Village of Collins, located in Collins Township
Collins has had a Post Office dating from 1873 through present.
St. Clair Co., Missouri Library Files:
The Physical Growth of Collins
Collins was originally a part of Washington Township, one of the original townships formed when the county was organized in 1841. It remained a part of that township until 1872, when it became the present Collins Township.
The first cabins in the county had been erected in 1831 by Daniel Molder of Tennessee, in the Collins Township. Jacob Coonce, 1831, built a cabin, in what is now Roscoe. Mr. Coonce moved to Washington Township one year later, making his permanent home in the Brush Creek Valley. Then came the Culbertsons, Isaac, Joseph, and Ira, and still later came Evan Lawler and family, all locating in what was known as the Coon Creek Settlement.
There were three churches. The Coon Creek Baptist Church. The church was organized in 1840 and named from the stream of water nearby. The membership in 1841 was 101. It was most beautifully located on a rising eminence in the midst of what is known as Allen’s Prairie, in one of the finest agricultural and best cultivated sections of the county. It is also one of the oldest churches, and from its position commands one of the most extensive and pleasing views to be found anywhere in this section of the county. Some of the pastors of the church were: Rev. L.R. Ashworth, Rev. J.T. Wheeler, Rev. W.B. Senter, Rev. V.B. Burgess, and Rev. John T. Metcalf. In more recent years, William Birdsong was ordained on May 16, 1937. Rev. Woodrow Rosecrans on November 7, 1937, and Austin Hensley on February 19, 1939. The present church was built in 1893.
Another church was the United Brethren Church of Collins, 1893-1941. Mrs. Ella Thorpe, a minister, organized the church, and a frame building was erected in 1896.
The other church is the Christian Church. The present church was built in 1914.
The first post office was established some time before 1870. The first post master was John Collins, for whom the town was named. The post office was located in several different locations throughout the years.
In 1880, Dr. Selvidge and Dr. Bratcher started a Drug Store, in the frame building still in use two doors east of Marquis’s Grocery Store.
In 1886, the K.C.C. & S. Railroad was built through this part of the county. Collins sprang up immediately as a town. Houses were built and many people “moved to town”. Schools were established. Business enterprises came into existence and prayer services and occasional preaching was observed at the school house. The Leaky Roof Depot had it’s depot agents, who were Craig Miller, O.K. Neihardt and Harvey Bray.
In the 1890’s a calaboose was located back of where the Thompson building is now.
In or about 1890, Aunt Mag Forshee ran a hotel on the corner west of the H&H Garage.
In 1898, a stone building was erected by Tillery and Porta, in which they operated a Hardware Store.
In 1900, the Bank of Collins was started by C.E. Spalding and W.E. Crouch. In 1912, a Citizens Bank was organized with John W. Minks and C.R. Simms. The Bank of Collins was sold to the Citizens Bank, and operated until 1922, when the doors were closed. The reorganization was made in November 1922. They assumed charge of the defunct bank and operated until December 1929, when they closed the doors due to the depression.
In 1903, a newspaper was published by Mr. E.E. Buzzard. The newspaper was called “The Collins Advance”. Later, there was another newspaper published in Collins, but the name of it was not known.
The first school house was built of logs; dimensions were 20 x 14 feet. Several such buildings were put up, but all have been replaced by structures more commodious. There was also a two story, four room brick building which was destroyed by a wind storm in 1928. The present building was erected by Johnson and Bruton in 1928, on the new site. At one time it was called the Shady Nook School.
The highlight of the year was the Collins Picnic. It was held the last weekend of July, west of town across the creek.
No dates were known about the other businesses, but here are the businesses and their owners: Barber shops – Charles (Skinny) Sitton and Jake Peterman; Blacksmith shops – Tom Follin and Bill Mason; Livery stable- Lon Sink; Shoe Repair shops – Rich Harper and Fred (Frogg) Taylor; Real Estate men – Dick Moore, Roy Wright and Till Pritchard; Undertaking and Hardware establishment – Bob Butcher, Mr. Nance and Jim Firestone; Telephone office – Mr. Emment; Produce house – Weatherford and father; Mail Carriers – John Peterman and Wesley Jennings; Hotel – Mrs. Bratcher. There was also a Wilson’s Grocery Store, Caps Dry Goods Store, and Charlie Thompson’s Café. Four doctors who were Dr. Selvidge, Dr. Sitton, Dr. Fallen an Dr. Landaker; a café, owned by Mary Black. This is where the fire started which destroyed much of Collins. The fire took place March 20, 1920.
Missouri History Encyclopedia, 1901:
Collins, a village in St. Clair County, on the Kansas City, Clinton & Southern Railway, twelve miles southeast of Osceola, the county seat. It has a public school, a Baptist Church and a United Brethren Church, a Republican newspaper, the “Advance”, and a flour mill. In 1899 the population was 650. It was platted when the railway was built, and took its name from that of the township in which it is situated, named for Judge William Collins.
Missouri Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1881:
Collins – A post office in St. Clair County, twelve miles south east of Osceola (county seat court house), thirty-three miles south east of Appleton City, on the M.K. & T. Ry. (Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway), its railroad point, and 220 by rail from St. Louis. Population, 10. Mail, tri-weekly. Wm. Collins, postmaster.
Wright, John M. – general store
Collins, located in St. Clair County, is a post office thirteen miles south and east of Osceola, located at sections seven and eighteen, township 36 N, range 24 W, near the range 25 W line, on Highways 53 and 13.