Collins was forty miles west of Corpus Christi at a site that was in Nueces County and now is in Jim Wells County. The settlement was established in 1878 on the Los Preseños grant, a Mexican grant that was subdivided in 1878. N. G. Collins bought the northwest portion and platted the Collins townsite across San Fernando Creek from the town of Los Preseños. The Corpus Christi, San Diego, and Rio Grande Narrow Gauge Railroad laid track through the townsite en route to San Diego, Texas, in late 1878. That year the post office at Los Preseños was closed. Collins began to grow and soon replaced Los Preseños on maps. The post office occupied a room in Phil Hobbs's store, and Hobbs was postmaster. Residents of Los Preseños followed the post office to Collins. Early settlers included Oscar Staples, who taught school in Collins; Mrs. E. D. Sidbury, who had a lumberyard near the Becham House, which served as the meeting place for the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, until 1889; and Father Bard, who almost singlehandedly built the town's Catholic church. By 1880 Collins had a population of 500, a railroad station, a two-story hotel, several stores and eating places, and a few houses and small barns.
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