Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Life and Times of Dr. Mauney Douglas Collins – Part 4
the story of a Choestoe lad who,
despite grave circumstances, received a good education and became Georgia’s
superintendent of schools for twenty-five years, this segment of his
views briefly his marriage, work as an editor and as an administrator.
Mary Louise Jackson Collins was mother
of Mauney Douglas Collins and six other children.
This valiant widow reared her large family
and saw that each of them received the best education possible for the
era in which they lived. Norman Vester became a medical
doctor. Mauney Douglas earned his PhD and became state
superintendent of schools. Nina Idaho Dyer was a homemaker
who reared four children who were outstanding teachers.
Laura Collins Shuler was a teacher and poet.
Kate Collins Reed was a teacher for awhile and a homemaker who reared a
son who became a doctor. Son Jean Benjamin had a 50-year career with
the Southern Railroad. Dora Dorothy Collins Sims became a teacher, a
poet, and married a banker.
About 1910, Mary Louise Jackson
D.’s mother, sold most of her property at Choestoe and moved to Broxton, Georgia,
where her son, Mauney Douglas, was teaching and preaching.
She became his housekeeper. The
move also provided better educational
advantages for three of her children still at home:
Callie Kate, Dora Dorothy and Jean
Benjamin. This arrangement continued
until after M. D.’s marriage, after which Mary Collins relocated to
Mauney Douglas Collins married Winnie
Byrd on December
31, 1911. She died on November 22, 1912. Their only daughter, Fannie, died in infancy.
Mauney Douglas Collins and his wife,
Mary Jeanette Cochran Collins
His second marriage was to Mary
Cochran of Palmetto on September 15, 1921. Mary
graduate of Cox and Shorter
Colleges. Their marriage ceremony was performed by Dr.
Fernando C. McConnell, noted Baptist preacher and first cousin to Dr.
Truett. Dr. McConnell’s father, W. R.,
had helped the young M. D. Collins while he struggled financially to
before. The union with Mary was a happy
continuing until her death in 1958. They
had no children.
Ever versatile and involved, M. D.
Collins wrote for the Union
leaving Choestoe. Later he was editor of
The Campbell County News (1926-1930) in Fairburn and
Fairburn Messenger for five years (1926-1930).
He was also a reporter for The Atlanta
Journal for a short while.
One of the incidents he liked to
recall as a Baptist preacher was performing the marriage ceremonies for
couples in one day, Christmas Eve, 1927.
This was a noteworthy event that caught the attention of Margared Mitchell (who later became author of
the famed Gone with the Wind).
She was then a reporter for The Atlanta Journal and
article about “The Marrying Parson”.
Most of the couples he married that day had been his students in
Continuing as pastor of the Friendship Baptist
in Fairburn, he also expanded his work in education.
From teaching, he went into school
administration, first as a principal and then as superintendent of
schools. In 1927, when he was
superintendent of Campbell County Schools, he took a firm stand against
gambling and dog-racing syndicate.
Others in the community, when asked to sign an injunction,
but not Dr. Collins. His signature alone
withheld operations. He won the case in
and Supreme Court where records label the case “M. D. Collins vs. St.
Racing Company.” His astute sense of
could not propose a high value system for Georgia’s youth and condone
of revenue coming from a syndicate with questionable activities.
From 1921 through 1932 he was
superintendent of Campbell County Schools.
was merged with Fulton
County in 1932, a
Dr. Collins favored, his job then became that of an educational
the Fulton County School System.
His political career began in earnest
as he sought the office of state superintendent of schools. Conducting a “grass roots” campaign for this
highest state educational office, he promised the people of Georgia
improved schools, better trained teachers, salary increases for
more money for education. He had
confidence that he could fulfill his campaign promises.
He was elected in 1932 and took office as
state superintendent of schools in January, 1933.
Perhaps he did not dream when he began
his duties as superintendent that he would lead for twenty-five years,
of vast changes and improvements in education in Georgia. The next segment of this biographical sketch
will give some of the major milestones in his quarter of a century as
superintendent at the helm of Georgia
Concluding installment of the Life and Times of Dr. Mauney
Jones; published October 16, 2003 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Jones is a retired educator,
freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at
phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA
February 5, 2009
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