Biography of Watson Collins
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Watson Collins, farmer deceased; one of the early pioneers of Coles Co.; born in North Carolina May 12, 1813, where he was raised to farming until 1831, when he emigrated with his father, Aaron Collins, and located upon Greasy Creek, Morgan Tp.; like most pioneers, the family were poor, and the subject of this sketch turned his attention to do what was in his power to the support of his father’s family; one occupation was getting out fence-rails at 25 cents per hundred; one season he worked at Vincennes, Ind., at $6 per month, the earnings being used for the support of the family and to procure stock; breaking prairie with five or six yoke of oxen was another occupation; his milling was done at Terre Haute, Freeport, Eugene and Palestine, this trip consuming from four to eight days, made with three or four yoke of oxen; his furniture was homemade; for chairs he made stools, and bedsteads were made by boring a hole in the side and end logs of his house, in which poles were inserted, entering a post where the ends met; this was known as the raccoon bedstead; there is now in the family a cupboard made by Mr. Collins, which is put together by wooden pins, not a nail being in use-a relic valued highly; he commenced the stock business by first buying a single calf, which business he increased until he became a large stock-dealer, feeding from 150 to 200 head of cattle for several years previous to his death, at which time he owned upward of 500 acres of land, and had 500 rented for his stock, etc. His marriage with Minerva McAlister was celebrated in 1836; she was born in Alabama April 13, 1815; she died March 21, 1857, leaving four children now living, viz., Mary Jane (born March 24, 1841), Margaret E. (born March 6, 1845-now Mrs. William Reynolds), Martha V. (born Oct. 26, 1850-now Mrs. W. E. Worsham), and Eliza A. (born June 29, 1856-now Mrs. Andrew Walton.) Mr. Collins died March 25, 1877, mourned and respected by all who knew him.