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Full text of "History of the Zoar society, from its commencement to its conclusion; a sociological study in communism"



CORNELL 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 




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You may use and print this copy in limited quantity 

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HISTORY 



OF 



THE ZOAR SOCIETY 



FROM ITS COMMENCEMENT TO 
ITS CONCLUSION 



A SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY IN 
COMMUNISM 



By 

E. O. RANDALL 



SECOND EDITION 



COLUMBUS, OHIO 

PRESS OF FRED. J. HEER 

igoo 



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{X.^n..0',7;, 



\5*-^ 



^Entered accordingf to Act of Congress 
in the year 1899 

BY E. O. RANDALL 

In the Office of the Librarian of 
Congress at Washington 



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THE ZOAR SOaETY 

ZOAR, OHIO 



September tt, 1899. 

E. 0. RANDALL, Sec'y, 

Cotumbus, Ohio. 

Dear Sir : I hiuve carefully read your history 
of Zoar, and find it the_ fullest and most accurate 
yet published and entirety 'worthy of credence. Your 
treatment of the subject is fair and impartial. 

Yours 'aery truly, 

L. ZIMMEBMAN, 

Sec'y and Treas. 



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NOTE BY THE AUTHOR 



THE monograph herewith published in book form, 
"The Separatist Society of Zoar," is reprinted, 
by permission, from the publications of the Ohio State 
Archaeological and Historical Society. It appeared in 
the Quarterly for July, 1899, Volume VIII, No. 1. 
While the "Zoarites" have attracted much attention 
not only in the United States but even in Europe, 
especially among the students of history and Sociology, 
yet so far as known to the writer, no extended account 
of the Society has heretofore been published. The 
purpose of the present writer will be accomplished if 
this contribution to the literature of American Com- 
munism proves to be of any value to the student or 
general reader. 

E. O. Randall. 

Columbus, Ohio, Sept. ii, iSpp. 



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OHIO 
Archaeological and Historical 

PUBLICATIONS. 



THE SEPARATIST SOCIETY OF ZOAR. 

AN EXPERIMENT IN COMMUNISM — FROM ITS COMMENCEMENT 
TO ITS CONCIvUSION. 

BY E. O. RANDAI,!,, I<I,.M., SECRETARY OHIO STATE ARCH^OLOGICAI, 
AND HISTORICAIy SOCIETY. 

It is somewhat singular, if indeed not really significant, 
that just at this time while the views of Edward Bellamy^ are 
attracting world-wide attention and receiving an enthusiastic 
acceptance almost startling in its extent, one of the most com- 
plete and perhaps most thoroughly tried applications of the so- 

' Edward Bellamy, born Chicopee Falls, Mass., March 26, 1850; 
died same place. May 22, 1898. Author of "Looking Backward" (1889) 
and "Equality" (1897). Editor "The New Nation," established January, 
1891. These works advocate a socialistic communism. Bellamy's books 
reached a sale of hundreds of thousands and some four hundred papers 
and periodicals have been established devoted to his theories, while 
thousands of clubs and societies have been formed throughout the coun- 
try promotive of what is called the Nationalistic Movement, which in 
certain sections has taken an organized political character, leading to 
the formation of local, state and national parties. The Nationalistic 
Movement does not at once demand the adoption of the perfected ideal 
scheme as described in "Equality," but tends towards an Utopian com- 
mune, to be preceded "by the nationalization of industries, including as 
minor applications of the same principle, the municipalization and state 
control of localized business." 
Vol. vin— 1 



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2 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

cial scheme of communism has reached a termination and, a 
self-confessed failure, has passed out of existence, as to its com- 
munistic feature, and that too after a duration of more than 
three quarters of a century, a continuance apparently under the 
most favorable circumstances. 

ORIGIN OF THE SOCIETY. 

The history of this communistic experiment is a sociologi- 
cal study, both important and instructive. It is the history of 
the Separatist Society of Zoar. As religion was the funda- 
mental basis of the organization, the object of its formation, the 
cause of its emigration to this country, and a prominent ele- 
ment in its operation and final failure, some considerable space 
is devoted to this component of the Zoar Colony. As is well 
known to every reader of history, the reformation in Germany 
in the sixteenth century resulted in the springing up, through- 
out the fatherland, of innumerable anti-Romish sects. This 
was especially true in those countries where the union and 
united oppression of the church and state had become unusually 
obnoxious and tyrannous. The Kingdom of Wiirttemburg be- 
came one of the hotbeds of the revolt against popedom and 
churchdom, and for three or four centuries before the reforma- 
tion, Wiirttemburg was noted for the reformatory activity of its 
people. 

While following the leadership of the Wittenberg Monk, 
Wiirttemburg became, not only the stronghold of Protestantism, 
but also a prolific breeding ground for countless religious inde- 
pendents, and also for an innumerable variety of sects and 
creeds. As early as 1544, two years before the death of Lu- 
ther, a preacher of Waiblingen complained that there were as 
many sects in Wiirttemburg as there were houses. The Lutheran 
Church became the church of the state, and the orthodox clergy 
supported by the comphant government, stood up, of course, 
resolutely against the dissenting and independent religionists. 
Among these numerous heterodoxies the Pietists constituted 

one of the strongest and most influential religious parties 

they were hardly an organized sect— but were antagonists to 
the state church. This sect, or rather theological school, owed 

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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 3 

Its origin and growth to the writings and teachings of Johann 
Arndt (1555-1621), Johann Andrea (1586-1654) and Frederick 
Christoph Oetinger (1702-1782). The latter was an enthusiastic 
disciple of the mystic philosophy of Jacob Boehm (1575- 1624). 
Oetinger's heterodoxy fostered a species of dissent known as Sep- 
aratism. The Separatists rejected baptism, confirmation and 
other ordinances. They declined to do military duty or take 
the legal oath, and refused to remove their hats to their desig- 
nated superiors — they had no superiors in their own estimation, 
•as all men were equal before the Lord. They would not permit 
their children to attend the public schools, which were con- 
ducted by the Lutheran clergy. Disobedience to the conven- 
tional forms of the regular church and the dictates of the ruling 
state, naturally brought the Separatists into conflict with the 
government. They were insulted and persecuted. They were 
brought before the civil authorities and punished with floggings 
and imprisonment. Their houses and lands and personal prop- 
erty were confiscated ; their children were taken from them and 
sent to orphans' homes or other pubHc institutions. In short, 
an intolerable and bigoted oppression of the Separatists pre- 
vailed, just as two centuries earlier the Puritans of England 
were persecuted by the Protestant King James.^ There was 

^ The interesting fact should not be lost sight of that while the prime 
purpose of the expedition of the Mayflower (1620), under the reign of 
Xing James I, was for religious libert}', the financial plan and practical 
working of the Pilgrim Forefather settlement was a phase of communism. 
The Leyden Emigrants having no means of transportation and being 
scarce of funds, entered into a hard bargain with one of the English 
Colonizing Companies of London. "In their arrangements for the voy- 
age, and the business foundation and management of the colony," the 
Pilgrims formed a communistic co-partnership. The Plymouth Company 
of London, comprising some seventy merchants, handicraftsmen, etc., 
"which raised the stock to begin this plantation," had an original 
capital of some seven thousand pounds, divided into shares of ten 
pounds each (| 50.00). This company was to furnish the Pilgrims trans- 
portation and land for settlement. The Pilgrims were to go as planters 
or pioneers — they were to become stockholders'by virtue of their services 
or contributions. "The shares were ten (10) pounds each. For every 
person going, the personality (that is, from sixteen years of age) was 
.accounted one share for him and every ten pounds put in by him (in 
funds or property) was accounted an additional share." TKis co-part- 



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4 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

no alternative for the Separatists but to suffer or flee the coun- 
try. They were forced to emigration. The first of these Sep- 
aratist departures to America was under the leadership of George 
Rapp, the eloquent weaver-preacher of Iptingen, Wurttemburg. 
He first gathered a small congregation in his own house in 
1787. He and his followers were duly fined ,and imprisoned 
when in 1804 some six hundred of them, mainly mechanics and 
peasants, landed in Philadelphia and finally located on the Ohio 
river some twenty miles northwest of Pittsburg, in Beaver 
county, Penn., where they purchased some five thousand acres 
of wild land. They called the place of their settlement Econ- 
omy, and they "formally and solemnly organized themselves 
into the 'Harmony Society,' agreeing to throw all their pos- 
sessions into a common fund, to keep thenceforth all things in 
common ; and to labor for the common good of the whole 
body."3 



nership was for seven years. During this time the Pilgrim colonists 
were to be supported out of the common colony property. At the end 
of the seven years, all the possessions of the colony, with everything 
gained by them, were to be equally divided among the whole of the 
stockholders — London capitalists as well as Pilgrim colonists. Such 
was the contract, the essence of which was co-partnership in interest 
and a communism in support and subsistence. One of the earliest 
studies, therefore, in this country of the relations of capital and labor 
is offered in the establishment of the Plymouth colony. In 1623 the 
colonists raised funds through English friends and bought out the 
London stockholders in the company, and the Pilgrims thus became 
possessed of all the stock and property of the company. — [Pilgrim 
Fathers, G. B. Cheever, page 107.] 

'The Harmonists or Rappists, as sometimes called, remained in 
Economy ten years and then moved to New Harmony, Indiana, re- 
maining there till 1824, when they sold their land to Robert Owen, the 
scientist and philanthropist, author of "New View of Society" and 
"The Book of the New Moral World." For three years Owen tested 
his socialistic theories at New Harmony when the experiment became 
unsuccessful and was abandoned, Owen returning to England, his native 
country. The Harmonists (1824) returned to Economy, which has ever 
since been their abiding place. They suffered many vicissitudes, dissensions 
and desertions. Several times seceders established other communistic 
societies. The Harmonists at Economy numbered at one time over a 
thousand members — and in their palmiest days were reported possessed 

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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 5 

The company that comprised the Zoar colony departed from 
Wiirttemburg in April, 1817. A few months earlier several of 
their number were sent to Antwerp to engage a ship to trans- 
port them to America. They chose as their leader one Jo- 
seph M. Baumler, which name was later changed for the sake 
of English euphony to Bimeler and is so known to-day in Zoar 
and elsewhere. Bimeler was of humble and obscure peasant 
origin but a man of unusual ability and independence, a 
teacher, a natural leader and a fluent speaker. He easily 
became by common consent the guide and mentor of a large 
following. There were some three hundred in this pilgrim 
company. They were from the poorer class of their country- 
men. Many were unable to pay their passage, which was pro- 
vided for by some of their more fortunate companions and ma- 
terial assistance was rendered to these religious emigrants by 
the sympathizing "Society of Friends," the Quakers of Eng- 
land. The journey of the Separatists lasted some three months, 
and the voyagers landed in Philadelphia on August 14, 1817. 
They were kindly received in the City of Brotherly Love by 
their friends, the Quakers, who provided a large building in 
which the Separatists could remain until departing for their 
western home. As further acts of aid by the Quakers, it is re- 
lated that the "Society of Friends" in England had sent a 
considerable sum of money to America for the use of the worthy 
but destitute Wtirttemburgers — a sum amounting to about eight- 
een dollars for each Separatist. This fund was given the re- 
cipients upon their arrival in Philadelphia and was used later 
to send them on to their destination in the Tuscarawas Valley. 
As most of these emigrants reached Philadelphia "in an im- 



of property valued in the millions. They made large real estate invest- 
ments vphich proved exceedingly profitable, for the coal mines, oil 
wells, etc. They built up large industries, shipping their goods through- 
out the country. The past few years they have rapidly declined. They 
number now less than a dozen members. Their manufactories are mostly 
abandoned. Their property has been mainly sold and that remaining 
has greatly depreciated in value and is more or less encumbered. The 
society has practically lost its co-operative character and its fate as a 
communistic society will doubtless be at no distant day that of its kin- 
dred at Zoar. 



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6 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

poverished condition," this Quaker beneficence came to them 
like an act of Providence and the Separatists have always pre- 
served a w^arm spot in their hearts for the generous and sym- 
pathetic Quakers. They tarried in Philadelphia several months, 
during which time Bimeler arranged for the Ohio settlement. 
He purchased of one Godfrey Haga a tract of five thousand 
five hundred acres of land, a military grant in the wilderness 
of Tuscarawas county. He was to pay three dollars per acre,, 
giving fifteen hundred dollars cash — (loaned, it is said, by 
their Quaker friends) — and his (Bimeler's) individual notes for 
fifteen thousand dollars, secured by a mortgage on the land 
for that amount, to be paid in fifteen years, the first three years 
to be without interest. This transaction was solely in the 
name of Bimeler, but with the understanding that each mem- 
ber of the society should have an interest therein proportionate 
to the amount he might contribute to the payment for the land. 
Bimeler, with a chosen few of his company, went out to take 
possession of this purchase December, 1817, when the first log 
hut was erected, others rapidly following, on the site of the 
present village of Zoar.* The colonists were as fast as pos- 
sible to cluster their humble homes about this chosen center, 
after the custom of the German peasant farmers who settle in a 
common locality rather than scatter their dwellings upon their 
respective and more or less distant farms. 

In the succeeding spring (1818) the colonists then remain- 
ing in Philadelphia went on and took up their abode at Zoar 
— that is all that were able to do so. Many were too poor 
to reach there without assistance and_ a large number were com- 
pelled to take service with neighboring farmers to earn sup- 
port for themselves and families. They were almost wholly 
unskilled workmen and many delayed their journey at an op- 



*Zoar was, as may be surmised, so named from the ancient town 
on the shore of the Dead Sea, a city described in Genesis as "a little 
one" to which Lot was permitted to- take refuge in his flight from 
Sodom. The choosing of this name is indicative of the religious char- 
acter and purpose of the Separatists. They have generally been known 
as "Zoarites." 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 7 

portune station to acquire a knowledge of some useful trade or 
calling. 

This Separatist emigration had been primarily for the pur- 
pose of securing religious liberty ; secondarily for better oppor- 
tunities of obtaining a livelihood. They had thus far no in- 
tention of forming a communistic society ; they held their in- 
terests individually, and it vv^as expected that each member 
should pay for his own share of the land, which had been se- 
cured by Bimeler to be subsequently divided and sold among 
separate purchasers. But the members were unequal in age, 
strength, experience, energy and enterprise. They soon real- 
ized that their individual inequality stood in the way of the 
collective success of the company. "Having among them a 
certain number of old and feeble people and many poor who 
found it difficult to save money to pay for their land, the lead- 
ing men presently saw that the enterprise would fail unless it 
was established upon a different foundation; and that neces- 
sarily would compel the people to scatter." Early in 1819 the 
leaders, after consultation, determined that, to succeed, they 
must establish a community of goods and efforts, and draw 
into themselves all whom poverty had compelled to take ser- 
vice at a distance. This resolution was laid before the whole 
society, and after some weeks of discussion was agreed to ; and 
on the 15th of April articles of agreement for a community of 
goods were signed. There were then about two hundred and 
twenty-five persons, men, women and children.^ 

These articles of association were dated April 19, 1819, and 
were signed by fifty-three males and one hundred and four fe- 
males. The articles created a common unity of interests, pre- 
sent and prospective, whereby all the property of individual 
members, and their future earnings, should become the com- 
mon stock of the association, to be taken care of and man- 
aged by directors to be elected annually by the members.^ 



^ Nordhoff , Communistic Societies in the United States, page 101. 

° The articles of association entered into by the society were prefaced 
by the following preamble: "The undersigned, members of the Society 
of Separatists of Zoar, have, from a true Christian love towards God 
and their fellow men, found themselves convinced and induced to unite 



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8 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

In March, 1824, amendatory articles^ containing features 
similar to but more extended than those of 1819, were drawn up 
and signed by about sixty males and one hundred females, 

themselves according to the Christian Apostolic sense, under the follow- 
ing rules through a communion of property; and they do hereby de- 
termine and declare that from the day of this date, the following rules 
shall be valid and in effect:" 

1. "Each and every member does hereby renounce all and every 
right of ownership, of their present and future movable and immovable 
property; and leave the same to the disposition of the directors of the 
society elected by themselves. 

2. "The society elects out of its own members their directors and 
managers, who shall conduct the general business transactions, and 
exercise the general duties of the society. They therefore take possession 
of all the active and passive property of all the members, whose duty 
it shall be at the same time to provide for them; and said directors are 
further bound to give an account to the society of all their business 
transactions." 

The other articles relate to the duties of the members of the society, 
the adjustment of difficulties which may arise among them, and an 
agreement that backsliding members cannot, either for property brought 
in, nor for their labor in the society, demand any compensation or resti- 
tution, except under the order of a majority of the society. 

5 McLean, page 224. 

'"We, the undersigned, inhabitants of Zoar and its vicinity, etc., 
being fully persuaded and intending to give more full satisfaction to 
our consciences, in the fulfillment of the duties of Christianity, and 
to plant, establish and confirm the" spirit of love as the bond of peace 
and union for ourselves and posterity forever, as a safe foundation of 
social order, do seek and desire, out of pure Christian love and per- 
suasion, to unite our several personal interests, into one common in- 
terest, and, if possible, to avoid and prevent law suits and contentions, 
or otherwise to settle and arbitrate them, under the following rules, in 
order to avoid the disagreeable and costly course of the law, as much 
as possible. Therefore, we unite and bind ourselves by and through 
the common and social contract under the name and title of "The 
Separatist Society of Zoar," and we agree and bind ourselves, and 
promise each to the other and all together, that we will strictly hold to, 
observe, and support all the following rules and regulations. New 
articles, amendments, or alterations, in favor of the above expressed 
intentions, to be made with the consent of the members. 

"We, the undersigned, members of the second class of the Society 
of Separatists, declare, through this first article, the entire renuncia- 
tion and resignation of all our property of all and every dimension, form 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 9 

tinder which articles, with those of 1819, the affairs of the 
Society were thereafter managed. On February 6, 1832, the So- 
ciety was incorporated under the then existing laws of Ohio, 

and shape, present and future, movable and iminovable, or both, for 
ourselves and our posterity, with all and every right of ownership, 
titles, claims and privileges, to the aforesaid Society of Separatists, 
with the express condition that, from the date of the subscription of 
each member, such property shall be forever, and consequently also 
after the death of such member or members, remain the property of the 
said Separatist Society." 

Directors were to be elected by the society, who were authorized 
to take all the property of the individual members and of the society 
into their disposition, and to hold and manage the same expressly for 
the general benefit of the society, according to the prescriptions of the 
articles. They shall have power to trade, to purchase and to sell, to 
conclude contracts and dissolve them again, to give orders if all of them 
agree, with the consent of the cashier, who was to be elected 6y the 
society. They were "to appoint agents and to conduct the entire pro"- 
vision of all and every member in boarding, clothing and other neces- 
saries of life, in such proportion as the situation, time, circumstances 
may require." And the members bound themselves to obey the orders 
and regulations of the directors and their agents. The children of the 
members, during their minority, were to be subject to the control of 
the directors, but without the votes of a majority of the society, they 
cannot bind apprentices out of the association. 

The directors are required to take charge of inheritances of de- 
ceased members as universal heirs, in the name of the society; to investi- 
gate and settle disputes among the members, an appeal being allowed to 
a board of arbitrators, which was to be elected and to consist of from 
one to three persons. The arbitrators were bound to observe the economy 
of the society, and give orders and instructions, to investigate accounts 
and plans which may have been made by the directors and their agents. 
All transactions, exceeding in amount fifty dollars, to be valid, required 
the sanction of the board of arbitration. This board had also the power 
to excommunicate arbitrary and refractory members, and to deprive 
them of all future enjoyments of the society. 

New members were to be admitted, being of full age, having been 
approved of by the directors and board of arbitration, by a vote of two- 
thirds of the society; and on condition that they should resign all their 
property to the society, as had been done by the original members. 
Directors and arbitrators were to be elected as often as shall be deemed 
necessary by the society. "The highest power shall be and remain for- 
ever in the hands and disposition of the society, who reserve the right 
at pleasure to remove and to establish officers, or to place others in 
their stead; in short, to make any alteration which may be deemed best." 



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10 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

by the name of "The Society of Separatists of Zoar." This 
conferred upon the Society the ordinary and usual powers of 
a corporation, with perpetual succession, with power to hold 
property, purchase and sell, pass by-laws, etc.^ 

On May 14, 1833, at a meeting of the members of the So- 
ciety, called in pursuance of said act of incorporation, an or- 
ganization was effected and a constitution adopted for the gov- 
ernment of the Society, under which its affairs have ever since 
been regulated. All the members under the articles who re- 
mained in the Society at the adoption of the constitution, be- 
came members of the Society in its corporate capacity. 

According to the constitution^ of the Society adopted un- 
der the articles of incorporation (1832), the members were di- 
vided into two classes, the novitiates and the full associates. 
The novitiates were obliged to serve at least one year before 
admission to the second class and this applied to the children 
of the members, if on becoming of age they wished to join the 
Society. The full associates must be of legal age, the males 
twenty-one and the females eighteen. The members of the 
first or probationary class did not give up their property. A 
child of a member or an incoming outsider, wishing to enter 
the Society, was admitted to the first class if the officials of 
the Society found no objection. Later on the candidate made 
application for full membership. The trustees would formally 
receive this request, inquire into the case as far as seemed 
necessary, and if no cause to reject was presented, they there- 

The cashier was bound to keep all the funds of the association, and to 
apply all moneys which may come to his hands, by the orders of the 
directors and arbitrators, to the benefit of the society — to pay its debts 
and to liquidate its general -wants." 

And it is agreed that individual demands by backsliding members, 
or such as have been excommunicated, whether such demands may be 
for goods, or other effects, or for services rendered to the society, are 
abolished and abrogated by the members themselves and their posterity. 
These articles are declared to be confirmatory of those of 1819 and 
extending to a more detailed explanation. 

5 McLean Reports, 225. 

8 Vol. 30, Ohio Laws, page 92. (See p. 77 this article.) 
' This constitution will be found in full on p. 79, etc. 

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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 11 

upon would, by posting his name in the pubhc meeting room, 
give thirty days' notice to the Society of the time and place at 
which he was to sign the covenant. At the appointed date he 
would subscribe to the constitutioni" and yield up to the So- 
ciety any and all property he might then possess. It was not 
required that he have any property, but he could not be ad- 
mitted if he were in debt. 

Strangers who came to Zoar for admission during the pro- 
bationary year received food, clothing and lodging, but no pay- 
ment. During the early years of the Society many friends and 
relatives of the first comers emigrated from Germany and joined 
the colony. Very few other foreigners became converts. Oc- 
casionally an outsider would enter the community because of 
marriage to a member. But outside accessions or conversions 
were exceedingly few. No native American is known to have 
entered the Society." According to the constitution of the So- 
ciety, all officers were elected by the whole Society, the women \ 
voting as well as the men — all elections being by ballot and a 
majority vote. The government of the community vested 
solely in a board of three trustees (or directors) to serve three 

"The covenant the elected subscribed to was as follows: "We, 
the subscribers, members of the Society of Separatists of the second, 
class, declare hereby that we give all our property, of every kind, not 
only what we already possess, but what we may hereafter come into 
possession of by inheritance, gift, or otherwise, real and personal, and 
all rights, titles, and expectations whatever, both for ourselves and our 
heirs, to the said society forever, to be and remain, not only during 
our lives, but after our deaths, the exclusive property of the society. 
Also we promise and bind ourselves to obey all the commands and 
orders of the trustees and their subordinates, with the utmost zeal and 
diligence, without opposition or grumbling; and to devote all our 
strength, good-will, diligence, and skill, during our whole lives, to 
)he common service of the society and for the satisfaction of its trustees. 
Also we consign in a similar manner our children, so long as they are 
minors, to the charge of the trustees, giving these the same rights and 
powers over them as though they had been formally indentured to them 
under the laws of the state." 

"An old member stated that a "Yankee," by which he meant a 
New Englander, lived with the colony several years, but never became- 
a legal member. 



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12 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

years each, one to be elected annually.^ These trustees had un- 
limited power over the custody and management of the prop- 
erty, and all the temporalities of the Society, but were bound 
to provide clothing, board and dwelling for each member, "with- 
out respect to person" ; and to use all means confided to their 
charge for the best interests of the Society. They had the man- 
agement of all the industries and affairs of the Society. They 
designated to each member his especial work. But in this they 
consulted the inclination and peculiar abilities of the member, 
endeavoring to fit each man into the place for which he was 
best adapted. The trustees appointed the subordinates and su- 
perintendents of the different industries and departments of 
labor. This board of trustees, which might be called the ad- 
ministration committee, was accustomed to hold monthly meet- 
ings in which foreign and home affairs were considered and trans- 
acted. Beside this ruling board of trustees there was a stand- 
! ing committee or council of five, one member being elected each 
(year. This standing committee or council was the supreme ju- 
i diciary or board of arbitration of the Society. It was the 
high court of appeals in cases of disagreement, dissension 
and complaint. This council had power to excommunicate 
arbitrary and refractory members, and to cross out their sig- 
natures and deprive them of all participation in the affairs of 
the Society. It was agreed that all disputes should be settled 
by arbitration alone and within the Society. The trustees en- 
deavored to act at all times in harmony with this council. The 
Society elected once in four years a cashier or treasurer ,^^ whose 
duties were those of secretary and treasurer. He had sole and 
exclusive control of all the moneys of the Society, the trus- 
tees being obliged to hand over to his custody all they received. 
He kept the books and had immediate oversight over the bus- 
iness transactions of the Society. There was also an elected 
officer known as the Agent General," who acted as the trader 
to buy and sell for the Society in its dealings with the outside 
world, make and conduct contracts, etc. The ofiSce of Agent 

"See Constitution, Article II. 
" Article V of the Constitution. 
" Article III of the Constitution. 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 13i 

General was, when created, regarded as the position of honor 
and influence in the Society, and to it Joseph Bimeler was 
elected. It was the one office he held and he continued in it to 
his death, after which the office always remained vacant. The 
duties of this office were subsequently performed by the cashier i 
or one of the trustees. The time and place of an election by 
the Society were made -public twenty days beforehand by the 
trustees and five members were chosen at each election to be 
managers and judges. The office of president was unknown. 
The constitution was read in a public and general meeting of 
the members of the Society, at least once every year, at which 
time the villagers met and discussed and acted upon their af- 
fairs much as was the custom in the New England town meet- 
ings. So far as Zoar had any political form of procedure, it^ 
was a pure democracy. 

TH:e RELIGION OF THE ZOARITES. 

We have already alluded at some length to the religious, 
origin in Wiirttemburg of the Separatists as a sect. We can 
not properly study the Zoar community without a thorougb 
understanding of their religious faith and practices. 

The "Principles of the Separatists," which were set forth 
in the works of Joseph Bimeler, were evidently framed in Ger- 
many. They consisted of twelve articles, as follows: 

"I. We believe and confess the Trinity of God; Father,. 
Son and Holy Ghost. 

"H. The fall of Adam, and of all mankind, with the loss- 
thereby of the likeness of God in them. 

"III. The return through Christ to God, our proper 
Father. 

"IV. The Holy Scriptures as the measure and guide of 
our lives, and the touchstone of truth and falsehood. All our 
other principles arise out of these, and rule our conduct in the 
religious, spiritual, and natural life. 

"V. All ceremonies are banished from among us, and we | 
declare them useless and injurious, and this is the chief cause of 
our Separation. 



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14 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

"VI. We render to no mortal, honors due to God, as to 
uncover the head^ or to bend the knee. Also we address every 
-one as 'thou' — du. 

"VII. We separate ourselves from all ecclesiastical con- 
nections and constitutions, because true Christian life requires 
no sectarianism, while set forms and ceremonies cause sectarian 
■divisions. 

"VIII. Our marriages are contracted by mutual consent, 
and before witnesses. They are then notified to the political 
authority; and we reject all intervention of priests or preachers. 

"IX. All intercourse of the sexes, except what is necessary 
to the perpetuation of the species, we hold to be sinful and 
contrary to the order and command of God. Complete virginity 
or entire cessation of sexual commerce is more commendable 
than marriage. 

"X. We can not send our children into the schools of 
Babylon (meaning the clerical schools of Germany), where other 
principles contrary to these are taught. 

"XI. We can not serve the state as soldiers, because a 
Christian can not murder his enemy, much less his friend. 

"XII. We regard the political government as absolutely 
necessary to maintain order, and to protect the good and hon- 
est and punish the wrong-doers ; and no one can prove us 
to be untrue to the constituted authorities." 

Joseph Bimeler was not only their leader and guide to this 
country, but he was their priest and prophet, if such they had. 
Bimeler was their spiritual leader and preacher, not by any 
formal authority, but merely universal acquiescence. The 
standard, and indeed the only theological literature of the Zoar-\ 
ites, consists of the works, or rather printed discourses, of Bi- ' 
meler.is They are in three large octave volumes, the first four 
parts having the common title: 

^ On the subject of the faith of the Zoarites I have made free use 
of a little German Pamphlet, by Karl Knortz: "Aus der Mappe eines 
Deutsch-Amerikaners." Hamburg, 1893. Herr Knortz carefully examined 
the works of Bimeler and in his pamphlet gives a summary of many 
of Bimeler's views. 

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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 15 



THE TRUE SEPARATION 

OR 

THE SECOND BIRTH. 

SET FORTH IN 

Brili<iant and Edifying Convention Speeches 

AND 

MEDITATIONS. 

pertaining especiai,i,y to the present time. 

Hei<d in the Community of Zoar in 1830. 

Printed m Zoar, O., 1856-1860. 

These ponderous volumes of theological thought and re- 
ligious reflection are in German and have never been trans- 
lated. The original copies are rare ; very few Zoar families 
possess a copy. The last two parts bear the title: 

SOMETHING FOR THE HEART 

OR 

SPIRITUAL CRUMBS 
From the Tabi,e of the Lord. 

GATHERED 

By a devout soui, 
and communicated with the intention of a bi,essed one. 

CONSISTING 

Of a Coi,i,ection of Excerpts op Many Forceful 
Speeches and Observations; 

PARTICULARLY directed TOWARD THE INNER LIFE 

Publicly Held and Read by a Friend 
OF God in Truth in Zoar. 

especially adapted to the present time. 

printed in zoar, c, 1860-1861. 



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16 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

Besides the history of Bimeler's separation, these works 
contain speeches, which the Zoarite teacher made before 
his people, in a language which was clear and easily un- 
derstood, although not always correct. According to the tes- 
timony of the publisher, they are to be considered as direct man- 
ifestations of the Holy Ghost, as Bimeler never studied or com- 
mitted his utterances. In his opinion, the separation of the peo- 
ple, who had inwardly renounced the world and received Christ 
into themselves, from the false Christians, was a necessary pos- 
tulate in the interest of the salvation of the former. In the same 
manner, it was necessary to declare war on the official clergy, 
who were called "lazy and useless servants," and of whom it 
was said, that by their empty, ceremonious trifles they de- 
luded the people and kept them from entering upon the road 
of truth. 

From these speeches, a truth-loving, believing Christian, 
as well as a true and honest character speaks to us and all 
living Separatists, who had listened to the sermons of Bimeler, 
have unanimously declared that he lived up to his teachings. 
In his speeches, which abound in hints for the practical life, 
we now and then meet with declarations which would greatly 
honor a modern progressive theologian. Thus, for instance, 
he says that the religious needs of mankind are not the same 
at all times and that, therefore, divine revelation progresses 
and assumes a character adapted to existing conditions. Bime- 
ler preached from 1817 to 1853, that is, to the year of his 
death. He did not write his speeches down, and the same would 
probably never have been printed had it not been that a patient 
and dutiful youth of Zoar had written them down from his 
memory at the request of his deaf father, who did not attend 
the meetings. This work the son performed during the night, as 
in day-time he had to follow his accustomed occupation. His 
memoranda embrace the time from 1822 to 1832. In the last 
mentioned year the reporter died, but happily there was another 
young man who possessed the necessary clerical skill to save 
Bimeler's meditations from oblivion. When the founder of Zoar 
died (1853), there was not a man in the whole colony who 
could fill his place as speaker. For a time they read to each 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 17 

other from good books, but as is said in the preface to Bimeler's 
Meditations, by the compiler, "It was not guite so agreeable." 

So the Separatists resolved to have Bimeler's speeches 
printed, that they might be read at their services. They also 
believed it would be a great sin, if they did not put to the 
best possible Christian use the good which had been entrusted 
to them. They therefore purchased a hand-press ; and as they 
found no one in Zoar who knew how to use it, they engaged 
a practical compositor and a printer, who were charged with su- 
perintending the printing of the work. The second publica- 
tion which was issued from the hand-press of the Separatists 
at Zoar, is a collection of poems or hymns by Terstegen, the 
mystic poet of the Reformed Church (1687-1769). Terstegen's 
collection was used by the Zoarites in their church services. The 
works of Bimeler and Terstegen were the only productions of 
the Zoar press. The printing outfit was subsequently sold and 
removed from the village. 

The Zoarites firmly continued in their view, that ever- 
lasting happiness could not be attained by outward ceremony, 
which rather led people astray. Therefore, the Wiirttemburg 
school teacher, Bimeler, made it his purpose to bring light to the 
true teachings of Christ and to proclaim them courageously to his 
followers. As the preface of Bimeler's sermons says: "Chris- 
tianity must be a thing of the heart. Man must divert himself 
of his bad qualities and of his passion, and deny his own vi- 
cious will and subordinate it to God in order that the old Adam 
die in him and Christ may arise anew." 

The Separatists were fond of designating themselves as those 
who have found the way that leads to eternal life. 

The sermons of Bimeler profess to proclaim true Christi- 
anity and their author was considered the mouthpiece of the 
Holy Ghost. Therefore, it is the latter that speaks in these 
books and not the founder of Zoar, who is nowhere men- 
tioned. Bimeler used to say, before he commenced his "meet- 
ing speech" : "When I come here, I generally come empty, with- 
out knowing whereof I am going to speak. I first get an in- 
spiration what and of what I am going to speak, but as soon 
Vol. vni— 2 



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18 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

as I commence to speak an infinite field of ideas opens before 
me, so I can choose where and what I like and what seems to 
me the most necessary." 

In these speeches Bimeler showed how man, after he 
leaves the state of innocence, starts on the road of nature 
which leads him to eternal damnation. But, if like the lost son, 
he turns at the right time and cleanses his heart by penitence, 
he is again taken into the community of God. 

Bimeler is very severe in his treatment of the official 
preachers, "who enter the pulpit only for the wages and for 
the comfort of life it affords, and who promote the hypocriti- 
cal worship and ceremonies, and he reproves them for with- 
holding intentionally from their flocks the true Gospel." He 
boldly stated the clergy were the pensioners of the state. That 
they did not get their knowledge from God, but had learned 
it like a trade in the schools. They explained the letter of the 
text, but felt not its spirit. They preached for compensation 
and were given to arrogance and hypocrisy. 

Bimeler's speeches contain lessons on morality, temperance, 
cleanliness, health, housekeeping, etc. As Bimeler possessed 
a certain amount of medical knowledge, some of his discourses 
even describe "the inner parts of the human body," in order to 
show what influence the immoderate use of food and drink may 
have on them. Bimeler is very liberal towards worldly 
science and does full justice to its progress. Besides, it 
is everywhere noticeable that he, unlike most of his col- 
leagues, was an educated, well read and, in many respects, an 
unprejudiced man. He possessed not only great talent, but 
a vast fund of knowledge. 

For the traditional Christian holidays, he did not have much 
respect, as he thought one day as sacred as another. Sunday 
he did not even consider a day of rest, because, as he remarked, 
the crops sown on that day did just as well as those sown on 
any other day. If nature makes no distinction in this respect, 
it was not necessary for man to do so. Time should always 
be used to the best advantage. The Zoarites worked on 
Sunday when occasion required, but in late years generally 
observed the day as one of rest. In spring one should sow, and 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 19 

in summer assist the crops so that the weeds would not out- 
grow them. In fall, the crops should be gathered, and winter 
should be used to prepare for the spring work. The lessons 
of the seasons Bimeler also appHed to the spiritual life of man. 
His parallels in this respect are distinguished from other sim- 
ilar teachings by their wealth of original and practical thought. 

His speeches, however, lack logical construction. "The most 
heterogeneous subjects are often thrown together higgledy-pig- 
gledy, which is especially annoying, because there is no connecting 
thread. But this fault may be chargeable to the amanuensis who 
certainly was not a stenographer."^^ 

The Separatists of Bimeler's school, like most other Separa- 
tists, were inclined to chiliasm." In course of time, however, they 
came to the conclusion, that the kingdom of God would not come 
outwardly, but inwardly, and even then slowly and by degrees. 
A state of grace could only be gradually attained by sincere re- 
pentance ; just as a person could not exchange his sick body for a 
sound body by legerdemain. A new heaven and a new earth can 
be created only, if by the killing of the old Adam we ourselves 
become new. If the latter is not done, a new heaven or earth are 
of no use to us. 

But Bimeler does not put all the blame on old Adam, for he 
believes that all men have a desire to taste of the tree of knowl- 
edge. Adam consequently acted simply according to human na- 
ture. He was just like men nowadays and had his bad and good 
qualities, the same as they are found in all other products of na- 
ture, such as plants, animals and minerals. 

Nor does Bimeler think much of foreign missionary work, 
because, he thinks, it is much more important for a true Christian 
to do this missionary work at home. The professional mission- 
aries only make nominal Christians and hypocrites, who may be 
able to recite the confession of faith, but otherwise know as little 
of Christ's plan of salvation, as they do of the man in the moon. 

In regard to marriage, which is always a vexed question in 

" Karl Knortz. 

"The doctrine that Christ will reign on earth a thousand years 
visibly and personally before the end of the world. 



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20 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

the confession of faith of the separatists, Bimeler does not always 
express himself as clearly and distinctly as he really intends. But 
this much is sure, he did not consider the married state absolutely 
sinful, as he himself was married and the father of several chil- 
dren. He said he knew, that many believed him opposed to mar- 
riage, but added, that if it enhanced the happiness of people, he 
had nothing against it. Moreover, such happiness was only tem- 
porary and ended with death. But he wished that the endeavor 
of men was principally directed towards acquisition of eternal hap- 
piness. A chaste life is therefore preferable, because through 
marriage sin with all its sad consequences is perpetuated. The 
married state could only in very rare cases be called sacred.^® 

Many of the members of the original company were opposed \ 
to the institution of marriage and decided to make celibacy ob- ' 
ligatory in the society as had Rapp with the Harmonists. Bimeler 
himself at first supported this view and taught that God did not 
look with pleasure on marriage, but that He only tolerated it; 
that in the future world there would be no marrying or giving in 
marriage ; that "husband and wife and children would not know 
each other" in heaven as there was no distinction of sex there. 
For the first ten years of the society therefore Bimeler opposed 
marriage and it was prohibited until about 1828 or 1830, when 
Bimeler was smitten with the charms of one of the comely mai- 
dens who was an inmate of his household and whose duty it was 
to wait upon the spiritual and temporal head of the Society. They 
were married and this wedding and example of the leader led to 
the abrogation of the anti-marriage rule and the previous celibate 
practice of the Society. The benedict Bimeler, consistent with his 
new and happy state, then freely advocated marriage as shown by 
his discourses. 

With regard to education, Bimeler says many things that de- 
serve notice. As a good example is much more efficacious than 
words, he exhorts parents to lead an exemplary life, whereby they 
can influence their children better than by the everlasting admoni- 
tion to pray and to attend prayer meetings, which fills them only 
with abhorence for the Word of God. Prayers at stated hours 

" Karl Knortz. 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 21 

do not at all promote the fear of God, because, if one is not in the 
right humor, they are easily regarded as a troublesome function. 
Prayers must be short. Long prayers are an abomination. Bi- 
meler himself did not pray, at least not outwardly, but inwardly, 
*'in spirit and in truth." All prayers must come from the heart, 
free and unforced. Therefore prayer books are not only unneces- 
sary but injurious to the true Christian, because they "promote 
babbling with the mouth." Bimeler sincerely appreciated the 
freedom, which obtained in American school and educational mat- 
ters, and the fact that there was no attempt made to prejudice! 
the young mind against any social or religious tendencies. The 
youth are permitted to attain their majority, when they may choose 
for themselves. This is entirely in harmony with the divine in-\ 
tention, according to which men are created free and which does 
not favor any creed that may have been created, parrot-like, during 
infancy. Bimeler was a decided admirer of the republican prin- 
ciple of government and he demanded what was perfectly in har- 
mony with it, the subordination of the individual will to that of 
the whole, as otherwise in a community like Zoar peace and har- 
mony might be easily disturbed. 

As all strife of the world may be traced back to selfishness, 
man must restrain love of self in the interest of all which, how- 
ever, few will try and fewer still achieve. But it is said, "Love 
God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself," and the latter 
is only possible through restraint of self-love, which, therefore, is 
a divine commandment. It is easy to love God, it is harder to love 
one's neighbor. But as men are one family the individual has no 
right to refuse to love his neighbor. The Separatists therefore 
took as their model the first Christian community of Jerusalem, 
where all were one heart and one soul. There was no compulsion 
there. But as soon as Christianity adopted compulsory means for 
its preservation, it began to decay. In a communistic colony there 
are r either poor nor rich. In the outer world there is wealth, and 
pov/,rty, of which Bimeler prefers the former, because in its proper 
application it may conduce to much happiness, while the latter 
often produces many sins and much misery. 

Bimeler nowhere appears as a zealot or fanatic and with the 
exception of the clergymen, whom he thoroughly hates, he con- 



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22 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

demns nobody, because we only see the acts of men, but not 
their motives. Nor is he an admirer of blind superstition; and 
wherever there is a chance, he praises the advance of science, be- 
cause it improves the condition of everybody. Every new inven- 
tion he hails with sincere joy. He always speaks like a loving 
father to his beloved children. He never acted toward his people 
in a tyrannical manner as Father Rapp (of the Harmonists) ; he 
exhorted but did not punish, and if some one dififered with him,, 
Bimeler did not for that reason expel him from the community. 

Like Father Rapp, Bimeler had declared war on tobacco, 
without, however, entirely prohibiting its use; as he never de- 
manded servile obedience, which would suppress individual views. 
Everybody should reflect for himself on all questions of life and 
form his own independent opinion. Therefore he says : 

"We must be glad, that God has led us out of our former 
fatherland, which is kept so much under pressure and servitude. 
We should rejoice and thank God with all our heart, that He has 
freed us from that servitude, and brought us hither, where we can 
serve our God without hindrance and molestation, according to 
our conviction and conscience. You know, my friends, in Ger- 
many they did not allow us to do so, and therefore we had no 
other choice but leave the country and seek a livelihood somewhere 
else. This was the reason why we came to America. It was not 
selfishness, nor greed, nor avarice, nor desire for any easy life, that 
caused us to emigrate. No, no such base motives led us to this 
step. If either of these had been our motives, as is the case with 
thousands of emigrants, we would not be so peaceful and satisfied 
within ourselves, as we indeed are, because we know that our mo- 
tives were, as above mentioned, a desire of a free practice of our 
principles. And I do not believe, my friends, that we shoijld have 
attained our aim, if we had been guided by those ignoble in- 
tentions." 

The old piety which was cultivated by Bimeler and his orig- 

. inal followers had to give place in Zoar to ideas more adapted to 

the present world. But in spite of all that, the Separatists ofHthe 

third generation until recently (as stated by Herr Knortz) siill 

sang the favorite verses of the old Separatists, one of whic^i 



verses was: 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 23 

Yearning is the soul in me 

After peace, 
That my troubles, stilled by Thee, 

Soon may cease. 
Lead me. Father, out of harm. 
To the quiet Zoar farm. 
If it be Thy will. 

LEGAL STATUS OF THE SOCIETY. 

Much speculation at various times was indulged in con- 
cerning the legal status of this society; its character as an or- 
ganization and the legal relationship of its members to the So- 
ciety. In several instances the courts were called upon to con- , 
sider these questions. Members who were deprived of sup- 
posed rights, or who had been expelled, at different periods 
in the history of the society, resorted to the law for remedy. 
Two of these cases became famous and important as legal pre- 
cedents. In the April Term, 185 1, a suit was brought by John 
G. Gosele and others in the Seventh Circuit Court of the 
United States. i" 

John Gosele was one of the original Separatist emigrants 
and continued as a member of the Zoar community until his 
death in 1827. He was a subscriber to the association articles 
of 1819 and 1824, but died before its incorporation. His heirs, 
John G. Gosele and others, brought this suit for a partition of 
the Zoar property and the restitution to them of their ances- 
tor's distributive share. This raised the question of the nature; 
of the contract entered into by the members and also the char-; 
acter of the organization under our laws. Did the Society con- 
stitute a joint tenancy or a perpetuity in property, both of which 
our laws forbid? If such was the contract it should be de- 
clared null and void. Or was the scheme some legal form of 
a partnership, and if so, did the death or withdrawal of a mem- 
ber destroy this partnership, and compel or permit the distri- 
bution of the co-partnership property. And how did the laws 
governing real estate descent apply to the lands of the com- 
munity ? 

"John G. Goesele et al. vs. Joseph M. Bimeler et al., 5 McLean 
Reports, 223. 



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24 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

"The rights of the plaintiffs in this suit rested upon the 
contracts before the incorporation of 1832. They claimed: i, 
that there was no grantee (of the lands) ; 2, that if there were 
a grantee, the grant would be void as a perpetuity. To this 
the court, in its opinion, replied that the lands were purchased 
by Bimeler for the Society, were paid for by it, and were held 
in trust by him ; the fee was in him and the members of the 
Society were the cestui que trusts. It was admitted that an un- 
incorporated community could not, in its aggregate capacity, 
take lands in grant, nor could its directors and their succes- 
sors in office take them, as the law, under the circumstances, 
recognizes no succession. A valid grant to such a community 
would only be made to the individuals composing it, or to an 
individual and his heirs, in trust for its use. The articles of 
association constituted a declaration of trust, which Bimeler, 
I the trustee, recognized as binding upon him. This declara- 
tion did not require the formalities of a grant; it was in writ- 
ing and the application of the trust being distinctly stated, it 
was not affected by the statute of frauds and perjuries. The 
members of the Society agree with each other that their prop- 
erty of every description should be held and used as a com- 
mon fund for their general benefit and they appointed certain 
agents to manage their concerns and provide for their sup- 
port. It is true, they relinquished to the Society their entire 
property, but it was done that, as a community, they might 
enjoy the benefits of the whole. The aggression which they 
established relieved the members generally from personal care, 
but the sum of their enjoyment was not lessened. The want 
of capacity in the Society, as deeds to take by grant, does not 
invalidate this procedure. The agreement was that the equit- 
able individual right to the trust should be relinquished for a 
common right with the other members, to the entire property. 
In effect, it was constituting a universal partnership, known 
I to the common law and which is not in violation of any of 
I its principles, the name of the Society was used as a designa- 
tion of the whole body, the same as the assumed name of a 
firm to designate its partners. Individuality of membership of 
the property then possessed by the members of the association 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 2& 

was abolished, and also future acquisitions for the common right 
of an interest in the whole. This common right was limited 
to the members of the association ; consequently those who left 
it, or were expelled, forfeited such right. * * ♦ * By this 
arrangement, the members of the association were placed on an 
equality as to their interests in the property and their enjoy- 
ment of it. Their minutest wants were alike provided for, 
through the agency established; and this was the consideration 
on which the contract was founded. That, in the absence of 
•all fraud and unfairness, this was a bona fide and legal con-' 
tract, cannot be doubted. An important part of this contract 
was that the property thus surrendered should belong only 
to the members of the association ; consequently the heirs of the 
members could not claim an interest in the property as heirs, ' 
but only as members. Against such a disposition of property, 
I know of no principle of law or morals. Any individual has 
the power to divest himself of his property, real and personal, 
ior a valuable consideration. 

"Gosele and the other members, when they relinquished 
their individual property for a common interest in the whole, 
and appointed agents to manage the concern, expressly agreed 
to receive as a consideration for their property and labor a 
support for themselves and their families, including clothing 
and every other provision necessary for their comfort. 
* * * * It was a partnership agreement among themselves, 
and was binding upon each individual who entered into it. 

"If there be no principle of law opposed to such a com- 
munity of property, it must be held valid on the rules which 
apply to partnerships. There was no moral considerations op- 
posed to it. In adopting it, the Separatists Society followed 
the example found in the early history of the Apostles, and 
which received a lawful sanction of heaven. 

"But it is said that this association contemplates an enjoy- 
ment of the property in perpetuity; that those who shall be- 
come members of it, through all time shall enjoy it, and that 
this the law will not permit. • * * ♦ It must be observed 
that title (to the land) vested in the trustees from the date 
of the deed ; and the common use, in the society, as fully when 



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26 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

the articles were agreed to, as was contemplated at any future- 
period. It is true that the association could only be perpet- 
uated by the admission of new members. But such admission is. 
not obligatory on the Society. An applicant to become a member 
must first apply to the directors, who bring his case before 
the board of arbitration, and pass their examination. If ad- 
mitted, it must be on the condition that he shall relinquish 
his individual property to the members of the association,, 
and with them enjoy a common benefit in the whole. This 
is a matter of contract at the time, as it was at the formation 
of the society. The perpetuity then, is not created by the first 
contract, but depends upon subsequent contracts, which may 
or may not be entered into. No right is derived or can be 
claimed under the articles of association until the individual 
shall have complied with the conditions of his admission. He 
then becomes a partner in the association, and is subject to the 
original articles, not from any instrinsic force in them, but 
because he has adopted them by contract. Here is the origin 
of his right, and of his obligation, and the question may well 
be asked, is this a perpetuity? If it be a perpetuity, it is a. 
perpetuity that can extend beyond lives in being, only by vol- 
untary contracts. * * * * This association, in principle,, 
does not differ from any other partnership, where the mem- 
bers create the capital by giving up their property to the con- 
cern, living upon their profits, applying their surplus to an in- 
crease of capital, and receiving new members on the terms of 
the original association. This, if carried out, may endure for 
many generations, but it is not a perpetuity, which the law 
prohibits. The enjoyment of the right, on condition of con- 
tinued membership, has no necessary connection with a perpe- 
tuity. If the condition be broken by a member, it depends 
upon the individuals and the Society whether he shall be re- 
stored or not. * » * * For the reasons stated, I think 
the agreement entered into by the members giving up their in- 
dividual interest in the property for a common interest in the 
whole of it, so long as they shall remain members, is not void 
in law." 

The federal circuit court decided the case for the Society 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 27 

and against the contestants. They appealed the case to the 
United States Supreme Court, when it was tried in the De- 
cember term, 1852, Roger B. Taney being then Chief Justice. 
The interests of the Society were defended by no less distin- 
guished advocates than Henry M. Stanberry and Thomas Ew- 
ing. Mr. Stanberry, in a very learned brief, argued that the 
association was not a simple pure partnership, liable to the 
incidents of such and subject to the operation of all the or- 
dinary causes of dissolution — ^viz: that it might be dissolved by 
the first death which happened among its members, and was 
capable of dissolution and partition of its real estate, at any 
time at the instance of any member. "The original agree- 
ment provides," he said, "for a perfect community of property, 
real and personal, and for a succession or survivorship among 
members on the Tontine principle. It guards with great care 
against the dissolution of the body. » * * This was not 
a mere partnership, nor the members tenants in common. The 
agreement for community of property, the mutual surrender 
of all individual property into the common stock and the ex- 
press stipulation against any reclamation in the case of with- 
drawal, and for the preservation of the common property, for 
the exclusive use and perpetual enjoyment of the members, in 
succession, are inconsistent with the incidents of mere part- 
nership or tenancy in common. 

"But, is is said, there are legal difficulties which the agree- 
ment of the parties cannot surmount. That upon the death of 
a member, the Society was dissolved ex necessitate. This con- 
sequence, though generally true as to partnerships, does not 
follow where the agreement provides against it. It is not an 
inevitable consequence. The doctrine of dissolution upon the 
death of a partner, only obtains where the deceased partner has 
a continuing interest in the property or profits of the associa- 
tion. It is not just that the surviving partners should be obliged 
to carry on the business, without his co-operation, for the bene- 
fit of his estate. 

"I have said this Society was not an ordinary partnership. 
It very closely resembles that sort of partnership in the civil 
law which is called universal. "Universal partnerships {des so- 



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28 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

■cieties universelles) are contract by which the parties agree to 
make a common stock of all property they respectively pos- 
sess — they may extend it to all property, real or personal, or 
restrict it to the personal only. They may, as in other part- 
nerships, agree that the property itself shall be common stock, 
or that the fruits only shall be such; but property which may 
accrue to one of the parties, after entering into the partner- 
ship, by donation, succession, or legacy, does not become com- 
mon stock, and any stipulation to that effect, previous to the 
obtaining of the property aforesaid, is void.' 

" 'An universal partnership of profits includes all the gains 
that may be made, from whatever source, whether from prop- 
erty or industry, with the restriction contained in the last ar- 
ticle, and subject to all legal stipulations between the parties.' 
* * * This association is a general partnership, with the 
principle of survivorship ingrafted upon it. In this particu- 
lar it takes the character of a Tontine, which is a society with 
the benefit of survivorship, the longest liver taking the com- 
mon property in absolute ownership. * » » * j can see 
no objection to this provision as to ownership. Certainly as 
to personalty there can be no difficulty ; but it is said, in so far 
as the real property of the company is concerned, there can be 
no joint tenancy, no right of survivorship, in Ohio; and that 
upon a death of a member, his interest in the real estate passes 
to his heirs at law, and that at any time the right to parti- 
tion might be asserted. « » * » There is, then, no ob- 
jection to survivorship by express limitation or agreement. 
This being so, there has been no descent of any heirs of the 
■deceased members of the society, and there is no present right 
of partition in any of the living members. 

"Objection is also made to this association, that the prin- 
ciple of community and succession of property among the mem- 
bers, involves a perpetuity. There is nothing like a perpetuity 
in it. The society has the perfect right of disposal over all its 
property, real as well as personal, and this power of disposal 
is wholly inconsistent with the idea of perpetuity, which only 
■exists where the property is so limited that no living agency 
<;an unfetter it. 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 29" 

"It is further urged that this Society is contrary to the 
genius of our free institutions — that its constitution enforces 
perpetual service and adherence to a particular faith, and that 
it is aristocratic in its tendency. 

"If there were anything in such objections, the constitu- 
tion answers them all. So far from being at all aristocratic,, 
this Society is a pure democracy. All the officers are chosen 
by ballot, every member, male and female, have an equal voice ; 
and the body of the Society reserves to itself the power of 
removing officers and changing the form of government at 
pleasure. All distinctions of rank or wealth are abolished, and 
a perfect equality provided for. No single dogma in religion 
or politics is announced, no unusual restraint on marriage, nor 
subserviency to any doctrine out of the common way, exist; 
and so far from any enforcement of perpetual service being 
provided for, the right is reserved for every member to retire 
from the society at pleasure, with the single condition that no^ 
claim is to be set up for services or property contributed. The 
powers which the Society confides to its officers are temporary, 
and so distributed as to prevent any one member or officer 
from engrossing too much power. 

"Besides this liberal frame of government, the constitution, 
by very full enactments, provides for the education of the chil- 
dren, the comfort and support of all the members, and the 
peaceable settlement of all controversies by domestic tribunals. 
It is impossible to hold that such a constitution is contrary to 
public policy, or in any sense illegal. To say that such a so- 
ciety cannot exist under our form of government is a libel on 
our free institutions. 

"This is not a perpetuity in the common law sense of the term, 
it does not tie up real estate, for it may be disposed of at any time. 
Such a limitation of the real estate, or its proceeds, would be good, 
by the laws of Ohio, for the lives in being; and each tenant for 
life, by his own signature, if the full estate at any time vested in 
him or them, could equally well transmit it to another life, and so 
in succession, a majority being at all times able to terminate the 
succession at pleasure." 

Justice McLean delivered the opinion of the court in which 



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30 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

he said that "according to the plan of the Zoar articles that Gosele 
renounced individual ownership of the property and an agreement 
was made to labor for the community in common with others, for 
their comfortable maintenance. Ah individual right of property 
became merged in the general right of the association. He had 
no individual right and could transmit none to his heirs. It is 
.strange that the complainants should ask a partition through their 
ancestor, when by the terms of his contract, he could have no 
divisible interest. They who now enjoy the property enjoy it 
under his express contract. * * * * This was a benevolent 
scheme and from its character might properly be denominated a 
•charity. But from the nature of the association and the objects 
to be obtained, it is clear the individual members could have no 
rights to the property except its use, under the restrictions im- 
posed by the articles. The whole policy of the association was 
founded on a principle which excluded individual ownership. 
Such an ownership would defeat the great object in view, by nec- 
essarily giving to the association a temporary character. If the 
interests of its members could be transferred, or pass by descent, 
the maintenance of the community would be impossible. In the 
natural course of things the ownership of the property in a few 
years, by transfer and descent, would pass out of the community 
into the hands of strangers, and thereby defeat the object in view. 
By disclaiming all individual ownership of the property acquired 
l)y their labor, for the benefits secured by the articles, the members 
give durability to the fund accumulated, and to the benevolent 
purposes to which it is applied. No legal objection is perceived 
to such a partnership. If members separate themselves from the 
Society their interest in the property ceases, and new members 
that may be admitted, under the articles, enjoy the advantages 
■common to all." 

A subsequent suit^" was begun in the common pleas court of 
Tuscarawas county, carried through the circuit court and finally 
decided in the Ohio supreme court in the December term, 1862. 
That case was brought by John Gasely and his wife Anna Maria 
Gasely. Anna Maria, with her father, was one of the emigrants 

™ Gaselys et al. vs. Separatists' Society of Zoar et al. , 13 Ohio 
State, 144. 

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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 31 

of 1817, John Gasely was also a member. They were married in 
1830 and signed the articles in 1833. In 1845 John Gasely was 
expelled from the Society, "for just and sufficient cause," it is 
claimed, and his wife, Anna Maria, "was compelled to leave also 
or abandon him and their children, which she was unwilling to 
do." The petition of the Gasely's was for their distributive share 
of the Zoar property. In this case also the Supreme Court of 
Ohio sustained the contract upon which the community was ^ 
based. 

PRACTICAI, WORKINGS OF THE SOCIETY. 

The location of the settlement of Zoar was well chosen on the 
east bank of the Tuscarawas river, in the northern part of the 
county (Tuscarawas) where the stream flows through a valley 
fertile in soil and rich in scenery. The Ohio and Erie canaP^ 
passes near by and the town is a station on the Wheeling & Lake 
Erie Railroad. Alighting from the train one seems to have left 
the modern American civilization and to have suddenly dropped 
into a little German village that dates its origin to a century or 
more ago. One of the county highways passes through it and 
forms its principal thoroughfare called Main street, and the only 
one having a name — and running almost due north and south. 
The village consists of not more than seventy-five buildings — of 
various shapes and sizes — and scattered irregularly upon eight 
or nine streets, two of which on either side are parallel to Main, 
the other four crossing these at right angles and extending east 
and west. Excepting Main, the streets are narrow and unim- 
proved, there being no curbs or gutters, and on the side streets no 
distinctive walks unless created by packed ashes or gravel, making 
a footway slightly raised above the level of the road. There was 
no system of sewage or drainage — though water was brought 
into the village by piping from a spring on the hill north of the 
urban limits ; water was thus conveyed to one or two public drink- 
ing troughs, but it was generally not carried into the houses. 
Zoar seemed to studiously avoid modern conveniences. Particu- 
larly did it shun light; at some of the street corners a wooden 



^ The Ohio and Erie Canal was built 1825-1833 and extends from 
Portsmouth to Cleveland. 



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32 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

lamp post stood like a lonely and almost useless sentry, as the ap- 
paratus for illumination was either wanting or impaired. But 
there would seem to be little or no need of village lights as the 
good people had rare occasion to "go out o' nights." The streets, 
however, were cleanly ; the village for the most part had a trim 
and swept appearance, characteristic of the German habit. The 
garbage of the dwellings was gathered each day in a wagon and 
carried off. The home interiors were scrupulously scrubbed and 
dusted. The total population did not exceed 300 including the 
Zoarites proper and the employed help. The natives lived in some 
forty dwellings — a fewer number than usually obtains in a settle- 
ment of an equal number of inhabitants. Many of the domiciles 
were double and accommodated two or possibly three families. 
The other buildings were for public or common purposes, — fac- 
tories, barns, store-houses, hotel, town hall, church, schoolhouse, 
etc. The living houses were of various ages and styles — an- 
tiquity prevailing. Some of the log cabins still stood in part — 
if not entire — mementoes of the pioneer life of the Society. The 
later frame structures were a story, a story and a half, in a few 
instances, two stories high. There were a few old time red bricks 
with heavy beam lintels. These homes though indicating the 
strictest economy in construction and form were comfortable ; the 
rooms were usually large, square and low, the windows often 
placed high up and small; the chimnies were often those of "ye 
olden tyme." There were no cellars and no garrets. The floors 
were mostly bare or partially and cheaply carpeted. The furni- 
ture was simple, sparse, heavy and time-honored. Pictures and 
ornaments were few and far between. A rigid plainness existed 
throughout these humble homes, nor was there any variation de- 
: noting different degrees of comfort or means as one sees in every 
other village. There was an undeviating sameness in the mode 
of living. 

The houses stood close to the street, upon which the steps 
often projected, but in nearly every instance an extent of yard 
surrounded the house on the sides and rear. These yards were 
invariably utilized as vegetable and flower gardens. Each family 
mainly raised its own vegetables though the more common ones 
were supplied by the Society. Flowers in great profusion was 

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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 33 

the one and almost the only sesthetic feature of Zoar domesticity. 
But the flowers were mostly the old fashioned sort. "Roses red 
and Violets blue, and the sweetest flowers that in the forest grew." 
In some cases the homely walls of the antique homes and the lat- 
tice of the open porches which many had, were decorated with 
chmbing foliage and creeping flowers. Their devotion to flori- 
culture was evidenced by public recognition, in the maintenance of 
a flower garden or park situated in the center of the village, facing j 
on the main street and occupying a full square, an acre or more 
of ground. In the midst of this space was an arbor uniquely de- 
vised by spruce trees so planted and trimmed as to form a tree 
cabin, in which were wooden seats — offering a most suitable 
trysting place for the Zoar Romeos and Juliets. From this bower, 
so curiously combining art and nature there radiated, like spokes 
from a hub a series of narrow walks flanked with beds of blossoms 
and rows of small shrubbery. This garden was the special pride 
and pleasure of the villagers and from time memorial has been 
cared for by some member especially delegated as the gardener. 
It has been the admiration of all visitors and the subject for many 
an artist. 

The other picturesque characteristic of the village were the\ 
old, red, heavy, trough-shaped, tile roofs that covered many of 
the buildings. At one time the manufacture of these tiles was an 
industry of the Society, but long since the market for these obso- 
lete goods ceased. 

Near the garden, lofty stone steps ascending to the entrance, 
was the conspicuous dwelling of the village — the former resi- 
dence of the leader, Joseph Bimeler. This edifice, often desig- 
nated by the visitors as "the palace," was a spacious basement and 
two and a half story, cupola surmounted, red brick mansion; a 
two story, colonial columned portico extended the full width of 
the front. It was erected in 1835, a few years after the marriage of 
the founder of the Society — in those days a most costly and 
pretentious establishment and certainly not only far beyond any- 
thing in its locality, but quite equal to the best western manorial 
homes of its age and generation. This semi-official residence was \ 
given a somewhat villa like appearance by the ample grounds on 
Vol. Vin— 3 



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34 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications . 

either side, in which flowers and small fruit flourished in great 
profusion. The interior arrangement was in accord with the 
striking exterior architecture. Here Bimeler lived until his death 
in 1853. Bimeler taught equality of life and in his discourses 
played the part of a "great commoner," but this comparatively 
aristocratic abode — so far in excess of anything any of his asso- 
ciates occupied — rather suggests the suspicion that the disciple of 
democratic commonality was not averse, even at the expense of the 
community, to enjoying some exclusive luxuries. At times, how- 
ever, this conduced to criticism and even open charges, particularly 
from those who withdrew or were driven from the Society. It 
was claimed by the Gosele contestants that Bimeler was making a 
good thing out of his prominent position and that the Agent-Gen- 
eral traveled about in "a gay and brilliant equipage that flashed 
and spun," consisting of a fine carriage and span of speeders. 
This imputation was not sustained and it was proven in the trial 
that the carriage was a very ordinary one, "worth only about three 
hundred dollars," that one of the horses cost about twenty dollars 
and the other thirty or forty dollars. It was unmistakeable how- 
ever that Bimeler did ride about with his wife — while his equals 
footed it. But it is also true in extenuation of this privilege — un- 
enjoyed by other Zoarites — that he was permanently lamed by a 
jbroken leg, his carriage conveyance being necessary. But beyond 
doubt Bimeler seasoned his plain thinking and simple teaching 
with no slight flavor of high living, but that seems to have been 
willingly and cheerfully allowed by his contemporary people. Un- 
disputed tradition and the universal testimony of the aged mem- 
bers, still living, who remember Bimeler, deprecate any aspersion 
upon the character, morality, honesty or sincerity of precept or 
practice of their founder and acknowledged superior. With just 
cause they all respect and honor his memory as an able, just and 
true man — devoted to the welfare of his fellow-members. This 
official residence for the past few years has been used in part as 
living quarters for some of the families and in part as the store- 
house or repository for the goods to be distributed to the members, 
groceries, clothing and living necessities. To this building on 
(two) designated days of the week the villagers would go to 
procure their supplies — each family being allowed ample quantity; 

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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 35 

of the articles supplied, both food and such things as were fur- 
nished for the housekeeping. No account or reckoning of this 
distribution was kept by the society — or its officers — with any 
individual member. This at first always surprises the thoughtful 
visitor and appears to be a gross laxity of business procedure, but 
there was no need of "bookkeeping;" there could be no charge 
against, or credit to a member and hence no balance to be struck. 
What was the property of one was the property of all. The trus- 
tees allotted the proper portion to each individual or family. Each 
person was permitted two suits of clothes a year. The material 
would be submitted in a limited variety and quality; each would 
select the cloth and the tailors made the men's suits and the seam- ' 
stresses the women's dresses. Often the women made their 
own dresses and knit their own stockings and those for the men. 
In former years the attire of the Zoarites was nearly uniform, 
being very simple and eccentric in style, somewhat after the 
fashion of the Quakers. But now-a-days their apparel is much 
the same as one might see in any American village. They are 
neat in appearance and their clothes are kept in better order 
and repair than is usually the case. The women wore the homely 
sun bonnet. Luxuries, such as jewelry and ornamental articles 
of dress were, of course, unsupplied and unworn. Each man 
was however entitled to a plain, silver watch and watch and 
clock repairing was one of the assigned occupations. 

Until recent years the material for their clothing was almost 
entirely made by the Society. They raised their own flax and 
wool and in their mills wove both woolen and linen cloths ; this 
was done to the extent of selling these goods in large quantities to 
outsiders. These factories were both closed at the date of my visit. 
For some time they had ceased to export their fabrics, but on the 
contrary had purchased the material, at least in part, for their own 
clothing. The Society could buy cloth cheaper than it could 
make it. Indeed this was true of nearly all their industries which 
formerly were numerous and flourishing and not only produced 
all necessary commodities for their comfortable existence, but also 
afforded large and profitable commerce with the outside world. 
Their location upon the Tuscarawas river gave them a valuable 
and unfailing water power and they had two large flour mills, a 



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36 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

saw mill, planing mill, machine shop, tannery, dye house, stove 
foundry, cooper shop, woolen mill, brewery, slaughter house, 
blacksmith shop, tile works, pottery, etc. In all these concerns 
when in successful operation the best of goods were produced 
both as to quality of material and honesty of manufacture, and 
their goods were eagerly sought by foreign customers. But dur- 
ing the present generation these enterprises have declined and 
i ceased to be profitable — the age of invention and improvement in 
I machinery, the multiplicity of outside manufactures and the fierce 
contest of competition had undermined and crushed many of their 
manufacturing interests. The Zoarites are not a progressive peo- 
f pie ; they do not keep pace in their business methods with the 
! times — the changes in appliance and the modes of conducting 
commercial affairs became too rapid for their adoption, and from 
being producers they have become consumers, relying mostly 
upon the outer world to supply their needs. 

Up to a few years ago they obtained the hides from their cat- 
tle and made their leather for their shoes ; that was long since 
abandoned, as they could buy leather for less than the cost of\ 
making ; and their chief shoemaker informed them that they were 
foolish to continue making their shoes, as they could obtain them 
ready made better and cheaper. But he added, "We have not 
the money to buy all them things, so we keep on making our 
clothes and shoes." Formerly it was the rule that the mem- 
bers get an order from the trustees on the shoemaker for their 
shoes. Latterly this has not been required. One needing "foot 
gear" simply resorted to the shoe shop, had his measure taken 
and patiently bided the time of the leisurely cobbler. For many 
years in the past the Zoar shoe shop did a thriving business 
with the outside countrymen. But now the shrewd farmers 
buy the machine made article, elsewhere, for less money. 

The stove foundry long ago closed up — the stoves cast 
were grotesquely large and cumbersome. When the sale for 
the original pattern ceased they attempted to make no others. 
The stoves outside might grow light and graceful and econo-' 
mical in the consumption of fuel, but the Zoar heaters remained I 
large, heavy and homely as ever. 

The machine shop, planing and saw mill were all in op- 

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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 37 

eration, as was the larger flouring mill, the latter under the 
management of Peter Bimeler, a direct descendant in the third 
generation from the noted Joseph. This mill is most pic- 
turesquely located just south of the village on the main road 
from Canal Dover. It is not far from the river and the mill 
race runs through a cluster of noble and venerable forest trees, 
while across the roadway and upon the slope of the hill are the 
home and grounds of the miller, just named. His house is 
famous for containing a pipe organ, made entirely by Mr. Peter 
Bimeler. The wind department of the instrument is ingen- 
iously run by a cable extending to the mill and propelled 
by the same power that drives the grist wheels. Mr. Bimeler 
is not only a genius in invention and mechanical construction, 
but also he is one in music. Without ever having had any 
instruction from professional or amateur teachers, he plays read- 
ily and most skillfully the most classical and the most popular 
music. It has been remarked that music seems to be the only 
direction in which the Zoarites display any talent, but that, 
it may be said, is common to the German people. There were, 
however, no educated musicians in Zoar. Worldly music was 
prohibited by the more fervid in religion. They used a hymn 
book, but sang sparingly in their church services. They had 
for some time maintained an orchestra, which, I was told, did 
most creditable work. It was led by Mr. Louis Zimmerman, 
the energetic secretary of the Society, and an accomplished 
musician. Mr. Zimmerman seemed to be the promoter and] 
leader of whatever social life Zoar could boast. The Zoar 
brass band was an institution of some years' stand- 
ing. I did not see a piano nor an organ in any of 
the houses, save that described above and the one in their 
church. I was much entertained one morning by watching 
a band of four or five Italian musicians, tambourine and banjo 
girls, led by the inevitable organ grinder, as they strolled and 
played through the village. The children flocked to hear the 
music, much as children do anywhere, but there were no demon- 
strations of joy or glee, and greatly to the disgust of the play- 
ers, who evidently did not understand the peculiar character of 
their audience ; there were no pennies thrown ; "not one cent for 



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38 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

tribute" — it was not a cash community — strange anomaly,, 
money did not circulate in that civilization. Music, neverthe- 
less, timid and primitive as it seemed to be, constituted appar- 
ently the only form of recreation in which Zoar ever indulged. 
The hum-drum of Zoar life was relieved during the sum- 
mer months by the visitors who frequented the place. Zoar 

I is a favorite destination for excursion parties and these are 
accommodated in a large and attractive grove called the Park,, 
just west of the village and overlooking the valley and river 
of Tuscarawas. This custom of permitting and even encourag- 
ing visitors is an innovation of late years and one not calculated 
to advance the welfare of the community, which is thus brought 
in contact with the outside life and a phase of it not always the 
most desirable. The Zoar people in their life were almost de- 
jvoid of amusements. Their religion prohibited dancing ; they had 
no social nor literary nor even musical entertainments. Such 
a thing as a lecture or concert or public entertainment of any 
kind seemed to be, nay was, entirely foreign to Zoar. Nor 
so far as I could learn had they any diversions in the home 
circle. Nor did they seem to miss the pastimes of modern 
society. Perhaps their life, free from care, worry and hurry,, 
and excessive physical labor and mental exertion required little 
or no relaxation. Their temperament, moreover, was sedate 
and stolid. They showed less sense of humor than the Ger- 

' man generally manifests. Though on the other hand they were 
uniformly aflable and good natured, perhaps more so than the 
average German. Occasionally a gleam of facetiousness would 
break through their earnest conversation. One would imagine 
that their isolated and fraternal form of life would intensify 
sociability ; probably it did ; they knew each other as one fam- 
ily and owing to their close and continued contact many fam- 
ilies were intermarried. Marital relationship and proximity of 

! residence is not always promotive of friendliness, but the Zoar- 
ites constituted to an exceptional degree a happy family. 

My first visit was made in the summer of 1898, after their 
determination to divide the property and dissolve the Society,, 
but some months before either of those purposes were accom- 
plished. Preparations were in process for the distribution, such 

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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 39 

as the surveying and appraising of the land. The old regime 
of the society was still in full force, but they were inclined just 
then to be some somewhat suspicious of visitors from fear of 
interference with their affairs or the acquiring by outsiders of 
information which they did not wish imparted to the public. 
It was in the afternoon that I arrived at the Zoar hotel, an 
overwhelmingly large hostelry for so small a town. The old 
hotel, erected half a century ago, stands on the main street, 
and extending east on the corner for fully a hundred and fifty 
feet, has had added to its front a modern structure three stories 
in height and containing some fifty commodious rooms. A wide 
veranda surrounds the new addition on the west front and south 
side. This new wing was added some five or six years since to 
accommodate the large number of summer boarders who frequent ; 
Zoar to spend a longer or shorter time enjoying the beauti- 
ful scenery, the rural drives of the surrounding country and 
the quaint and quiet life of the village. The old landlord greeted 
me respectfully, but hardly with that personal zeal and financial 
interest usually displayed by the professional hosts in their 
new guests. From majority he had been allotted to "run the 
hotel." He was moreover a trustee of the society and a mani 
of unusual general intelligence and special knowledge of the' 
afifairs of the Zoarites. The hotel corps, cooks, waiters, etc., 
were assigned to their duties as their respective portions in the 
labor of the Society. The cuisine was countrified but credit- 
able — not quite the usual hotel variety, but all wholesome, well 
cooked and all the articles of diet were the "real thing," as 
they were genuine home productions and could be trusted 
without the test of the state "pure food" inspection. There 
was a "bar" — the only one in Zoar — -in the corner room of the 
hotel, where beer and wines were served; the latter mostly of 
the village vintage. The beer drank in this region had here- 
tofore been solely that of Zoar brewing, noted for its purity 
and excellency. The brewery had recently shut down and an 
importation was now all that could be had. It could be bought 
cheaper than made. The Zoarites drank beer freely. This i 
beverage, fresh from the brewery, when in operation, was sup- \ 
plied to each family in generous quantities each day, precisely 



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40 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

as was milk and cider. But they were a sober people; rarely 
did a case of intoxication occur. The income to the hotel from 
whatever source, bar, board or livery, went, of course, to the 
society fund, as did all revenues received from any source; none 
iwent to the landlord or any of the hotel force. 

Across the street, opposite the hotel, was the only store of 
the place; a general country store, where dry goods, grocer- 
ies, hardware, etc., were provided for the outside country cus- 
tomers, the neighboring farmers. This merchandizing estab- 
lishment was conducted in the interests of the Society and did 
a large and profitable business. Mr. Louis Zimmermann, the 
secretary and treasurer of the Society, was the manager of this, 
as he was of all the negotiations between the Society and out- 
side parties. In this store room was the postofifice of the vil- 
lage. This store and the hotel opposite formed the center of 
the village life and here the male members who were so in- 
clined spent their lounging hours, smoking, chatting and dis- 
cussing the affairs of their community. Their conversation 
was mostly in German, not a very pure form, but rather a peas- 
ant dialect. Nearly all could speak English. They were not 
an educated people, though all adults could read and write in 
German. They were not a reading class. Literature of any 
• description was conspicuously absent in this community. There 
< was no library in the place ; books were a rarity in the homes. 
Some of the Zoarites were subscribers to a weekly (generally 
German) paper, but that was an exception. In former years the 
admission of outside literature was discouraged, if not forbid- 
den as tending to weaken their religious faith and make inroads 
into the principles and practices of their life. On the contrary, 
they never attempted to propagate their doctrines among outsid- 
I ers. They never sought converts. No paper or periodi- 
' cal of any kind was ever printed or published by the So- 
ciety. They took little or no interest in the concerns of the 
outside world, unless it was in national politics. This lack of in- 
terest was true of the older people but did not apply so much 
to the younger generation. They were all loyal American citi- 
zens. In the Rebellion, in spite of their peace principles, many 
enlisted and fought for the preservation of the Union, and the ' 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 41 

Society had its quota of veterans. None, I was told, took part 
in the late Spanish war. They took an interest in national 
events, particularly in the campaign of 1896, when as the elec- 
tion returns showed, almost to a man they voted the Repub- 
lican ticket. The money issue of that campaign must have seemed 
rather extraneous to their personal inter-dealings. The ques- 
tion may have had a bearing on the commercial relations of the 
■Society with outsiders, but among themselves they had no need 
of nor use for money. Everything they permitted themselves 
to have or enjoy was provided to the individual "without money 
and without price." In this respect they, the older ones espe- 
cially, were to be regarded as in the position of wards of an 
estate. I wondered what they would do when given their prop- 
erty and placed upon their own responsibility, exertion and 
resources. There were, in a partisan sense, no local politics 
in Zoar, though there was not an absence of municipal func- 
tions. Once a year the members of the society met in the 
Town Hall, situated in a small frame building erected for that 
purpose, and in the little belfry of which hung the bell that 
called the people to work in the morning and sounded the din- 
ner and quitting hour. In this little hall the members would 
gather, hear reports from their officers, consider their questions, 
•discuss their interests and hold their elections. 

In 1884 (August' 25) when the railroad came along and 
established a station at Zoar and put the village in steam touch 
with the world, the Zoarites incorporated^^ their village and as- 
sumed municipal form, with a mayor, town council, marshal, 
€tc. But in the election of these officials there was never any 
division of any kind. No partisan contests disturbed the even 
tenor of Zoar life. Their elections were monotonous and unani- 
mous. The municipal officers were chosen from the leading 
members of tlie Society and at the time of my visit Jacob Sturm, 
one of the three trustees, was the Mayor as well. He was also 
the railway station agent. His earnings belonged to the Society. 

As the evening shades began to fall an interesting scene 
was presented by "the lowing herd winding slowly" from the 

^ These Articles of Incorporation will be found in latter part of this 
article. 



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42 Ohio .Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

pasture to the village barn. There were "ninety and nine" of 
them, many with their clanging bells, driven, or rather accom- 
panied, by one of the Zoarite patriarchs, who bore on his bent 
shoulders the burden of more than three-score and ten years. 
The sleek kine filed leisurely down the lane into either side of 
the basement of an immense barn. The name of each cow was 
posted in large letters over her stall and each found without 
hesitation her own proper place. A dozen or more Zoar lasses,, 
with pails and stools, cheerily entered upon the task of milk- 
ing, superintended by the stable "boss." The cattle and barn 
were clean and tidy and this milking scene was a memorable one„ 
The milk was carried into a small dairy close by, placed in large 
cans, and here dealt out to the village housewives or children 
who came with their buckets to receive their portion. The 
barn was a lofty concern, and in the upper story was kept hay 
and feed for the cattle. There were two other extensive build- 
ings or sets of buildings used in connection with the farming- 
department. On the eastern edge of the village were the stables 
where were kept all the horses, some fifty or more in num- 
ber, and in adjoining buildings the wagons, farm implements,, 
machines, etc. The horses were well fed and cared for, though 
this stable establishment had a decidedly neglected and dilapi- 
dated appearance. 

On a hill still to the east of the village was an enormous "L" 
shaped sheep shed with the red tile roof, which, owing to the 
elevation on which the buildings stood, could be seen from 
almost any direction for a long distance. At one time wool 
raising was a very great feature in their industrial life, but the 
flock of sheep now only numbered two or three hundred. In 
the good old times it had often numbered more than a thou- 
sand. Not far from the horse stable was the cider mill, which 
was in full blast, producing an article of superior quality. When 
in season this was daily carted about the village in a low- 
wheeled, large-barrelled conveyance, precisely resembling a small 
sprinkling wagon. It stopped at every door and the inmates 
were supplied with a pail full or more, as was required. 

Not far from the hotel was the laundry where the washing 
was done for the community. Near by was a stunted, one- 

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7"^!? Separatist Society of Zoar. 43' 

story, sullen, ominous, looking structure with small, iron-grated 
windows and a heavy double plank door. It was the Zoar Bas- 
tille ; they called it the "calaboose." I inquired with much sur- 
prise as to the necessity for this penal institution in so moral 
and sober a community, and was informed with a smile on the 
part of my respondent, that it was built solely for the benefit of 
visitors to the village. It came with the incorporation of the 
town and the town marshal. Zoar was, as before stated, a fa- 
vorite field for the pleasure seeker and occasionally the excur- 
sionist exhiliration reached a boisterous and even belligerent 
stage, and incarceration was the only remedy. In the days , 
when the tramp was so numerously abroad in the land, Zoar 
was his haven and delight, as the generous and sympathetic 
Zoarite would "take him in," feed him and lodge him over 
night in the lockup. But my informant proudly stated the 
Zoarites themselves never had any use for a prison. No com- 
munity of like number and age ever had such a record for mor-; 
ality and good behavior. From the origin of the Society no 
Zoarite, while a member of the Society, was ever charged with 
a felony or crime. These remarkable statements were verified 
by several of the oldest inhabitants ; certainly the highest testi- 
mony to the perfect character and spotless life of the Separ- 
atists. It is doubtful whether any community in any time or 
place can produce such a record. 

At the northern outskirts of the village upon rising ground , 
that overlooked the whole settlement were the bakery, church and I 
schoolhouse. The bakery was an interesting relic of the old time, 
primeval bake ovens. The family having in charge this important 
feature of the Society's provision department, were assigned a 
good sized corner dwelling, with a roomy, stone floored kitchen 
into the rear of which was built a cavernous brick oven, the cook- 
ing chamber of which was elevated about two feet from the level 
of the kitchen floor. This oven was large enough for a man to 
easily enter and crawl about when repairs were necessary. The 
heating apartment was a similar brick chamber, not under but at 
the side of the bake oven. Here most of the baking was done[ 
for the village, though all of the families cooked more or less 
for themselves. The schoolhouse and church were brick buildings 



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44 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

of many years standing. The schoolhouse was a two story struc- 
' ture with a spacious recitation room on each floor. This property 
> was dedicated by the Society to the Township school authorities. 
The school was conducted in all respects like any village school, 
under the state school laws. The township school trustees elected 
the teacher and paid him from the public school fund. For fif- 
teen or sixteen years the only teacher has been Mr. Levi Bimeler, 
a great-grandson of Joseph Bimeler. He obligingly showed me 
through the school building and I found him a gentleman of ability 
and culture. He had been fitted for his profession by attending 
the public schools at Strasburg (Tuscarawas county) and the 
Normal Schools at Shanesville and New Philadelphia. These 
outside educational advantages, improved by Mr. Bimeler, were 
at the expense of the Society and so far as I could learn this 
was the only instance in which a member had been sent away 
or been permitted to leave temporarily for the purpose of being! 
educated. 

He held his certificate from the county board as any public 
school teacher. He was paid the salary of fifty dollars per month, 
which of course under the rules of the community he turned into'! 
the treasury of the Society. It was vacation when I visited the ' 
building and I did not see the school in operation. Mr. Bimeler 
informed me that there were ninety-five pupils enrolled and about 
sixty-five in average attendance. This number embraced, how- 
ever, many children not belonging to the Zoar society or village, 
but residing in this school territory, children of outside neighbor-i 
ing farmers. 

Might not this collateral education of the Zoar young and 
the "worldly" youth have been a dangerous influence upon the 
growth or retention of the principles of the Zoarites in their boys 
and girls? 

All the Zoarite children attended school from the ages of six / 
to fifteen with the girls, and to sixteen in case of the boys. The 
pupils, their tutor testified were bright, attentive, studious and 
obedient. The course covered the main studies of the primary and 
grammar grades. There were a few studies that might be classed 
as in the high school curriculum. The instruction was in Eng-' 
lish except on two days in the week, when they were taught Ger-J 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 45' 

man. Music was a favorite study and in that the pupils did well. 
The children of the village with whom I talked seemed intelligent, 
well behaved and obedient, and less forward and "pert" in man- 
ner than the average American youth of similar age. 

The village church if not orthodox in its faith was so in it& 
furniture with its old fashioned, straight back seats. The walls 
and ceilings were uncolored and unadorned ; the whole air of the 

(interior was cold and uninviting. A melodeon was on the plat- 
form near the desk. On the open space back of the seats stood 
one of the colossal Zoar stoves, with a capacity sufficient to absorb 
the contents of a small coal mine at one divine service. But coal 
in those parts was plenty as the lands of the Society were well sup- 

; plied with this mineral, though it was not of the best grade. Be- 
fore the decline of interest in religious observances, the services 
were three on the Sabbath ; a Sunday school in the afternoon and 
worship exercises in the morning and evening. There were no 
prayers — only a song or two and the reading of one of 
Bimeler's discourses. This reading had lately been done 
by the village gardener who acted as both florist and par- 
son. Bimeler's homilies had been read and re-read till they 
had become an old story and interest in them was sadly waning. 
Much that they contained had become obsolete in the Zoar belief. 
Attendance upon church was not obligatory and the audiences! 
were slowly dwindling in number and zeal. All services had been 
abandoned at the time of my visit, and as one member remarked, 
their religious sentiment was passing away, as a prelude to the! 
departure of their communism. The descendants of the pioneer 
and pious Separatists clung no longer to the plain and simple faith 
of their fathers. But while there seemed to be an abatement of 
religious life in the Society there was no lessening in the standard 
of their moral conduct. The church was not used for the cere- 
monies usually celebrated in the sanctuary. The funerals and wed- 
dings did not take place in the kirk. There was no religious ob- 
servance in marriage. It was purely a civil contract, the legal part 
being performed by a justice of the peace. In 1898, and for some 
years previous, the secretary of the Society held the ofifiice of jus- 
tice of the peace, and discharged all the duties of the same. They 
did not permit members to marry outside of the society, and re- 



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46 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

quired all who made outside matrimonial alliances to leave the com- 
munity. When marriage first began among them the plan was, 
adopted that the children should remain in the care of their parents i 
until three years of age, when they were housed in a common chil- 1 
dren's home, the girls in one and the boys in another, where each 
respectively were brought up under the direction of persons ap- 
pointed for that purpose ; nor did they ever again come under the 
exclusive control of their parents. This custom prevailed until 
1845, when it was discontinued and thereafter the children were 
reared in the homes of and by their parents, subject to the juris- 
diction of the trustees, to the extent that their authority invaded 
the domestic life. It was the business of the Society, through the 
trustees, to provide for the children all they required, until they 
became of age and elected to become members of the Society. 

The funerals were very simple affairs, there being no cere- 
mony of any kind either at the house or at the burial. The 
encased body, in an open wagon, followed by the villagers on 
foot, was quietly conveyed to the grave at the usual hour of 
I P. M. The following Sunday evening a funeral sermon was 
read in the church. The cemetery, situated on a hill north- 
west of the village, was a veritable "God's acre ;" densely shaded 
by fir trees, the grounds almost without paths and profusely 
overgrown with grass, wild flowers, creeping vines and weeds. 
Until a few years ago, tombstones were proscribed. The graves 
were not even designated. Bimeler requested that no monu- 
ment mark his sepulchre, and none does. I could not find it, 
though its location is well known to his people. It is now the 
custom to have the graves marked by a wooden head-piece or 
in some cases by a stone slab. 

Such were the more noticeable external features, as pre- 
sented to me during my few days' sojourn in Zoar. They were 
a unique and in many respects remarkable people, leading a 
peculiar and isolated life. Their daily needs and simple wants 
were all readily supplied. Their lives were peaceful and easeful, 
proof of the sad refrain of Anna Boleyn : 

"'Tis better to be lowly born, 
And range witli humble livers content." 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 47 

The men looked well fed and ruddy and moved about with 
a deliberation at times almost amounting to indifference. The 
women were noticeably the busier and more active. In the 
earlier period of the community they shared almost equally the 
physical labors of the men. They cleared the forest and tilled 
the field no less than their husbands and sons. After the So- 
ciety reached its prosperous stage, the lot of the women was an 
easier one. Their household cares were lighter than is usually 
the case with housewives. But they did not appear as hale 
and hearty as the men, perhaps, possibly, because they confined 
themselves indoors more than is generally the habit with the 
village dame. But they were happy and contented. Their do- 
mestic life was serene and pleasant. This is evidenced by the 
astounding fact that there had never been a divorce in the So- 
ciety. At the time of my visit the wives, though consenting to( 
the coming change in the community, were more anxious than 
their husbands as to the outcome. 

To one from the hurly-burly of the business world the vil- 
lage of Zoar seemed oppressed with an air of stillness, if not 
even sluggishness. Hamlet could have walked the streets of 
Zoar for a stage and have truly remarked: 

"And enterprises of great pith and moment, 
With this regard their currents turn away, 
And lose the name of action." 

What did the Zoarites themselves think of it? Did they 
regard it as a success? Did they wish to change this life to 
one of individual responsibility and result ? 

The patriarch, whose duty it was to drive the cows to pasture 
at early morn and to the barn at dewy eve, did not wish to give up 
the Zoarite scheme. Communism with him had been and still was 
a success. This was the sentiment of many of the older members — ; 
it was too late for them to launch out into the world on an untried 
experience for themselves; many of them succumbed reluctantly 
and apprehensively to the will of the great majority — in the de- 
cision to disband. To them it was a life free from care, worry andj 
excessive work. They literally took no thought for the morrow. 
They lay down in comfortable homes at night, in certain and sat- 
isfactory knowledge that they would be equally well provided for 



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48 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

on the succeeding day. What boon in life greater or more desir- 
able than that ? 

"From toil, his spirits light, 
From busy day the peaceful night. 
Rich, from the very want of wealth 
In heaven's best treasures, peace and health.'' 

The Zoar region was a remarkably healthy one ; the pure and 
wholesome food, their simple and regular habits, all united to pre- 
vent disease and prolong life. 

There was one doctor in the Society, the only one they had 
\ known for a generation. His office was a room or two in one of 
ithe less attractive buildings near the hotel. He was self-educated; 
had "picked up" his medical knowledge; his nostrums were few 
and simple and nature was doubtless his chief assistant; his 
"school", if he had any, might be called "the school of common 
sense." In extremely difficult cases an outside surgeon might be 
called in. 

"Yes," said the doctor in his chat with me, "the old ones are 
not so anxious to quit but the young ones are bound to wind up. 
They go out and get a taste of the world and its opportunities 
and activities and they become discontented and restless." 

And that was true ; many a family had a son in the great west 
or some large city. The young men wanted to start out for them- 
selves and possess and control the results of their efforts. The bar- 
ber shop was a little back room allotted for that purpose in the town/ 
hall building. Two days in the week the members, who were ad- 
dicted to the custom, were shaven and also such visitors as were in 
need of tonsorial attention. The knight of the razor was a bright 
young fellow who gave me fair facial treatment, and with the cus- 
tomary barber's conversational powers imparted much information 
as I plied him with questions. He was of age, born and raised in 
the Society but did not care to become a member. "No chance 
here for a young man." He contemplated going off to "find a/ 
job" elsewhere ; wanted to do for himself ; had already "worked 
several years and had nothing to show for it." But as he was 
eligible to probation and membership he hoped by remaining with 
the community until the distribution that he might get half a share. 
There were several in the same situation. As I gave him the price 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 49 

of his labor (shave) he remarked if he were his own man he would 
get that, while now "it goes to the Society." He thought it was 
better for all that they divide up. 

The blacksmith, a stalwart six footer, testified he had worked 
hard all his life with an indefinite undivided property interest as 
his reward. "Think how much I would have now had I worked 
and saved for myself — some in the Society have done hardly any 
work, but will get the same that I do. This way of doing busi- 
ness is not natural, nor right," he added. 

I found several who touched on this note — that those put at | 
the hard or difficult, or continuous tasks felt that others were not 1 
so heavily burdened — yet the recompense was precisely the same. 
One whose task began at times at daylight and did not end till 
night was very "sore" at some who got off with "easy jobs." This 
feeling of the inequality of the exertion put forth and of the labor 
performed was very often expressed in no undisguised terms. 
Yet all admitted it was not the fault of the authorities in their 
efforts to assign and equalize the work. The trustees tried to be 
fair and judicious in the apportionment. It was natural for some 
to work. It was equally natural in some to shirk. Said one of 
the most intelligent and observant in the Society : "This sys- 
tem of communism puts a premium on indolence." It deadened 
the spurs and motives of activity. Some one has said man is nat- 
urally a lazy animal, he only works because he has to. Human 
nature is prone to seek the paths that present the least resistance. 
Communism afifords favorable conditions for the discouragement 
of energy and the exercise of the inertia. 

I was not a little amused at my encounter with the "boss" of 
the barn. He was silently engaged in extracting the lacteal wealth 
from one of the patient kine — that prosaic process commonly 
called milking. I approached and addressed him in English, elic- 
iting no response. I then tried my German, rusty from disuse and 
many years absence from its Fatherland. He evidently preferred 
my better American to my bad German. To my queries he ac- 
knowledged he heartily favored a distribution and a chance for 
himself. The communistic system gave the lazy too much leeway. 
He toiled while others slept. Finally to spike my battery of inter- 
Vol. vni— 4 



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50 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

rogatories he asked, "Was you one of dem newspaper fellers what 
wants to know evertings?" "No," I replied, "I am a college pro- 
fessor." "Oh, veil," he instantly retorted, "dot was the same ting 
and just as bad." We understood each other perfectly after 
that and became good friends. 

In the hot boiler room of the cider mill I found one of the 
oldest members who seemed to be the personification of con- 
tentment. He was, and for many years had been, the fireman 
and he sat in his bared arms eating an apple and apparently 
wrapt in pleasing meditation. I think he must have been think- 
ing of the approaching dismemberment of the community, for 
upon my asking his views he unhesitatingly stated he had keenly 
enjoyed the Zoar life. It had been one of plenty and peace. 
But he realized there had come a changed condition of affairs 
and he philosophically accepted the "new dispensation." "Yes," 
he said, "I was satisfied and happy. It was all right till a few 
years yet. I know not how it will do in the new way, but we 
must make the change, dat was sure." 

The good old shoemaker who, with two younger assistants, 
was "pegging away" in a faithful but deliberate manner, was in 
favor of the dissolution, though a little uncertain and uneasy about 
the outcome to himself and some others. All three agreed it was 
"not according to nature for one to work for others," "it is better 
that each be by himself and know what he has got." The element 
of self-interest and individuality was self-assertive. The principle, 
"every man for himself," was a popular sentiment. Many minor 
influences had been working to undermine the Society. Oppor- 
itunities had been increasing as time passed for the shrewd and 
jenterprising ones to acquire sums of money in a way that did not 
I demand, in their estimation, its being turned into the general fund. 
This developed in some curious and ingenious ways. Many fami- 
lies raised chickens in their yards ; these and the eggs they would 
sell to outsiders. This questionable method of traffic created much 
dissatisfaction and the trustees endeavored at times to regulate 
and equalize the poultry production — by dictating the number of 
fowls each family might raise. This attempt was found difficult 
to enforce. Housewives would take in washing for the visitors ; 
the young and older too would do sewing for the summer board-, 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 51 

€rs, or make lace and various articles for sale; the boys would 
catch and sell fish ; make and let boats on the river ; slip off after 
work and do odd jobs for outside parties. Individual effort for 
personal gain could not be suppressed nor equalized. I was talk- 
ing with one of the elder members as he sat on his porch when a 
young man rode up on a Columbia wheel, dismounted and entered 
the house. He was the son of my old friend. I asked if the So- 
ciety furnished bicycles to the members. The old gentleman 
laughed and said "not much", and he explained that the young fel- 
low earned money nights working for the railroad and bought a 
wheel. It was the only safety I saw in Zoar, but the manner of its 
acquisition was illustrative of one of the currents that was in op- 
position to the simple communism with which they started. 
Another source of inequality and dissatisfaction was the furnish- 
ing certain members at times with money to go upon trips 
to see friends or transact some necessary business at a distant 
point. Those who had no occasion for going objected to or at 
least regarded with disfavor those who went. Again, and one 
of the most important items tending toward disruption was the, 
necessity for the Society to employ help. Their principal busi- 
ness had always been farming and stock-raising. This required 
the continuous labor of many "farm hands." Their farming in- 
terest was about the only one left them. The young and stout 
men were drifting away. The older members were unable to do 
hard and incessant manual work. There were thousands of acres 
to care for or go to waste. The Society was driven to the em- 
ployment of imported help. A field near the cemetery was being 
plowed by four teams, driven by as many plowmen. I accosted 
them as Zoarites, only to learn all were "hired help" and foreign 
to the Society. Some fifty men were on the pay roll of the So- 
ciety at the time of my visit, all of course non-members. There 
were also several adult members [by birth] of Zoar families who 
declined to become members of the Society, but who were per- 
mitted to remain in the community and who, in addition to get- 
ting their living from the Society, were paid small annual sums 
for their work. They were of course eligible to membership 
but for various reasons did not wish to legally join. A main 
factor in the failure of the Society was the general decline of 



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1 



52 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

Aits industries and the shrinkage in values. To the decHne in the 
industries of the Society I have already referred. The shrinkage 
in values of both real and personal property was necessarily not 
confined at this time to the Society. It was common to the 
country wherever property of any description was to be found. 
A few Zoarites acknowledged that the communistic plan 
fostered extravagance or at least lack of thrift and economy on 
the part of the members. There was great and unnecessary waste 
of material, particularly in the line of food and fuel and house- 
hold necessities. The baker would get from the miller more 
flour than was actually needed. The consumers drew from the 
baker more than their needs demanded. Not being required to 
save for themselves, they naturally did not attempt to save for 
others or for all. What came so easily and so plentifully was 
jnot properly valued and there was no incentive to household 
'economy. 

DECISION TO DISBAND. 

The history of Zoar is the record of the rise and decline 
of a communistic civilization. In the pioneer years, their re- 
ligious zeal and physical necessities impelled them to industry 
and thrift. After the forming of the communistic contract they 
prospered as a Society. The country was opening up ; the west- 
ern tide of emigration, as it swept by or settled about them, 
fostered their industries and enhanced the value of their prop- 
erty. The building of the Ohio Canal was of great benefit to 
them. They contracted to dig the canal throughout the ex- 
tent of their territory, by which they not only acquired the sum 
of $21,000.00 in ready money, but also made a considerable sum 
by furnishing the neighboring contractors with articles of food.2* 

It was a period of development ; of clearing and improving 
the land ; of labor and of saving. They added to their original 
purchase until at one time they possessed some twelve thousand 
acres. They not only built up industries for their own con- 
sumption, but established a large commerce with the outside ^i 

S' Penny Magazine (1837) Vol. VI, page 411. 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 53 

-world. The growth and prosperity of the Society was largely 
due to the ability and shrewdness of Joseph Bimeler. Until his| 
death the affairs of the community progressed. This success 
continued, or rather remained undiminished for several years 
after his death.^ Then the decline set in and for the past twenty- 
five years the interests of the Society, as one member put it, 
"have been going down." Their trade gradually fell off, their | 
income decreased and their expenses increased. Their young 
and active members deserted. At various times in its history 
individual members withdrew and made claim for their distribu- 
tive shares of the accumulated property. More rarely a disso- 
lution was suggested, but such proposal met with little or no \ 
encouragement among the members. In the few bygone years 
the more intelligent and observant among them could not fail 
to realize that the Society was "auf die Neige" — on the wane 
— and time alone would determine its dismemberment. 

One of the most interesting episodes in the later history 
of the Society was the outspoken "rebellion" of one of its 
leading members, Mr. Levi Bimeler, the descendant of Joseph 
Bimeler and the village school master, of whom we have already 
made mention. _ 

Mr. Bimeler was educated, as has been noted, outside of the 
Society. He openly advocated the right of the members to with- 
draw and receive their distributive share if they desired it. In 
1895 Mr. Bimeler promulgated his views in a little folio, — a four- 
page sheet about the size of a legal cap page. Mr. Bimeler was 
editor, publisher and pressman. He wrote the entire contents of 
his paper — a monthly — and then duplicated it upon a letter! 
copying press. The edition was of course very limited, a hundred 
or more, and sold to the members. It was the only periodical 
publication ever attempted in Zoar. 



^As late as 1875 their property was estimated at. the nominal value 
of $1,500,000. About the date of Bimeler's death, the society numbered 
some 500 adults and children. This number in 1885 was 390 according 
to the statement in Prof. Ely's "I^abor Movement in America." 



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54 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

This organ of the agitator was called the "Nugitna" and 
three numbers were issued, the fourth partially prepared for 
dupUcation and publication, when the editor was "called down" 
by the Society authorities and given to understand that unless 
he ceased his vexatious and rebellious publication he would 
be expelled and deprived of all rights, present or prospective, 
in the Society. The fourth number never appeared. As these 
monthlies represent an element — however small it may have been 
— in the Society at the time of their appearance, and as they con- 
tribute much information concerning the history and purpose 
of the Society, they are herewith reproduced without alteration. 
They have historic interest and deserve permanent preservation 
in the archives of Zoar. 

We would not say that they are to be taken as voicing the 
popular sentiment at the period of their publication. As the 
editor frankly confesses, his propaganda met with both approval 
and disapproval. The exercise of the censorship of the press in 
this case would indicate a centralized power in this equal com- 
munity. The "Nugitna", as the reader will observe, was a 
bugle-blast for individual rights in no mild or mistaken tones. 
It is the irony of fate that a Bimeler should have been the most 
pronounced iconoclast of his great-grandfather's institution. The 
claim for which the "Nugitna" contended was not a new or novel 
one. It had often been made at various times and by various 
members who wished to withdraw from the Society and take 
their "belongings" with them, or by members who had with- 
drawn. We have already reported the law cases growing out 
of such claims. But we let the "Nugitna" speak for itself. 



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THE NUGITNA. 



Vol. f. Zoa-r, Ohio, 'Dec. 30, 1895. No. I. 



INDEPENDENCE, NOW AND FOREVER 1 

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary 
for one person to dissolve the political bands which connect him 
with a Communistic Society, and to assume among the citizens 
of a state the equal and separate station to which the laws of 
nature and of nature's God entitle him, a decent respect to the 
opinions of his fellow Communists requires that he should de- 
clare the cause which impel him to such separation. Whenever 
any form of government becomes destructive of the ends for 
which it was instituted, it is the right of the governed to amend 
or abolish it. 

Fellow Communists. I quote the above, with slight altera- 
tions, from the " Declaration of Independence." It fits our con- 
ditions exactly. And, if we possess only half the "grit" and 
determination of our ancestors, we will be successful in obtaining 
the coveted liberty and Independence. This Society has for a 
long time back become destructive of the ends for which it was 
instituted. 

You know— or perhaps you don't — that this "Communistic 
Society" was instituted for these five ends; viz : 1st. To secure 
that satisfaction, proceeding from the faithful execution of those 
principles and duties which the Christian religion demands ; 2nd. 

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THE NUGITNA. 



To plant and establish the Spirit of Love as the bond of peace 
and unity; 3rd. To unite our various individual interests into 
one common stock; 4th. To abolish all distinctions of rank 
and of fortune ; 6th. To live as brethren and sisters of one com- 
mon family. 

We believe that the faithful execution of those ' ' Christian 
duties" was an easy matter to our forefathers, but that it is not 
possible for us to do likewise as Communists. We maj'^ form 
the best resolves, and aim to live according to the rules laid 
down by the founders of this Community, but all of these vanish 
like a light morning mist, when we see the total corruptness of 
our whole system. Some, indeed, still believe that this is the 
system, and can not understand why some have the audacity to 
condemn it, and to attempt to withdraw therefrom with a proper 
share of the Society's property. But some day they will have a 
revelation. Look about you, and show me the man or woman 
who has secured the desired satisfaction as indicated in the 1st 
end. There is not one who can truly say it. Examine your- 
selves, go down into the depths of your conscience and ask 
yourself — Am I living up to this purpose? — and the answer 
will surely be negative. To those who say that they have lived 
and are now living in accordance with the 1st end, I can only 
say that they are the worst hypocrites existing, and that none 

but their like believe them. 

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THE NUGITNA. 



THE NUGITNA 

Is published every four -weeks. Its 
aim is to secure to the mem- 
bers of 

THE ZOAR SOC3ETY 

the right to -withdraw therefrom, 

and to receive a proper share of 

the Society's property. 

TERMS: 

Local subscribers, per copy, 5 cents ; 

per year 50 cents. By mail, per 

copy 10 cents; per year, $1.00. 

LEVI BIMELER, 
Editor and Publisher, Zoar, Ohio. 



COMMENTS ON THE MEETING 
OF DECEMBER 3fd, 1895. 

The meeting was opened by- 
Mr. Zimmerman -who, in a fe-w, 
■well chosert -words, briefly stated 
the object for -which the meet- 
ing was called. Mr. Beuter, 
sr., opened the discussion in 
his usual way on such occa- 
sions — exhorting the members 
to continue in this state of 
Communism, but advised also 
to discard certain avoidable 
habits of intemperance and 
gluttony. He was followed by 



Christ. Ruof jr. who spoke in 
direct opposition of Mr. Beu- 
ter's 1st theme. Next came 
Jacob Sturm who entertained 
the meeting by an explanation. 
Next spoke I<. Bimelerwho ad- 
vocated the peaceable dissolu- 
tion of the bands which con- 
nect individual members with 
the Society. He was ably sec- 
onded by Messrs. Sylvan, 
Kuemmerle and P. J. Bimeler. 
Charles Ehlers ably presented 
the real object of the meeting. 

Others followed; some act- 
ing in a gentlemanly manner as 
did those who spoke before 
them, while others lost all con- 
trol over their tempers and gave 
vent to their personal feelings 
against one another. 

Christian Ruof sr. was con- 
spicuous through his absence. 

The meeting, after complet- 
ing its object, adjourned wiser 
than when it met. 

A few more such meetings 
with the people who have no 
other way of obtaining Data, 
will work wonders. 



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TOWN TOPICS. 

The lime for the annual 
slaughtering of hogs is at hand. 
The party of slaughterers be- 
gan their work on the 16th 
inst. and disposed of the 1st 
lot of hogs, 45 head, in less 
than one week. 

John Gantenbein, the bar- 
ber, was waiter at the butcher's 
meals. John is a good waiter 
and always gives satisfaction. 
On this occasion however, he 
caught cold — the weather be- 
ing wet and cool — and was sick 
for a week after. John says 
' ' Das kann mir gestohlen wer- 
den"; and " The next time I'll 
tend to my business only." 

The Society is actively en- 
gaged in lumbering and is ship- 
ping the lumber to all parts of 
the globe. 

Frank Kappel and Rosa Ruof 
— both born in Zoar but for a 
number of years away from 
home — are visiting at their pa- 
rents. Both look well and 
happy. 

GUESTS AT THE HOTEL. 

Mr. lyockwood; Miss Scoti; 
and A. Gunn. 
The " Gold Mine" is flooded. 



58 



The entertainment given by 
the pupils of the Zoar Schools, 
assisted by the classes of '94 
and '95 was well attended and 
gave universal satisfaction. The 
classes of '94 and '95 — all girls be- 
tween 15 and 18 years of age — 
made an immense impression oa 
the young men in the audience. 
Such expressions as "They 
look like a garden of Roses in 
bloom"; "Ah, me! I wish she. 
were mine"; "The sweet an- 
gels;" and half suppressed 
sighs were heard on all sides. 

COUNCIL PROCEEDINGS. 

Dec. 9th. Council met in 
regular session. No business 
being on hand Council ad- 
journed. 

Mr. and Mrs. Obed Burkhart 
were made happy. It is a boy. 

Mr. lyco. Kern, a veteran of 
the Civil war, was held up by 
four armed men on the canal 
road between Zoar and Zoar 
Station and robbed of all his 
money. Poor I,eo! He must 
have felt as bad as when his 
corps was routed at Chancel- 
lorsville by the Rebels. 

Barbara Angele, a domestic 
in the family of Adam Kuem- 
merle, died Dec. 26th, 1895. 



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THE NUGITNA. 



Vol. I. Zoar, Ohio, January 27, 1896. No. 2. 

COMMUNISM — HUMBUGISM I 
The second end for which the Society was established isi 
"To plant and establish the Spirit of Ivove as the bond of peace 
and unity." The second end is closely related to the first and, 
like it, rests chiefly on religious principles. It is so easy to form 
fundamental principles for others to observe ; but to live accord- 
ing to them ourselves, is quite different. The pioneers of this 
settlement had originally no inclination to establish Communism, 
but simply to find a home where they could, without molesta- 
tion, live according to their dogma. When the first settlers 
came in 1817, all was still a wilderness, the first winter was very 
severe, and they suffered great hardships. Among the settlers 
were many who were not able to earn a living. Since they left 
Germany for the purpose of religious freedom, the able-bodied 
were in honor bound to aid the feeble. After a time the old, 
infirm, feeble and others who were too lazy to work saw that 
this could not last forever, and that as soon as the religious 
scruples exerted less influence, they would be neglected and fare 
badly. They were the ones who began to agitate the Commun- 
istic idea. Said they, "We are one in religious belief, let us be 
one in rank and fortune." The idea was worked up until those 
in comfortable circumstances — they were the minority— had no 
choice but to join or to be considered renegades. 

Mr. J. Bimeler, " Old Bimeler" as we call him, opposed the 

59 



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THE NUGITNA. 



Communistic movement from the first, and was the last man to 
give his consent. " Old " Bimeler was the Spiritual head of the 
Separatists and, having joined the Society, it was mainly through 
his influence, and the then existing circumstances that the Spirit 
■of lyove was kept alive. The Society prospered while he lived. 
Bimeler saw clearly where Communism would lead to ; when we 
read his sermons we find grave doubts expressed regarding the 
stability of Communism, and the wisdom of establishing this 
Society. He was right! Where is the "Spirit of Love" now? 
Where is the bond of peace and unity? Where are the planters 
and fosterers of this Spirit? Gone, forever! The "Spirit of 
I,ove," as we look at it, is embodied in the " Golden Rule," viz.: 
" I<ove thy neighbor as thyself." It appears, however, that the 
majority interpret it thus: "I^ove thyself and slander thy 
neighbor." All the simplicity which the founders held dear has 
•given place to extravagance and pomposity. And ' ' thereby 
hangs a tale ! " The founders were really devout believers, not 
only in word but in deed also. But we who are believers in 
form only, who not only not believe but ridicule the most sacred 
of our ancestors' teachings, can't establish this "Spirit" as 
Communists. None can deny that we don't believe the religious 
doctrines of our fathers any more. You may, perhaps, say " O, 
yes! we believe." But where are your deeds to prove it. NoWt 
if we are renegades, or in other words, fell off from the doctrine 
of religion, why not sever the political bands which tie us to the 
Society. Shall we continue to be Communists? 

60 



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THE NUGITNA, 



THE NUGITNA 

Is published every four weeks. Its 
aim is to secure to mem- 
bers of 

THE ZOAR SOCIETY 

the right to withdraw therefrom, 

and to receive a proper share 

of the Society's property. 

TERMS: 

I^ocal subscribers, per copy, 5 cents ; 

per year, 50 cents. By mail, 

per copy, 10 cents ; per 

year, 1 1.00. 

LEVI BIMELER, 
Editor and Publisher, Zoar, Ohio. 



COMMENTS. 
Tlie appearance of the first 
number of the "Nugitna" 
created quite an excitement. 
Various were the remarks and 
opinions expressed by different 
members of the Society. Some 
were mad, others shook their 
heads, and still others were 
glad. The editor has, person- 
ally, heard only a few opinions 
expressed, but is, nevertheless, 
well informed regarding the 
prevailing opinions. The first 



week after the publication of 
' ' The Nugitna " there was some 
strong talk. Some went so far 
as to express themselves thus : 
This act is enough to expel the 
publisher from the Society; but 
when the cool, second thought 
came, the impracticability of 
such expulsion made itself 
manifest. This "second 
thought" is a great blessing. 
"Expel him" is more easily 
said than done. The U.S. Con- 
stitution guarantees freedom of 
speech and press. We avail 
ourselves of this guarantee for 
a good purpose. "The Nu- 
gitna" created more stir than 
anything we can think of in 
the history of this Society (ex- 
cept perhaps the circulation of 
a petition in the year 1850-4:, 
for the purpose of throwing 
the trustees, Ackerman and 
Sylvan from office and putting 
the originators of the petition 
in their place). We can't see 



61 



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THE NUGITNA. 



why the "Nugitna" should 
disturb our affairs. We are 
not seeking to throw anybody 
from and putting ourselves in 
the place as those petitioners in 
the early fifties. No ! we simply 
desire that receding members 
cshall receive a proper share of 



the Society's property. If we 
deem it necessary we will pub- 
lish the petition mentioned 
above and the names connected 
with it. 

"All is quiet on the Poto- 
mac." 



62 



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THE NUGITNA. 



Vol. I. Zoar, Ohio, February 24, 1896. No. 3. 

COMMUNISM — DESPOTISM. 
The 3rd end for which the Society was instituted is "To 
unite our various individual interests into one common stock." 
This, like the preceding two rests on Religion, being a modifi- 
cation of the 22nd verse, 18th chapter of St. I^uke. I^iving up 
to this end required very little self-denial of our forefathers as 
the majority possessed nothing but what they carried on their 
backs. The few who were in possession of money had no chance 
to spend it. The circumstances then and now are widely differ- 
ent. The Pioneers had absolutely no intercourse with the out- 
side world, except a few who were entrusted with the conveyance 
of goods and produce to, and from Philadelphia, Pa. So you 
see, that the money one might have did him no particle of good. 
He could not buy anything if he wanted to. There was equality 
of fortune among the first settlers. But let us look at the con- 
ditions of things as they exist now. Is there a union of individ- 
ual interests now? Do we contribute every thing into one com- 
mon stock? Has not the individual interest gained supremacy 
over the general interest? We tell you that the individual in- 
terest is the primary and the general interest the secondary object 
from the preacher down to the lowliest, with only a few excep- 
tions. All this has been brought about by time, intercourse with 
the outside world, and last, but not least, our Public Schools. 
'The state of affairs now existing is natural and in accordance 

63 

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THE NUGITNA, 



•with the laws of human nature. The present generation sees 
too clearly that a favored few enjoy all the comforts and luxuries 
that money can buy, while they must be satisfied with what is 
meted out to them. This went well thirty years ago, when the 
members of the Society, were kept in ignorance of the true state 
of things, when the members did not dare to think contrary to 
prevailing customs, not to speak of voicing them, for fear of ex- 
pulsion from the Society. There has always been, and to a 
certain extent still is a tendency to keep the affairs of the Society 
from the knowledge of the members. Is it because those in 
of&ce are the wise men of the Society? Or, are the members too 
ignorant to be trusted with the knowledge of the Society's affairs. 
Which? 

The secret of the stability of the Society lay in its Children's 
Institution. In the early history of Zoar, every child when it 
had attained to the age of three years was taken away from the 
parents into the Society Children's Institution and left to the 
tender (?) mercies of its keepers. In some future issue we will 
illuminate said Institution. 

If "Old" Ackerman had done no other good deed but to re- 
fuse to send his child to this Institution, he has, by that alone, 
richly earned the love and esteem of the members which he pos- 
sessed. Hold sacred the relation of parent to child. 

64 



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' '' ' .-y.-'' , '' — 








"i. 'Mj 



A PIONEER COTTAGE. 



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THE NUGITNA. 



THE NUGITNA 

Is published every four weeks. Its 
aim is to secure to mem- 
bers of 

THE ZOAR SOCIETY 

the right to withdraw therefrom, 

and to receive a proper share 

of the Society's property. 

TERMS: 

Local subscribers, per copy, 5 cents ; 

per year, 50 cents. By mail, 

per copy, 10 cents ; per 

year, $1.00. 

LEVI BIMELER, 
Editor and Publisher, Zoar, Ohio. 



COMMENTS. 

The opposition whicli ' ' The 
Nugitna " has encountered con- 
tinues. The authorities are 
making strenuous eflForts to 
compel the publisher to quit 
the business. He said that the 
"The Nugitna" would not be 
issued any more if the gross 
violations of our by-laws, now 
existing to the full knowledge 
of the authorities, were also 
abated. 

However, an amicable settle- 
ment of the difficulties may yet 
be reached; in this case "The 
Nugitna" will be a thing of 
the past. There are some sec- 
Vol. vni— 5 65 



tions of our by-laws which are 
unjust, unfair and unconstitu- 
tional . ' ' The Nugitna " wants 
to educate the members of the 
Society to see that our by-laws 
need revision. To bring them 
to look upon Communism as 
not consistent with modern civ- 
ilization; and to inculcate a 
Spirit which holds sacred the 
rights of individual members 
to obtain and hold private 
property. The early history of 
Jamestown, Va., shows that 
Communism is a failure. Those 
settlers tried the experiment 
but gave it up within five years. 
Is it a wonder then, that we, 
living in the rich State of Ohio, 
consider it a failure, too? Com- 
munism puts a premium on 
idleness, and discounts dili- 
gence. There is no reward for 
the industrious, and no punish- 
ment for the idle. "Nimms 
easy und lasz fuenfe grad sein," 
is appropriate for Communists. 

TOWN TOPICS. 

We have the sad duty to an- 
nounce the demise of one of 
our members. The deceased 
"Christina Peterman," was the 
the first child born in Zoar. 
At the time of her birth the 



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THE NUGITNA. 



Zoar Society did not exist yet. 
She was born July, 1818, in a 
rough log cabin, and attained 
to the age of 77 years. Her 
parents were very wealthy and 
"when Communism was estab- 
lished they gave all into the 
common fund. In her the So- 
ciety loses one of its truest 
members. There is not a soul 
in Zoar who can say ill of her, 
but one and all praise her kind- 
ness and devotion. The words 
of Christ may well be applied : 
"Blessed are the meek: for 
they shall inherit the earth. 
Blessed are the pure in heart : 
for they shall see God. Bles- 
sed are the peacemakers : for 
they shall be called the children 
of God." 

May she rest in peace for 
evermore. 

COUNCIL PROCEEDINGS. 

Feb. 10th, 1896. Council 
met in regular session with all 
the members present. Min- 
utes of the previous meeting 
were read and approved. Sev- 



eral subjects were discussed but 
no action was taken, and on 
motion of Mr. Beuter, the 
Council adjourned. 

The activity in our lumber 
industry continues. It is some- 
what difficult to haul the lum- 
ber owing to the bad condition 
of the roads. 

The Pres. of the lyawrence 
Tp. school board, Mr. D. Ben- 
der, visited our schools. Mr. 
Bender is well qualified for his 
office. 

The anniversary of the birth 
of Washington was fittingly 
celebrated by our schools. The 
primary room was beautifully 
decorated with bunting and 
flags. Both schools met in 
said room and the exercises 
were opened with the song 
"America." Then followed 
dialogues, speeches, biogra- 
phies, drills. Many household- 
ers were present and joined in 
the concluding song : Red, 
White and Blue. 



66 



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THE NUGITNA. 



Vol. t. Zoar, Ohio, March 23, 1596. No. 4. 



COMMUNISM — SOCIALISM. 

Communism may be a good thing in tlie interior of Africa, 
but in the center of the highly civilized state of Ohio it is an 
outrage. Communism, as practicably demonstrated by the Zoar 
Society, abolishes all distinctions of rank and of fortune. Any 
casual visitor to Zoar will undoubtedly notice the lack of rev- 
erence of inferiors to their superiors in age; attainments, or 
otherwise. This very lack of reverence is a certain means of 
downfall of all Communistic societies. The smallest child is put 
on a level with the adult, socially, the toper with the sober, the 
indolent with the diligent. What other can be expected from 
such a social order of things, but in the end contentions and 
ruin. And as to the abolition of fortune distinctions. Phew ! — 
Who has not observed the great difference between high and low 
of the Zoar Society? Only fools, religious bigots or self-con- 
ceited ones are so blind to believe there is no difference in rank 
and fortune. Tell me, thou Thomas, why the common laborer 
remains laborer, and the aristocrat remains aristocrat. Is it be- 
cause all distinction of rank and fortune have been abolished 
from amongst us ? What fools we are to labor on for the benefit 
of a few favored ones; to keep the Don Juans in their positions 
of ease, luxury and revelry. The common laborer of any Com- 

67 

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munistic Society is a mere slave. He must do the work assigned 
him ; eat and drink what is given him ; wear what is furnished 
him and dwell in the house assigned him, all without murmur- 
ing; while other members who are more favorably situated, buy 
for themselves what they want, although the principles of Com- 
munism abolish all distinction of rank and of fortune. This 
statement may easily be verified by a few days sojourn in Zoar. 
This is Practical Communism. Theorists may dream of a golden 
time when the Communism shall pervade this whole earth, but 
let them go to a Communistic Society and fill the place of a com- 
mon laborer and they will awake to the fact that Purgatory is a 
blessing compared with their position. Communism is a curse 
to any and all communities where it is established. It deadens 
all push, energy and ambition. It puts a premium on idleness 
and unfits a person for the battle with the world for an existence 
when the time comes in which he will be thrown on his own re- 
sources, which will sooner or later, come to all members of Com- 
munistic Societies. There is no equality of rank and fortune in 
Communistic Societies nor any other intelligent community. 

Note. — This number (4) of the Nugitna was only-written as far as 
here quoted and was never printed nor given to the public. — E. O. R. 

68 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 69 

DISTRIBUTION OF THE PROPERTY. 

The Nugitna was premature in its pronounced views. Like 
all reform organs it had to be radical to receive recognition. 
Yet the belief was well lodged and growing with many that 
the communistic feature of the Society had survived its use- 
fulness. The idea of dissolution had become food for thought 
and topic for discussion. Leading minds and officials among 
the Zoarites recognized the inevitable approach of the end. 
Debts were increasing, revenues decreasing and perhaps financial 
failure was only a question of time. The matter was gradually | 
brought to the notice of the members of the Society, and cul- 
minated in a meeting held in early part of January, 1898, when 
the momentous question was formally broached and the con- 
clusion reached that it was best, if not imperative, that a division 
of the property be made. One who was present at that meeting 
related to me its affecting and amusing incidents. It was not 
without its pathetic scenes. To many it was like the separation 
after a life journey as one family. The incomprehension of 
many of the material interests involved in this action, and their 
i inability to appreciate the main issues to be considered, was 
illustrated in the fact that the chief difficulty to be encountered, 
in the minds of several, was the equitable disposal of the stoves | 
used in common in many instances by two families who occu- 
pied adjoining rooms, and shared one kitchen. Who would get 
the stove? And how would they separate the kitchen? But 
these problems were finally temporarily waived or satisfac- 
torily settled and a formal agreement was reached, binding all 
to the decision to divide the property upon an equitable basis. 
On March loth, 1898, the members signed a written compact, 
■whereby the members "selected and appointed Samuel Foltz, 
Henry S. Fisher and William Becker, commissioners to make 
said partition and division and to designate in their report and 
statement by numbers and on a plat to be prepared by George 
E. Hayward, the Surveyor selected by us, the parts and portions 
of said real estate which each of us is to receive as our re- 



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70 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

spective shares and allotments."25 These Commissioners met 
May 2, 1898, and the work of surveying and appraising was 
begun May 12th following. There were at this time two hun- 
dred and twenty-two people, adults and children, in the Zoar 
Society. There were one hundred and thirty-six members 
entitled to one equal share each, including several (eight or 
ten) probationist candidates, who were eligible to membership 
by birth, and life in the Society, and it was agreed to pacify 
these "could be" members, ,that they should receive each a 
full share. The appraisement and surveying was in process 
at the time of my first visit. The value of the property of the 
Society at this time was of course largely a matter of 
conjecture. The real estate consisted in round numbers of seven 
thousand three hundred acres. This, as I learned by con- 
sulting the records of the County Auditor, was placed upon the 
tax duplicate at $340,820.00. The personal property was listed 
at $16,250.00. The division and distribution of the property 
was finally accomplished in the fall of 1898.,, The Society before 
the division, made a contract of sale of the timber upon their 
lands. This sale brought the Society some $15,000.00 in ready 
money or short time notes. There was also a sale of all the 
personal property belonging to the Society ; cattle, horses, farm- 
ing appliances, etc. The funds realized from these, timber and 
personal property sales, were available for the discharge of the 
debts of the Society, the costs of the division of the property 
and proposed later dissolution of the corporation. A cash divi- 
dend was made to the members of the Society — amounting to 
some $200.00 per member, with the understanding that another 
dividend would probably be made when the timber notes were 
paid and all final expenses provided for. The farm lands were 
apportioned into the requisite number of lots according to the 
appraised value of respective sections. That is, had the land 
been uniform in value each distributee would have received some'; 
fifty odd acres. But as the land varied greatly in its fertility, 
accessibility, etc., the survey, appraisal and division produced al- 



^ See deed of realty on pp. 90-92. The commissioners chosen were 
not members of the Society. 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 71 

lotments of unequal number of acres, but supposed equality of 
value. Each member got an equal amount of cash and a sec- 
tion of farm land and a home or property in the village. 
The hotel, for instance, represented several shares and was as- 
signed to the landlord and the members of his family entitled 
to a share each. The allotments were assigned by the Com- 
missioners. The members of the Society had no choice. They 
were bound to accept what was apportioned to them. The 
natural plan was followed as far as practicable, of assigning to 
each the property, or a portion of it, which he had occupied or 
employed in his vocation; the mill to the miller; his shop to 
the blacksmith, the garden to the florist, and so on. 

On September 29, 1898, the deed, by the Society of Separa- 
tists of Zoar, (incorporated) in whose title the lands stood, to 
the various individual distributees was signed and acknowledged 
at Zoar and on October 13, 1898, it was recorded in the Re- 
corder's office, New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas county, Ohio. 
This interesting document by which all pieces of property were 
granted and received in one deed, is set out in full in the latter 
part of this article. 

The exact value of the property which each recipient mem- 
ber (136 in all) obtained, cannot be given. Several members 
informed me it would be in the vicinity of $2,500. Taking the 
entire Zoar (Society) population (222) and averaging the ag- 
gregate wealth, it approximates $1,500 per capita. This rep-j 
resents the net result of three generations of communistic la- 
bor and thrift. The average wealth per capita in the United 
States is now regarded as not less than $1,000. It is left to 
the student of sociology to speculate upon the problem whether ' 
Zoar communism paid its members (financially) or not. 

This action of distribution of course annulled and abolished 
the communistic feature of the Society. The municipal incor- 
poration of the village and the incorporated Society of Zoar re- 
main intact.^* The latter incorporation will continue until all the 
financial affairs of the Society are adjusted, and all litigation is 



^SAt the date of this article, July 1899. 



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72 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

at an end.^ The stockholders have merely divided and come 
into possession, separately and personally, of what was common 
property. The legal form of the corporation yet exists, its af- 
fairs not having been completely closed up. There are still ob- 
ligations to meet and claims to collect. The apportionment of 
the corporate property was the withdrawal and appropriation 
in name and title by the individual members of the Society of their 
undivided and undetermined personal shares. When all further 
necessary details are arranged the corporate organization, as 
such, will be legally dissolved and the Separatist Society of Zoar 
will be no more. 

AFTER VIEW OF ZOAR. 

In the summer of 1899 the writer made a second visit to 
Zoar with the purpose of observing how the good Zoarites were 
getting on under the new dispensation. "Mine host" of old 
still ran the hotel and the first evidence of the new era was the 
telephone closet in the hall with long distance telephone facili- 
ties. Zoar was now on the electric current, in instant touch 
with all the world. Near by on the wall hung a tutti-frutti chew- 
ing gum slot machine. Surely Zoar was fully up to date. Op- 
posite the hotel, across the street, was an ice cream parlor in 
full, though not very brisk, blast. It was difficult to imagine 
the staid and sober Zoarites eating ice cream and chewing gum, 
but they were. The village had taken on a new and modern 
aspect. The streets had been named. The houses had, in many 
cases, been repaired and more or less renovated. The roofs had 
been renewed and here and there slate roofs had superseded the 
antique tiles or the moss grown shingles. Several dwellings 



^ After the distribution of the property suit was brought in the courts 
of Tuscarawas county, against the incorporated Society of Zoar, by a for- 
mer member (Mrs. Paulina Beiter), a great granddaughter of the original 
Bimeler, for a distributive share. Other ex-members set up claims in 
cross-petitions. The legal claim was that as the Society had been declared, 
in previous suits, not a perpetuity, then the dissolution of the Society 
worked a reversion of the property to its original holders and they or their 
heirs were entitled to recognition. This suit was lost, by the claimants, in 
the Common Pleas and Circuit Courts. It is not known whether it will be 
carried to the Supreme Court of the State. 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 73 

had donned new chimneys of bright yellow brick. On the 
side street near the hotel, was a brand new modern frame dwell- 
ing, the first, and thus far the only one in town, built in modern 
style and plan and with a basement furnace, which was a novelty 
to the natives. Without doubt, as the street phrase is, Zoar 
"was getting a move on itself." Even domestic life was rapidly 
assuming phases of our most advanced city civilization, 
for since the change from communism, and for the first 
time in all the history of Zoar, a divorce had been applied for by 
both partners after a life-long sharing of joys and sorrows. 
The Doctor had deserted his old quarters and built a spruce 
little convenient two room office. Even his drugs and bottles 
were new and so was his practice, in manner and in field. "No 
pent up Utica contracted his powers" now, his skill extended to 
the farmers for miles around and he was continually "on the 
go." A card and revolving hand in the window indicated his 
absence and the hour of his return. The good doctor himself 
seemed to have renewed his youth and taken a fresh start in his 
profession. 

The former quarters of the genial shoemaker and his assist- 
ants were occupied as dwelling rooms, and it was rumored that a 
foreign brewer was negotiating for the building for a "sample 
room." The cheery master cobbler had established himself in 
the ancient log church which dated back to the early years of 
the colony, and was probably the oldest structure in the 
village, and for many years had been used as storage room. 
He told me one of his two assistants had abandoned the leather 
bench for the farmer's plow. The other "help hand" had opened 
a new and rival establishment. It was the first, and indeed,; 
the only case of competition ever experienced in Zoar. 

"There's hardly enough for two shops," the shoemaker said,/ 
"but I guess I'll find something to do," he added in a serious tone 
that sounded like a refrain of regret over the "sure support" days 
gone by. The machinist was surveying his somewhat the "worse 
for wear" plant, and to my inquiry if all (Zoarites) were now 
happy, he replied cautiously, "Some, not all." I did not press 
the question but the manner of his answer led to the inference 
that he belonged to the "not all" class. The miller was em- 



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74 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications ~ 

phatic in his approval of the "new way." With energy and en- 
thusiasm he had improved the mill, put in several hundred dollars 
in repairs and modern machinery and exultantly showed me the 
"finest flour 'in the market." An hour or so before breakfast I 
strolled into the blacksmith shop and found the stalwart smithy 
pumping the bellows with one giant bare arm and with the 
other holding a horseshoe, with long nippers, in the glowing 
forge. "Well, how do you take the new deal?" He hesitated a 
moment, then jabbed the iron rather vigorously in the hot coals 
and said, "O, pretty well; I'm my own boss now but I have ta 
work harder." 

"Is everybody pleased?" 

"Some was satisfied and some was 'kicking' a little," he 
replied in terse but slang terms. The huge horse stables, cow 
stable and sheep stable were like great banquet halls deserted. 
At the entrance of the cow stable mending the whippletree of 
"his" wagon was my old friend the jester and "boss" of the 
mustered out, milk brigade. He greeted me cheerily and to the 
invariable inquiry said, "Well, I like it pretty good but I have 
to work just as much as before. No, I got not the whole stable, 
dere was six shares in the stable, I gets one and my home and 
some farm. The farm was pretty fair but I likes to sell out and 
go away." 

"You don't have a hundred cows to look after now?" 

"No, everybody has der own cow or buys de milk already^ 
Yes, you bet, dey all has to hustle now, dat was sure." 

His desire to sell and get away was not exceptional. There 
were several such, particularly among those who had no specific 
employment and were suddenly thrown upon their newly acquired 
farms for a living. Very few of them had been trained in any craft 
or trade and those who had mostly worked upon the farm lands, 
had done so in a mechanical or even menial manner, under 
guidance and direction and with learning but little knowledge 
of the science or principles of agriculture. This was a weakness ' 
of the communistic system. The paternalism in the government 1 
was a hindrance to thinking as well as to acting for oneself. 

" For just experience tells, in every soil, 
That those that think must govern those that toil." 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. Tfr 

It had made children of men and women. It would be difficult 
if not quite impossible for the older ones to "pull up stakes" and 
move away. Some of them, not equal to the labors of the field,, 
proposed to rent their farms or have them worked on shares. 
A few of the younger ones had already left the village to seek 
their fortunes elsewhere. In some cases the new regime had 
brought back a wandering one. My former barber no longer 
presided at the chair, btit in his stead was installed a young man 
of similar age. He proved to be a Zoarite who, not content 
with the prospects of the future, had left home a few years be- 
fore and plied his trade in the large cities. He had returned 
now to look after his old father and mother, whom the new status 
had thrown upon their own exertions. "I thought they would 
need me, now," he said with filial affection, and no doubt they 
would. He was sorry he had left, as, if he had remained, he 
could have come in for a "divy", as he expressed it. The former 
barber dropped in while we were talking. He was above age 
at the time of the distribution, but had not previously become 
a full member of the Society, though born and raised in it. He 
was, however, acknowledged as a probationist member and re- 
ceived his share, like some others, on account of his semi- but 
legally recognized relation to the community. 

One of the most significant indications of the re- 
turn by the relieved people to the normal conditions of life was 
the keen sense of delight and pride with which they used the 
possessive pronoun and spoke of their "own" possessions. 

"Is that your house?" I asked two or three^ and with a 
contented expression that would fairly beam they would utter 
the possessive "mine." The baker and his wife had hung over 
the door the sign "Bakery," and had converted their front room 
into a sale shop with counters and cases, the latter filled with 
cookies and pies, tidily displayed to tempt the appetite. As a 
fellow visitor and myself stood upon the porch the husband of 
the woman drove up with a new buggy and dapper horse. 
"Where did your husband get that fine rig?" I shall never for- 
get the tone of self-satisfaction with which she promptly replied, 
— "That is OURS — we bought it. Isn't it nice to have your own 
horse?" This innate propensity for personal proprietorship is 



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76 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

a factor in human nature that the advocate of universal commun- 
ism fails to properly appreciate or consider. Some power will 
have to mould over mankind before it will yield the desire to 
possess the earth or at least as much of it as he can earn or in- 
herit. As Josh Billings has philosophically remarked, "there is 
still a great deal of human nature in mankind." 

The survey, appraisal and successful distribution of the 
property was a delicate and difficult work. There were so many 
parties to be satisfied and such a diversity in the nature of the 
property to be divided. Much praise is due the commissioners, 
Messrs. Foltz, Fisher and Becker ; the Society's attorneys, Messrs. 
Neely and Patrick ; the trustees of the Society, Joseph Breymaier, 
Christian Ruof, Sr., and John Bimeler, and more than to any 
other one, Mr. Louis Zimmerman, the Secretary and Treasurer 
of the Society.^ 

The grounds and buildings of the brick church were reserved 
in the apportionment of the realty and set aside to the village 
corporation for the public use. But now a grave and singular 
question arose. There was no church organization.^^ To whom 
or what organization should the church property be devoted? 
Ministers of some of the leading denominations, both Evan- 
gelical and otherwise, sought to invade the community and secure 



^ Mr. Ivouis Zimmermann was assistant secretary and treasurer of the 
Society from 1882 to 1889 and secretary and treasurer from the latter date 
to the present time. He has therefore had practically the control and man- 
agement of the commercial and financial interests of the Society for some 
seventeen years. In that position and particularly in the work of closing 
up the affairs of the Society, he has displayed marked ability and tact. All 
classes in the Society had implicit confidence in his honesty of purpose, 
wisdom of action and his fidelity to the duties entrusted to him. His grand- 
father, Louis F. Birk, was one of the original Zoar emigrants of 1817. Mr. 
Zimmerman was thoroughly loyal to the Zoar Society and its aims and work, 
so long as it could be successful, but was one of the first forced to the con- 
clusion that the time had arrived to abandon the communistic plan. Mr. 
Zimmerman was for many years the manager of the general retail store 
of Zoar and at the distribution he and Mr. August Kuecherer received, be- 
sides other property, the store as their portion. Joseph Bimeler is also as- 
sociated in the management of this store. 

2^ It has been stated to the writer that the Separatists, as a religious 
sect, no longer exist in the old country. 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 77 

for their respective sects the field apparently left open for some 
missionary influence. Several of the ex-Zoarites, if that expres- 
sion may be permitted, highly resented the imputation that they 
were subjects for "conversion," or that they were fallow ground 
for orthodox spiritual seed. As one of the members said to me, 
"I don't see why we are not as good as some of the people whoi 
want to regenerate us." "But," said another, "we must have, 
some kind of a religious organization and after awhile some of 
us will get together and form a church society.' 



. >J30 



" In 1876 William Alfred Hinds visited the Zoar community and 
gave a very interesting account of the religious phase of the village life 
at that time. We quote from his conversation with one of the oldest 
members. Jacob Ackerman was then acting as the religious leader, he 
having been selected to that informal and rather nondescript office by 
the Society. Hinds asked: 

"Did Ackerman, your present leader, directly succeed Baumeler, 
your first leader?" 

"No. Baumeler died August 27, 1853. As his successor we unani- 
mously appointed Jacob Sylvan — a good writer, but no speaker. Chris- 
tian Weebel read his discourses for him. After Sylvan's death, October 
13, 1862, Weebel took the spiritual lead; but the majority of the mem- 
bers were not fully satisfied, and in 1871 Jacob Ackerman was appointed, 
he being the oldest trustee, and having labored hard for the Society. 
We desired to honor him." 

"What peculiar ceremonies have you?" 

"None at all." 

"How do you regard the Bible?" 

"We believe in both the Old and New Testament, and in Christ 
as the Savior of the world." 

"What great objects have you as a Community?" 

"Our object is to get into heaven, and help others to get there." 

"Do you expect your system will sometime be generally accepted?" 

"I formerly believed it would spread all over the world. I thought 
every body would come into Communistic relations. I believe so still, 
but I don't know how far our particular system will prevail. In heaven 
there is only Communism, and why should it not be our aim to prepare 
ourselves in this world for the society we are sure to enter there? If 
we can get rid of our wilfulness and selfishness here, there is so much 
dgne for heaven." 

"That is a good point, certainly; but haven't you confidence in the 
perpetuity of your Community?" 

"I will not undertake to decide the question of its perpetuity. If 
fjod wishes to have it continued He will see that it is done." 



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78 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

bimeler's effective influence. 

A study of the constitution of the Society impresses one with 
the ability and astuteness displayed in its provisions. It con- 
fers the rights of equality and universal democracy upon the 
members of the community while at the same time it deftly, and 
to a cautious degree, institutes a "one man" power. This latter 
feature is embodied in Article III, creating the ofifice and defining 
the scope of the authority of an "Agent General." This unique 
public function was contrived solely for the benefit, and as far 



"Joseph Baumeler was a remarkable man, I judge?" 

"Yes; when he was our leader we knew everything would come out 
all right. He had the superintendence of our business, and he was at 
the same time our preacher, and cared for the spiritual interest of the 
Community. He was also our physician. He was, indeed, a remarkable 
man." 

Jacob Ackerman is so sincere that he frankly admits that he is a little 
■discouraged about the future of Zoar — discouraged because the younger 
generation do not come under the same earnestness that controlled the 
original members. They fall into the fashions and ways of the world, 
and will not brook the restraints that religious Communism requires. 
The unfavorable condition of Zoar in this respect may well excite re- 
flection. Evidently it is not enough that a Community had a religious 
afflatus and intelligent, earnest men at its beginning. It must find means 
to keep that afflatus alive and strong, and to replace its founders, as 
occasion requires, with men of equal intelligence and earnestness; and 
to this end ordinances become of great value. 

The ordinances of the Zoar Community are few and weak. They 
have nothing answering to mutual criticism, and no meetings except 
on Sunday, and these are not generally attended, and are not of a kind 
to elicit special interest or enthusiasm. I was present at one of them. 
Not more than one-third of the members were there. The women sat 
on one side, the men on the other, both facing the desk, from which 
Jacob Ackerman read one of the discourses of Baumeler. The reading 
was preceded and followed by the singing of a hymn, with the accom- 
paniment of a small organ. No one except Ackerman said a word; and 
he confined himself entirely to reading. There is no meeting, I was 
informed, in which all take part — where all hearts flow together in unity 
and devotion. Is it any wonder that the young people stay away, and 
that they lose their attraction for Community life? A Community should 
be an enlarged home, differing from the small home only in its increased 
attractions and its greater facilities for improving character." Hinds' 
[American Communities, pg. 29, et seq. 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 79 

as it might be such, for the aggrandisement, of Joseph M. 
Bimeler. By Article I, regulating elections, it will be observed, 
that the Agent General was to be elected, "unlimited in term, 
as long as he possessed the confidence of the Society." But 
this Consul for Life seems nowhere to have attempted to improve 
or abuse the Napoleonic opportunity entrusted to him. Bimeler 
was a most remarkable character. He must have been possessed 
not only of unusual acumen but invincible probity. In a wider 
field and under more favorable circumstances he might have 
become a great and a national leader. It is to be seriously 
regretted that more is not now known of his origin, early life 
and personal incidents of his career. I failed to learn the date 
or place of his birth or whether he came from Wurttemberg, 
Bavaria or Baden, as all those sections of Germany contributed 
members to the original (1817) emigration. It is claimed that 
Bimeler was not primarily the protagonist of the communistic 
scheme for the Zoarites but that his fellow settlers in the pioneer 
home discerning his elements of popular premiership, advocated 
the community of property and equality of person in order to 
forestall his superiority and their subordination.^ 

As we have previously noted in this article, the emigrants 
settled in primitive huts and cabins as separate families. Any 
surplus earnings, saved above their needs, were to be applied 
to the purchase of a proportionate division of the land, held by 
Bimeler in trust. But they made little headway. The poorer, 
the older and the feeble could not hold their own. After two 
years of this unequal struggle, several of the shrewder members, 
who were jealous or fearful of Bimeler's growing supremacy, 
proposed a common proprietorship. They urged this plan upon 
the necessity of protecting the infirm and the indigent. This 
project was not original or new to the proposers. They had 
the example of the "Harmonists" before them. Bimeler, it is 
said, reluctantly yielded to the communists. But once com- 
mitted to it, he was its soul and mind, the "guiding spirit of 
all their enterprises." And it is to his indefatigable labors and 



°^ History of Tuscarawas County, published by Werner, Beers & Co., 
Chicago, 1884. 



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80 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

well directed efforts, it must be acknowledged, the Society was 
indebted for its growth and prosperity. 

Bimeler is attributed with no greater ambition than the 
desire to have his fellow countrymen comfortably settled in their 
new habitation, freed from debt and enjoying all the benefits of 
"the land of the free and the home of the brave." He was bound 
to his people with ties of deep and sincere sympathy. He was 
the head of a great family, — and his guidance was a patriarchal 
one. He was the first and only pastor of the Society, and con- 
ducted its religious services during his life time. In this respect,, 
as we have shown, he had no successor and the religious life 
as well as the financial growth of the commuity culminated under 
Bimeler's administration.^^ He was not only their spiritual guide 
and adviser and agent in all temporal things, but he was also 
"their physician to heal their bodily infirmities." He controlled 
and managed everything.^^ Certainly we have record of few men 
so complete in character, so rounded in attainments and so ver- 
satile in talent. He is credited with great social qualities and 
while austere and decisive when dealing with his people as 
occasion required, he nevertheless was genial and hospitable.^* 



°^They are tenants in common, and each member of the Com- 
munity thinks of advancing his own interest only by furthering that of 
the whole. They are called to a particular stand every morning, and 
to each are assigned their respective labors for the day, by their director. 
Their perfect harmony of feeling, unity of interest, simplicity of man- 
ner, universal frugality and untiring industry, directed by an able finan- 
cier, have enriched the whole, and have brought their premises into the 
highest state of cultivation. 

Jenkins' Ohio Gazetteer (1837), pg. 491. 

" Bimeler was the main engine; he had to do all the thinking, preach- 
ing and pulling the rest along. While he had strength all went on 
seemingly very well; but as his strength began to fail the whole con- 
cern went on slowly. I arrived the week after his death. The mem- 
bers looked like a flock of sheep who had lost their shepherd. Bimeler 
appointed a well-meaning man for his successor, but as he was not 
Bimeler, he could not put his engine before the train. Every member 
pushed forward or pulled back just as he thought proper; and their 
thinking was a poor affair, as they were not used to it. 

Noyes' History of American Socialisms, pg. 136. 

"* Henry Howe's visit to Zoar, 1846, related in Howe's History of 
Ohio. 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 81 

He won their affection as well as their respect. One tradition 
is that he acquired his position of influence and superiority by 
his gentle manner and tender solicitude and kindness to the 
sick on the vessel during the voyage to America. But the better 
belief is that he was agreed upon as their Moses before they 
left their Fatherland, for it is known that he was a recognized 
teacher and leader among the German Separatists previous to 
their departure. 

We have alluded to the comfortable, if not rather luxu- 
rious, mode of life indulged in by Bimeler. Aside from that 
there nowhere appears any evidence of his taking any advan- 
tage of his prestige. That he was incorruptibly honest is uni- 
versally acknowledged. He had unquestioned full control of 
the commercial affairs of the Society and no charge of mis- 
management, much less misappropriation, was ever brought 
against him. He held in his own name the title of all the prop- 
erty of the Society. The trusteeship was not set forth in Haga's 
deed to Bimeler but ten days before his death, by will, he acknowl- 
edged the trust and bequeathed it all to the "Society of the Sep- 
aratists of Zoar."^^ The will and testament of Mr. Bimeler is a 
model document and we herewith insert it in full: 

I, Joseph Michaei< Bimei,ER, of Zoar, Tuscarawas County, and State 
of Ohio, being weak in body, but of sound and disposing mind, memory 
and understanding, do make and publish this as my last will and testament. 
That is to say : I give and bequeath all my property, real, personal, and 
mixed, of whatever kind, be the same in lands, tenements, trust or other- 
wise, bonds, notes, claims book accounts, or other evidences of debt of 
whatever nature, to the Society of Separatists of Zoar, and its assigns, for- 
ever ; hereby declaring that all the property I ever held, real and personal, 
within the county of Tuscarawas, has been the property of said Society, 
and was held by me in trust for said Society, to which I now return it. 

And I do hereby appoint John G. Grozinger, Jacob Silvan and Jacob 
Ackerman, trustees of said Society, as my executors, to carry this, my last 
will, into efifect. 

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my 
seal, this sixteenth day of August, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and 
fifty-three. 

[SEAL.] Joseph M. Bimeler. 



" Michener's Annals of Ohio, p. 326. 
Vol. VIII— 6 



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82 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

SlGlsffiD, sealed and declared by the above named J. M. Bimeler, as his 
last will and testament, in presence of us (the words " and its assigns for- 
ever ", interlined before signing). 

Jacob BlickensderfER, 
Joseph C. Hance. 

In personal appearance Bimeler is described as unprepos- 
•sessing. "He was physically imperfect, one of his eyes was much 
larger and more prominent than the other," and as already stated, 
he was lame and walked with difficulty. I sought diligently for 
some picture or portrait of Bimeler, but was informed none was 
ever known to exist. He was averse to being reproduced 
in "living colors on the glowing canvas," probably for 
obvious reasons. We have reverted again to Bimeler's char- 
acteristics that he may be accorded just position in the his- 
tory of Zoar. Unquestionably his strong personality was the 
main force that held the Society together and impelled it to 
the zenith of its career. There was no one to fill his place ; in- 
deed, had his equal been found to succeed him, it is doubtful 
if the Society could still have prospered or even continued un- 
abated."' The internal conditions were no longer the same and 
the external influences were different and decidedly adverse. 

Thus reads the recital of "the strange, eventful history" of 
the Zoar community. The beautiful little berg, "loveliest vil- 
lage of the plain," has burst the bonds of its seclusion and — 
in the phrase of the day — ^joined the procession of American 
progress. It could not stem the tide of conventional civiliza- 
tion. What its future may be, time alone will disclose. Surely 
there can be no one who has seen or known those simple and 
true-hearted people that will not grant them the hearty wish 
of Rip Van Winkle — "May they live long and prosper." 

CONCLUSION. 

From the days when philosopher Plato wrote his ideal 
Republic (400 B. C.) down to More's Utopia (1516 A. D.) and 

"" The facts of the history of the principal Communistic Societies of 
the United States "teach that in proportion as a community loses the 
afflatus of its first leaders and relies upon doctrines and the machinery 
of governments, it tends to death; in other words, a community needs, 
for its growth and progress in all stages of its career, a living power at 
its center not inferior to that which it had in the beginning." 

Hinds' American Communities, p. 153. 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 83 

on to the latest scheme, Bellamy's Equality, the political thinker 
and sympathetic socialist has ever exercised the utmost powers 
of his imagination to conceive of a perfected state of society 
in which ail shall be equal in rights, privileges, possessions and 
enjoyments. America has been a fruitful field for such experi- 
ments. Twice in our later social history have there been epi- 
demics in communism — revivals in socialistic experiments, viz : 
in 1824, when Robert Owen visited this country and through 
the ardent advocacy of his views attracted a large following 
known as "Owenites." Many efforts were made to practically 
carry out his delusive doctrines. Those efforts were all short- 
lived and financially disastrous. Again in 1840 the teachings of 
the French Fourier (1772-1837) were popularly promulgated in 
the United States and encouraged by many distinguished Amer- 
ican scholars and writers. American Fourierism is particularly 
interesting from the intellectual and literary coloring it received. 
That picturesque and grotesque association for "agriculture and 
education," the famous Brook Farm (1842) in which our most 
brilliant litterateurs participated, was one of the conspicuous pro- 
ducts of the Fourier movement. 

It has been stated that beginning with the Jamestown 
colony (1607), down to the latest one of note, that of Ruskin, 
Tennessee (1894), some three hundred communistic societies, 
in various phases, have been attempted in the United States. 
Their average life has been about five years and there are alive 
to-day perhaps twenty-five, mostly leading a precarious exis- 
tence. The delightful dream of Bellamy has experienced many 
rude awakenings. The plucky little Society of Zoar has run 
its course and fought the good fight. Their simple record is 
one of earnest endeavor and honest toil. The chronicler of the 
times should not fail to faithfully recount their deeds and write 
on memory's tablet the description of those Zoar days when 
the peaceful villagers, 

"Far from tHe madding crowd's ignoble strife, 
Their sober wisbes never learned to stray; 
Along the cool sequestered vale of life. 
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way." 



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84 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

tEGAL DOCUMENTS. 

We should regard this article incomplete unless accompanied 
by the documents herewith appended. They mostly speak for 
themselves. The articles of Association of April 1819 and the 
amended articles of March 1824 have already been given on 
pages 7-10 ante. 



ArticIvES of Incorporation. 

TO INCORPORA.TE THE SOCIETY OF SEPARATISTS OF ZOAR, TUSCARAWAS 

COUNTY. 

Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of 
Ohio, That Joseph M. Bimeler, John G. Grosinger, Jacob Syfong, Michael 
Fetters, Christopher Plotz, John George Lepold, Solomon Sala, George 
Aukerman, Jacob Walz, Christian Hanzler, John Nefif, Lewis Buck, Philip 
Sell, George Ruff, Godfrey Kapple, Christian Weible, Conrad Lebold, 
John C. Fetter, John Miller and John Fogle, and their associates be, and 
they are hereby created a body politic and corporate, by the name of "The 
Society of Separatists of Z'oar," with perpetual succession; and by their 
corporate name, may contract and be contracted with, sue and be sued, 
plead and be impleaded, defend and be defended, in all courts of all and 
equity, in this State and elsewhere ; may have a common seal, which they 
may break, alter, or renew at pleasure ; shall be capable of holding prop- 
erty, real, personal and mixed; either by purchase, gift, grant, devise or 
legacy; and may sell, alien, dispose of and convey the same; and the 
property and other concerns of the corporation, shall be under the man- 
agement and control of Trustees appointed for that purpose; and said 
corporation shall have power to form a constitution and adopt by-laws for 
its government; to prescribe the number and title of its officers; and 
define their several powers and duties; to prescribe the manner in which 
members may be admitted and dismissed ; and all other powers necessary 
for its corporate concerns : Provided, That said constitution, by-laws, 
rules and regulations be consistent with the constitution and laws of the 
United States and this State; and Provided, also, that the clear annual 
income of said Society shall not exceed one thousand dollars. 

Section 2. That the persons named in the first section of this act, 
or any three of them, may call a meeting of the society, by giving ten 
days' notice thereof, by advertisement set up at the place of public wor- 
ship in the village of Zoar, for the purpose of forming a constitution 
and adopting by-laws for the government of said society, and of doing 
such other business as may be necessary for the efficient management of 
said corporation. 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 85 

Section 3. That the members of said society, or such number of 
them, as by said laws shall be necessary, shall meet annually on the second 
Tuesday of May, at the place of holding public worship, for the purpose 
of electing officers of said corporation. 

Section 4. That any future Legislature may amend or repeal this 
act : Provided, such amendment or repeal shall not affect the title of any 
real or personal estate, acquired or conveyed under its provisions, or 
■divert the same to any other purpose than that originally intended. 

W. B. Hubbard, 
Speaker of the House of Representatives. 



February 6th, 1832. 



Wm. Doherty, 

Speaker of the Senate. 



Amended Articles oe Incorporation. 

An Act to amend the act entitled, "An act to incorporate the Society 
of Separatists of Zoar, in Tuscarawas County. 

Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Ohio, 
That so much of the second section of the act entitled, "An act to incor- 
porate the Society of Separatists of Zoar, Tuscarawas County," passed 
February sixth, one thousand, eight hundred and thirty-two, as limits 
the clear annual income of said society to one thousand dollars, be and 
the same is hereby repealed; and the society are hereby authorized to 
receive a clear annual income of any sum not exceeding ten thousand 
dollars. 

Section 2. That if said society, for any cause, shall not elect offi- 
cers on the day specified in said act, then any five members of the 
society may order an election by giving at least ten days' notice by 
posting up printed or written notices of the time and place of holding 
such election in three of the most public places in the village of Zoar, 
one of which shall be at the place of holding public worship. 

Section 3. The fourth section of the act, to which this is an 
amendment, be and the same is hereby repealed. 

Section 4. This act shall take effect from and after its passage. 

Elias F. Drake, 
Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

Seabury Ford, 

Speaker of the Senate. 
February 21, 1846. 



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86 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

Articles of Agrebment Signed by Those Becoming 
Members op the First or Probationary Class. 

We, the undersigned, members of the first class of Separatists, 
party of the first part, and George Gasely, Jacob Ackerman and Chris- 
tian Ruof, trustees elect, and their successors in office, of the Separatists' 
Society of Zoar, in the County of Tuscarawas, and State of Ohio, party 
of the second part, have, through confidence mutually reposed in one 
another, established and by these presents do establish the following rules 
and principles of social compact for the better fulfillment of the duties 
of mankind, which we owe to one another, and also for the furtherance 
of our spiritual and temporal welfare and happiness. 

ARTICLE I. 

We, the said party of the first part, do declare, that by our own 
free will and accord we have agreed and by these presents do agree and 
bind ourselves to labor, obey and execute all the orders of said trus- 
tees and their successors in office; and from the day of the date hereof 
henceforth to use all our industry and skill in behalf of the exclusive 
benefit and welfare of the said Separatists' Society of Zoar, and continue 
to do so, as long as strength and health will permit, to the entire satis- 
faction of the said trustees and their successors in office. 

ARTICLE II. 

And we do also hereby agree and bind ourselves firmly by these 
present, to put our minor children under the care and control of the said 
trustees and their successors in office, in the same manner as if they 
had been bound by indentures to serve and dwell with them and their 
successors in office, for and during the term of their minority, subject 
to all the duties and likewise entitled to the same rights and protection 
as indentured children by law are subject and entitled to, until they 
shall have attained their proper age as defined by the statutes of the State 
of Ohio. 

ARTICLE III. 

And the said trustees do hereby for themselves and their successors 
in office, agree and bind themselves to furnish the said party of the 
first part with suitable dwelling, board and clothing, free of cost, the 
clothing to consist at any time of not less than two suits, including the 
clothes brought by the said party of the first part to this society; and in 
case of sickness, necessary care and attendance is hereby promised to 
the said party of the first part; and this performance of the trustees and 
their successors in office shall be considered by the party of the first 
part a full compensation for all their labors and services, done either 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 87 

by themselves or their minor children, without any further claim or de- 
mands whatever. 

ARTICLE IV. 

Good and moral behavior, such as is enjoined by strict observance to 
the principles of Holy Writ, are by both parties hereby promised to 
be observed; hence, it is clearly understood that all profane language, 
immoral words and acts, which may cause oflfense amongst the other 
members of this community, are not only wholly to be avoided, but, 
on the contrary, all are to endeavor to set good examples and to cherish 
general and mutual love. 

ARTICLE V. 

The object of this agreement being, furthermore, to preserve peace 
and unity, and as such can only be maintained by a general equality 
among its members, it is, therefore, severally understood and declared 
that no extra demands shall be made or allowed in respect to meat, 
drink, clothing, dwellings, etc. (cases of sickness excepted), but such, 
if any can be allowed to exist, may and shall be obtained by individuals 
through means of their own and never out of the common fund. 

ARTICLE VI. 

All moneys, which the said party of the first part either now pos- 
sesses or hereafter may receive into their possession, shall without delay 
be deposited in the common fund of this society, for which a receipt, pay- 
able on demand, is to be given; but upon the request of said party of 
the first part, in order to procure extra necessaries, as the case may be, 
a part or the whole of said deposit shall be refunded to the owner. 

ARTICLE VII. 

All manner of misunderstanding and differences shall be settled by way 
of arbitration and not otherwise; that is, by a body of three or five persons, 
to be chosen by both parties, and their decision shall be binding on 
both parties. 

ARTICLE VIII. 

All rules and regulations contained in the foregoing articles (if any 
there be which are not plain enough or are subject to misapprehension) 
shall be so understood as never to be in opposition to but always in per- 
fect accordance with the morals, usages, principles and regulations of 
the members of the second class of the Separatists' Society of Zoar. 

ARTICLE IX. 

These articles being fully and fairly understood, to their strict 
and faithful performance, both parties bind themselves in the most 



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88 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

solemn manner, jointly and severally, their children, heirs, executors, 
administrators and successors in office by the penal sum of fifty dollars, 
current money of the United States of America. 

ARTICLE X. 

If, in consequence of the foregoing, a penalty upon any one of the 
parties to this agreement shall be laid, then, in case of refusal or 
non-compliance, the party so refusing may be prosecuted for the same 
before any magistrate or justice of the peace in the township, county 
and state wherein the defendant may reside, and judgment may be had 
agreeable to the laws of this state; and said magistrate or justice of the 
peace shall forthwith proceed to collect such penalty and pay it over to 
the party who, by law, is entitled to the same. In testimony whereof, 
both parties have hereunto set their hands and seals this 14th day of 
October, in the year of our Lord 1833. 



Translation op thb Constitution op thb Sepakatist 
Society of Zoar. 



introduction 

TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE SEPARATIST SOCIETY OP ZOAR. 

Pursuant to an act of the Legislature of the State of Ohio, passed A. D. 
1832, No. 126, entitled : "An Act to Incorporate the Society of Separatists 
of Zoar, Tuscarawas, County, Ohio," we, the undersigned members of 
said Separatist Society of Zoar and its vicinity have found it expedient 
to renovate our hitherto existing Constitution, as contained in the follow- 
ing articles : 

In the name of God the Father, and Jesus Christ, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost, Amen. 

In order furthermore to secure to our consciences that satisfaction, 
proceeding from the faithful execution of those duties which the Christian 
religion demands, and to plant and establish the Spirit of Love as the 
bond of Peace and Unity for a permanent foundation of social order for 
ourselves and our posterity forever, we, therefore, seek and desire, in 
accordance to pure Christian principles, to unite our various individual 
interests into one common stock and conformably with the example of the 
Primitive Christians, all inequalities and distinctions of rank and fortune 
shall be abolished from amongst us, and, consequently, to live as brethren 
and sisters of one common familv. 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 89 

Pursuant to the foregoing principle and resolution, we, voluntarily, 
Unite and bind ourselves by this joint agreement, under the name and title 
of Separatist Society of Zoar. And we obligate ourselves, each to the 
other, that we will hold to the following articles and rules, that we will 
observe and support the same to the best of our abilities, which from the 
day of the date thereof, shall be in force and virtue in law : 

ARTICLE I. 

REGULATING ELECTIONS. 

All elections, for the divers necessary officers of the Society, shall, 
agreeable with the provisions of the act of incorporation, be held on the 
second Tuesday of May, annually, and in accordance with the statute of 
the State of Ohio, be decided by ballot and majority of votes. On said 
election day shall annually be elected one Trustee (extraordinary circum- 
stances excepted) ; annually, one member to the Standing Committee ; 
quadrennially one Cashier, and one Agent General unlimited in term, as 
long as he possesseth the confidence of the Society. 

The time and place, when and where the election shall be holden, also 
the number and kind of officers to be elected, shall be made known by the 
Trustees of the Society, at least twenty days previous to the election, for 
which purpose the Society, or any ten members thereof, shall, at each elec- 
tion, appoint a committee of four persons whose duty it shall be to conduct 
the election in conformity to the laws of this country. 

The Society shall elect all its officers from amongst the members 
thereof, whereby special reference shall be had to the necessary and requi- 
site qualifications, integrity and faithfulness of the candidates. 

ARTICLE II. 

ELECTION OF TRUSTEES AND THEIR DUTIES. 

The Society shall elect from amongst its members three suitable per- 
sons as its Directors or Trustees, and their successors in office, who shall 
take charge of the joint property of all undersigned members. Said 
Trustees shall, as stated in the first article, be elected by majority and 
agreeable to the following regulations: The majority for three years; 
second majority for two years, and third majority for one year, and 
after the expiration of one year, annually one Trustee. Should the case 
occur, that two or more candidates of one and the same office receive 
an equal number of votes, then the balloting shall be repeated, until a legal 
majority be obtained. Each Trustee may remain in office for three years 
in succession unless circumstances to the contrary, such as death, sickness, 
absence, refusing to serve, etc., render such impossible; or in case the 
misconduct of any one of said Trustees cause the Society to discharge one 
or the other, and to fill such vacancy, as said Society may choose, which 



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90 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

right of discharging and replacing, the said Society reserves itself, be- 
fore the expiration of the ordinary term of three years, or even of one 
year. Yet, each Trustee shall remain so long in office, until his successor 
be chosen. 

Said Trustees are hereby empowered and in duty bound to take charge 
of all the property, real and personal, which this Society, either now or in 
the future, may possess, including all property of newly accepted members, 
movable and immovable, of whatever name and description it may be; 
likewise are they authorized to receive all kinds of legacies, donations and 
personal claims, in fine every species of property to which any one of the 
members may at any time have just claim, to demand and collect the same 
by legal proceedings, and shall appropriate and apply the same conscien- 
tiously to the best of their knowledge and skill, in behalf and for the 
exclusive benefit, use and advantage of said Society. And it shall also 
be the duty of said Trustees, carefully to furnish each member, without 
respect to person, with board, clothing and dwelling and other necessaries, 
alike in days of sickness and of health, as good as circumstances will 
allow. Said Trustees shall furthermore take charge of the economical 
affairs of this Society, to consult over and direct all the business, and 
consequently to assign to each individual member its duty and work to 
be performed, to which at least the majority of said Trustees, if not all 
of them, shall be agreed. Said Trustees are hereby empowered to appoint 
sub-trustees or agents, as many and to whatever purposes they may see 
proper and necessary, and all such sub-trustees or agents shall be 
responsible to the said Trustees for all their transactions. Said Trustees 
shall fill the different branches of economy with suitable persons, who shall 
conduct the same subject to the control of said Trustees, and liable to like 
responsibility for the conduction thereof as other sub-trustees or agents. 
But all resolutions in regard to important undertakings shall be submitted 
to and subject to the approbation of the Standing Committee, and said 
Trustees shall at all times be responsible for all their transactions to said 
Standing Committee. Casual discord, differences and misunderstandings, 
shall throughout, by way of arbitration, be settled amicably by the Trustees 
of said Society. In case that this cannot be accomplished by and through 
said Trustees, then the court of arbitration or appeal, cited in subsequent 
articles, shall solely decide. 

As the said Trustees are, by this article, bound to maintain and pro- 
mote peace and order in the Society, they are furthermore hereby author- 
ized to propose to the board of arbitration or standing committee such 
regulations and improvements calculated to facilitate those purposes, and 
if a majority of both bodies approve of the measures thus proposed, as 
proper and necessary, they shall thereupon be recommended to be observed 
as such, provided that such amendments be in no wise contradictory to 
these articles, 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 91 

ARTICLE III. 
ELECTION AND DUTIES OF THE AGENT GENERAL. 

In order, partly to simplify, and likewise in many instances to ease 
the business and duties of the Trustees, the Society shall elect an Agent 
General who shall act for and in the name of said Society. He is hereby 
authorized to buy and to sell, make and conclude contracts, and to dis- 
continue or annul them again; to employ agents beyond the circle of the 
Society, and to correspond with them; also to issue, and again to accept 
orders ; to direct and to superintend, to the welfare of the Society, all its 
trading and commercial concerns; in fine, all affairs, which, in any wise 
appertain to the aforesaid line of business, of whatever name, shape and 
description they may be, shall be carried on under his direction and super- 
intendence. In like manner shall all the manufactures and similar works 
be under his superintending care, to the furtherance and improvement of 
which he shall pay due regard and so regulate them in such a way and 
manner, as he shall from time to time find it most conducive to the general 
good of said Society. 

The Agent General shall furthermore be entitled to appoint sub-agents, 
when and as many as he shall stand in need of, who shall be empowered 
to transact, in his name, all such business as he shall see proper to charge 
them with, and said sub-agents shall be held responsible to the Agent. 
General for all their transactions. And said Agent General shall, in ap- 
pointing sub-agents, act by and with the consent of the Trustees, whose 
concurrence shall also be necessary in all undertakings of moment and 
importance. And for the due administration of the powers and duties 
hereby committed to his care and charge, he shall be accountable to the 
Standing Committee of the Society. 

All deeds, mortgages and similar instruments of writing shall be 
executed in the name of the Trustees, and be placed to the safekeeping of 
the Agent General, 

ARTICLE IV. 

ELECTION AND DUTIES OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE. 

By virtue of these articles the Society shall elect from amongst its 
members a Standing Committee, which shall consist of five persons, but in 
case a vacancy of one or two members thereof should occur, either by 
death, sickness, absence or otherwise, then the three remaining members 
shall be capable of transacting business, until the next succeeding election. 
This committee shall be invested with the concentrated power of said 
Society, and shall execute all those duties which are marked out for it 
in this constitution. In all extraordinary cases shall this Standing Com- 
mittee serve as a Court of Appeal, and shall, as the highest tribunal, be 
hereby empowered, to decide as such, and the judgment thereof shall be 
final and binding in all cases, provided, that no complaint shall be brought 



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■92 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

before it for decision, except by way of appeal, that is, in case one or 
both of the contending parties should be dissatisfied with the decision 
■of the Trustees. Trustees can never at the same time be members of this 
committee. The election of said committee shall be so regulated that 
annually one member to said committee shall be elected, and that each 
member hold the office for five years successively, and are at all times 
eligible again, as long as they possess the confidence of said Society. 

ARTICLE V. 
ELECTION OF THE CASHIER AND HIS DUTIES. 

The Society shall choose a Cashier or Treasurer, to be elected for 
the term of four years, and shall after the expiration of such term be 
«ligible again, as long as the Society entrust him with the station. Said 
Cashier shall take charge of, and duly administer to all its financial con- 
cerns, and beside him none of the members shall be entitled to hold any 
money without order from the Cashier; even the Trustees and the Agent 
General shall deliver up all monies, notes, bonds, checks, etc., as belonging 
to the Society, into the treasury without delay, and every transgressor of 
this provision shall by any member or person whosoever, be prosecuted 
for the same before the Trustees of the Society, and shall be treated by 
them according to the provisions of the tenth article. 

It shall also be the duty of the Cashier to appropriate and apply 
all monies received, conformably to the direction of the Trustees, the 
Agent General and the Standing Committee, exclusively to the benefit 
of the Society; to pay the Society's debts; defray its general necessaries, 
and to credit said Trustees with the surplus fund. All and every person 
who have charge over any one or more of the branches of economy, shall 
hand in their accounts to the Cashier at such time as he shall see proper 
to order the same. And the Trustees are hereby entitled to request from 
the Cashier an annual account of his transactions, if they deem it necessary. 

The Cashier shall have the right, if circumstances require it, to ap- 
point a clerk to keep regular records of elections, and of such other import- 
ant measures, which the divers officers shall deem necessary. 



article; VI. 

DELIVERY OF PROPERTY, AND DUTIES OF THE MEMBERS. 

We, the undersigned, members second class of the Separatist Society 
of Zoar, declare by these presents, that all our property, of all and every 
description, which we either now or in future may possess, movable or im- 
movable, or both; together with all claims, titles, rights, devise and 
legacies, etc., of whatever kind and name they may be, as well for our 
own selves, as our descendants, heirs, executors and administrators, shall 

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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 93 

be forever given up to said Society, with the express condition, that such 
property shall, from the date of the signature of each member, forever 
henceforth, consequently after the death of each respective member, be and 
remain the exclusive property of said Society. Also do we promise and 
bind ourselves, most faithfully and industriously to execute all the orders 
and regulations of said Trustees and their sub-trustees or agents, without 
opposition and murmuring ; and we likewise agree to apply all our strength, 
good will, industry and skill, for life, to the general benefit of said Society, 
and to the satisfaction of its Trustees. Likewise do we promise and 
agree, under the same conditions and regulations, to place our children, 
whilst they are in a state of minority, under the directions and regulations 
of said Trustees, in same manner, as if they were legally bounden by 
lawful indenture, to them and their successors in office, until they shall 
have attained their proper age, as defined by the laws of this State. 



artici<e; VII. 

ACCEPTANCE OF MEMBERS. 

In accepting new members, the following rule and order is to be ob- 
served: Each and every person wishing and desiring to become a member 
of the second class of this Society shall first of all have attained to the 
lawful age, that is, a male person shall be twenty-one and a female eighteen 
years of age; secondly, shall such person or persons have lived in, and 
dwelled with the Society, for the term of at least one year, and shall have 
been a member of the first class, of this Society, (without exception, if 
even born and educated in the Society) and provided, that they have 
faithfully fulfilled the contract, previously concluded with the Trustees of 
this Society at their entrance into the first class. If such person or per- 
sons can show forth the aforementioned qualifications, and the resolution 
not being prematurely made, but who, by their own free will and accord, 
self-convinced, are so resolved, such person or persons, shall make known 
their intention to one or more of the Trustees, whose duty it shall be to 
hear such person or persons, and if, after having taken the applicant's 
motives into consideration, no well-founded causes for rejection or post- 
ponement be found, then said Trustees shall make it known to the Society 
at least thirty days previous, and appoint the time and place, when and 
where such signing shall be performed; and if, during such interval no 
complaints or objections from the part of the Society, or any of its indi- 
vidual members against such person or persons be made, thereupon they 
may be admitted to the signing of this constitution, and after signing 
such, are thereby constituted members of the second class of the Society 
and shall be considered and treated as such; provided, that, in case such 
new member shall have kept secret any of its contracted debts or other 
obligations, foreign to the Society, such member shall have forfeited all 



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^4 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

privileges and rights of membership, in case sufficient proof be found to 
establish the fact. 

ARTICLE VIII. 

EDUCATION INSTITUTE. 

In accordance with this article the Society shall keep or establish a 
general education institute for all the children in the community, at the 
head of which such male or female overseers shall be placed, whose quali- 
fications shall be found best suited for said purpose. And agreeable 
to this proviso, all the parents of children in this Society, bind themselves 
by these presents, to deliver up and place their children, after having 
arrived at the third year of their age, or sooner, to the overseers of said 
institution, where such children shall receive, according to their age and 
faculties, appropriate education and tuition. Said overseers shall be chosen 
and engaged by the Standing Committee, subject to the express duty, that 
they shall exert their best endeavors and care to give those children, 
placed under their care, as well in moral as physical consideration, the 
best possible education, thereby having in view, not only the attainments 
of scientific branches of knowledge, but also gradually to train them to 
performing the divers branches of manual labor. And it is hereby made 
the duty of said committee to keep a strict superintendence over this 
institution; and they shall also be authorized to place such children, as 
soon as their age, abilities and bodily constitution will permit, under the 
control of the Trustees, who shall give them such employment, as they 
may be able to perform. 

ARTICLE IX. 

POWER OF THE TRUSTEES TO COLLECT AND TAKE CHARGE OF HERITAGES, ETC. 

This article authorizeth and empowereth the Trustees and their suc- 
cessors in office, in the name of the Society, to hold and take possession of 
all remaining property of deceased members, with all their rights, titles 
and claims whatsoever, to demand, or cause the same to be demanded and 
collected; and finally, they are hereby invested, as the universal heirs in 
the name of the Society, to act with full right and power, as if such de- 
ceased person or persons were yet living, themselves demanded and ac- 
quitted for the same; hence, the children, friends and relatives, whether 
they be in or without the Society, can not be or become heirs to such ah 
heritage of a deceased member, since all property forever is, and shall 
remain the portion of said Society. And the Trustees of said Society are, 
and shall be hereby authorized to empower other suitable persons in or 
out of the Society, to demand and collect, or cause to be demanded and 
collected, monies, estates and effects of persons either yet living or de- 
ceased, in same manner, as if such person or persons, for whom such was 
done, had themselves demanded and collected the same, received it and 
receipted therefor. 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 95 

ARTICLE X. 
CONTENTIONS, ETC. 

Casual contentions between two or more members, and complaints of 
whatever kind and description they may be, shall be brought before the 
Trustees and by them to be examined and settled. But, in case one or 
the other party should not be satisfied with the decision of said Trustees, 
or should any one or more of the Trustees themselves be envolved in 
such contentions, etc, then appeal may be had to the Standing Committee 
or Court of Appeal, whose decisions shall in all cases be final and binding ; 
whosoever shall act contrary to this provision, and will not be satisfied 
with their judgment looseth and debarreth him or herself of all further 
enjoyments and rights of a member. 

ARTICLE XI. 

SECEDING MEMBERS. 

Should any member or members find cause to secede from the Society, 
they shall make known such their intentions to one or more of the Trus- 
tees, whose duty it shall be to notify the Society thereof, in order that if 
any complaints be existing against such member or members, they may 
betimes brought forward to said Trustees, who shall thenceforward act 
in respect to them agreeable to all the attending circumstances. But 
should any seceding member or members, unknowingly to the Trustees, 
have contracted any debt or debts upon the community, or been the cause 
of subjecting the Society to any costs or injury, in such case said member 
or members shall make satisfactory restitution, or otherwise render such 
indemnification as the said Trustees shall demand, and in case such seceder 
or seceders should not content themselves with the judgment of said 
Trustees and refiise to make such satisfactory restitution, in that case 
both parties, the Trustees and seceding members, shall be entitled to an 
appeal to the Standing Committee, and the decision thereof shall in all 
cases be binding and final. Should any person or persons, notwithstand- 
ing this provision, be dissatisfied, and apply to a court of justice beyond 
the limits of the Society for assistance, in such case they are also hereby 
bound to render due indemnification for all damages and loss of time 
thereby caused to and sustained by said Society. 

In case any seceding person should refuse to comply with the demands 
of the Trustees, in pursuance of the decision of the Standing Committee, 
the Trustees shall be authorized to prosecute such person or persons, and 
by course of law to bring them, or cause them to be brought to the due 
fulfillment of the duty or payment as aforesaid. Furthermore shall the 
committee be authorized to act in like manner with all those, who can 
account of acting contrary to duty and good order, have been expelled 



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96 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

from the Society, to expunge their names and signatures, and to excom- 
municate them from all further enjoyment and right of a member of 
this Society. Neither the seceding persons, who leave the Society of their 
own accord, nor those who are expelled therefrom, can ever, by virtue 
of their signatures, and by the provisions of this article, under no pre- 
tense whatever, in no wise, make any demand or claim, either upon prop- 
erty brought to the Society, or for their labor, or any other services, which 
they may have rendered the Society, in whatever the same shall have 
consisted, notwithstanding; yet such person or persons may, if they 
choose, submit such their pretensions to the Standing Committee, whose 
opinion shall decide, whether or not, or under what condition such appli- 
cants shall be entitled to receive any indemnity. 

All judgments of the committee, issued pursuant to the foregoing^ 
prescriptions, shall be made out in writing and recorded in a book to be 
kept for that purpose, which shall in all courts of law and equity be con- 
sidered as valid and incontestable. Each given judgment of said com- 
mittee shall be handed over to one or more of the Trustees,' by virtue of 
which he or they are authorized to execute such judgment, or cause it to 
be executed, either on voluntary terms, or by the ordinary process of law. 

This constitution shall never, in any wise, be broken or annulled by 
dissatisfied or seceding members. 



ARTICLE XII. 

CONCERNING THE CONSTITUTION. 

The Society can at any time, whenever deemed expedient and neces- 
sary, alter this their constitution, or any one of the articles thereof, or 
add thereto, provided, that such alteration or addition shall always be 
founded upon the principles of Unity and Conservation of the Society, 
and only then practicable if at least two-thirds of all the members be in 
favor of it. In no wise shall this present renewed constitution ever be 
viewed as declaring or representing ineffectual and void the articles 
signed by the members on the fifteenth day of April, 1819, and those of 
the fifteenth day of March, A. D. 1824; on the contrary, said articles 
shall be acknowledged as the basis to this present constitution. 

All unintelligibleness, equivocation, or deficiency, which, peradventure, 
might exist in this constitution, shall always be construed and treated in 
favor of the Society, and never to the advantage of individual members. 

At least annually, at a suitable time, shall this constitution be publicly 
read at the place of public meeting. 

Written and concluded in Zoar, Tuscarawas county. State of Ohio, the 
fourteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hun- 
dred and thirty and three. 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar, 



97 



Incorporation of the ViIvIvAge of Zoar. 

To the Honorable, the Board of Commissioners of the County of Tus- 
carawas, and State of Ohio : 

The undersigned householders, resident in the Town of Zoar, Tus- 
carawas county, Ohio, respectfully ask the following territory with the 
village of Zoar as its center, be incorporated and be known and designated 
as the incorporated Village of Zoar, to-wit: Beginning in the middle of 
the E. line of the 4th qr. of Tp. 10 in Range 2 of the U. S. Military lands, 
thence W. on a line parallel with the S. line of said qr., Tp. 400 rods 
to the middle thereof, thence N. by a line parallel with the E. line of said 
qr. Tp. 400 rods to the middle of the N. line of said qr. Tp., crossing said 
line and continuing N. in the same direction 80 rods to a point, thence 
E. on a parallel line with the N. line of said qr. Tp. 660 rods, to the S. W. 
corner of 40 acres, belonging to the estate of D. K. Nixon, in the N. 
half of Sec. 15 in Tp. 10 and Range 1, thence due S. through lands of 
the Zoar Society, by a parallel line with the W. line of said Sec. 480 — 
to the road leading from John Bayley's farm to Zoar, thence W. in the 
said road and crossing the road leading from Zoar Station to Zoar, 
and also crossing the Tuscarawas river, in the same direction 160 rods 
to the place of beginning. The proposed number of inhabitants residing 
in the proposed corporation is about three hundred and twenty (320). 
The petitioners hereby appoint Simon Beiter as their agent. 



Jacob Ackermann, Sr., 
John G. Ruof, 
Samuel Haer, 
Clemens Breil, 
Andrew Goutenbem, 
Christian Ruof, 
Obed Ruof, 
Louis Zimmerman, 
Simon Beiter, Sr., 
Jacob Burkhart, 
Anton Burkhart, 
Gottlieb Seiz, 
Sebastian Burkhart, 
Joseph Breymaier, 
August Neumann, 
Jakob Ricker, 
Charles Zimmerman, 
Edward Beuter, 
Christian Ackermann, 
Christian J. Ruof, Jr., 
John Breymaier, 



John Groetzinger, 
Samuel Ricker, 
Levi Bimeler, 
Jacob Breymaier, 
David Beuter, 
LoRENz Fritz, 
Frederick Breil, 
Solomon Breil, 
Julius Notter, 
Jonathan Benter, 
Benjamin Ricker, 
Simon Beiter, Jr., 
Jacob Kuem merle, 
John Ricker, 
Christian Hoyh, 
John Ruof, 
Charles Breil, 
William Kappel, 
Wm. Ehlers, 
Michael Mueller, 
Henry Ehlers, 



Vol. vm— 7 



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Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

David Breymaier, Franz Strobel, 

John Notter,. Jakob Buehler, 

Bainaed Beuter, August Kuecherer, 

Burnhart Beitee, William Kuecherer, 

John Kuecherer, John Better, 

John Sturm, Levi Beiter, 

John C. Breymaier, Mathias Dischinger, 

Benjamin Better, Leo. Kern, 

Jacob Ackermann, Jr., Charles Kappel. 
John D. Bimeler, 



Notice is hereby given that a petition praying for the incorporation 
of the Village of Zoar, and adjacent territory, as a village, has been 
presented to the Commissioners of Tuscarawas county, Ohio, and that 
the same will be for hearing on Wednesday, May 7th, 1884 

Simon Better, Agent. 

Mar. 13 W. 4. 



Thb Stati; of Ohio, 



VE, tjTATi; OF (JHIO, 1 

Tuscaravstas County, j ^^" 



I, Addison M. Marsh, being duly sworn say that the notice here- 
unto attached was published in the Tuscarawas Advocate, on the 13th day 
of March, A. D. 1884, and continued therein four consecutive weeks, 
during all of which time said newspaper was printed and in general 
circulation in said county. 

Addison M. Marsh, Publisher. 

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 5th day of June, 1884. 

P. S. Olmstead, /. P. 
Printer's fees, $2.50. 



Commissioners Journal, Tuscarawas county, Ohio, Wednesday, March 
5th, 1884. In the matter of the Incorporation of the Village of Zoar, the 
Petition of Jacob Ackerman, Sr., and sixty other citizens of said village 
having this day been, by their agent, Simon Beiter, filed with the Board 
of Commissioners for Tuscarawas county, Ohio, praying for the incor- 
poration of said village, under the name and style of the Incorporated 
Village of Zoar, together with an accurate plat of the territory sought 
to be incorporated, and it appearing to "said Board that the matter of 
said petition was proper to be set out therein, thereupon on said day 
it being at a regular session, said Commissioners caused said petition, 
together with the attending plat to be filed in the office of the County 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar, 99 

Auditor, and ordered that the time and place of hearing on said petition, 
should be Wednesday, May 7th, 1884, at 10 o'clock A. M., and at the 
Auditor's office of said county, in New Philadelphia, Ohio, Simon Beiter, 
agent, was then and there notified of said time and place of hearing, 
Wednesday, May 7th, 1884. In the matter of the petition of Jacob Acker- 
man, Sr., and sixty others, for the incorporation of the village of Zoar, 
for hearing on this day, the same is postponed until Tuesday, June 3d, 
1884, and leave granted to petitioners to amend petition. Tuesday, June 
3d, 1884. In the matter of the incorporation of the Village of Zoar, 
hearing on which application was adjourned to, this day came Simon 
Beiter, agent for said village and on leave hereintofore granted, filed 
amended petition, Map and Plat of Territory described therein. This 
matter came on for hearing in said amended petition, whereupon the 
Board find that said petition contains all the matter required, that its 
statements are true, that the name proposed is appropriate, that the 
limits of the proposed incorporation are accurately described and are not 
unreasonably large or small, that the plat is an accurate Plat of the 
Territory sought to be incorporated, that the persons, whose names are 
subscribed to the petition are electors residing on the Territory, that 
notice has been given as required of the hearing on this application, and 
that there is the requisite population for the proposed incorporation. 
Therefore it is ordered by the Board of Commissioners for Tuscarawas 
county, Ohio, that the prayer of the petitioners be granted and that the 
village of Zoar be and hereby is established an Incorporated Village 
under the name and style of the "Incorporated Village of Zoar." 

H. B. Heffer, 
Sam'l Rufer, 
Wm. E. Lash, 
Commissioners of Tuscarawas County, Ohio. 

Filed with the Secretary of State, August 25, 1884. 



Debd of the Property by the Trustees to the Members 
ON THE Separation of the Society. 

This deed, the result of the division of the realty belonging to the 
Society, is an unique document. The entire distribution of the prop- 
erty into the respective shares is embraced in one deed by the trustees 
of the Society to the grantees— the recipient members of the dissolving 
Society. By the permission of the County Surveyor, Mr. George E. Hay- 
ward, the plat showing the respective allotments, both in the village 
and the farm land to each member, is published and accompanies this 
volume. The village cemetery, church and school properties were re- 
served public possessions for the village.— E. O. R. 



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100 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 



Deed of the Distributed Realty. 

The Society oe Separatists oe Zoar ") 

TO >• 

Cari, Ehi,ers, et. ai,. ) 

Know all men by these presents that whereas we, Carl Ehlers, Louisa 
M. Ehlers, Charles J. Breymaier, Otelle Bimeler, Peter Bimeler, Mary 
Bimeler, Ernestine Breil, Mary Breil, Charles Breil, Clemens Breil, Flora 
Burkhart, Christian Ruof, Jr., Matilda Ruof, Conrad Breymaier, Char- 
lotte Breymaier, Jacob Breymaier, Caroline Breymaier, Caroline Kuem- 
merle, Levi Beuter, Caroline Beuter, Jonathan Beuter, Pauline Beuter, 
Gottlieb Seitz, Anna Seitz, Pauline Kuecherer, Albert Kuecherer, Selma 
Ruof, Jacob Kuemerle, Johana Kuemerle, Rosina Roth, Barbara Wetter, 
Jacob Buehler, Joseph Buehler, Thersie Buehler, Levi Bimeler, Caroline 
Bimeler, Anton Burkhart, Salome Burkhart, Bertha Kuecherer, Rudolph 
Ruckstuhl, Sarah Ruckstuhl, Simon Beuter, Jacob Burkhart, Emilie Burk- 
hart, Frank Ackerman, Louisa Ackerman, Jacob Ricker, Lydia Ricker, 
Joseph Beuter, Caroline Beuter, Bernhart Beiter, Mary Beiter, Albert 
Beuter, Alma Beuter, John Beiter, Elizabeth Beuter, Sebastian Burkhart, 
Regina Burkhart, Leo Kern, Sabina Kern, Geo. Ackerman, Wilhelmine 
Ackerman, David Beuter, Amanda Beuter, Elizabeth Ricker, Anna Maria 
Peterman, Joseph Bimeler, Amelia Bimeler, Mathias Dischinger, Jacobine 
Dischinger, Jacob Dischinger William Kappel, Wilhelmina Kappel, Simon 
Beuter, Jr., Rosena Beuter, Christian Hoyh, Mary Hoyh, Joseph Brey- 
maier, Bertha Breymaier, Jacob Ackerman, Mary Ackerman, Josephine 
Ackerman, Elizabeth Mock, Christian Ruof, Mary Ruof, Benjamin Beu- 
ter, Salome Beuter, Charles Kappel, Wilhelmine Kappel, Jacob J. Sturm, 
Ellen S. Sturm, John Ruof, Caroline Ruof, John Groetzinger, Lea 
Groetzinger, Regina Breymaier, Elizabeth Fritz, John Ackerman, Charles 
Zimmerman, John Sturm, August Kuecherer, Barbara Kuecherer, C. F. 
Sylvan, Lydia Sylvan, John Bimeler, Louisa Bimeler, Mary Sylvan, 
Rosina Harr, Ella Rieker, Louisa Zimmerman, Louis Zimmerman, An- 
toniette Zimmerman, Julius Notter, Rebecca .Notter, Andreas Gauter- 
bein, Louisa Gauterbein, Christiana Strobel, John Kuecherer, Rosena 
Kuecherer, Lawrence Kuecherer, Emelia Burkhart, Obed Ruof, Eliza 
Beiter, Emma Held, Lillian Ruof, Josephine Ruof, Hattie Ackerman, 
Edwin Breil, William Kuemerle, John Buehler, John Ricker, Orthoford 
Kappel and August Kuecherer, Jr., members of the second class of the 
Society of Separatists of Zoar, all of the County of Tuscarawas and State 
of Ohio, and the only living members of said second class, on the 10th 
day of March, A. D. 1898, together with Christian Ackerman and Fred- 
erick Breil, both of whom have since died, entered into a written contract 
of that date as between ourselves, the said Christian Ackerman and 
Frederick Breil and the Society of Separatists of Zoar, a corporation, 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 101 

provided among other things for the partition and division among us 
and the said Christian Ackerman and Frederick Breil of all the real estate 
of said The Society of Separatists of Zoar, with the exception of certain 
reservations specifically set forth in said written contract, the legal title 
to all of said real estate was then and still is in the name of the said 
The Society of Separatists of Zoar, and held by it in trust for us and 
said two deceased members and their respective heirs, and which said 
written contract is of record in the minute book of the said Society on 
page 30 to 48 both inclusive, which book is in the office of said Society in 
the village of Zoar in said county, and in the custody of Louis Zimmer- 
man, as Treasurer of said Society, reference to which record is hereby 
made. 

And whereas by the terms and provisions of said written contract, 
We, together with the two deceased members, selected and appointed 
Samuel Foltz, Henry S. Fisher and William Becker Commissioners to 
make said partition and division and to designate in their report and 
statement by numbers and on a plat to be prepared by George E. Hay- 
ward, the surveyer selected by us and said two deceased members, the 
parts and portions of said real estate which each of us is to receive as 
our respective shares and allotments and the respective shares and allot- 
ments of each of said two deceased members. 

And whereas the said commissioners have fully performed their 
duties required of them by the terms of said written agreement and have 
made their statement and report in writing and had said plat prepared as 
required by the terms of said contract, and which statement and report 
is in the words and figures following and is the original statement and 
report, to-wit: 

We, the duly selected and authorized Commissioners for the pur- 
pose of sub-dividing, allotting and apportioning the lands (and appur- 
tenances thereto belonging) of the Society of Separatists of Zoar, Ohio, 
designated to us for that purpose, do hereby make the following report 
of our findings and action in said division and allotment and declare 
that to the best of our ability and judgment we have made an equitable, 
just and impartial partition and allotment of the real estate of said 
Society submitted to us for that purpose. 

In making such division it has been with the idea, first to make a 
complete appraisement and invoice of all said real estate without reference 
to persons or location. 

The appraisement being conducted by personal visits to all tracts in 
question, the boundaries and limits being duly designated by us and after- 
ward surveyed, computed and compiled by the surveyor. 

After arriving at the result and sum total the partition was con- 
'ducted with a view to giving so far as practicable, village property, agri- 
cultural lands and timber lands to each of the parties in interest severally 
or jointly when so requested. 



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102 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

Authorized Report of Division Commissioners. 

We met and organized May 2, 1898, and the work of appraisement 
began May 12, 1898. Geo. E. Hayward acted as our clerk throughout 
the work. 

Following the terms of the signed contract we do hereby certify that 
we, in conjunction with the duly authorized and appointed surveyor, 
Geo. E. Hayward, have gone over the land allotted and have found it 
to be in accordance with our wishes, and we approve of the returns of 
said surveyor as shown by monuments and the plat of the land, and we 
have personally inspected this report and find that it shows the result 
of our action and that the work of the Clerk is hereby approved. 

(Following this are the divisions and allotments, by metes and 

bounds, which are omitted here as being not pertinent to the purpose 

of this document. — E. O. R.) 

Sam'l Foltz, 

Wm. Becker, 
Henky S. Fisher. 

Division Commissioners. 
Signed Sept. 1, 1898, at Zoar, Ohi6. 

Geo. E. Hayward, Clerk. 

And whereas by the terms and provisions of said written contract 
we and each of us, and each of said deceased members, covenanted and 
agreed one with the other and each one with all the others, that we and 
the said Christian Ackerman and Frederick Breil would accept the allot- 
ments and parcels of said real estate which should be set apart to us 
respectively by the said commissioners as our respective shares of the 
whole from which said allotments should be made, and that each of us 
would then by a proper deed of conveyance executed and delivered, re- 
lease all our respective rights, title and interest and estate to each of 
the others of us in and to the respective allotments and parcels set apart 
to us respectively and would do and perform all things necessary on our 
respective parts to make good title to the respective owners of said allot- 
ments and parcels. Now, therefore, we and each of us in consideration 
of said written contract and for the purpose of fully carrjdng out its 
provisions in regard to said real estate on our respective parts as well 
as in consideration of the sum of one dollar to each of us in hand paid 
by each of the others of us, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, 
do hereby demise, release and forever quit claim to each other and to 
their respective heirs and assigns forever, all our right, title and interest 
and estate, legal and equitable, in and to the several parcels and allot- 
ments designated by numbers to each of us respectively in the said state- 
ment and report of the said Commissioners, and designated by the same 
numbers and by our respective names on the parcels allotted to us re- 
spectively upon the said plat of said allotment of said lands, a copy of 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 103 

-which plat is hereto attached and made a part and pared of this deed 
of conveyance, and said original plat will be found on the plat records 
•of said Tuscarawas County, each of us excepting and reserving our re- 
spective right, title, interest and estate in and to the parcels and allot- 
ments so designated in said statement and report and on said plat to 
each of us. 

In witness whereof we and each of us have subscribed our names 
this 20th day of September, A. D. 1898. 

(Signatures following next omitted). 

(Certificate of Acknowledgment follows here). 

And whereas the said The Society of Separatists of Zoar, a corpora- 
tion organized under the laws of the State of Ohio, and named in the 
ioregoing deed of conveyance of the members of the second class of 
the said The Society of Separatists of Zoar, by John Bimeler, Joseph 
Breymaier and Christian Ruof, its duly elected and qualified Trustees, 
being duly authorized and empowered thereto by a resolution entered in 
the minute book and journal of the said Society on the 10th day of March, 
A. D. 1898, for and on behalf of the said The Society of Separatists of 
Zoar, executed the written contract mentioned in said foregoing deed of 
conveyance, reference to which is hereby made, whereby they covenanted 
and agreed with all the members of the second class of the said The 
Society of Separatists of Zoar, named in the foregoing deed of convey- 
ance, that they would when the division and allotments provided for in 
■said written contract should have been made and accepted by said mem- 
bers, by proper deed or deeds convey the legal title to each of said parcels 
and allotments to the respective parties to whom the same should be 
awarded by the commissioners named in said written agreement. 

And whereas the said Commissioners have made their statement and 
report in writing and have in said written report designated by consecu- 
tive numbers the parts, parcels and allotments awarded by them to the 
members of the second class respectively, who are now living, and to 
the respective heirs of Christian Ackerman and Frederick Breil, two of 
said members of the second class who have died intestate, leaving heirs 
since they signed said written contract and have caused to be prepared 
by George E. Hayward, the surveyor selected and appointed by the said 
members of the second class, by the terms of said written contract a 
plat of said division an3 allotment on which is designated by the same 
numbers and the respective names of the said several members of the 
second class the parts and portions of said real estate awarded to each 
of said living members and to the heirs of the said two deceased members, 
and showing by said numbers and names the parts and portions awarded 
to some of said members jointly and the others thereof severally, which 
written report and statement of said commissioners is incorporated into 
and is a part of the said foregoing deed of said members and is hereby 
made a part of this deed of conveyance, and a copy of said plat is attached 



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104 Ohio Arch, and His. Society Publications. 

to and made a part of said foregoing deed and is hereby made part and 
parcel of this deed of conveyance, and the second of which plat will be 
found in plat records of said Tuscarawas County, and whereas the said 
living members and each of them have accepted their respective portions 
and allotments as designated in the said commissioners report and on 
said plat as aforesaid, and have executed and delivered their foregoing 
deed of release as between themselves and have fully complied with the 
terms of said written contract on their part to be performed in respect 
to the division of said real estate. 

Now, therefore, in consideration of the foregoing premises and for 
the purpose of carrying into effect the terms and provisions of the afore- 
said written contract, as well as in consideration of the sum of one hun- 
dred dollars to it in hand paid and the receipt whereof is hereby acknowl- 
edged, the said The Society of Separatists of Zoar, has bargained and 

sold and does hereby grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the said 

(Names omitted here) and their heirs and assigns forever the several 
parts and parcels and allotments of said real estate set apart to them 
respectively by the commissioners and designated and described by them 
in their said report, and designated and described by their numbers and 
names on said copy of said plat as aforesaid and on their respective parts, 
parcels and allotments as aforesaid, together with all the appurtenances, 
rights, privileges and easements thereunto belonging or in any wise 
appertaining. 

To have and to hold the same to said living members respectively and 
and to their respective heirs and assigns forever, either jointly or sever- 
ally, as they appear in the said report of said Commissioners and on said 
copy of said plat. 

In Testimony Whereof the said grantor, the said The Society of 

Separatists of Zoar, by John Bimeler, Joseph Breymaier and Christian 

Ruof, its Trustees, has caused its signature to be hereunto subscribed and 

its corporate seal to be hereto affixed this 20th day of September, A. D. 

1898. 

\ The Society of Separatists of Zoar, 
Executed and delivered va. f 

our presence. f gy j^^jj Bimelek, 

Mrs. Kate Hayward, / [Seal] Joseph Breymaier, 

James G. Patrick. \ Christian Ruof, 

} Trustees. 

The State of Ohio, 



HE &TATE OF UHIO, l 

Tuscarawas County, J®®' 



Before me a Notary Public in and for said County personally ap- 
peared the above named John Bimeler, Joseph Breymaier and Christian 
Ruof, the Trustees of the above named The Society of Separatists of Zoar, 
and acknowledged the signing and sealing with the corporate seal of the 



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The Separatist Society of Zoar. 105 

said The Society of Separatists of Zoar, of the foregoing conveyance to 
be their voluntary official act and deed as the Trustees of said corpora- 
tion and the voluntary corporate act and deed of the said The Society 
of Separatists of Zoar. 

In Testimony Whereof I hereunto subscribe my official signature and 
afi&x my official seal this 20th day of September, A. D. 1898. 

(Stamps, $182.00, cancelled.) 

James G. Patrick, 

[Seal] Notary Public. 

Received October 10, 1898 at 10 A. M. 

Recorded October 13, 1898. 

M. Schneider, Recorder. 



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