Ohio History Journal








One of the greatest obstacles to the study of the social sci-

ences has been the inability to experiment. Human lives cannot

be molded and adjusted like so many pieces of metal or so many

chemical elements. For this reason it is important that history

be made the laboratory of the social sciences. The author of this

brief guide, therefore, feels justified in presenting in an historical

periodical an introduction to one phase of what might be termed

social experimentation in Ohio.

However, it must be remembered that the persons responsible

for starting what are now spoken of as experiments did not them-

selves look upon their work in this light. It is likely that the pro-

mulgators of each of the communities, which will be briefly de-

scribed, zealously believed that they were inserting the wedge

which would result in remaking the world. It is this sincerity

that makes the communities worthy of study.

It is the purpose of this article to make available a classifica-

tion of those Ohio communities which have been founded with the

idea of common ownership of property as one of the basic prin-

ciples in their operation. The author realizes that he is incapable

of interpreting and explaining thoroughly the theories of the pro-

moters of these communities or the reason for their ultimate

failure. He intends to give places, names and dates together with

sources for further information concerning each community. He

will leave it to the "original prejudice" of those who will use it

to prove what they wish from the facts presented.

The Shaker communities and the Zoar community have been

the subject of considerable writing. It is the hope of the author

that this guide will stimulate interest and study in the other com-

munistic communities of the State as well.






Union Village, near Lebanon, Warren County, Ohio.

Union Village, known in the vicinity as Shakertown, was the

parent community of all the villages of United Believers west

of the Alleghany Mountains. When news of the revival move-

ment in the West reached the Shaker village of New Lebanon, in

New York, three missionaries--John Meacham, Benjamin S.

Youngs and Issachar Bates--were sent to convert the western

people to Shakerism. Their first two converts were Malcolm

Worley, a wealthy and influential citizen of Bedle's Station (which

became Union Village), and Rev. Richard McNemar, one of the

leaders of the New Light secession from the Presbyterian Church.

The settlement was begun in 1805 and soon consisted of 126

members. By 1811 there were 300 members at Union Village.

In 1903 there were only ninety Believers in the State of Ohio.

The land, consisting of 4,500 acres of the richest soil in the State,

was owned by the community as a whole and the members lived

in well equipped dormitories and ate in a common dining hall.

Their offices were among the most luxuriously appointed in the


The sect indulged in queer forms of dancing, or "shaking,"

and believed that they were often in communion with the "spirits."

The sect ceased to exist in Ohio some time after 1907 but accord-

ing to the report of the Bureau of the Census on Religious Bodies:

1926 there were six active communities, consisting of 192 mem-


1 John Patterson MacLean, Shakers of Ohio (Columbus, Ohio, 1907); Charles

Edson Robinson, A Concise History of the United Society of Believers Called Shakers

(East Canterbury, New Hampshire, 1893); The Testimony of Christ's Second Appearing

(Lebanon, Ohio, 1808); The Shaker (Albany, New York, 1871-?), passim.; The Shaker

Manifesto (Shakers, New York, 1871-99), passim.; William Alfred Hinds, American

Communities (Chicago, 1902) 26-62; U. S. Bureau of the Census, Religious Bodies:

1926 (Washington, D. C., 1926), II, 441-5; Morris Hillquit, History of Socialism in the

United States (New York, 1903), 29-31; Charles Gide, Communist and Co-operative

Colonies (London, 1930), 90-102; Alexander Kent, "Cooperative Communities in the

United States," in U. S. Department of Labor, Bulletin, no. 35 (1901), 665-78; Edwin

Erle Sparks, The Expansion of the American People (Chicago, 1900), 379-80; Robert

Allerton Parker, A Yankee Saint-John Humphrey Noyes and the Oneida Community

(New York, 1935), 155-9; Ralph Albertson, "A Survey of Mutualistic Communities in

America," in Iowa Journal of History and Politics (Iowa City, 1903.), XXXIV (1936),

379-80; Shaker collections of manuscript journals and diaries (in Ohio State Archaeo-

logical and Historical Society Library; Western Reserve Historical Society Library;

Library of Congress). For further references see: John Patterson MacLean, A Bibli-

ography of Shaker Literature (Columbus, Ohio, 1905).


COMMUNISTIC COMMUNITIES OF OHIO                         3


bers at that date. Of these, two were in Maine, two in New York,

one in New Hampshire and one in Massachusetts.2

Watervliet, near Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio.

The village of Watervliet, called Beaver Creek, Beulah, or

Mad River at different times in the early Shaker records, was

located in sections thirteen and fourteen of Van Buren township,

Montgomery County, Ohio, and was divided by Beaver Creek.

The first convert to Shakerism at this settlement on Beaver Creek

was John Huston who declared his faith some time in October of

1805. According to Charles Nordhoff, this society had, in 1875,

two families, containing a total of fifty-five members and owning

thirteen hundred acres of land, "much of which they let to ten-

ants." They had a wool-factory, which was their only manufac-

tory. This society became extinct about 1900, at which date the

remaining members were moved to Union Village.3

Whitewater, near Preston, Hamilton County, Ohio.

Negotiations were begun in 1820 for the establishment of a

Shaker society at a little settlement on Darby Plains, Union town-

ship, Union County, Ohio. However, it was found that the situa-

tion of the settlement was very unfavorable and the Shaker con-

verts were moved to Whitewater in 1824. The Whitewater com-

munity was situated on the Dry Forks of the Whitewater in the

northwest part of Hamilton County, with 400 acres in Butler

County. It consisted of seventy-seven members in 1835, one

hundred in 1875, and forty-three in 1903. They owned 1,457

acres of land at one time. The community was ordered dissolved

in 19O7.4


2 Charles Nordhoff, The Communistic Societies of the United States (New York,

1875), 200-4; John Patterson MacLean, "Shaker Community of Warren County, Ohio,"

in Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society Publications (Columbus, Ohio,

1887-), X (1901) 251-304: Henry Howe, Historical Collections of Ohio (Columbus, 1896),

II, 751-3; Beverley W. Bond, The Civilization of the Old Northwest (New York, 1934),

488-9; Daniel Drake, Natural and Statistical View, or Picture of Cincinnati and the

Miami Country (Cincinnati, 1815), 40-41.

3 MacLean, Shakers of Ohio, 190-226; Nordhoff, op. cit., 205-6; The History of

Montgomery County, Ohio (Chicago, 1882), 176-7 of part 2; A. W. Drury, History of

the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio (Chicago, 1909), 856-7.

4 MacLean, Shakers of Ohio, 227-69 (Substantially the same article that was pub-

lished in the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society Publications, XIII

[1904], 401-33); History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio (Cincinnati, 1894),




North Union, Cleveland, Ohio.

The Shaker community known as North Union was founded

in 1822 and was located eight miles east by south of the Public

Square, in Cleveland, Ohio. According to Nordhoff "the society

was most numerous about 1840, when it contained two hundred

members. It is now [1875] divided into three families, having

one hundred and two persons." John Patterson MacLean stated

that there were sixty-seven members in 1879. Perhaps this last

number did not include the persons under twenty-one years of

age. The community owned 1,355 acres of land in one body. The

society was dissolved on October 24, 1889, and the members

moved to Watervliet and Union Village.5

West Union, Knox County, Indiana, Begun in

Adams County, Ohio.

Conversion to Shakerism of the settlers on Eagle Creek,

Adams County, Ohio, was begun in 1805. After five or six years,

or in 1811, the 150 Believers from Eagle and Straight Creeks

were moved to Union Village and Busro in Knox County, Indiana.

The Busro settlement was located sixteen miles north of Vin-

cennes on Busseron Creek in Busseron township of Knox County.

This community was evidently in existence before the removal of

the Eagle Creek Believers as Peter Cartwright is said to have

visited Shakers at Busro in 1808. In September, 1812, the Busro

Believers were forced, by fever and the plundering of their settle-

ment by militia, to seek refuge with the Ohio Shakers. Early in

1814, however, they returned to Busro and remained there until

1827 when the Society broke up and its members removed to

Union Village, Pleasant Hill and South Union.6

Darby Plains Shakers, Union County, Ohio.

The nucleus of what later became Whitewater settlement was

formed in a little settlement referred to as Darby Plains in Union

5 Nordhoff, op. cit., 204-5; MacLean, Shakers of Ohio, 112-89; Charles A. Post,

Doans Corners and the City Four Miles West (Cleveland, 1930), 120-3ff.; William R.

Coates, A History of Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland (Chicago, 1924),


6 MacLean, Shakers of Ohio, 270-346; William Warren Sweet, Circuit-Rider Days

in Indiana (Indianapolis, 1916), 9-11; Samuel S. McClelland, "Busro," in The Mani-

festo (1885), 110-2, 139-141, 164-6, 183-5, 205-7; Louis Basting, "The Believers of Indiana

in 1811," in The Manifesto (1890), 11-14.


COMMUNISTIC COMMUNITIES OF OHIO                            5


township, Union County, Ohio, in 1820. The Believers at this

place moved to Whitewater, Hamilton County, in 1824.7



The Separatist Society of Zoar, Zoar, Tuscarawas

County, Ohio.

The Separatists who settled in Tuscarawas County, Ohio,

emigrated from Germany "primarily for the purpose of secur-

ing religious liberty; secondarily for better opportunities of ob-

taining a livelihood." Joseph Bimeler (Bameler) was chosen the

leader of the 225 people who settled in Ohio in 1817 and signed

articles of agreement for a community of goods on April 15, 1819.

It ceased to be a communistic community in September, 1898,

when the property was distributed to the individual members.

There have been published so many good accounts of Zoar that it

will not be necessary to describe the community in detail in this



Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio.

Sidney Rigdon, who had been a member and minister of the

Baptist Church, one of the founders of the religion known as

Campbellism and who later became a leader of the Mormon

Church, was employed as the regular pastor of a church at Mentor,

Ohio, in the fall of 1826. While at Mentor he sometimes preached

in the near-by settlement at Kirtland. After converting most of

his congregation to Campbellism he gradually presented his ideas

concerning the common ownership of property, which idea, by the


7 See paragraph above on the Whitewater community.

8 Edgar B. Nixon, The Society of Separatists of Zoar, MS. (doctoral dissertation,

in the Ohio State University Library); E. O. Randall, "History of the Zoar Society,"

in Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society Publications, VIII (1899/1900),

1-105 (later published in a separate volume); Nordhoff, op. cit., 99-118; Hinds, op. cit.,

91-123; Albertson, "Survey of Mutualistic Communities," loc. cit., 881-2; Sparks, op. cit.,

384-7; Hillquit, op. cit., 34-37; "The Colony of Zoar," in The Penny Magazine (London,

1832-1846), VI (1837), 411-2; Edgar B. Nixon, "The Zoar Society: Applicants for Mem-

bership," in Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society Quarterly (Columbus,

Ohio, 1887-), XLV (1936), 341-350; Alexander Gunn, The Hermitage-Zoar Note Book and

Journal of Travel (New York, 1902), passim.; Webster P. Huntington, "Gunn of the

Zoarites," in The Ohio Magazine (Columbus, 1906-1908), I (1906), 499-510; Bertha M.

H. Shambaugh,-Amana That Was and Amana That Is (Iowa City, 1932), passim.;

Kent, "Cooperative Communities," loc. cit., 563, 587-94; Frederick A. Bushee, "Com-

munistic Societies," in Political Science Quarterly (Boston; New York, 1886-) XX

(1906), 644ff.; George B. Landis, "The Society of Separatists of Zoar, Ohio," in

American Historical Association Annual Reports (New York, 1885-) (1898), 163-220,




way, was not in accord with the ideas of Alexander Campbell.

The idea did not appeal to the people of Mentor but it soon got a

foothold at Kirtland. Isaac Morley became converted and invited

all who entertained the same belief to gather at his farm.

According to The History of Geauga and Lake Counties,

Ohio (1878), the community soon numbered one hundred mem-

bers. When, in the fall of 1830, the four missionaries of Mormon-

ism--Parley P. Pratt, Z. Peterson, Oliver Cowdery, and Peter

Whitmer -- came to the Western Reserve and approached Rigdon

with the idea of converting him to Mormonism they were intro-

duced to the "family" at Kirtland, and immediately, seventeen of

the members of that community accepted Mormonism. This group

became the nucleus of the Ohio "Stake of Zion."

It is not certain whether or not the community continued to

own all property in common after the advent of the Latter Day

Saints. Ryan states that Mormonism's "cornerstone was socialism,

the common ownership of all property, both real and personal, and

the surrender of all individual action in religious, social and busi-

ness life to the church." M. R. Werner, in his Brigham         Young,


Brigham Young's problem was to maintain enough public spirit in a

communistic order of society to make every man willing to help another.

The Mormon community was not communistic in the modern sense of the

term, for every man was allowed to get and to keep as much as he could,

but at the same time it was necessary to provide for the needs of the whole,

and it was Brigham Young's job to make his Saints see the value of con-

tributing to the community. That was the most difficult job in the com-


Whether the Mormon community was actually communistic

or not, it was certainly cooperative to a very high degree.,


9 History of Geauga and Lake Counties, Ohio (Philadelphia, 1878), 247-8; Daniel

J. Ryan, Historic Failures in Applied Socialism (Columbus, 1920), 32-33; Journal of

History (published by Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,

Lamoni, Iowa; Independence, Missouri, 1908-1925), II (1909), 399-428, III (1910), 3-20;

M. R. Werner, Brigham Young (New York, 1925), 418-50; Hamilton Gardner, "Com-

munism among the Mormans," in The Quarterly Journal of Economics (Boston and

Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1886-), XXXVII (1923), 134-74; W. A. Linn, The Story of

the Mormons (New York, 1923), passim.; Gide, op. cit., 108-10; James H. Kennedy,

Early Days of Mormonism (New York, 1888); The New International Encyclopaedia.

Second edition (New York, 1928), XVI, 265-71 (contains a good bibliography).





Spiritualistic Community, Franklin Township,

Clermont County, Ohio.

In the disposition of the land of Clermont Phalanx (q. v.) the

central plot which contained the buildings became the property of

a Spiritualistic community of some one hundred persons at the

head of which was John O. Wattles. The members decided to

move the largest of the buildings nearer to the Ohio River and

while they were working on the new building the flood of 1847

surrounded it with water. The building was partially occupied at

the time and one night in December, 1847, as the occupants of the

unfinished building were dancing to while away the time the walls

caved in and killed seventeen of the members of the community.

This tragedy ended the life of the community.10


Moravian Mission Settlements in the Tuscarawas Valley, Ohio.

There is some question as to whether the Moravian Mission

settlements can be classed as communistic societies. The common

ownership that existed in the villages was more a matter of con-

venience and a continuance of Indian custom than of theory. If

Schoenbrunn, Gnadenhutten, Lichtenau, and Salem were com-

munistic then all of the Indian villages that existed in Ohio should

be included in this guide. Since the scope of this guide is limited

to the activities of the white man a discussion of the Moravian

Mission will suffice.

The site of Schoenbrunn was selected by David Zeisberger

in the spring of 1772 and the first settlers arrived May 3, 1772.

By 1776 the town consisted of a church, a schoolhouse and sixty

cabins. It was abandoned April 19. 1777, and the inhabitants

moved to Lichtenau. Gnadenhutten was founded in the fall of

1772 by Joshua Sr., an elder, and a company of Mohicans. The

inhabitants were forced to leave the village for a site on the San-

dusky River on September 11, 1781. After a winter full of hard-

ships a part of the group returned to Gnadenhutten for the crop


10 History of Clermont County, Ohio (Philadelphia, 1880), 3434.




that had been left at that place. Here, on the eighth of March,

1782, Colonel David Williamson and a company of militia mur-

dered ninety-six of the Moravians in cold blood. Lichtenau was

established on April IO, 1776, three miles below the mouth of the

Walhonding on the east side of the Muskingum River. For a

while all of the Moravian Indians were concentrated at Lichtenau

but in December of 1779 Zeisberger and his followers left Lich-

tenau and established New Schoenbrunn across the river from the

earlier village of Schoenbrunn. In the spring of 1780 John Hecke-

welder and his group left Lichtenau and established Salem on the

west bank of the Tuscarawas in what is now Salem township,

Tuscarawas County, Ohio. All the villages in the valley were de-

serted when the Moravians were forced to emigrate to "Sandusky

Creek" in September of 1781. After a winter on the Sandusky the

people were removed to Michigan.11



Yellow Springs Community, Yellow Springs,

Greene County, Ohio.

Probably the first of the communistic communities inspired

by Robert Owen in the United States, the Yellow Springs com-

munity was begun in the spring of 1825 and was discontinued

January 3, 1827. Daniel J. Ryan stated, that it lasted only three

months but John H. Noyes related that after three months the

community broke up into small groups but that their property con-

tinued to be kept in common. Noyes quoted a memoir which states


11 Eugene F. Bliss (ed.), Diary of David Zeisberger, a Moravian Missionary

among the Indians of Ohio (Cincinnati, 1885); Edmund DeSchweinitz, The Life and

Times of David Zeisberger (Philadelphia, 1870); Samuel P. Hildreth, Contributions to

the Early History of the North-West, Including the Moravian Missions in Ohio (Cin-

cinnati, 1864), 76-160; George Henry Loskiel, History of the Mission of the United

Brethren among the Indians in North America (London, 1794), III, 81-208 Francis

C. Huebner, The Moravian Missions in Ohio (Washington, D. C., 1898); Joseph E.

Weinland, The Romantic Story of Schoenbrunn (Dover, Ohio, 1928); A True History

of the Massacre of Ninety-sis Christian Indians, at Gnadenhuetten, Ohio, March 8,

1782 (Gnadenhuetten, Ohio, 1882); Maurice Frederick Oerter, A Book of Remembrance,

the Tragedy of Gnadenhuetten (Dover, Ohio, 1932).

12 G. D. H. Cole, Robert Owen (Boston, 1925); ibid. Second edition (New York,

1930); Frank Podmore, Robert Owen, a Biography (New York, 1924); William L.

Sargent, Robert Owen and His Social Philosophy (London, 1860); George B. Lock-

wood, The New Harmony Movement (New York, 1905); Hillquit, op. cit., 51-73; Gide,

op. cit., 120-7; Parker, op. cit., 145-69; Albertson, "Survey of Mutualistic Communi-

ties," loc. cit., 395-6; Bushee, "Communistic Societies," loc. cit., 625-8; Sparks, op. cit.,

389-92; National Library of Wales, Bibliography of Robert Owen, the Socialist (New

York, 1925).


COMMUNISTIC COMMUNITIES OF OHIO                         9


that it lasted a year. This may be correct and the date, January 3,

1827, given by William A. Galloway as the day when the property

was signed back to its original owner may have been the date of

a "post-mortem" activity.13

Kendal Community, near Canton, Stark County, Ohio.

Kendal Community was formed with the thought of carrying

out Owen's ideas. The land was purchased in June, 1826.

The colony was never incorporated and it seems to have lasted

about two years. Many of the members of the Coxsackie com-

munity of New York after its break-up emigrated to Kendal.

January 28, 1825, there was incorporated the Social Library of

Kendal, Stark County, Ohio. The exact connection between this

Library and the Owenite community at Kendal has not been de-



Clermont Phalanx, on the Ohio River, in Clermont County, Ohio.

Clermont Phalanx owned about 900 acres of land about thirty

miles up the Ohio River from Cincinnati and had about 120 mem-

bers. It was the result of a convention of Socialists held in Cin-

cinnati in February, 1844, at which meeting letters from Horace

Greeley, Albert Brisbane, and William H. Channing, encouraging

a practical application of their views, were read. Wade Loof-

bourrow was elected president of the community and a certain

Green, secretary. The community was begun on May 9, 1844, and

lasted until the fall of 1846. It was incorporated by the State of

Ohio February 23, 1846.16

13 John Humphrey Noyes, History of American Socialism (Philadelphia, 1870),

59-65; Ryan, op. cit., 28-9; Hinds, op. cit., 138-142; William Albert Galloway, The

History of Glen Helen (Columbus, Ohio, 1932), 47-53; R. S. Dills, History of Greene

County, Ohio (Dayton, Ohio, 1881), 665, 674; Albertson, "Survey of Mutualistic Com-

munities," loc. cit., 397; Hillquit, op. cit., 67-8.

14 Noyes, op. cit., 78-80; Hillquit, op. cit., 72-3; Ryan, op. cit., 29; Albertson,

"Survey of Mutualistic Communities," loc. cit., 398; State of Ohio, Session Laws

(Columbus, etc., 1803-), XXIII (1825), 101.

15 Charles Sotheran, Horace Greeley and Other Pioneers of American Socialism

(New York, 1915); Albertson, "Survey of Mutualistic Communities," loc. cit., 399-404;

Gide, op. cit., 120-4, 127-32. Hillquit, op. cit., 77-117; Bushee, "Communistic Societies,"

loc. cit., 628-31; Phalanx (New York, 1843-1845), continued as Harbinger (New York,


16 Noyes, op. cit., 366-76; Ohio, Laws, XLIV (1844), 159; Ryan, op. cit., 29; Hinds,

op. cit., 224; Clermont County, Ohio, 343-4.




Columbian Phalanx, Franklin County, Ohio.

An organization known as Columbian Phalanx was evidently

in existence some time before August 15, 1845, as an announce-

ment in the Harbinger of that date stated that the rumors con-

cerning the dissolution of Columbian were false and that the

organization was very much alive. A letter from a member, pub-

lished in the Harbinger dated October 4, 1845, described the activ-

ities of the community and stated that the Beverly (Morgan

County) Association had joined them and also that some of the

members from Integral Phalanx had joined them. It is not known

when the community dissolved.17


Ohio Phalanx, Belmont County, Ohio.

Ohio Phalanx was originally known as American Phalanx.

It was situated on the Ohio River about seven or eight miles

below Wheeling. The land for this community had been secured

in December, 1843, and the activities began in earnest in 1844.

The final dissolution took place on June 24, 1845. E. P. Grant and

H. H. Van Amringe were active in organizing this experiment.

Ohio Phalanx owned 2,200 acres of land and had about one

hundred members.18


Prairie Home Community, near West Liberty,

Logan County, Ohio.

Prairie Home Community was begun in 1843 by John O.

Wattles, Valentine Nicholson and others and lasted about a year

until October, 1844. It had about 130 members, many of whom

were Hicksite Quakers and nearly all of whom were born and

raised in the West. A. J. MacDonald, whose manuscript records

have been used extensively by Noyes, visited this place about two

months before it broke up and gave a very complete description

of it. Noyes published this description.19


17 Noyes, op. cit., 404-7; Ryan, op. cit., 30; Hinds, op. cit., 224.

18 Noyes, op. cit., 354-65, 650; Hinds, op. cit., 224; Ryan, op. cit., 30.

19 Noyes, op. cit., 316-27; Hinds, op. cit., 224; Ryan, op. cit., 30-31.




Trumbull Phalanx, Braceville, Trumbull County, Ohio.

Trumbull Phalanx was begun in the spring of 1844 by social-

ist enthusiasts of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It held 1,500 acres of

land and had about 200 members. It was incorporated by the

State of Ohio February II, 1846. The community went out of

existence in the later part of 1847. There were many notices of

this community published in the Phalanx and Harbinger. Some

of these notices are published by Noyes.20

Integral Phalanx, Butler County, Ohio.

In May or June of 1845, the association known as Integral

Phalanx purchased the farm of Abner Enoch on the Miami Canal

at Manchester Mills, near Middletown, Butler County, Ohio,

twenty-three miles north of Cincinnati, Ohio. Enoch was a mem-

ber and subscribed to $25,000 worth of the stock of the organiza-

tion. The farm cost $45,000. A press was obtained and two num-

bers of a periodical known as the Plowshare and Pruning-Hook

were published in Ohio. Early in the fall of 1845 the association

seems to have been forced to leave the site in Butler County. Most

of the members stayed together and after about a year of wander-

ing joined the Sangamon Phalanx in Illinois. A few of its mem-

bers seem to have gone to the Columbian Phalanx in Franklin

County, Ohio, when they left Butler County.21

Beverly Association, Morgan County, Ohio.

An association called Beverly is mentioned in the sketch of

Columbian Phalanx in the work by Noyes.22

Brooke's Experiment. (Not located.)

A community called Brooke's Experiment is listed in Ryan's

Historic Failures in Applied Socialism as being in Ohio but

no further particulars are given.


20 History of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties (Cleveland, 1882), II, 509; Harriet

Taylor Upton, A Twentieth Century History of Trumbull County, Ohio (Chicago, 190)

I, 406; Noyes, op. cit., 328-53, 650; Ryan, op. cit., 31; Hinds, op. cit., 224; Ohio, Laws,

XLIV (1844), 76.

21 A History and Biographical Cyclopaedia of Butler County, Ohio (Cincinnati,

1882), 628; B. S. Bartlow (ed.), Centennial History of Butler County, Ohio (Chicago,

1905), 291-2; Noyes, op. cit., 877-87, 407; Columbus Ohio State Journal, June 14, 1845.

22 Noyes, op. cit., 405, 407.




Marlboro Association, Clinton County, Ohio.

Marlboro Association was begun in 1841 on land owned by

E. Brooke "and consisted at first of his family and a few other

persons. Gradually the number increased, and another farm was

added by the free gift of Dr. A. Brooke." It consisted of about

twenty-four members and lasted about three or four years. This

is likely the so-called "Brooke's Experiment" mentioned above.23


Memnonia Institute, Yellow Springs, Green County, Ohio.

Memnonia Institute, with twenty members, was established in

1856 by Dr. T. L. Nichols and his wife, Mary S. Gove Nichols.

It was primarily a "water cure establishment" but it had also

planned to form a new and "Harmonic Society on the earth."

This experiment lasted about a year. When it opened it was

vigorously opposed by Horace Mann and the faculty of the young

Antioch College, which was also located at Yellow Springs.24

Utopia, Franklin Township, Clermont County, Ohio.

Utopia was established after the dissolution of Clermont

Phalanx on the easternmost of the three plots of land formerly

occupied by the Phalanx which had in the distribution been

allotted to Henry Jernegan. It was to be conducted on Utopian

principles and differed from the Fourier plan. The inhabitants

were free agents and property owners, but there was an agreement

to exchange services and products within the community to make

it self-sufficing. The village was laid out in August of 1847 and

continued in existence for many years although the cooperative

plan at first adopted failed after a very few years.25

Point Hope Community, Berlin Heights, Erie County, Ohio.

Some time before 1860 a number of free-thinking individuals

from various parts of the country seem to have been attracted to

Berlin Heights by the writings of a resident of that place. Who

23 Ibid., 309-15; Ryan, op. cit., 30; Hinds, op. cit., 224.

24 Bertha-Monica Stearns, "Two Forgotten Reformers," in New England Quar.

terly (Norwood, Massachusetts, 1928-), VI (1933), 59-84; Galloway, op. cit., 62-5.

25 Clermont County, Ohio, 344; J. L. Clifton and B. A. Aughinbaugh, Know Ohio

(Columbus, Ohio, 1930), 37.




that resident was is not disclosed by the various accounts in the

histories of Erie County. The histories make it quite plain how-

ever, that there was only one resident of Berlin Heights who was

connected with the "disgraceful" events surrounding the only

"blot" on the history of that peace-loving village.

About 1860 the free-thinkers seem to have decided that there

were enough of them to start a community and Point Hope Com-

munity was begun. This group consisted of about twenty mem-

bers, and maintained their communistic associations for about

one year.

A second community, called the Industrial Fraternity, con-

sisted of about twenty members and lasted about six months. The

histories state that this community was also founded in 1860.

It is likely that the first lasted considerably less than the whole of

1860 and the second was a sort of reorganization of the first.

A third, called Berlin Community, or Christian Republic,

commenced in 1865, had twelve adult members and six children

and lasted about one year.

According to Hudson Tuttle, who wrote the section on Berlin

township for Williams Brothers' History of Huron and Erie

Counties which has been made the basis for all of the later ac-

counts of its history, the communities made a complete failure of

their trials of communism but they were industrious people and

were rather successful fruit growers. Tuttle said that the mem-

bers were not Spiritualists as has been claimed by some writers,

but stated that some were atheists, some Spiritualists and others

claimed to believe in various church doctrines.

Several papers were published by the Free Thinkers at Berlin

Heights. They were: The Social Revolutionist, conducted by J. S.

Patterson (1857); Age of Freedom, commenced in 1858 with

Frank and Cordelia Barry and C. M. Overton as editors; Good

Time Coming (1859), edited by J. P. Lesley and C. M. Overton;

the New Republic (1862), edited by Francis Barry; The Optimist,

and Kingdom of Heaven (1869), edited by Thomas Cook; The

Principia, or Personality (1868), with N. A. Brown as editor;

the Toledo Sun moved from Toledo to Berlin Heights in 1875

and was edited by John A. Laut.




The peculiar ideas and any peculiar customs that had been

developed by the members of the community were gradually for-

saken and the community was absorbed by the village.

Much of the notoriety and adverse criticism given these com-

munities is said to have been engendered by members of the com-

munity themselves in an effort to gain publicity to their cause.

However, Charles F. Browne, as "Artemus Ward," did his part

in his story of a supposed visit to the community.26

Berea Community, in Middleburg Township,

Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

In 1836 Rev. Henry O. Sheldon, a Methodist minister, and

James Gilruth established a community on Rocky River on land

purchased from Francis Granger, the son of Gideon Granger.

The community owned about 1,000 acres of land and consisted of

about twenty families. Business and government were conducted

by a board of twelve Apostles. The community broke up after

about a year but it developed into the Berea Lyceum School which

was the forerunner of Berea College.27

Oberlin Colony, in Russia Township, Lorain County, Ohio.

The colonists who established Oberlin in the spring of 1833

agreed to maintain "as perfect a community of interest as though

we held a community of property." All surpluses above "neces-

sary personal or family expenses were to be appropriated for the

spread of the Gospel." Dr. Isaac Jennings, who came to the col-

ony in 1837, believed that private property was one of the chief

sources of evil and that Oberlin's success depended upon the

establishment of complete community of property. True com-

munism, however, made little headway at Oberlin and after 1846,

when the town was incorporated, the Oberlin Society acted in

purely sacred matters and left the government of the township

to the civil authorities.28

26 History of the Fire Lands, Comprising Huron and Erie Counties, Ohio (Cleve-

land, 1879) 496-7; Lewis Cass Aldrich (ed.), History of Erie County, Ohio (Syracuse,

New York, 1889), 447-8; Hewson L. Peeke, A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio

(Chicago, 1916), I, 72-6; Hewson L. Peeke, The Centennial History of Erie County,

Ohio (Sandusky, 1925) II, 647-54.

27 Crisfield Johnson (comp.), History of Cuyahoga County, Ohio (Cleveland, 1879),

474-5; Coates, op. cit., I, 127-8.

28 Robert S. Fletcher, "The Government of the Oberlin Colony," in The Missis-

sippi Valley Historical Review (Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1914-), XX (1933), 179-90; James


COMMUNISTIC COMMUNITIES OF OHIO                            15


Equity, Clermont County, Ohio.

Equity was founded by Josiah Warren in 1830. There were

some twenty-four members. This same Warren was influential in

the founding of Clermont Phalanx and later Utopia in Franklin

township, Clermont County, Ohio.29















































H. Fairchild, Oberlin: The Colony and the College (Oberlin, Ohio, 1883); E. H. Fair-

child, Historical Sketch of Oberlin College (Springfield, Ohio, 1868); G. Frederick

Wright, Oberlin College (reprinted from the New England Magazine, September, 1900).

29 Albertson, "Survey of Mutualistic Communities," loc. cit., 400, 407-8; Noyes,

op. cit., 97-101.