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An Independent and Critical Resource on the "House of Jacob"

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Mysterious Collins Family Deaths -- Brother to the "Father" of the "House of Jacob"

"Man Kills Wife, 4 Children, Self" that's what the Warren Tribune Chronicle headline said on May 27, 1966. They were talking about a man named Michael Collins (the brother Jake Daniel Collins -- Father #4). Below is an excerpt from the lengthy article.

Andrew Collins Grave, Shot by Brother of House of Jacob Father "Dead are: Collins, who shot himself once in the forehead with the bullet going into the brain. Mrs. Minnie Collins, 25 wife of Collins, was shot once above the eye, bludgeoned in the back of the head with a pair of pliers and stabbed at least four times with a five-inch hunting knife. David Collins, 7, shot three times in the head. Andy Collins, 6, shot twice in the head and twice in the chest. Silas Collins, 4, shot twice in head. Viola Collins, 3, shot twice in the head and twice in the chest."

I only learned of this event six months ago. I had come into contact with another ex-HOJ-member. She told me she had visited "headquarters" when she was about 12. She was in the cemetery and noticed all these graves with the same last name. She began to look more closely, and realized it was an entire family who had died on the same day. A dad, a mom, and 4 or 5 kids is what she remembered. She also remembered that the children were very young, all under 10.

David Collins Grave, Shot by Brother of House of Jacob Father When she saw her aunt (who she was staying with), she asked her about the family. "What happened to that Collins family? Were they related to father? Did their house burn down or something?" All she was told was, "we're not supposed to talk about that," and that was the end of the discussion; but only the beginning of her curiosity.

Years later, after she had long since left the House of Jacob, she asked her mother (also no longer a member) if she would tell her about this family. Her mother told her that the man was father's brother and he had shot his entire family and then himself. It's obvious why they wouldn't want people talking about it; but why, then, are they buried at headquarters, the only cemetery that is visited by almost every member of the church at some point in their life?

Here begins the real mystery surrounding this story. This family was survived by almost every relative i.e., parents, grandparents, siblings, etc. The family originated from Warren Ohio, Pontiac Michigan, and Douglas and Barnesville Georgia. They were members at the local Warren church, which had a cemetery; so why would anyone want to pay extra money to have six bodies transported two hours or more to be buried in a town that they didn't live in, and didn't have any family buried in, and most importantly, why did they bury this family (considering the circumstances) on the same sacred grounds as they did their leaders?

Minnie Collins Grave, Shot by Brother of House of Jacob Father I went to the cemetery and took some pictures of the gravestones so I would have full names and dates to start my investigation with. Unfortunately, they had the old stones removed, quite recently in fact. There was still straw and grass seed around the new ones and the fresh rain had washed mud onto a few. Michael's stone is no longer there; but the stones of Minnie and the four children still remain. However, the dates have been removed and there are only birth and death years now. They are also smaller in size than the other stones and are set in a concrete surround.

Through some additional research, I was able to quickly learn that no local monument bronze company had made these new stones. In fact these stones violate every area of the written contract that the House of Jacob has with one of the local bronze/stone companies. Their contract specifies that each stone must have name, birth day, month, and year and death day, month and year. Also, the stones are to be exactly one foot by two foot, which these weren't. So who made these stones?

Silas Collins Grave, Shot by Brother of House of Jacob Father Unfortunately the story does not end here. I was blessed to hear from another ex-HOJ person who was trying to inform people about this organization, and he provided me with the one tiny bit of information I needed. He knew they lived and died in Warren, Ohio. His family was living at the farm when it happened. He said that there was a big investigation into the case, and that for a long time, it was all you heard about in the papers and on local tv news. He also said that, from what his family has said over the years, this event was the turning point in the House of Jacob's history.

After the Collins' tragedy, the church became very secretive. They stopped actively "trying" to recruit new members, and became so secluded that now, most cities that have House of Jacob churches in them, don't even know they're there. It was also right around this time that they stopped permitting marriage outside the church. Now, if you want to marry a person who was not born into the House of Jacob, that person must join and be a devout member for at least one year before you can ask permission to be married.

Viola Collins Grave, Shot by Brother of House of Jacob Father The Warren Tribune Chronicle article also gave the following facts. A total of 15 shots were fired from a .22 rifle. The rifle was purchased in Michael's name less than four weeks earlier. The victims were found by Jake Daniel (father #4). Jake was Michael's next-door neighbor, yet heard no shots. He told the police that he woke up and smelled smoke. Michael had used boat gasoline to set the attic on fire before locking all the doors and shooting himself. So Jake and another brother busted the door down to Michael's home. They claimed to find their brother on the couch with his rifle lying on his chest..... the purchase tags were still on his gun.

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