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History of Vermillion County Biographical and Historical Record of
Vermillion County, Indiana

John Collett



Biographical Sketches - 311

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JOHN COLLETT (second), State Geologist, 1879-'84, is a resident of the old homestead near Eugene, though he spends most of his time at Indianapolis. He was born at Eugene January 6 1828, the eldest son of Stephen S. and Sarah (Groeuendyke) Collett. (A sketch of his parents is given elsewhere in this volume). He was only fifteen years old when his father died, and upon him devolved much of the care of his father's estate of 5,000 acres, and also the interests of his younger brothers and sisters, of whom there were seven. In the discharge of these duties he exhibited extraordinary ability, and was also faithful in carrying out the policy of his father. The most important feature of this policy was good education for all his children. The plans for this were successfully executed. Mr. Collett pursued his higher studies at Wabash College, where he graduated in 1847 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and where five years later he received the degree of Master of Arts. In 1879 that institution conferred upon him the additional distinction of Doctor of Philosophy. For a number of years after arriving at the age of manhood his time was devoted to farming and miscellaneous business connected with it; and he also frequently had charge of important estates. In these matters he was remarkably shrewd, prompt and honest. He never permitted his own private affairs to interfere with the responsibilities he had undertaken for the interests of others; and amid all these cares he also found time for scientific studies, and participated in public affairs. His ability and integrity were both so conspicuous that his fellow citizens recognized these qualities in him, and sought opportunities to give testimonials to the fact by honoring him with office. Accordingly, in 1870, he was elected to represent the counties of Parke and Vermillion in the State Senate, where he served through two regular sessions and one called session. While a Senator he originated the clause in the Baxter Bill which has since become a part of the general law of the State, ranking public drunkenness with crime. Another of his propositions, which has since been generally accepted, was, that the owners and not the public, should be held responsible for the live stock running at