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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Collins, Josiah, II

10 Nov. 1763–10 Feb. 1839

A photograph of a miniature portrait of Josiah Collins, II. Image from the State Archives of North Carolina.Josiah Collins, II, planter, merchant, and banker, the son of Josiah Collins, Sr., and his wife, Ann Lewis, was born at Islington, London. In 1773 he came with his father to America, where they lived for a year in Rhode Island and afterward in Halifax and Edenton, N.C. Somerset Plantation was left by Josiah, Sr., to Josiah III, but Josiah II operated the plantation for his son until he came of age. At Somerset, Josiah II built for himself a small house, known as the Colony House, and used it when he was there on business.

From 1788 or 1789, Collins lived at the Homestead in Edenton, where he was a merchant. He also operated a rope factory there and made superior cordage for shipbuilders. At a meeting in New Bern on 23 Apr. 1817, he was one of six laymen and three clergymen who organized the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.

In 1803, Collins married Ann Rebecca Daves, daughter of Major John Daves of New Bern. They were the parents of Anne Daves (1804–48), who married William Biddle Shepard of Elizabeth City; Mary Matilda (1806–37), who married Mathew Page, M.D., of Clark County, Va.; Josiah III (1808–63), married to Mary Riggs; Henrietta Elizabeth (1810–68), married to Mathew Page; Hugh Williamson (1812–54); John Daves (1815–ca. 1847); Louisa McKinley (b. 1817), who married first Thomas Harrison, M.D., of Brandon, Va., and second the Reverend William Stickney of Faunsdale, Ala.; and Elizabeth Alethea (b. 1824), who married Thomas Davis Warren, M.D., of Edenton.

Collins was buried in St. Paul's churchyard, Edenton.


John Gray Blount Papers (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

Robert Brent Drane Papers (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).

William H. Masterson, ed., The John Gray Blount Papers, vol. 3 (1965).

Raleigh Register, 25 Feb. 1839.

William S. Tarlton, Somerset Place and Its Restoration (1954).

Additional Resources:

"Lake Company." N.C. Highway Historical Marker B-35, N.C. Office of Archives & History. (accessed January 22, 2014).

Mobley, Joe A. The Way We Lived in North Carolina. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 2003. 134-147. (accessed January 22, 2014).

Collins, George P. "Discovery of Lake Scuppernong (Phelps), North Carolina." Publications of the Southern History Association 6, no. 1 (January 1902). 21-27. (accessed January 22, 2014).

"Somerset Place: A Time Line: 1785-1819 Prosperous Early Years…" North Carolina Historic Sites. Dept. of Cultural Resources. (accessed January 22, 2014).

Image Credits:

State Archives of North Carolina. "N_75_9_248_Josiah_Collins_Jr_of_Somerset _Place." Photograph. December 20, 2013. Flickr, (accessed January 23, 2014).

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