Monday, June 25, 2007

Celebrating a Celibate Ancestor

The Shakers were celibate while living as Shakers, but that did not preclude their having children before joining the community or after leaving. A reunion of the descendants of Elder Freeman Benjamin White was held at the Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire over the weekend.

The dozens of relatives who attended the reunion this weekend are descendants of only two of Freeman White's children - Forrest White and Everett White. Freeman White brought the boys, along with their two sisters, Jennie Lind and Lillie Grace, to the Shaker Village in 1879 after their mother left the family.

It was not an unusual circumstance at the Shaker Village, historian and Shaker trustee Sue Maynard said.

"There were a number of children who were brought to the village to be cared for because of a divorce," Maynard said. "This was a safe, pious, good place. There were not as many men; this is one of the reasons that Freeman stands out from other people who came to the village as a refuge." [Link]
The only place to find honest-to-goodness real live Shakers is at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, not far from where I live.

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