Lewis Collins (December 25, 1797, near Bryants Station KY – January 29, 1870, Lexington KY)

Collins was orphaned by the age of 13 and, having received no formal education, became a printer’s apprentice and began work for the Paris Citizen newspaper at the age of 16. Only five years later Collins became associate publisher of the Washington Union, a paper he had help create in Washington, KY. It was Collin’s 1847 book, Historical Sketches of Kentucky, that gained him his first accolades. The text consisted of early explorations of Kentucky and nearby regions, as well as events from Collins’ own time frame. The book was started by Collin’s brother-in-law, Henry Peers and then expanded after Collins’ death by his son Richard Collins. Lewis Collins was the first judge of the Mason Co. Court system, serving from 1851 to 1855. He was also a school commissioner for 20 years; served as president, secretary, and treasurer of multiple Kentucky turnpike companies and he owned his own book business. Collins supported Henry Clay’s politically. He served on a committee that sought to change laws that discouraged abolitionists from inciting slaves to flee while he also denounced Cassius Clay’s anti-slavery newspaper, True American, for being “incendiary.” After Collins’ death in 1870, his Historical Sketches of Kentucky book was provided to public schools throughout the state.

Works Available at KCPL

1847 Collins History of Kentucky – K 976.9 C712h 1847
A Dictionary of the Stations and Early Settlements of Kentucky – K 976.9 C712d



Collins, Richard H. “Memorial to the General Assembly of Kentucky of 1871-2,” 1871, Kentucky Gateway Museum, Maysville, KY.
“It was Century Ago That Lewis Collins Died,” Maysville Ledger Independent, June 16, 1970, 1.
“New Edition of Collins History of KY Revised by R H Collins Son of Judge Lewis Collins,” Covington Journal, March 25, 1871, 1.
“Death of Mr. Lewis Collins,” Covington Journal, June 20, 1874, 1.
“Lewis Collins – Editor of Maysville Eagle Disposed of to Son,” Licking Valley Register, November 6, 1847, 2.
Kleber, John E., ed. The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1992.
“Peers Compiled History of Kentucky; Credit was Due His Brother-in-Law,” Murray (KY) Ledger and Times, March 30 1976, 12.

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