall County's cavalry unit in the war, and had a wife Judy. He is not the same as our Willis; I suspect he is Willis son of Holland Collins, but am not sure.
103. . Cemetery Records of Marshall County, Tennessee, p. 121. This is the old cemetery, today overgrown and difficult to access. I have relied on the published transcription.
104. . Jeter, Jeter, "North Carolina Grant 51", Marshall Co. Hist. Qy. Vol. XXI #4 Winter 1990/91, p. 110, makes Elizabeth "Betsey" McGregor, wife of Elisha Collins, a daughter of William McGregor; elsewhere, in his "Collins Chronicle", page 91, he makes this Holland Collins' wife also a daughter of William McGregor.
105. . These letters were photocopied in the mid-1960s from originals in the possession of the late Raymond Collins. I do not know the whereabouts of the originals today, though they may be with one of Raymond's three daughters. One letter is to John Collins ("Dear Brother"), dated "Archer, Marshall Co. Tenn, January the 4. 1885", and the other to "Mr. J.D. Collins my nephew" dated Petersburg, Tenn. Feb. 25, 1888.
106. . The 1888 letter cited previously.
107. . Goodspeed's Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region, pp. 542-543, biography of Dr. John Day Collins. This source is more fully cited in the next chapter. The reference to Mary Gupton Collins Cook being in Arkansas immediately precedes the reference to Frances Ann, and may have been confused in later copying in the family material.
108. .Material sent me in 1995 by Randolph Richardson. See also the John Washington Richardson Bible, in the Marshall County [Tennessee] Historical Quarterly, Vol. I, Number 2, Fall 1970, p. 42.
109. . Randolph Richardson material, also McAteer Cemetery in Cemeteries of Marshall County, p.
110. . My old version of the Nelson/McLean/Hanks record says 1833, the year of Frances Ann Collins' birth. I follow the Richardson record and others; 1836 appears correct. The 1850 census lists her as 15, three years older than Mary Gupton Collins and three younger than Frances.
111. . "F.M. Wadle" and "Edna C. Collins" were married on the date cited, the marriage bond issued and used on the same day, before James A. Yowell, JP.
112. . Waddle information from Mona Maybee of Springfield, whose sister married a Waddle; from the Nelson McLean/Hanks material, and from family tradition through my father and grandmother.
113. . A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region, Goodspeed Brothers, Chicago, 1894, p. 542, in the biography of Dr. John Day Collins. There is a 1956 reprint edition. This work is more fully discussed under John Collins.
114. . It is also worth noting that in the John Washington Richardson Bible, already mentioned, the children of N. J. and Mary G. Cook are also listed.
115. . Photocopy in my possession from the same collection of letters cited above, Page 191, Footnote 375.
116. . She is buried in the Collins cemetery, described in 1958 as being "located on the Spring Place Road, on Old Wheatley farm". The inscription reads "Frances, Consort of Henry Collins".
117. . From the Nelson/McLean/Hanks material. This family material is discussed in more detail in John Collins' biography.
118. . Goodspeed, biography of Henry L. Collins, p. 1198.
119. . In the 1850 census he is listed as 54, she 28; in 1860 he is listed as 65, she 40. Her tombstone in the Boyet cemetery gives the presumably correct date of her birth: see Cemetery Records.
120. . Marshall County Marriage Bonds, Vol. I, p. 70.
121. . Marshall County Marriage Bonds, Vol. I, p. 144.
122. . There does not seem to be any disagreement about this date. His tombstone in the Collins Cemetery (Cemetery Records of Marshall County, p. 120), and Goodspeed's biography of him (Goodspeed, p. 1198) agree on the date. So does his widow Lucinda's Civil War information, Tennessee's Confederate Widows,, abstacted by Edna Wiefering, Cleveland, Tennessee 1992, no. 10162.
123. . The idea of a "marriage bond" originated in Tennessee's parent state, North Carolina, in the colonial period, and was also used in Virginia. The idea was that if the official state church (Anglican in both cases) did not announce the banns and perform the marriage, that a certain "bond" had to be paid to the colony in lieu of marriage in the established church. After the revolution and the disestablishment of churches this passed from use, but the marriage bond remained a state requirement in certain states, a sort of antecedent of the later-prevalent marriage "license".
124. . Who, it is pretty clear, said "get there the first with the most", being a fairly well-spoken and grammatical man; later writers, probably northern, created the "fustest with the mostest" version. Forrest was born not far from the Collins land in Marshall County (then Bedford, hence his middle name) but grew up in Mississippi.
125. . Jeter, "Collins Chronicles", p. 91. Also see Goodspeed's History of Tennessee, Marshall County volume, p. 1198, for a biography of Henry Lenoir Collins from which much of this is taken.
126. . Goodspeed, p. 1198, "Henry L. Collins".
127. . Tombstone, Collins Cemetery, on the Spring Place Pike near the Twitty Farm, according to a 1958 copyist in the work on Marshall County cemeteries already cited several times.
128. . For Tennessee, see Deed Book C, p. 466(?), provided me by Randy Richardson. Similar copies of this power of attorney appear in the Franklin County, NC loose estate papers in the file "James Collins 1839".
129. . There are relinquishments of claims on the Franklin County land, dated 1840, in the Marshall County deed books in which Henry appears in these capacities. I do not have full references though I have copies in some form. In addition similar documents appear in the Franklin County records, all microfilmed in one file. It would appear that Henry acted as agent in some form for both his brothers and his nephews and nieces.
130. . The context here seems to demand "not yet", with Henry forgetting to include the word "not".
131. . Goodspeed, History of Tennessee, p. 1198.
132. . Goodspeed, History of Tennessee, p. 1197.
133. . Holland ("Hollin Collins") bought 125 acres on the "waters of Rich Creek" -- this I have not identified -- on 20 July 1835; Bedford County Deed Book FF, page 218, abstracted in Land Deed Genealogy of Bedford County, Tennessee, Helen C. & Tgimothy R. Marsh, 1988, p. 211.
134. . Goodspeed's History of Tennessee, Marshall County, p. 892.
135. . "A true inventory of articles sold as the property of Henry Collins Deceased after the death of Nancy E collins on the 4th day of November 1861", settled July 19, 1866, Marshall County, TN Inventory Book F, p. 157.
136. . Book F, p. 164.
137. . Both references are from the Library of Congress' online catalog.
138. . 1830 US Census, Arkansas Territory, Washington County, page 188.
139. . 1840 US Census, Marshall County, TN, p. 217.
140. . 1850 US Census, Marshall County, TN, Slave Schedules, District 15, page 1333, line 28 and following.
141. . Marshall County Inventory Book F, Collins Inventory, Page 165. The Richardson entry uses ditto marks for "Negro" and "hired", but for clarity I have glossed the words here.
142. . Book F, 167-168.
143. . Book F, 157ff, miscellaneous entries.
144. . Book F, p. 159-160, with the total on page 160.
145. . Book F, p. 166-167.
146. . This date appears in the Nelson/McLean/Hanks material. It is the only precise date ever given, though there are problems. The same material, at another place, formerly listed the Goodspeed date of 1861 (Goodspeed, p. 1198). As noted in the text, there is no tombstone. As Goodspeed says Nancy Elvira died a year after Henry, and she died in October 1861 according to her tombstone, the September 1860 date fits.
147. . Jeter's "Collins Chronicle", p. 91, says he died in 1861 but this is almost certainly a direct borrowing from Goodspeed, page 1198.
148. . Goodspeed is the source for Nancy Elvira dying a year after him, though since he has Henry dying 1861 he may mean 1862. Her death date comes from her tombstone.
149. . Frances appears in the smaller, more northerly Collins cemetery, Nancy (as "Nancye wife of O.P. Sheppard Last Married to Henry Collins") in the Boyet cemetery, and Henry L. in the larger, more southerly Collins cemetery, all listed under those cemeteries in Cemetery Records, pp 115, 120, 121.
150. . "Collins Chronicles", 91.
151. . The date appears several times in Book F, pp. 157 and following.
152. . Jeter says after 1850, because presumably he saw that Holland does not appear in the 1860 census, but he does appear in 1870.