Henry Jones

Henry Jones, community founder (b at Plympton St Maurice, Eng 21 or 22 May 1776; d at Maxwell, Ont 21 Oct 1852). A Royal Navy purser, Jones was probably the first socialist in British North America.

Jones, Henry

Henry Jones, community founder (b at Plympton St Maurice, Eng 21 or 22 May 1776; d at Maxwell, Ont 21 Oct 1852). A Royal Navy purser, Jones was probably the first socialist in British North America. Retiring in 1815, he was attracted to the teachings of Welsh socialist Robert Owen who conceived self-sufficient communities - "villages of unity and cooperation" - to solve unemployment among workers displaced by machinery. Jones helped found a community near Glasgow, Scot, which failed in 1827. That year he sailed to New York and then moved to land on Lake Huron. He recruited settlers in Scotland, and in 1829 the first 20 arrived at the site, which Jones called Maxwell. A community building with family apartments and a common kitchen was built, with school and store run on Owenite principles. About 80 people joined the community, which disintegrated after the main house burned in 1834. Jones left for England in 1835, and efforts to revive the community from a distance failed. He returned to Canada a theoretical rather than an active socialist and his utopian ideas have had no lasting influence on Canada.