Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Charles Collins, lover of country
On the 4th of
July we all summon our highest degree of patriotism. We listen to
speeches calling forth our best American spirit. We find ourselves
following the beat of the drum and the blare of the trumpet from
patriotic parades. We revel in the red, white and blue of our flag,
symbol of freedom. And so we should. All are part of our proud heritage
as citizens of the "land of the free and the home of the brave." A late
I kept thinking about this influential man who was born in
Someone has written about the dash- the period between birth and death- and how meaningful that is in a life well lived. "Ros," or C. R., as he was lovingly known, filled that dash with fruitful living. He was a patriot par-excellence and educator-extraordinary. At this 4th of July, 2008, let us recall and honor him as a giant among us.
One of the characteristics of a genuine patriot is the respect and love a person bears for his ancestral roots. Charles Roscoe Collins did much research on his family lines "on both sides" of his early-settlers families.
C. R.'s father was James Johnson Collins
(1868-1967). Ros's paternal grandparents
were Ivan Kinsey Collins (1835-1901) and Martha Jane Hunter Collins
(1840-1920). His Collins great grandparents were first Collins settlers
Thompson Collins (ca. 1785-ca. 1858) and Celia Self Collins (ca.
1787-1880). He could link these ancestors up to their kin on the
"Hunter" and "Self" sides. Celia Self Collins's father was Francis
Self. Martha Jane Hunter Collins was a daughter of William Jonathan
Hunter (1813-1893) and Margaret Elizabeth (called "Peggy") England
Hunter (1819-1894). And that marriage joined another early-settler
family. Peggy England was a daughter of William Richard England and
Martha "Patsy" Montgomery
C. R.'s mother was Margaret Ann Nix
Collins (1871-1927) who had the nickname "Babe." She was a daughter of
Thomas J. Nix (1848-1902) and Martha Jane "Sis" Ballew Nix (1852-
1951). Margaret Ann and James Johnson Collins were married at Choestoe,
With a knowledge of his ancestry, Charles Roscoe Collins had a life-long interest in history, and contributed much to preserving it. He was a founder of the Union County Historical Society and served as its president. He and Jan H. Devereaux compiled the first Sketches of Union County History and published it in 1976. C. R. wrote in the preface of that book: "Our heritage is a good heritage, and we have much of which to be proud - not ourselves so much as those who went before, those who settled this land with little more than the strength of their bodies, minds and souls." He continued to contribute to that heritage until his death, speaking at organizations, schools and churches, using his keen mind and willingly sharing knowledge of "how life was" when his ancestors settled in the wilderness prior to Indian removal and carved out homes and a county for posterity. He added to that heritage by his own outstanding contributions in education, leadership and preservation efforts.
This is the first in a continuing series. Stay tuned. Next week, we will continue with the life and work of Charles Roscoe Collins. In the meantime, enjoy a safe and meaningful 4th of July. Remember an axiom that carries much weight: "Freedom is not free."
c2008 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published
Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian.
She may be reached at e-mail email@example.com;
phone 478-453-8751; or mail