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COLLINS, Patrick

Patrick COLLINS, residing on section 4, La Prairie township, with post office at la Prairie Center, Marshall county, is a representative of that class of men of foreign birth who easily assimilate the American ways and customs, and, while always having a high regard and love for the place of their birth, yet believe they must give their best to the country of their adoption. He is a native of Ireland, born in County Wicklow, March 17, 1828, and came to this country a youth of seventeen years, his parents having died some time previous. He was the first of the family to come to America, and accompanied by two neighbor boys, he crossed the ocean, and at once proceeded to Albany, New York, near which place he secured work on a farm for one month. At the expiration of this time he went to Chester county, Pennsylvania, where he worked at farm labor for about five years, four years of which time working for one man, receiving a salary of from nine to eleven dollars per month.

Leaving Pennsylvania, Mr. COLLINS came to Illinois, stopping for a time at Chillicothe, Peoria county, and later securing work with Mr. STONE on his farm at Lawn Ridge, La Prairie township, Marshall county, where he remained one season. He then returned to Peoria county, where he remained one year, after which he came again to La Prairie township, and for two years rented a farm and raised two crops. The desire had long possessed him of being the owner of a farm, and with the accumulations of the years spent in America he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in Bureau county at a cost of eight hundred dollars. He purchased this land without having seen it, and when he came to look it over he was not well pleased and determined to sell, which he did at an advance of one hundred dollars on the purchase price. With the proceeds of this sale he purchased eighty acres where he now resides at a cost of one thousand dollars. This was all prairie land and partially improved, but all the land adjoining was in a wild state. His nearest neighbor, Francis GRADY, lived one mile away and was one of the pioneers of the locality.

When Mr. COLLINS purchased the place he was yet a bachelor, and for one year after lived that lonely life and was then married to Miss Margaret MONIER, of Saratoga township. In the little log house, 16x24 feet, then standing on the place, Mr. COLLINS took his young bride, and the two commenced together the battle of life. But little progress was at first made, the nearest market for his grain and produce being Chillicothe, which was just then reached by railroad. By and bye the tide began to turn and an era of prosperity dawned upon our subject. Hard work and the practice of economy brought its results, and with their savings eighty acres lying on the north, then owned by Albert POWELL, was purchased at a cost of one thousand nine hundred and fifty dollars. Mr. POWELL, who was a young man, had begun the improvement of the place, but thought it advisable to sell to Mr. COLLINS, who about this time also bought one hundred and sixty acres in Stark county, which he shortly sold at an advantage. With the proceeds of this sale he bought other lands adjoining his home farm, one hundred eighty acres of which cost him three thousand dollars. From this time on he continued to add to his possessions, securing next the HILL farm of one hundred and sixty acres, for which he paid nine thousand dollars. This farm was well improved with good buildings. Another purchase of eighty acres about this time cost him four thousand dollars. He next purchased one hundred and sixty acres opposite the home farm, for which he paid ten thousand dollars. This also was well improved. Since then he has added one hundred and sixty acres on section 32, paying for it eleven thousand dollars. On section 31, Whitefield township, he owns a farm which cost him fourteen thousand dollars for one hundred and sixty acres. Both of these farms have fine houses and barns. All of these tracts of land yet remain in his possession and are operated by himself and family.

Politically Mr. COLLINS is thoroughly independent. He does not believe that all the intelligence, all the honesty, or all the rascality belong to any one party, and in exercising the elective franchise he votes for the man he considers best qualified to fill the office desired. In politics he has always been interested enough to vote as the opportunity was given him. He has never had the time or inclination to serve in official position, but filled the office of road commissioner for twelve years, because it was a position in which he felt a special and personal interest. Farming has been his life long work and that he has always been a good farmer is proven by the great success which has followed him for a period of over forty years since making his first purchase of land in Marshall county. Stock raising has been a specialty with him, and upon his place at all times may be found one hundred head of cattle, a number of horses and many head of swine. He believes in keeping the best stock, and therefore you will find on his place Norman horses and the best breeds of cattle and hogs. He ships his own stock, and, having no commission to pay, his profits are usually satisfactory.

To Mr. and Mrs. COLLINS nine children were born – Thomas, Charles, James, John, Eddie, Sadie, Anna, Lottie and Della. Of this number Thomas married Miss Mary ODELL, daughter of William ODELL, of Steuben township, and now resides on a farm near Lawn Ridge; Anna is the wife of H. T. WEBBER, of La Prairie township, while the rest yet remain at home. The wife and mother died February 27, 1895, loved and respected by all, and was buried in the La Prairie cemetery.

Mr. COLLINS has never identified himself with any religious organization, but has contributed to those in his vicinity. The golden rule has been his life motto and therefore he has avoided all strife, never having in his entire life had a law suit. A friend of education, he has given more or less of his time to educational matters and has served more than twenty years as a member of the school board and is at present occupying that position. As a friend and neighbor no one has a better reputation than Patrick COLLINS, of La Prairie township.

Extracted April 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.

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