After the Harmonists
New Harmony, IndianaRapp originally purchased 7,000 acres in Indiana; by 1817 the Harmonists owned 30,000 acres, including a strip of Illinois land along the river. In July 1814 John Baker and 100 members arrived in Indiana. The town was surveyed and laid out. The summer had been unusually hot that year and the Harmonists were not used to the climate. Building came to a halt as many fell sick with malaria that claimed some 120 lives over the next two years. Once George and Frederick Rapp arrived and the devastating sickness subsided, the old Harmonist industry accelerated. Swamps were drained, building went forward quickly, and living conditions improved. The Harmonists called their second town both "Harmonie" and "Neu Harmonie." Families lived in log cabins, later these were replaced with two-story homes of frame and brick, like those built in Pennsylvania. Over the course of their decade in Indiana the Harmonists also erected large brick structures including a tavern, granary, mills and four large community houses. A brick cruciform church was begun in 1822.
In 1816 a delegation of Shakers visited New Harmony to discuss the possibility of a union between the two groups, but it was blocked by theological differences. However, the two groups remained close for years. Gertrude and Rosina Rapp were sent to live a t a Shaker colony for a time and learn English.
There were ten transports of members and goods down the Wabash. The last one, May 1815, brought the number of Harmonists in Indiana to 730. In 1817/1818, 150 new members from Württemberg were admitted to the Society. This last influx caused unrest i n the community. For these newcomers were not as fully committed to the ideals of the community as the original congregation, and Rapp was forced to perform several marriages.
In 1818 the Book of Debts, containing the record of members' contributions upon joining, was ceremoniously burned on the anniversary of the Society's founding. More explicit, individualized agreements were drawn up in 1821, which omitted the earlier secti on on the return of property to members. Rapp was gradually making it more difficult for anyone to withdraw. With guaranteeing financial security for all he tried to compensate for disallowing departing members to claim any of the Society's growing wealt h.
In 1824 Rapp decided to sell New Harmony. Though he tried to justify the move by telling his congregation it was time for the Sunwoman of Revelation to again flee into the wilderness, there were several practical reasons for the move. New Harmony was far from the eastern markets where Harmonist products were sold, malaria was still a threat, there were again problems with neighbors, and the group felt isolated from others of their ethnic background.
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