Thomas Franklin Collins Sr and Rebecca McGee Collins came to Texas
in 1872 with their children and their families from Bibb County, Alabama.
This group, about 30, went to Selma, Alabama by train and then traveled
by water to Alexandria, Louisiana. They finished the trip in
covered wagons to Texarkana which was nothing but a pine thicket.
One son, Jessie Collins, made the entire trip on horse-back.
Thomas F Collins Jr, born 1850 in Alabama, married his first cousin
Mary Elizabeth Collins and they had four children:
1. William E "Ed" born 1875
2. Robert Lee "Bud" born 1877
3. W Howard born 1880
4. Myrtle, died as a small child
This wife, Mary Elizabeth Collins, died and Thomas F Collins Jr married
Susan Elizabeth Johnson, born 1865 near Camden, Arkansas. They
were known as "Uncle Tom" and "Aunt Lizzie" to
all the neighbors. They had fourteen children:
1. Allen J born 1883
2. Nick born 1884
3. Richard M born 1885
4. Susie McKown born 1888
5. Carter born 1889
6. Cora C Chandler born 1890
7. Beatrice C Blackwell born 1892
8. Delia Leona Williams born 1894
9. Marshell C born 1896
10. Millage C born 1898
11. Cleater C born 1901
12. Emmett F born 1903
13. Sam C born 1905
14. Willie Sallie S Tittle born 1907
Tom and Lizzie Collins bought 106 acres of land at Chalybeate Springs
and paid $6 an acre in gold for it. It was all in timber.
Indians helped him clear the land. He built a one-story house
where the last fourteen children were born. Tom Collins died
in that house on July 27, 1931. Mrs Collins continued to live
there until September 1941. At that time she moved to Mt Pleasant
to live with her son Cleater Collins and his family. Lizzie
Collins died in 1945. They are both buried at Rock Creek Cemetery.
How do you raise seventeen children? Well, you work very hard.
They had a small country store and farmed. They had fruit trees;
they picked fruit, figs, and berries and sold them. They preserved
their fruit and vegetables for the winter. The families butchered
their stock for meat and the children worked almost as hard as the
adults. "Aunt Lizzie" kept a big supply of Watkins
products to take care of those who were ailing.
Tom and Lizzie Collins took as active part in the Baptist Church and
Sunday School. Tom Collins was a trustee on the Chalybeate Springs
School Board and a deacon in the church.
When Allen J Collins died in a freak hunting accident in 1919, the
community decided to have a singing on the 3rd Sunday in April with
dinner on the ground in his memory. They continued until 1941
and now 50 years later they have decided to have a reunion at the
New Boston Community Center in memory of Chalybeate Springs.