Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: James

Last Name: Collins

Birthplace: Algiers, LA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Lawton

Date of Birth: 10 December 1882

Date of Death: 30 June 1963

Rank: Major General

Years Served: 1907 - 1946
James Lawton Collins

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1907

•  Philippine-American War (1899 - 1902)
•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  Mexican Expedition (1916 - 1917)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


James Lawton Collins

Major General, U.S. Army

James Lawton Collins was born on 10 December 1882 in Algiers, LA, to Jeremiah Bernard and Kate Lawton Collins. Jeremiah had left Ireland as a young boy to join the rest of the family in Cincinnati, OH. Family legend has it that he served as a drummer boy in the Civil War and, at the age of 16, helped to drive a herd of horses into Texas to replace the cavalry mounts that had been lost to the war. He made his way to New Orleans, where he worked for James Lawton, a grocer. Jeremiah worked his way up to running the stables for the delivery wagons, and eventually married Kate, his employer's daughter. They moved across the river to Algiers, near the terminus and rail repair shops of the Southern Pacific Railroad, which employed many workers of Irish descent. There, they established a dry goods store with a pub in the back. Jeremiah and Kate's eleven children would work there, serving beer and food to thirsty railroad men. The first born son was named for Kate's father: James Lawton Collins.

At about 5 feet 6 inches tall, James was not a tall man but he was agile, athletic, and great with horses. Later in life, he would come to the attention of General John J. Pershing for his aggressive and successful polo playing, and as an excellent judge of horses. There is a letter in the Library of Congress in the Pershing correspondence asking James to go out to the remount station in the Shenandoah Valley and pick out a new horse for the General to ride.

Military Career

James started out at Tulane University, but his mother's uncle, who was the Mayor of New Orleans, was asked by a local member of Congress if there was a bright young man who could "stay the course" at the U.S. Military Academy. They called up James at Tulane and offered him the next appointment. He accepted.

Collins served in the 8th Cavalry during the Philippine-American War. He served as Aide-de-Camp to General Pershing in the Philippines during the Mexican Punitive Expedition and in France during World War I.

Later in World War I, Collins commanded a battalion of the 1st Infantry Division's 7th Field Artillery. During World War II he commanded the Puerto Rico Department and the 5th Service Command at Columbus, OH.

Collins retired as a Major General in 1946.

Medals and Awards

Army Distinguished Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Silver Star Medal
World War I Victory Medal
World War II Victory Medal


James is the father of Astronaut Michael Collins, Brigadier General, U.S. Air Force.

His brother is Joseph Lawton Collins, a four-star General in the U.S. Army who served as Chief of Staff during the Korean War.

His granddaughter Kate Collins (daughter of Michael) is an American actress best known for playing the character of Natalie Marlowe on the ABC soap opera, All My Children, a role she originated in 1985.

Death and Burial

Major General James Lawton Collins died on 30 June 1963. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 2357   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image