St. Clair County Remnants Of The Past


St. Clair County
Remnants Of The Past

History of Henry and St. Clair Counties, Missouri, 1883

Early Settlers of Collins Township

The county court of St. Clair County in 1872, complying with the provision of what is known as the "new township law", cut old Washington asunder and from it constructed two townships, one to retain the name of the "father of our country", and one to yet receive a name. The citizens of the new township came forward at this time, and with great appreciation for the services of one of the judges of the county court, asked that it might be named in honor of Judge William Collins. Accordingly, the county court complied with the request and named the new township "Collins".
Perhaps the first settlement ever made in Collins Township by the pale faces, was made by Daniel Molder, of Tennessee, who in 1831 came to Collins and located on section 21 of township 34, range 24. Mr. Molder, who seems to dispute the first settler with Jacob Coonce, with characteristic energy built him a log hut, and proceeded to establish himself a permanent home in the then wilderness. His nearest neighbor was some miles distant. But this was not to last long, for in the spring of 1832, James Francis, of Tennessee, settled near him and established neighborly intercourse. Another neighbor made his appearance in this district in 1833. Isaac Culbertson cast his lot with his brother pioneers in Collins Township. The immigration of 1834 brought such pioneers as Albion Ayres, Isaac Rogers, William Allen, Richard Deshazo, A.M. McMiner and L.R. Ashworth, who lived in Roscoe, a minister of God's word, who, while attending to the duties of his little patch of corn, would on Sunday mornings visit some near neighbor, who lived not more than three, four or five miles distant, and by preaching the good word cheered the hearts of many downcast spirits to renewed exertions.
After this, followed Peter Francis in 1835, Francis Yoast in 1836, Samuel H. Martin in 1837, Robert Gardner in 1839, and William King the following fall.
Of the old pioneers, there now remain but two. These are Mr. Yoast and Mr. Peter Francis. Mrs. Dolly Martin, the wife of Samuel Martin, is still living, and enjoys the friendship, esteem and love of all with whom she is acquainted.
The first school in the township was taught by a man named Wayne. He charged for his services $2.50 per scholar for a term of three months, and received in pay, as legal tender, coonskins and corn. He taught in the neighbors' houses and "traveled around". From this time the educational interests of Collins Township was one of the chief interests, and today this township ranks second to none in educational facilities.
The first manufacturer that ever trod the soil of St. Clair County, was Samuel Martin. In 1836, Mr. Martin's family were nearly out of the necessary wearing apparel, and as there were no ready made clothing to be found closer than St. Louis, it devolved upon him to furnish a means for manufacturing the necessary goods from which to make it. Therefore, in July, he commenced work. None knew what he was constructing, but while looking at the great beams, some fourteen feet long, swung to the roof of a log kitchen, some surmised what would be the result of so much patient labor.
They were correct in their surmises, for after three months of hard work Mr. Martin produced a full grown loom. His wife was the first to use it, finishing on the 13th day of September a piece of jeans seven yards in length. This was the first piece of cloth ever made in St. Clair County, one yard of which is now in the possession of Mrs. Dolly Martin, the lady who wove it.
It is not known to a certainty who was the first child born in the township, but perhaps John R., a son of Daniel Molder, born in 1838. The first death was in the month of July in 1834, and was a son of Mr. Isaac Culbertson.
The first school house of which we could receive any information was located in section 12, and was built of logs; dimensions, twenty by fourteen feet. After this, several such buildings were put up, but all have been replaced by structures more commodious.
The first sermon preached in Collins Township was by the Rev. L.R. Ashworth, at the house of Mr. Culbertson.