Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
In praise of a noble mountain man: Dr. Mauney Douglas Collins
Union County has produced some worthy citizens. One of them was Dr. Mauney Douglas Collins, an extraordinary educator.
Some men are of an age and a place; others are timeless and of inestimable station. Such a man was Dr. Mauney Douglas Collins, lowly in beginnings but propelled by his extraordinary vision and inordinate accomplishments.
This noble mountain man had been a farmer, a merchant, a teacher, a banker, an evangelist, a pastor, a lecturer, a writer, an editor, and an administrator.
But what of his beginnings? From what roots did this mountain man spring?
His paternal grandparents were Francis
and Rutha Nix Collins and his maternal grandparents were Marion and
Goforth Jackson. His great-grandparents,
Thompson and Celia Self Collins, were early settlers in
Reared as a farm lad, Mauney Douglas
Collins learned early to shoulder responsibilities.
Choestoe District where his family lived had
good farm land. Archibald Benjamin
Collins, Mauney’s father, was a farmer of note and a tradesman, dealing
sheep, cattle and hogs. Ben and his
brother, “Bud” Collins (Francis Jasper) had the first threshing machine
district. They served
Ben Collins was a country store merchant. Much of the trade at his store was in barter. He took in payment for store goods such farm and forest products as eggs, chickens, sorghum syrup, dried apples, chestnuts, chinquapins, herbs and tanned skins of animals.
These bartered goods he hauled over the mountainous Logan Turnpike to the market in Gainesville and there traded them for coffee, sugar, piece goods, nails and other hardware, and various ‘store-bought’ commodities.
Ben Collins drove livestock over this
same route to market, and in
When the gold mine opened in the Coosa District of Union County northwest of Choestoe, Ben Collins established his second store there.
Mauney Collins, as a very young lad, was involved in the entrepreneurships of his father and uncle, learning from them by going on trade excursions and by working in the stores.
When Mauney Collins was five years old, he started school at Old Liberty, a one-room building serving as both a school and church. His uncle, Tom Jackson, was the boy’s first teacher. The young child showed great promise as a student. He studied from well-worn textbooks passed down from his older sister Nina and cousins. The school term lasted at the most four months, conducted at periods when work on the farm was not as demanding.
In 1897 a tragedy struck the Collins family and the whole community. It was the year of the great typhoid epidemic. All in the family took the dreaded fever and struggled to survive. A hard-working housekeeper, Sallie Kimsey, helped the Collins family during that trying time. Dr. McCravey made his weary rounds by horseback from Blairsville, eight miles away, doing what he could to attend the family with the medicines available then.
Bereft, his young widow, Mary Louise
Jackson Collins, gradually regained her strength from the effects of
fever. She began evaluating ways to rear
her family of seven. The second child,
Francis Arthur, had died at age one in 1884.
Mauney Douglas was eleven when his father died.
The eldest, Nina Idaho, was fifteen, and the
baby, Dorothy Dora, was only one month old,
It was to be a hard road in a good land.
(Next week: More on the life of Dr. M. D. Collins.)
c2003 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published September 25, 2003 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
[Ethelene Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061-2411.]
February 5, 2009