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 John Williams Collins

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John Williams Collins

  • Birth 7 Jun 1870 Mariposa, Mariposa County, California, USA
  • Death 4 Jan 1962 Merced, Merced County, California, USA
  • Burial Hornitos, Mariposa County, California, USA
  • Plot Sec. B.
  • Memorial ID 14974027

Husband of Mary Ann Reeb and father of:
* Shirley Bell Collins
* Leslie Edward Collins
* Rosine Marion Collins
* Marguerite Elizabeth, Mrs Fred Morse

Secondly, husband of Rose B. Clough, the widow of Sam Clough, married 9 Jun 1924 in Marin County.

Written by John Collins in 1959:
I was born on June 7, 1870, and was only two months old when I left Mariposa. I went to school in Quartsburg and Hornitos. Wm. Eganhoff was the Superintendent of Schools. George and Frank were his brothers. I worked for Crocker-Huffman, drove a supply team from Merced, California, to the camp at Six-Mile House in 1889.
The old Jenny Lind Mine (the old Washington Mine) was the deepest mine ever in Mariposa. My father was underground boss for 16 years. The mine had two shafts, the old Washington Shaft and the Jenny Lind Shaft. They met down below. My father lost fortunes by not knowing about cyanide work. The Washington Mine was rich in sulfides. They had their own chlorination works, to separate the gold from sulfides. Also they had a mill. Caught them after they left the mill. The tailrace came to our place and at right angles into the creek. The sand in the middle of the creek would be three feet deep or more. Didn't know't know what to do with it. Found out later there was more gold in that sand than anything out of the mine had. Araan Bates, Sam Bates had the express office, was Sam's son. He came back up there with a cyanide outfit and out of the little sand that had been left around there he gleaned up $3,000 or $4,000 dollars worth of gold.

My father worked at the No. 9 Mine for awhile. A few years after that the Grand Mine started up and they came down after him to work at the Josephine Mine. When I was a boy the Pine Tree Mine had the drill working. They drilled around the holes and fired with a battery. They would go out of the tunnel where they thought they would be out of danger. The crank turned two ways, one to see if everything was all right, and the other to set the charge.

Once an old fellow who was manipulating the crank turned it the wrong way and the blast went off too soon and killed 8 or 9 men.

I worked on the ranch all the time. I took a bunch of cattle to Stockton, California, one time, which took about five days. George Thorne went with me. We went by Le Grange, California, and the old Mariposa Road, and came in to Stockton at Nightingale, California. There was a 75-foot water trough there and the cattle were very thirsty. When they arrived, they jumped right into the trough. A fellow Came out, we were worried about disturbing the place, and said to let those cattle drink.

George Reeb, my mother's brother, Joe Thorne, and my father, who drove the cattle wagon, were with me. We got to Stockton at night. We wanted to stop about 10 miles out, but the fellow who bought the cattle met us and said he wanted the cattle brought in that night.

That was in 1894. I was worried because we had to cross the street of town at night to get to the butcher's yard. Next morning I saddled the horse and counted the cattle, and they were all still there. They paid my father and me in gold and silver, we got $10 a head, and threw in 20 calves. We only had that one big bunch of 175 head. We sold another bunch of 50 to 60 head to John Stitts, on the old Adobe Ranch in Madera, California. They sent up after those. Before we sold them we were having a lot of trouble with cattle straying to the Merced Falls and we would never see our cattle again. Went down there one day, and there was a cow and a calf which had our brand on them. We knew it was not our stock because it was a Durham cow. We drove them on home. I told my father it was not ours. He flew off the handle. We sold this bunch of cattle to John Stitts and this cow and calf were in that bunch.

About a year later Father got a letter saying that one of those cows belonged to a Mexican fellow down there. Wanted to know what Father was going to do about it. Father told him that if that Mexican fellow was a better man than he was, he could have it. Received $16 a head for those cattle.

There was no bank in Merced and Father put his money in a safe at the No. 9 Mine. He told Frank Thorne that if he got a chance to, to invest it. There was a ranch, later sold to Wilborn, next to Fred McKays, that Frank Thorne bought with this money.

In 1898 I ran for County Supervisor. I am the only one left who had anything to do with the county government at that time.

My first wife and I were children together. Things got a little thicker all the time. We belonged to the Hornitos Amateur Dramatic Society in Hornitos. She was never in the plays, but we had this society. We were engaged to be married when about 18. We went together until I was 23 and my wife was 21. We were married in 1893.

After the death of my wife, I was married again in 1924 to Sam Clough's widow. Married the first time by a Justice of the Peace in the Merced Hotel. It was called the Cosmopolitan (Morgan's). We built our home after we were married. The eighth grade was the highest we could go in school. The high school was started in the old Presbyterian Church which was where the Pacific Gas & Electric offices are now. It was started in 1913. Dexter was superintendent of schools. (Miss Jones was in part of the time and I can remember her coming there.) Had a run in with Miss Jones one time about members of the Board of Education. There was a young fellow on the Board of representatives appointed from Hornitos. Before he was on, Mrs. Gallison, of Mt. Bullion was on. Wanted representative appointed from the Hornitos area, and they appointed him. When Miss James got hold of that she caught me by the old Corcoran place. I told her that I was a member of the Board of Supervisors, we appointed this man. (When Miss Jones said anything, it had to be that way. She was a very bright person.)

There is so much more of his rich memories located at The History of Edward Collins

Family Members






  • Maintained by: Anne Shurtleff Stevens
  • Originally Created by: Mary
  • Added: 18 Jul 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 14974027
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Williams Collins (7 Jun 1870–4 Jan 1962), Find A Grave Memorial no. 14974027, citing Hornitos Odd Fellows Cemetery, Hornitos, Mariposa County, California, USA ; Maintained by Anne Shurtleff Stevens (contributor 46947920) .