Biography of James Potter Collins


James Potter Collins was born of Irish descent on Nov. 22, 1763 in what was then Tryon County, North Carolina.  Tryon County is now York County, South Carolina.

At the time of the invasion of the British troops, Collins enlisted in Moffit’s Minute Men, a company of volunteers in the year of 1780.  This was not long after the fall of Charleston, South Carolina in what is now called York District.  He served both as courier and as a combat rifleman.

The first action Collins ever saw was with Lord Hook, as he was called, near Fishing Creek.  His captain was John Henderson.  They were soundly defeated there with Lord Hook being killed.  Again in August, they were defeated at Fishing Creek with considerable loss.

The next battle Collins participated in was Kings Mountain when Ferguson was defeated.  The principle leaders there were Colonels Campbell, Sevier, Shelby, Williams, and Cleveland.  Collins noted in his memoirs that they were never attached to any troops but on their own for several days at a time.

Next, Collins and his fellow militia men joined General Morgan near Cowpens, when Tarlton attacked them and was soundly defeated.

James Potter Collins left the service in 1783 and received a written discharge from Col. Moffitt.  Afterwards he moved to Georgia where he lived until 1810, and moved to the Tennessee Valley in the state of Tennessee.  In 1820 Collins moved to Louisiana and lived in several parishes.  It is there he wrote his autobiography.  This was fifty-five years after the Revolutionary War.  After completing his memoirs, he again became restless and moved to Red River County, Texas to visit his son-in-law, John East.  He liked Texas so much he lived his remaining years there and died in 1844 at the age of eighty-one.  He was buried on the Collins farm north of Clarksville and near the Red River.  The river has, over the years, changed its course many times.  As a result, the grave of this great American Patriot of the American Revolution has been destroyed and forever lost.