WHY GALESBURG WAS MADE ALPHADELPHIA SOCIETY HOME

Source of article was Barbara Triphahn. Transcribed by me.

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WHY GALESBURG WAS MADE ALPHADELPHIA SOCIETY HOME

Villagers’ Enthusiasm Determined by Dr. H. R. Schetterly and Association to Locate There
Kalamazoo Gazette, Sunday Jan 14 1937

The Alphadelphia Society which located its community enterprise in Kalamazoo County in 1844 had its start on Dec. 14, 1843 when 56 persons met in a schoolhouse at the head of Clark’s Lake in Jackson County.

Sessions continued from morning until midnight for three days, while the group mapped plans for orgnization of a domestic and industrial institution. Men were present from Kalamazoo, Wayne, Oakland, Washtenaw, Genesee, Jackson, Eaton and Calhoun Counties. A constitution was drawn up.

No place for locating the commmunity had been determined and a committee of three was named to view three sites which had been under consideration. This committee comprised Dr. H. R. Schetterly, dominant figure in the organization, then of Ann Arbor, John Curtis of Norville, Jackson County, and William Grant of Sandstone

Adjourn to Bellevue

Approximately three weeks later…on Jan. 3 1844…a second conference was held in Bellevue. This meeting was called for the purpose of hearing the report of the committee on location, revising the constitution and electing officers. The constitution was there signed by 51 members, nearly all of them the heads of families and consisting of farmers, mechanics and manufacturers. Officers were elected as follows:

President, Dr. H. R. Schetterly, Ann Arbor; vice president, A. Darrow, Bellevue; secretary, E. S. CAMP, Marshall;treasurer, John Curtis, Norville. Directors named were G. S. Avery and Alanson Meech, Bellevue; Harvey Keith, William Earl and Dr. Ezra Stetson, Galesburg; William Grant, Sandstone; Amos Picket, Alson Delamatter and C. W. Vining, Jackson County; Charles Mason and H. B. Teed, Battle Creek.

Report of Committee

The committee to view porposed locations for settlement of the community, reported very enthusiastically upon the site in Comstock township, which is now occupied by the County Farm. It was this site which the Bellevue convention determined upon for its permanent home.

Dr. Schetterly and his committee had arrived in Galesburg Dec. 23 1843. He found there “an ardor among the people for entering into association which can never be cooled until their whishes shall have been realized.” Big crowds attended the prelimmary (sic) meetings and the reception accorded the committee at Galesburg was so enthusiastic that it settled almost at once that this would be the site decided upon. One enthusiast at Galesburg declared that “no man must oppose a project so fraught with principles calculated to promote the best interests of mankind.”

Official Description

“The Kalamazoo river is a large and beautiful strem, nine rods wide and five feet deep in the middle, flowing at the rate of about four miles an hour,” said the committee report which was given to the association group. “An eight-foot fall can be obtained without flowing any land worth mentioning, and by digging a race one mile and a half in length, it will propel 100 rum of stone in the dryest season. The digging is easy and may done with scrapers and teams.”

The committee mentioned “the place where the mansion and the manufactories will stand,” as being a plain 50 to 60 rods wide, descending gradually toward the river, skirted on the south by a range of hillocks about 20 feet high and running parallel with the river.

“Beyond these,” the report continues, “some 10 to 30 rods, is a gentle, undulating plain extending south, east and west for miles, and being covered with the most thrifty timber your committee ever beheld, consisting of white-wood; black, white and blue ash; white and red oak; two kinds of beedh; two kinds of elm, black walnut; soft maple, some cherry and hard maple in large quantity and the best quality.

Other Advantages

“There is a spring, pouring out a barrel of water per minute, one half mile from where the mansion and manufactories will stand. They say cobble stones for buildings and dams are plenty on the domain, and sand and clay for making brick, in abundance. Iron ore is known to exist on the domain but its extent is not yet found out.

“The Michigan Central railroad will run 1 and 1/2 miles north of the proposed site of the domain. There is no cause for fever here, there being two out of 150 in seven years who have died of fever.

“The soil of the domain is exceedingly fertile and of great variety, consisting of prairie, oak openings, timbered and bottom lands along the river. About 3,000 acres of it have been tendered to our association as stock to be appraised at its cash value. Nine hundred acres of this land have been cultivated and nearly all the rest has been offered in exchange for other improved lands owned by members living at a distance.”

Name New Directors

With actual establishment of the colony on the domain near Galesburg, organization meetings wer begun at the home of Harvey Keith, March 21 1844. At this time the directors were Spencer Mitchell, Anson Delamatter, John Curtis, H. G. Pierce, John White, Henry H. Reading, James Weeks, William S. Mead, Albert Whitcomb, Dr. H. R. Schetterly, David Ford and Benjamin Wright.

The name Alphadelphia was adopted…”first brotherhood.” Delamatter was elected as president and Henry Reading secretary.

Comstock members lived in their own houses and those who had come from other places were quartered temporarily in a log shanty on the north side of the river. The mansion or common dwelling place, was first planned for the south bank of the river but the site finally selected was on the north side. The building was completed in the fall of 1844. During its first year of organization, the society had possession of nearly all of Section 23; the west half of Section 24, and a large part of the north halves of Sections 25 and 26.

Work was Divided

All members of the association were assigned specific duties. Many were specialized for definite activity.

The first school of the society was taught by James Allen Knight in a log building on the south side of the river. Most of the members lived on the north side of the river and pupils were ferried back and forth across the stream in a boat. The community had no lawyer, differences being settled by arbitration.

Some of the “specialists” who were members of the community were as follows:

Physician, Philander H. Bowman
Head carpenter, James Hoxie
Tailor, Leonard Luscomb
Shoemakers, G. O. Ball and John Wetherbee.
Blacksmith, Nelson Tubbs
Wagonmaker, Luke Keith.
Editors, Dr. H. R. Schetterly and Rev. Richard Thornton.
Printers, Levi S. Blakeslee and C. W. Sawyer

Article clipped at this point
Source: Barbara Triphahn

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