J. S. Collins and Company History

Cheyenne, Wyoming

In 1864 brothers John S. Collins & Gilbert H. Collins opened their first saddle shop in Omaha, NE where they remained making a good name and doing a good business for the next 8 years until 1872. The brother John & Gilbert learned the art of saddle making from their Father Eli Collins who was a saddle maker himself for many years in Galena, IL in the early 1800s. In 1872 the Brothers, John S. & Gilbert H. Collins, moved their Saddlery to Fort Laramie, Wyoming where John S. was appointed the post trader, and 3 years later in 1875 John S. Collins was appointed Secretary of the Sioux Indian Commission a post he held until 1877.

By this time, the Brothers had shops in Miles City, MT and Cheyenne, WY with the Cheyenne, WY shop as their home base of operations for their chain of saddleries which still included the Fort Laramie, WY and Omaha, NE shop. Now with both brothers working the saddlery, they spent much of their time developing new saddles which they gave to local Ranchers to use, and they would get feedback on the performance of the saddles. They ended up with a durable and popular saddle widely used throughout the west, and the saddle of choice for such pioneers as Buffalo Bill Cody.

In 1880 Brother Gilbert H. Collins died and John S. Collins began to downsize his chain of saddleries first by closing the Miles City, MT shop and the Cheyenne shop was closed by 1886, and the Omaha shop was sold to Alfred Cornish. A short time went by and J. S. Collins was not fond of his retirement so he opened a shop in Omaha, NE with partner John Morrison and they continued making the finest of saddles as the Collins & Morrison Saddlery. In 1890, Alfred Cornish bought the Collins & Morrison Saddlery and in 1910, J. S. Collins passed away. Even after J. S. Collins sold his business Alfred Cornish continued selling saddles under the J. S. Collins name for many years.