James Collins, the subject of this biography, is a native of Johnson County, born March 18, 1826. He is the son of Henry M. and Catharine (Bell) Collins. His father was a native of Virginia, and died when James was but a child. The mother of James was a native of Butler County, Ohio. She made her home in White River Township, soon after James was born; and here he was raised on a farm. In youth he attended country schools, which were supported by subscription, and in those schools he received a fair education. His home was with his widowed mother; who, in after years, continued to make her home with him. She lived to an advanced age, and died in 1879. On reaching his majority James began teaching in the public schools. He taught for fifteen years; teaching fifteen terms, which averaged about three months each. During these fifteen years he both taught school and followed farming. The latter vocation he has followed as his life pursuit. As an active politician he began in early life. He became a democrat in 1854, and since has continued to be an ardent advocate of the principles of democracy. At the age of twenty-one years he was elected as constable, thus beginning his civil office career. In 1856 he was elected assessor for his township, and in this capacity he served three terms. In 1864 he was made appraiser of real estate in Johnson County, holding this position for several years. In 1876 he was elected township trustee of his township, in which capacity he served two terms. Later, he served as assessor, and also as real estate appraiser. In 1884 he was elected by his party to the office of county commissioner from the third district, and is the present incumbent. Although Mr. Collins has never connected himself with any church, he has always been a friend to churches, and education as well. He is a Master Mason, to which fraternity he is much attached.