History of the Restoration Movement

Mark Collis


The Life of Mark Collis

Mark Collis was born on September 21, 1851 at St. Luke,  London, England. He was the son of George Collis (1821-1902) who was 30 years of age at the time, and Sarah Cranford (1817-1880), who was 34. When Mark was 3 years old his family moved to Adelaide, Australia where Mark grew into adulthood. When he was 23 years of age (1874) he went to America and attended Transylvania University and the College of the Bible in Lexington, Kentucky.

While there, Mark met and married Mary Cassell Gibney (March 4, 1863 – October 2, 1942) of Nicholasville, Kentucky, on June 29, 1881, in Lexington, Kentucky. They had seven children in 14 years. They were: Virgil Gibney Collis (April 9, 1882 - May 10, 1954); Sarah Adelaide Collis Gregory (August 28, 1884 - June 3, 1981);  George Collis (October 7, 1886 - June 11, 1959); Mark Collis, Jr. (October 25, 1888 - November 3, 1967); Robert Alexander Collis (September 6, 1889 - January 14, 1967); John Vance Collis (February 25, 1893 - October 27, 1973); and Benjamin Coleman Collis (March 14, 1897 - July 31, 1959).

While a student, he preached for churches in the area including the Mt. Eden Christian Church in Fayette County; the Old Jessamine Christian Church in Jessamine County; the Antioch Christian Church in Fayette County; and at Nicholasville and New Union in Fayette County.

Graduating in 1881, he was presented with the opportunity to become the minister of Midway Christian Church in Midway, Kentucky. Moving there he assisted the congregation in its growth many years. In fact, when the church building at Midway burned in 1916, he assisted in the rebuilding project helping to raise $145,000.00 for the new structure. He also promoted Kentucky Female Orphan School (Midway University) by serving on the Board of Trustees from 1886-1918. Most of those years he presided over the board. 

While continuing to preach at Midway, an opportunity arose for Mark to begin teaching English at his alma mater. This led to the family moving back to Lexington in 1885 where he could live closer to the Transylvania University campus. He continued teaching English until 1891. The following year (1892) he became Curator of Transylvania University; a role he filled until 1918.

In 1886, Collis was added to the Board Of Trustees for the College of the Bible. He served in this role until 1918.

After ten years as minister of Midway Christian Church, in 1892, Mark Collis became minister of Broadway Christian Church in Lexington. Over the next thirty-eight years he assisted in the building up of that church, seeing the additions of 6,328 members. In 1930, he was appointed Minister Emeritus of the church, a position he continued in for the remainder of his life.

October 2, 1942 was a sad day in Mark's life, when his wife, Mary, passed away. She had been his life-long companion for over 62 years. He and their seven children rallied around one another as her body was laid to rest in Lexington Cemetery. At 91, he still had several years of life to enjoy, thirteen to be exact. For, on March 23, 1955, Mark Collis breathed his last, at the grand old age of 103. He was buried next to his Mary in the beautiful park at Lexington Cemetery.

-Scott Harp, 10.21.2020
Sources: The Disciples of Kentucky (A.W. Fortune - 1932); Newspaper clippings; Ancestry.com; and other gleanings.

The Collis Home In Fayette Park, Lexington
438 Fayette Park, Lexington, KY 40508
GPS: Location: 38°03'23.9"N 84°29'31.8"W
38.056629, -84.492178
Note: His neighbor two houses down was J. W. McGarvey and across the way was I. B. Grubbs.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky
Thursday, March 24, 1955, page 1

Location Of The Final Resting Place of Mark & Mary Collis

Lexington Cemetery is one of the most beautiful old cemeteries in America. It is located on West Main Street heading away from downtown Lexington toward Leestown Pike. Turn right into the main entrance past the office. Stay on Main Avenue passing Henry Clay Monument on the left. Go until you see the Lower Lake section and turn left before you pass it. With Lower Lake on your right, look back to your left on the hill just before the end of lake. The Collis family section is up the hill. Located in Section "P"

GPS Location
38°03'34.0"N 84°30'37.8"W
or D.d. 38.059444,-84.510490
Grave Faces Northwest
Section P

See Directions To Grave Here!

Mary Casell Gibney Collis
Nicholasville, Kentucky, March 4, 1863
Daughter of Robersons Alexander and
Amanda Weagley Gibney
Mark Collis June 29, 1881
Lexington, Kentucky, October 2, 1942

Virgil Gibney Collis
April 9, 1882 - May 10, 1954
Sarah Adelaide Collis Gregory
August 28, 1884 - June 3, 1981
George Collis
October 7, 1886 - June 11, 1959
Mark Collis, Jr.
October 25, 1888 - November 3, 1967
Robert Alexander Collis
September 6, 1889 - January 14, 1967
John Vance Collis
February 25, 1893 - October 27, 1973
Benjamin Coleman Collis
March 14, 1897 - July 31, 1959

Mark Collis
London, England September 21, 1851
Son of George and Sarah Barndon Collis
Married - Mary Cassell Gibney June 29, 1881
Lexington, Kentucky, March 23, 1955
Adelaide, Australia - 1854 - 1874
Lexington, Kentucky - 1874-1881
Midway, Kentucky - 1881-1885
Lexington, Kentucky - 1885-1955

Student, Minister Mt. Eden Christian Church
Fayette Co., Old Jessamine, Jessamine Co,,
Antioch, Fayette Co.,
Nicholasville and New Union, Fayette Co.

Graduated Transylvania University and
College of the Bible 1881

Minister Midway Christian Church - 1881 - 1891
Professor English Transylvania - 1885-1891
Minister Broadway Christian Church , Lexington
1892-1930. Minister Emeritus 1930-1955

Trustee Kentucky Female Orphan School - 1885 - 1918
Trustee College Of the Bible - 1886-1918
Curator Transylvania University - 1892-1918

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