John Collins and his Son Thomas Collins
Contributor: comstock Created: 2 years ago Updated: 11 months ago
In the quiet little farming village of Collingbourne, Willshire, England, John Collins was born in the year 1802. Here he was taught by his father to tend sheep, to farm, also to work in the timber. When grown to manhood, he married Priscilla Shefford. She also was born in Collingbourne, They had nine sons and two daughters. John taught his sons the same occupation as his father had taught him and they became efficient farmers and knew how to prepare timber for many different purposes
One son by the name of June was a little different from the rest. He wanted to see more of the country in which he lived. So he left his father's home and wandered away not letting his parents know anything of him for some years. Sickness came upon him and it was then he wanted his mother and home. Upon his return home his mother did not know him. She could hardly believe this man to be her son. This sickness proved to be serious and after a few weeks of suffering he died. He had not been christened in the Church of England and did not belong to any church, so the minister of the Parish refused to give him a christian burial. This made the Collins family feel very bad. A friend of the family told them they knew of two ministers of the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. who could give him a Christian burial. The words spoken by these humble servants of God were so consoling to John Collins that he investigated and became a member of the Church.
By this time some of his older sons were married. One daughter Joyce, had died, the other daughter Sarah had married Samuel Liddiard and gone to America. So with his wife and his son Thomas, who was born January 12, 1832, in Collingbourne, Also his son Joab, and another son Acquilla with his wife and three children. They also brought George Cook, son of his daughter Joyce who had died. They prepared to migrate to Utah.
He sold all he had and said goodbye to his fatherland in May 1866. On Easter Monday in 1866 he boarded the ship called the American Congress. Elder John Nickleson who was returning from a three year mission in England was in charge of the company on board ship, about 500 saints in number. They were about seven weeks on water without much stormy weather not much sickness and no deaths. The ship, however drifted out of its course. Elder Nickleson tells in his journal what a panic arose among the people when they thought they were about to be dashed against the breakers. He says it was a miracle that they were saved from a watery grave.
The ship landed in New York Harbor July 4th, where the passengers witnessed the most wonderful fireworks. This was one year after the close of the Civil War and the harbor was full of gunboats and warships. The passengers were not allowed to land until they passed through Castle Gardens the following day and were inspected, then landed at Albany on the 6th day of July. Railroads were not plentiful in those days so after a roundabout way into Canada, the little party landed back in Omaha, Nebraska.
There it took John Collins and his sons some three weeks to prepare them for the hardest part of their journey. They bought two span of mules, two yoke of oxen, two wagons which they loaded with flour, beans and other provisions, also a tent and plenty of bedding. They were better prepared for crossing the plains than earlier pioneers. They were told upon entering Utah Valley that no finer span of mules had ever been driven into Utah unless it was the span that President Brigham Young had to drive his carriage
When all was in readiness for their journey, they joined a company of Saints under the leadership of Captain Rowlings. It being early in the month of August the weather was warm and the pioneers were quite encouraged and eager to start on their eventful journey.
As the immigrant train wended it's way farther and farther west the weather began to grow colder, frost appeared, and the days were chilly. Sickness came upon them and some of the Saints died and were buried by the wayside and they with the hundreds who passed on before them, marked the trail of those wonderful people who gave their lives for the Gospel's sake. At one time the Indians came charging upon them. The captain ordered all women and children in the wagons while a few of the men with an interpreter went out to meet them. They found the Indians only wanted to do some begging and trading which they did and then went on their way.
About two weeks travel from Salt Lake City, John Collins took sick with Mountain Fever and on September 21, 1866, he was released from his suffering and called home to journey no more. They buried him that evening on a little hill by Willow Creek, known as Hams Fork in Wyoming. Actually named Granger, Wy. Twenty miles farther they came to the grave of their son John who had died while crossing the plains two years previous, leaving a young wife to continue the journey alone. It was with heavy hearts the Collins family resumed their journey. Mother Priscilla,could not reconcile herself to her loss. She became somewhat rebellious and wanted her sons to go back to their old home. Thomas being the oldest son now took charge of family affairs, and after about nine days travel these weary pioneers were welcomed by their relatives into Salt Lake City, stopping there overnight to rest. They came to Provo the following day where they were made comfortable. The sons now with the help of their mother took up land in the West part of the City. Thomas also took up a 160 acre tract land of Provo Bench, where he built a little log cabin which was among the first homes on the bench. Grandma Priscilla Shefford Collins, never seemed happy or content with out her sweetheart, died Feb 2, 1872.
Samuel Liddiard, a brother in law was a prosperous building contractor, who taught the Collins brothers the mason trade in which they became very efficient.. Uncle Tom, as all called him forsook the farm and worked at the mason trade. He was a very quiet man minding his own business, always ready and willing to do a good turn to his fellow men.
In the year 1874 Thomas Liddiard, a brother of Samuel Liddiard,migrated from England and settled with his family in Provo. In this family was a golden haired girl about 17 years of age. Her name was Mary. Upon her arrival she was taken to see the Collins family and here Thomas lost his heart at that first meeting. He being so much older than Mary had little hope of winning her, but after perseverance he won her hand and on the 23rd day of February 1877 they were married.He took her to the Collins home where they lived and there blessed his two children, a boy and girl. He, now, with the help of his brothers built the three brick rooms which are now stand at the corner of eighth west and Center Street. It was remodeled owned and occupied by his youngest daughter, Sophia Beck. Here seven more daughters came to them. He was a very devoted father always interested in his children, making all their playthings, such as chairs, table, doll cradles and jumping jacks. Hazel said she remember only one doll buggy which was bought from the store. He also made willow baskets of all sizes and shapes.
On the 29th of November 1898 Thomas Collins passed to that great reward, which is given to these worthy pioneers leaving his young wife with one son and eight daughters, the youngest five months old. Ever prayerful for her children, Mary Collins with the help of the Lord raised her children who at the present time are all married but are residents of Provo and Salt Lake City.
On the 7th day of February 1915 Mary Collins passed to meet those she loved who had gone before. The children of these sturdy pioneers are ever thankful for the sacrifices made, that they could enjoy the fruits of their labors.
They willingly gave of their labor to help build the houses of worship that their children and others could learn of the Lord. Among these buildings that will ever stand out as the work of our pioneer fathers are the Utah Stake Tabernacle, State Mental Hospital, ,BYU, Old City Court House and the older brick homes of Provo City.
This history gathered and written by Hazel Collins Mitchell on the 12th of February 1926.
Hazel gave a report of this story to the Daughters of the Pioneers in Provo, Utah.
Biography of Aquilla Collins Sr.
Contributor: comstock Created: 2 years ago Updated: 11 months ago
Biography of Aquilla Collins
November 20, 2014
On the 12 of November 1836, at Collingbourne, Wiltshire, England, Aquilla Collins was born. In this village he grew to manhood, he was employed in the summer on the small farms of the town, and in the winter he worked in the woods, making hurdles for fencing sheep.
On July 1860 he married Lemira Hillier.
Sometime later they heard the Gospel preached by some Morman Missionaries in their native land and in time become members of the church. On the 19 May 1866, he and his wife, three children, his father and mother and two brothers left England for America on the good ship "American Congress", and after spending six weeks on board of the ship, they arrived in New York. They were taken to Castle Gardens, where they passed inspection and later took the train to St. Louis.
They left St. Louis on a steamboat and traveled up the Missouri River for two days and two nights and arrived in Omaha, Nebraska. They bought two span of mules and two yoke of oxen and two wagons and left for Utah in the Captain Willys Company. They endured many hardships while crossing the plains, One brother died in Florence Nebraska. Shortly after the father died and was buried at Hams Fork. After more than three months journey they arrived in Salt Lake City on 28 Oct 1866, And came to Provo shortly there after.
In April 1867 they traded one span of mules, a wagon and some clothing for a two story adobe house on the corner of 7th West and 1st North St.
The trade that he learned in England, that of making hurdles, severed him well in Provo for there were plenty of willows growing along the river banks of the river, of which he wove fences around many of the farms of Provo. Later he and 3 brothers Job, Emla, and Thomas, secured some land and started to farm, following that occupation for some time, they bought 160 acres of land on the Provo bench and helped to make canals, to bring water on to the land. They planted the first apple orchard on Provo Bench. While clearing off the sagebrush the land they lived mostly on cornmeal mush and molasses.
Aquilla and his two Brothers Job and Emla assisted in building many of the homes in Provo. They helped build the Old Stake Tabernacle and the Provo Woolen Mills, the old Opera House, (now the Armory) and the first part of the State Mental Hospital, the Brigham Young University, which was then known as the Brigham Young Academy, the Fifth Ward Church, the Parker School House, Timpanogos School, Franklin School, First Ward Church, Startup Candy Factory, and the old ZCMI Wholesale House. Aquilla, Job and Emla built the foundation for the Third Ward meeting house as a donation and helped and then helped in building the meeting house, which was then built for the Relief Society Room, And was later used as a home for the Janitor of the ward.
It was said of these Men, that if they were asked to do a thing, they could always be depended and would do the best they could. They were honest men and did a lot of good in helping to build this city what it is to-day.
Aquilla Collins was a great reader of the Bible, if any one wanted to find a passage in the Bible, he could always turn to the exact page, thus showing his knowledge of it Where ever he might be, Aquilla Collins seemed to capture the love of every Child, he would always have some little stories and jokes to tell them which would enlighten their lives and make them happy.
It is through this great character and the ability of Aquilla Collins, and also many others like him, that built this beautiful city of ours (Provo) and made possible for us to live and prosper. Many more things could be told that they have done in the building line.
Aquilla Collins died 9 Oct 1911, Provo Utah.