Biography - Almer M. Collins

ALMER M. COLLINS. A. M., M. D. A bright mind coupled with a desire to do good in the world, has wonderful opportunities for accomplishing a great work for God and humanity. To bend one's energies to the betterment physically and spiritually of his fellow-men and to devote one's talents in this direction is an aim worthy of the brightest intellect. The work which has been done by Dr. Collins, pastor of the Christian Church at Shelbyville, is of great value to the world. His brilliant convincing lectures on temperance, his exhaustive treatise entitled "Prohibition versus Personal Liberty," his critical examination of the subject of Bible Temperance and his valuable work entitled the "Great Living Issue," have had and will continue to have a vital effect upon the temperance movement while his new Interest Calculator is of real merit and extremely helpful to financiers.

This gentleman, who was born in Buchanan, Mich., May 18, 1844, located in Shelbyville in 1888. His parents, Nathaniel and Caroline C. (Cone) Collins, natives of New York, reared a family of seven children. Two sons grew to manhood, our subject and Frank N., who was for many years a druggist, first in Chicago, Ill., and afterward in Detroit, Mich. He was living in Detroit at the time of his death, which occurred January 29, 1887. The two daughters of this family were Mary A., now the wife of James M. Crane, general agent of the Pacific Insurance Company, having headquarters at Cleveland, Ohio; and Emma A., unmarried. The parents of this family were married at Plymouth, Ind., and settled at Buchanan, Mich., where the father followed general merchandising for several years, subsequently engaging in the hardware trade, being also for several years a Justice of the Peace and esteemed a fair lawyer. He was an earnest member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and for fourteen years was Superintendent of the Sunday school.

Nathaniel Collins was a stanch Republican in his political opinions and a party leader, his advice being sought on all occasions and his judgment being highly esteemed. He began as a poor man, but was successful in business and amassed quite a fortune. The finest business block in Buchanan, Mich., was built by him and he was president of a large manufacturing establishment, besides being prominent in all public enterprises and in every matters pertaining to the welfare of the city. He was a good pubiic speaker, and on occasions when the pastor of the church was absent, the pulpit was well filled by Mr. Collins. He was born February 26, 1815, and died October 31, 1875. His widow who survives him, resides in Cleveland, Ohio. She was born October 26, 1822, and is a sister of the late Hon. Gustavus Cone, of Wisconsin.

The boyhood of our subject did not last long as his active mind did not allow him to be satisfied with childish pursuits. His earnest Christian parents stimulated his desire to do good work and upon January 23, 1859, when a boy of less than fifteen years, he preached his first sermon at Troy, Mich., being then a student. After this he gave his attention largely to preaching and was known far and wide as the boy preacher of Michigan. Twenty-five years from that day he again preached in Troy and six people were present who had heard his first sermon. While preaching he continued his education at Hillsdale College.

Just before graduation the young preacher left college to accept a call to the pulpit at South Bend, Ind. His ministry since that time has carried him to various places, among which are Auburn, N. Y., Corry, Pa., Buchanan, Mich., Laporte. Ind., Covington, Ky., Carthage, Ohio, Grand Rapids, Mich., Marion, Iowa, and Cameron, Mo. While in the East he attended a course of medical lectures at Buffalo, N. Y., and completed his course at Cincinnati, Ohio, still preaching while he attended these studies. While at Cincinnati he graduated from both the Eclectic Medical Institute and the Medical College of Ohio. In 1877 while living in Grand Rapids, he had the misfortune to lose his hearing, in consequence of which he entered the editorial field at Davenport, Iowa, taking charge of a paper advocating the cause of Prohibition and at the same time lecturing on this theme. This paper, the Northwestern News, had sought him on account of the fame of his editorials in the which was then published at Grand Rapids and now at Chicago. He partially recovered his hearing and resumed the active ministry, and ten years later came to Shelbyville, where he has charge of the leading church in the place.

While at Cameron, Mo., Dr. Collins held meetngs in Shaw's Opera House and built a baptistry on the stage where he baptized a number of people. This remarkable measure attracted the attention of the press throughout the country. Dr. Collins is a writer of no small calibre, and the books of which he is author are widely circulated. He is very methodical and keeps a full record of his work. His Calculator which was published in 1882 is widely used by banks throughout the country, and exhibits his mathematical mind by his numerous new methods of calculation.

The marriage of Dr. Collins and Miss Joanna, daughter of Russell P. and Almira Hibbard, took place May 31, 1864. This lady was born in South Butler, Wayne County, N. Y., and is now the mother of one child, Leslie N. The Doctor is a strong temperance man and a Republican in politics. In 1880 the College of Hillsdale, Mich., honored both itself and our subject by conferring upon him the degree of Master of Arts.

Extracted 17 Dec 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 571-572.

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