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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Thriving Warren County Shaker Sect Dwindled To Final Number Of 16

Contributor:
Dallas Bogan on 17 August 2004
Source:
original article by Dallas Bogan
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The end to a rather controversial religious sect ended in Warren County on March 1, 1913. The United Society of Believers, or Shakers as they were commonly called, simply allowed their roster to go from a number of approximately six hundred in their finest day to a final decline of sixteen.
The scope of the Shakers land holdings was 4,005 acres of prime farmland along with forty or fifty ample buildings.
The United Brethren Church purchased the entire property for $350,000, which was to be paid to the sixteen remaining survivors. The Church gained complete control with the first payment of $75,000 on the aforementioned date. The other payments were to be $100,000 on January 1, 1918, and $175,000 on January 1, 1923.
The newly acquired farm was to be used for retired ministers and their wives, aged and health-ridden missionaries, and homes and schools for the orphans of the United Brethren denomination.
The superintendent was to be Rev. John R. King, D.D., missionary of the United Brethren Church in Africa with his wife as matron.
As was previously mentioned, the Shakers at Union Village on their last day numbered only sixteen. Twelve had passed the age of 75 years, eight were more than 80 and many of them were considered helpless.
The last survivors were to have the reservation and privileges of the large administration building with its many modern facilities until such time of their departure. They eventually left for Canterbury, New Hampshire.
With the merging of the Methodist Church, the home was known as Otterbein Home and is now owned by the United Methodist Church.
The names and age of the last survivors were: Susanna Liddell, age 89; Eliza Jameson, age 87; Leopold Goepper, age 85; L.A. Devine, age 82; Anna Maria Myers, age 82; Cornelius Bush, age 80; Clymena Miner, age 80; Mary McBride, age 80; Mary Ann Roye, age 78; George Hunt, age 78; Susan Harmston, age 76; Helen Ross, age 75; Hattie Snyder, age 74; Morre S. Mason, age 65; James Fennessey, age 58; George Baxter, age 51.
The Shaker decline became evident the last few years because of their non-belief of marriage, and the failure to attract new members. Modern ideas started to creep in which ultimately took away from their original values.
The society owned a large touring car in which rides were taken throughout the State. The Shaker ladies were often an attraction with their bonnets blowing in the wind as the machine traveled the country roads.
Modern farm machinery and methods supplied the sect with all the advantages of modern day times. The homes, formerly fitted with the possessions of over a century, were all sported out with modern appliances and the like.
Shaker literature, being a pleasure of the past, was now supplemented with modernistic novels, magazines, and the Sunday comic strips.
While the ideas of chastity still remained with the membership, and the ideas of community still prevalent, the advanced age of the final members dominated the events. Church services had been little performed in the previous ten years because of this factor.
Ann Lee, an English woman who died over 200 years ago, was thrown into jail in London in 1768 for being insane. She came to America in 1770 and founded the Shaker sect on this continent.
On January 1, 1805, three Shaker missionaries arrived in the West, walking all the way from New York. They had been appointed by the founding society.
The great religious revival of Kentucky, which opened in Logan County, Ky., (in 1799) was the drawing attraction. The effects of the revival stretched from Kentucky to Ohio and Tennessee in an infectious manner. Their arrival in Ohio was the direct result of the great revival.
The three Shaker religionists chose the sect of the Presbyterian Church, located where Union Village once stood, formerly called the Turtle Creek Presbyterian Church, as their base of organization. In time the Church seceded to the new Shaker faith.


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This page created 17 August 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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