Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Collins Family

When I was in Indiana a few weeks ago, I did some research on a family. The family of Barton and Annahritte Collins. They are no relation to me, however I found their story interesting. They were the first settlers of the town of Jamestown in Steuben County, Indiana. The same county that Dennis Wooster, the brother of my great-great grandfather, had settled in many years later. Did they know each other? Anna certainly knew the Wooster’s, but Barton had died before they settled there.

These two families were near neighbors to each other. As often happens in rural communities, one of their grandsons did not go far when it was time to choose a bride. Their grandson, Stillman Collins married the oldest daughter of Dennis, Frances Wooster. And thus, the two families had a connection and is where my interest began.

While at the library in Angola, the county seat, I found some new information on the family. In amongst this was a picture of their home in Jamestown.

I looked at this picture and then I looked at it again. It looked familiar. I had seen this house before.

Earlier that morning, my husband and I had been driving around the Jamestown area. We visited the cemetery where the Wooster family is buried. Just down the road is a farm that I knew Stillman and Frances lived on. I knew it was the same farm his parents had lived at and was part of the property that his grandfather had originally filed for when he became the first settler. By comparing old property maps with contemporary maps, I had found where this farm was and had taken pictures of an older farmhouse on the property. I felt for sure, but had no proof, that this was the house that Stillman and Frances lived in and her parents had visited from time to time.

The house has, of course, been resided and remodeled. There is now a modern addition on the back of it as well. But it is definitely Stillman’s grandparents house and so, must be the house that they lived in! In fact the article that accompanied the early picture, mentions that the south room of the house was always referred to as Grandmother’s room, further indicating that this would have been Stillman’s parents home when his grandmother was elderly. George Collins was the oldest son of Barton and Anna and inherited the farm where Stillman grew up and took over from him.

Although certainly not a great breakthrough in research, by researching the collateral family I found the answer to my question. I knew I had stood in the driveway of my distant cousin’s home. I need to do further research as I have a feeling that if the owners had been home that morning, I would have met some more cousins. Distant, of course, but still, related to me.

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