MANY FAMILY lines in Pike county trace back to a Collard ancestry on one side or the other. The early Collards, coming out of Virginia by way of Kentucky to the Missouri border, beginning their western migration shortly after the Louisiana Purchase, eventually, in the middle 1820s, began implanting their virile stock in the Bay Creek settlement, in what is now Pleasant Hill township.
The Collard and Lewis families come down hand in hand through history. Both were of French Huguenot stock. In the days of religious persecutions under Louis XIV, in the 17th century, the ancestors of both of these American families fled to England and Ireland, some of them locating in the province of Ulster, in North Ireland, whence they came to the shores of Virginia, in the new world, long before the Revolution.
The first Collards in America followed Pioneer John Lewis (known also as Irish John Lewis), who opened what is now augusta county, Virginia, to settlement. Irish John had fled to America to escape the vengeance of friends of an imperious young Lord whom he had killed in defense of his home in North Ireland. Pardoned by the crown, which upon investigation found him in the right, he received vast land grants in Virginia on which he settled a hundred Scotch and Irish families in 1737. On one of these crown grants to Lewis the first Collards in America found a home.
In Virginia, it is believed by Collard descendants that a descendant of the early American Collards married a descendant of the early Virginia Lewises. This may arise from an entry in one of the Virginia genealogies to the effect that Margaret Lewis (called Peggy), whose first husband was a McClenahan, married again, her second husband being a Collard. It is known that a daughter of Thomas Lewis (granddaughter of Irish John) married a McClenahan, who attained a captaincy in the army of General Andrew Lewis (his wife's uncle). This daughter of Thomas was Margaret (Peggy) Lewis. Margaret's husband, Captain McClenahan, fell in heroic combat with the Indians in the famous Battle of the Point in 1774. Margaret's sister Agatha also lost her husband in the same desperate encounter, described in an earlier chapter.
It is therefore possible (but by no means certain) that Margaret Lewis McClanahan, after the death of her young soldier husband, married Joseph Collard, who is the first new world Collard of whose name we have record. In this connection, it is of interest to note that Joseph Collard named his first daughter Margaret (who was called Peggy), and that John Collard, grandson of the senior Joseph, named one of his sons Thomas Lewis.
It is a supposition of some Collard descendants that the Collard line in America traces back to the village of Grand Pre and the tragic exile of its people, around which Longfellow wove his story of "Evangeline." There appears, however, to be nothing of record to substantiate this supposition.
Joseph Collard, ancestor of the Pike county Collards and the first of the name in America of whom there is any very definite record, came to the Missouri border in the year 1805 and settled on the crooked Cuivre river in what was then the District of Louisiana (that part which is now Missouri). Jefferson's Purchase of two years before had been divided into the Territory of Orleans (since 1812 the state of Louisiana) and the District of Louisiana (erected in 1805 into a territorial government). This Joseph Collard died in Wood's Fort (where now is Troy, Missouri) in 1812, the opening year of the Indian war on the Missouri border.
Joseph Collard, the Missouri pioneer, had eight children of family Bible record (possibly there were others). The children of definite record were Abigail, Elijah, Charles, John, Margaret (Peggy), Joseph, James and Mary. These are named in Bible records in possession of Nathan J. (Jay) Collard of Vandalia, Missouri. Some descendants believe that there is at least one omission in the above record, that of a son, Newton Collard (probably Isaac Newton).
Some claim that James Cannon's daughter, Lydia, married two brothers in the above family, namely, John and Newton, prior to her marriage to Isaac Thurman (or Thurmon). For instance, Mrs. Evelyn Collard Fidelle of Portland, Oregon, a descendant of Felix Collard (son of John Collard and Lydia Cannon), writes: "Lydia Cannon Collard married twice after her first husband's death and one marriage was to another Collard whom we think was Isaac Newton Collard, brother or cousin to her first husband. Isaac Newton died 1822."
Mrs. Fidelle also says "there were half brothers, John Collard, called Red John, and Black John, both of whom were in the Civil War, so there must have been children by the second Collard marriage of Lydia Cannon."
Others agree with Mrs. Fidelle that there were two John Collards who were half brothers, namely, John J. Collard (sometimes called "White" or "Red" John), and another John who so far as known did not come to Illinois and was known as "Missouri John." The Pike county John Collard who was designated for purpose of distinction as "Black John," was John N. Collard, who was a first cousin of John J. Collard, who was twice county clerk of Pike county.
Abigail Collard, first born of the children of Pioneer Joseph, was born in American's Independence year, October 28, 1776. She married Isaac Hatfield, lived in Missouri and died and is buried there. Elijah Collard, born November 3 (one record says November 9), 1778, married Mary Stark, who was born July 20, 1782, probably in Maryland, whence her family emigrated to Kentucky. In Kentucky she married Elijah Collard, whose family had left Virginia and settled in Christian and Lincoln counties, Kentucky, in a very early day.
Elijah Collard's children included Margaret, born April 1, 1802; Mary, born April 28, 1803; Eveline, no record; Jonathan Stark, born in Christian county, Kentucky, August 30, 1807; Joseph, died in infancy; Lemuel Miller, born January 3, 1810, died April 22, 1893; Job, born March 23, 1812; James Harrison, born September 29, 1815; Eliza H., born February 8, 1820; Elijah, Jr., born February 9, 1824, died September 12, 1863; Emily, born August 10, 1827.
The elder children were Kentucky born. Shortly after the birth of the fourth child, Jonathan Stark Collard, the family left Kentucky and came to the District of Louisiana, now Missouri, locating on the Cuivre river, which empties into the Mississippi opposite Point Precinct in lower Calhoun county. There the other children enumerated above were born.
Some time subsequent to the birth of the last child, Emily, the Elijah Collard family emigrated to the then Mexican province of Texas and settled on Ware league, Montgomery county, moving later to Gourd Creek, where Elijah Collard died and is buried. He died of what was then known as "winter fever," probably pneumonia.
Texas at that time was a troubled land. The Collard settlement was prior to the Texas War for Independence, in which General Sam Houston became commander-in-chief of revolutionary forces. Four of Elijah Collard's sons, namely, John Stark, Lemuel, Job and James Harrison Collard, obtained large land grants from the Mexican government in the Texas province. John S. and James h. were both land surveyors. Stephen F. Austin, founder of the first colony of Texas, was settling the country on the old land grant, and these two Collard brothers engaged in the buying and selling of land all over the state of Texas. James H. Collard was also a Methodist preacher and conducted protracted and camp meetings in the early colonies throughout Texas.
The four Collard brothers named above participated in the Texas War of Independence under General Houston, which culminated in the final victory of the revolutionists over General Santa Ana at the Battle of San Jacinto in April, 1836. The Republic of Texas was then organized and Houston chosen president. In 1846 Texas was annexed to the Union and became a state. In the days of the Republic and in the early days of Texas statehood, the Collards were prominent in the civic, religious and governmental development of this great southwestern territory. W. E. Collard, son of James H. and grandson of Elijah of the Missouri border, served for years in the Supreme Court of Civil Appeals for Texas and became so eminent as a jurist that his decisions are still widely quoted in the Lone Star State.
John S. Collard owned a large Texas cotton plantation and a hundred slaves, prior to the Civil War. The war over, his slaves freed and Confederate money without value, he found himself at the age of 60 upon the financial rocks, broke, indebted to the extent of $40,000. Yet he died a free man, having paid all he owed and leaving an estate of $20,000. He has one daughter, Mrs. Georgia Tomlinson, living in Houston, Texas, together with a number of grandchildren.
John S. Collard, son of Elijah, and Felix Alver Collard, son of John and older brother of John J. Collard, twice clerk of the Pike county court, were not only first cousins but in their boyhood days were boon companions upon the Missouri border. This comradeship is testified in the fact that John S. Collard named one of his sons Felix Collard, for his dear boyhood chum and cousin. This Felix Collard, named for Pike county Felix, has a son, Felix Robert Collard, M. D., located at 306 Waggoner Building, Wichita Falls, Texas. Dr. Felix R., Sr., also practiced medicine. He received his medical schooling at Tulare University, from which he graduated in 1869. A "doctor of the old school," he practiced until his death in 1922. His wife was still living in Wichita Falls in July, 1937, aged 85.
Dr. Felix Collard has one brother living, father of six children, two boys and four girls, all grown and some of them married. Dr. Felix has one child, a daughter 16 years old. Dr. Collard, president of the Wichita Falls Kiwanis Club in 1928, was sent as a delegate that year to the Kiwanis International Convention at Seattle, Washington.
Margaret Collard, eldest child of Elijah, Sr., died in Missouri. Two of her granddaughters, named Green, orphaned at the ages of 12 and 14, were taken to the Collard home in Texas by Margaret's brother, Jonathan Stark Collard, who went overland to Missouri to bring the girls back in 1840. One of the girls married Nelson Lindley (son of Joe); the other married Anthony Gibson.
Mary Collard, second of Elijah's children, married, first, John Tolbert. They went to Texas with the other Collards. John Tolbert died there, leaving a large family. Mary married again, her second husband being Samuel Lindley, brother of Joe.
Eliza H. Collard married Jacob Shepherd; Eveline married Wiley Dunn; Emily married William Whitley. These were daughters of Elijah Collard and Mary Stark. Mary Stark had three brothers, Jesse, Jonathan and Job, and one sister.
Felix Collard, in a letter written in 1904, related that when he was a small boy his father used to talk to him of his mother and of her people being great soldiers. It was General John Stark who, at the Battle of Bennington in the third year of the Revolution, shouted to his troops, when, mounting a hill, he caught sight of the British lines forming for battle: "There are the red-coats; we beat them today or Betty Stark is a widow." This was the signal for a great patriot victory.
Mary Stark, who married Elijah Collard, and Rachel Stark, who married James Cannon and became the mother of a number of Pike county Cannons (including Lydia, who married John Collard), were related to General John Stark, the "hero of Bennington." Rachel was a daughter of Captain Thomas Stark who, with James Cannon (Captain Stark's future son-in-law), fought in the Revolution under General Andrew Pickens, James Cannon being a recruit in Captain Stark's company.
Jonathan S. Collard, fourth child of Elijah and Mary Stark Collard, married, first, Nancy Reding, May 12, 1842. She was born August 16, 1822 and died September 12, 1859. Jonathan later married Margaret E. Cochran, who was born November 1, 1833 and died September 6, 1911. Children of Jonathan Stark Collard by his first wife were: Felix R. Collard, born March 16, 1844, died December 13, 1922; Martha Caroline, born January 26, 1846; James LaFayette, born April 16, 1848; Mary Emily, born October 10, 1850, died April 11, 1863; Nancy Josephine, born July 31, 1855.
Children by his second wife were: William Thomas Elijah, born December 26, 1862, died April 18, 1864; Jonathan Richard, born March 3, 1866; Ellen George Etta, born January 16, 1871.
Elijah Collard died in Texas in March, 1848 (one account says 1846). His wife, who was Mary Stark, died December 20, 1860.
Felix R. Collard, Sr., writing in 1904, related having listened to stories told by his father, John Stark Collard, of the Collard family's early experiences with Indians on the Missouri border. Said he: "Grandpa Collard (Elijah Collard) lived on the river Quiver (Cuivre), Lincoln Co., Mo., near where the town of Troy now stands, and they were frequently forced into the ‘block houses' at Wood's Fort. My first knowledge of the Indians was gleaned from these early stories of my father."
Charles Collard, third child of the first Joseph, was a Baptist minister who preached in the log abodes of the settlers and in the pioneer houses of worship in old St. Charles county, Missouri. He died in Missouri and is buried there.
John Collard, fourth child of Joseph, married Lydia Cannon and became the father of Felix Alver, Isaphena, Rachel and John J. Collard. The story of John Collard's family will be related in a succeeding chapter.
Margaret Collard (called Peggy), next in order of birth after John, married John Hunter of Hunter's Fort on the Missouri frontier. She died in Missouri.
Joseph Collard, Jr., sixth of the elder Joseph's children, married Mary Null and settled in Pike county, Illinois. His family history will also follow in another connection.
James Collard died on the Cuivre river near Troy, Missouri. Of him there is no available record. He probably died young.
Mary Collard, eighth and last of the elder Joseph's family (according to the Bible record), married Isaac Cannon, a brother of Lydia and a son of James Cannon and Rachel Stark.
As before stated, there appears to be a strong family conviction that there was another son of Joseph, not listed in the Bible record, who was the second husband of Lydia Cannon Collard. We can find no authentic record of his reputed second marriage of Lydia to another of the Collard sons, but the family tradition is so strong in the matter that it cannot be ignored. In case there was such a marriage, Lydia was four times married, twice to husbands of the name of Collard, then to Isaac Thurman, and, lastly, to Jehu Sinklear. The first Collard marriage, and the marriages to Isaac Thurman and Jehu Sinklear, are well authenticated.