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Collins Center

Collins Town, Erie County, NY

Beginnings [1]

This is an unincorporated village [Collins Center or, Collins Centre] of about seventy houses. The first settlement was in 1810. The first movement which indicated the possible growth of a village was the opening of a tavern in 1816, by Nathan King. This was carried on by Mr. King a few years and then given up, and for several years afterward there was no hotel in the little hamlet. John Adams re-opened the tavern in 1830, carried it on a few years and then turned the building into a store. Hathaway, Wood and others subsequently kept a hotel in the village. At length the Sons of Temperance, in order to discourage the sale of liquor, erected a building, the upper part of which they used as a hall, while the lower part was occupied by Mr. Job Wilber as a temperance hotel. This arrangement, however, failed to become permanent, and the building finally became the property of Smith Bartlett, the present owner. Frank Haskins keeps a hotel in it.

The first store in Collins Center was established by Samuel Lake, of Springville, about 1827. He built the house now occupied by C. J. Bates, and put a Mr. Madison in charge of it. The next merchant at the Center was John C. Adams who was soon succeeded by Chauncey Bigelow. Subsequently Thomas Bigelow carried on business there for several years, before and after 1860. Adam White was the next one who traded there until 1872, when Curtis J. Bates went into partnership with him, the firm being Bates & White. Still later Mr. Bates became the sole owner, and has continued so to the present time. Joseph Mugridge built a store in 1865, which he still carries on.

Mr. B. Sherman established a grocery store in 1880, and James Matthews opened another during the same year. H. B. Wood built the old cabinet shop and factory about 1850. He sold it to Wilber & Palmerton, after whom it was owned successively by O. J. Knight, M. J. King, M. J. & R. G. King, King & Letson, and A. A. King, who bought it in 1878. He manufactures agricultural implements and furniture. The planing mill and sash and blind factory, built by Joseph Mugridge in 1880, is now owned by Hengar & Johnson. N. Bolander & Brother carry on a feed-mill which they purchased from William Popple in 1880.

Dr. Israel Condon was the first physician of Collins Center. He came about 1830, and practiced there nearly fifteen years. Following' him came Dr. Alexander Bruce, Dr. Young, Dr. W. A. Sibley, Dr. Erastus Letson, and Dr. Harlow Atwood. The last two are in the village at this time.

A post office was established in Collins Center in 1826, of which John C. Adams was the first postmaster. He was succeeded by Chauncey Bigelow, who was in office in 1837. Dr. Bruce and others succeeded him. Stephen J. White was the postmaster from 1861 more than ten years. Curtis J. Bates was appointed to the office in 1879.

The Methodist Church. — There were Methodist missionaries in this field at a very early day, Rev. John Copeland being the first. The circuit was very large and he went from point to point, preaching on any day in the week which circumstances permitted to be employed for that purpose. Following him came Rev. Wilber Hoag, (one year) Rev. John Hoag, (two years) Rev. Daniel Shepherdson, (two years) Rev. Hiram May, Rev. Dr. Doolittle, Rev. Amos Bronson and Rev. Mr. Judd ; during his stay a church edifice was built, three-fourths of a mile west of the Center, in 1834. The Rev. W. R. Babcock was the next pastor; he remained two years. John C. Adams — Mr. and Mrs. Nehemiah Heath and David Beverly were among the early members. The church was for a long time very small, but under the preaching of the Rev. Mr. Riley, in 1840, it received a considerable addition. During that year the building was drawn by oxen to the village, where it still serves the purpose for which it was erected. In 1863 it was thoroughly repaired. The membership of the church is now small and there is no minister. C. Taft is the class-leader; the stewards are C. Taft, Lydia Smith, B. Briggs and O. J. Knight. The trustees are O. J. Knight, Joseph Mugridge and B. Briggs. The Free Methodist Church is a small congregation under the spiritual guidance of Rev. W. W. Brown, who took charge of it in October 1883. The building was erected in 1869. The trustees are John Randall, Millard Randall and Abraham Ingman.

  1. Smith, H. Perry, editor, History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County, D. Mason & Co., Publishers, Syracuse, 1884.

Street Names
Collins-Springville Road • Route 39 • Route 75 • Sisson Highway