From Heather Cecil of Shelby County, Kentucky Historical Society:
My research is complete on the powder horn owned by Isaac Collier, and I wanted to share with the Collier family. Below is the article I wrote for the Shelby County, KY Historical Society Facebook group, with additional photos. I hope you enjoy it!
The story goes that Isaac Collier was a member of the English Navy. When he left to join the Continental Army during the American Revolution, he gave his elaborately hand-carved, scrimshaw powder horn to his brother, Michael Collier. Michael, a Blacksmith, was one of the first citizens of Shelbyville, Kentucky. Upon Isaac’s departure, he requested that Michael name a son after him, and to pass this gift on to his descendants. Michael indeed named a son after his brother, and the younger Isaac went on to play an instrumental role in the founding of one of the oldest church congregations in Shelby County. Despite the fact that Isaac was not a Baptist at the time, he donated an acre of land on Fox Run Road to the erection of a church there. He later converted, and on June 16th, 1801, Burk’s Branch Baptist Church was organized. A humble log structure was erected there, chinked with mud and stones. The younger Isaac passed away in 1835 and is buried in the church cemetery. The powder horn passed to his son Isaac Fleming Collier, who built a fine home at the southeast corner of Burk’s Branch and Fox Run Roads. While the house has been lost to time, Walter H. Kiser published a sketch of it in the Louisville Times in 1938. When Isaac Fleming Collier had a son, he also named him Isaac, and the powder horn continued to pass from generation to generation, until it was gifted to the Shelby County Historical Society by Charles S. Moore, Sr., to share this piece of our history with future generations of Shelby County.
The Atlanta Journal newspaper reported on the event in its the August 21, 1932 Sunday Edition. Here is the page with the article. If you hover the cursor over the bottom left of the image, a zoom option will appear for a closeup look.
The front page tells what was in the news at the time the article was published.
Please note, information in the article represents the reporter’s understanding of historical events and genealogical connections at the time, and as contributed by various sources. The newspaper article is presented here as a matter of interest, without the intent to validate its statements.
Here is a great challenge for researchers and a terrific look at a Collier military artifact dating from the founding of the United States. Realizing that “Isaac” is by no means a rarity in Collier names, any help you can provide to connect this item to family lines will be gratefully received.
CHF received this message from the a member of the Shelby County Kentucky Historical Society in Shelbyville, Kentucky.
I am a member of the Shelby County, Kentucky Historical Society. We were gifted with a powder horn that was owned and carried by Isaac Collier, during the American Revolution. Can anyone tell me more about this particular Isaac Collier, and how he (or his descendants may be connected to Kentucky?
We followed up by asked for photographs and additional information.
Thank you so much for the quick response! The powderhorn is scrimshaw, and is elaborately carved. Isaac Collier’s name and 1776 are inscribed on it, among other things. The item was donated by a gentleman by the name of Charles S. Moore, who said he was a descendant and that it was carried by Isaac Collier during the Revolutionary War. Any information you can find out about him would be greatly appreciated!
Heather Cecil Shelby County, KY Historical Society
Here are pictures of this important Collier Family treasure.
1776 scrimshaw powder horn made and carried by Isaac Collier in the American Revolutionary War. Gifted by Charles S. Moore, Sr. family.
Detail of Isaac Collier’s name carved on the 1776 powder horn he made during the American Revolutionary War. Gifted by Charles S. Moore, Sr. family.
Revolutionary War powder horn, circa 1776, made and carried by Isaac Collier. Gifted by descendant Charles S. Moore family.
Detail of 1776 powder horn made by Isaac Collier during the Revolutionary War. Gifted by Charles S. Moore, Sr. family.
Thank you to Shelby County Kentucky Historical Society for seeking out CHF and providing the information and photographs.
Some interesting facts about powder horns from Wikipedia: Typically there was a stopper at both ends, in later examples spring-loaded to close automatically for safety. The wide mouth was used for refilling, while the powder was dispensed from the narrow point. In some cases the point was closed and the mouth used for both, with a powder measure, a type of scoop used to dispense the powder, and in others both ends were open and the horn merely used as a funnel. The horn was typically held by a long strap and slung over the shoulder.
The inside and outside of a powder horn were often polished to make the horn translucent so that the soldier would be able to see how much powder he had left. The use of animal horn along with nonferrous metal parts ensured that the powder would not be detonated by sparks during storage and loading. Horn was also naturally waterproof and already hollow inside.
James Lester Collier was born 10 May 1918 Near Center City, Mills County, Texas and died 26 January 1945 Mindanao, Philippines. He was the fifth child born to Hardy Ransom (Vines, Robert, Efford, Isaac, Hardy, James Lester) and Willie Mason Collier. He grew up near Center City in Mills County, Texas, and graduated from Star High School, Star, Mills County, Texas.
When the census was taken in April 1940 he was living in Abilene, Taylor County, Texas, where he was employed as a bookkeeper by the South Texas Lumber Company.
On 26 March 1941, James Lester enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps and was assigned to the San Angelo Air Corps Basic Flying School at Goodfellow Field, at San Angelo, Tom Green County, Texas, as a pilot trainee. At some point during this training he was washed out of the program, reportedly for being “too big of a dare devil.”
On 5 June 1943 James Lester married Aleen A. Simcik in Tom Green County, and at some point in time shipped out to the South Pacific where he was assigned to the Personnel Section of the 400th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 90th Bombardment Group (Heavy), of the Army Air Corps’ 5th Air Force.
On 18 October 1944 he wrote a letter to his older sister Mable: “Somewhere in New Guinea. Landed safely and I really was glad to get back on land again.” He also stated that when he got there he “received twenty-three letters so all I done this morning was read letters, write some, and watch it rain.”
In another letter to Mable on 23 January 1945, that was posted on the 25th, he wrote: “In the future send my mail to APO 321, the rest of the address is the same. I hope I have some mail there a short time after I get there.”
What he didn’t, and couldn’t say, was that his unit was moving to a base they were opening in the San Jose area, Mindoro, Philippines. On 26 January 1945 Staff Sergeant James Lester Collier boarded a B24 Bomber (J Model, Serial Number 44-41254) along with Lt Truesel’s crew, as a passenger. The plane crashed on the island of Mindanao, Philippines.
In a letter that he wrote on 30 April 1970, the only crash survivor stated: “We crashed near Cantilan, Mindanao. One of the guerilla soldiers that found the wreckage came to the U.S. a few years ago. I knew him pretty well before I left there. Due to my physical condition at the time I was unable to tie everything together and he really was able to tell me much that I did not find out at the time. We crashed about twenty miles inland on the north slope of a Mt. Maharo. The weather was very bad and the Japanese did not see or hear the crash I guess. The guerilla soldiers arrived at the scene first and buried all in a common grave. Later as you know they were reburied in St. Louis, MO. This man also supervised the removal of the bodies from the common grave. I hid from them as well as the Japanese for a few days. I later went to a farm house and they got me to the guerilla army, who had a Doctor and medicine.”
On 10 February 1950, Staff Sergeant James Lester Collier along with seven other victims of the plane crash were reinterred in a common grave at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery outside of St. Louis, Missouri.
A big “Thank You” to Bobby Carter, nephew of James Lester Collier, for providing this post.
Paschal Smith was a neighbor and friend of the Vines Collier family in the early 1800s in Oglethorpe County. Records show that he purchased 15 acres on the Buffalo Fork of Long Creek from Peachy Gilmer. Cuthbert S. Collier (son of Isaac Collier and grandson of Vines Collier) signed as a witness to the transaction. Paschal Smith also served in the Georgia militia, likey alongside some Collier family members. Following Smith’s death, Isaac Collier is on record in 1822 attesting to the proper disposition of Paschal Smith’s estate. Isaac Collier’s first wife was Elizabeth Means Smith, so Paschal may have been a relative. CHF welcomes any information on this possible connection.
Charles Vines Collier, Sr. (also son of Isaac Collier) and wife Rebecca Owen Collier had seven sons. The fifth-born son they named Pascal Smith Collier. He died July 4, 1862 from wounds received in the Seven Days Battles near Richmond, Virginia (see September 14, 2015 post “The Sons of Charles Vines Collier, Sr. and Rebecca Owen Collier”). He was seventeen years old.
Robert Terrell Collier (son of Williamson Collier and grandson of Vines Collier) married Francis Ann Shattles in 1859 in Upson County, Georgia. Robert Terrell was young Pascal Smith Collier’s first cousin, once removed.
In the 1880s, Robert Terrell and Francis Ann loaded their belongings in a wagon, or wagons, and departed for Texas with their ten children. Making the trip were their sons Absalom Terrell, born in 1874, and Pascal Smith, born in 1881 and named for his deceased second cousin. The family settled in East Texas. Absalom Terrell eventually moved to Nacogdoches, Texas and founded a large Collier family there. Meanwhile, Pascal Smith, known to the Nacogdoches group as “Uncle Pack”, remained near his mother and father in the Gilmer, Texas area (see March 18, 2016 post “Robert T. Collier . . .But Not This One”).
On April 27, 1942, with the world at war, the United States conducted the Fourth Registration of the Selective Service System, or “draft”. Known as the “old man’s registration”, it registered men, not already in the military and born on or between April 28, 1877 and February 16, 1897. 60-year old Uncle Pack was required to register for the draft. Here is his draft card.