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COLLINS, Ralph Furman

Author: The History of Florida:  Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1923,  Vol.III pg.169

COLLINS, RALPH FURMAN. The newcomer to Bushnell cannot help but be
strongly impressed by the fact that one man appears to stand out from his
fellow citizens because of the results he is able to obtain for the betterment
of the city and county, and yet RALPH FURMAN COLLINS feels that he is simply
doing his duty in working to bring about the changes which will give this
district good roads, modern public utilities, proper public school equipment,
and put and keep Bushnell and Sumter County in the advance guard of twentieth
century progress. The secret of his success lies in the fact that he is
indefatigable in his work and progressive in his ideas. His pride in his home
city and county is deep-seated, and he feels impelled to exert himself and
stimulate others to like effort to justify this commendable feeling. Formerly
quite active in business circles, Mr. COLLINS now confines his attention to
the conduct of the Citizens Bank of Bushnell, of which he is cashier, and of
which he determines the policies.
RALPH FURMAN COLLINS was born in Wilkinson County, Georgia, November
13, 1883, a son of WILLIAM ALLEN and ATHLIA (HALL) COLLINS, and grandson of
WILLIAM LEE COLLINS, who was killed, June 22, 1964, at the battle of Kennesaw
Mountain, while serving in the Confederate Army.
WILLIAM ALLEN COLLINS was born in Wilkinson County, Georgia, November
23, 1855, and his wife was also born in that county, where her father had been
an early settler. Up to 1899 WILLIAM ALLEN COLLINS was engaged in farming in
Wilkinson County, but in that year he came to Sumter County, Florida, which
has since continued to be his home. For a time he was engaged in the naval
stores business, and then, in partnership with his son, founded the firm of R.
F. Collins & Company, general merchandise. He was one of the organizers of
the Citizens Bank of Bushnell, of which he is now vice president, but for some
time he has been retired from active participation in business affairs, and is
enjoying the comfortable leisure his years of hard work have earned for him.
For six years he served as county commissioner of Sumter County, and has
always been interested in public affairs. He is a Mason.
The only child of his parents, RALPH FURMAN COLLINS was carefully
reared and educated at Abbeville, Georgia. With his father he established a
small store at Bushnell, under the firm name of R. F. Collins & Company. It
was not long, however, before the initial stock was greatly increased to meet
the demands of the satisfied customers. In 1906 the partners started a
private bank in one corner of their store, of which Mr. COLLINS was cashier,
and from it has been developed the Citizens Bank of today, a state institution
since 1912. This bank increased its capital out of its undivided profits in
1922, and under the safe and conservative policies of Mr. COLLINS its affairs
are in excellent condition, and it is rated as one of the sound institutions
of this part of the state. Mr. COLLINS is deservedly proud of the fact that
the handsome bank building which opened to the public October 21, 1922, is a
credit to the city as well as to his institution. This new home of the bank
is thoroughly modern, and well-equipped for all kinds of banking business.
Mr. COLLINS is one of the largest landowners in the county, for he has great
faith in the future of this locality. In civic affairs he has been a leader,
one of the wheel horses in the development of Bushnell. He has served on the
county and city school boards, and has been mayor of the city. For years he
has done everything possible to create the system of good roads in Sumter
County, and is now one of the members of the Board of Trustees. He has
inaugurated and carried out to successful completion a number of innovations
in his agricultural development work, and his methods are now adapted by the
more progressive of the farmers of this county. During the late war he served
as chairman of the Liberty Loan campaigns, and was largely responsible for
their success. His many interests have absorbed his time and he has never
connected himself with fraternal organizations, but he is very active in the
Bushnell Methodist Episcopal Church, South, of which he is a steward.
In 1904 Mr. Collins married at Bushnell Miss FLORENCE BEVILLE, a
daughter of C. BEVILLE, one of the pioneers of Sumter County, now living
retired at Bushnell. Mr. and Mrs. COLLINS have three children: ETHEL, LOUISE
and RALPH F., Junior. In spite of his prominence Mr. COLLINS is a singularly
unassuming man, and in all that he undertakes is actuated by a real sense of
his responsibility as a citizen, and the determination to make the best use of
his opportunities so as to be of service to his city and associates.

Pesented by Nancy Rayburn

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