This prominent Mason and insurance expert is upwards of sixty years of age, having been born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, in the year1826. He is, however, a man of excellent preservation, and is very frequently mistaken for a much younger man. His excellent physique and his genial manner make him conspicuous among his co-workers, and during his long connection with this city he has earned and maintained the respect of all with whom he has come in contact, and more especially of members of the Masonic fraternity.-From Old and new St. Louis
His early education was received in his native country drug store, where he combined the offices of clerk, book-keeper and salesman, and generally superintended the business. All the work which devolved upon him was well carried out, but the utter absence of any prospect of advancement induced him to go west in search of a more promising field of labor, although his friends tried to dissuade him on account of the difficulties in the way.
Hence it was that just half a century ago he found himself in St. Louis, after a tedious journey from Philadelphia, which occupied nearly three weeks, during which time he had to ride on canal-boats and stages, and short sections of railroad. For nine years Mr. Collins worked in a fancy dry goods store in this city, and in 1852 he had saved enough money from his earnings to start in business for himself. Associating himself with a friend, the firm of Rosenheim & Collins was formed, and for six years it conducted a prosperous business. It was then dissolved, and Mr. Collins was appointed, by Mayor Daniel G. Taylor, register of water rates. He proved the right man in the right place, and was reappointed by two successive mayors, an honor to which few men have attained in municipal affairs.
About thirty years ago Mr. Collins turned his attention to fire insurance business, and was appointed agent for some of the largest companies on the continent. His business gradually increased, until he is now the head of the firm of Martin Collins, Son & Company, which ranks among the most important firms in the country.
He is a Mason of good standing, and has given to the affairs of the order his most careful and conspicuous attention, having held a large number of offices in it, and having earned the reputation of being exceptionally loyal, even among such a traditionally loyal class as the Masons.
He married, during the days of his comparative poverty, a daughter of Captain Crab, of the United States Marine Service.
Mr. and Mrs. Collins have had seven children, of whom three are now living and beyond the stage of childhood.
Martin Collins was a member of the Empire Club and Edmund Tobias mentions him playing in an 1876 "old-timer's" game with other veterans of the club.