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For almost half a century Jeremiah Collins, justice of the peace, has been a resident of LaSalle, and numbered among its honest, industrious, patriotic citizens. Believing thoroughly that "there is no royal road" to success, he faithfully and perseveringly worked at his trade, allowed himself to be led aside by no visionary schemes of wealth easily obtained, and now in his declining years he enjoys a competence and the feeling that he has performed his duty nobly and commendably.

One of the sons of the Emerald Isle, Mr. Collins was born December 15, 1834. His parents, Jeremiah and Ellen (Mahoney) Collins, emigrated with their family to the United States in 1851, first locating in Pennsylvania, later removing to Indiana and finally taking up their permanent abode in LaSalle in 1852. Here they died, the father at the age of sixtysix years, and the mother when in her seventy-fourth year. Their children were as follows: Mary, deceased; Frederick, deceased; Lawrence, who was a captain in the civil war, and died from the effects of disease contracted in the service; Jeremiah; John, who graduated in the Notre Dame (Indiana) College, and took up the practice of law, but died during the war of the Rebellion; and James, who was associated in business with our subject for years.

Jeremiah Collins, Jr., learned the blacksmith's trade of his father, who was one of the early workers in iron in LaSalle. In 1859 the young man, then twenty-five years of age, became imbued with the Pike's Peak excitement, and started for the west overland, making the tedious and dangerous trip across the plains in a wagon. He spent some time in the gold fields, but returned to this place with small reward for his pains, and with the steadfast determination to stick to his trade in the future and to earn his bread "by the sweat of his face." Rarely was he absent from his shop, and his patrons came to rely upon him, and to no one else would they give their work.

For eighteen years Mr. Collins served as a member of the LaSalle city school board, and he has always taken great interest in the education of the rising generation. Politically he is affiliated with no party, acting independently of party lines; and in 1897 he was elected justice of the peace for a term of four years. He is now acting in this position and is a capable, conscientious official, meeting his responsibilities to the satisfaction of all concerned. For twelve years Mr. Collins served as a city alderman, being first elected to the office in 1864.

In 1863 Mr. Collins was married, in this city, to Miss Mary McCarthy, a native of Ireland. She departed this life in 1874, and is survived by two daughters, namely: Mary and Ellen, who reside with their father, their home being at No. 1012 First street. Ellen is a successful teacher in the public grammar schools, and Mary is the mistress of the pretty and attractive home.

Extracted 26 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 2, pages 446-447.

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