Henry Haight Collier, Collector of Customs at St. Catharines, was born in Howard, Steuben County, N. Y., November 28, 1818. His father, Richard Collier, was from Green County, in the same State. His grandfather, Isaac Collier, and his great-grandfather were originally from England. His mother, Mary, nee Haight, was of Holland extraction.
In 1835, our subject came to St. Catharines, where his elder brother, Richard Collier, resided, and spent two years in study at the grammar school; then returned to Steuben County, read law in Bath, at first with Edward Howell, and subsequently with Hammond and Campbell, the latter, Hon. Robert Campbell being afterwards Lieut.Governor of New York; but Mr. Collier never opened a law office. After studying the profession two years, in 1839 he went to Texas, and for six years was connected with the State and Treasury Departments of that commonwealth.
In 1846 Mr. Collier returned to St. Catharines, opened a general store, and was in mercantile trade here, at first with his brother, until May, 1877, adding the manufacture of lumber in 1850, and of agricultural implements in 1869, continuing the latter industry till 1875. He built one of the first saw mills on the new canal, on Lock No. 5, in this city.
In July, 1877, he was appointed Collector of Customs, and that office he still holds. His public life was commenced in 1859, as Village Councilor, he holding that office from fifteen to twenty years. He was Deputy Reeve and member of the County Council two terms, and Mayor in 1872 and 1873, being elected without opposition, and making a public spirited and efficient Chief Magistrate. He was Chairman of the Board of Water Commissioners of the city, during the time that the works were being built. He has been a Justice of the Peace for twenty years or more.
The political affiliations of Mr. Collier have always been with the Reform Party, and for many years he was very active in its interests. He is a conscientious man, cherishing his views with the utmost sincerity, and aiding in their promulgation because he believes that, faithfully carried out, they are for the best interests of the country.
Mr. Collier is a Knight Templar in the Masonic fraternity, and an Odd Fellow.
June 1, 1858, he married Cornelia, daughter of Moses Cook, of “Westchester Place,” St. Catharines, and has a daughter and son. Mary J. is a graduate of the Female Seminary at Hamilton, and Henry Herbert is a student in the University of Toronto.