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 Grayson County TXGenWeb

18 February 1932



 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 Arbor, Michigan.  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 he died.

Mrs. Collins remained in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 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, Alpheus, 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.

Alpheus Remember Collins

Alpehus Remember Collins became one of the most prominent and successful business men of Denison.  He was interested in real estate, banking, and thoroughbred stock-raising.  

A.R. Collins' business card when he arrived in Denison
Collins owned the A. R. Collins' Block at 511–513 West Main Street.
He was an early Denison real estate dealer. 

The Denison Daily News
Thursday, November 22, 1877

A. R. Collins' impressive signature

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 $20,000.

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.

The Sunday Gazetteer
Sunday, February 19, 1893
pg. 4

A.R. Collins Estate lawsuit

Sale of Property, 1894

Walter D. Collins Family

Biography Index
Elaine Nall Bay

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