Allison-Antrim Museum

George Collier


There is one Civil War U.S. Marine buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery.  His name is George W. Collier.  Through a resolution, the Continental Congress established two battalions of Continental Marines on November 10, 1775.


The earliest U.S. Census record I have found for George is 1850.  He was the son of John and Rebecca Collier, who were living, with their family, in Ellicott’s Mills, Anne Arundel County, Maryland.  John and Rebecca were both born in Pennsylvania but all their children were born in Maryland.  Their children were John, George, Emanuel, and Rebecca. John Sr. was a potter.  John Jr. (22) and George (17) were both tinners.


On November 3, 1860, the Collier family was still living in Ellicott’s Mills, Howard County.  John Sr. owned real estate valued at $20,000 and his personal estate was worth $500.  John’s occupation was simply “store,” as was Rebecca’s and George’s.  As all three worked in a store, I believe the Collier’s owned the property.  Son, Frank M., was a machinist.


On the July 13, 1870 U.S. Census in Greencastle, George Colyer, U.S. Marine Officer, was living with his wife Ann Elizabeth and daughter Emily in the household of his father-in-law Charles Michael, a physician, and his wife Sidney Maria Wilhelm Michael.


Charles Michael appears on the U.S. Census records in the Borough of Greencastle, as far back as 1840.  The Michael family was living in Antrim Township during the 1850 census.  Dr. Michael’s real estate was valued at $5,500.  Ann was 15 and her sister Helen was 13.  Susan Walker, domestic servant, and her daughter Ann (3) also lived in the same household.


In 1860, the Michael family was living in Greencastle, again.  The value of his real estate was $7,600 and his personal estate was valued at $950.  Anna E. (24) was still living with her parents.  John Wilhelm was a laborer and was included in the household, along with Susan Walker and her daughter Anna.


I was only able to find a few records on George’s career in the Marines.  The U.S. Marine Corps muster rolls list George as having been mustered into the Civil War on 2 May 1861.  He was a Lieutenant and was stationed aboard the USS Ship Minnesota.   May 2, 1861 was the same day that the USS Minnesota was re-commissioned.  The Minnesota was named after the Minnesota River and was built in the Washington Navy Yard; it was launched December 1, 1855.


From the book Send Me Thirty Marines…Part II, written by Richard A. Long, and published May 1961, Long wrote, “17-18 July 1862:  Twenty Marines from the USS Potomac, under the command of First Lieutenant George W. Collier, participated in an expedition up the Pascagoula River, Miss.”


“Acting with the U. S. Steamers Grey Cloud and New London, the objective was to capture or destroy a steamer and two schooners rumored to be loading with cotton, and to destroy telegraphic communications between Pascagoula and Mobile, Ala.  Assisted by 20 sailors, Collier's command was able to destroy the communications, but upon pursuing the Confederate vessels upstream, they were ambushed by cavalry and infantry along the shore and forced to turn back to care for three who were wounded.”


From The Pilot, April 5, 1864, page 2, PASSING EVENTS &c, the following note was made.

“Capt. Geo. W. Collier, of Carroll county, Md., who has numerous friends and acquaintances here, is now in command of the U.S. Marines at Washington (City).”


There is no Pennsylvania Civil War muster card because George lived in Washington City when he was mustered into the Civil War.  He has a Pennsylvania veteran’s burial card because he lived in Pennsylvania when he died.  The search for more military records for Collier will continue.


This brings the story back to 1870, when Ann and George Collier and their daughter Emily were living in the Michael’s household in Greencastle, or perhaps visiting.  Between July 13, 1870, when the Greencastle census was taken, and August 11, 1870, George returned to duty in Washington City, where he was living in the 6th Ward, along with his wife and daughter.  All three were counted twice for the 1870 U.S. Census.  Five “households” away, there were 113 soldiers and other military personnel who were enumerated, covering about three full pages.  George and his family must have lived very near a military base.


On June 7, 1880, George, Ann, Emily and their second daughter Helen were recorded on the census in Philadelphia.  They were living in a boarding house on Arch Street, where 21 people lived.  Benjamin and Sarah Lore owned the building and three of their children were also living there.  Four servants helped with the upkeep; the rest were boarders.  The census record indicates that George’s father was born in Indiana, while his mother was born in Pennsylvania.


George was enumerated on the 1890 Special Schedule for Civil War veteran survivors, in Greencastle, where he was living.  The record indicates that he enlisted in the Marines on September 5, 1860 and retired on October 5, 1889; he was career military and served 29 years, one month and 20 days.  George’s rank upon retirement was Lt. Colonel.  Surprisingly, paralysis was the disability incurred during service to his country.  There were no other details given.  George was born on March 26, 1836 and he died just a little over three years after retiring from the Marines, on December 23, 1892.  He was only 56 years, eight months, and 28 days old.  George’s pension index card is barely readable.  The only legible words are, “Widow, Collier, Ann E.”  She probably filed the beginning of 1893.


On the 1900 census in Greencastle, Ann (64) and her daughters, Emily S. (32) and Helen M. (25) rented a house on North Carlisle Street.  Also, living in the same house was Ann’s mother Sidney Michael (86) and Ann’s sister, Helen J. Strickler (62), who was a widow.  Helen’s son Charles M. Strickler, a veterinarian surgeon, also lived in the house.  The seventh person in the house was Susan Walker (84), the longtime servant of the Michael family.


Ann was 73, when the 1910 census was taken in Greencastle on April 27.  Emily and Helen, with no occupations listed, lived with their mother as boarders in the household of James Shirey, a widower on North Carlisle Street.


In January 1920, Ann and her daughters were still living on North Carlisle Street.  Ann owned their home, which was mortgaged.  Helen was a stenographer in the newspaper office, i.e. the Echo Pilot.  They had a servant, Minnie Reynolds, who lived with them.


Ann Elizabeth Collier, born on August 21, 1834, died on February 15, 1921 at the age of 86 years, five months, and 24 days.  She was buried alongside her husband George W. Collier, who is buried in Section E, Lot 5, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Antrim Township, Franklin County, PA.


Emily Sidney Collier was born December 7, 1866 in Pennsylvania.   On March 28, 1931, after more than 15 days of suffering from influenza, Emily died from its effects.  She was 64 years, three months, and 21 days old.


Although Helen provided the pertinent information for Emily’s death certificate and gave her residence as Greencastle, PA, Helen had returned to her place of birth (District of Columbia) sometime before April 8, 1930, as per the 1930 U.S. Census records.  She boarded at the Young Women’s Christian Association, with about 40 other women.  She was 55 years old and was working at the “Radio C School” as a file clerk.


Because Helen was enumerated twice in 1940, it was learned that she worked and lived in D.C. and she maintained her residence at 16 North Carlisle Street in Greencastle.  The 1940 census asked if each person was living at the same residence as they did on April 1, 1935.  Helen answered yes and that she owned the house at 16 North Carlisle Street, which was valued at $4,000.  The May 20, 1940 census in Washington, D.C. recorded her as a renter.  Helen lived at 1439 R Street and her occupation was given as “secretary to Congressman.”  She gave Greencastle, Franklin County, PA as her place of residence in April 1935.


Helen M. Collier was born November 30, 1874 and died in Hagerstown, Washington County, MD, on August 31, 1957, at the age of 82 years, nine months, and one day.  She was the last of her family.  Her will was held by the First National Bank of Greencastle.  Neither Emily nor Helen married.  They are buried alongside their parents.





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