There were numerous immigrants bearing this name early in Massachusetts. Robert Collins, of Ipswich and Haverhill, was a leading citizen of that locality, and Benjamin Collins, of Salisbury, Mass., was probably his brother. Edward and John Collins were also early in the colony, the latter settling in Boston and the former in Cambridge. Descendants of these immigrants have borne their poper share in the settlement and development of this country, especially in New England, and have been identified with religious, civil and military affairs. Among them were pioneers in this state, and one, General Oliver Collins, performed valuable service to the revolution and war of 1812.
(I) John Collins was located in Massachusetts Bay colony as early as 1640, in which year he had a grant of land in Braintree, representing a family of three heads. He was an active citizen of Boston, was admitted to the church there April 4, 1646, and subscribed to the freeman's oath in that place May 6 following. He was a shoemaker and tanner by occupation. He was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. He died at Boston, March 21, 1670.
He had a wife, Susannah, and children:
John, Susannah, Thomas and Elizabeth.
The elder daughter became the wife of Thomas Walker, of Boston.
(II) John (2), elder son of John (1) and Susannah Collins, was born 1640, probably at Braintree, and died Dec. 10, 1704, in Guilford, Conn. He learned his father's trade of shoemaker and tanner and in 1663, with two of his cousins, sons of Edward Collins of Cambridge, he removed to Middletown, Conn. Thence he went to Saybrook, same colony, and was soon after in Branford, where he signed the new plantation covenant in Dec., 1669. He was in Guilford in 1682 and was appointed in that year to teach the grammar school for a trial term of one-quarter. Evidently his services were satisfactory, as he continued several years in that position.
He married (first) Mary Trowbridge, who died in 1677; married (second) June 2, 1679, Mary, daughter of John Stevens and widow of Henry Kingsworth; married (third) March 8, 1699, Dorcas, widow of John Taintor and daughter of Samuel Swain. She survived him and married (third) William Wheeler and died in May, 1734.
Children, all by first wife:
Mary, John and Robert.
(III) Robert, younger son of John (2) and Mary (Trowbridge) Collins, was born 1667, probably in Middletown, died Aug. 20, 1745. He had a house and land at Guilford, valued at twenty-four pounds in 1690, which was probably inherited from his father. He resided in Middletown and Meriden, joining the church of the latter parish Oct. 22, 1729. This town was not set off from Wallingford until 1805.
He married (first) June 24, 1689, Lois Bennett, of Southampton, Long Island, who died in 1704; married (second) June 3, 1707, Eunice, daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Foster.
Robert, died young; Mary, died young; Thomas, Jonathan, Eunice, Lament, Mary, Robert and Edward.
(IV) Jonathan, third son of Robert and Lois (Bennett) Collins, was born April 28, 1698, probably in Middletown, Conn., and resided in that town and in Wallingford. He married (first) May 24, 1725, Mary Whittemore, who died April 21, 1741; married (second) Aug. 22, 1744, Agnes Lynn, who died May 31, 1765. He had a large family, the first four being children of first wife.
Lois, died young; Daniel, Burnett, Lois, Lament and Jonathan (twins), Agnes, Mary, Keturah, died young; Jonathan, Keturah, Levi, Martha, Selden and Oliver.
(V) Genearl Oliver, youngest child of Jonathan and Agnes (Lynn) Collins, was born Aug. 25, 1762, in that part of Wallingford which is now Meriden, and went as a youth to Southwick, Mass., perhaps with his parents. There were others of his name in that town, one being a namesake who served as a revolutionary solider. The future genearl enliseted at Southwick at the age of seventeen years, in 1779, to serve in the Hampshire county regiment in the coninental army, and appears on the pay roll from Nov. 1, to Dec. 31, 1779. In the descriptive list he is said to be five feet six inches in height and having light complexion. He also appears as matross in Captain Burbank's company, Colonel John Crane's (artillery) regiment, in same pay amount. He was also a private in the Second Company of Colonel Gideon Burt's regiment, which marched to retake Samuel Ely, who had been rescued from Springfield jail, June 12, 1782, and also to oppose rioters who assembled in Northampton, June 16, 1782, his service lasting seven days.
He returned to Wallingford for a wife, and was married Nov. 5, 1783, to Lois, daughter of Ebenezer Cowles, of Wallingford. She was born May 17, 1761, and died within ten years after marrirage. In 1789 he settled in what is now New Hartford, Oneida county, New York, then a part of Whitestown. He was elected collector of that town at the first meeting, July 7, 1789, and was re-elected the following year. His farm was near the middle settlement of New Hartford, where he died Aug. 14, 1838, almost seventy-six years old.
Soon after his settlement in Whitestown he was elected captain of the local militia company and he advanced by rapid promotions until he became brigadier-general. He was in command of the post at Sacketts Harbor in 1814, when a considerable number of his troops from Oneida county deserted on account of the wretched accomodations at the post. On his return to his home he called a trial of the deserters by court martial and they were sentenced to be drummed out of town with their coats turned inside out and to lose all their back pay. A large number of people assembled with the intention of preventing the execution of the sentence upon their relatives and friends. General Collins had anticipated their intentions and procured the attendacne of a troop of regular soldiers from the post at Utica, and there was no interference with the military authorities. In politics General Collins was an unswerving Democrat.
He married (second) March 31, 1793, Betsey Wyman, of Whitestown; she died in about four years; he married (third) Dec. 27, 1797, Malinda Pierce, of Whitestown, who lived less than a year after; he married (fourth) Jan. 20, 1799, Keturah Kellogg.
Children of first wife were:
Ira, Ela and Lois. Betsey, daughter of the second wife, became the wife of John P. Converse of Cayuga.
Sarah, daughter of Oliver and Keturah, married James D. Doty, afterward a federal judge, governor and member of congress in Michigan.
Eliza married George D. Ruggles, of Lowville, N.Y.
Mary married Dr. Seth Adams of the same place.
Alexander Lynn was a judge in Wisconsin.
Catherine F., became the wife of Barlow Shackleford, of New Hartford, who was later a resident of Green Bay, Wisconsin; after his death she married General Julius White, of Chicago, Illinois.
(VI) Ela, son of General Oliver and Lois (Cowles) Collins, was born Feb. 14, 1786, in Meriden, Conn., and was a small child when his father settled at New Hartford, N.Y. He was educated at Hamilton Oneida Academy, now Hamilton College, and studied law with Thomas R. Gould, of Whitesboro. In 1808 he settled in Lewis county, N.Y. and commenced the practice of his profession at Lowville. For many years he held the office of district attoryney for the county, was elected a member of the assembly in 1814, and was a member of the constitutional convention in 1821. In 1822 he was elected to represent the counties of Lewis, Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence in the eighteenth congress. As a lawyer Mr. Collins attained a high position, ranking among the first in Northern New York, and continued in practice until his death, which occurred Nov. 23, 1848.
He marred, at Lowville, July 11, 1811, Maria, daughter of Rev. Isaac Clinton, who settled at Lowville in 1807. Of the eleven children born to this union, five grew to maturity, namely: William, Francis, Isaac Clinton, Emily and Harriet. The sons settled in Cincinnati, Ohio.
(VII) Harriet, youngest chlid of Ela and Maria (Clinton) Collins, was born Sept. 15, 1833, in Lowville, and spent her early life there, attending the Lowville Academy several years. About 1852 she joined her brothers in Cincinnati and finished her education in Mrs. Cox's school in that city. She married, March 17, 1854, at the home of her brother there, John Williamson Herron, of Cincinnati.
Emily Collins, Jane Wills, Francis, died in infancy, Helen, Katharine, died young, Maria Clinton, Agnes Lynn, died young, William Collins, John Williamson, Eleanor Freudenburg and Lucy Hayes.
The mother died Jan. 25, 1901. Mr. Herron was a law partner of Isaac Collins until the death of the latter in 1879. In 1890 he was appointed United States district attorney, and later served as a legislator of Ohio. He is still living. (1909).
(VIII) Helen, third daughter of John W. and Harriet (Collins) Herron, was born June 2, 1861, in Cincinnati, and had the advantages afforded by the best schools. She has always been an advocate of higher education, and is a woman of marked individuality and great strength of character and independence of mind.
She married, June 19, 1886, William Howard Taft, who was elected president of the United States in the fall of 1908. The marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. Moses Hoge, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church of Zanesville, Ohio, who had performed the same service for her parents thirty-two years before. The summer following her marriage was passed with her husband in Europe, and since that time her principal role has been that of homekeeper. Next to her home and children, her greatest interest conters in her husband's career.
Robert Alphonso, born Sept. 8, 1889; Helen, Aug. 1, 1891; Charles, Sept. 20, 1897.
The Collins family of Talcottville, New York, descend from Lewis Collins, who arrived from England at Charlestown, Mass. Bay Colony. He was accompanied by four sons - Nathan, John, Albert and Dexter. Through maternal lines the present family connects with the old New England Talcott family, also of English origin. Both the Collins and Talcott families furnished soldiers for the army of Independence, as well as for the war of 1812.
(II) John Collins, of Boston, Mass., died March 29, 1670. He was a shoemaker, and a member of the Artillery Company, 1644. In 1630 he had a grant of land at Braintree.
He married Susanna ____, and had sons John and Thomas, daughters Susanna, married 1662 Thomas Walker; and Elizabeth. John Collins had a brother Edward.
(III) John (2) Collins, of Middletown, Conn., son of John (1) of Boston, was born in 1640, died 1704. He was a shoemaker, and probably learned the trade with his father. He removed with his wie to Middletown in 1663, thence to Saybrook, Conn. in 1668, where he joined the church that year. He was propounded for freeman in October, 1669. He next remoed to Guilford, Conn., where he died. Hinman says he was deputy in 1672, but Savage cannot find any proof that he was.
He married (first) ____ Trowbridge, died 1668; (second) June 2, 1669, Mrs. Mary Kingsworth; (third) March 6, 1700, Mrs. Mary Taintor.
By his first marriage he had sons John and Robert.
By his second wife he had a daughter, Mary.
(IV) Robert, son of John (2) Collins and his first wife, was born in 1667, died Aug. 20, 1707. He married (first) Dec. 24, 1689, Lois Burnet of Southampton, Long Island; (second), June 3, 1707, Eunice Foster.
(V) Jonathan, son of Robert and Lois (Burnet) Collins, married (first), May 4, 1725, Mary Witmore of Middletown, Conn., who died in 1741; (second) Agnes Tyrom, of Wallingford, Conn., Aug. 26, 1744.
By his first marriage he had four children, all of whom died in childhood.
By his second marriage he had Jonathan (see forward); Oliver, Rebecca and Martha.
(VI) Jonathan (2), son of Jonathan (1) and Agnes (Tyrom) Collins, was born at Wallingford, Conn. May 3, 1755, died April 6, 1845. He served in the war of the revolution, and in afater life drew a government pension on account of his service.
He emigrated from Meriden, Conn., and settled in Lewis county, N.Y., in the spring of 1797, in West Turin. He arrived in that section in the spring, and found Sugar river in such a swollen condition that great difficulty was experienced in crossing. He settled on a valuable tract, and, having ample means, improved and developed it quickly and profitably. He was an able man, thoroughly independent in thought as well as action, and took a commanding position in the county. He was early chosen a justice of the peace, and from 1809 to 1815 served as the first judge of the Lewis county court. In 1820 he was chosen presidential elector. Few men have obtained a greater degree of public confidence than Judge Collins. His strict integrity, love of justice and sound judgment, rendered him a most valuable public official. He had a scrupulous regard for the rights of others, and his judicial fairness was remarked by his brethren of the bar. His advice and counsel during the early life of the county was of the greatest value, and his influnece materially assisted the growth and prosperity of Lewis county.
His brother, General Oliver Collins, of Oneida county, N.Y., was in the United States service on the frontier during the war of 1812. A fact not generally known is that the first masonic lodge in northern New York held its meeting at the home of Judge Collins, and he was the first worshipful master. This was Farmer's Lodge No. 110, located at Turin, then in Oneida county. The lodge was chartered June 29, 1804, and continued its meetings at the judge's home until the anti-Masonic crusade caused the charter to be surrendered and the lodge discontinued.
A letter written by Jonathan C., son of Judge Collins, in reply to inquiries made to him is here of interest:
Leyden, Dec. 28, 1891.
Dear Friend Horace Bush:
I know that the lodge was held in our house and that Jonathan Collins was Master of the lodge, at our house, that they had lamb baked for dinner, and for vegetables had green peas and other vegetables; that the meeting was attended by about twenty Masons from Boonville and Leyden and was much enjoyed. I must have been twelve or fourteen years old, but how they got there in unknown to me. The lodgfe was held in the north chamber and the Tiler was placed there with drawn sword. I suppose father must have procured the charter and was made master of the lodge. Afterwards Nathaniel Merriman was elected master. I don't know of any lodge ever held in Constable with
Jonathan C. Collins.
Judge Collins married Sarah Couch, born Jan. 10, 1775.
Sons: Levi, Selden, Homer, member of state legislature, 1858; Anthony, Wayne, Jonathan Couch (see forward).
Katrina, Lament, Deme and Sarah.
The sons are all active, prosperous men, married, and heads of families.
(VII) Jonathan Couch, son of Jonathan (2) and Sarah (Couch) Collins, was born in West Turin, N.Y. Jan. 3, 1804, and died Dec. 24, 1894. He settled in Leyden in 1870 and was an influential citizen. He was prominent in public life and prosperous in business. He served the town as supervisor, assessor, and as representative in the state legislature in 1854.
In 1852 he was presidential elector.
He married, in 1826, Sally C. Talcott, born May 5, 1806, died Sept. 1896.
Andrew J., see forward.
John D., twin of Andrew, married Helen Jaret, of Utica, N.Y.
Homer L., born Dec. 23, 1832, died in Montana in 1905.
(VIII) Andrew J., son of Jonathan C. and Sally C. (Talcott) Collins, was born in West Turin, N.Y. Jan. 9, 1828. He married, Sept. 18, 1855, Anna M., daughter of Dr. Frederick and Magdalina (Guben) Rundge.
Rosalie Eugenia, born Sept. 8, 1856, married Leonard Loomis.
Homer Rudolph, see forward.
Anna Augusta, born Feb. 2, 1861; married E. M. Bagg.
Charles Henry, born Jan. 26, 1863.
Andrew J. (2), born Aug. 7, 1866, died Sept. 6, 1901.
(IX) Homer Rudolph, eldest son of Andrew J. and Anna M. (Rundge) Collins, was born in West Turin, N.Y. June 19, 1859. He attended the public schools of Talcottville until he was sixteen years of age, then enlisted in the United States navy and served for five years. He was assigned to the "Minnesota," and served his term of enlistment on that ship. When his tern expired he returned to Talcottville for a short time.
On attaining his majority he went to the oil regions of Pennsylvania, where he spent several years. Afterward he traveled all over the western states, returning to his New York home in 1899. He is a member of the Republican party, and a liberal, progressive public-spirited man, well informed on all questions and issues of the day, and influential in the community.
He married, June 19, 1895, at Talcottville, N.Y., Martha Daniels, daughter of Chester J. and Lodema (Talcott) Munn. Lodema Talcott was a descendant of Hezekiah, son of John and Sarah (Parsons) Talcott. Hezekiah Talcott came from Durham, Conn. in 1798, and was one of the early settlers of the town of Leyden, Lewis county. He married Sarah Johnson, and had Phoebe, Sally, Elisha, Daniel, Joel, Jesse, Johnson, Parson and Lucy. Johnson, son of Hezekiah Talcott, married Altamira (perhaps Almira) Cooley, and had Sally, Sophronia, Ralph, Adeline, Jeannette, Jesse, John and Lodema. Lodema Talcott married, June 21, 1854, Chester J. Munn. Children: Harriet, Helen, Margarita, Adeline, Martha Daniels, Grace Kimball and Chester Cummings. Martha Daniels Munn married Homer Rudolph Collins.