Collier Family of Moundville

This family was in Moundville very early and were featured in the 1887 History of Vernon County.

From: History of Vernon County, Missouri, 1887, p. 794.



The subject of this sketch is not unknown to the many citizens of this county, for he has been located within its boundaries for a period above 15 years, and has come to be well acquainted personally and of substantial reputation. Joel R. Collier, his father, was captain of a vessel on the Hudson River in his younger years, but later in life followed farming. He was a native of New York, as was also his wife, whose maiden name was Keziah McWhorter. Six children blessed their union, and of these Harry J., the fourth child, was born in Steuben County, N. Y., March 4, 1847. He was reared in the Empire State until nine years old, going thence to Mercer County, Ill., where he worked on a farm and in a nursery until the age of 15. Subsequently he went to Ohio, where his attention was directed to the carpenter’s trade. About this time the war came on, and soon he was found a member of the 140th Illinois infantry, a command with which he participated in numerous engagements until mustered out of service. After this he resided in Michigan four years, from there coming to Missouri and finally locating in this county. In the spring of 1870, he embarked in the nursery business in Moundville Township, conducting what was known as the Vernon County Nursery; in this departure Mr. Collier gained an enviable reputation, especially for the quality of his stock, and at this day orchards all over the county bear evidence of this fact. After remaining in this business about eight years he removed into the town of Moundville, where he was engaged in the management of a livery stable for 18 months; and following this he had charge of Robinson Bros.’ lumber yard until October, 1886, when he became connected with the construction department of the St. Louis, Kansas City and Colorado Railroad. In 1885 he secured the right of way for the Nevada and Minden Railway from Little Drywood to the south line of Vernon County, taking subscriptions along the line sufficient to pay all damages, thus furnishing it to the company free of cost. Such action on his part certainly deserves no little credit from those whose interests were so materially benefited. In 1871 Mr. Collier married Miss Alice Jay, of Mercer County, Ill. They have two children, May and Harry. Mr. C. has occupied several official positions during his residence here, among which may be mentioned those of president of the town board and justice of the peace. He belongs to the A. 0. U. W., the G. A. R. and Masonic Fraternity, in which latter order he was W. M. for four years.

Harry Judd Collier

Harry Judd Collier

The 1880 census for Moundville listed Harry J. Collier as a carpenter. He was age 33, and a native of New York. His wife, Alice, was also 33 and from Illinois. They had one daughter, May, age 1, who had been born in Missouri. Living in their home was Lawrence H. Lucas, age 24 and his wife Ida M., age 23. Lawrence was a blacksmith and had been born in Illinois. His wife was a Missouri native. They had just been married.

Harry became very involved in promoting Moundville. By 1886, he was mayor of Moundville.

By 1900, the Collier family had left Moundville. The 1900 census shows Harry and Alice living in Chattanooga, Tennessee with their two children, May and Harry. It appears that sometime after the 1900 census, Alice Jay Collier died. In March, 1905, the Moundville Cemetery Association reported that a letter had been received from H. J. Collier of Chattanooga, Tennessee, that contained a check for five dollars. There is nothing to indicate that Alice was brought back to Moundville for burial, but her burial location has not been located. Harry probably sent the check because a one year old child of Harry and Alice was buried in the Moundville Cemetery. Cora Collier, daughter of H.& A. Collier, aged 1y 5m is buried there but there are no dates for death or birth of the child.

By the 1910 census, Harry had moved to Cuyahoga, Ohio and had re-married a much younger woman. Harry was 63 years old and his new wife Bessie (Beck) was 28.

By 1920, Harry had a second family with Bessie. The census told that Harry was age 72, Bessie was 35 and their three children were ages 9, 6, and 4. They continued to live in Cuyahoga. Harry was listed as a contractor for the railroad.

The 1930 census for Wyandot County, Ohio was taken on April 10, 1930. Harry was listed as age 83. Living with him was his wife, Bessie and children, ages 16 and 14. Just four days later, Harry Collier died April 14, 1930. He was buried in Old Mission Cemetery, Upper Sandusky, Wyandot County, Ohio. Bessie died in 1951 and is buried beside him.


Images on this page are shared by Charles R. Clayton.

Mary Evelyn Collier

Mary Evelyn Collier (1878-1941)

Harry Jay Collier Jr.

Harry Jay Collier Jr (1881-1962).

Contact us if you know more about this family.

Go back to the Moundville page.

This genealogy page was designed and is maintained by Lyndon Irwin