1-20 of 20 results  for:

Clear all

Article

Allen, Catherine (03 September 1851–05 June 1922), Shaker eldress, was born Minnie Catherine Allen in Patriot, Indiana, the daughter of John Allen, a clergyman and reformer, and Ellen Lazarus, a reformer. Allen was born on property purchased by her mother in hopes of establishing another socialistic community like Brook Farm. When no one agreed to engage in this experiment, the family moved in 1857 to the Modern Times Colony in Brentwood, Long Island. At the request of her mother, Allen was brought as a boarder to the North Family of Shakers in Mount Lebanon, New York, on 2 February 1865. Her reception into the Shaker society was somewhat unique because the Shakers rarely accepted children if both parents were alive and neither of them planned to join the community. No doubt Allen was accepted because of her parents’ long association with communities such as Brook Farm and because they were sympathetic to the Shakers....

Article

Avery, Giles Bushnell (03 November 1815–27 December 1890), Shaker elder, was born in Saybrook, Connecticut, the son of Gilbert Avery and Sophia Bushnell. Avery’s family converted to Shakerism, a celibate religious communal movement, in 1817 and moved to the New Lebanon, New York, Shaker community in 1819. Only four years old, Avery first lived with his mother in a gathering family designed for those first setting out to become Shakers. In 1821 he moved to the Church family, the most spiritually advanced order, where he remained until 1859....

Article

Barker, Ruth Mildred (03 February 1897–25 January 1990), Shaker trustee, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the daughter of James P. Barker and Ruth Jackson. Her father died in 1903, and that year, unable to care for Mildred, her mother took her to the Alfred, Maine, community of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, informally known as the Shakers. Barker, who came to be known as Sister Mildred, grew up within the Alfred community, signed the covenant, and worked primarily as a caretaker of young girls. She moved to Sabbathday Lake, southwest of Lewiston, Maine, in 1931 with the consolidation of the two communities....

Article

Bishop, Rufus (18 July 1774–02 August 1852), Shaker leader, was born in Montague, Massachusetts, the son of Peter Bishop and Abigail (maiden name unknown). Bishop became a Shaker in childhood, joining with his parents and all but two of his siblings in 1780. On 9 March 1789 he became a fully covenanted member of the New Lebanon, New York, Shaker community. As a Shaker, Bishop committed himself to celibacy, pacifism, common ownership of property, and a physically active brand of Christian worship. Significantly, as a teenager Bishop was said to possess the humility and devotion that was sought in an elder of the group....

Article

Cohoon, Hannah Harrison (01 February 1788–07 January 1864), Shaker artist, was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, the daughter of Noah B. Harrison, a revolutionary war veteran who died a year after her birth, and Huldah Bacon. She was raised in Williamstown and apparently was married there, to a man named Cohoon, but nothing is known of her husband, though she probably was widowed or abandoned. In 1817, with her five-year-old son, Harrison, and three-year-old daughter, Mariah, she entered the Hancock (Mass.) Shaker Village established twenty-six years earlier by members of the communitarian sect known formally as the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing and more commonly as the Shakers. Cohoon remained at Hancock (just west of Pittsfield) until her death. Her son and daughter left around 1838, but the daughter, having married and presumably become widowed, returned later in life....

Article

Darrow, David (21 June 1750–27 June 1825), Shaker elder, was born in Norfolk, Connecticut, the son of Nathaniel Darrow and Rachel (maiden name unknown), farmers. Sometime during his youth the family moved westward across the Taconic Mountains into an area known as the “Yankee zone,” a region contested by both New York and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. By 1774 members of the Darrow family were living in the New Lebanon area on the road between Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and Albany, New York. Darrow married Prudence Mudge, the daughter of Jarvis Mudge, a mill owner; the couple had at least three children. One source states that Darrow “fought faithfully in the army of the Revolution and attained the rank of lieutenant” (White and Taylor, p. 45)....

Article

Evans, Frederick William (09 June 1808–06 March 1893), reformer and Shaker elder, was born in Leominster, England, the son of George Evans, a soldier in the English army, and Sarah White. Because of his mother’s death when he was four and the absence of his father on military service, Frederick was cared for by relatives and, after a brief attendance at school in Stourbridge, received only a practical education at Chadwick Hall, his relatives’ 500-acre English estate. In 1820 at age twelve he emigrated with his father and brother George to the United States, where he worked for the next ten years on reform causes with his brother. These ten years composed another phase of informal education for Evans during which he and his brother published several reform newspapers, among them the ...

Article

Green, Calvin (10 October 1780–04 October 1869), Shaker elder and writer, was born in Hancock, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Green, a shoemaker, and Thankful Barce, a schoolteacher, both unmarried early followers of Mother Ann Lee. Barce was one of the earliest inquirers to visit Lee in Watervliet (formerly Niskeyuna), New York, near Albany. Lee, an illiterate mill-worker from Manchester, England, had led a small apocalyptic group of “Shaking Quakers” to America, arriving in New York Harbor in 1774. The group soon moved out into the New York wilderness. Green had the unusual distinction of being born among the Shakers, since his mother came to them when she was four-and-a-half-months pregnant, unmarried, and much concerned with her moral state. Unlike later biological families who joined the Shakers together but would then be sent to live in different Shaker families, Green continued to live with his mother through early childhood. He relates that her care was good, but she had to work hard to support him. They moved frequently, and he found it difficult living with a variety of scattered “out-families” of Shakers in New Lebanon and Hancock....

Article

Jackson, Rebecca Cox (15 February 1795–24 May 1871), itinerant preacher, religious writer, and Shaker eldress, was born a free African American in Horntown, Pennsylvania. According to sketchy autobiographical information, she was the daughter of Jane (maiden name unknown) Cox. No reference is made in her writings to her father, who probably died shortly after her birth. Rebecca Cox lived with her grandmother (never named) until she was between three and four years old, but by age six she was again living with her mother, who had remarried and was now called Jane Wisson or Wilson. Her stepfather, a sailor, died at sea the next year. At age ten, she was in Philadelphia with her mother and a younger sister and infant brother, the offspring, it seems, of a third marriage of her mother. Responsibility for caring for her younger siblings seems to have deprived Rebecca of the schooling her mother was somehow able to provide for the other children. Her mother died when she was thirteen, whereupon she probably moved into the household of her older brother Joseph Cox (1778?–1843), a tanner and clergyman eighteen years her senior....

Article

Johnson, Theodore Elliott (09 September 1931–20 April 1986), librarian, scholar, and Shaker brother, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Elmer Carl Johnson, a purchasing agent, and Ruth D. Collins Johnson. In 1953 he graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, with a B.A. in Latin. Johnson, who never married, spent the next year studying medieval Latin literature in Strasbourg, France, on a Fulbright fellowship, and in 1955 he received an M.A. in the teaching of classics from Harvard University School of Education. Then, from 1955 to 1957 he studied at Harvard Divinity School. As a member of the Episcopal church, Johnson attended a parish administered by the Cowley Fathers of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, and both scholarship and religion remained the central interests of his life....

Article

King, Emma Belle (05 June 1873–01 July 1966), Shaker eldress, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the daughter of Daniel Sylvester King, a carpenter and horsecar conductor, and Nancy Ellen Rowley. Emma and her sister Mary Ellen King were placed with the Shakers (United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing) in Canterbury, New Hampshire, in 1878. There is some indication that a brother, Daniel S. King, arrived several years later in 1881. Although there is little record of Emma’s parents or how she came to be placed in Canterbury, it is clear that her mother lodged with the Shakers at one point. Of her father’s whereabouts the records say nothing. King does refer, however, in a memorial written for Sister Lizzie Horton, to a period in her childhood in which she was “in grief over the demise of a much loved father.”...

Article

Lee, Ann (29 February 1736–08 September 1784), visionary, prophetess, and founder of the Shakers (later formally the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing), visionary, prophetess, and founder of the Shakers (later formally the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing), was born in Manchester, England, the daughter of John Lees, a blacksmith, and his wife, a “very pious woman.” Lee, one of eight children, was baptized in Christ Church on 1 June 1742. She received little, if any, formal education. Tradition has it that she worked in a cotton factory and also as a cutter of hatters’ fur. In 1762 she married Abraham Standerin (also identified as Stanley and Standley), a blacksmith. They both signed the register in the cathedral with only a mark. It is reported that she had four children, all of whom died in infancy or at an early age. The burial record of one daughter, Elizabeth, age six, does exist....

Article

Lindsay, Bertha (28 July 1897–03 October 1990), Shaker eldress, was born Goldie Ina Ruby Lindsay in Braintree, Massachusetts, the daughter of Lloyd E. Lindsay, a mechanic, grocer, and photographer, and Abbie H. Smith. Goldie arrived at the Canterbury Shaker Village (United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing) in 1905, after the death of her parents. Her sister May, in her mid-twenties at the time, was about to marry and head west. The family, Baptists, had worshiped at the village; the Shakers were known to take in young children, and so they were asked to care for her. Years later, when she signed the covenant in 1918, Goldie took the name “Bertha” as a way of honoring Sister Bertha Lillian Phelps, in whose care she had been as a teenager and whom she considered her spiritual mother....

Article

Mace, Aurelia (06 March 1835–30 March 1910), Shaker trustee, was born in Strong, Maine, the daughter of Marquis de LaFayette Mace, a Universalist minister, and Sarah Norton Flint. Aurelia, the youngest of six girls and two boys, was brought to the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing by her family when she was just one year old. Although her father chose not to join the Shaker society, her mother and three sisters joined the Believers, and all remained in the Shaker community until their deaths....

Article

McNemar, Richard (20 November 1770–15 September 1839), revivalist minister turned Shaker missionary and author, was born in Tuscarora, Pennsylvania. His parents were farmers. His mother’s maiden name was Knox. From the age of fifteen, he worked as an itinerant schoolteacher throughout South Central Pennsylvania, laboring on his family’s farm between jobs. He moved to Kentucky in 1791 to study languages with Malcolm Worley at Caldwell’s Station and theology with the Reverend Robert Finley at Cane Ridge. In April 1793 he married Jane Luckie; they had seven children. The next spring, McNemar, his wife, and their first child moved to Paint Creek, where he taught for a time before moving back to Cane Ridge to preach. He became minister of the Presbyterian church in Cabin Creek in September 1796 and was ordained in August 1798....

Article

Taylor, Leila Sarah (11 December 1854–29 June 1923), Shaker author, poet, and associate eldress, was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, the daughter of Wesley Taylor, a homeopathic physician, and Sarah Moore. She attended Boston University during the early 1870s and studied English. For two decades she taught high school classes in various Connecticut Valley towns, including Springfield. In 1893 she was elected a teacher in Wayland, a distant suburb of Boston. When the new Wayland Center School opened in 1897, she became the principal and helped teach high school and the upper grammar school grades....

Article

Wells, Seth Youngs (19 August 1767–30 October 1847), Shaker theologian, author, and educator, was born in Southold, New York, the son of Thomas Wells and Abigail Youngs. Little is known of Wells’s early life. He attended high school, where he received a classical education, and studied bookkeeping at the Clinton Academy in East Hampton, New York, in 1788. He taught and served as a principal in the public schools of Albany, New York, and also taught at the Hudson Academy....

Article

White, Anna (21 January 1831–16 December 1910), Shaker eldress, author, and songwriter, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Robert White, a businessman and farmer, and Hannah Gibbs, an almoner (a distributor of goods to the needy) for the Quakers. White was educated at Mansion Square Seminary, a Quaker school, in Poughkeepsie, New York. When she was seventeen she learned the tailoring trade and helped her mother distribute alms from the Quakers to the poor of New York City. Her father had become a Shaker and divided his time between living with his natural family and residing with the Shakers. His decision to become a Shaker angered his wife and alienated all his children except Anna who also became interested. Every effort was made to dissuade her from Shakerism, and an uncle even proposed to settle $40,000 on her if she would give up thinking about it....

Article

Whittaker, James (28 February 1751–20 July 1787), early Shaker leader, was born in Oldham, England, the son of Jonathan Whittaker and Ann Lee. During his childhood Whittaker and his parents joined the Shaking Quakers, a charismatic religious society to which Ann Lee, the future founder of Shakerism and a distant relative of Whittaker’s mother, also belonged. Whittaker’s relationship to Ann Lee was complex. He thought of her as a physical mother—for reasons unknown she became his caretaker when he was still a boy—as well as a spiritual mother. During the 1770s Lee experienced a powerful vision and began teaching the group what she claimed God had revealed to her: sexual intercourse caused the fall of Adam and Eve; therefore, celibacy was essential for salvation. Whittaker was heavily influenced by Lee’s ideas, and in 1774, when she sailed for America to take her message there, he and six other followers went with her....

Article

Wright, Lucy (05 February 1760–07 February 1821), first Elder of the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing (the Shakers), first Elder of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing (the Shakers), was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the daughter of John Wright and Martha “Molly” Robbins. John Wright is characterized by Shaker historian ...