“…a lover of universal reform”
Born and raised in Vermont, John A. Collins was an Abolitionist and served as a General Agent of the Massachusetts Anti-slavery Society for four years. He traveled to Onondaga County, to Syracuse as a partner in the One Hundred Conventions Plans with Frederick Douglas.
“Collins is horsed on the property question and galloping along at a great rate” -(abolitionist)
It has been argued that Collins used his paid position as an abolition promoter and scout to further his own personal agenda, “the no property” movement and other reforms. This included Utopian socialism, Fourier’s social doctrines. and the denial of individual rights to own property. Douglas in opposition to Collins’ actions stated that he would withdraw from the tour if Collins was allowed to continue his platform. Instead Collins resigned from his position with the abolitionist that same year. He had made several trips to Skaneateles during “the grove meetings” giving anti-slavery lectures as part of the Convention Plan (Wells, “The Skaneateles Communal Experiment” 1-2).
In order to begin his communalist experiment, in October of 1843 Collins bought a property near Skaneateles of 350 acres with a good stone house and several farm buildings. He invited the public to join the commune and 150 people answered the call. In January of 1844 the community was formed.