JOHN COLLINS, the third governor of Delaware to die in office, was born in Nanticoke Hundred, Delaware, on March 1, 1776. He was a self-educated man who in 1803 was appointed to serve as Sussex County’s justice of the peace, a position he held until February 11, 1807. His military career started on October 28, 1807 with an appointment as lieutenant to the Third Company, Third Brigade of the Delaware militia. He rose through the ranks, and on March 15, 1815, was promoted to major of the First Battalion, Seventh Regiment of the Delaware militia. Along with his military career, Collins built a successful livelihood in the business world. He owned and operated a mill in Nanticoke and built a profitable charcoal forge in Gravelly Branch. Collins entered politics on October 3, 1820, with his election to Delaware’s governor office. During his tenure, he made several key commission appointments. Also, a road was constructed, spanning from the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike in Lancaster County to Newport, Delaware. While still in office, Governor John Collins died on April 15, 1822. He is buried at the old family estate, Collins Mill Pond, near Laurel, Delaware.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.