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 • Travelers Rest Baptist Cemetery
 • Montezuma
 • Macon County
 • Georgia
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Miles Harold Collins
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Birth: Feb. 5, 1816
Virginia, USA
Death: Feb. 9, 1893
Macon County
Georgia, USA

Miles Collins was a handsome, black-haired, gray-eyed Scot who had an incredibly rough childhood. Born in 1816, he was only six years old when both parents died. He was sent to live with an uncle in North Carolina, on the Virginia border; and the story goes that he was used as slave labor, being forced to work very hard, and given no shoes to wear.

At the age of twelve he ran away to Norfolk and managed to apprentice himself to a famous architect. By the time he was twenty-one he had become a master builder and had built some famous buildings in Virginia and had also been responsible for having drawn up plans for some of the finer homes.

One day, the story goes, he saw a beautiful girl and it was love at first sight. Her name was Jane Rebecca Babb. Miss Babb was from a wealthy family, her mother being a Lee from the family of the famous Lees of Virginia. Jane's mother, however, died when she was small; and she too knew emotional hardship growing up. It was said that her stepmother was very unkind to her.

Miles managed to meet Jane, but her father was not interested in his daughter being in the company of a man whose family background was beneath her. He forbade her to see the young man again, but apparently her friends did not agree with his decision and so lent their homes as meeting places for the two. In about 1841 two of Jane's sisters and her two brothers, Jack and Tom, conspired to sneak their love-struck sister's clothes out of the house and aided the couple in eloping. Jane's third sister would have revealed the elopement plans to their parents if she had known of them, but everyone managed to keep the information a secret from her. The couple headed to Georgia, using an ox-drawn cart as their mode of transportation.

On the way their first child was born and died in South Carolina. They would lose two more infants before arriving in Hawkinsville, two years after their journey began, where they spent their first year. While living there, Miles was hired to build the first residence in Montezuma, Georgia. At some point during this project, he decided to build his family a nice home a few miles east of Montezuma in Spalding; and they spent the remainder of their lives there.

Miles and Jane had five sons and three daughters. They were John, Tom, Robert, James, George and Mary Lovenia (twins), Anna Elizabeth, and Ella Lee. The youngest daughter, Ella Lee, was born in 1864. Sherman was in Atlanta and everyone expected him to march straight down to Andersonville, 20 miles south of Montezuma, to free the prisoners there. John, the oldest of the couple's children, had been a guard at Andersonville until he contracted tuberculosis and came home to die.

Miles Collins was a Quaker who never believed in slavery and never owned any slaves. It was said that he even helped several Negroes escape. Still, he was moderately wealthy, in a state where Negroes were considered a basic ingredient of wealth. (Story by Linelle Lang Radford)

---------------------------
Travlers RestTravlers Rest ~ Excerpt from "History of Macon County"

By Mrs. Louise Hays
PP 126 to 127

Barnard's Crossing, about two miles below Montezuma, was on the old Indian Path from Columbus to St. Mary's and had been in use for many years. The beautiful spring and pleasant grove on the east side of the river attracted the traveler and it was more or less a camping ground in the last part of the last century.

Miles Patrick relates that a party from South Carolina moving westward came to the river and, finding the river up and crossing upon the flat impossible, encamped there and called it "Traveler's Rest" A settlement soon followed and Traveler's Rest became the social and religious center for the planters for many miles around.

The very name breaths of romance and peace and homely hospitality. In the 1830's and 1840's in the glowing sunset of evening, Travelers' Rest offered a haven to the peddler with his pack, the dust stained traveler on his weary horse, the farmer with his train of wagons carrying cotton from Macon and intermediate points to Albany, to be carried down the Flint River to the Chattahoochee and to the Gulf.

A state coach made this same route, running between Macon and Albany, by way of Traveler's Rest, crossing the Fling River by ferry at what is now known as the Jim Brown place, and on by old Hamburg to Americus and Albany. An octagonal shaped post, hewn out by Miles Collins, father of R.O. Collins, supported a sundial which marked for the traveler the passing of the hours. This post is still standing, in good state of preservation, to point out the exact location of old Traveler's Rest. *

There is attached a story of Travelers' Rest copied from an old Montezuma record; written in 1894 by Wm Harrison, father of Jim Harrison. It will be noted that he deals with the town proper, but Traveler's Rest had a wider scope than its immediate limits. The membership of its churches included the planters for many miles around. So leaving the town to his pen, it is well to record some of these distinguished pioneers who lived in lordly fashion on their plantation.

Early Migration to Macon County and the area around Travelers Rest began in the early 1820's with Miles and Jane Collins arriving from North Carolina in the early 1840's.

Traveler's Rest bridge fell in 1862 or '63 and a flat was installed and used until 1867 or '68 when it was moved up between Montezuma and Oglethorpe where the bridge now stands. 
 
Burial:
Travelers Rest Baptist Cemetery
Montezuma
Macon County
Georgia, USA
 
Created by: Dawn
Record added: Feb 28, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 48925961
Miles Harold Collins
Added by: Dawn
 
 
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