Cottonwood County MN Biographies--Thomas Collins
"History of Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties of Minnesota, 1916"

The late Thomas C. Collins, former mayor of Windom, president of the Cottonwood County Bank at Windom and later president of the Farmers Bank of that same city and for years actively engaged in the milling business, which is now being carried on there by his son, was a native of Canada, born on January 26, 1857, son of Samuel and Tamar (Kaye) Collins, both natives of England, who were married in Canada and who came to Minnesota in 1859.

Samuel Collins was a millwright and an experienced miller. Upon coming to this state he first located at Faribault, where he was engaged in the milling business for a time, after which he moved to Northfield, thence to Owatonna, where he built a mill, which he later sold and then went to Minneapolis, whence, after a sometime residence, he went to Hastings, where he remained until his removal to Windom in 1878. At Windom he became associated with E. F. Drake, the first president of the Omaha Railroad Company, and erected a mill, with which he was connected the rest of his life, his death occurring in 1882, he then being fifty-five years of age. His widow survived him for more than thirty years, the most of which time she spent in Minneapolis, her death occurring at Faribault on November 17, 1914, she being seventy-nine years of age at the lime.

Thomas C. Collins was but an infant when his parents came to this state from Canada and was twenty one years old when they located in Windom in 1878. He had received an excellent education and had also been carefully trained in the mills of Northfield and Minneapolis in the details of the milling business. Not long after the Collins mill was built at Windom he was made superintendent of the same and about two years after his father's death he bought the mill and continued to operate the same the rest of his life. Thomas C. Collin from the very beginning of his residence in Windom took an active part in the business and civic life of that city and was one of the organizers of the old Cottonwood County Bank, which he served as president as long as it existed, and when it went into voluntary liquidation and the Farmers Bank of Windom was organized he was elected president of the latter institution and held that position until death. Mr. Collins also held extensive commercial and realty interests in the city and was otherwise active in business affairs. He was an ardent Republican, had served his party as a delegate to national conventions and was mayor of Windom for two terms. He was prominent in Masonic affairs, having been a Royal Arch Mason, a Knight Templar and a noble of the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, affiliated with Osman Temple, of the latter order, at St. Paul. He was likewise a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, of which his widow is still a member, and was also a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, affiliated with the lodge of that order at Mankato, and of the Modern Woodmen of America and of the Woodmen of the World, also a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He was an active member of the Episcopal church at Windom and for years served that church as warden. His death on October 1, 1914, was therefore deeply felt in all circles hereabout, for he had done well his part, not only in the business life of the city, but in the civic and religious life of the same and his memory will long be cherished in this community.

It was on December 15, 1880, something more than three years after his arrival in Windom, that Thomas C. Collins was united in marriage to Ada Belle Smith, who was born in Livingston county, New York, December 13, 1860, daughter of Lyman Delos and Diantha (Combs) Smith, both natives of New York state, the former born on July 15, 1835, and the latter, April 32, 1833, who moved to Michigan in 1866, thence, in 1868, to Wisconsin and from the latter state, in 1871, to Windom, where they spent the rest of their lives. Lyman D. Smith erected a store building upon his arrival at Windom and became one of the foremost merchants of the town in its early days. He was a Republican and took an active part in local political affairs, for some time acting as a member of the school board. He was a charter member of the Masonic lodge at Windom and was also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Mr. Smith had been reared a Baptist, but his wife was a member of the Episcopal church, in the beneficences of which she took a warm interest. Lyman D. Smith died on Febmary 27, 1881, and his widow survived him many years, her death occuring on November 22, 1910.

To Thomas C. and Ada Belle (Smith) Collins two children were born, a son and a daughter, Richard Delos and Mabel. Richard D. Collins was born at Windom on May 11, 1883, and received his elementary education in the schools of his home town. Upon completing the course in the high school he entered the University of Minnesota, from which he was graduated in 1904. He then became actively associated with his father inthe milling business at Windom, under the firm name of T. C. Collins & Son, and since the death of his father has continued to operate the mill. He is a Republican and has served several terms as a member of the Windom city council. On June 1, 1905, Richard D. Collins married Edna Kinyon, of Owatonna, this state. He is a Royal Arch Mason and Knight Templar at Luverne and warden of the Episcopal church.

Mabel Collins was born on January 6, 1887, and following her graduation from the Windom high school attended St. Mary's School for Girls at Faribault. She married the Rev. E. Lofstrom, professor of Greek at Seabury Divinity School at Faribault, who died on February 22, 1916, leaving four children, Marjorie, Thomas Collins, Caroline and William Kaye. Mrs. Lofstrom and family reside at Faribault. Mrs. Collins, widow of Thomas C. Collins, still makes her home at Windom and retains her earnest interest in the various social and cultural activities of her home town. She has large property interests, her late husband having had extensive land holdings in Cottonwood county besides considerable real estate in Windom, including that section of the city known as the Hutton & Collins addition to the city, about half of the houses in the north part of Windom having been built on that addition. The family also owns a valuable farm in Amo township. Mrs. Collins's father also was the owner of a valuable farm and property in Windom.