I HAVE WRITTEN previously about the interesting and perhaps coincidental connection between a man named Lamuel Collins who lived in Gates County, North Carolina, in the 1780s and 1790s, and a man named Lemuel Collins, who lived in Hyde and Dare counties in the 1870s. Lamuel Collins of Gates County was listed as white in the 1790 census. Lemuel Collins of Hyde County was listed as mulatto, and was part of an Algonquian family group that most likely traced its descent from Cati Collings, an Indian woman mentioned in a 1765 Hyde County court case.
The earlier Lamuel Collins first appeared in the Nansemond County militia list in 1783 as the head of a household of 5. He was in the list of Willis Cowling. He next appears in the 1786 tax list in Gates County in the list of William Goodman from 1786 to 1792, and John Bethey from 1793 to 1798, after which he no longer appears. In the 1790 US Federal Census “Lamuel Collings” is listed as the head of a household of one male born before 1774, three males born after 1774, and two females.
There are two records that reference this man:
- 1788 – Ebran Sears appointed overseer of the new road that leads from old Somerton rd to the Virginia Line lately laid off and that the hands of William Goodman, Henry Goodman, John Bethey, William Gatling, Anness Goodman, Henry Lee, Jacob Walters, William March, Thomas Hiatt,Henry Delday, Samuel Collings, and Watson Howell work on the same.
- 1789 – Henry Dilday to Henry Eborn Sears 50 acre plantation, Lemuel Collins, witness
I have written previously about the possible connection between Henry Eborn Sears and Henry Eborn, a landowner who left a will in Hyde County in 1732.
From this information, we can deduce that Lamuel Collins was born before 1762 (if he was 21 in 1783) and that he died or left the area by 1798. His relationship to Thomas and William Collins, who were listed in other militia companies, both in Nansemond and Gates counties, is unclear, though they appear to have been relatives, considering that Thomas and William Collins also were first listed in Nansemond in 1783 (in the list of Willis Parker) and later in Gates County from 1785 on (in the list of James Arline).
The connection to the Lemuel Collins who lived in Hyde County seemed to be conjecture. However, a new reference to a Graham Collins who was also living in Hyde County and who was also listed as mulatto, seems to tie these families more neatly together. My ancestor Graham Russell Collins was born in about 1801 in Gates County, North Carolina, and spent most of his life in Nansemond County in the Cypress Chapel district where he died in 1880.
There was, believe it or not, another Graham Collins living at that time in Hyde County. According to the US Federal Census for Hyde County in 1860, this mulatto “Graym” Collins was 34 years old, meaning he was born in about 1826. I have been unable to establish his parentage, though I suspect he descends from Abijah, Charity, or Susannah Collins, all of whom were heads of free colored households in Hyde County in 1820.
OR, he could very well be the son of my ancestor Graham Collins. In the 1830 US Federal Census in Nansemond County, my ancestor “Grayham Collins” does have a male aged 5 to 9 in his household. This same male is there in 1840, but gone by 1850. Could “Graym Collins” of Hyde County be the son of “Grayham Collins” of Nansemond County?
The use of these relatively uncommon names — Graham and Lamuel/Lemuel — seems to establish a more compelling link between the Collins family that was living near Hall in Gates County and the one that was living near the old Mattamuskeet Reservation in Hyde County.