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Erastus Harris Sketch (Copied from: http://www.buffnet.net/~macdowel/cross/col16.htm)



"There is not in this wide world a valley so sweet,
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet!"


Quoted Erastus Harris one summer day, as holding the reins over the back of old Bill, he waited for a tardy member of his family to join him in the surrey, preparatory for a trip to town. The vale on which his eyes rested so affectionately was known to the townfolks as "Harris Hollow" or more often "down by Rast Harris sawmill." In earlier days they referred to it as "down by the Quaker meeting-house" or "down by Morrison's blacksmith shop," for this small valley west of Collins Center has been a place of varied activities.

The first settlement in the neighborhood was made in 1816 by Truman Payne, a veteran of the war of 1812. His location was west of the home of William Grimm on what is now the Conger farm. He remained four years and then returned to Essex county from whence he came. ren [sic] years later he reappeared in Collins to spend the remainder of his life, this time choosing a homesite north of Collins Center on the fann owned for many years by Hiram Brown. The old Payne house, moved east from its original position near an ancient Bartlett pear tree in the orchard, is still standing and serves as a granary and tool house. Of Truman's nine children, his daughter Licina was long a well known figure in Collins Center.

In 1826 following the footsteps of his brother-in-law, Benjamin Boyce, Barak Smith, who was in the course of time to become Erastus Harris, grandfather-in-law, came to the locality. Both the Boyce and Smith families were dyed-in-the-wool Quakers from Vermont. Barak was a six-footer as was each of his five sons. He came from a stock of resolute men, one of whom, a certain John Rogers, paid for fidelity to his faith by being burned to the stake in old England. Boyce settled on land south of the Hollow and Barak built his log cabin on the highland to the north opposite the black walnut trees, planted by his sons Daniel and Gilbert . . . .




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