Texas

Simeon Collins: An Important Family Link Between Mississippi and Texas

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, and after exchanging emails with Greg Rowe, (see blogroll, American Civil War Essays & Research), I decided to write a bit about Greg’s direct ancestor, Simeon “Sim” Collins. Sim, a crucial figure in the Free State of Jones’s Knight Company, is often overlooked because of his untimely death shortly after the Civil War. Older brother to the better-known Jasper (who lived to the ripe old age of 86), Sim was Newt Knight’s 2nd Lieutenant. Three of his sons also joined the Knight guerrilla band: James Madison (Matt), Benjamin Franklin (Frank), and Morgan Columbus (Morg).

The fate of Sim Collins and his sons reminds us that taking a Unionist stance during the Civil War was rarely a matter of merely lying in the woods and waiting out the war. The Knight band fought numerous battles against Confederate forces (all dutifully recorded by Newt Knight), but none more ferocious then that against Col. Robert Lowry and his men, sent to the area to break up the band. This battle would eventually lead to Sim’s death.

In the space of a few weeks in April, 1864, Col. Lowry’s men killed ten men from the Knight Company. None of the Collins men were among them. Jasper was up in Tennessee, on a mission to hook the band up with Union forces. Riley Collins fled to New Orleans, as did many members of the band, where he joined the Union Army and soon died of disease.

Sim and his sons were among those deserters captured by Col. Lowry and threatened with execution if they did not rejoin the Confederate Army. Story has it that Sim’s wife, Lydia, begged Lowry not to execute her husband and three sons, and that he responded by offering this alternative. So back into the Confederate Army these Collinses went, and off to Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia, where the Confederate Army suffered a major defeat. The men were captured by Yankees and imprisoned at Camp Morton—a cruel irony for the fiercely Unionist Collins family!

Sim, Matt, Frank, and Morg Collins were released from Camp Morton at war’s end, but it was too late for 46-year-old Sim, who died within months of his release. A wounded man at the time of his forced reentry into the Confederate Army, that, and the battle at Kennesaw Mountain, followed by a year in prison, no doubt sealed his fate.

Like so many of the South’s plain people, Sim’s widow and children sank into poverty after the war. In 1872, Lydia and several of their grown children and families moved on to Texas in hopes of making fresh start. Sim’s brother, Warren Jacob Collins, was there to welcome them. As a result, the Texas branch of the Collins family became as extensive as the one left behind in Jones County, Mississippi.

75 replies »

  1. I found the burial places of Morg Collins, Blue Water Cemetary in Polk Co. Texas and Benjamin Franklin Collins in Big Sandy Cemetary also in Polk Co. Texas

  2. I am the great great granddaughter of Harmon Levi Sumrall as we have already discussed. I wanted you to know, however, that the main thing I learned from The Free State of Jones was that my Sumrall relavtives were Unionist. Big surprise to me! How would I know though since the family never talked about the war. My daughter has spent the greater part of this year tracng the Sumrall family as far back as sometime in the 1600s. She and I enjoyed your book so much, we are still talking about it and waiting for the next book which you have in progress.

    Dorothy Johnson Ladoceour

  3. Hi Dorothy,

    So glad you finally commented here on Renegade South! Many people like you have learned of their Southern ancestors’ Unionism through reading or research, rather than as stories passed down through the generations.

    It’s such a shame when men like Harmon Levi Sumrall believed so much in their reasons for not supporting the Confederacy, that the story of their opposition would be lost to their own descendants. Yet, it’s really not surprising. The flourishing of “Lost Cause” history by the late 19th century was based on the idea of a “solid South” in which only cowards and outlaws opposed the Confederacy. The truth is that many southerners believed secession was a mistake.

    My new book, The Long Shadow of the Civil War, should be out by mid-February, 2010.

    Thanks,
    Vikki

  4. I am a descendent of the George Thomas Wharton Collins family. He is the first documented Anglo settler of Angelina County, Texas. (His father was a ferry boat operator in New Orleans.) In reviewing our family history, there doesn’t appear to be a connection with the Jones County Collins family who came to East Texas, and particularly Angelina County. However, the name Sarah is a prominent one in our version of the Collins clan, so I cannot help but wonder if there was some connection between the two families.

    In any event, I am very glad my internet browing about the Collins family brought me to your blog and the story of Jones County. I found it fascinating.

    • Thanks for your comment, David. I have never encountered the name George Thomas Wharton Collins among the Jones County Collinses who migrated to Texas, but a connection is not impossible. For one thing, at least one brother of Stacy Collins Sr., appears to have migrated to Texas earlier than Stacy and his grown children. Maybe our Collins researchers out there can shed light on this.

      Glad you are enjoying the blog!

      Vikki

    • My great grandfather, Clisby Riggs Jones, son of Jasper Jones and Catherine VanWinkle, his sister, married William Lamar Collins, son ofGeorge Wharton Collins (who was the youngest person, age 15, to pass the Bar Exam in Louisiana. George was also the first sheriff of Angelina Co., TX My late father, Lloyd Benton, and I , with Annie Lee Jones of Lufkin, we are from Oklahoma. I sent all our records to my cousin Belinda Pierce of Spokane,WA, and she took our records and hers and printed a book, over 5oo pages, “Keeping Up With The JONES” , the family of Martin William “GOOBLER” Jones who is buried in Angelina Co., TX. A wonderful book if I say so myself.. I have the book, History Of Angelina County, Texas, and there is lots of info on George Thomas Wharton Collins.

  5. Ben Collins was my great great grandfather his son columbus my great grandfather and Columbus’s son esker my grandfather Ben is buried in big sandy with a full confedererate headstone that I have a pic of if I can find it.
    Havent heard of them being unionizers but heard of stories of some of the family being Jayhawkers. It has been awhile since I have done research but I have a in depth tree that I need to find, been thru 3 hurricanes. LOL

    • R Collins:

      Thanks so much for the information on Ben Collins and his descendants. Your mention of stories about the family being jayhawkers is consistent with their having been Unionists. The term “jayhawkers”–taken from the Kansas supporters of the Union–was meant to denote supporters of the Union who deserted the Confederacy–as opposed to “bushwhackers” who were considered mere deserters.

      Stay dry, and don’t let those hurricanes get the best of you!
      And feel free to post more on the family when you find the time.

      Vikki

  6. Thank you for the amazing books and information. I have been utterly fascinated with all of this information. I am a decendent of Morgan Columbus Collins. His son John Bruce Collins married a Blankenship and one of his ten children was my grandmother. John Bruce Collins has one living child who is in her mid 90’s (my great-Aunt). I will be quizzing her soon on the topic of the Jayhawkers to see if she can recall any old stories. My mother and her cousin and I are going this summer to visit the Bluewater cemetery and the Polk county museum. If you have any leads on where to find further info on the Jayhawkers I would LOVE to know! Your research IS my family! Also my research shows that Morgan Columbus Collins married a Sumrall – so I guess that must mean we are distantly related?? I’m not sure but I am ordering all of your books and am halfway through the Jones county book. I have the newest book on my iPhone kindle and needless to say I’m obsessed with it! Please keep up the GREAT work!

  7. Kimberly,

    Thanks for the good words; it’s great to hear from you! You’ll be pleased to know that I include a fairly lengthy discussion of your ancestor, Morgan Columbus Collins, in my new book, The Long Shadow of the Civil War.

    By the way, though Morgan Collins later moved to Texas, he joined Newt Knight’s band in MS’s Free State of Jones, not the jayhawkers of East Texas.

    Perhaps you already know this, but Morgan’s wife, Lucinda Sumrall, was the daughter of Harmon Levi Sumrall, brother of Wm. Wesley Sumrall, also a member of the Knight band. Also, I am distantly related to your Collins line through Morgan’s mother, Lydia Bynum.

    Some of the most helpful works that I found on the Jayhawkers of East Texas (these and more are listed in the new book’s bibliography) include the following:

    Edna Pitts, “Civil War and Kaiser’s Burnout;” Ralph A. Wooster and Robert Wooster, “A People at War;” Campbell Loughmiller and Lynn Loughmiller, Big Thicket legacy; Abernethy, Tales from the Big Thicket, Aline House, Big Thicket: Its Heritage; and Macklyn Zuber, “Fire at Union Wells.”

    Vikki

  8. Vikki,

    Thanks for your quick response! I have recently found a picture of who I believe is Morgan Columbus Collins. Do you have any pictures of him published? I would like to compare and see if my records are indeed correct. Also, we have a few pictures of large groups of men that seem to have been taken about the same time/era of this picture of Morgan C. Collins and his wife. I would like to try and identify these as well by comparing or trying to find men in those pictures with pictures that you already have. Hope this helps!

    • Hi Kimberly,

      I’m sorry, but I have never seen a photo of Morgan Columbus Collins or any of his brothers. In fact, I think the only Collins men that I have photos of (both published in Long Shadow of the Civil War) are Jasper Collins and his brother Warren Jacob Collins.

      Maybe some of our Collins descendants have photos to compare with yours. We could also publish yours on this site if you like.

      Vikki

  9. Hi I have enjoyed reading this. I am a descendent of Morgan Columbis Collins also. I am helping my daughter with a family history project for school and any more information or leads that anyone can provide would be appreciated and Kimberly I would love to see the pictures you have if there is any way you could email them to me. There is a website that has pictures of the tomestones in Blue Water Cemetary for anyone that might need this information. This is where my Grandpa Hollice William Collins is buried and one of his sons Loyd Collins also.
    Carrie

    • Carrie- if you will please send me your e-mail we can correspond in that format. I’m sure I’m too late to help your daughter with the report but maybe I can help you add some good information to your family tree!

      • Carrie and Kimberly, if you would like to exchange email numbers without having to post them publicly, let me know and I will put you in contact with each other. If you prefer, of course, you may post your email addresses in a message to Renegade South.

        Vikki

  10. Hi Carrie,

    Thanks for contributing to Renegade South. I have no photos of the Morgan Columbus Collins family, although I do have Morgan’s pension file, which I discuss at some length in my new book, Long Shadow of the Civil War.

    Could you post the link to the website that features the Blue Water Cemetery?

    Thanks,
    Vikki

  11. John, it’s good to hear from you.

    In preparation for writing The Free State of Jones, I obtained both men’s records through the National Archives’ microfilmed military records, but the relatively recent appearance of Footnote.com has made it much easier and faster (albeit more expensive) to obtain such records.

    Thomas Jefferson Collins was important to the history of the Knight Band, although unlike his father and brothers James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Morgan Columbus, his name does not appear on Newt Knight’s roster. He was however, Jones County Justice of the Peace following the defeat of the Confederacy, and his relationship with the Knight band is discussed in my recent book, The Long Shadow of the Civil War.

    Hope you continue to have good results with your research!

    Vikki

  12. My great, great, great Grandfather was George Wharton Collins. My mother was Mary Jane (Power) (Sweeney) Toerner. Story that she told me regarding to my gg grandfather was that he migrated from Ireland after fighting a duel and killing an English officer. Apparently, Wharton’s sister was in love with this officer, got pregnant and would not do her the honor of marriage. Wharton challenged this officer to a duel and killed him….which at the time is a big no-no…so he fleed to US. I also was told he became one of the first Texas ranger in Angelina Co. Just thought I would share this little fact.

    • George Thomas Wharton Collins came from a fascinating family tree that connects to the Campbells of Scotland in the late 1600s. I’ll make this as brief as I can.

      George T.W. Collins was born in Liverpool England in 1812. He died in 1892 and is buried in Huntington Texas. The story of how he came to be in Texas would take up more space than I have here, but he came to Texas around 1830, fought in the Texas Revolution in 1836, and he was the first Sheriff of Angelina County Texas when Texas joined the Union in 1846. I don’t know if he was one of the early Texas Rangers or not, but it’s possible.

      His father was William Wharton Collins, a New Orleans shipping merchant who was born in Philadelphia in 1778, during the Revolutionary War.

      William’s father was Thomas Wharton Collins, who was an English Loyalist and a former British army officer. He was born Thomas Wharton, but in or around 1760 he killed a fellow officer in a duel in the British West Indies. The man he killed had seduced – raped – Wharton’s sister and she committed suicide over it.

      Dueling was common then, but frowned upon, so Wharton was forced to resign from the army. He moved to Philadelphia to find work as a civilian, and to hide from vengeful relatives of the man he killed, he changed his last name to Collins, which has remained his family’s name ever since. (Collins was his mother’s maiden name)

      Going back even further, Thomas Wharton Collins was born in 1732 to Thomas Wharton Senior. That Thomas Wharton was an Anglican minister living near Inverness Scotland, and he was murdered there, along with his wife, in the infamous British massacre of innocent civilians at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

      Thomas Wharton Senior was born in 1691 in one of the most famous and scandalous “kidnap” stories of the 17th century. In 1690, James Campbell, the son of the Earl of Argyll, kidnaped/eloped/ran off with and married Mary Wharton, the niece of Lord James Wharton, an important English politician and a favorite of King William.

      Lord Wharton sent army troops to find them and had one of Campbell’s friends arrested and hanged for helping in the abduction. Although the friend, Sir John Johnston, testified that Mary was a willing abductee. Wharton had the marriage annulled by an Act of Parliament in December 1690.

      You can read the entire story by Googling the names Sir John Johnston, Mary Wharton and James Campbell together. It was one of the big scandals of those times, and people were still talking about it and writing about it more than a hundred years later. It was the inspiration for a fictional character named Captain John Lochie in a collection of stories called Altrive Tales

      Mary was returned and had a baby nine months later. That baby grew up to be the Thomas Wharton who fathered a son who carried his name forward and later killed a man in a duel.

      I hope this hasn’t been TOO confusing. Oh, by the way, my name is Jim Bell, I live in Angelina County Texas, and George Thomas Wharton Collins was my great-great grandfather.

      • Hi Jim Bell. My name is Ramie Ferguson and I enjoyed your summery of the George Thomas Wharton Collins family. It is still a little confusing because there is so many names. My mother Kelli Collins daughter of Ivy Jones Collins, has a book called The History of the George Thomas Wharton Collins family and i have read it several times and your name is in it, among a few other Bell’s. Im having a hard time with the name James Campbell. I have a family tree started at Geni.com. I dont have the money to spend on better ways of finding info, but its okay cause i have sites like this! thanks, Ramie

      • So interesting! He is of my family too. My mother was very interested in family history. After her passing in 2002, I began to show MORE interest in the family tree. My mother was Mary Jane (Power) (Sweeney) Toerner. Her parents were James W.H. and Mary Jane “Janie” (Roberts) Power. My name is Mary “Kate” (Sweeney) Snide. Hope to maybe meet someday. Do you reside in Texas?

      • This is an interesting website, even though my connections to most of the people are minimal. I am descended from Sarah Collins who married William GIbson. She was the sister of William Wharton Collins, and daughter of Thomas Wharton Collins, who are mentioned by filoscotia.

        I am wondering if you have found any proof of the connection between Thomas Wharton Sr and James Campbell/Mary Wharton. Scott Biggs (http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=gregcroxton&id=I003260) disputes a different purported child from Mary Wharton and Campbell, although he says Mary was 9 in contrast to other reports saying she was 13.

        Does the book on George Thomas Wharton Collins say much about his ancestors? If so, do you know of any source for the book?

        Thanks, William Okie

  13. Thanks for sharing your Collins family’s story with Renegade South. Perhaps a reader will be able to corroborate the story with one of their own.

    None of the names you provide suggest that this Collins family is related to the Stacy Collins branch, but more information might establish a connection.

    Vikki

  14. I was blundering through the internet and came across this site. Great info! I got out my mother’s bible and waned to share this information and thought it might be of help to some folks. It appears I’m the Gr. Gr. Grandson of Simon Collins. I’ve been in Florida for the past 29 years working on the Space Shuttle program and do travel to Houston occasionally and will take side trips to Polk County. When my father retired we moved to Big Sandy for a couple of years until his death in 1969. The time I did spend there as a kid was in the woods.
    My mother name is Abbie Alma Collins (Ainsworth) (b.1-7-1912 d. 5-23-1985) and my dad’s name is James Bevil Ainsworth (b.5-20-1904 d. 3-9-1969) his sisters are Bulah and Stella and his brother is Barney who was married to Verdie Collins. Clay Ainsworth’s dad is probably my first cousin. We lived close to them in Sour Lake, Texas in the 60’s and 70’s. My dad’s father is Henry W. Ainsworth (b. May 1875) and was married to Josephine Kirham (b. 6-26-1876/77 d. 6-4-1939), he has one brother named Oliver. Henry’s grave site is in an unmarked cemetery in China, Texas about 10-15 miles west of Beaumont. I’ve been told by my older brothers and sisters that either Henry or Henry’s father had married a Choctaw woman or he kidnapped her. I’ve never been able to make the connection. The Ainsworth side was mostly concentrated in Jefferson County near Beaumont. If you Goggle Rita Ainsworth you’ll see the colorful side of our family. I’m just glad she’s not my mother.
    My mother is the daughter of Columbus Riley Collins (b. 2-3-1872 d. 2-14-1928) and Sophronia Eldora Williford (b. 12-4-1881 d. 5-20-1945) both are buried in Felps cemetery in Hardin County Texas. She told me that her dad came from Jones County Mississippi to Texas as a baby but I’m not 100% sure. He could have been born in Texas. He has 1 brother and 5 sisters, Earnest and his 4 sisters are Lucy, Jessie, Cally, Ebb and Laura. Columbus was a farmer and owned a Crist Mill and small store in Big Sandy (Dallardsville). However, I’ve never seen any remnants of it. In my pre teen age years I recall my mother showing me the old rail tracks near the area of the mill that ran through Dallardsville. Probably once the train stopped running in the area they abandoned the mill and moved near Saratoga. Back in the early 60’s she took me to the site of “Kiser Burnout”. If I remember correctly it is somewhere between Big Sandy (Dallardsville) and Saratoga. If we only had GPS’s in the 60’s.
    Abbie’s grandfather and grandmother respectively are Benjamin Frank Collins (b. 1-11-1842 d. 5-22-1916) and Amanda J. Geiger (b. 3-14-1846 d. 11-27-1910) they are both buried in the Big Sandy cemetery in Polk County, Texas, in Dallardsville. Near the Big Sandy public school district. Mother noted that Benjamin Frank had 5 other close relatives. Harrison, Koun, Jett or Jeff, Lawrence, and Stacy Collins and a woman named Frances Collins (Loften). I don’t know the relationships are if they moved to Texas or stayed in Mississippi.
    Columbus Riley and Sophronia had 14 children. There’s not a lot to do in Big Sandy! I believe all are deceased with the exception of LaV Schnieder. She may be in a nursing home if still alive.
    I’m not 100% sure if the spelling and dates are correct but it’s what’s documented in her bible:
    V. Debs Collins (b.5-1-1900 d. 10-23-1957)
    Arie Edda Collins (Adams) (b.11-21-1901 d.?)
    Esker E. Collins (b.5-13-1903 d. 8-24-1939)
    Ola Blanch Collins (Elliot) (b.11-4-1904 d. ?)
    Jesse Archie Collins (b. ? d.?)
    Clarence Crow Collins (b. 8-1908 d.?)
    Johnny Rufus Collins (b. 12-9-1909 d. 8-13-1960)
    Verdie Eldora Collins (Ainsworth) (b. 5-1-1913 d. ?)
    Vernon Riley Collins (b. 5-1-1913 d. ?)
    Audie Elvira Collins (Hand) (b. 12-18-1914 d. ?)
    Gladys Lorraine Collins (Caruthers)
    La’V Collins (Schneider)
    Reginald Eldrige Collins.
    I’ve never read any of the books published but now that I know a little more of the history and the excellent information you and Greg have put together I will. I prayed last night giving thanks to Lydia for convincing Colonel Lowry not to kill my Gr. Gr. Grandfather and more so for my Gr. Grandfather.
    Thanks,
    Phillip (Phil) Riley Ainsworth

    • Very interesting indeed, I do not know much about our Ainsworth family history and have a hard time talking to anyone who does. I am from Verda Eldora Collins, as far as the Ainsworth’s are concerned all I have been told is that they are mean and that my grandfather no one will talk about. Do you know what the W. stands for in Henry W. Ainsworth, I was thinking William but not 100 percent? Ironically I was offered a job at NASA but took a healthcare job instead after I got out of the Air Force.

    • Fascinating. I remember you from school, Phillip. My name was Joline Jordan…..now Joline Jordan Overstreet. I ran across this site looking for info on the Kaiser Burnout. Which is located not far from where I grew up. As is the area known as “Union Wells”..which I now have leased as it is the only remnant I have from the days of hunting deer with dogs with my dad in the thicket.

      There is so much to know about the Collins and Overstreets. Fascinating stories. Especially Warren Collins. I’m not only married to an Overstreet, I am related to them on my mother’s side of the family. As well as related to the Collins’.

      Just amazed that I ran across you on here. Your name was brought up recently in a discussion with Theresa Cain and Cindy Murphy. Theresa now being married to an Ainsworth from the Nacogdoches area.

      What a small world.

      Joline Jordan Overstreet

    • Hello Phil this is your cousin Tonya Lynn (Ainsworth) Catalanotto, the granddaughter of Barney L. Ainsworth and Verdie E. Ainsworth would love to hear from you.

  15. Phil,

    Thank you so much for providing all this wonderful information on your branch of the Collins-Ainsworth family! You’ve given other descendants of that line a lot to plow through, myself included (even though I’m not a descendant, but rather a great-great niece of Simeon Collins’s wife, Lydia Bynum).

    I’m getting ready to visit Leiden University to talk about the Free State of Jones, but after I get back, I look forward to getting into my records to see if I can answer some of the questions you still have about the family.

    Meanwhile, I invite other descendants of Simeon and Lydia Collins–as well as the Ainsworths–to respond to your richly detailed message!

    Vikki

  16. Clay,
    Is Verde Ainsworth your grandmother? She is my aunt and my mother’s sister. I am not positive but I believe the W is for Wilson. I grew up in Sour Lake, Texas from 1954 until I graduated from High School in 1973. If Verde is your grandmother, she was married prior to marrying Barney Ainsworth. In her prior marriage, she had a son named Bobby Joe and her and Barney had two sons, and one daughter named Loretta. I think one of the son’s is named Don but I do not remember the other son’s name. Barney is my dad’s brother. If you live in the area or the next time you visit, you may want to visit the Phelps (Felps, not sure of the spelling) Cemetery near Saratoga, TX. Both Verde and Bobby Joe are buried there as well as her father Columbus Riley Collins and wife. Barney and my dad are both buried in the China cemetery.
    Henry W Ainsworth the father of my dad and Barney is buried in an unmarked cemetery in China, TX near Beaumont. My brother and his wife live in China, I think they have an idea where’s it’s located but I have never seen it. I hope that the gravesite is marked. The next time I am in the area, I will try to find it and if so, I will mark the location with a GPS.
    The feedback I got from my brothers, sisters and mother is that Henry Ainsworth was very kind and helpful but his wife Josie had a mean side. I have a half-sister in her early 80s; she is much more knowledgeable about the Ainsworth’s than I am. If I find more about them, I will share it with you.
    Phil

    • She is my Grandmother. Her name was Verda Eldora Collins. She had a twin brother Vernon. She was married to Barney Ainsworth Sr., my father is Barney Ainsworth Jr. My sister Tonya, lives in China and I think she knows where that Cemetery is. She was trying to find info about Josie (Kirkham)
      Ironically I was adopted when I was really young, long story, but I seem to know more about my family than most (Perhaps its a combination of my Bynum and Collins DNA :)) and love of history. I am definitely interested in learning as much as I can.

      Here is Verda’s headstone.

      http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=32954048&PIpi=14992108

  17. Clay,
    In my mother’s bible she documented that Josephine Kirham was born in 1876/77 and died on June 4, 1939 in Sourlake TX. Also, she listed Josephine’s dad as Milton Kirham and Marth Ford as her mother. No dates such as date of birth or death are noted. Your grandmother was very kind and sweet woman. I spent a lot of time with her growing up in Sourlake and Big Sandy.

    Henry W Ainsworth had three sons James, my father, Barney, Paul and two daughters Bulah and Stella. Your uncle Paul had very interesting life as well. He served in the Marines in the South Pacific during WWII, went in as a private and left as a captain. I had some very interesting conversions with him before his death that I would be happy to share with you. I’m sure my brother and sister have some photos that I could scan and share as well. Please let your dad know that I hope all is well with him and his brother.

    Thank you for being so interested in the past. If we don’t share the colorful stories and family history etc. we loss a big part of each generation and the reasons why we are here today.

    Phil Ainsworth

    • I was just recently in Texas this past weekend, my sister Leah and I went to Big Sandy and to Felps Cemeteries. My impression was that the Geigers were Jewish, but we also found out that the Willifords were Jewish as well. Benjamin Franklin Collins married Amanda Geiger, and their son Columbus Riley Collins married Saphronia Williford.

      • Clay,
        How do you know if they were Jewish? Although I don’t know for a fact, I seriously doubt it. Most of my mother’s brother and sisters I knew well were Christians. If you have any additional information please share it with us. That would be very interesting. I believe the surname Geiger is German, maybe Amanda was Jewish.
        Phil Ainsworth

      • On James Williford’s grave it says that he was Jewish, we took pictures that I can send if interested.

  18. I am Joe Adams, son of Arie Etta (Collins) Adams. My ancesters were, Simeon, Columbus, Franklin and others. My mother is buried in the Big Sandy cemetery. My two brothers Ted & Floyd live there, and I live in Hemphill Tx

  19. I have a pic (copy) of my g/parents Columbus Riley & Sophronie E Collins with the first seven of their 14 children. Deb was the first born in 1900 & my mother Arie was second in 1901. I also have a pic (copy) of grandma Collins and her 7 daughters. My uncle Reginald Collins passed away last year. Lavie is believed to be living with daughter Judy or Joan in Houston. My brother Floyd has done a lot of research on the Collins family. Floyd lives just past the cemetery & creek to the left on the location of the old Collins store and mill site

    • Hi Joe,

      Thanks for contacting Renegade South! You clearly have lots of information on the Columbus Riley Collins branch of the Simeon and Lydia Collins family, and I invite readers to post questions or comments for you. also, if you can send me jpeg files of any of your photos, I’d be happy to post them here.

      Vikki

    • I would love to see that picture, I have never seen them before and they are my great grandparents.

    • Joe, I am the youngest daughter of Reginald Collins. I guess I am writing to say how regretful I am not to have found you sooner. My father kept in contact with Floyd and he gave daddy all the information he had gathered on the Collins ancestry . Which I am so grateful for. Please know I wish I had known how to reach you all at the time of daddy’s death. He suffered with Alzheimers which eventually took his life. Daddy loved his family and the piney woods. He died December 10, 2008. He is buried next to his oldest brother, Debs Collins and his mother and father and other siblings in Thicket,Texas at Felps Cemetery.

      Debra Collins Smith

  20. I follow the son of Stacy and Sarah Collins, Newton Carroll Collins. I have not seen anyone following this line on this site. I know they only had daughters that lived to adulthood. Would be willing share information on family.

    • Geneva, you are so right that Newton Carroll Collins is missing from this site. You and I had contact in past years, and I thank you for your help then in locating his military records. Newton Carroll, a brother to Warren J. Collins, was one of the Collins brothers who moved to East Texas before the Civil War. During the War, he joined his brothers Warren and Stacy Jr, in the Big Thicket of East Texas, where they were known as “jayhawkers” who opposed the Confederacy.

      I would love to know more about Newton’s life after the war. I know he lived near San Marcos, TX, where I taught for almost 25 years. Can you tell us more? Was he politically active like his brother Warren and his nephew, Vinson?

      Thanks for writing!
      Vikki

  21. Newton Carroll, (N.c.Collins) along with his brothers was in the Big Thicket and was known as Jawhawkers during the war. In my research , I have found that at some point Newton was arrested and he served a term in Capt. B.F.Lilley’s Cavalry Co. to gain a pardon and clear his name. In the spring of 1864 he enlisted in Company K, Morgan’s Co. at Magolia, Anderson County, Tx. Company surrendered by E.Kirby Smith June 1865 in Galveston, Tx.
    Newton had married Elizabeth Ann (Eliza) Williams in 1861 in Hardin Co.Tx. They had at least eleven children, 5 girls and 6 boys. All of the girls lived to adulthood but family story is all the boys died at birth. The family lived 13 years in Hardin Co., 6 years in Hays Co. and then 12 years in Jack Co.Tx. Newton and Eliza died and were buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Jack Co. Texas.

  22. Came across this page by accident. My line is through my mom’s mom, Morgan Columbus Collins and Lucinda (sometimes spelled Lusendy) Jane Sumrall were her grandparents. If there are any photos available, I’d love to see them of any of the Collins line. I do have some old photos, but no identifiers on the backs. The few that are marked are of Collins, and some Blankenships. I haven’t yet tried to see where they fit. I just started my tree recently. Thanks for sharing the story.

    • Ms. Washbourne,

      I am a decendant of Morgan Columbus Collins and Lucinda Jane collins. through my great great grandfather John Bruce Collins (son of Morgan C. Collins) My mother and I have some family pictures and info. E-mail me at spreenk@gmail.com and I would love to get together with you! :) Let me know your information via our private e-mail communication! Look forward to talking with you!

  23. Do you know the place of burial of Stacey Collins Sr., Sarah Collins and Edwin Collins? I have been to the cemetery and have pictures somewhere of the stones. I do know where they are at and could go there. It has been over thirty years since I was there. The cemetery is off of FM 420 between Kountze and Village Mills. Turn north off FM 420 on Mustang road. There are two houses on the east side of the road at the end. The Cemetery is in the pasture in between the houses. These are the only marked graves. Story is there were many more that are unmarked.

    • Dale, go to findagave.com and look in Hardin Co., then go to Collins Cemetery. There is pictures of the stones of Stacy, Sarah, and Edwin Collins.

  24. Does anyone have a picture of Morgan (Morg) M. Collins? Morg was the son of Warren J. Collins and Tolitha Eboline Valentine.
    Morg was killed in June 1915 in Saratoga, Texas.
    Morg was my great grandfather. Only picture I have found is of Morg as a boy. We have never seen a picture of him as an adult.

    • Mr. Collins,

      My mother and I believe we “might” have a picture of him. It is not marked but we strongly believe it is him as Lucinda Jane (his wife) is in the picture wiht him and we have other pictures to match up to Lucinda Jane. E-mail me at spreenk@gmail.com to continue correspondence!

  25. Simeon Collins’ son, Matt Collins (1843-1923) was my Great Grandfather. I have read one of your books about Jones County and have found it to be fascinating. My maternal Great Grandfather, Thomas Hall was from Appling County, Georgia and also a unionist and served in the 1st Florida Cavalry (USA) in 1863 with his brothers. After the Civil War Thomas and his family migrated to SW Louisiana/East Texas. It is interesting that Matt Collins’ Confederate military service (7th Battalion, Mississippi Infantry) is engraved on his headstone but Thomas Hall has no mention of his wartime service.

    • John, It’s nice to meet you! James Madison, “Matt” Collins is a very interesting figure in the Free State of Jones. He is listed on Newt Knight’s roster of men, and his first wife, Caroline Mathews, was the daughter of Benagah Mathews, the local judge who filed Newt Knight’s first claim to the the U.S. government (1872) in which Newt applied for compensation for himself and 54 men who, he claimed, fought for the Union Army during the Civil War.

      Matt was forced back into the Confederate Army, as were his father and several other brothers, as a result of Col. Robert Lowry’s raid on Jones County. After the war, and after his father Simeon’s death, Matt’s branch of the Collins family (including his mother, Lydia Bynum Collins) moved to Texas, and lived near Simeon’s brother, Warren J. Collins. After Matt’s death, his second wife, Mary, applied for a Confederate pension based on his service with the MS 7th battalion, and the pension was granted.

      John, was your maternal great grandfather, Thomas Hall, connected to the family of Mary Collins (Matt’s second wife), or Caroline Mathews Collins, Matt’s first wife?

      Vikki

  26. Vickie, I have another question. On Benjamin Franklin Collins’ grave in Big Sandy, Texas, he has a Confederate marker showing he was in Hoods Texas 1st Cavalry. I have a hard time believing this and wonder if this is a mistake as I believe it should be 7th Mississippi. I plan on going down to Hillsboro soon but have you heard anything about this?.

    • Gary: Just came across your query. Your skepticism about the information on the Confederate marker on Benjamin Franklin Collins’ grave is well founded. The B.F. Collins who was a son of Simeon surrendered to Lowry’s forces in Jones County, MS on 25 April 1864 along with his father and two brothers: James Madison (aka Matt) and Morgan. All four were sent to GA to serve in Co. F, 7th Battalion MS Infantry. They were captured at Kennesaw Mountain, GA on 3 July 1864 and spent the rest of the war as prisoners in Camp Morton, IN. One problem is that the military records for Simeon, B.F., and Morgan were mistakenly filed with those of the 7th MS Regiment, a different unit. But muster rolls at the MS Archives prove they served with their kinsmen in the 7th Battalion.

      The B.F. Collins who served in the 1st TX Infantry was a different individual. Military records available on Fold3 show that this person was born in Galveston, TX and enlisted in New Orleans, LA on 16 May 1861 at age 15. He served as a musician until August of the same year when he was discharged for disability (bronchitis). The next year he enlisted in the 26th TX Cavalry (Debray’s) but received a second discharge after his father, John P. Collins, petitioned authorities citing the fact that his son was only 16 years old.

      Apparently when a survivor filed to have a CSA plaque placed on the grave, the service of the two men was confused. Hope this brings some clarity to the confusion.

      • I agree with you 100 %, but I do believe it is BF Collins, the son of Simeon buried there. Thank you,

      • My grandfather was Gabe Collins, youngest child and son of Harrison Taylor Collins who was brother of Ben Franklin Collins. Gabe Collins took me to the Big Sandy Cemetery where he pointed out the grave of Ben F Collins identifying it as his uncles grave. He remembered attending the funeral service. All the occurrences of the Civil War in Mississippi was a closely guarded secret which obviously the family escaped to Texas and hoped to leave behind in Mississippi.

      • That is correct. Harrison is the brother of B F buried there and the son ofSimeon and Lydia Collins.

  27. Hello, my grandmother was Carrie Hall Davis of Bryan, Texas. Her parents were Sabra Elizabeth Collina Hall and Ed Hall of Thicket,Texas. Sabra was the daughter of James Madison Collins. Ed and Sabra reburied in Phelps cemetery nearThicket. Their headstones are on Find A Grave.

    • Thank you for this information, Tylene! BTW, I just met another descendant of Simeon and Lydia Collins (Lynda Collins) at the Lone Star Unionism symposium in San Marcos, TX, this past weekend.

      Vikki
      Moderator

    • Tylene, Caroline Mathews married James Madison “Matt” Collins. It was Matt’s father, Simeon Collins, who married Lydia Bynum, Matt’s mother.

      Caroline Mathews, by the way, was the daughter of Jones County judge, Benagah Mathews. It was Benagah Mathews who coordinated and filed Newt Knight’s first claim (in 1870) for federal compensation for Knight Band members who had remained loyal to the Union.

      Vikki Bynum

  28. Thank you for clarifying Simeon and Matts wives. My grandmother said she was named for her grandmother. My grandmothers full name was Caroline Mahulda Hall Davis. She would never tell us her middle name but after she passed away my mom found it. She fully intended for the name Mahulda to die with her. The name Caroline has been passed down but Mahulda has not.

    • Tylene,

      Interesting history of your grandmother’s name. Can’t say that I blame her–“Mulhulda” is not exactly lyrical. I’ve discovered through research that many folks from that era of the South kind of made up names for their girls–similar to more popular ones, but a bit off the beaten path, like “Tolitha Eboline Valentine,” wife of Warren Jacob Collins.

      Thanks,
      Vikki

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