From Cork to Mayor of Boston: The Life of Patrick Collins

Posted On 2012-05-23 11:42:21 | Read 2035 times | 0 Comments

From Cork to Mayor of Boston: The Life of Patrick Collins


Patrick Collins was born March 12, 1844 near Fermoy, County Cork, Ireland. His family emigrated to the United States and settled in Chelsea, Massachusetts in 1848 after the death of his father.

Collins attended public schools until the age of 12. He then worked at various trades in Massachusetts and Ohio. At age 15, he returned to Boston and learned the upholstery trade. Working in an upholstery shop, he rose to position of foreman and became active in the trade union movement. He became a secretary of his union and a delegate to the Trades Assembly.

Interested in a career in law, Collins saved his money and became active in politics.

In 1867 was nominated for a seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Shortly afterward, he started working for a law firm. He was elected to the House, serving two terms in 1868 and 1869. He then served two terms in the Massachusetts Senate in 1870 and 1871. During his time in the state legislature, he studied law at Harvard Law School. He graduated and was admitted to the bar in 1871.

Collins practiced law in Boston. He served as judge advocate general of Massachusetts in 1875. He also served as delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1876, 1880, 1888, and 1892.

Collins was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1882 and served three terms in the 48th, 49th and 50th Congresses from 1883 to 1889. He was also Chairman of the Democratic State Committee from 1884 to 1890. He retired from Congress in 1889 and resumed his law practice.

Collins served as consul general in London under President Grover Cleveland from May 6, 1893 to May 17, 1897.

Collins also served on the boards of directors of several companies and civic organizations.

Collins was elected Mayor of Boston in 1901 and served from 1902 until his death in 1905. He died during an official visit to Hot Springs, Virginia, on September 13, 1905. He was interred in Holyhood Cemetery, Brookline, Massachusetts.

A bust of Patrick Collins now sits in the Commonwealth Avenue mall in Boston, Massachusetts.


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