COLLINS, TX (NUECES COUNTY)
COLLINS, TEXAS (Nueces County). Collins was forty miles west of Corpus Christi at a site that was in Nueces County and now is in Jim Wells County. The settlement was established in 1878 on the Los Preseños grant, a Mexican grant that was subdivided in 1878. N. G. Collins bought the northwest portion and platted the Collins townsite across San Fernando Creek from the town of Los Preseños. The Corpus Christi, San Diego, and Rio Grande Narrow Gauge Railroad laid track through the townsite en route to San Diego, Texas, in late 1878. That year the post office at Los Preseños was closed. Collins began to grow and soon replaced Los Preseños on maps. The post office occupied a room in Phil Hobbs's store, and Hobbs was postmaster. Residents of Los Preseños followed the post office to Collins. Early settlers included Oscar Staples, who taught school in Collins; Mrs. E. D. Sidbury, who had a lumberyard near the Becham House, which served as the meeting place for the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, until 1889; and Father Bard, who almost singlehandedly built the town's Catholic church. By 1880 Collins had a population of 500, a railroad station, a two-story hotel, several stores and eating places, and a few houses and small barns.
The town was a shipping and mail center for ranchers between Agua Dulce and San Diego. In 1885 the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway bypassed Lagarto, and many residents moved to Collins. But in 1888 the SAAP bypassed Collins and joined the Texas-Mexican Railway three miles west, on land belonging to the King Ranch. A new town, Kleberg, was established at the intersection, and Collins began to decline. The Becham House was moved to Kleberg to house railroad workers. In 1888 George Hobbs bought four lots in Kleberg and moved his two-story store in September. The post office remained in Collins, however, because postal authorities refused to grant Kleberg a post office.
In 1889 George Hobbs, George Newberry, and others built a twenty-by-forty-foot log schoolhouse in Kleberg. It was also used as a Protestant church. The Catholic church building that Father Bard built was moved to Kleberg, along with some stores. Kleberg changed its name to Alice in 1888 and continued to grow as Collins declined. In 1892 the post office was moved from Collins to Alice, and by 1900 Collins was a ghost town. The Old Collins Cemetery remains in southeast Alice.
Corpus Christi Caller-Times, January 18, 1959. Neva Virginia Pollard, The History of Jim Wells County (M.A. thesis, Texas A&I University, 1945).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Agnes G. Grimm, "COLLINS, TX (NUECES COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvc63), accessed November 29, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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