It may be supposed by some that the village was named Collinsville by me, or at my suggestion, but that is not so; the name has always been distasteful to me and to my family.
So wrote Sam Collins in an 1866 record journal, as he looked back on the controversial addition of a new Collinsville post office, in what was then called South Canton; home of the Collins Company.
Apparently, no one thought to ask his opinion.
If I had been consulted and had consented to have my name used it would not have had any `ville’ attached to it or been Frenchified at all. I would have had it Collinsford, like Torringford and Ashford.
Regular readers of About Town know that in 1828, Collins convinced the area’s stage coach operator to redirection his route; from Albany Turnpike to South Canton, then through Farmington and up to Hartford. The change in route was to have come with a new post office, conveniently located to the Collins Company.
However, Canton’s Postmaster objected and mounted a written protest against the new post office. As a result those in South Canton, including the Collins Company, were forced to continue using the Canton Village post office, two miles away. As the Collins Company continued to grow, however, politics gave way to practical matters.
After awhile, when our business increased, and our mail matter became larger than all the other mails in town, some who signed the remonstrance became ashamed of it and moved of their own accord to have the decision reversed.
But, the South Canton post office was still not to be.
One of the objections named in the remonstrance was that there was already a Canton Post office, and a North Canton Post office, and that a South Canton Post office would create confusion in the direction of letters; to obviate that, they proposed to call it Collinsville, inasmuch as many of the letters were coming directed to ‘Collins’ Axe Factory.’
Having won the war, Collins gave up on the battle; but only temporarily.
My preference would have been to call it ‘Valley Forge,’ but we were too well pleased with the convenience of a Post office to quarrel about the name, and so, of course, it has been called Collinsville to this day, but if it is ever incorporated as a borough or a separate town, that will be a good time to change the name.
Valley Forge. One of the `Top Ten Coolest Small Towns.’ Still works.
Here’s the Deal
Sam Collin’s journal passages were taken from a booklet by Elizabeth Ames Sears, “A Tribute of Loving Remembrance: Edward Hale Sears; published for the benefit of employees, to commemorate the passing of Mr. Sears, President of the Collins Company.
Special thanks to William Volovski for loaning me his copy of the booklet.