My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JAMES WALLACE COLLINS. Among the citizens of Greene County, who not only were born here, but have passed their entire existence within its limits, prominent mention is due the subject of this biographical notice, whose portrait* is presented in connection with his personal sketch. He is a successful agriculturist, and an educated Christian gentleman, whose integrity of character and kindness of disposition have won for him friends wherever he has been.

The farm adjoining his present homestead was the early home of Mr. Collins, and there he was born February 16, 1832. His father, William Collins, was the son of another William, who came from York County, Pa., to this section about 1812, when the father of our subject was twelve years old, he having been born in 1800. The grandparents of our subject settled on a piece of land near Clifton, about seven miles northwest of Xenia, on what is now known as the Fairfield Pike. There they reared a family of ten children, the brothers and sisters of our subject’s father being: Joseph, Samuel, John, James, Mary (commonly called Polly), Elizabeth (Betsey), Elinore, Grace and Ibbe. William married Miss Mary, daughter of Squire George Galloway, whose cousin, Maj. James Galloway, was of National fame. Her parents came to Oldtown from Louisville, Ky., about the beginning of the nineteenth century, having come from County Antrim, Ireland, some years previously.

After their marriage William Collins and his wife settled on the homestead where our subject was born, the husband having bought a farm, which he at once began to clear and improve. There his wife died at the age of fifty-four years, leaving four children — George, James W., Lydia C. and Martha. The latter, who is now deceased, became the wife of David Bradfute; Lydia is now the widow of Henry Corry. The father made a second marriage, choosing as his companion Mrs. Catherine Floy, who also bore him four children.

James W. Collins, the subject of this biographical notice, was educated with a view to entering the ministry, but owing to somewhat feeble health he was obliged to adopt a vocation which would give him exercise in the open air. He therefore chose a farmer’s life, beginning on eighty-five acres of the old homestead, to which he added sixty-six acres, and still more recently fifty-three more. The most of the land has been taken by him from the forest, placed in a state of thorough cultivation and furnished with excellent improvements, which include all needful buildings, fences, fruit, etc. For fourteen years he lived in the city of Xenia, but returned to his farm in 1886, his wife being then in very poor health, and only living about two years after their return to their former home.

The death of Mrs. Collins took place October 30, 1888, after a happy wedded life of a quarter of a century, her marriage having been celebrated in 1863. She bore the maiden name of Mary J. Gordon, was born in York County, Pa., and was a daughter of Andrew Gordon, for whom her only child is named. The son is now a young man, and living with his father on the farm on which his early life was spent. He has an excellent common-school education, and having a taste for farm life, will probably continue in that line of business.

Mr. Collins and his son belong to the United Presbyterian Church, of which the deceased wife and mother was also a member. She was reared under the old school Presbyterian teachings, and Mr. Collins in that branch of Reformed Presbyterianism popularly known as the Seceders Church. He belongs to the Republican party, and has always voted that ticket. His father was one of three men who voted the first anti-slavery ticket in this county, and was a director in the great underground railroad. Our subject well remembers that when he was a lad of some seven years he helped hitch up the team to convey a party of colored people who had been hidden in their house, to the next station, on their flight for liberty. There were six women and one man in the party.

*A portrait was included in the original printed volume.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

View additional Greene County, Ohio family biographies here: Greene County, Ohio Biographies

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