COLLINS, JOSEPH HENRY, was born in Missouri, and is a son of John C. and Eliza (Van Buskirk) Collins, natives of Kentucky, of English and Dutch ancestry. John C. Collins, soon after his marriage, which occurred in Kentucky, moved to Missouri. He was one of the first half-dozen settlers in the locality where he entered land and made his home the remainder of his life. It is said that the first deed recorded in the county was made to John C. Collins. For eighteen years he was Judge of the County Court, and for a number of years practiced law as an attorney.
Joseph Henry Collins received his early education in the public schools, attending a country school near his home where he grew up to manhood. Before he was of age he entered LaGrange College, Missouri, and after his graduation, engaged in newspaper work for nearly two years. He soon decided that teaching offered a field for usefulness more to his liking, and became an instructor in a college. Later he was elected Superintendent of Schools at Canton, Mo., which position he held for three years.
Mr. Collins came to Springfield in 1880, and, with the exception of two years, has been connected with the city public schools ever since, first as Principal of a grammar school for three years, then Principal of the High School five years, and for twenty-one years, Superintendent of City Schools. He is well-known throughout the State, his courtesy and agreeable personality having made him many friends. He has been President of the Illinois State Teachers' Association, a Vice-President of the National Education Association, a State Director of this organization four years, and Illinois State Manager at the meetings of the National Education Association held at Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles, Cal.; Charleston, S.C., and Detroit, Michigan. For over twenty years he has been a Director of The Springfield Homestead Association, a building and loan organization of which he was Secretary during the two years he was out of school work.
In 1875 Mr. Collins was married, in Missouri, to Julia C. Hay, a native of that State. His second marriage occurred in 1909, when Mrs. Mabel Patterson, of Michigan, became his wife.
Mr. Collins has never been active in politics, being independent in the matter of voting. He has been a member of the Baptist Church from boyhood, and his fraternal connections are with the Masons, in which order he is a Past Commander of Elwood commandery, Knights Templar, and is also a Scottish Rite Mason.