Recently, Dean Collins, a descendant of Stacy and Sara Anderson Collins, shared with me several photos that I am pleased to post on Renegade South. Dean is descended from Stacy and Sara’s son, Vinson A. Collins of Jones County, Mississippi.
Vinson, (not to be mistaken for his nephew and namesake, Vinson A. Collins of East Texas) is pictured here:
Born January 16, 1815, Vinson Collins was past the age of conscription during the Civil War. He was nonetheless as important a figure in Jones County’s anti-Confederate uprising—popularly known as the “Free State of Jones”—as were his numerous brothers, nephews, and cousins who took up arms against the Confederate Army. Even Vinson’s sister, Sarah Collins Walters Parker, is famous for having sheltered pro-Union family members at the expense of her own safety during the Civil War (Sarah’s own son, George Walters, served and died for the Confederate cause during the war).
Soon after the Civil War ended, on July 15, 1865, many of Jones County’s anti-Confederate citizens petitioned Mississippi’s provisional governor, William L. Sharkey, to overturn the county’s 1864 “rebel” elections of probate judge and sheriff and fill those offices with Unionists. Governor Sharkey compromised by allowing dual appointments of both the pro-Union and pro-Confederate candidates. His decision resulted in pro-Union Vinson A. Collins serving alongside pro-Confederate William Hood as probate judge of Jones County.
Three years later, during Reconstruction, Vinson briefly served as delegate to the 1868 Mississippi Constitutional Convention from Smith and Jones County. (Note: the state legislature had previously renamed Jones “Davis County” in honor of Jefferson Davis, but the name “Jones” was restored in 1870).
Below is the back side of the same photo of Vinson A. Collins. Dean reports that the inscription was likely recorded by his grandmother, Bertie Wigington Collins.
The following group photograph includes Clay Crittenden Collins (1853-1940), a son of Vinson and Nancy (Bynum) Collins, and his wife Clarissa, “Classie,” (1864-1950). Dean’s grandmother, Bertie Collins, speculated that the photo was taken at the old Lebanon school/church house. Dean believes that it is “most likely a Collins family gathering” since so many members of the Collins family seem present. Following the photograph is a diagram that identifies a few of the people who were gathered that day. Readers are welcome to offer opinions of who’s who by keying additional names to the diagram numbers.
Below is a close-up of Clay Crittenden Collins, son of Vinson A. and Nancy (Bynum) Collins, standing with wife Clarissa around the year 1917:
Here is a 1925 photo of a school class of Soso, Mississippi. Bennie Crittenden Collins, son of John Calhoun and Francis (Hinton) Collins, grandson of Clay and Clarissa Collins, and great-grandson of Vinson A. and Nancy Collins, is kneeling in front row, second from left:
Thank you so much, Dean Collins, for sharing these family photos with Renegade South!