Last revised: 09/09/06 06:12 PM
Reunion Information: My contact sources have passed away and I have been unable to identify any replacement contacts. If you have any information, please contact me.
A large amount of information for the Collins & Spears family came from the book 'Pioneer Stock: The Collins & Spears Family in Eastern Kentucky' 1998. This information was used and repeated here with the permission of the author, Paulina Garza (now deceased)
There are three Collins line who are found in present day Johnson County Kentucky.
They are all separate and distinct families, but are often confused as one.
Valentine Collins, the father of Otary Collins, immigrated from Hawkins County, Tennessee to Floyd County in the early 19th century, a number of years before Rhesa and Mary Collins settled in the John's Creek area. Sometime in the 1850s a William Collins moved to the northwestern corner of Johnson County from Wise County Virginia.
Valentine's family, having immigrated from Hawkins County, Tennessee, was probably of Mulungeon origin and it is possible that William Collins of Wise County Virginia was also.
Rhesa (or Reece) was from Frederick County, Maryland. Research does not show any tie with Mulungeons for Rhesa's family. His father, Patrick, was said to have come from Ireland before the Revolutionary War.
Family tradition says that Patrick and his brothers were the first to come to America from Ireland, complete with a price on each head. How much of this is true remains to be seen. In the 17th and 18th centuries, England ruled Ireland with a heavy hand. Pouching a rabbit on lands claimed by English gentry could bring a jail sentence, so a price on the head of an Irishman could have been anything. England often forced the Irish from their homes, pulling the houses down so the family who occupied the dwelling could not return. Perhaps Patrick and his family were indentured servants upon their arrival in America.
Patrick is said to have a brother, Michael. No record of Michael could be found in western Maryland, but across the river, in Virgina, we find a record of a Michael Collins who evidently lived in an area south of present day Winchester. It remains to be seen if this Michael was Patrick's brother.
It is a possibility that Elizabeth Pepper was Patrick's second wife and not the mother to the two children that we know are Patrick's offspring: Rhesa (or Reece) and Senah. They may have been more born to Patrick, but we have not been able to discern yet just who they are.
Patrick left Frederick Co. after the 1790 census and made his way to Washington Co., Virgina. In 1798 Patrick purchased 92 acres of land on the south fork of the Holston River in Washington Co. It is assumed that by 1830 Patrick had died. He would have been getting on in years. He fought in the Revolutionary war and was probably born around 1760, or before. So by 1830, Patrick would have been in his seventies, an old man by the standards of the day.
Rhesa, as far as can be determined, was born in Frederick Co., Maryland about 1775. Mary, too, was probably born there. Although we have not found any documentary evidence as proof, it is believed that Mary was a Brooke. In the 1790 census of Frederick C., the father Patrick Collins and his wife, Elizabeth, were next door neighbors (or next door farmers) to a Brooke family. In the Collins family we find a number of Brooke or Brooksie Collinses, se we suspect that Mary may have been a Brooke. It is not had to imagine that Rhesa married the girl next door.
Sometime between the 1800 and 1810 federal census, Rhesa and Mary left Frederick Co. to join Patrick in Washington Co. It is believed they left Maryland after 1808 as their son, Christopher was born about 1807 in Frederick Co. In Washington Co., four children were born to Rhesa and Mary: William, Isaac, John and Senah
In the 1820 census Patrick, Rhesa, William, Isaac, Samuel an John are listed as living next door to each other so we assume they all farmed the land Patrick bought on Holston. We can only speculate upon the relationship of these men. Were William, Isaac, Samuel, and John also sons of Patrick? Or were they brothers to Patrick? We only know that Rhesa was a son and that he and Mary named three of their sons Isaac, William, and John. The other son was a Christopher. In this family, for generations, the habit was to name newly born children after aunts, uncles, grandparents and historical figures. We can safely assume that Isaac, William and John were named after family members. We just don't know what the relationship was.
Sometime before 1830 the decision was made to move to Floyd Co., Kentucky where land was purchased on John's Creek. By that time Rhesa and Mary were advancing in years. By 1830, Rhesa would have bee about 55. By the 1840 census Rhesa is no longer listed, only Mary, so we know he died sometime between 1830 and 1840.
Back in Frederick Co. Rhesa's sister, Senah married Daniel Albaugh and remained in Maryland. Rhesa and Mary had a daughter whom they named for Senah Collins Albaugh. Once Patrick and the others abandoned Frederick Co., Maryland for greener pastures in Washington Co, Virgina, Senah likely never saw her family again. Many of the descendants of Senah and Daniel still live in the Frederick Co., Maryland area.
Christopher is considered to be the progenitor of most, if not all, of the Collinses who settled in the Daniel's Creek and John's Creek areas of Kentucky. Christopher is recorded as having bought land on John's Creek in the early 1830's, prior to his marriage to Cynthia Spears.
Cynthia's story is not commonly known. At the time she married Christopher Collins she was 17 or 18 years old and had a 3 or 4 year old son (Thomas Whitt Spears). After the birth of this child a court hearing was held in an effort to get Cynthia to reveal the name of the father. In such a time in history, fathers were forced to provide for illegitimate children so as not to burden the community, Cynthia refused all pleas and took the secret to the grave with her.
In 1832 Christopher married Cynthia and Thomas Whitt Spears, at last, had a father.
Wiley Marion stayed in the Johnson Co., Kentucky area. Spencer Perry married and moved to Minnesota. Thomas Whitt Spears moved to Pike Co., Kentucky. (refer to Spears page for additional family information for Thomas)