18 February 1932
Contributed by Liza Kight
COLLINS Family: A wave of covered wagons began their westward flow
from the northern and eastern states into the southwest soon after the
close of the Civil War. One of these covered wagons carried the household
belongings of a Northern widow - widow of a missionary, who with her two
small sons were on their way to a new home, new surroundings, new hardships,
and new difficulties to a tract of land located in the northern part of
the State of Texas - Grayson County - to what was to become Collinsville.
This widow was Mrs. Lodoweska Collins from Ann Harbor, Mich.
Her husband, Rev. Walter D. Collins, missionary of the Methodist church,
had been superintendent of education for the Cherokee and Choctaw Indians.
It was while aiding her husband in his work in the Indian Territory that
Mrs. Collins became vastly interested in the promotion of education.
It was here that her two sons, Alpheus R. and Charles Collins were born.
Mr. and Mrs. Collins had planned to make the long journey to their
new home in the Southwest together but Mr. Collins' health failed and he
had to give up his work with the Indians and return to Ann Harbor, where
Mrs. Collins remained in Ann Harbor teaching so that her sons might
have better educational advantages until after the Civil War.
On her arrival in Grayson County, she immediately took up her philanthropy
work. Here she opened and taught, at her own expense, the first free
school in the state of Texas.
This little school was a one-room construction of hewed logs.
The cracks in the wall were filled with clay. The benches and desks
used were from split-logs and wooden pegs being driven into the logs for
legs. It was here that many prominent men and women, some of national
fame, began their school days.
Mrs. Collins was a graduate from the Weslyn Female College at Albion,
Michigan. In 1885, Mrs. Collins went to St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin
to attend a reunion of her family there. While there she read a poem
which she had written for the occasion, the last stanza of which gives
an insight to her feelings or her chosen home.
My friends I bid you all good-bye;
To my own Southern home hie;
When next we meet, may one star lone
Direct you to my Texas home!
This poem was published in "The News" St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin
July 16, 1885.
Mrs. Collins? sons grew to manhood, entered various business enterprises
and were successful. Alpheus R. Collins drew off and gave the community
the town site that is Collinsville today. Before this time the town
had been called Toadsuck. Charles Collins was instrumental in locating
the first post office in Collinsville.
In 1877 Mrs. Collins accompanied her son, Charles, to California
where he died. She returned and for a time made her home with Mr.
and Mrs. John Dorchester at Sherman before going to live with her other
son, Alpeus, who had moved to Denison and married Miss Hattie Daugherty
of that city. The Daugherty family moved from Michigan where the
two young people had met at Albion College where they were both students
at that institution.
Mrs. Collins' later years were spent in church and social welfare
work in Denison. She died at the home of her son, May 16, 1886 at
4 p.m. o'clock. Funeral services for her were held in the Methodist
Episcopal Church, North, May 17, 1886. Interment was in the Fairview
Cemetery, Denison, Texas.
Alpehus Collins became one of the most prominent and successful business
men of Denison. He was interested in real estate, banking, and thoroughbred
stock-raising. He owned two horses which ranked high in the stock
market at that time. Bonnie Medium, cousin of the famous Nancy Hanks,
and the Duke of Clyds. Bonnie Medium was estimated to be valued at
Mrs. Hattie Daugherty Collins died June 17, 1882, leaving one son,
Walter D. Collins who was five years old.
On February 11, 1892, Alpheus R. Collins died after a three years
illness. His son, Walter, then fifteen years old was the only surviving
member of the Collins family. C.E.Daugherty, brother-in-law of A.R.Collins
was appointed administrator of the Collins estate.
Walter D. Collins attended school in Denison, St. Louis, Philadelphia,
and Chicago. In 1900 he married Miss Abbie Hargett of Paris, Texas.
Mr. and Mrs. Collins have two children: Mrs. Virginia Johnson and Miss
Daugherty Collins, one grandson, William Collins Johnson, who make their
home at the Collins residence at 420 Gandy Street, Denison, Texas.
Mr. Collins is president of the Walter D. Collins Company and is
interested in Real Estate and Loan Company in that city.