COLLINS, HARRY. - The beautiful town of Riverton offers many advantages to those seeking a home where they can secure urban advantages, combined with country conditions. Its present prosperity is the result of the efforts of men who were instrumental in its founding and upbuilding, and one who is deserving of more than passing mention in this connection is Harry Collins, one of its oldest residents, who lives in his comfortable home, retired from former activities. Mr. Collins is a native of the Emerald Isle, born in County Monahan, May 12, 1833. He is a son of Ireland, where the father was a blacksmith, and where both parents lived and died. The grandfather of Mr. Collins was also a blacksmith, and the family was an old one in the locality in which he was born. His birth took place in the house which witnessed the marriage of his parents.
Harry Collins the younger grew up in Ireland, there receiving what education the parish school afforded and learning the blacksmith's trade from his father. However, he was not content with the opportunities there offered, and in 1864 sailed from Queenstown for New York City, whence he made his way to Morgan County, Ill., locating fourteen miles from Jacksonville. He conducted a shop there for a year, moving then to Murrayville. After a year in that place he went to Petersburg, where he assisted in sinking a coal shaft. Following a short stay there only a few months, until he located permanently at Riverton. For many years he conducted a blacksmith shop in Riverton, and is one of the best known men of this trade in the county.
Mr. Collins was married in County Durham, England, August 15, 1844, to Alice Curran, born in Ireland, who passed away March 10, 1905. She was taken to England from Dublin, Ireland, by her parents. Her father was a farmer, who eventually followed his daughter to the United States, and locating in Riverton, spent his declining years there. Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Collins, but only one survives, Rose, wife of Joseph Parsons, a grocer of Riverton. Mrs. Collins was a good-hearted woman, whose kindly sympathy made her many friends. She could always be counted upon in trouble, and was the first to be sought in cases of emergency. A steadfast member of the Roman Catholic church, she lived as a true Christian and her memory is tenderly cherished in the hearts of her husband and daughter, who deeply mourn her loss.
Mr. Collins is a Democrat but has never been willing to come before the public for political recognition, although he is personally so popular that he would doubtless run ahead of his ticket. For many years he has been a consistent member and liberal supporter of the St. James Roman Catholic Church, of Riverton. Mr. Collins has always been deeply interested in his home town and its welfare. Genial, warmhearted, generous, Mr. Collins has made friends wherever he has lived and knows men all over the county.