COLONY LISTED 188 RESIDENTS IN MAY OF 1845

Thanks to Barbara Triphahn, the source of the article.

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COLONY LISTED 188 RESIDENTS IN MAY OF 1845

Problem of Workers and Shirkers Rock on Which Experiment Failed
Kalamazoo Gazette, Sunday Jan 24 1937

Most of the leaders of the Alphadelphia Association were of the Universalist faith and the preaching was largely by pastors of that denomination, although pastors of all denominations were welcomed. The pastors most active there were the Rev.Thornton, J. Billings and E. Wheeler.

Constitution of the Society declared, “The religious and political opinions of the members are to be unmolested and inviolate; and no member shall be compelled to support, in any way, any religious worship.”

Membership Requirements

It was the rule of the association that any person of good moral character of 21 years could be admitted to membership upon a two-thirds vote of the members present, provided the applicant has six month’s provisions for the future or the means to furnish it.

The association was to reward operatives in proportion to the skill or labor bestowed and they were to equalize the labor and skill of males and females. Women could become members upon reaching 18 years.

When organization was perfected the property, personal and real, of each member was appraised by competent judges appointed for that purpose and the accounts were entered upon the books as a credit to each member for stock at $50 a share.

List 188 Residents

In May 1845, the number of male and female residents on the domain was listed as 188 with probably a total of 300 resident and non-resident members. On March 9, 1846, Lyman Tubbs and E. M. Clapp placed the value of the association’s real estate at $43,897.21.

The first death on the domain was that of S. M. Vinton, in 1844. The first marriage united P. H. Whitford and Miss Emeline A. T. Wheelock in October 1845, the ceremony being performed by the Rev. Asa Bushnell. C. H. Bradford, the Alphadelphian poet, wrote a sonnet about this wedding, published in The Primitive Expounder, and entitled, “Socialist’s Bride.”

Fell Short of Goal

The plan was started as a cooperative venture in which each was to carry his share in making the community one in which members could live in harmony and enjoy the benefits of each other’s society and the fruits of their own labors.

The idea seemed like a good one, at the time.

But rifts soon appeared in the harmony. Jealousies crept in. Inequalities were charged in the division of the work, many feeling and getting the least of the returns. Members began to drop away and soon it became evident that disaster was inevitable.

Affairs of the society dribbled along with efforts made to divide up the property as fairly as possible, until the last entry on the books…April 30, 1848.

Kalamazoo’s adventure in communism collapsed in total failure.

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