Description of a Shaker Village. — A correspondent writing from Concord, N. H., sends the following interesting account of the Canterbury Shakers:
Twelve miles from Concord, in the township of Canterbury, is situated the Shakers’ village. These peculiar people have here a settlement of about three hundred persons; their buildings are painted buff, and are large and commodious. They reside in what they term ‘families,’ each numbering from fifty to a hundred souls. The lower family is called church family, from the fact of the church being there situated. Then there are the centre family and the north family. In winter they have no public worship, but the members of each family have devotions in their respective houses. Their farms consist of some four thousand acres, in a high state of cultivation, while their out-buildings are not equalled by those of any farms in the world. One barn we entered was two hundred feet in length, a cellar underneath for manure. Each cow had its name placed in a conspicuous position. The barn or stable was so clean that a lady with the finest silk dress would not be in the least soiled. The house we were in was painted yellow, furniture and all, and oil cloth took the place of carpet on the floor. The men wear blue cloth coats, claret colored pants, and drab vests, the latter garment coming down almost to their knees. The women are dressed in white caps, with their hair pushed back from their foreheads, dark dresses fitting closely to their persons, with high white collars coming up to their chins. The groups presented quite a unique appearance. They are most excellent livers — the dinner we sat down to would beat a good many served up in New York. They have a very good, though somewhat singular rule posted up, which many families might profit from, viz: ‘nothing must be left on the plate.’ They hold their property in common, each one having a share in it. Celibacy is strictly adhered to as the means of living a pure life; indeed, so strict are they that a man and wife stopping there over night are obliged to sleep in different apartments.
– Charleston Mercury, 11 April 1861, p. 4, c. 2.