Biography of Frank A. Collins

For nearly a quarter of a century Frank A. Collins, of Mesa county, one of the progressive and substantial fruit-growers and ranch-men of western Colorado, living two miles east of Fruita, has been a resident of this state and an important contributor to its development and improvement. He was born in Burke county, North Carolina, on December 1, 1859, the son of Brice M. and Margaret E. (Warwick) Collins, also natives of North Carolina, the father of Scotch-Irish and the mother of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry. They are farmers, and in 1874 moved to Kansas, locating near Junction City, where they still live. There were twelve children in the family, ten of whom are living, Frank having been the first born. He was about fifteen when the family moved to Kansas, and in the schools of that state supplemented in a small way the limited public school education he had received in those of North Carolina, attending a few terms in the winter months. Being the oldest child, he was obliged early to look out for himself by working on neighboring farms; and this effort, trying at best to a young and ambitious nature, was doubly discouraging at that time and place, for the grasshoppers consumed all the crops of the farms and rendered it unusually difficult to extract a living from the soil for a number of years. In the spring of 1879 he moved to the Indian Territory, and for a year was employed on a ranch in the western part of the Chickasaw nation near where the western cattle trail crossed from Texas. At the end of his year there he came to Colorado, and during the spring and summer of 1880 worked in a saw mill in the mountains forty miles above Gunnison. In the fall he went to Leadville, and a little later to Denver. During the next nine months he worked on the Rio Grande Railroad on the South Platte river, then returned to Denver and was variously employed in that city for two years. In February, 1884, he moved into the Grand valley, and after spending some time in a number of different occupations, he purchased the eighty acres of land now owned by Mr. Wheeler, making the purchase in 1887. He immediately began to make improvements and planted seven acres in fruit trees, intending this to be his permanent home. But in 1892 he sold the place, having previously bought the one of eighty acres on which he now lives. This he has made over into a good farm which yields abundantly in general products and provides a liberal revenue from its twenty acres of choice fruit trees and its additional acreage devoted to small fruits. His crop of apples in 1903 was about eighteen hundred bushels, and the yield from his general farming was also large. His farm is improved with a good modern dwelling and other suitable buildings, and has every needed appliance for the proper operation of its industries. On December 22, 1886, he was married to Miss Fannie E. Lamson, a daughter of Bruce Lamson, who has lived in Mesa county since 1883. Eight children were born to them, five of whom are living, Fisk, Edgar, Ruth, Laura and Lucy. Those deceased are Charles, Howard and Ellsworth. Their mother died on January 25, 1899, and on June 25, 1901, Mr. Collins married a second wife, Miss Cora B. Holdridge, a native of Swanton, Vermont, and daughter of Amasa and Delia C. (Stiles) Holdridge, both natives of that state. The father is deceased and the mother makes her home with Mr. and Mrs. Collins. They have two children, Beryl H. and Vyrdon S. In politics Mr. Collins is a Prohibition Republican. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Fruita, of which he is one of the trustees. He is also superintendent of the Sunday school. He served on the school board of district No. 1, Fruita, eleven years.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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