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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Benjamin Collins (1691-1759)

A contemporary of Obiadiah Wheeler who lived in Columbia, Connecticut, Benjamin Collins was a cabinet maker as well as a gravestone craftsman. Collins’s stones at first glance frequently closely resemble Wheeler stones in that both made frequent use of the large six-rayed rosette, a face with projecting wings, and a central heart in a horizontal row below the face. However, close examination of Collins’s stones will allow easy recognition. His central face always has a bulbous rather than a long, slender, aristocratic nose, and his wings frequently end in rounded or trianguloid tips rather than the sharp, arrow-pointed tips so characteristic of Wheeler stones. Many resemble the headdress of an Indian chief. Collins frequently used a blue schist; in contrast to both Wheeler and Hartshorne he signed a number on his stones. His cabinet-making background obviously influenced his gravestone carving, as he tended to use a delicate, lacy, often leaf-like motif in his border panels and his lettering is very shallow. This latter, unfortunately, makes those stones that have been somewhat eroded difficult, if not impossible, to read. Signed stones by Benjamin Collins may be found in Pachaug, Danielson, Columbia, Hebron, Tolland, Scotland, Plainfield, Norwichtown, Coventry, Lebanon, and Franklin. To see his work at its best go to Columbia where he is buried. (His own stone was made by his son Zerubbabel).

From: Slater, James A. The Colonial Burying Grounds of Eastern Connecticut and the Men Who Made Them. Memoirs of the Connecticut Academy of Arts & Sciences, vol. 21. Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1987.
*Homer Babbidge Library call number f/Q/11/C85/v.21