- 98. JANE CALDWELL WHEELER (1829-1916) (David, John)
Jane Caldwell Wheeler was born in November 1829, in Spartanburg District, South Carolina, the daughter of David and Elizabeth Courson (McMakin) Wheeler.
She grew up on her father's farm, which was located north of Greer, near where Piney Grove Church now stands. They attended the Holly Springs Baptist Church. Her father was a farmer and ran a water-powered mill.
In 1847, in company with her brothers Peter, Mack and Thomas and her sisters Peggy Davis and Elizabeth she moved to Fayette County, Alabama where she resided with her sister Mary Roberson and her husband James Roberson where she was enumerated in the 1850 census.
She attended the South Carolina Baptist Church with her family. She married John Whitten Collins about 1852. He resided about ten miles east of the Wheeler family in what today is called the Mount Vernon Community. Their farm was seven miles northwest of Fayette in Collins Beat, which was named after John Whitten Collins.
John Whitten Collins, the son of John M. and Edith "Edey" (McCarter) Collins, was born in Spartanburg District, South Carolina in December 1818. His father was a wagon maker, and came to Fayette County, in 1839. He sold his farm in Spartanburg District, South Carolina 21 December 1838 to Joel and Thomas Ballenger. Witnesses included A. M. Thomson, Richard Ballenger and Daniel Robertson.
Edith waived right of dower. John M. (J.M.) Collins was enumerated in the 1840 census of Fayette County, Alabama. He and Edith passed away and were included in the 1850 mortality schedule of Fayette County as follows:
Name Age Sex Marr Birth Month Occupation Cause of Death Days Ill
John M. Collins 66 M md SC Aug Wagon Maker Fever 14 days
Edy Collins 60 F md SC May Unknown 8 months
The census year runs from July 1 to June 30, placing the death of John in August 1849 and the death of Edy in May 1850.
John and Edith had a large family which included at least John W. Collins; Alexander McCarter Collins, who married Nancy; Thomas Collins who married Martha; Edey Collins; Amy Collins who married William Willis; James B. Collins who married, first, Nancy, and married second, Martha; Sarah who married Zadock Graham, Sr.; and a female who married David Loftis and passed away by 1830.
John W. Collins owned part of the homestead established by his father and was a successful farmer. He was a member of the Democratic Party, the Baptist Church, and the Masonic Fraternity. He served as a Colonel in the local militia and was very active in civic affairs. He was elected as Justice of the Peace in 1862, and was a County Commissioner from 1879 to 1891.
John and Jane had ten children, but five died in infancy. Those that survived are listed below.
John W. Collins passed away 30 April 1897, and was laid to rest at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church Cemetery on 2 May 1897. Following is his obituary:
"A large congregation assembled at Mount Lebanon on the first Sunday in May, to hear the venerable Nicholas Dyer of Texas preach the funeral discourse on the death of his lifelong and sainted friend, Col. John W. Collins. The concourse of people was the largest that has attended the church since the war. Brother Collins was one of the strongest pillars in Fayette's temple of the Lord. No more useful man in church or state has ever lived in our county. He was county commissioner of Fayette for more than twenty years, and before the war he was Colonel of the County Militia. His nephew, Rev. Franklin Willis, is one of our best preachers. His son, Professor J. Newton Collins is our County Superintendent of Education, and his nephew Dr. William A. Graham of Fayette is one of the counselors of the Fayette Medical Association. Collins Beat, one of the best portions of Fayette County was named in honor of Col. Collins. From his youth he was a zealous and devout member of the Baptist Church, abounding in faith, good words and good works. He was a native of South Carolina and in his boyhood he could hear the booming of the cannon as the patriotic citizens of Greenville and Spartanburg were celebrating the anniversary of the glorious day of liberty. He passed three score and ten and was nearing the four score line when his Savior called him to one of the many mansions in his father's house." John M. Davis
Jane Caldwell (Wheeler) Collins died at the old homestead in 1916. Many years ago, a writer unknown to me wrote the following recollections:
Col. John W. Collins was the husband of Jane Caldwell Wheeler--her grandchildren called her "a good old thing." Her children were double first cousins of Peter Carr Wheeler's children. Her children were Eadie, Pink, Newton and Hosea. Eadie reared one child to maturity, Pink five, Newton three and Hosea eleven.
The History of Alabama by Moore (Volume II, p. 97) gives a slightly different assessment:
Of the children, Eda lives near Fayette; John Newton is next in age; Hosea Dean is a farmer eight miles northwest of Fayette; Mary Jane lives near Fayette, widow of Eugene G. Norris, a farmer; and Pink died when nine years of age and five others died in infancy.
Jane undoubtedly was laid to rest at Mount Lebanon Baptist Church, but no marker seems to have survived. They had ten children, five of whom died in infancy. Following are the ones that have been identified:
546. Edith F. Collins, b. Apr 1854; d. Apr 1930; md. D. P. Hassell
547. John Newton Collins, b. 2 May 1863; d. 25 Sep 1949; md. Allia Italia Buckner
548. Hosea Dean Collins, b. 28 Nov 1870; d. 19 Jul 1961; md. Mavis Oberra Harkins
549. Mary Jane Collins, b. 23 Apr 1872; d. 18 Jun 1954; md. Eugene R. Norris
550. Pinckney Collins, d. at age 9; Not married
1850 FEDERAL CENSUS, FAYETTE COUNTY, ALABAMA 1860 FEDERAL CENSUS, FAYETTE COUNTY, ALABAMA
Jno W. Collins W M 29 Farmer SC J. W. Collins W M 40 Farmer SC
Edey " W F 26 SC Jane " W F 31 SC
James B. " W M 19 SC Eady " W F 6 AL
p. 465; #191
1870 FEDERAL CENSUS, FAYETTE COUNTY, ALABAMA 1880 FEDERAL CENSUS, FAYETTE COUNTY, ALABAMA
Jno W. Collins W M 52 Farmer SC John Collins Head W M 61 Farmer SC SC SC
J. C. " W F 38 SC Jane " Wife W F 49 SC SC SC
E. E. " W F 16 AL Newton " Son W M 17 AL SC SC
M. J. " W F 9 AL Hosey " Son W M 9 AL SC SC
J. N. " W M 7 AL Mary J. " Dau W F 7 AL SC SC
p. 409; P. O. Fayette Eda Hassell Dau W F 25 AL SC SC
John " Gson W M 6/12 AL SC AL
1900 FEDERAL CENSUS, FAYETTE COUNTY, ALABAMA
Eady E. Collins Head W F Apr 1854 46 Widow 1-1 AL SC SC
John W. " Son W M Feb 1879 20 Singl AL AL AL
Jane C. " Moth W F Nov 1829 70 Widow 10-4 SC SC SC
Source: Phil Wheeler