by Bobby Jay Wadsworth
It is supposed that William Thomas “Tom” Collings accompanied his cousins, Elisha Collings (1826-1890) and Jesse Leftridge Collings (1842-1889), to Hood County in 1875. All three of these men were residing in Greene County, Indiana, at the 1870 U.S. Census. Based on family tradition, these Collings pioneers traveled by train to Dallas, where Elisha purchased an ox cart and a team of oxen to continue their journey west. Upon reaching “Pulltight” (Paluxy), they stopped for a few days at the home of J.V. Brooks. Tom and Jesse remained in Hood County while Elisha continued on to Eastland County.
The son of William Collings and Purlina “Polly” Burch, Tom, was born 15 April 1848 in Gibson County, Indiana. He married (1) Delitha [Workman] Martindale Bartley 1 September 1868 in Greene County, Indiana. Tom first appeared on Hood County tax rolls in 1878 with personal property valued at $30. He later acquired a preemption grant of 160 acres on the waters of Paluxy Creek (about 10 miles Southwest of Granbury) 25 January 1879. On the 1880 U.S. Census, he was recorded beside his cousin Jesse in Hood County.
Delitha [Workman] Collings, daughter of Noah Workman and Delila Watson, was born 29 January 1845 in Indiana. She had three children from her previous marriages – Elizabeth and Delila A. Martindale and John W. Bartley; however, nothing more is known of them. Delitha died 5 April 1889, apparently on the old homeplace. Two handmade concrete headstones at Rock Church Cemetery mark the graves of Delitha Collinsand her baby, who died soon after birth. These headstones are relatively new, however, and incorrectly show the date of death as 1899.
On 1 June 1896, Tom married (2) Sarah Jane [Cunningham] Brazell, whose first husband, William M. Brazell (1844-1888), also is buried at Rock Church. Sarah was born ca 1856 in Alabama, and was residing in Roger, Mills County, Oklahoma Territory, in May 1901, when she received a divorce decree from Tom Collins claiming that he had deserted her for more than one year prior.
It is related that Tom later settled in the Antioch community about 4 miles North of Tolar. He died 8 March 1933 in Tolar, and was buried at Strouds Creek Cemetery. While both his death certificate and headstone list his name as W.T. Collins, the evidence proves that he was indeed a Collings. However, since Tom could not read or write, he undoubtedly had no idea that he had lost one of the more unique aspects of his heritage.
Tom and Delitha [Workman] Collings (Collins) had 11 children, including Estella Edith “Eddy” (1870-1962), Millard Francis ‘Frank” (1872-1943), Eliza Theodocia (1874-1942), William Howard (born and died 1877), Ina Stella (1880-1958),William Oliver (1882-1918), Eustace Rockwell “Rock” (1884-1966) and Julia Ann Collings (1886-?). Related families include Doss (Goss), Foster, Stell, Payton, Lowe, Pettijohn and Childchester.