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Yuma County Pioneer Photographs:

Thomas J. Collins, Witherbee

Possibly is the Thomas Jefferson Collins born October 10, 1834 in Wayne County, Indiana, marrying Elizabeth Ann Tracy September 1858 in Jefferson County, Indiana, then marrying Melinda Elizabeth Cook February 20, 1859 in Doniphan County, Kansas.

In 1850 Gentry County Missouri, Samuel Collins is 37, Sidney 34, and they have James 17, Thomas J. 15, William H 9, Martha 7, Marget 5, Samuel 3, and Eliot 1.

Thanks to Don Collins !  My great great grandfather, Samuel Collins, was born October 28, 1810 in Gallia County, Ohio, the youngest child of Jesse Collins and Jenny Ewing. In 1830 the Collins family moved with others to Madison County, Indiana later settling in Hancock County. On September 4, 1831 Samuel Collins married Sidney Ingels, the daughter of Joseph and Nancy Crooks Ingels, in Madison County. Later in 1842 Samuel and Sidney Collins moved to Gentry County, Missouri and still later, about 1853, to Andrew County. Then in the Spring of 1855 they moved across the river to Doniphan, Kansas where Samuel, perhaps under the auspices of the Massachusetts Immigrant Aid Society, set up the first steam saw-mill in Kansas. One history of Doniphan County calls the saw mill "a very complete affair for the times and cost not far from ten thousand dollars." He is also said to have assisted, perhaps as a lay preacher, the Rev. A. L. Downey who established the first Methodist Church in Doniphan. Samuel Collins was very active in Free-State politics and during the summer of 1855. Several of the special elections held his section of Doniphan County mention his name, sometimes as an election official and sometimes because his saw mill served as a polling place. During that summer he was one of several persons elected to be delegates to a Free State party convention to be held in October at Big Springs. Another delegate elected from Doniphan was a man from Kentucky by the name of Patrick Laughlin. Laughlin was also elected as a free-stater. He and Samuel Collins attended the Big Springs Convention together passing through Pottawattamie on their journey to pick up another free-state delegate who was a son of the famous John Brown who would arrive in Kansas a few months later. Samuel Collins and Pat Laughlin both served on the Platform Committee at the Convention and from the report of the committee, it is clear that he and many of his free-state colleagues, while opposed to slavery, still held very prejudiced views of blacks. As the documents below will show, Laughlin was in reality a spy for the pro-slavery forces and revealed himself as such a few days later in the incident at the office of Dr. Oscar Brown in Doniphan. This argument led to the confrontation the following morning on the main street of Doniphan in which Samuel Collins was killed by Laughlin and his friends. Following are several accounts of the incident at Doniphan which took place prior to the better known Coleman - Dow episode. Most of the many accounts of Samuel Collins' death are written from either a free state or a pro slavery point of view. It seems likely that a more object I've idea of what actually happened emerges when one reads them all together.

The same post has Samuel dying October 25, 1855, buried in Doniphan, Kansas.

Children :James Wesley Collins, Thomas Jefferson Collins, Nancy Jane Collins, Phoebe Ann Collins, William Harrison Collins, Martha Collins, Margaret Collins, Samuel Harry Collins, Eli Franklin Collins, Elias Perry Collins, Mary Emaline Collins

One tree said that his brother-in-law James Wm. Ingles was with him in Nodaway County, Missouri.

The following account is from the November 7, 1855 edition of the Daily
Kansas Freeman:
We learn by a gentleman who has just arrived from the North part of the Territory, that a serious affray occurred on Thursday last at Doniphan city. The parties were Patrick Laughlin and Samuel Collins. Laughlin professed to
have made known to the public the secrets of a Free State organization in Kansas. Collins charged him with being a traitor --whereupon Laughlin drew a pistol and shaped it at Collins. Collins then drew a bowie knife and
rushed towards Laughlin, and cut him severely. Laughlin then shot Collins dead on the spot. Laughlin was wounded severely and is not expected to survive. It is also reported that several other persons were engaged in the affray, and a few of them were wounded.


From Chapter 4 of John Brown: The Making of a Martyr by the late Poet Laureate of the United States, Robert Penn Warren. Published by Payson & Clarke Ltd. New York, 1929 and reprinted in 1970 by the Scholarly Press in St. Claire Shores, Michigan:

Up near the town of Atchison lived an Irishman by the name of Patrick  Laughlin, who for a while had been active in one of the secret societies with which the region abounded. He had been elected as delegate to the Big
Springs Free State convention, and had attended along with Samuel Collins, the vociferous proprietor of a sawmill at Doniphan. After the convention had finished its business Laughlin returned by way of Lawrence, where G. W.
Brown, editor of the Herald of Freedom, exhibited to him Sharpe's rifles, blue jackets, white trousers, drums, and all the paraphernalia of freedom.
Mr. Brown gave him four sealed books containing the constitution and ritual of the grand encampment of the "Kansas Legion," which Laughlin was to administer to Free State sympathizers at his home of Doniphan and in the
country north of that town. Laughlin was also to take statements from Free State men concerning the conduct of elections and Missouri interference; later he maintained that the men who gave him this information admitted it
to be exaggerated. Laughlin did not organize the project encampments of the "Legion," and after he suffered this change of heart, his sense of honor somehow did not impel him to keep the secrets of the brotherhood to which he
had belonged.

On the night of October 24 Pat Laughlin went to the office of Dr. Oscar Brown--the Territory seemed full of Browns--to get medicine. Samuel Collins, who had heard of Laughlin's disclosures, dropped in. Collins remarked that a certain James Foreman had given Laughlin a cow to change his politics, and the accused made an appropriate retort. The lie was passed several times. A friend of Collins, James Lynch, tried to smooth matters out and got a threat for his pains. "God damn you, I will kick every rib in you out of you!"  Lynch was a sensitive chap and once said that this embarrassed him very much coming from the mouth of a friend. Collins left the office with a promise to Laughlin: "You or I will land in hell before breakfast tomorrow morning." Mr. Lynch overcame his embarrassment and rushed out to get a peace warrant on the fire-eating Collins; he told the constable that the specified time was before breakfast. The night was cold, with the hardest fall freeze John Brown had ever seen south of Elba, but Laughlin was in the street before breakfast with a bucket of flour on his arm. Collins rushed out from his sawmill, brandishing a double-barrelled shot-gun, and demanded that Laughlin take back a variety of his previously expressed sentiments. "I haven't got anything to take back, said Laughlin, and his adversary aimed at the
point-blank range of six yards. The gun clicked. There was a little one-sided knife play, with Laughlin dodging around, dangling his bucket, until Collins stabbed him in the left side. Collins again raised the gun with the idea of finishing his job. This time the gun went off, but Foreman, the alleged donor of the political cow, had knocked down the barrel so that the charge entered the ground at Laughlin's feet. Lynch, who had been aroused by the shout that Collins was going to kill everybody in town, fired from a doorway. The shot spattered on a board wall, Collins laid his sensitive friend out with the butt of his shot-gun and charged Laughlin. The victim of Collins' bowie knife now ran no chances. He got his pistol out , took cool aim, and fired. Collins dropped his upraised gun-barrel, and
clasped his arms about his chest, crying, "O Lord." He wavered in his tracks for a moment and then sank dying to the ground. Mr. Collins' son clubbed Laughlin. His nephew threw a half-brick at the prostrate Irishman.
Laughlin's brother got hold of the pistol, fired at the nephew, and deliberately presented it at the son. Young Collins threw up his hands. "Don't shoot me. He's killed my father!" Laughlin's brother lowered his gun. The ground was covered with blood," said a witness, like one had been butchering a hog."

The excitement did not die down quickly. No one took out a warrant for Laughlin, but there were threats of summary justice for both him and Lynch from Free State sympathizers. The house where he lay was guarded, and as soon as possible he was moved over the Missouri line to St. Joseph. The news of the bloody matter must have reached Brownsville just before John Brown wrote his letter home on November 2: "I feel more and more confident that slavery will soon die out here,...and to God be the praise!" It is interesting to speculate what John Brown's sentiments were in the light of his own Masonic adventure and the murder of William Morgan; it is not at all unlikely that those sentiments were, logically, somewhat inconsistent. In any case the incident became grist for the Free State mill.


One witness testified " After Mr. Collins had knocked Mr. Lynch down, he turned round and advanced towards Laughlin, with the barrels of his gun raised as for a blow. Mr. Laughlin had his pistol out and fired at Mr. Collins, who dropped his gun barrels and clasped his arms around his breast, and cried out, "Oh, Lord!" He soon sank down on the ground, and died in a few minutes. Mr. Laughlin was knocked down with a club, just after he
had fired his pistol, by son of Mr. Collins, I think. After Laughlin fell, Mr. Collins' nephew threw a piece of brick at him, which just brushed his hair. Mr. Laughlin's brother ran up at this moment, and seized the pistol which had fallen out of the hands of his brother, and fired at Mr. Collins' nephew, who was running away, and the ball just grazed the side of his neck. He then turned and presented the pistol and young Collins, who had knocked his brother down, who threw up both hands and asked him not to shoot, that his father was dead, and he desisted."

So it's likely that Thomas and/or William were present when their father was killed

In 1860 Atchison County, Kansas Sidney "Colins" is 45, male ? has Wm. 20, Martha 18, Margarett 15, Saml 13, Elias P. 9,  and Mary 7.

William Harris Collins
William H. Collins, was born on July 3, 1840, at Hancock county, Indiana. He father was Samuel Collins and his mother was Sidney (Ingels) Collins. He enlisted on Oct. 12, 1861, in the Seventh Kansas Volunteer Cavalry Co. I. as a Private. He was killed on Dec. 5, 1862, while in action at Coffeeville Mississippi. He's on the rosters as being from Doniphan.

Sidney is in Atchison in 1865, 50, with Samuel 18, Margaret 20, Perry 14, and May 12.

In 1880 Richardson County, Nebraska Thomas J. Collins is 43, born in Ohio, Elizabeth 38 Missouri with William 15 and Frederick 5, both Nebraska.

One tree said a brother Elias Perry Collins born 1850 in Gentry County Missouri, married Sarah Jane Ward 1869 in Doniphan County, and died 1834 in Arvada, Colorado.  Elias was also in Fort Collins in 1900.

In 1890 Larimer Count Elias P. Collins transferred twenty acres in 14, 7N 69W "with water" to B.B. Harris for $1,800., and B.B. Harris transferred a lot in Fort Collins for $1,800. 

In 1894 Elias P. Collins transferred eighty acres in 12, 6N 69W for $2,000 to Johanne Helgeson.

He was a Second Lieutenant in the 13th Kansas Infantry.

One tree said they had Eleanor A. Collins June 1860 in Atchison, Kansas,  William A Collins Feb 7, 1865 in Nebraska.

Thomas cash-claimed a quarter in 30, 5N 42W in 1891

In 1900 Larimer County is Thos. J. Collins, Jr. born Oct 1834 in Ohio, married 41 years to Malinda born August 1841 in Mississippi.  He's a farmer, and they have four "inmates"

They're in Larimer County in the 1910 and 1920 census years.

In Grandview Cemetery, Fort Collins, "Lieut" Thomas J. Collins, 1834-1925 and Malinda Elizabeth Collins - Aug 10, 1844 - Dec 20, 1928.



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