Joshua Collier was born October 6, 1832, at Manchester, England, a son of William and Margaret (Ridyard) Collier. In 1848, when sixteen years old, he came to this country in company with three cousins of his own age, Joseph Collier, Joshua Boydell, and William Birchall. He located in Racine County, first in Racine, where he worked at his trade as a ship carpenter, and later near Sylvania, where he purchased land. Subsequently his parents came to this country, and settled near him.
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In 1860 Joshua Collier was united in marriage to Alice Hurst, who was born in Tyldsley, Lancashire, England, in 1839. Her parents, George and Alice Mort Hurst, were also natives of Lancashire, the former being born in 1792, and the latter in 1793. They resided in England until the spring of 1842, when they came to the United States and took up land near Sylvania. Here they passed the remainder of their lives, Mr. Hurst dying in 1874 and his wife in 1853. During the year in which they arrived in this country many English families settled in Racine County, a number coming both in the spring and in the fall.
Joshua Collier and his wife identified their interests completely with those of their adopted country, and at the time of the Civil war Mr. Collier served with Company G, Second Wisconsin Cavalry Volunteers, remaining at the front until the close of hostilities. While in the army he contracted a disease which eventually caused his death. Six years of his later life were spent on a farm in Caledonia Township, and the rest on his farm at Sylvania, where he passed away in 1884.
Mr. Collier was a prominent leader in the pioneer community. He was progressive and public-spirited, and took an active interest in everything affecting the general welfare. He was a republican in politics and was also a strong advocate of legislation prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcoholic drinks. He was quite a prominent member of the Methodist Church, being active for many years as a local preacher. He also served his community in several other calm cities, holding school, town, and Church offices at various times.
To Mr. and Mrs. Collier were born five children, of whom four survive. namely: J. Z. of Union Grove, who is well known in Racine County, and who is now County agent for the Racine Times-Call; Mrs. Edwin B. Skewes, of Ives Grove, secretary of the Racine County school committee: Miss Louise Collier, who is a teacher in the English department of Racine high school: and Mrs. Effie L. Ford, who, with her husband, is connected with the AngloChinese College in Foochow, China.