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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.


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Mrs. D. A. Collier.

One of the homes of Keokuk which is a center of good cheer and hospitality and whose roof has sheltered at some time or another most of the people worth while who have come to that city, is that of Mr. and Mrs. D. A. Collier.  Susie Chambers Smythe Collier was born in Keokuk and is the daughter of the late George B. Smythe and Martha M. Chambers.  Mr. Smythe moved to Keokuk in 1848 and was for many years a central figure in the business and municipal life of that city;  a pioneer to whom Keokuk owes much.  He was mayor in 1863, during the exciting times of the Civil War.  In the early 70's the city had a debt of $3,000,000 and he was appointed fiscal agent.  He went to England in 1875, seeking capital with which to settle the debt.  It seemed attempting the impossible, but the city eagerly agreed to let him try it and he achieved the impossible, and by his diplomacy, reduced the debt to a size which the city could handle.  He was appointed by Pres. Hayes government director of the Union Pacific.  He was on the same financial committee with Russell Sage and Jay Gould.  He was a wholesale merchant and at one time owned a fortune.  Mrs. Smythe was a woman of such fine character as is seldom seen.  She was a pioneer in organizing the Women's Foreign Missionary Society in the Presbyterian church when the voice of women was seldom hear in that denomination.  For twenty five years she was superintendent of the primary department of the Sunday school of the First Westminster church.  Her whole life was a beautiful exhibition of Christian character.  She lived for her family, her church and her God, and the trials and sorrows which came to her life but further refined the pure gold of her character.

Susie Smythe was married on Jany. 14, 1886, to David Alexander Collier, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Collier, who were pioneers and prominent citizens of Keokuk.  Mr. Collier is president of the firm of Blom, Collier Co., wholesale grocers and a director of the Keokuk National Bank.  Mrs. Collier is devoted to her home city and to all its interest.  She was a charter member of Keokuk Chapter D. A. R. and is State Vice Regent of Iowa.  It was largely through her effort the handsome bronze statue of Chief Keokuk was erected.  She is a member of the First Westminster Presbyterian church and of two of its societies.  She was president of the first Audubon Society of the State of Iowa.  She is president of the Benevolent Union and was a very influential factor in the establishment of the Birge Benevolent Union Home for old women and children.  She is a director of the Civic League and for ten years was a director of the Country Club.  She is a skillful and scientific whist player and has won trophies at the Whist Congresses.  Mrs. Collier is fond of society and it is natural that she should be a leader there as in other things.



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