For more information about Migration patterns see the New Jersey Migrations

Another South Jerseyian goes to Clermont County, Ohio. 

Excerted with permission of the authors from the Atlantic County Newsgroup of Sun, 7 Apr 2002. 

CLERMONT'S REV. JOHN COLLINS

            The Rev. John Collins was born in Gloucester County, New Jersey, Nov.1st 1769 to Quaker parents.. At an early age he became interested in religion. When he was a young man he went to Charleston to study religion, where he stayed one year. 

He returned to New Jersey in 1793 where he married Sarah Blackman. John was afflicted by a sickness that brought him to the verge of death in July 1794.  He sought and found religion in October of that year, and soon became an active member of the Methodist Church. It wasn't long before he became a preacher in this faith.  He had few equals in the pulpit.

In the year 1803, Rev. Collins settled with his family on a farm in Clermont Co. Ohio, on the East Fork of the little Miami River near Elk Lick Rd. 

In the year 1805 John built a 2 story stone house on his Elk Lick property. He held some of his first Methodist meetings here. This house was said to be the oldest stone house in Ohio, before it was bulldozed by the U.S. Corps. of  Engineers in 1972 to make way for Harsha Lake in the East Fork State park.

Many present day Clermont County people are descended from this family (Rev. John Collins & Sarah Blackman).  Some of their children were Wesley, Sarah, Mary, Belinda, Elvaner, Richard, Elizabeth, Alice & Electra.  Wesley and Sarah died in childhood. Richard married Mary Ann Johnson 1 Mar. 1838, Elizabeth married Collins Bredwell 2 Mar. 1835 and 2nd L. D. Bredwell 18 Mar. 1841, Electra married Dr. George Bragdon and 2nd   Col. William Thomas.  

John's son Richard became a very successful lawyer and was said by some to be the best in all of Ohio.  He practiced in Hillsboro, but moved back to Clermont County in 1828 to practice in Batavia and started a mansion at Elk Lick  site of 37 rooms that was finished by 1830.  This was said to be the show place of Clermont County. It also was a victim of the Harsha Lake in 1972.

Rev. John Collins preached the first Methodist sermon that was ever preached in Cincinnati.  He soon organized the first Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Wesley Chapel, now defunct.  He also organized churches in Dayton, Chillicothe, Lebanon and not the least of them was the Collins Chapel in Clermont Co. now called Old Bethel Methodist Church.  This church is in the East Fork State Park just 3/4 mile north of Bantam OH, this Church has been declared a historic place, and is maintained by the Historical Society.  A cemetery surrounds this building. Many early Clermont Countyians are buried there including Rev. John Collins.  Meetings are held there occasionally even today in the year 2,000. 

John's son Richard became a very successful lawyer and was said by some tobe the best in all of Ohio.  He practiced in Hillsboro, but moved back to Clermont County in 1828 to practice in Batavia and started a mansion at Elk Lick  site of 37 rooms that was finished by 1830.  This was said to be the show place of Clermont County. It also was a victim of the Harsha Lake in 1972.

Rev. John Collins preached the first Methodist sermon that was ever preached in Cincinnati.  He soon organized the first Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Wesley Chapel now defunct.  He also organized churches in Dayton, Chillicothe, Lebanon and not the least of them was the Collins Chapel in Clermont Co. now called Old Bethel Methodist Church.  This church is in the East Fork State Park just 3/4 mile north of Bantam OH, this Church has been declared a historic place, and is maintained by the Historical Society.  A cemetery surrounds this building. Many early Clermont Countyians are buried there including Rev. John Collins.  Meetings are held there occasionally even today in the year 2,000. 

The appearance of Rev. John Collins never failed to make the most favorable impression.  His dress was neat and always plain and Quaker-like.  His voice was soft and silvery, and had a soothing sympathetic way with his followers.  He organized many Church Camps and followed these Church
circuits: New Jersey, and in Ohio, New Richmond, Dayton, Scioto, White Oak, Miami, Deer Creek, Union and Cincinnati at various times in his career. 

Rev. John Collins had a great ministry, his influence was felt by thousands of people, not only as Pastor of Old Bethel Methodist Church at Bantam in Clermont County and at Wesley Chapel in downtown Cincinnati, and by the thousands that he came in contact during his career. 

After several years of poor health he departed this world the 22 Aug. 1845 at the home of his son Richard in Maysville, Kentucky.   His tombstone at Old Bethel Cemetery reads "Rev. John Collins, Minister of the M. E. Church died Aug 22 1845 aged 75 years, 9 months, 22 days"

Above is a Story My Wife Millie and I wrote for

 The Clermont Co. Genealogical Society Newsletter in 2000.

The basic data came from a very rare book "A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF REV. JOHN COLLINS" published in 1849 by the Methodist Publishing Co. in Cincinnati, this 60 page book was sent to us from a researcher in New Jersey as a xerox copy from a Library there.

We have since placed this copy in a 3 ring binder and presented it to the Clermont Co. Genealogical Society Library in Batavia OH.  I have a scan of an Autographed picture of Rev. John COLLINS from this same book that I can send by attachment to any individual interested.  A query about this man on the Ross Co. list prompted us to share this article more widely knowing that many people descended from his large family through out the Ohio Valley.  (Neither of us are related to John Collins that we know of)

                              Submitted by John & Mille Emmitt

Click on the following link to read another story of the Migration from Cape May County to Clermont County, Ohio

 TheLeaming and Yates Families