Monday, March 23, 2015

John Forbes Collins: Father of Betty Musgrove

John Forbes Collins: Father of Betty Musgrove

Our 2nd great grandmother
Elizabeth Arissa Collins
John Forbes Collins was 29 years old; his wife, Adelph Butler, 32, when our second great grandmother, Elizabeth Arissa (known as Betty) Collins, was born to them on September 25, 1845, in Baker County, Georgia. The family's story is told here by their 'paper trail'; censuses, land deeds, courthouse records,etc.

In the early 1800s the census named only the head of the house and numbered the household by gender and age range. According to the Federal Census taken August 7th,  1820, grandpa Collins's* father, John Collins Sr., was living in McIntosh County, Georgia, and his household consisted of twenty-two persons.


Ten were 'free white persons'; two males and one female under 10 years old, one male and two females 16-26, two males and one females 26-44 and one female over 44 years old..

Of the twelve 'colored slaves';  three males and two females under 14, one female 14-25, two males and one female 26-44, two males and one female over 45 years old.

 Map of the Forbes Purchase
State Archives of Florida

According to one Collins family historian, shortly after that 1820 census grandpa Collins, Sr.,
"Sailed from Darien, Georgia, for "The Forbes Purchase" in middle Florida (now Gadsden County) to oversee his own plantation and that of the Carnochan brothers."
The same family historian says John Collins Sr. died about 1826 in Gadsen, Florida.  His son, our third great grandfather, John Forbes Collins, was ten years old at the time.

On the 1840 census, grandpa Collins, Jr., is the head of house, still in Gadsden, Florida, and ten other persons are enumerated at his household,

Of 'free white persons', one male and one female, 20-29 years old, one male, 15-19, one female,10-14,  one female 5-9 and two, under 5 years old.

Two male and one female, aged 10-23 and one male, age 55-99, 'colored slaves' rounded out his homestead.

1850 Federal census
(click to enlarge)

Ten years later the 1850 census lists names and ages of household members. Grandpa John Collins family lives in Baker County, Georgia, now. His occupation is listed 'farmer'.

Their two oldest daughters, Sarah and Mary (sixteen and eleven, respectively), were born in Florida. Evidently, they moved from Florida to Baker County shortly after the 1840 census because in the 1850 census, Amanda, nine years old , Elizabeth (our 2nd great grandmother), seven, Caroline, four, and John, two were all listed as born in Georgia.

James Thompson, nineteen years old, lived with them. Neither James nor grandma Adelph could read or write.

1860 Federal census(click to enlarge)

Of our family in "American Family Musgrove, Richard Graham Musgrove writes:
"John F. Collins and Adelph Butler were the parents of Elizabeth Collins. Sometime after James Sr. died, John F. separated from his wife and lived in common law with Elizabeth Bryan Musgrove and her three sons David John, Charles H. and James Walter."
By 1860 grandpa Collins had left his family and moved to Clinch County, Georgia, There he lived with grandma Elizabeth (Bryan) Musgrove and her three sons; our future great grandpa, David, and great grand uncles, Charles and James Musgrove. His land was valued at $3000 and his personal property, $2300. 

1870 Federal census
(click to enlarge)

For the 1870 census, John and Elizabeth Collins, now married, are still living in Clinch County, Georgia but without land. He is 55 years old; she, 44. Uncles Charles and James Musgrove, 21 and 18 years old, are boarders in their home.

A 41 year old female, B Leverett, assists in the house. Elizabeth and Mary Leverett, 21 and 19 years old, live there as does a one year old boy, J W Leverett.

Joe Collins. a seven year old mulatto boy, lives with them, too.

This family page represents the most current state of our research. It will be updated as new or conflicting information becomes known. If you have any information on this family, please contact me or add a comment to this page.


NoteRelationships are expressed from the perspective of the grandchildren of Willis Edgar and Carrie (known as) Mae (Merritt) Musgrove. 

*Terms of relationship - grandmother, uncle, aunt, cousin, etc.  - are used here generically to include  relatives such as fourth great grandfathers, great grand uncles, second cousins twice removed, etc.


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