Thomas Cottrell Collins

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Thomas Cottrell Collins

Ridgeway, Warren County, North Carolina, USA
Death 13 Jun 1909 (aged 77)
Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina, USA
Burial Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 19485401 · View Source
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THOMAS COTTRELL COLLINS was born June 18, 1831, on his father's plantation near Ridgeway, North Carolina. He married Mary Ann Arrington, daughter of John Arrington and Sallie Drake Arrington in 1854. Eleven children were born of this union, four of whom were born at the "Pleasant Hill" plantation in Ridgeway, North Carolina.

Thomas, inherited his grandfather Cottrell's love of education. He was a graduate of Wake Forest and became a great scholar and teacher. He raised a family just a few hundred yards north of his father's home on the Pleasant Hill property that bordered Smith's Creek. Additionally, he purchased a 370 acre plantation from his father's estate, at Aspen Grove. He farmed these lands until after the Civil War. Thomas was not physically strong and during the war he stayed home to raise food for the Confederate Army. He was a very patriotic man and felt that since he could not join his three brothers, Benjamin and James to fight, it was his duty to send someone in his stead. He hired an Irishman for $1,000.00 to go as his substitute.

After the war farming without slave labor was challenging. Thomas Collins had heard of the need for teachers in the primitive backwoods mountains of Western North Carolina and decided this was the time to sell out and follow his dreams of being aneducator. He sold the land on Smith's Creek to his brother Benjamin for $4,738 in 1867. Although we cannot unearth the records, he undoubtedly sold the land in Aspen Grove as well. Thomas took his wife and 6 of his 11 children and struck out for the backwoods frontier. His mother-in-law, Sally Drake Arrington ran an inn after her husband, John Arrington's death but decided to joined the family exodus no doubt helping with the children who were 10 years old and under. The train ran from Ridgeway to Morganton, North Carolina, the furthers point west serviced by the railroad. From Morganton the family boarded a stage coach across the mountain. A near calamity occurred during the transfer from train to stage coach. Somewhere along the trail up the mountain Marry Ann realized that she had left her satchel containing all of their money and the family silver at the depot in Morganton. Even more shocking was the discovery that little Nick who was only four years old had been left as well. Somehow they convinced the driver to return to Morganton and the family, Nick and their money was united. One can only imagine the conversation that might have ensued in the limited confines of the stage coach between Thomas, Mary Ann and her mother.

Thomas and Mary first settled on 50 acres the Sandy Mush area north of Asheville. Within a year they expanded the farm to 100 acres. While farming there, Thomas is credited for introducing the flue cured method of processing tobacco to Western North Carolina. He and Mary Ann also started and taught in a one room school house now known as the Camp Academy. In 1892 Thomas moved back to Asheville to their house on Holland St.

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  • Created by: katman
  • Added: 22 May 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 19485401
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Cottrell Collins (18 Jun 1831–13 Jun 1909), Find a Grave Memorial no. 19485401, citing Riverside Cemetery, Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by katman (contributor 46900134) .