Joseph G. Rhea was  born about 1838  and was a teenager when Vardy and Peggy Collins died. This letter was written to his niece, Martha Collins of Hancock County. It was not written to be published or to record as history but simply a letter to his niece telling what he knew of Vardy Collins.


J. G. Rhea
Griffin, Georgia
April 14, 1918

Miss Martha B. Collins
Bristol Tenn

Dear Niece

Since receiving your letter of march 27th I have received one from Commodore (daddy) dated April 9th, says all well at Frost Ford and from the way he writes about crops and labor, I think he can give a job with "the hoe" if you want to play in the dirt, a while this summer. I know Mary is an expert, for I saw her at it last summer.  It is a patriotic exercise and brings  roses to the cheeks of pretty girls much quicker than teaching---
I have a fine War garden" and work some in it, but I have a good old African to do the sweating for me---We have Irish Potatoes knee high, English peas in bloom, onions, radish, lettuce, all for the  table now and 'turnips, mustard and r--- for greens, then that dear old sister of mine (your granny) sent me last week, a big ham a bushel of good corn meal and a big can of good old country lard to make fatty bread So I am not worrying if Hoover did put me on a spoonful of wheat flour a day, I will eat cornbread and send King George my biscuit just to be patriotic and help the allies---

Now about the Collins boys, I knew when I was a boy Navarrh, or as he was called, "Vardy" Collins was a fine old patriarch, said to be of Portuguese Nationality coming to this country with De Soto-he settled on Black water Creek and owned Vardy Mineral Spring-I  was at his home often with other boys, his grandsons, He was highly respected in his time and founded a church at his home-He has sons and daughters, Alfred Collins, Morgan Collins and Allen Collins were his sons-Etha Goins, Clarkia Biggs, and Lettitia Williams were his daughters-All had families and they are one Tribe.

Another highly esteemed and venerable patriarch named Solomon Collins, about the same time settled on top of Newmans Ridge and was a thrifty farmer and had a fine set of boys-Their names were Silas, Frank, Dick, Bailey and Enoch-Frank and Bailey were my chums and I used to go home with and stay all night, they always had find apples and plenty to eat and Aunt "Gincy" their mother, baked delicious ginger cakes-In the course of events my sister Melissa married Bailey Collins and they had sons an daughter and one of their sons is named Commodore Maury Collins one of the best men ever raised in Hancock County-Now if "Daddy" won't tell you much about them; ask "Granny" to sit down some time and tell you all about them.
Persevere -raise the standard so high, that "Mary and Martha" of old will not excel or out live it Then write beautiful letters to

Your Devoted Uncle
J. G. Rhea

Thanks to Penny Ferguson for contributing this letter that she received from Martha Collins while visiting her at her home!
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