Biography of Saxton L. Collins
Marion County, IA Biographies





SAXTON LA FAYETTE COLLINS.
In the demise of Saxton La Fayette Collins, which occurred on Friday evening, August 19, 1904, Knoxville lost one of the men who were prominent in the organization and control of her banking institutions. He was a man of marked financial and executive ability and left his impress upon the business life of the city.

He was born in Richland county, Ohio, December 12, 1830, a son of Isaac and Elizabeth (Adgate) Collins, and spent his early life upon his father's farm. He attended the public schools in the winters and was also for one term a student at the Bellville (Ohio) high school. In 185o, when a young man of twenty years, he accompanied his brother, A. W. Collins, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work, to Tipton, Cedar county, Iowa, and there worked for a year upon a farm, receiving fifty cents per day in return for his labor. He did the hardest kind of farm work, splitting rails, making fence, breaking the prairie and many other things. In 1852 he and his brother located at Knoxville and engaged in the mercantile business. In May, 1856, he opened a store in company with others at Gosport and continued in business as a merchant until 1865, when he sold out his interests in that line and, owing to failing health, removed to a farm. In 1871 he became an organizer of the Knoxville National Bank and was for some years its largest stockholder. In 1883, in company with his sons, La Fayette S. and Grant, he engaged in merchandising and in 1885 they purchased the Eariville & Knoxville Coal Company and in 1889 established the S. L. Collins Oil & Tank Line. In 1891, together with J. Ramey, La Fayette S. Collins, L. O. Donnelly, A. J. Hanna and others, he organized the Citizens National Bank. In 1901 he was one of the incorporators of the Peoples Savings Bank of Albia, Iowa, among his associates being B. P. Castner, L. S. Collins and L. B. Myers. In 1903 Mr. Collins of this review was instrumental in founding the Iowa State Savings Bank and served as president for a number of years. He was the largest stockholder in all of the banks in which he was interested and was one of the most powerful men in local financial circles.

In 1854 Mr. Collins was united in marriage with Miss Lavinia M. James, of Ohio, who passed away on the 4th of October, 1860. To them were born three children: Clinton A., now a resident of Wahoo, Nebraska; Mrs. Alice E. Gilson, who passed away at Holyoke, Colorado, in 1899; and Delphine, who died in infancy. On the 4th of October, 1864, Mr. Collins was joined in wedlock with Miss Anna Thompson, of Center county, Pennsylvania. She was born there in 1841, a daughter of Elias and Rebecca (McKain) Thompson, of English and Scotch parentage respectively. Her father died in 1848 but her mother survived him for many years. She passed away more than three decades ago. To them were born seven children and a sister of Mrs. Collins is still residing in the Keystone state. As her father died when she was but seven years of age, Mrs. Collins was reared by a family named Ferguson and in 1861 accompanied them to this state. She taught school several years in Marion county before her marriage and has resided at or near Knoxville for more than fifty years, being highly esteemed in the county. She is a faithful and active member of the Methodist Episcopal church. To Mr. and Mrs. Collins were born the following children: La Fayette S., a resident of Knoxville; Grant, who is connected with the Cedar Rapids Oil Company at Cedar Rapids; Mrs. N. H. McCorkle, of Mountain View, California; June, now Mrs. E. O. Ames and a resident of Omaha; Belle, who married R. H. Jacobs, of New York city; Scott, associated with his brother Grant in the Cedar Rapids Oil Company; Joy, who is employed in the Citizens Bank of Knoxville; Anna, who died in 1870; and Hope, whose demise occurred in 1893.

Mr. Collins was a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal church from 1853 until his death and contributed liberally of his means to its support, while he was always willing to give his time and efforts to the furtherance of its plans. In 1895, when the present fine church structure was erected, he was a member of the building committee. For several years he served on the board of trustees of the Iowa Wesleyan University at Mount Pleasant and in this way aided the cause of Christian education. In 1858 he became an Odd Fellow and from 1861 was a past grand in that organization, always taking a great interest in its affairs. Although ten years have passed since the death of Mr. Collins his influence is still strongly felt in the financial life of his city and his many friends cherish his memory as they knew him to be a man of high purpose and fine achievement.

From:
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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