Red Collins, one of the oldest timers in the county, was born in the state of Missouri in the year 1833. He came to Texas with his father in the year 1839 and stopped in Red River district near where Clarksville is now located. The whole country was a perfect wilderness, even what few people were here were hardly civilized. In that day the most of the male inhabitants were refugees from justice, having committed some crime against the laws of the state from which they emigrated. Not being of a first-class people, and coming into the wilds of a new country, their actions and deeds knew no restraint and many times their conduct was a source of annoyance and often a terror to the law-abiding element among the few citizens who had moved into the county, many of whom left the Republic and returned to the state from which they had come.
In the year 1840 many emigrants came into Texas and received a hearty welcome from the early settlers. “Misery loves company.” This gang of ruffians soon gave place to a better class of people and the country soon wore an aspect of civilization. Mr. Collins has seen men shot down at the gambling tables and at mustang pony races, in as reckless a manner as if they were nothing more than wild beasts. There was no law to restrain the murderer, none to restrain the thief, save that of mob law, which was frequently resorted to for the protection of the better element of citizens. In the year 1844 the citizens of Hopkins County pursued and arrested four men of this murderous gang, and after a kind of court-marshal or mock trial, the entire number were hung. This hanging was done some four miles northwest from Black Jack Grove on Smith’s prairie, near Dunbar branch. People came a distance of one hundred miles to see this gang of thieves executed, and to engage in the execution A desperado whose name was Johnson, originally from the state of Missouri, was the leader of this gang of outlaws. Rev. Wash Barker, Capt. Merrit Branom and Dave Hopkins were at this execution and rendered service on the occasion by guarding the prisoners and encouraging the hanging.
Mr. Collins, at the age of twenty-four years married Miss Malinda Fanning, daughter of Dr. Fanning an old pioneer physician and a worthy gentleman. Four children were born to this union. One of these children is dead, the others are married, have families and are doing well. All have useful husbands, who are good citizens of the county. Mr. Collins had the misfortune to lose his wife, and subsequently married Miss Virginia Scarborough. By this marriage nine children came to them. Four of this number are married and are respected citizens of the county; the remaining five live at home with their parents, and bid fair to make good and useful citizens of the county. Mr. Collins has been successful, and has given all of his children a good home. He has wisely made provision for the homes of the younger members of his family who are under his control and protection. He has no patience with evil doing, and has never been known, even among the wilds of early life, to encourage a dishonest deed. Red Collins, Red Crisp and Samps Crisp, a negro boy, gave the names of the following creeks in Hopkins County: Coffey Creek, Dry Creek, Running Creek, and Elm Creek. Mr. Collins is now in feeble health.