William Wright Collins and Selina Hibbert, Immigrants
and some of their Descendants
First Generation

WILLIAM WRIGHT1 COLLINS (WilliamA) was born at Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England, on 19 October 1824 a son of William Collins and his wife Esther Wright . He died at Pawtucket, Providence County, Rhode Island. on 14 February 1895. He married at Manchester, Lancashire, on 29 September 1844 SELINA HIBBERT. She was born at Ashton-under-Lyne on 26 November 1823, a daughter of Charles and Harriet (Lowe) Hibbert. She died at Pawtucket on 4 August 1878.[1]


Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island

William Wright Collins and Selina Hibbert were both born and grew up in the growing textile mill town of Ashton-under-Lyne. William was baptized on 2 January 1825 at Saint Michael's [Anglican] Church in Ashton, although his older siblings, the twins Sarah and James, had been baptized at Stamford Street Wesleyan Chapel in Ashton.[2] Selina was baptized on 6 February 1825 at Oldham Street Wesleyan Chapel, Manchester.[3] So both families had leanings toward Methodism.

The 1841 Census reported William Collins, 16, mechanic, living at Ashton with his parents and three siblings. Selina Hibbert, 15, cotton weaver, also lived at Ashton, with her parents and five siblings. Although her father and two brothers were hatters, the daughters, down to the age of ten, worked as weavers in the cotton textile mills.[4]

William and Selina married at the [Anglican] Cathedral in Manchester in 1844;[5] children joined the family in 1845 and 1847.

William Wright Collins traveled to America, arriving at New York City on 24 March 1848, on the Harriet Augusta According to the passenger list he was 23 years old, and a blacksmith. He accompanied his townsman and probable friend Elijah Hollingworth, age 32.[6] Elijah remained in America and was soon joined by his family. However, William soon returned to England, where his next child was born in December of 1850 and the family was reported at Ashton-under-Lyne in the 1851 Census:[7]

Name Relationship MS Sex Age Occupation Birthplace
William Collins head married male 25 mechanic Ashton-under-Lyne
Salina Collins wife married female 25 mechanic's wife Ashton-under-Lyne
Henry Collins son male 4 Ashton-under-Lyne
Sarah Ann Collins daughter female 6 Ashton-under-Lyne
Louisa Collins daughter female 3 months Ashton-under-Lyne

Some helpful information about this family is found in An Illustrated History of Pawtucket, Central Falls and Vacinity, published in 1897. Like many such books published in that era, it includes biographical sketches, provided by the subjects or their family. Genealogists refer to them as brag books. While they do contain helpful details of a person's life, they may exagerate their importance. The article of William Wright Collins follows:[8]

Collins, William Wright, was born at Ashton-under-Lyne, Oct. 19, 1824, and died at Pawtucket, Feb. 14, 1895. His maternal grand-uncle, William Wright, was one of the first cotton manufacturers in Lancashire. His wife's family, the Hibberts, is one of the oldest in Lancashire, and one of its members, Sir John Hibbert, is a member of Parliament. Mr. Collins came to America in 1859, and in company with his brother, Joseph Wright Collins, started in 1864 a machine shop from which the present large business of his sons, the Collins Bros., was developed. He was married in 1844 to Selina Hibbert, who was born Nov. 24, 1824, and died Aug 4, 1878. They had five children: Sarah Ann, Henry, Louisa, Esther, and Joseph Wright. Mr. Collins was a member of the Pawtucket City Council for two years.

I have not found any information to support this claim of the importance of William's uncle, and cannot determine Selina's degree of relationship to the Hibbert in Parliament. But the information on William and Selina and their children I will treat as reliable. The information was probably provided by one of their children, as both William and Selina had died before the publication date. Another "brag book," Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island, published in 1908, did not mention any English relatives, but provided much more information on his business.[9]

WILLIAM WRIGHT COLLINS, who was born Oct. 19, 1824, in Ashton-under-Lyne, England, died Feb. 14, 1895, in Pawtucket, R. I. In his native country he was engaged as a machinist, learning that trade with the firm of Cryer & Lees, Lancashire, with whom he continued until coming to America in 1859. In company with his brother, Joseph Wright Collins, he started an unpretentious machine shop in 1864, and from this small beginning the great industry of Collins Brothers has since developed. The first shop was located in the Benedict Mill, Central Falls, but six months later it was removed to the old Chip Stone building, where it was continued with much success for two years. At the end of this time the brothers decided to build, and this they did, on the northern end of the Millstreet bridge, on the west side of the roadway, this building being occupied by the firm until its destruction in the great gale of September, 1869. Collins brothers immediately rebuilt the shop, which they sold to Bacon Brothers, who utilized it as a tannery, and the same premises are now [1908] occupied by the Eagle Dye Works. At that time the brothers dissolved partnership, William W. Collins continuing the business alone, and he erected, in 1869, on the east side of the road, a building 75x38 feet, at the bridge, opposite the former shop.

In 1882 Henry Collins was admitted as a partner, and the firm became Collins & Son, and two years later William W. Collins sold his interest to his sons, Henry and Joseph Wright, who have since conducted the business under the name of Collins Brothers. The building which is now [1908] occupied by them is located at Nos. 645-647 North Main street, and bordering the Blackstone river, is four stories in height and 62x200 feet in dimensions. The firm carries on a general machinist business and manufactures woolen and worsted machinery, including a number of specialties, viz.: a trap twister, used almost universally in worsted mills; a new invention for twisting yarns to take the place of the old method of dying them. These specialties are manufactured under patents recently granted which are the exclusive property of the firm. The partners are men of pronounced business ability and understand thoroughly every detail of the manufacture of this kind of machinery. The business was incorporated in 1907 as the Collins Brothers Machine Company.

William Wright Collins attended the Congregational Church. In politics he was a staunch Republican, and for two years served the city of Pawtucket as a member of the council.

According to these biographical sketches, the whole family came to America in 1859. I have not found their names on a passenger list, but the statement must be so, as they had a child born in England in 1856, and were reported in Rhode Island in the 1860 Census.

That Census reported the family in the town of Smithfield, Providence County, Rhode Island.[10] Smithfield is located north of Pawtucket, the location of the first textile mill in America, and throughout the Nineteenth Century a major textile mill town.

Line Name Age Sex Occupation R.E. P.E. Birthplace
12. William Collins 35 M machinist $ 1400 $ 150 England
13. Selina Collins 35 F England
14. Sarah A. Collins 15 F weaver England
15. Henry Collins 13 M England
16. Lorida Collins 9 F England
17. Esther Collins 7 F England
18. Joseph Collins 4 M England
19. Benjamin Ford 37 M machinist $100 England
20. Louisa Ford 35 F England
21. Charles W. Ford 15 M cotton mill England
22. Martha A. Ford 12 F RI
23. Harriet Ford 9 F RI
24. Joseph Collins 32 M machinist England

For William Collins to own his own home one year after his arrival in America, indicates that he had probably used the previous decade to accumulate savings. William Wright Colllins came to America at the age of 35, with a wife and five children. He had used the previous decade to develop his skills as a machinist and to probably accumulate some savings. The Ford family, with whom they shared their home, were probably known to them through work, William Collins and Benjamin Ford were both machinists. They were probably not closely related at that time, but they would become related in 1868 when Sarah Collins and Charles Ford married. Joseph Collins, the last name on the list, was William's brother, and partner in business.

The men of the Collins family earned their livelihood from the textile industry. But they were not owners, overseers, or laborers in the mills; they were machinists. They ran their own business, manufacturing some of the machines used by the textile mills. Collins Brothers, the business of William and Joseph, was listed in Pawtucket city directories in 1867 and 1869, described as "cotton and woolen twister manufacturers. and machinists." Joseph, William's brother, married in 1869, and appeared in the 1871 Pawtucket city directory, but not connected with the business. I have no further information on this Joseph. The 1871 city directory listed the business as Collins & Son (William and Henry). That listing continued through 1872, 1876, and 1882. The 1885 city directory listed the business as Collins Brothers (Henry and Joseph).[11] Collins Brothers Machine Company was incorporated in 1907, and disolved in 1994. Its last agent was H. Nelson Collins, a grandson of Henry Collins' son Charles.[12]

Meanwhile, the family was evolving. Daughters Sarah and Louisa and son Henry all married in 1868. The 1870 Census reported the family of William Collins at Pawtucket, consisting of William, 45, working in a cotton mill, his wife Celina, 45, keeping house, son Henry, 23, working in a cotton mill, daughter Esther, 17, son Joseph, 14, at school, and Henry's son Charles, nine months old; in the same dwelling, but listed as a separate household, lived the daughter of William and Selina, Sarah Ford, 25, keeping house, her husband Charles Ford, 25, working in a cotton mill, Henry's wife, Elizabeth, keeping house, and two unrelated laborers. The census taker reported all these men as working in cotton mills.[13] We know that they were mechanics with their own business, which was related to the cotton mills.

In 1872 daughter Esther Collins married James Hollingworth. This was the second child of William and Selina to marry a child of Elijah Hollingworth, William's companion on the Harriet Augusta in 1848. Son Henry Collins had married Elizabeth Hollingworth in 1868.

Selina (Hibbert) Collins died in 1878 from dysentery.[14] The 1880 Census reported William Collins, 55, machinist, on Mill Street, Pawtucket; with him were his son Joseph, 23, machinist, his daughter, Louisa Briden, 29, keeping house, her husband, Thomas Briden, 32, machinist, and their children: William Briden, 10, and Charles Briden, 10 months.[15] Also on Mill Street, separated on the census record by only one household, was the family of son Henry Collins. Daughter Sarah (Collins) Ford and family also lived on Mill Street. Daughter Esther and her family also lived in Pawtucket.

William Wright Collins died of heart disease in 1895.[15]

William Wright Collins and his wife Selina Hibbert had the following children:

  1. SARAH ANN2 COLLINS b. at Ashton-under-Lyne on April 1845.
  2. HENRY2 COLLINS b. at Ashton-under-Lyne on 9 March 1847.
  3. LOUISA2 COLLINS b. at Ashton-under-Lyne on 30 December 1850.
  4. ESTHER2 COLLINS b. at Ashton-under-Lyne on 16 January 1853.
  5. JOSEPH WRIGHT2 COLLINS b. at Ashton-under-Lyne on 18 March 1856.


NOTES

1Robert Grieve, An Illustrated History of Pawtucket, Central Falls and Vacinity: A Narrative of the Growth and Evolution of the Community (Pawtucket, Rhode Island: Pawtucket Gazette and Chronicle, 1897), p. 273. Moshassuck Cemetery, Central Falls, Providence County, Rhode Island, Find a Grave, digital images (findagrave.com : accessed 11 July 2020), William-Selina Collins; Created by: (Gail) StorybehindtheStones, Photo added by Sandi Verbridge. Rhode Island Town Clerks, "Rhode Island, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1630-1945," Family Search (familysearch.org : accessed 21 January 2021), Pawtucket deaths 1895 , William Collins; Pawtucket Deaths 1878; p. 159, Selina Collins. "England Marriages, 15381973," index, Family Search (familysearch.org : accessed 18 February 2021), Lancashire, Collins-Hibbert 1844.
2"England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, Family Search (familysearch.org : accessed 5 July 2018), William Wright Collins, 1825; Sarah Ann Collins, 1820; James Collins, 1820.
3"England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," Elizabeth Hibbert, 1825.
4Census Returns of England and Wales, 1841, Class: HO107; Piece: 532; Book: 8; District: 11; Folio: 17; Page: 28, William Collins family; digital images, The National Archives of the UK: Public Record Office, Kew, Surrey, England, Ancestry (ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2018); piece 532. book 9, folio 46, p. 28, Charles Hibbert family.
5"England Marriages, 15381973," Lancashire, Collins-Hibbert 1844.
6"Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897," digital images, Ancestry (ancestry.com : accessed 11 July 2020), 1848, list 174; Harriet Augusta, 1848; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C.
7Census Returns of England and Wales, 1851, Piece: 2233; Folio: 294; Page: 15, William Collins family; digital images, The National Archives of the United Kimgdom: Public Record Office, Kew, Surrey, England, Ancestry (ancestry.com : accessed 11 July 2020).
8Grieve, An Illustrated History of Pawtucket, Central Falls and Vacinity, p. 273.
9Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island: genealogical records and historical sketches of prominent and representative citizens and of many of the old families (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1908), v. 1B, p. 843.
10Eighth Census of the United States: 1860, population, Smithfield, Providence County, Rhode Island, roll 1207, p. 389, household 305, William Collins family; digital images, Ancestry (ancestry.com : accessed 13 February 2018); NARA microfilm publication M653; Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.
11Pawtucket, Central Falls and Woonsocket Direcory, 1867-8 (Providence, Rhode Island: Providence Press company, Printers, 1867), p. 88. Pawtucket, Cen tral Falls and Woonsocket Directory, 1869-70 (Providence, Rhode Island: Providence Press Company, Printers, 1869), p. 61. Pawtucket, Central Falls and Woonsocket Directory, 1871 (Providence, Rhode Island: Webb Brothers & Co., 1871), p. 62. Pawtucket, Central Falls and Woonsocket Directory, 1872 (Providence, Rhode Island: Webb Brothers & Co., 1872), p. 86. Pawtucket & Central Falls Directory for 1876 (Providence, Rhode Island: W. S. Webb & Co., 1876), p. 74. Pawtucket and Central Falls Directory, 1882 (Providence, Rhode Island: E. S. Metcalf & Co., 1662), p. 115. Pawtucket and Central Falls Directory 1885 (Providence, Rhode Island: E. S. Metcalf & Co., 1885), p. 118.
12National Obituary Registry, ObitTree (obittree.com : accessed 25 February 2021), Obituaries: Henry Nelson Collins (1932-2013)
13Ninth Census of the United States: 1870, population, Pawtucket, Providence County, Rhode Island, roll 1477, p. 7A, household 98, William W. Collins family; digital images, Ancestry (ancestry.com : accessed 15 February 2018); NARA microfilm publication M593, Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration; Pawtucket, Providence County, Rhode Island, roll 1477, p. 7A, household 99, Chas. H. Ford family.
14"Rhode Island, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1630-1945," Pawtucket Deaths 1878; p. 159, Selina Collins.
15Tenth Census of the United States: 1880, population, Pawtucket, Providence County, Rhode Island, enumeration district (ED) 128, roll 1215, p. 30C, household 254, William Collins family; digital images, Ancestry (ancestry.com : accessed 19 February 2018); NARA microfilm publication T9; Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
16"Rhode Island, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1630-1945," Pawtucket deaths 1895 , William Collins.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

"England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975." Database. Family Search. familysearch.org : 2018.

"England Marriages, 15381973." Index. Family Search. familysearch.org : 2021.

Grieve, Robert. An Illustrated History of Pawtucket, Central Falls and Vacinity: A Narrative of the Growth and Evolution of the Community. Pawtucket, Rhode Island: Pawtucket Gazette and Chronicle, 1897.

Moshassuck Cemetery, Central Falls, Providence County, Rhode Island. Find a Grave. Digital images. findagrave.com : 2020.

National Obituary Registry. ObitTree. obittree.com : 2021.

"Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897." Digital images. Ancestry. ancestry.com : 2020.

Pawtucket, Central Falls and Woonsocket Direcory, 1867-8. Providence, Rhode Island: Providence Press company, Printers, 1867.

Pawtucket, Cen tral Falls and Woonsocket Directory, 1869-70. Providence, Rhode Island: Providence Press Company, Printers, 1869.

Pawtucket, Central Falls and Woonsocket Directory, 1871. Providence, Rhode Island: Webb Brothers & Co., 1871.

Pawtucket, Central Falls and Woonsocket Directory, 1872. Providence, Rhode Island: Webb Brothers & Co., 1872.

Pawtucket & Central Falls Directory for 1876. Providence, Rhode Island: W. S. Webb & Co., 1876.

Pawtucket and Central Falls Directory, 1882. Providence, Rhode Island: E. S. Metcalf & Co., 1662.

Pawtucket and Central Falls Directory 1885. Providence, Rhode Island: E. S. Metcalf & Co., 1885.

Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island: genealogical records and historical sketches of prominent and representative citizens and of many of the old families. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1908.

Rhode Island Town Clerks. "Rhode Island, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1630-1945." Family Search. familysearch.org : 2021.

United Kingdom, The National Archives of the, Public Record Office, Kew, Surrey, England. Census Returns of England and Wales, 1841. Digital images. Ancestry. ancestry.com : 2018.

________. Census Returns of England and Wales, 1851. Digital images. Ancestry. ancestry.com : 2020.

United States Department of the Census. Eighth Census of the United States: 1860, population. Digital images. Ancestry. ancestry.com : 2018.

________. Ninth Census of the United States: 1870, population. Digital images. Ancestry. ancestry.com : 2021.

________. Tenth Census of the United States: 1880, population. Digital images. Ancestry. ancestry.com : 2018.


Return to "Chuck Maxfield's Genealogy Page"


This page updated in 2021
This web page has been created by Charles A. Maxfield in consultation with Elaine Shisler Smith. It is the intellectual property of Charles A. Maxfield of Lansdale, PA.
Permission is granted to create links to this page.
Permission is granted to make a copy of this page for personal use only.
For any other use, contact the proprietor of this website Charles A. Maxfield