Gilbert Collins, a Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, was born in Stonington, New London County, Conn., August 26, 1846, and is a descendant of an old English family which originally came from Kent. England. His great-great-grandparents were Daniel Collins and Alice Pell. His great-grandfather, Daniel Collins (1732-1819), of Stonington, served in the Revolutionary War, and according to existing records was First Lieutenant in the First Regiment Connecticut line, formation of 1777, and it is also known that he was in service from 1775. He married Anne Potter. His son Gilbert (1789-1865), grandfather of the present Gilbert Collins, served several terms in the Connecticut Legislature. His wife was Prudence Frink. Judge Collins’s father, Daniel Prentice Collins (born in 1813, died in 1862), was a manufacturer in Stonington throughout his life; he also had business relations in Jersey City, and on this account his son eventually made choice of that city as his field of labor and his home. His mother, Sarah R., was a descendant of the Wells family, of Connecticut.
Judge Collins was prepared for Yale College, but the death of his father and the involved state in which his financial affairs were left rendered the completion of his course there impracticable. The family, which consisted of his mother and one sister, removed to Jersey City, N. J., in 1863, and in 1865 he there entered the law office of Jonathan Dixon, now a Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. He was admitted to the bar as an attorney in February, 1869, and as a counselor in February, 1872. On January 1, 1870, he became a partner of Mr. Dixon and continued in that relationship until that gentleman was elevated to the bench in April, 1875. He afterward formed a partnership with Charles L. Corbin. In 1881 William H. Corbin was admitted as a member of the firm, which continued under the style of Collins & Corbin till March 8, 1897. when Mr. Collins was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, which position he still holds, having recently been assigned to the Hudson circuit.
His jury practice was the largest in his county, and probably was not exceeded by that of any one in the State. He was counsel for the Hudson County National Bank, of which he was a Director; counsel for the New Jersey Title Guarantee and Trust Company, of which he was one of the founders and active promoters; and local counsel for the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company.
Judge Collins is, in politics, a Republican; he has been nominated by his party for State Senator (1880) once and for Congress twice (1882 and 1888). For two years, from May, 1884, to May, 1886, he served as Mayor of Jersey City, having been elected by a combination of an independent organization of citizens with the Republicans. For five years previous to 1S93 he served as Chairman of the Republican County Committee, when he declined a re-election.
June 2, 1870, he was married to Harriet Kingsbury Bush. Of their six children, a son and two daughters survive. Their son, Walter Collins, was graduated with honors from Williams College, and is now practicing law in Jersey City. Judge Collins is a member of the Union League and Palma Clubs of Jersey City, and one of the Board of Managers of the New Jersey Society of the Sons of the Revolution.
Source: Harvey, Cornelius Burnham, Editor; Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey, New York: The New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Company, 1900.