Ela Collins

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Ela Collins, Congressman from New York

Ela Collins (February 14, 1786 -– November 23, 1848) was an American lawyer and politician from New York.

Life[edit]

Collins was born on February 14, 1786 in Meriden, Connecticut, the son of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 militia veteran General Oliver Collins (1762–1838) and Lois (née Cowles) Collins. He attended Clinton Academy, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and commenced practice in Lowville in 1807.[1]

In 1808 he became an original Trustee of The Lowville Franklin Society, an association for creating and operating Lowville's first public library. Also in 1808, Collins sold a parcel of land on which was constructed the Lowville Academy, and he was an original Trustee of the school.

On July 11, 1811, he married Maria Clinton (1791–1871). They had eleven children, among them Congressman William Collins and Harriet Anne Collins Herron (1833–1901), the mother of First Lady Helen Herron Taft.[2][3][4]

From 1811 to 1813 Collins was Lowville's Town Supervisor. He was a member of the New York State Assembly from 1814 to 1815. He was District Attorney of the Eighth District (comprising Lewis, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties from 1815 to 1818, and of Lewis County from 1818 to 1840. He was a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention of 1821.

Collins was elected as a Crawford Democratic-Republican to the 18th United States Congress, holding office from March 4, 1823, to March 3, 1825. The most significant matter considered by this Congress was the selection of the President of the United States. As no candidate -- John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson or William H. Crawford had received a majority of electoral votes in the 1824 election, the choice fell to the U.S House. In the House, Clay was not considered, since he was the lowest finishing of the candidates. He threw his support to Adams.

The members voted individually by state caucus, with a majority of state delegations required to win. Collins favored Crawford. The New York delegation voted 18 for Adams, 2 for Jackson and 14 for Crawford. New York was counted for Adams, who won on the first ballot, with 13 states, followed by Jackson with 7 and Crawford with 4.[5]

After his term in Congress Collins continued to practice law, and he later switched his political affiliation to the Anti-Masonic Party. Collins served again as Town Supervisor from 1827 to 1828 and 1829 to 1831. He was Chairman of the Lewis County Board of Supervisors in 1830. Collins also became active in the Lewis County Agricultural Society, and was active in several business ventures, including the Lewis County Mutual Insurance Company.

He died in Lowville on November 23, 1848 and was buried at the Jackson Street Cemetery in Lowville.[6][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ New England Historical and Genealogical Society, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume LXIX, 1915, pages 209-210
  2. ^ "Finding aid to the Collins Family Papers, 1799-1940". New York State Library web site. New York State Library. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Crisfield Johnson, History of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, 1879, page 341
  4. ^ New England Historical and Genealogical Society, Genealogies of Connecticut Families, Volume 1, 1983, page 463
  5. ^ "Finding aid to the Collins Family Papers, 1799-1940". New York State Library web site. New York State Library. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Ela Collins at Find a Grave
  7. ^ Carl Cavanagh Hodge, Cathal J. Nolan, US Presidents and Foreign Policy, page 65

Sources[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
David Woodcock,
William B. Rochester
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 20th congressional district

1823–1825
with Egbert Ten Eyck
Succeeded by
Egbert Ten Eyck,
Nicoll Fosdick