Lemuel Collins

ONE OF THE EARLY clues to the origins of the Collins family in Gates County, North Carolina, may be the Old Testament name “Lamuel.” “Lamuel Collins” and “Lamuel Collings” show up in Gates County tax lists throughout the 1780s and 1790s, and there is a white head of household named Lamuel Collings in the 1790 US Federal Census.

The last note of this Lamuel Collings I can find is in the 1799 tax list for Gates County. He may have died after that or he may have moved on to another county. I do not know. There is, however, another Collins with a similar name who lived about a century later in the same region. “Lemuel Collins,” a man described as either mulatto or black, lived variously in Lake Landing, Hyde County, North Carolina, and Nag’s Head, Dare County, North Carolina, between about 1872 and 1943.

In researching his family, I discovered that Lemuel Collins was the son of Wellington Collins and Nancy Barber, both of whom lived around Lake Mattamuskeet in Hyde County. Recall the appearance of the Barber family in Gates County around the same time as the Collinses in the 1780s, and the marriage of the Barbers into the Chowanoke-related Freeman family. Another name that appears within the same household of Wellington Collins in the 1850 census is Austin. Recall the appearance of the Austin family in Gates County at the same time as the Collinses and Barbers. These families lives side by side with people with such “typical” Mattamuskeet Indian surnames as Gibbs and Meekins.

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