Returning to England, he discovered that his sister had been molested by a military officer and died.
To avenge his sister’s death, Thomas challenged this officer to a duel, which resulted in the offending officer’s death. Thomas, now 35, resigned his commission and relocated to the West Indies. Four years later, he landed in Philadelphia and began using the last name Collins, his mother’s maiden name.
In Philadelphia, Thomas met Mary Hinton, and the couple married in 1773. Thomas worked as a clerk in the Customs House until 1775 when General Thomas Mifflin appointed him Chief Clerk of the Continental Army. In 1777 he was accused of working with the British and jailed. He denied the charges and was released, thanks to his wife’s personal appeal to General George Washington. Thomas was returned to his job and maintained a friendship with General Washington for the remainder of his life.
Thomas moved his family of seven children to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1788 where two years later at the age of 58, Thomas Wharton Collins died. His widow moved the family to New York, where she died three years later.
In 1800, Thomas’s son, John Wharton Collins, followed his older sister to New Orleans and opened a mercantile store. He eventually relocated to the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, where in 1813 he founded the city of Covington, Louisiana.
The Wharton Chapter NSDAR in Covington, Louisiana, is proud to sponsor a tree in the DAR Pathway of the Patriots named for this patriot and his family.