The City of Collins' history stretches back to 1826 when the Mississippi Legislature established "Williamsburg" as a permanent seat of justice for Covington County. Williamsburg, about two miles from the present site of Collins, was the town's predecessor. Williamsburg was incorporated in 1808 when sawmills were the big industry.
In 1899 the Gulf and Ship Island railroad was laid out and missed the town of Williamsburg. The sawmills moved near the present site of Collins to take advantage of the railroad, so the town moved along with the mills. Population increased to over 2000 persons by 1906 and the town leaders petitioned Governor James K. Vardaman to officially change the town's name of Williamsburg Depot. "Collins" was then named in honor of Meridian native Fred W. Collins, a Republican U.S. Marchal for the Southern District of Mississippi. Collins also became the county seat of Covington County at that time.