Back in December of 2007, we published an article here entitled Fascinating Descendants. That article, written by Lanaii Kline, alluded to the work of Perry McDonough Collins, grandson of Maria Stoutenburgh and Richard DeCantillon, in creating the Collins Overland Telegraph and opening up the Pacific Northwest for industrial and agricultural settlement. More recently Lanaii has found and reviewed a wonderful book that greatly expands on these historic events and the singular contribution of Mr. Collins to the history of (at least) two nations spanning two continents:
Printed July 15, 2008
STFA Annual Newsletter
by Lanaii Kline
Perry McDonough Collins, the great great grandson of Jacobus and Margaret (Teller) Stoutenburgh, had a dream of building a telegraph system that connected the United States with Europe via Alaska and Russia. This book tells the story of his efforts to make this dream happen.
Cyrus Field successfully laid the trans-Atlantic cable in 1866. His success ended the Collins project. Although Collins did not complete his project, the work was important nonetheless.
The telegraph laid in Western Canada and Alaska helped to open the Pacific Northwest to settlement and growth. Likewise, his work in Russia helped the Czar to exploit Siberia. Also, because of the exploration of Alaska and the chronicling of the flora and fauna of Alaska by botanist William Dall, William Seward decided to purchase Alaska from Russia.