Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mayme Collins Aydelotte, educator and genealogist

Sisters Goldie and Mayme Collins always seemed to have their names linked together when any news of them came back to Choestoe. They had both gone out from Union County in their adult years and both were noted teachers in their own right in the Atlanta vicinity.

Their parents were Ulysses Thompson Collins (07/16/1879 - 03/15/1964) and Nora Della Jackson Collins (09/15/1883 - 07/17/1911). Both Goldie and Mayme were interested in their ancestral roots which they could trace back to early settlers Thompson and Celia Self Collins on their paternal side and to William Marion Jackson and Rebecca Goforth Jackson on their maternal side. Thanks to Mayme, who became an avid genealogist and compiled and published the family history book entitled Descendants of Thompson and Celia Self Collins (1971), we have much information about our common roots.

Mayme's parents, Ulysses Thompson Collins and Nora Della Jackson were married in Union County, Georgia on January 2, 1903. Uley, as he was known, and Della had three children: Goldie Ada was born July 1, 1904. She never married and became an educator. Mayme Arma was born June 23, 1905 in Colorado where her parents had migrated. The third child, a son, Theodore Ralph, was born July 5, 1907 in Colorado.

The family decided to return to Choestoe and were on the journey back when Nora Della Jackson Collins got sick. She died on July 17, 1911 and was buried in Verden, Oklahoma. It was a sad Uley Collins who came back to his father's house in Choestoe. There under the loving care of his parents, William Dallas Collins (1846-1938) and Sarah Rosannah Souther Collins (1846-1929), the three small motherless children were nurtured and educated in the country schools of Choestoe before going to Young Harris and other colleges.

Mayme and Goldie’s father, Ulysses Thompson, married, second, to Pearl Townsend in 1939. To this union were born three sons, Archie Benjamin Collins (1940), Garnet Eugene Collins (1942) and James Elias Collins (1945). Pearl Townsend was younger than her husband Uly by 22 years. His older daughters, Goldie and Mayme, were already away from home when he married Pearl.

Great sadness entered the Collins family when Theodore Ralph Collins was struck by a hit-and-run driver on a Ponce de Leon Avenue near Georgia School of Technology while he was a junior at that college. He died immediately from severe injuries November 8, 1930. C. Roscoe Collins, a cousin of the young Ralph, wrote in an eulogy to the young electrical engineering student: "I have seen him tried in almost any kind of circumstances. He never failed. He was a staunch bulwark for better manhood. Strong in his efforts to raise the standard of his community and rapidly gaining the goal he had set to reach." At age twenty-three, full of potential and zest for life, the young man was laid to rest in the New Liberty Church Cemetery in sight of his Grandpa Dallas Collins's house.

Mayme Collins Aydelotte (1905-2000)

Mayme tells a delightful story about a time in Colorado when she and her older sister, Goldie, were assigned the task to look after their baby brother Ralph when the family still lived in Colordo. Their mother Della left them in charge of the baby for only a short period while she took water to Uley Thompson and others working on an irrigation ditch in the fields. Baby Ralph went to sleep, and Goldie and Mayme decided they could go exploring to find some flowers in the field. They kept going on, finding more and more flowers to pick. They lost their way.

In the meantime, their mother returned from her errand of mercy of taking fresh drinking water to the fields. She was very surprised that the girls had left the baby. They were nowhere to be found. She returned to the field, this time with Ralph in her arms, to tell Uley that his daughters were missing. Not finding them easily, he engaged the help of field workers and neighbors to help search for the little girls, who were about four and five at the time. At 2:00 a. m. the searchers found the girls curled up together in the sagebrush, sound asleep. They were tired and scared from their flower hunting adventure, but were unharmed, either by animals or wandering people. That adventure taught Goldie and Mayme never to wander away from their home again.

Goldie and Mayme Collins were fortunate in their teaching careers in that their cousin, Dr. Mauney Douglas Collins, became state superintendent of schools. He had contact with systems all over the state and knew about openings for teachers. He was able to assist both sisters in getting good positions as classroom teachers. Mayme later became a principal for many years in Fairburn, Georgia where she and her husband, also an educator, lived until their deaths.

In 1939 she married William Henry Aydelotte who was born and reared in Delmar, Deleware, This couple did not have children, but they spent their lives teaching and encouraging students. In addition to being an educator, her husband also was a research scientist and a certified audiologist.

Mayme Arma Colllins Aydelote died December 30, 2000 in Fairburn, Georgia. Her body was returned to the New Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery, Union County, for burial amidst her forebears who had preceded her in death. We still miss dear Mayme at our large family reunion gatherings. She was the one who kept us straight on who was related to whom and the "cousins, once, twice, thrice (and the like) removed". We miss her wit, her humor, her knowledge of family, and her principled approach to life.

c 2008 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published June 19, 2008 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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