Born: De­cem­ber 8, 1823, Keigh­ley, York­shire, Eng­land.

Died: No­vem­ber 1, 1912, New York Ci­ty.

Buried: Wood­lawn Ce­me­te­ry, Bronx, New York.



Son of a black­smith and mill work­er, Coll­yer be­gan work­ing in the lo­cal lin­en mill at age sev­en, but short­ly af­ter was ap­pren­ticed to a blacks­mith in Ilk­ley.

Around age 21, he be­gan at­tend­ing the Wes­ley­an church in Skip­ton Road.

He mar­ried Har­ri­et Wat­son in 1847, but she died giv­ing birth to their sec­ond child two years lat­er. In 1850, Coll­yer re-mar­ried, to Ann Long­bot­tom, and em­i­grat­ed to Am­er­i­ca.

He first set­tled in Phil­a­del­phia, Penn­syl­van­ia, where he worked as a smithy. In 1859, he moved from the Me­thod­ist church to the Un­i­tar­i­ans.

The fa­mi­ly moved to Ch­ic­ago, Il­li­nois, where he was ap­point­ed Min­is­ter at Large for the First Un­i­tar­i­an Church.

During the Am­er­i­can civ­il war, Coll­yer served with the San­i­tary Com­mis­sion, an or­gan­iz­a­tion sim­i­lar to the Red Cross.

In 1862, Coll­yer be­came Min­is­ter in Charge at the North Side Uni­tar­i­an Church in Chi­ca­go. How­ev­er, both the church and his home burned in the Great Chi­ca­go Fire of 1871.

In 1879, Coll­yer moved to New York Ci­ty to be­come pas­tor of the Un­i­tar­i­an Church of the Mes­si­ah.

He re­tired in 1896, and Leeds Un­i­ver­si­ty award­ed him an hon­or­a­ry LittD de­gree in 1907.