An American Family History

Henry and Ann Collins

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists."
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
London, Middlesex County, England
Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts
St. Dunstan's was an Anglican church located on St. Dunstan's Hill between London Bridge and the Tower of London. The church was destroyed in the World War II.
The town common (commons) was a small, open field at the center of the town which was jointly owned. It was used as a marketplace, a place for the militia to drill, or for grazing livestock.

Boston was founded in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England.

Alcohol played a significant role in the daily lives of colonists; even children. They feared polluted water and believed in alcohol's nourishing and medicinal properties.

Henry Collins and his wife, Ann, married about 1627 in Stepney Parish, London, Middlesex County, England. They lived on Tatcliff Highway in the parish of Stepney in the eastern part of the city of London.

Their older children were born in England. Their births were registered at St. Dunstan Church.

Their first child may have been Ann Collins who was christened on August 31, 1628 at St. Dunstan's. The Parish Register of St. Dunstan's recorded the burial of Ann Collens, daughter of Henry, on September 5, 1628.

Henry Collins, Jr. was born on October 29, 1629. John Collins was born on January 14, 1631. Margery Collins Williams was born on November 6, 1633. 

The young family immigrated to America on the Abigail in 1635. Henry was 29, Anne was 30, Henry, Jr. was five, John was three and Margery was one when they made the voyage. They came with four servants.

They settled in Lynn where they lived on Essex Street.

Hannah Collins Ingersoll was born in 1636. 

In 1637 Henry was chosen to help lay out the town.

Benjamin Collins was born about 1638. That year, Henry was granted “upland and meadow, 80 acres, and ten" from the town of Lynn. At a Court of Assistants held at Boston September 4, 1638, Henry was fined five shillings for not appearing when he was called to serve on the Grand Jury

Joseph Collins was born about 1640. Mary Collins Johnson was born about 1642.

In March, 1661, Henry Collins and John Hathorne were accused of not laying out 40 acres for William Longley. Longley won the case, but in March, 1662, the town marshall, Robert Lord, said he went to Lynn to serve the papers to satisfy the judgment, but Henry didn't have anything to attach and would not go to prison. John Hathorne would not help arrest Henry and came to his aid. Henry testified that when the marshall

had levied his execution and asked for assistance, he turned to deponent who had no hat upon his head and said that they had better go into the house because it was very cold weather.

Robert Burges said that Henry had said the marshall could seize some cattle and his son's colt. The marshall was not sure who owned the stock, but took it anyway.

Edward Ierson said Henry told the Marshall that the debt was not his and that he should go and take the common. He said

here is the Towne Common before my dore, take that for your satisfaction.

In March, 1663 John Mansfield said that at a church meeting at Mr. Whiting's house, John Hathorne charged William Longley with bearing false witness against Henry Collins.

Henry Collins served as selectman in Lynn in 1666.

In 1667 he was constable for the Town of Lynn.

In 1668, he was a member of the grand jury of Salem Court.

In June, 1670, Henry, was involved in a case against Edward Richards. Richards assaulted the selectmen of Lynn on the town common which he claimed as his own.

On 25 June 1672, Henry signed a petition condemming John Hathorne for selling alcohol to the indigenous people.

Henry took the Oath of Allegiance to the King at the Quarterly Court Meeting in November, 1678.

Henry died February 20, 1686/87 and Ann in 1691 in Lynn, Massachusetts.

Ralph and Thankful Shepherd and their children and Henry and Ann Collins and their children came to America together on the Abigail. She arrived in Boston about October 8, 1635. The passengers were infected with smallpox. 

Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts was first settled by English Puritans in 1629 and was first incorporated in 1631 as Saugus.
In the 17th century jails were used as places to hold people accused of crimes until they were brought to trial, but not as places of punishment. A debtor could be held in jail until he paid his debts and political dissidents were also jailed. Punishments included execution, maiming, public humiliation and monetary fines.

A deponent (dept, dpnt) gives testimony under oat.

In early New England towns policy was set by a board of 3 to 5 selectmen. They oversaw public responsibilities such as the policing, roads, and fences.

King Charles II ruled England from 1660 to 1685.


A constable was an elected official who was responsible for keeping the peace. His duties were more limited than the sheriff's. He apprehended and punished offenders, helped settle estates, and collected taxes.

from The American Church History Series: A History of the Baptist Churches edited by Philip Schaff, Henry Codman Potter, Samuel Macauley Jackson

The earliest assured case of theocratic censure on the ground of antipedobaptist [a sect of Anabaptists opposed to infant baptism] error occurred December 14, 1642, at the Salem Quarterly Court. The record runs:

The Lady Deborah Moody, Mrs. King, and the wife of John Tilton were presented for holding that the baptizing of infants is no ordinance of God.

Winthrop reports the matter more fully as regards the principal offender:

The Lady Moody, a wise and anciently religious woman, being taken with the error of denying baptism to infants, was dealt withal by many of the elders and others, and admonished by the church of Salem (whereof she was a member). . .

The next case on record seems to be that of William Witter, who had probably been influenced by Lady Moody, his neighbor. The date of his arraignment before the Salem Court was February 28, 1644 (N. S.). The record reads:

For entertaining that the baptism of infants was sinful, . . .

He was charged with having called "our ordinance of God a badge of the whore."

. . . A later record runs:

At the Court at Salem, held the 18th of the 12th month, 1645 [February, 1646, N. S.], William Witter, of Lynn, was presented by the grand jury for saying that they who stayed whiles a child is baptized do worship the devil.

Henry Collins and Nat. West dealing with him thereabouts, he further said that they who stayed at the baptizing of a child did take the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in vain, broke the Sabbath, and confessed and justified the former speech.

Essex County, Massachusetts was created on May 10, 1643 by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when it ordered "that the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four sheires."
Mister ( Mr.) was derived from master and Mrs. and Miss were derived from mistress. They indicated people of superior social status in colonial America.

Horse Terms
Foal: less than 1 year old
Yearling: between 1 & 2
Colt: male under 4
Filly: female under 4
Mare: female over 4
Gelding: castrated male
: non-castrated male over 4

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the ..., Volume 3 edited by William Richard Cutter, William Frederick Adams

The Collins family of New England, whose progenitor was Henry Collins, came from England and settled in Massachusetts, in the pioneer days, as documentary evidence clearly shows.

Henry Collins, as recent research has developed, resided on Tatcliff Highway in the parish of Stepney in the eastern part of the city of London, and worshipped at the old parish church of St. Dunstan, in that place.

The church records show that several of his children were baptized in this church, among them being his son John, at the age of eight days, January 22, 1631.

Henry Collins, born in England in 1606, died in Lynn, Massachusetts February 20, 1687 aged eighty-one years. The passenger list of the ship Abigaiil of London contains the following record of June 30, 1635:

Vitjo Junij. 1635. Aboard the Abigail, Robert Hackwell Mr. peery from the Minister of Stepney pish of their conformitle; I that they are no subsedy men.

Starchmaker Henry Collins 29
Vxor Ann Collins 30
Henry Collins 5
Jo. Collins 3
Margery Collins 2
Servants—Joshua Griffith 25
Hugh Alley 27
Mary Roote 15
Jo. Cooke 27
Geo. Burdln 24

Henry Collins settled in Essex street, Lynn, Massachusetts, where he remained until his death. In 1637 a town meeting was held in which Daniel Howe, Richard Walker and Henry Collins were chosen a committee to divide the lands, or as it was expressed in the records, "To lay out ffarmes." The land was laid out in those parts of the town best adapted to cultivation, and the woodlands were reserved as common property, called the "Town Common,'' and was not divided until sixtynine years afterwards.

In a list of names, about one hundred in number, recorded in the town records in the year 1638, which follows the above extract, appears the following: "Henry Collins upland and meadow 80 acres and ten." The ten acres were a separate allotment, and undoubtedly his village or town lot where he lived. In 1639 Henry Collins was a member of the Salem court.

The facts of Henry Collins bringing servants, and the references to him in the public records of Lynn, show that he was a man of importance in the community. He was frequently called upon to perform duties of public trust and confidence, and sometimes acted as an advocate in court trials. His wife, Ann, died at Lynn, probably in 1690, as her will dated in 1690 was probated in that year.

The children of Henry and Ann were: Henry, John, Margery and Joseph.

English colonists from Salem were the first settlers in Lynn.
The town common (commons) was a small, open field at the center of the town which was jointly owned. It was used as a marketplace, a place for the militia to drill, or for grazing livestock.

From The Ingalls Family in Europe and America, 1930, p. 40

Further north near the corner of Fayette and Essex Streets, Henry Collins was situated. Henry Collins was a starch maker who came from Stepney, London, England, in 1635, accompanied by wife, children, and five servants (probably meaning his workmen). 

Collin’s Swamp, now Silver Lake, got its name from Henry Collins whose land stretched eastward from the road to Lynnfield and along what is now Essex Street, lying mainly to the north thereof. 


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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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