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History of Benton County, Iowa
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910; Luther B. Hill, Ed.

Pages 645-647

MARTIN JOHN COLLINS, cashier of the Farmers' Savings Bank, of Garrison, Iowa, and one of the representative business men of Garrison, was born September 10, 1874, in Homer township, Benton county, and is a son of Thomas and Mary (Donnelly) Collins. Thomas Collins was born in county Galway, Ireland, in 1835, was reared in his native country, and at the age of seventeen years came to New Orleans, where he worked some time on the levee; later he removed to Louisville, Kentucky, and found work. He next located in Iowa City, Iowa, and worked on the railroad, and then in the spring of 1857 removed to Homer township, Benton county, in an ox wagon. He was married in 1850, in Louisville, to Mary Donnelly, and bought land in Homer township, consisting of forty acres; he lived on another farm at first, after which he built a log cabin and kept adding land until he owned five hundred and sixty acres. He made all possible improvements on his farm, erected two houses, and barns accordingly, as well as other necessary buildings, and lived in his home until his death, April 7, 1892. He was able to save money, and was very successful in all his undertakings, being a self-made man. Before the coming of the railroad, it was necessary for him to haul his produce by team to Cedar Rapids or Blairstown. His wife was born May 22, 1831, in county Galway, also, and lived in her native country until nine years of age; she came with her brothers to New Orleans, spending thirteen weeks on the water. Later she removed to Louisville, Kentucky, where she was married, and at the time of settling in Homer township she had one child. She lived on the farm until the April prior to her death, which occurred December 11, 1904. They had children as follows: Ellen, wife of Dan McGraw, of Rock Rapids, Iowa; Mary, wife of William Muns, at Rock Rapids; Delia, who died in 1897; Thomas F., who married Adda Donelan, and lives at Rock Rapids; Samuel, who married Margaret Casey, and lives near LaPorte; Peter, living in Garrison, Iowa; William, who married Ella Scurry, of Eldora, Iowa, and now resides at Lake Park Iowa; Kate, who died February 26, 1891; and Martin J.

Martin J. Collins was reared on the farm which was his birthplace, and lived there until 1905, when he entered into business in Garrison which has since been his residence. He has a natural aptitude for business life, and is well educated, having attended the State Normal School some time, and has made the most of his opportunities for improvement. He is a member of the Catholic church of Vinton, and also of the Modern Woodmen of America and the Knights of Columbus. In politics he is a Democrat, though not radical. The history of the Farmers' Savings Bank, of which Mr. Collins is cashier, will be found in connection with the general history of the county. The directors of the bank include some of the most influential and conservative citizens of Garrison and vicinity, and the institution is erected on a sure foundation, having fine prospects for the future.

On June 19, 1906, Mr. Collins married, Alice Elizabeth, daughter of P. J. and Anna (Fallan) Donelan; they have no children. P. J. Donelan was born February 8, 1834, in county Clare, Ireland, and came to New York in 1848; he settled in Chawtauqua county, New York, and later removed with a brother to Portage county, Ohio. He was a son of James and Elizabeth (McMahan) Donelan the father a farmer, who remained in Ireland, and died when P. J. Donelan was a small boy. His mother was a daughter of Patrick and Mary (Holmes) McMahan, and reared in county Clare; she came to America by the same route as her sons, and died about ten years ago. Later the family came to Ohio. The children of James Donelan and his wife were: Michael, of Vinton; Mary, deceased, wife of Patrick Joyce, also deceased, of Benton, Iowa; Anna, wife of William Coughlin, of Benton, Iowa; and P. J. Mrs. Donelan married (second) Dennis Gleason, from county Clare, Ireland, who died there, and they had two children, Kate and Elizabeth. Kate married W. J. Dunn, of Buchanan, Iowa, and is now deceased; Elizabeth married D. Steadman, of Vinton.

P. J. Donelan was the fourth and youngest child of his mother's first marriage. He arrived in Benton county early enough to be able to enter land from the government, and his brother also took up land there. They hauled supplies from Davenport and Muscatine for two or three years, and later from Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Blairstown, until the coming of the railroad removed the need of this teaming. Mr. Donelan purchased eighty acres of land to which he added as able and became the owner of two hundred and forty acres. He invested in land and bought horses and cattle and some years ago moved to Vinton, Iowa, where for a time he dealt in city real estate, but afterward retired from active life. In politics he is a Republican, and belongs to the Catholic church of Vinton.

In 1864 Mr. Donelan married Anna M., daughter of John and Margaret (McCune) Fallan, of Ireland; she was born in Buffalo. They had issue as follows: Adda M., wife of Thomas Collins, of Lyon county, Iowa; Ella G., who died about the age of twenty-one years; Theresa M., wife of Walter Goodhue, of Vinton, Iowa; Florence, wife of Henry Bell, of Des Moines, Iowa; Alice Elizabeth wife of M. J. Collins, of Garrison, Iowa; Michael Francis, who died at the age of six years; and Jay, of Waverly, Iowa.



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