10 March 2008

Ahira Mark Collins – Serendipity at the cemetery.

Ahira Mark Collins was born at Brownville, Nemaha County, Nebraska Territory, 17 Jan 1859.

He was the son of Stephen Loren and Mary Marie Helpher Collins. In an interview (1979) with my grandfather Mark Collins (b. 1901), I asked how his father had decided to move to Oregon. I was told that his dad had been helping his father farm a place in SW Missouri when he had a vivid dream. In the dream the devil told him to go to Oregon and an Angel told him to stay in Missouri. In 1889 A. Mark Collins arrived by train at The Dalles, Oregon. In 1893 he married Julia Porter at The Dalles, Wasco County, Oregon.

Their 5 children; Jesse McKinley, Thomas Antone (Ed), Fairy Valentine, Ahira Mark, & Joseph Claude, were all born near Tygh Valley Oregon. A. Mark homesteaded 21 acres, about 1 ½ miles north of Shearer Bridge Road. Joey the youngest died as a baby and may be buried at the homestead, along with his oldest brother Jesse McKinley who drown in about 1914-5. In 1910 Julia become ill and went to stay with her sister in Iowa. Julia died there, 13 March 1910, of tuberculosis, and is buried in Essex, Page County Iowa. The children remained with Julia's sister Jesse who raised them as her own. Ahira Mark Collins died 13 Oct 1939, at The Dalles Oregon, and is buried in the IOOF cemetery.

Five years ago on a trip to The Dalles, with my sister, we visited the IOOF cemetery. Once there, we found two maintenance workers one of whom indicated that Great-Grandpa Mark was buried in a certain section, but that he did not know the exact spot without checking the records in the cemetery office. With a 180 degree sweeping motion of his arm, he indicated where we should start looking. This was a huge area.. I hopped out of the car and my sister with the aid of one of the workers started up and down the rows of graves. Instead, I headed out on foot angling across with no sense of where I was headed or even if there would be a headstone to mark the grave. I walked at a steady pace for a few minutes until I felt the sudden urge to stop. Looking down at that spot, not 6 inches from my foot, was the small flat headstone of my great-grandfather, Ahira Mark Collins. I firmly believe he guided me straight to his grave.

Obituary: "The Dalles Weekly Chronicle" 14 Oct 1939 page 2 – The Dalles, Wasco County Oregon. Mark Collins, 80, resident of Tygh Valley for 52 years, died yesterday at a local hospital. Funeral arrangements will be announced later by C.R. Callaway & Sons. Surviving relatives include, Mrs Abe Fulkerson, Shenandoah IA, and two sons Mark Collins, Dundee, and Ed Collins, Redmond.

The Dalles Daily of Oct 16th 1939
Services Announced - Funeral rites for Mark Collins, long time resident of Tygh Valley who died here Friday, will be held from Callaway's chapel tomorrow at 3:30 pm, it was announced today.

The Dalles Daily of Oct 17th 1939
Funeral serviced for Mark Collins, Tygh Valley man who died last week, were held this afternoon from Callaway's chapel with Rev. W. I. Eck officiating. Burial was in Odd Fellows Cemetery. (The Dalles).

Misc records:
BLM records www.glorecords.blm.gov
Ahira M. Collins
Wasco Co. Oregon, Twp 3S, Range 14E, Section 31, lot 2.
Title Issued - 14 Sept 1908
21.13 Acres. Document # 5711
Misc Doc # 8575
Accession/Serial # 13229 BLM serial # ORTDAA 062560

1922-23 Wasco County Oregon Farmers Directory
Collins, A.M. , PO The Dalles; owns 21 acres; sec 31, twp 3S, RG 14; assd. $330; 2 mi NE Tygh Valley.

1905-6 Wasco County Oregon Tax List - R.L. Polk & Co.
Collins, A.M. $525, Tygh.