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California Genealogy and History Archives

Biographies
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San Bernardino County and Riverside County

 

ALBERT N. COLLINS The Collins family has had a prominent part in the agricultural and horticultural development of several localities adjacent to Riverside and the business of production and marketing of citrus crops has been notably stimulated by them. Albert N. Collins came to Riverside some years after his father and other members of the family and after a successful career as a merchant in St. Louis. He is now one of the prominent orange growers in this district.

Mr. Collins was born at Solomon, Kansas, December 13, 1872, son of Andrew Perry and Sarah Elizabeth (Blair) Collins. His father, who spent the last years of his life in Riverside, was a native of Seneca County, Ohio, of an old American family of French descent, while his wife was of English stock. He grew up in Ohio and his liberal education was acquired in the Ohio Wesleyan University. As a young man he assisted in raising the Twelfth Michigan Infantry, in which he was commissioned first lieutenant. He served in several battles along the Mississippi until captured. He was confined in Andersonville prison, escaping with another man from that notorious stockade. An account of their experiences in the swamps of the South was made by his companion the subject of a volume entitled "Beyond the Lines; or a Yankee Prisoner Loose in Dixie."

In the closing years of the war he served on the staff of Gen. C. C. Andrews.

After the war Andrew P. Collins removed to Solomon, Kansas, beginning at the grass roots in that frontier community. He acquired one of the largest farms in the region. In 1868 he married Miss Sarah E. Blair, who was a native of Iowa and is now living at Riverside. Andrew P. Collins for many years was a prominent Kansan. He served as county superintendent of schools of Saline County, sat four years in the Legislature, was for ten years a member of the State Board of Agriculture, and was one of the five Kansas World's Fair Commissioners at Chicago in 1893 and had charge of the agricultural exhibit of his state. He took an active part in 1885 in the founding of the Kansas Wesleyan University at Salina and for years was president of the Board of Trustees. He was a leading layman of the Methodist Church in Kansas and was a delegate to the General Conference at New York in 1888.

Andrew P. Collins came to Riverside in 1903 and bought fifty acres of oranges above Highgrove. After trying to market his product for a couple of years he bought a packing house of his own, and made a notable success of this enterprise known as the Collins Fruit Company. With his son and others he was interested in the development of six hundred acres in the Morino Valley. The water had been developed, but about the time they were ready to put the land into cultivation a favorable opportunity for selling arose and they disposed of it. Andrew P. Collins was a booster for all things of interest to Riverside. He was a member of the Masonic order. His death occurred March 17, 1911, when he was seventy-four years of age.

Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Collins had three sons and three daughters. Oliver E., a practicing attorney at Colorado Springs, Colorado ; Edith C, wife of John L. Bishop of Riverside ; Albert N. ; Frank N., manager of the Exchange Packing House of Highgrove; May C, wife of Clarence H. Matson, a prominent Los Angeles citizen, who shares in the credit for the development of the Los Angeles Harbor, was for years traffic manager of the harbor and is now connected with the foreign trade department of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce; and Ruth E., wife of M. C. Shaible of Salina, Kansas, auditor of the International Harvester Company.

Albert N. Collins was reared in Central Kansas, acquired a public school education, attended Kansas Wesleyan University at Salina and was graduated from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 1895 with the degree Ph. G. For about thirteen years Mr. Collins was successfully engaged in the drug business at St. Louis, at one time owning and conducting five stores. He disposed of those interests and in 1908 came to Riverside with the intention of joining his father in the development of six hundred acres in the Morino Valley. Shortly afterward that property was sold and he then became an associate of S. H. Herrick and his brother-in-law, John L. Bishop, in the development of a two hundred acre tract of oranges and lemons two miles east of Riverside. The company is known as the Lemona Heights Company, and most of the time and energy of Mr. Collins has been bestowed upon this property. He is interested in other groves in Riverside and a peach orchard on the Colton Terrace, and is a property owner at Los Angeles and Santa Monica. For one year after coming to Riverside he conducted his father's packing house, and for a year or so it continued under the management of Mr. Bishop, but was finally sold.

Mr. Collins is a director of the Monte Vista Packing Association. He is a member of the Kiwanis Club and a trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Mr. Collins married Miss Harriet M. Thompson. She was born in Iowa, daughter of Montgomery C. Thompson of an old American family. Mrs. Collins is one of the best educated women in Riverside. She is a graduate of the Kansas Wesleyan University with the degree A. B. and A. M., and after graduation she remained on the University faculty of instruction as teacher of French and German. Mr. and Mrs. Collins have four children: A. N., Jr. (Noel), a substation operator on the Pacific Electric Railway; Margaret, member of the class of 1922, and Alice of the class of 1924 in the Riverside high school ; and Donald Addison, a student in the Riverside grammar schools.

 

Source:
History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties 
By: John Brown, Jr., Editor for San Bernardino County 
And James Boyd, Editor for Riverside County 
With selected biography of actors and witnesses of the period 
of growth and achievement.
Volume III, the Western Historical Association, 1922, 
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, ILL

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011