James Noyes Sr., b. 1793


James Noyes


James Noyes Sr. retouched

James Noyes Sr., b. 1793 Sep 13 at Worcester Co. Massachusetts, died 1864 Aug 26 at Pavillion, Kalamazoo, Michigan was married to Sally Marble and Susan Waters. Direct line concerning this blog is through his son James Allen Noyes.

James Noyes was a member of the Alphadelphia Association commune.

He is observed here holding a photo, one not in possession of the family.

Roswell Ransom at Alphadelphia

Roswell Ransom was a stockholder in the Alphadelphia Association. A brother of his was Dr. Farnsworth Fletcher Ransom, whose wife was Elizabeth Noyes, a sister of John Humphrey Noyes who founded the The Oneida Community. My James Noyes and John Humphrey Noyes were only 4th cousins, but I still have found it interesting that Elizabeth’s husband would end up in close proximity of the Alphadelphia experiment (she had died by the time it was begun) and have wondered if he had any communication with John Humphrey Noyes and might have sent him his impressions of Alphadelphia.

Below are bios of Roswell Ransom and Farnsworth Fletcher Ransom that were written by Wyllys Cadwell Ransom. He gives an account of Roswell’s association with it and defines the Alphadelphia experiment as “evil”, “delusive” and “disastrous”.

Who was this Wyllys Cadwell Ransom? Born in 1828, he was the eldest son of the eldest son of Ezekiel and Lucinda Fletcher Ransom, who were the parents of the above Roswell and Farnsworth Fletcher Ransom. So he too lived in Kalamazoo, his family making its way out there in 1834.

Already a brother and sister, with their families, and an unmarried brother had made their way to Michigan, and the glowing accounts that they sent back of the beauty and advantages of the new home soon decided the lawyer to follow in their footsteps.

Wyllys’ father was Epaphroditus Ransom, a lawyer, banker and politician who was governor of Michigan from 1848 to 1850. He proved unpopular as he held a strong anti-slavery position.

* * * * *

Historical outline of the Ransom family of America
By Wyllys Cadwell Ransom

ROSWELL RANSOM, third son and sixth child of Major Ezekiel and Lucinda Fletcher Ransom, was born at Townshend, Vt., Nov. 21, 1802. He was named for that worthy great uncle of Revolutionary fame, Roswell Ransom, of Colchester, who was with the expedition to Quebec in 1777, was captured and thrown into a military prison to undergo almost unmitigated suffering until exchanged, when he returned to his command in the Continental line, in which he served to the end of the war.

Roswell, of Townshend, was reared on the farm at home and fitted as well as possible for his future career as an agriculturist. He remained with his father until about 1830, when he was seized with the idea afterwards ascribed as original with Horace Greeley, of going West, to grow up with the country. So with his bundle over his shoulder and a few dollars in his pocket, the savings that he had made since he had worked for himself, he bade farewell to his “ancestral halls” and started out for a long tramp for the new country beyond the great lakes, the fame of which was borne on every breeze from the far distant region. Full of hope and enthusiasm he began the tedious expedition, not knowing how far his venture would take him. Pushing on from one point to another he finally reached Tolland prairie, about 140 miles west of Detroit, which he at once decided was good enough for him, and within a few days he had bought out Tolland, the first settler on the prairie, securing the finest tract of land in that region, on which there was a log house uncompleted and a few acres under plough. After a short stay to arrange for the finishing of the house, and for the fencing and breaking of additional land the next spring, he returned to Vermont, where he passed the remainder of the winter and married Wealthy Lauretta Shafter, daughter of .Col. William, R. Shafter, of Townshend, a merchant and man of affairs generally. The newly married couple set out for their distant home in Michigan in May, 1831, and with their few household effects a month later reached their destination, both in good heart for the hard and trying experiences in store for them. Sept. 3, 1832, their first born, Elizabeth, came to them, and in a row, with strangely equal intervals until 1848, they had a happy array of seven children, five girls and two boys. After reaching their Michigan home, though encountering their full share of hardships incidental to the settling in a new country, the Lord seemed to prosper their undertakings, until in an evil moment Roswell was persuaded against the protests of all his friends to join in the Fourier experiment that was set on foot during the year 1841 by a group of visionary Socialists near Galesburgh, and close by his home. By their delusive project they succeeded in securing several large farms for co-operative uses, his among others, and notwithstanding for a time only rainbows with the fancied pot of gold at the foot of every one of them was in sight, it proved in the end a most disastrous venture for all that were engaged in it. The scheme was anything but a success, and’ the members soon fell to quarreling among themselves, each one for himself, to get out of the wreck with as little loss as possible. The whole affair finally collapsed, leaving the property once under its control involved in ruinous litigation. By dint of good management Roswell extricated himself from the tangle at last, and in course of time recovered possession of his farm, but encumbered with a mortgage liability, incidental to the closure with the Fourier association, and a few years later he was obliged to sacrifice his property to meet liabilities outstanding on that account.

After leaving his farm he moved into the village of Galesburgh, on the east edge of the prairie, and engaged in milling and mercantile business for many years, until his death, which occurred Nov. 13, 1877.

No more kindly-hearted, genial man ever existed than Roswell Ransom. He was one of those always more ready to confide in the good qualities of associates than to be suspicious and on the look out for their bad ones. Such confidence sometimes brought undesirable consequences in its train, but rarely did he resent an injustice by retaliation, seemingly willing to leave it to time, the great healer, to bring restitution for an injury and to “render unto Caesar the things that were Caesar’s.” For many years, politically, he was a Democrat, but when the agitation of the slavery question became rife all over the North, he soon joined the ranks of the Abolition party.

His wife, Wealthy Lauretta Shafter, born at Athens, Windham Co., Vt., Oct. 22, 1810, was a woman of irrepressible energy and force.

It was largely through her unfailing help and hopeful endeavor that they managed to “pull through” the adverse experiences that followed upon the mistaken plans of the early 40s. She died at Kalamazoo, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Mary Burdick, Aug. 28, 1892, and her remains were buried by the side of her husband’s, in the cemetery near Galesburgh.

They had a family of seven children, five daughters and two sons, all of whom still survive except Gertrude, the youngest daughter, who died at Nashville, Tenn., while engaged as a nurse at the Federal Hospital in that city, Dec. 28, 1865.

The remaining children are all married and have made homes widely separated from each other. Elizabeth, Mrs. Sutton, and Frances, Mrs. Van Doren are living at Los Angeles, Cal.; Helen, Mrs. Mills, resides at Kalamazoo, where her husband, Ephraim T., is the active secretary and treasurer of one of the most extensive manufacturing concerns in the West. Mary is also living at Kalamazoo; James Newton, the oldest son, is the proprietor of a large ranch in Texas, while his younger brother, Albert E., more familiarly known as “Loll,” lives at Salina, Kan., and not far away has a large stock farm, where he is engaged in raising fine horses.

The grand-children have turned out well, and seem to be enjoying prosperous and promising lives.

* * * * *

DR. FARNSWORTH FLETCHER RANSOM, second son and fifth child of Major Ezekiel and Lucinda Fletcher Ransom, was born at Townshend, Vt., Aug. 22, 1800. He was called, and usually signed himself, Fletcher in all business transactions. The name Farnsworth was after an early friend of his father, living at Shelburne Falls, Mass. He was brought up on the farm with his brothers and sisters, attending the public schools and academies of Windham County until he became of age, when he determined to be a doctor, and for a time he took up the study of medicine with his uncle, Dr. Luther Ransom, at Halifax, Vt., then a practitioner at that place. Subsequently, however, he went to Middlebury, Vt., where he took a partial course at Middlebury College, at the same time continuing his professional studies in the office of Dr. Jonathan Allen, a distinguished physician of that place. From Middlebury he went to the medical college at Castleton, Vt., from which he graduated in 1830, and located in Putney, Windham Co., in the medical practice, and was there married to his first wife, Elizabeth Noyes, June 28, 1831. He continued his practice at Putney until 1835, when he moved to Glenns Falls, Warren Co., N. Y. He remained there for about two years and then emigrated to Kalamazoo, Mich., where the most of his father’s family had already located. He decided to remain with them and to resume the practice of his profession. But it had never proved to his liking, and though not unsuccessful he determined to abandon it, and did. Shortly after he was elected Justice of the Peace, in which office he served acceptably, and was also chosen as representative in the legislature from Kalamazoo County, sessions of 1845 and 1846, where he was recognized as among the most useful members of the Lower House. Declining further office from his party he moved to the township of Alamo, Kalamazoo Co., to make it his home.

He had previously purchased from the government 3 large tract of lands and was able to go into the business of stock raising on an extensive scale. Such occupation was to his liking, and he continued in it until advancing years decided him to turn over the active management of the estate to his sons Charles and John, who had been with him constantly from their mother’s death, which occurred Oct. 16, 1840. He then resumed his residence in Kalamazoo and was there married to Miss Lucia Lovell for a second wife.. After his return to Kalamazoo he was badly crippled by a fall from a wagon, which disabled him from further participation in the active concerns of life. He died at Kalamazoo, Mich., June 3, 1867. Dr. Ransom was a man of far more than ordinary ability naturally, and had scholastic attainments of a high order. All through his earlier manhood he was an uncompromising Whig, but declined to follow that party into the Republican ranks, and joining the Democrat contingent, in full communion with his aforetime political enemies, died.

James Noyes and Sally Marble

James Noyes, born Sep 13, 1793 at Worcester County, Massachusetts, died Aug 26 1864 at Pavilion, Kalamazoo, Michigan. On Sep 6, 1815 he married first, at Pavilion, Kalamazoo, Michigan, Sally Marble. She was born Sep 6 1796 in Massachusetts and died at the age of 41 on Aug 10 1838 at Pavilion, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

James Noyes was the son of James Noyes and Rebecca Russell. Sally Marble was the daughter of Ephraim Marble and Anna Dunham.

James was in the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk Indian War. In both he was a musician and played the fife and flute. He was a great student of history…Captain James NOYES of Gourdneck Prairie and Ephraim HARRISON of Prairie Ronde were captains of the Prairie troops.
SOURCE: Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections Vol XXX

In 1825 there were nine small houses in Ann Arbor, MI, located and occupied as near as can be ascertained as follows: Elisha W. RUMSEY occupied the “Wasterman Coffe House” and John ALLEN the block house. A long house with a frame addition stood on the northeast corner of Main and Ann Streets. Two small houses stood on opposite sides of Main Street near where Guffy’s Store now stands and were occupied by the two brothers, James and George W. NOYES.
SOURCE: Pioneer Society of Michigan, Vol I, page 334 (1874-76)

James NOYES came in October of 1830 from Ann Arbor, and settled NE/2, NW/4. Sect 23, where he built a log house and made improvements. He sold this land in 1831 and bought new lands in the township of Brady, on which he erected a sawmill, which, with his farm, he put into the Alphadelphia Society. On the disbanding of the society in 1848, he retained his property. He died at his home in Brady many years since. (p.353).
SOURCE: History of Kalamazoo County, MI, Its Prominent Men and Pioneers, 1880

The Alphadelphia Assn believed in pastoral communion. Coming down through the ages into our own time, we find Charles Fourier of France teaching this principle in America through Dr. H.F. Schetterly, a German, who lived in Comstock. A group of sturdy pioneers took up Alphadelphia society. Among them was James NOYES, born 1793. To live together in harmony was the object; to live and work and enjoy the benefits of each other’s society and the fruits of their own labor like a happy, united family. After four year’s trial, it was a total failure. There were 300 members all together. A large number put their farms into the Association. Others put in various kinds of property. James NOYES put in his saw mill which was valuable in furnishing lumber to the Society. From their first meeting on the domain March 21, 1844, until the last entry on the journal on April 30, 1848, the presidents were Anson GELMUTTER, B. WRIGHT, Harry KEITH, Lymann TUBBS and James NOYES.
SOURCE: The Alphadelphia Association–Its History in Comstock, Kalamazoo Co., Michigan

James NOYES was an agent for the Indians when he lived at Pavilion, MI. The three children who survived (Elizabeth, James and Sarah Melissa) always told of the good times they had playing with the Indian boys and girls and of how many playmates they had during the time that the Alphadelphia Society existed and all the people lived in one community.

James NOYES conducted a part of the underground railroad which helped escaping slaves get to Canada and freedom. Slaves were kept in his barn by day and then taken on by night to the next station. His second wife was a southern sympathizer, so this caused a great deal of friction. Son James Allen left home.

SOURCE: Nancy Benton

Children of James and Sally were:

  1. Ezra b. 7 July 1817, died, age 23, 17 June 1841, at Pavilion, MI.
  2. Elizabeth, b. 22 March 1819, married LOVETT. She died 11 Sept. 1850 at the age of 31. She and LOVETT are given in the family record as having for children John William and James Frank. The 1850 KALAMAZOO SCHOOLCRAFT TOWNSHIP MICHIGAN CENSUS shows at household 1332/1346 an Elizabeth LOVETT, 31, $1000, b. NY, with John W. 11 and James F. 9, both born in MI. Living also in the household is Malissa NOYES, 14, b. MI. Malissa is her sister. The census was taken August 14 or 19th so Elizabeth died shortly thereafter. (Her husband is not in the household which causes me to wonder if he was already dead or if they were separated. If he was dead, one wonders what happened to the children.) A few households up live Freeman and Susan WATERS, 22 and 23, both born NY. Freeman is perhaps a relative of Susan WATERS who was James NOYES’ 2nd wife.
  3. James Jr. was born 1 July 1821 and died April 1823 at Pavilion, Kalamazoo Co. MI, age 2, of malaria fever.
  4. B. J. was born 4 Oct. 1823 and died 6 May 1843 at the age of 19. He died the same year as his 14 year old sister Maryette.
  5. James Allen, b. 22 Dec. 1826, Ann Arbor, Michigan, married Caroline ATWELL.
  6. Maryette, b. 17 July 1828, died 13 Feb 1843 at Pavilion, MI, at age 14. She died in the same year as B. J., her 19 year old brother.
  7. Dan was born 4 Nov. 1831 at Kalamazoo Co. MI and died 20 Sept. 1835, Kalamazoo, MI, age 3, of malaria fever.
  8. Delia was born 15 Nov. 1833 at Kalamazoo Co. MI and died 1837, Kalmazoo Co. MI, at age 4, of malaria fever.
  9. Sarah Melissa NOYES was born 24 April 1836 at Kalamazoo Co. MI. She married John T. SLATER, 14 June 1857 in Wisconsin. SLATER was an Indian agent in Wisconsin. They moved to Butler MO in 1866. When on a trip to Florida to buy “goods”, he took yellow fever and died while on the trip. Sarah married (2) J. D. ANDERSON on 4 Oct. 1871. She died 7 May 1936 at Berryville, AR. at the age of 100. She appears in the 1850 Kalamazoo Co. census living with her sister Elizabeth LOVETT (see above). Pansy Noyes Bryant, her great-niece, wrote of Sarah, “Sarah Melissa was very religious and bought her home for later years across the road from the church she loved in Berryville, where she was a constant attendant, even being carried to services after she was blind and deaf and could not enjoy the services. I visited in her home in 1925 and a retired minister and his wife were caring for her. They talked with her in Morse code by tapping on her hand. Her mind was clear until the end.”

After Sally’s death in 1838, James married in 1839, Susan WATERS, b. 1815 in NY. Their children were:

  1. George W. b. 8 May 1840, died 3 May 1870 at 30. The Noyes Descendants, Vol. I says 3 Mar 1870. Age. 30 y 9 m 25 d. Died of consumption.
  2. Daniel T., b. 11 Sept. 1843. Appears to have died in infancy as is not in the 1850 census.
  3. Franklin b. 7 July 1845, died 29 July 1891. He married first Margaret A. ALDRICH then Clara E. HUBBARD.
  4. Mary R., b. 7 March 1847. Appears to have died in infancy as is not in the 1850 census.
  5. James (not given in family record) is seen in the 1850 census, age 2.
  6. John W., b. 31 Jan. 1851, is given as 11 years old in the 1860 census. He is perhaps the James given above in the 1850 census.
  7. Arilla W. (not given in family record) appears in the 1860 census as 9 so b. 1851 or so. She could not be a duplicate of Minerva who is given as dying in 1854.
  8. Minerva, b. 19 June 1851, died 4 Sept. 1854 at age 2.
  9. Lunetta, b. 20 April 1854, died 25 March 1878 at age 23.
  10. Jean N. (not given in the family record) appears in the 1860 census as age 6 so born about 1854.

Census data for 1820 is yet to be found on James. By 1825 we find him on a Michigan tax list.

1825 NOYES JAMES JR. Wayne&wshtnwco MI 799 Tax List 1825 Tax List MI Early Census Index MIS2a927045
1825 NOYES JAMES JR. Wayne-washtenaw MI Huron Tax List MI Early Census Index MIS2a927046

He purchased land in Washtenaw County, Michigan in Feb. 1826.

In 1830 he is at Ann Arbor, Washtenaw, Michigan.

An unidentified 20 to 30 year old male is in the household.

pg. 138
Harvey CHUBB
Phillip McKUNAN?
Michael STUBBS
Elam SLOE?
William ALLEN
David HUEA?
Joseph LORCE
Benjamin SUTTON
James NOYES 1 – 1 – 1 1 | 1 1 1 – – 1
NOTE: 1 male under 5, 1 10 to 15, 1 male 20 to 30, 1 male 30 to 40, 1 female under 5, 1 female 5 to 10, 1 female 10 to 15, 1 female 30 to 40.
1 male under 5 would be James Allen. Male 10 to 15 would be Ezra. James is the 30 to 40 male. I don’t know who the 20 to 30 male is. 1 female under 5 would be Maryette. Female 5 to 10 would be B. J. Female 10 to 15 would be Elizabeth. And then Sally Marble.

James father died in 1835.

He is in the 1837 Kalamazoo census.

1837 NOYES JAMES Kalamazoo County MI 002 Pavilion Township MI 1837 Kalamazoo County Census Index MI17593

Sally Marble died in 1838.

Possible land deeds for James in 1839, May 1.

NOYES JAMES 9 4 S 9 W 19 80.0000 01 10265 1839/05/01
NOYES JAMES 9 4 S 9 W 19 80.0000 01 10266 1839/05/01

In 1839 James married his second wife, Susan Waters.

The 1840 census.

1840 Pavilion, Kalamazoo, Michigan
pg. 253 (ancestry.com 1)
Martin McCAIN
James NOYES 1 – 1 1 2 – 1 | 1 – 1 1 1
NOTE: 1 male under 5, 1 male 10 to 15, 1 male 15 to 20, 2 males 20 to 30 1 male 40 to 50, 1 female under 5, 1 female 10 to 15, 1 female 15 to 20, 1 female 20 to 30

1 male under 5 would be George W. (son of Susan Waters and James Noyes), 1 male 10 to 15 would be James Allen. 1 male 15 to 20 would be? 1 of the 2 20 to 30 males would be Ezra, James is the 40 to 50 year old male. 1 female under 5 would be Sarah Malissa, 1 female 10 to 15 would be Maryette. 1 female 15 to 20 would be B. J. 1 female 20 to 30 would not be Elizabeth if she was married before 1839. Though Susan’s birthdate is given as 1815, this female would be her.

James NOYES is observed living near Martin MCCAIN. The wife and son of his son Frank L., by Susan WATERS, were buried in the MCCAIN cemetery.

There then followed a terrible succession of deaths. The first namesake of James had already died in 1823 at the age of 2 of malaria. Dan had died at 3, in 1835, of malaria. Delia had already died in 1837, at the age of 4, of malaria. Now, in 1841, Ezra died at the age of 23. In 1843, Maryette died at 14, then B. J. also died that year, at 19, of malaria. Daniel T. died in infancy in about 1843.

The first meeting of the Alphadelphia Association, which would be a Fourier-based socialist experiment in community, was March 21 1844.

During the McCarthy years, the Noyes family destroyed documents from the Alphadelphia Association and other materials concerning involvement of family in other utopian communities. Barbara Triphahn, a descendant of Charles Luke KEITH (also a president of the Alphadelphia Association) responded to a posting of mine on the internet requesting contact with anyone who might have information on the Association. She supplied a number of newspaper articles from the early 1900s and the Alphadelphia Society Constitution, links to which are in the Alphadelphia Association section.

Thanks also to Nancy BENTON, for a copy of the paper the “Alphadelphia Association” prepared by Catherine Livingston in 1958, whose research was based on documents loaned to her through Mrs. F. J. Buckley of Kalamazoo who had purchased records from Ethan Keith and Hannah Keith Towne. The paper has been transcribed and is again linked to in the Alphadelphia Association section.

James Noyes was, it appears, the last president of the Alphadelphia Association, following Anson Delamatter, Benjamin Wright, Harvey Keith, and Lyman Tubbs. On April 30 1848 the last journal entry for the association was made though the association itself continued for several more years.

The 1850 census shows James’ family in Pavilion, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In the time since James’ marriage to Susan in 1839, and the 1840 census, 3 of the children born to James and Sally MARBLE have died, and James Allen and Sarah have abandoned the household, James to leave the area, and Sarah living with her sister Elizabeth.

They are living next to Peter WESTBROOK, widowed husband of Fanny, sister of Sally Marble NOYES (now deceased). Fanny had died in 1849.


Pg. 218
25 ?/1573 Peter WESTBROOK 58 $700 MA
26 Ethan 18 b. OH
27 William 10 b. OH
28 ?/1574 Ephraim 30 $300 b. OH
29 Jane 17 b. OH
30 Nancy MOON 19 b. OH

pg. 220, Roll M432_353, Image 216
5-9 1571/1575? A. CALKINS and family
10 1572/1576 James NOYES 58 m farmer $1200 b. NY
11 Susan 35 f b. NY
12 George W. 7 m b. MI attended school
13 Franklin 5 m b. MI
14 James 2 m b. MI

15 1573/1577 Elsy HILL
16-23 1574/1578 A. H. HOUGHTON and family
24-28 1575/15? Lyman S. EARL and family
29-35 1576/? Chancey DEAN and family
36-38 1577/? George HAMILTON and family
39-42 1578/? George CULVER and family

More deaths followed. Mary R. died about 1850, before the age of 3. Daughter Elizabeth died in 1850 at the age of 31.

Though the last journal entry of the Alphadelphia Association was in 1848, the had a meeting August 1 1857 for the purpose of disposing of the deeds of members in attendance. Then on August 11 there was a meeting for the purpose of disposing of the Association’s books as the secretary was moving to Kansas. Noyes did not attend this meeting. Present were C. L. Keith, H. A. Taylor, C. R. Cridland and D. Taylor, witnessing the remark, “And thus ended the Alphadelphia Association.”

The 1860 census at Pavilion, Kalamazoo, Michigan shows the Noyes family.

David McCANE and Marian and family
Del CHIPMAN and family
Lawrence WALLACE and family
James NOYES 66 farmer $2200? $463 b. MA
Susan W. 48 b. NY
Geo. W. 20 farmer $150 (personal) b. MI
Frank 15
Jno W. 11
Arilla W. 9
Jean N. 6

Andrew MADISON 33 laborer

The grave site of James Noyes in Pavilion is yet to be located.

I’ve no record of when and where Susan Waters died, or where she is buried.

Samuel Durant on THE PRIMITIVE EXPOUNDER, 1880


D. W. Ensign & Co.


This paper was originally established at Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1844, by Billings & Thornton. It was a small quarto in form, with two columns to the page, and issued semi-monthly. As its name indicates, it was a religious paper, and devoted to the interests of the Universalist denomination of Christians. The second volume was published at “Alphadelphia” to which place it had been removed by the publishers. The office did not continue long at this place, being removed to Jackson, Mich., some time in 1845.

In 1846, J. H. Sanford, now of Berlin, Ottawa Co., Mich., to whom we are indebted for the information here given, purchased the interest of Mr. Billings, when the paper was removed to Ann Arbor and published by Thornton & Sanford. In 1848, Mr. Sanford became sole proprietor, and in the same year removed the office to Lansing, Mich.

The first issue of the paper in Lansing was on the 1st of January, 1849. With the commencement of Volume VI at Lansing the paper was issued weekly in quarto form, and continued until 1852, when it was merged in the “Star in the West”, then published in Chicago, we believe. Mr. Sanford continued in the editorial department for one year after this change, when he severed his connection.

* * * * *

Note: Samuel Durant was incorrect on the paper being moved to Jackson in 1845. It was in April of 1846.

The Parting of Ways of “The Primitive Expounder” and the Alphadelphia Association

“The Primitive Expounder”, a Universalist paper “Devoted to the Theoretical and Practical Religion, Expounded in its Primitive Purity, Excellence, and Loveliness”, was published out of Alphadelphia for a period of time by R. Thornton and J. Billings, then R. Thornton and J. H. Sanford, with corresponding editors, A. H. Curtis, C. P. West, W. W. Hebberd, and I. George.

It was, indeed, “The Primitive Expounder” which on January 20, 1844, from Ann Arbor, had published in their first volume the “call of a Convention” for the founding of Alphadelphia, where a skeleton of its constitution was drawn up. Then in their Prospectus for the publishing of the second volume, J. Billings and R. Thornton, proprietors, had written that it was to be published out of Alphadelphia at Galesburg, every other week.

Volume 3 was published out of Alphadelphia on Nov 27, 1845, Nov 27, 1845, Dec 11, 1845, Jan 8, 1846, Jan 22, 1846, Feb 12, 1846, Feb 26, 1846, March 12, 1846 and March 26, 1846.

But in the March 26, 1846 edition there appeared this notice:


Since our residence in this place, we have published little or nothing, in this paper, concerning the condition and progress of this Fourier Association; and our reason has been in part, that another paper, devoted to the subject, has been published by the Association, and in part, that we could not say any thing with certainty, as to its success or failure. And as anxiously as we have hoped that the time might come when we could assure our friends that Unity prevailed in our midst, and Success had crowned our enterprise, our hopes have now expired : Alphadelphia has proved a consumptive patient, and is going the way of all the earth. We are sorry, and yet are glad; sorry because it will injure the cause of Associations, and glad that we are free from an effort to unite such discordant materials. The ruin was wrought in the beginning, by receiving some improper members— persons who had no faith in Association, whose only object was to make money, and of whom it has been just as impossible to make Associations, as it would be to straiten the rugged oaks, that for centuries have grown crooked. But although the effort proves abortive, it has not changed our mind, nor shaken our faith, that association is the true condition of society; but on the other hand it has fully satisfied us that the plan is entirely feasible, and we yet hope to see all the ‘ideal glories alized [sic – perhaps “realized”], which Associationists have anticipated.

Although the most of the members will be somewhat injured, we cannot pity the most of those upon whom the heaviest losses will fall; as we verily believe it is their own obstinacy and perversion, and foolish opposition, which has created the necessity of any loss, and prevented the success of the enterprize. May the lessens of experience profit all in future ; and may other Associations arise from the ashes of this, and embrace with their spreading arms of peace, plenty, and bliss, the toil-worn and Borrow-stricken children of humanity.

R. T.

The paper was then published out of Alphadelphia on April 9, 1846, April 23, 1846, May 7, 1846. Then beginning May 21, 1846 the paper was published out of Jackson. In the June 18th edition it published a notice to the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN:

This paper continues to gain admirers from every one that reads it, and no doubt, if it could be seen and read by all, it would be a universal favorite. Will the publisher please change the direction of the paper sent us, from Alphadelphia, to Jackson, Mich., as we have removed our office to the latter place?

Volume 3 of the Primitive Expounder with Alphadelphia mentions highlighted



* * * * *

Wednesday, January 24, 1844

By Mr. H. N. Walker, the claim of J. J. Butler, for seal furnished for the supreme court. Referred to the committee on claims.

By Mr. Delamatter, of C. W. Vining and 55 others, residents of Columbia, Jackson county, for the incorporation of the “Alphadelphia association.” Referred to the committee on banks and incorporations.

By Mr. Joslin, of Thomas Martin, for damages on Central railroad. Referred to the committee on claims.

By Mr. Pratt, the memorial of Dr. Henry R. Sheterly, of the county of Washtenaw, Henry D. Hall, G. S. Avery, and Alanson Mack, of the county of Eaton, Harvey T. Keith, William Earl, and Ezra Stetson, of the county of Kalamazoo, William Grant, Amos Picket, Anson Delamatter, C. W. Vining, of the county of Jackson, and Charles Mason, and Henry B. Teed, of the county of Calhoun, praying the legislature to incorporate the Alphadelphia association, in the state of Michigan, agreeable to the plan of Charles Fourier, the French philanthropist.

Also, for building a dam across the Kalamazoo river, in the township of Comstock, in the county of Kalamazoo. Referred to the committee on banks and incorporations.

* * * * *

Friday, January 26, 1844
Pg. 122, Petitions

By Mr. Joslin of 28 citizens of Washtenaw county asking the passage of an act incorporating the Alphadelphia association in Michigan. Referred to the committee on banks and incorporations.

By Mr. Ramsdell, of 72 citizens of Washtenaw county, asking the passage of an act incorporating the Alphadelphia association in Michigan. Referred to the committee on banks and incorporations.

By Mr. Van Husan, of 22 citizens of Washtenaw county, for the same purpose. Referred to the committee on banks and incorporations.

By Mr. Pratt, of 19 citizens of Michigan, for the same purpose.–Referred to the committee on banks and incorporations.

* * * * *

Monday, January 29, 1844
pg. 132, Petitions

By Mr. Delamatter, of Isaac E. Crary, E. S. Camp, and 160 others, residents of Calhoun county, asking the incorporation of Alphadelphia association. Referred to the committee on banks and incorporations.

* * * * *

Friday, February 2, 1844
Pg. 160, Petitions

By Mr. Delamatter, of Mr. H. L. Mead and 40 others. residents of Genesee and Livingston counties, for an act of incorporation for the Alphadelphia association. Referred to the committee on banks and incorporations.

By Mr. Livermore, of a largo number of the German residents of the valley of Grand River, in Clinton county, for the. improvement of said river. Referred to the select committee on that subject.

By Mr. Lamond, a remonstrance of 75 citizens of the town of Genesee against appropriating the non-resident tax upon the Saginaw turnpike. Referred to the committee on roads and bridges.

By Mr. Pratt, the petition of sundry citizens of Wayne county, for an act of incorporation for the Detroit and Birmingham plank road company. Laid on the table.

Also, of 40 citizens of Oakland county, for the incorporation of the “Alphadelphia association” in Michigan. Referred to the committee on banks and incorporations…

* * * * *

Tuesday, February 6, 1844
Pg. 203, Petitions

Mr. Murphy, from tho committee on banks and incorporations, to whom have bean referred sundry petitions for the incorporation of the Alphadelphia association, submitted a report and letter from H. R. Shetterly, accompanied by a bill to incorporate tho Alphadelphia association.

The bill was read twice, referred to the committee of the whole, and ordered printed.

* * * * *

Thursday, February 8, 1844
219, Petitions

By Mr. Baldwin, of twenty-two citizens of the county of Oakland, for the incorporation of the Alphadelphia association. Laid on the table.

* * * * *

Thursday, February 22, 1844
Pg. 319, Petitions

By Mr. Baldwin, of 49 citizens of Oakland county, for an act of incorporation for the Alphadelphia association. Laid on the table.

* * * * *

Senate Chamber, February 22, 1844

The Speaker announced the following communication from the Senate:

Senate Chamber,

February 22, 1844.

To the Speaker of the House of Representatives:

Sir:—I am instructed by the Senate to transmit “a bill in relation to associations formed for banking purposes, which the Senate have passed, and a joint resolution providing for the removal of the seat of government,” which the Senate have adopted, and respectfully ask the concurrence of the House therein.

JAMES. E. PLATT, Secretary of Senate. The bill in relation to associations formed for banking purposes,” was read twice and referred to the committee on the judiciary.

The “joint resolution providing for the removal of the seat of government,” was read twice and referred to the committee on ways and means.

The House went into committee of the whole on the general order, Mr. Videto in the chair, and after some time spent thereon the committee rose and by their chairman reported that they had had under consideration a “bill for the appropriation of certain highway taxes for the improvement of the state road from Coldwater to Centreville,” and a ” bill to incorporate the Alphadelphia association,” which they reported back with amendments, in which the concurrence of the House was asked.

The amendment to the “bill for the appropriation of certain highway taxes,” &c, was concurred in.

Mr. Joslin moved to strike out of the seventh line of section one the words “in the township of Mattison” and insert after the word “Batavia” in the 8th line the words “and Mattison,” which motion was lost.

The bill was then ordered to be engrossed for a third reading.

The amendments to the “bill to incorporate the Alphadelphia association” were concurred in.

On motion of Mr. Pratt the following section was added to the bill:

Sec 16. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.

On motion of Mr. White, the words “or any other person interested in said association,” were inserted after “guardian” in the 11th line of section 14.

The bill was then ordered to be engrossed for a third reading by the following vote :


Mr. Adams, Mr. Joslin, Mr. Pratt, Barnard, Knight, Rix, Baldwin, Lamond, Rowland, Chester, Leland, Sheldon, Davis, Livermore, Stone, Delamatter, McLeod, Tillson, Dunham, Mosher, Videto, Fairfield, Haydon, Vickery, Ferguson, Parmelee, Van Husan, Griffin. P. Power, D. C. Walker, H. Hall, R. D. Power, White, M. Hall, . Porter, Speaker,


Mr. Ames, Mr. Haydon, Mr. Ruehle, Blindbury, Hebard, Runyan, Hawley, Knowlton, Snell

* * * * *

Feb. 23, 1844,
Pg. 330-331

The House of Representatives was called to order by the Speaker.

Mr. Baldwin moved that the House go into committee of the whole on the general order. pending which, Mr. Barnard moved an adjournment, which was lost.

The House then went into committee of the whole on the general order, Mr. Baldwin in the chair, and after some time spent thereon, the committee rose, and by their Chairman reported that they had under consideration, a “bill to authorize the Alphadelphia association to erect a dam across the Kalamazoo river,” which they reported back with amendments in which the concurrence of the House was asked, and a “bill to authorize the supervisors of Kent county to build a free bridge across Grand river at Grand Rapids,” which they reported back, and reported that they had made some progress, and asked leave to sit again thereon.

The amendments to the “bill to authorize the Alphadelphia association to erect a dam across the Kalamazoo river,” were concurred in.

On motion of Mr. Haydon, the House adjourned.

* * * * *

Feb. 23, 1844
Pg. 332


Mr. Pratt, from the committee on engrossment and enrollment, reported as correctly engrossed, “joint resolution relative to a reduction of the present rates of postage,” “a joint resolution relative to the improvement of Grand River,” “a bill to amend the charter of the village of Adrian,” “a bill for the appropriation of certain highway taxes for the improvement of the state road from Coldwater to Centreville,” and “a bill to incorporate the Alphadelphia association.”

* * * * *

February 23, 1844
Pg. 334

The “bill to incorporate the Alphadelphia association,” was read a third time, when Mr. Ramsdell moved to lay the bill on the table; which was lost.

Mr. H. N. Walker moved to commit the bill to a select committee, with instructions to strike out “Protodelphia” wherever it occurs and insert “Miadelphia.”

On motion of Mr. Pratt, the instructions were amended by adding an additional section, as follows:

Nothing in this act contained shall be construed to confer banking privileges on this association.

The instructions, as amended, were adopted and the bill was then committed.

* * * * *

February 23, 1844
Pg. 335


The ” bill authorizing the Alphadelphia association to build a dam across the Kalamazoo river,” was taken up, and, On motion of Mr. Joslin,

The word ” Alphadelphia” was stricken out wherever it occurred, and “Miadelphia” inserted.

The bill was then ordered to be engrossed for a third reading.

* * * * *

February 24, 1844
Pg. 341-342

The “bill to incorporate the Alphadelphia association” was read a third time, and the question being on its passage, it was lost by the following vote:


Mr. Adams Leland, Rix, Baldwin, Livermore, Runyan, Davis, McLeod, Sheldon, Delamatter, Murphy, Videto, M. Hall, Porter, Vickery, Joslin, Pratt, Speaker, Lamond


Mr. Ames, Hawley, Rowland, Barnard, Haydon, Saunders, Berry, Hebard, Shurtz, Blindbury, Knowlton, Snell, Chester, H. L. Miller, Stone, Dunham, Mosher, Tillson, Fairfield, P. Power, D. C. Walker, Griffin, R. D. Power, H. N. Walker, H. Hall, Ruehle, White

The “bill authorizing the Alphadelphia association to erect a dam across the Kalamazoo river,” was read the third time and the question being on its passage,

On motion of Mr. Ferguson, the bill was laid on the table.

* * * * *

February 26, 1844
Pg. 349

Mr. D. C. Walker moved to reconsider the vote by which the ‘bill to incorporate the Alphadelphia association,’ was lost.

On motion of Mr. Baldwin, the motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

* * * * * *

February 28, 1844
Pg. 3654


On motion of Mr. Pratt, the motion to reconsider the vote by which the “bill to incorporate the Alphadelphia association” was lost, was taken from the table.

The question being on reconsideration, it prevailed by the following vote :


Mr. Adams, Barnard, Baldwin, Chester, Davis, Delamatter, H. Hall, M. Hall, Haydon, Joslin, Knowlton, Lamond, Leland, Livermore, Murphy, P. Power, R. D. Power, Pratt, Ramsdell, Rix, Sheldon, Snell, Videto, Vickery, D. C. Walker, White, Speaker


Mr. Berry, Blindbury, Dunham, Fairfield, Ferguson, Griffin, Hawley, Hebard, H. L. Miller, Mosher, Parmelee, Porter, Ruehle, Rowland, Runyan, Saunders, Shurtz, Stone, Tillson, Van Husan

On motion of Mr. Pratt, the bill was laid on the table.

* * * * *

February 29, 1844
Pb. 376, Petitions

By Mr. Ruehle, of sundry citizens of the county of Wayne, for the incorporation of the “Alphadelphia association” laid on the table.

* * * * *

February 29, 1844
Pg. 378


The Speaker announced as such committee, Messrs. Pratt, D. C. Walker and Videto.

On motion of Mr. Pratt, the “bill to incorporate the Alphadelphia association,” was laid on the table.

* * * * *

March 1, 1844
Pg. 390


On motion of Mr. Ramsdell, the “bill to incorporate the Alphadelphia association,” was referred to a select committee with instructions.

The Speaker announced as such committee, Messrs. Ramsdell, Pratt, McLeod. D. C. Walker, and Livermore.

* * * * *

March 2, 1844
Pg. 401

Mr. Ramsdell, from the select committee, to whom was referred the “bill to incorporate the Alphadelphia association” with instructions, reported the same back with the amendments in the instructions contained, incorporated in the bill.

The report was accepted, the committee discharged, and the bill placed on the order of bills for a third reading.

On motion of Mr. Ramsdell, the bill as amended, was ordered to be printed.

* * * * *

March 9, 1844
Pg. 488

The “bill to authorize the Alphadelphia association to build a dam across the Kalamazoo river,” was read the third time and passed; and

The question being on the title on motion of Mr. H. N. Walker, “Alphdelphia” was stricken out, and “Miadelphia” inserted.

The title as amended was then adopted.

* * * * *


Review of the “Primitive Expounder”

From Volume VIII, December 20, 1845, of “The Star in the West”


The first number of a new Vol. was received to day, Dec. 13th. We have always read this paper with pleasure, for it is conducted with prudence and with an eye to enlighten as much as possible those who sit in the region of darkness and the shadow of death. Its general tone too, is good, and the cause of Universalism in Michigan, the State in which it is printed, finds in it a successful advocate. It is printed every other Thursday, in Alphadelphia, at $1 per annum in advance by Brs. Thornton and Billings,who are the Editors.

Review of the Alphadelphia Tocsin

From Volume VIII, December 12, 1845, of “The Star in the West”


The best paper we have ever seen devoted to Association or Fourierism is one of the above title, published in Alphadelphia, Michigan. It is clear, explicit and practical–and therefore a useful agent in the dissemination of the views of Association. In this respect it differs from the ‘Harbinger’, published at Brook Farm, Mass. which is full of Swedenborgianism and mysticism. The Editor of that, I perceive, thinks that our best educated men are mere dwarfs compared with the literary men of Germany. How does he know? Does he take the mysticisms and wild speculations of some Germans to be useful “science”?

The ‘Harbinger’ is very neatly printed, but does not contain practical information; nad its columns of notices of books go but little ways towards accomplishing the professed objects of the paper. I do not believe in Fourierism, and write this notice because I have some valued friends who do believe in it. The Tocsin (can its editors find no better name for it?) is printed every week at $1,50.


From Volume VIII, December 20, 1845, of “The Star in the West”


The Primitive Expounder at Alphadelphia, Michigan, tells a good story about the exposure of two Methodist preachers who lately held forth at a Camp Meeting at Romulus in that State. It seems the Methodists, at their Camp Meetings in the West, have a practice of killing Universalism regularly, by the announcement and delivery of a sermon against the doctrine. On this occasion great numbers of people were present, and a Rev. Mr. E., was put forth to preach the sermon against Universalism. He went on, it seems, quite a la mode M. H. Smith, retailing all the slanderous stories he ever heard or could manufacture against the characters of those wicked people who dare believe in the universal and unchangeable goodness of God. Whilst in that part of his sermon devoted to show that we are a set of thieves, robbers, etc, and whilst giving as a fact in proof, the case of somebody who stole, a voice was heard from the body of the great congregation, uttering in a loud voice, above that of the preacher, these mysterious words—”But who stole the beef!” The inquiry raised an excitement, and the Elders came forward and demanded what he meant by such disorderly language? Being called on for an explanation, he went on to say in presence of the multitude, that a few years ago ‘he knew a certain gentleman in Ypsalanti, very intimately connected with the mysterious disappearance of a quarter of beef from that place, and that the said gentleman ran away from there on that account, and that he had never seen him since till that day and that hour when and where he now saw him preaching against Universalism as a licentious doctrine!” Was not that an argumentum ad hominem?

The editor of the Expounder adds to this story, another equally mortifying narrative. lie says that at the same Camp Meeting there was another preacher “who occupied a conspicuous station, by the name of W. T. who also abused Universalists. A gentleman present said he arrested him 7 or 8 years ago in Ann Arbor (I think) and carried him to Poutiac where he was convicted for stealing a horse.”

We mention these things only as an admonition to our opposers to have a care that in condemning their neighbors they do not greatly condemn themselves.—Gospel Banner.

May 20 1844 Letter from Schetterly to The Phalanx on the Alphadelphia Association’s Progress

NOTE: One of the more interesting things about this article, to me, is that at the time the society was given as having “upwards of” 1300 members, with at least 100 rejected. This far exceeds the typical assessment of numbers belonging to the society. Addressed here are the association’s early attempts to prepare for on site residence of members, only a limited number supported at that time due to housing and food production.

* * * * *


J. Winchester, Publisher

Volume 1, New York, Saturday, July 13, 1844. Number 14


Ann Arbor, May 20th, 1844

GENTLEMEN: Your readers will no doubt to pleased to learn every important movement regarding Industrial Association; and therefore I send you an account of the present condition of the Alphadelphia Association, to the organization of which all my time has been devoted since the beginning of last December.

The Association held its first annual meeting on the second Wednesday in March, and at the close of a session of four days, during which its consitution, & as a society were perfected, and about eleven hundred persons, including children and adults, admitted to membership, adjourned to meet on the Domain on the first of May. Its officers repaired immediately to the place selected last winter for the domain, and after overcoming great difficulties, secured the deeds of two thousand eight hundred and fourteen acres of land, nine hundred and twenty-seven of which is under cultivation, at a cost of thirty-two thousand dollars. This gives us perfect control over an immense water power, and our land debt is only five thousand seven hundred and seventy-six dollars, (the greater portion of the land having been invested in stock,) to be paid out of a proposed capital of two hundred and forty thousand dollars, fourteen thousand of which is to be paid in cash during the summer and autumn. More land adjoining the domain has since been tendered as stock, but we have as much as we can use at present, and do not wish to increase our taxes, and diminish our first annual dividend too much. It will all come in as soon as wanted. At our last meeting the number of members was increased to upwards of thirteen hundred, and more than one hundred applicants were rejected, because there seemed to be no end, and we became almost frightened at the number. Among our members are Milwrights, six Machinists, Furnacemen, Printers, Manufacturers of cloth, paper, & and almost every other kind of mechanics you can mention, besides farmers in abundance.

Farming and gardening were commenced on the domain about the middle of April, and two weeks since, when I came away, there were seventy-one adult male and more than half that number of adult female laborers on the ground, and more constantly arriving. We shall not however be able to accommodate more than about two hundred resident members this season.

There is much talk about the formation of other Associations in this State, (Michigan,) and I am well convinced that others will be formed next winter. The fact is, men have lost all confidence in each other, and those who have studied the theory of Association, are desirous of escaping from the present hollow-hearted state of civilized society, in which fraud and heartless competition grind the more noble-minded of our citizens to the dust.

The Alphadelphia Association will not commence building its mansion this season, but several groups have been organized to erect a two story wooden building, five hundred and twenty-three feet long, including the wings, which will be finished the coming fall, so as to answer for dwellings till we can build a mansion, and afterwards may be converted into a silk establishment or shops. The principal pursuit this year, besides putting up this building, will be farming, and preparing for erecting a furnace, sawmill, machine shop, &. We have more than a hundred thousand feet of lumber on hand, and a sawmill, which we took as stock, is running day and night.

The fact is, I do not see any obstacle to our future prosperity. Our farmers have plenty of wheat on the ground. We have teams, provision–all we ought to desire on the domain; and more than all, since the location of the buildings has been decided, we are perfectly united, and have never yet had an angry discussion on any subject. We have religious meetings twice a week, and preaching at least once, and shall have schools very soon. If God be for us–of which we have sufficient evidence–who can prevail against us?

Our domain is certainly unrivalled in its advantages in Michigan, possessing every kind of soil that can be found in the State. Our people are moral, religious and industrious, having been actually engaged in manual labor, with few exceptions, all their days. The place where the mansion and outhouses will stand, is a most beautiful level plain, that wants no grading, extending nearly a mile in every direction, which can be irrigated by a constant stream of water flowing from a lake. Between it and the river is another plain, twelve feet lower, on which our manufactories may be set in any desirable position. Our mill race is half dug by nature, and can be finished, according to the estimate of the State Engineer, for eighteen hundred dollars, giving five and a half feet fall without a damn, which may be raised by a grant from the Legislature, adding three feet more, and affording water power sufficient to drive fifty pair of millstones. A very large spring, brought nearly a mile in pipes, will rise nearly fifty feet at our mansion. The Central Railroad runs across our domain. We have a great abundance of first rate timber, and land as rich as any in the State.

Our Constitution is liberal, and secures the fullest individual freedom and independence. Whilst capital is fully protected in its rights and guarrantied in its interests, it is not allowed to exercise an undue control or in the least degree encroach on personal liberty, even if this too common tendency could possibly manifest itself in Association.

As we proceed I will inform you or our progress.