Monday, February 13, 2023



On February 29, 1736, Ann Lee was born in Manchester, England.  She married a blacksmith and bore four children who all died in infancy.


Ann Lee traveled around England preaching against sexual intercourse as the “root of all depravity.”


In 1774 she and her followers immigrated to the United States and settled in Watervliet, New York.   “Mother Ann” as she was known, founded the religious sect known as the “Shaking Quakers.”   The colony was expected to practice complete celibacy and communal ownership of all goods and wealth.


By 1826 there were 28 Shaker communities spread from Maine to Indiana.  


The last active Shaker community is located at Sabbathday Lake in Maine.


The epitaph of William Stratton reads:

“Here lies the body of

William Stratton, of Paddington,

Buried 18th day of May, 1734, age 97 years;

Who had by his first wife 28 children;

By his second 17, was own father of 45;

Grandfather of 86’ great-grandfather of 23.

In all 154 children”


The epitaph of Ann Jennings reads:

“Some have children – some have none

Here lies the mother of twenty-one.

*epitaphs taken from Best Gravestone Humor 

by Lois Schafer 


I understand how widows and unmarried women of that era might look at a future of subserviency to a husband, cooking, cleaning, washing, child care – and giving birth every year until their bodies were wrecked and their health destroyed, and be drawn to a community of abstinence.  


 I don’t understand a man choosing celibacy.   That seems to be against our DNA and most basic primal instincts.   But perhaps there was more going on in the Men’s dormitory than making Shaker furniture. 

the Ol’Buzzard


  1. The Shakers have always interested me as a social experimental community.

  2. There is perhaps much more going on behind the scenes... as usually happens with all very Odd Religious communities... Cults... and those who claim to be so Wholesome, and are anything but...


COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."