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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


F. M. Collins

The present tax collector of Sonoma county is the gentleman whose name heads this article, and who has been the incumbent of this position since 1906, having been re-elected in the fall of 1910. A man of excellent business capacity and judgment, well educated and progressive, he is numbered among the substantial citizens of the county, where he has made his home for nearly forty years.

A native of the east, Mr. Collins was born in Watertown, Jefferson county, N. Y., October 28, 1845, the son of a farmer. At the age of twelve years he left home and struck out in the world on his own account, for three years working in a dairy owned by Lieutenant Morgan. Spending another year in that same business, he then returned to the home farm and remained until he was twenty-one years old, assisting his father with the duties of the farm. In Watertown, June 6, 1867, when he was twenty-one years old, he was married to Miss Mary R. Mott. After their marriage the young people went to housekeeping on a farm, where they remained for one year. In the meantime Mr. Collins had decided to learn the trade of miller, and, apprenticing himself to the trade, learned it in all its details, and later followed it for four years in his native state. Two years of this time he had charge of a five-stone mill on the Black river, in Jefferson county. It was with this varied experience to his credit that he left the east and came to California in 1872. Coming direct to Sonoma county he located in Petaluma and established a dairy business. Pleased with the locality in which he had elected to make his home he threw his best efforts and energy in any cause that had a beneficial tendency to community or county, and the interest when awakened has never grown less, but on the contrary has increased from year to year.

Recognizing this interest his fellow-citizens were not long in appropriating it to the benefit of the town, and while he was engaged in farming near Petaluma he was made overseer of the road district, and for ten years was continuously kept in that position. His ability for serving the public efficiently was shown when he was made city marshal and tax collector of Petaluma, a position which he filled acceptably for the period of nineteen years and two weeks. He had given up farming and embarked in the livery business in Petaluma, where he became one of the pioneers in that line. His interest in Republican politics was very active, and it was on that ticket that, in 1906, he became a candidate for the office of county tax collector, was elected by a good majority and served his constituents well in that important office. That his service had been acceptable was made manifest by his re-election to the same position in November, 1910. Upon being elected to office it necessitated his removal from Petaluma, from the friends he had made during his long residence there, to the county seat, which place has since been his home. Mr. Collins is well known, belonging to the Masons, in which order he has attained to the Knights Templar degree, the Druids, Eagles and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011