Hot off the Press: Ed Payne’s Article on Sarah Collins

I’m pleased to announce that Ed Payne’s long-awaited article on Sarah Collins (aka Sarah Collins Walters Parker) is now in print! Look for “Kinship, Gender, and Slavery in the Free State of Jones: the Life of Sarah Collins,” in the spring issue of the Journal of Mississippi History.

Sarah Collins was Ed’s GGGGrandmother, and Ed is one of the leading experts on the history of the Collins family of Jones County, Mississippi. Here, he tells the unique story of a woman who was the sister of several members of Newt Knight’s Knight Company. Prepare for some interesting surprises that remind us that history must be told in all its complexities, and with judicious use of evidence.

Congratulations, Ed!

22 replies »

  1. Here’s a mixed blessing for you: Ed, I hope they turn it into a movie!

    Can’t wait to read it. I’ve learned so much from postings. Your authority on the topic is evident.


  2. And I should add that Sally Collins was also the sister of the three brothers–Warren Jacob, Newton Carroll, and Stacy Collins Jr.–who led the Civil War jayhawkers of the Big Thicket in East Texas.



  3. Vikki, I have found names for Stacey Collins parents and am wondering if you think they could be valid. The source that I came upon says Christopher C. Collins born about 1768 in North Carolina was his father and his mother was Rachel Hendrick born about 1769 in Georgia. It also states that there are 7 more generations from this one. What do you think????


  4. Hello Merrillyn,

    Most Collins researchers believe that the Christopher C. Collins who married Rachel Hendrick(s) was Stacy Collins Sr.’s brother rather than father. The two men were about 18 years apart in age, but that was not unusual in large families from the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Shirley Insall Pieratt, author of The Ainsworth/Collins Clan in Texas, 1836, is the descendant of James P. Collins, who she claims was a son of Christopher and Rachel. She lists his other sons as Jacob, Hendrick H., Robert, Joshua, Christopher B., Benjamin, Joseph, and Eli. Pieratt agrees with other researchers that Christopher had brothers, including Joshua, Jacob, and Stacy. These four men and their wives all attended the same church early in the 19th century, and are discussed in my book, Free State of Jones.

    I also speculate in FSoJ that the Jones County Collinses descended from Jacob and/or Joshua Collins of Anson Co., N.C.; documentation is lacking, however.

    About ten years ago I obtained several Collins Wills from the NC State Archives, but was unable to make any definite links between Stacy Collins and the men who left those wills. His parentage is a dilemma that has frustrated his researchers for many years, and is likely to continue to do so.

    I’m interested in learning what evidence this latest researcher cites. Could you share it with us?

    Thanks so much for initiating this discussion; maybe we’ll learn something new!



  5. Ed,
    Can’t wait for your book on Sarah Collins! My gggrandfather was Morgan Columbus Collins 1846. He named one of his daughters Sarah Elizabeth Collins b.1883 or 1880? who is my ggrandmother. I just started researching about my grandmothers side of the family, Collins and find it very interesting.
    Cynthia Dotson


  6. Cynthia:

    No book on Sarah Collins Walters Parker. I wrote a fairly lengthy article about her that appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of the “Journal of MS History.” I can send you a photocopy if you provide your mailing address to Vikki, who will pass it along to me.

    Morgan, as you know, was a son of Simeon and is listed on the Knight rosters along with two brothers (Matt and Benjamin). Since his aunt Sarah (aka Sallie) sheltered the band, it makes sense he would name his daughter after her, especially since it was also the name of his grandmother (Sarah Anderson Gibson Collins).

    The two waves of Collins migration to Texas (1849-1854 and 1876-1879) are an interesting case of ‘what if?’ Sarah, who became a widow during the first migration, stayed in Jones County. Two of her grandchildren moved to Texas with their mother and stepfather soon after the 1870 census but returned to live with Sarah following their mother’s death in the mid 1870s. One of these was my gr grandfather: Warren Vinson Walters.

    The article has a fair amount of genealogical information tucked into the footnotes.

    Ed P.


  7. Sarah Collins Walters Parker article. I would love a copy of your article. My husband Newell Douglas Collins is a descendent of the Stacey Collins Sr. line. Our mailing address: Newell Collins 3154 Deadwood Dr., Mohave Valley, Az. 86440


    • Hello Ed:, Reading these recent postings on the Collins family raised a question, probably a long shot. Did any of the Collins clan settle around Falls County Texas? Some time ago I sent you some information I had found about Martha Rushing Walters Sumrall’s sister Josephine Rushing Herrington’s husband Joel appearing on the 1871 through at least 1878 assessment roll of Falls County, Their brother Eli F. Rushing was there in 1871 through at least 1876 and Jacob Sumrall, husband of her sister Martha, showed up by 1873 through at least 1878. Avery Owen, the son of Samantha Powell Rushing Owen, the half-brother of Eli, Martha and Josephine, is listed in the 1880 Falls County census, I didn’t think to check the tax assessment site to see when the Owen family first shows up, but by 1900 he was in St. Jo, Montague County, Texas, and in 1910 in Oklahoma. Curiously I also discovered that his grandson and I grew up together in Oklahoma and had no idea we were related! There was a Thomas Powell (don’t know if a relation) also in Falls County.
      I saved the images but can’t find the site for the documents, and didn’t think to check for a Collins family. I wonder if the fact that Sarah Collins was the mother of Martha’s first husband George Warren Walters and the families were all probably well-known to each other and related could have had an effect on where in Texas certain of the families seem to have moved either as a group or a wave of migration after the civil war. If you remember the site for those Texas tax assessment rolls I’ll go back when I have time and try to see if there is a Collins hiding around in there somewhere and when the Owen family showed up. It’s a long shot but that could explain how Eli, Martha,Josephine and Avery all spent some time together in Falls County before scattering further.
      Tim Sumrall


  8. Tim:

    The short answer is that I’m not aware of any Collins family members who settling in Falls County, TX — but only because I have not researched the question. My explorations have been almost entirely on the branches of Stacy Collins family who remained in MS. I did check my files and verify that John Hathorn Powell Jr settled in Alvarado, Johnson County, TX. He was the father of Samantha Powell Rushing and the grandfather of Martha Rushing Walters Sumrall. He had left Jones County in 1864, apparently unable to reconcile his duties as Provost Marshal with the activities of the renegades and his family tied to one of their leaders (Jasper Collins was his son-in-law). He and several family members are listed as buried in the Alvarado Cemetery. At least as far as greater Texas goes, the counties of Falls, Johnson, and Kaufman (where Martha and Jacob Sumrall lived in the 1870s) are in rough proximity (all 125 miles or less from each other).

    Perhaps some researchers who focus on the Texas branch of the Collins family can provide more information.

    Ed Payne


  9. I would love a copy of the article as well. Jasper Collins was my gggrandfather.
    2849 Gates Rd
    Bassfield, MS 39421


  10. Karen:

    I’ll mail you a copy in the next few days. Hope you read my short piece on “Jasper Collins and the ‘Ellisville Patriot’ on this site. Jasper remained an independent thinker his entire life. I’ll also send along transcriptions of an article about Jasper printed in a local paper just a few months before his death and his obituary from the same paper.

    Ed P.


  11. I would love a copy. My grandfather is Hanson E Collins whose dad was Wofford Collins and his father was Stacey Collins whose dad was Riley Collins. There a few of us here in Orlando. Wofford had a dairy is Mississippi and my grand dad had one here in Florida. 812 Royal Oak drive. Orlando fl 32809


  12. Debra: I believe the “R.E. Pitts” listed as lived with Sarah on the 1860 census is the same person enumerated as “Renvy E. Pitts” in Sarah’s household on the 1870 census. She was listed as age 4 in 1860 and age 13 on the 1870 listing (Ancestry mistranscribed her name as “Reney” and age as “41”). I did not uncover any further information about her.

    I am sending a copy of the article to your email. Thanks for your interest.


  13. I would be forever grateful if you could email a copy to me as well… I have been busy with my Walters family genealogy and found this page… certainly helps to answer a lot of my questions. I’ve read everything I can get my hands on in order to learn as much about these ancestors as possible.Planning a trip to Mississippi as soon as possible. My email address is….…. thank you


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