Company: Co. A
Unit Served: 7th SC Cavalry Reg
Benjamin Grier Collins 1845-1929 was a CSA Soldier from Horry County, SC.
Photo circa 1920.
Benjamin Grier Collins, the son of Robert Hern and Mary Jane Grier Collins, was born Oct. 6, 1845 in Georgetown County not far from the present Yauhanna Bridge over the Pee Dee River. His grandfather, William (?) Collins came to this country directly from Holland, with a group from that country who settled in Charleston, SC in the early 1700.
His wife, Elizabeth, and his son, Robert are buried together with the latter wife, in an old cemetery not very far from the river. After the death of his father and mother, Grier and his younger brothers and sisters, were taken into the home of an uncle who was appointed as guardian for them. Here the early years of his life was spent on the banks of the Pee Dee at a place which has been known as upper Topsaw. At the age of sixteen, he enlisted in the Confederate Army and served as a member of Gary’s Brigade with General Lee’s Army in Virginia for the duration of the war. At the end of the war, he came to Conwayboro, (Now Conway) and applied for work as a teamster for Mr. Franklin Burroughs and was given the position of driving one of the wagons hauling turpentine, at the wages of fifty cents a day. The young man kept his own quarters for a time, doing his own washing and cooking.
In the course of time his position was advanced and he was taken in as member of the firm of Burroughs and Collins. He remained in this partnership and helped in the establishment of turpentine stills and stores at Cool Springs, Socastee, Port Harrelson, Bayboro, and Nixonville, all of which became thriving branches of the parent store which was located on Elm Street and Ninth Avenue near Deep Gully Branch from which the name of the store was derived. For a half-century it was known as the Gully Store, the largest business in the county for all that time. With branches extending through the wide territory of a big county, it was worth much money and in the course of the business which it conducted, the company acquired large acreage of land. In 1895, the co-partnership business was incorporated into the Burroughs and Collins Company and today it is still doing business under that charter. In 1910 a large brick building was erected by H.P. Little and the entire business of the company, including the real estate offices, the large stock of furniture, hardware, dry goods and notions was moved downtown to the east side of Main Street. Soon after that time, Mr. Collins sold his entire stock in the large business and gave his time to other interests, one of the first was the establishment of the Bank of Conway, which operated in the front of the small offices of Johnsons and Quattlebaum, leading attorneys at that time.
The bank grew under the skillful management of Col. D.A. Spivey, one of the sons-in-law of Mr. Collins, and from it came the Peoples National Bank, of which he was Chairman of the Board until his death in 1929. He never forgot the poor and needy. His church and its mission was his first thought. Being deeply religious, he was a friend and guide to young churches everywhere, giving liberally of his time and money. Throughout his long life, he very seldom failed to visit each Sunday one or more of the many churches in the county which he had helped to establish and maintain.
In September of 1870, he married Laura Jane Cooper of Conwayborough, as the town was then called. She was the daughter of Timothy and Harriet Cooper, a well-known and established family of Horry County. She was an ideal helpmate to Mr. Collins and a wonderful mother to their eleven children, and during their first year of married life, she helped him to save a thousand dollars with which they bought the property on part of which the old homestead remains in good condition at this time. One of the three living children, Miss Mitchelle Collins, lives there. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Collins were:
I. Olla Hart, was born August 18, 1871. She married B.B. McWhite of Brittons Neck, SC. She died, October 1, 1935. Children: two of the five children are G.C. McWhite of Savannah, Georgia and E.N. McWhite of Annapolis, Maryland.
II. Mary Essie, was born February 15, 1873. She married D.A. Spivey, of Conway. She died, April 28, 1932. Children: are C.A. Spivey, B.L. Spivey, of Conway and Myrtle Beach, Mrs. Tom Scoggin, of Myrtle Beach, Mrs. John Hehl, of Murrells Inlet and Columbia, South Carolina, and Mrs. Frank Pearce of Florence, SC.
III. Malcolm was born February 20, 1875. He married Laura Moore, of Bennettsville, SC died, June 22, 1935. Children: Mrs. V.C. Jensen, Conway, SC and Miss Mildred Moore Collins. (deceased)
IV. Emma was born February 17, 1877. She married A.C. Thompson. She died July 27, 1958. Children: A.C. Thompson Jr. (deceased) Mrs. Leo West, Mrs. Wofford Boyd, Ringnald and Benjamin Thompson all of Conway, SC.
V. Allen Thurman was born February 24, 1879. He married Rowena Vereen of Little River, SC died November 26, 1936. Children: Mrs. W.M. Bailey, Hartsville, SC and Miss Nina Collins of Rockville, Maryland.
VI. Henry Smith was born June 10, 1881. He married Daisy Johnson of Galivants Ferry, SC and Irlene Truesdale, of Camden. Children: Mrs. R.V. Kirton of Conway, and Mrs. Charles Brown of Charlotte, NC.
VII. Janie Laura was born April 4, 1884. She married Thomas E. Cooper. She died, April 5, 1964. Children: Mrs. Jane DeNunzio of Alexandria, VA and Miss Lois Cooper of Wilmington, NC.
VIII. Mitchelle was born April 6, 1886.
IX. Ruth was born April 23, 1888. Married Jesse C. Stansel of Lumberton, NC. She had three children: J.C. Stansel of Newark, Deleware, David B. Stansel, of Raleigh, NC, and Charles Stansel, of Lumberton, NC.
X. Naomi was born April 23, 1888. Married John M. Register of Jacksonville, FL.
XI. Nina Grier was born March 8, 1891. She died at the age of nine in October 25. 1900.
This information was given by Mitchelle Collins in May, 1964.
NOTE: In the Kingston Presbyterian cemetery there are three Collins graves, one of them James Capers Collins, who was a brother to B.G. Collins. Emma Jane Collins, wife of Edgar R. Beaty, is said to have been a twin of James Capers Collins. There is evidently an error in the birth dates given. The inscription on the three stones are as follows: James Capers Collins, Son of R.H. and M.J. Collins. Born in Georgetown County, South Carolina, on August 25, 1854. Died, at Fair Bluff, NC on July 7, 1879. Minnie Capers Collins, daughter of J.C. and E.J. Collins was born Oct. 26, 1879. She died February 2, 1879. Emma Jane Collins, wife of Edgar R. Beaty, was born October 15, 1854. Died October 3, 1907. The grave of B.G. Collins is in the Methodist Church cemetery in Conway, on the Main Street side of the cemetery.