John B. Ellis on the Free Love Community at Berlin Heights

I include the below as James Allen Noyes and Caroline Atwell were connected with the free love community at Berlin Heights, and it’s known that some early residents of the free-thought community of Liberal came to there from Berlin Heights. It is shortly obvious that the writer had little sympathy for the group, but then he was even derisive about “emancipated females”.

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From Free Love and its Votaries by John B. Ellis, 1870



Position of the Village.—Lake Erie.—Magnificent Prospect.—Reputation of the Village.—Story of an Old Citizen.—Arrival of Reformers —The First FreeLove Colony.—A New Experiment Organizing.—First Efforts at Berlin Heights.—Early Disadvantages.—Alarm of the Villagers.—Abominable Doctrines Advocated.—Marriage Dispensed with.—Evil Rumors.—Imprudent Course of the Free Lovers.—Suspicious Indications.—Action of the villagers. —The Newspaper War.—Tactics of the Free Lovers.—Their Success.—The First Indignation Meeting.—Its Failure.—Exultation of the Free Lovers.—The Social Revolutionist.—An Outrageous Publication.—Indignation of the Villagers.—The Second Indignation Meeting.—Division of Sentiment.—The Free Lovers are Requested to Leave the Place.—They Refuse.—Demand for Mob Law.—Arrest of the Leaders of the Free-Lore Tarty.—Their Trial.—Defeat of the Villagers.—Mob Violence Inaugurated. —Attack on Frank Barry.—Destruction of his Documents.—Effects of this Outrage.—The Political Canvass.—The Election of the Free-Love Ticket.— The “Eden Group.”—Strange Rumors.—Adventure of a Man in Search of a Lost Cow.—A Picture of Eden Innocence.—The Secret Out.—General Indignation.—Action of the Villagers.—The Free Lovers Refuse to withdraw.—Dr. Overton’s Reply.—Settlement of the Matter.—Failure of Berlin Heights as a Free-Love Colony.—Departure of the Leaders.—The Sequel.

Taking the Cleveland and Sandusky Railway (which is a branch of the Lake Shore Line) from the former terminus, the traveller, in about two hours, reaches an unimportant way-station called Berlin, forty-five miles west of Cleveland, and fifteen miles east of Sandusky, Ohio. The place, in spite of its, proud name, boasts but one edifice, a large frame building, which serves as the residence of the stationmaster, a country store, and, if I mistake not, a mill. From this point a conveyance may be had to the village of Berlin Heights, which lies three miles back from the railway, and to the south of it. Here, passable accommodations can be procured at an indifferent hotel.

The village has a population of from fifteen hundred to two thousand souls, and differs from the average Western town in nothing that I could discover. The houses are of wood, and are not very tasteful, and the entire place is dull and stupid.

The location is magnificent. The village covers a considerable area, the houses having ample grounds, and is built on the highest point of the range of highlands that extends from the eastern halfway to the western boundary of the State, and at a distance of from one to three miles south of Lake Erie. The country is attractive, and the view from the highest point, which is called the Pinnacle, is very fine. To the southward, eastward, and westward, the land is rolling and thickly wooded. Here and there a capital farm appears, with its cleanly-cultivated land and its neat buildings. To the northward the blue expanse of the lake stretches away for miles until it seems to meet the sky. The eye ranges over the group of islands known as Gibraltar, Ballast,

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