By David K. Leff
Like a character in a Horatio Alger story, Edward Hale Sears (1846-1907) rose through the ranks of the Collins Company from fifteen year-old temporary employee to President. Even when elevated to the head of the company, he was visible in the shops and became not only the most powerful man in the village but, perhaps, the best loved as well.
Sears moved to Collinsville with his family in 1859 at age 13 when his father took a job as head of the company steel department. By the time he entered Collinsville High school, he was an earnest student, excellent in mathematics and with an artistic and mechanical bent. His chief recreation was designing and making toys for himself and his younger brothers. By twelve he had built a miniature locomotive of wood that ran on the steam supplied by his mother’s teakettle. … Continue Reading