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Will E. Collins Biography

Source:  Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi,  Chicago:  The Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1891.

Volume I, pp. 575-576

Will E. Collins, planter, Mayersville, Miss., the second child and eldest son of T. Jeff and Martha (Spurlock) Collins was born in Carroll parish, La., in 1844. His father, who was a native Kentuckian, wen to Louisiana in 1830 with his two brothers, William and George, both older than himself, and with them located in Carroll parish, where they were among the first settlers. They were extensively engaged in planting and merchandising, accumulated considerable property in slaves and real estate, and became prominent men of the parish. The father was a lieutenant in the Mexican war and was in the battle of Buena Vista. He was with General Taylor, and served with distinction during the entire war. His death occured in 1862. He followed planting his entire life, and was one of the most successful planters of the parish. He was a member of both the I.O.O.F. and the A.F. & A.M. lodges. By his marriage to Miss Spurlock, a native of Louisiana, he became the father of eight children: Mary E. (of Sharkey county, Miss.), Hattie (now Mrs. J.W. Harrington, of Atlanta, whose husband served as colonel in the Federal army under General Banks), Martha (now Mrs. J.T. Grambling of Sharkey county), Janie (wife of E.V. Miller, who is the brother of the attorney general of the state), Ann (wife of John Stephen, a planter in Issaquena county), Daniel B. (deceased) and Thomas G. (deceased). Will E. Collins received his literary education at La Grange military academy, and graduated from that institution in 1862. After leaving school he served his county as drillmaster for a short time, and then entered the Confederate army, Company A, Eighteenth Louisiana infantry, Mouton's division. While in the army he participated in the battles of Mansfield, Texarkana and Shiloh, and in the last named engagement his regiment was badly slaughtered. It was afterward reorganized and consolidated with the Crescent regiment, and then participated in the battles of Texarkana, Mansfield and others. He was paroled in Shreveport, La., and then returned home, where he engaged in steamboating on the Mississippi river and tributaries. In 1867 he came to Issaquena county, and the following year embarked in merchandising, which he followed until 1873, after which he was deputy sheriff for four years. The two years following this he was cotton tax collector for the second Mississippi levee district, and in 1879 he was elected a member of the board of supervisors, serving in that capacity for two years. The same year he began planting, and has continued ever since. He was appointed justice of the peace of the Fourth district by Governor Stone and has held other local positions. He is essentially a modern man, full of energy, enterprise and push, and is well posted on all subjects of interest, especially on the early settlement of the county. He has one of the finest libraries of selected books said to be in the county and is a regular correspondent for various agricultural papers, chiefly the Home and Farm, of Louisville, and the Southern Farm, published at Atlanta, Ga. He is a member of the Odd Fellow lodge, and Deer Creek lodge No. 156, A.F. & A.M. Mrs. Collins was married in 1877, to Miss Mary E. Smith, sister of R.M. Smith and to them have been born four children: Willie, Mamie, Robert and Jefferson.

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