Robert T. Collier . . . . But Not This One
This is the marker of the grave of Robert Terrell Collier, grandson of Vines Collier, son of Williamson Collier, and my great-great grandfather. In the 1870s Robert Terrell loaded his family into a covered wagon and left Upson County, Georgia for Texas. He settled in East Texas, an area not unlike his native Georgia. Although he had cousins who had already moved to Texas, there is no evidence they ever made contact.
Records of Confederate soldiers from Georgia showed that Robert T. Collier enlisted with a probable cousin, Green Collier, in the Woodson Guards, Company I, 32nd Georgia Regiment. The unit formed at Thomaston, in Upson County. The same records state the same Robert T. Collier died of the measles while on duty in Savannah. I shrugged this off as typical of military records of that period that are often erroneous or incomplete. Seeking to investigate this discrepancy, I applied to the National Archives for the military service records of Robert Terrell Collier. The reply came back that no records of Robert Terrell Collier could be found. However, the records of Robert Thomas Collier of Upson County Georgia were located.
Robert Thomas, son of Robert Marshall Collier, and Robert Terrell were first cousins once removed. Robert Thomas was born in 1837, and Robert Terrell was born in 1836. Both were from Upson County, Georgia. It’s easy to see the cause of the confusion when looking back over 150 years.
I have yet to locate evidence of Robert Terrell’s military service. In that part of the South where over 25 descendants of Vines Collier wore Confederate gray, it is almost impossible to believe Robert Terrell did not serve. As noted above, military records for the period are poor.
Following are the records provided by the National Archives. They include a letter from Sarah E. (Stafford) Collier, widow of Robert Thomas, in which she seeks her dead husband’s compensation. It is accompanied by a notarized statement from Robert Marshall Collier attesting to the accuracy of Sarah’s claim. See the June 6, 2015 post “Robert Marshall Collier’s Papers” for more on Robert Thomas Collier.Robert-Thomas-Collier-US-Archives
The file may be downloaded here: