John Collins (1754 - 1806) emigrated from Ireland and fought in the Revolutionary War. He was one of the founders of the Presbyterian Society of Bloomfield from which Bloomfield got its name. John Collins married Mary Baldwin of the prominent Baldwin family that owned three of the first mills in Bloomfield. Baldwin Street that borders the Collins property was named after the family. Johnís son Isaac (1786 - 1841) is credited with building the main section of the present house. Isaac was a carpenter who worked on the Morris Canal bridges and Inclined Planes and Isaacís son John (1824 - 1906) was also a carpenter on the Morris Canal.
John Collins (1824 - 1906)
JOHN COLLINS, one of the oldest and most prominent citizens of Bloomfield, N. J., noted in his day as a bridge builder of exceptional ability, was a native of the place named, where his entire life was spent and where he was born July 4th, 1824, in the old Collins homestead, near the paper mills. He was the son of Isaac Collins and Jane Wykoff, and was descended from an old and respected New Jersey family. John Collins (1824 - 1906). Courtesy of Robert Goller.
He received his education in the common schools of the locality and as a young man was apprenticed to the carpentry trade, acquiring a skill that was unusual and which marked him as a master workman. Entering the service of the Morris Canal and Banking Company, he was employed by that enterprise for many years as master carpenter and boat builder, and it is noteworthy that in this connection he constructed every bridge that crossed the canal between Easton, Pa., and Jersey City, N. J. , acquiring wide reputation as an expert at bridge building. He was subsequently appointed supervisor of the Jersey City division of the canal, serving in that responsibility for several years and resigning from the office in order to accept a place as master carpenter at Oakes & Co.ís Woolen Mills, with which enterprise he remained for a quarter of a century, finally retiring from the activities of trade seven years before his death. Mr. Collins was a veteran of the civil war, having served in that great conflict with credit. He enlisted in the 26th New Jersey Volunteers as a corporal on September 18, 1862, and was mustered out June 27, 1863. He was one of the oldest members of the First Presbyterian Church, of Bloomfield, and was esteemed in the community as a man of upright, Christian character, generous in his charities and worthy in every way of the respect in which he was held. He was a Republican in his political views but he was content to serve as one of the rank and file of his party, neither seeking nor holding public office. He was domestic in his tastes and habits, proving an affectionate husband and a loving father, and he was devoted to his home and family interests. He was married to Ann Law, daughter of James and Jane Law, by whom he was survived, with one daughter, Emma J., who became the wife of Jesse I. Taylor, of Bloomfield. Mr. Collins died at his home in Bloomfield, in a house where he had resided for fifty-five years, November 19, 1906, and in his death the community lost a leading and public spirited citizen who had always lent his hearty support and active co-operation to every public movement that tended to benefit the common welfare, as well as to the local philanthropic activities and other interests that made up the life of the town.
It is a notable fact that there had been a John Collins in every generation of this family for 120 years, and is now represented by John Collins Taylor, son of Mrs. Taylor, only child of subject of this sketch who has two other children.
The Memorial Cyclopedia of the Twentieth Century Comprising Memoirs of Men and Women who Have Been Instrumental in the Progress of the Industries, Professions, Arts, Literature, Legislation, Society and Charities of the United States (unpublished), the Publishing Society of New York, 1906. Courtesy of Robert Goller.
Photos of Tools that Belonged to John Collins Photos courtesy of Robert Goller.