Born in Weston, West
Virginia, James Lawrence Collins (1883-1953) began his career in the
petroleum industry at age fourteen. New oil discoveries in Texas brought
him to the Corsicana area about 1923. He soon formed a partnership with
two brothers, John and Robert Wheelock, and founded the Wheelock &
Collins Oil Company.
Collins' business was
instrumental in the development of the Corsicana field, the East Texas
field, and other oil fields around the country. His success and
expertise were widely recognized throughout the industry and led him
into positions of leadership in several national petroleum associations.
Never married, Collins
provided upon his death that his $13 million estate be divided among
four organizations. These included Dallas' Scottish Rite Hospital for
Crippled Children and St. Joseph's Orphanage. Part of the estate went to
his local Roman Catholic parish, which used the money to build and
operate the school at this site. The remainder of his estate went to
create scholarships for graduates of Corsicana High School.
as a businessman and civic leader played an important role in the
development and history of the Corsicana area. (1983)
Navarro County Texas - West State Highway 22, Collins Catholic