Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Henry W. Collins, of 44 West San Lucas Street, Salinas, proprietor of the Salinas Undertaking Parlors, was born in Marin county, California, October 12, 1873, a son of Thomas Henry and Matilda (Foley) Collins, the former a native of Arkansas and the latter of Massachusetts. Thomas H. Collins was a '49er, and as a real pioneer, he drove a band of cattle across the great plains in the year of the Argonauts, accompanying a party of five others. He followed mining and was one of the first to try his luck on Feather River. Later he was active in farming and cattle-raising in Marin County. Such was his life among his fellowmen, and the principles that guided his life, made him honored as a man of real usefulness in his community.

Henry W. Collins attended the schools of Marin county and later a college in San Francisco. He then settled for a while in Sausalito, Marin County, where he learned the steam-fitting and plumbing trade, which he followed as a contractor. Subsequently, he joined his brother and engaged in the business of undertaking. He studied embalming in the largest undertaking establishment in San Francisco, and was there graduated from the Pacific College of Embalming and Funeral Directing.

Coming to Salinas in 1913, Mr. Collins bought out the business of C. R. Pickering, located in the Masonic Temple on Main Street and in September, 1923, he built and removed to his new and thoroughly modern establishment on West San Lucas Street, where he introduced the most approved methods, making the building and equipment among the best in the state, sparing neither expense nor trouble to attain the desired results. The establishment is located in a quiet street, the decorations are in keeping with becoming simplicity, and there is a large chapel and also special rooms for the family or near of kin who may attend as chief mourners. The patronage accorded Mr. Collins by the most representative people of Salinas and vicinity attests to their appreciation of his efforts for their welfare.

Mr. Collins is married and has four children: Henry Benjamin, Charles William, Clarice and Ethel Victoria.

Mr. Collins was the sixth man to enlist in the California Sharpshooters, and later he served in the Navy during the Spanish-American war, he was in the Philippines for a time and was in China during the Boxer uprising. He belongs to the Veterans of the Spanish War, is a member of the Major Wainwright Camp of Foreign Wars of Monterey, and a member of the Gaston Burgese Post of United Veterans of the Republic, in which he has held office. Mr. Collins is likewise connected with various fraternal organizations. He is a charter member and past president of Sea Point Parlor, N. S. G. W., of Sausalito; he also belongs to Salinas Lodge, No. 204, F. & A. M., and the Sciots, and to Alisal Lodge, No. 163, I. O. O. F., and to Lodge No. 614, B. P. 0. E., at Salinas. Deeply interested in the public welfare, he has furthered progress in many ways and his support can at all times be counted on to further the general good. He has done effective service as chairman of the good roads committee and has been deputy county coroner in Monterey county for eight years. There have also been unusual, picturesque and ofttimes exciting chapters in his life history. He has spent two years at sea, hunting in the Arctic and the Alaskan waters on the sailing vessel, Mattie T. Dyer, which was built in Maine and was the fastest vessel of her time in the Pacific. Of this ship he was part owner and mate. Being a crack shot, he was head hunter and became an authority on seals and fur-bearing animals, writing for publication upon the subject.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.