The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Tues., June 9, 1891

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"Tom" Collins' Last Hours.
A Kind Friend Whom Oswego's Vesselmen Will Miss

Buffalo Courier: Captain Thomas Collins, whose death was announced yesterday, attended to his business all Saturday as usual, feeling and looking better than for many a day. At home, after supper, he was uncommonly lively and cheerful, anticipating the jolly time he would have yesterday fishing down the riveter. About dark he went to Love's livery stable, only a few steps from his home, where he had been in the habit of going for a chat and a smoke. Shortly after ten o'clock he opened his own door at No. 449 Niagara street, and said in a broken voice, "O, I am sick. Send for a doctor." A little blood spurted from his mouth, and he seemed to choke, Dr. Ring, who lives nearly opposite, was called, but before he arrived. He had died from heart disease, to which he had been pre-disposed.

Capt. Collins was born May 4, 1832, in Oswego. He began sailing on the lakes when but 12 years old on the schooner Charles Smyth of Oswego. After a short experience he went to the coast, where he remained for six months, then returning to Oswego. Resuming sailing, at the age of 17 he was mate on the schooner Young Leopold. Again going to salt water, he remained on it for nearly eight years, sailing to all parts of the world. He was wrecked on the coast of Spain, but his pluck pulled him through. In 1852 he started from San Francisco with an expedition to the headwaters of the Amazon.

Then he made for the old home again in Oswego, and took up lake sailing for good. First he commanded the schooner Tracy J. Bronson, owned by the Winslows of Cleveland; next, in order, the big Mechanic and Bark John Sweeney, owned by W.O. Brown of Buffalo; the schooner Contest, owned by Capt. James Smith of Cleveland; the schooner Sirius, owned by Capt. Parker of Chicago; one other vessel the name of which could not be recalled, and last the schooner American Union, which he quit in the fall of 1868. Capt. Collins was a good sailor - brave, fearless, and intelligent. He handsome knowledge of navigation as a science, and using sound judgment generally, it is not strange that his nautical career was successful.

I'd Captain Collins went into the vessel brokerage business with Captain Peter J.Kenny. The latter withdrew after a short time and Captain Collins continued it until his death. He was very successful and had a monopoly of business for Oswego vessels. In 1874 he was elected Alderman from the Eighth ward on the Democratic ticket. He was re-elected in 1876 and 1878. In 1883 he was defeated for Street Commissioner by a small majority.

Captain Collins, like the typical sailor, had a rather bluff exterior, but a warm, kind heart. He was assessed strong likes and dislikes, which made him a valuable friend and unpleasant enemy. He was the sole of good nature, and a most agreeable companion. Especially fond was he of shooting or fishing, and often were his friends remembered with evidences of his skill. To his family and relatives Captain Collins was most devoted, leaving nothing within his power undone to further their happiness.

Captain Collins came to Buffalo in 1862, and in 1865 he was married to an estimable young lady who survive shim, with one daughter. Widow and daughter will have the sympathy of many friends in their great and sudden bereavement. A brother, Edward Collins of Akron, and a sister, Mrs. Thomas Finn of this city, are the only other relatives. Captain Collins was a member of the Catholic Mutual Benefit Association. The funeral took place in Buffalo this morning.

Buffalo Enquirer: The crowd of vesselmen who generally meet and swap stories, and smoke in "Tom" Collins' office every day were disconsolate today. Every boat captain on the lakes seemed to know the bluff, hearty old mariner, and made it a point whenever in port to"drop around to Tom's," where business and yarns were dispensed with equal sharpness. Captain Collins said only the other day to an Enquirer man that he hoped hr would not have to be sick a year before he died. "When I go;" he said, "I want to take my bag and jump." The captain had his wish.

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Tues., June 9, 1891
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Tues., June 9, 1891