Chapter 34



Putney, Vermont, November 15, 1847.

DEAR Brother:
We arrived here a week ago last Friday, and found a very hearty welcome as well as an interesting home among the saints.

When I left home there was some doubt whether I should be able to reach Putney, and if I should I expected my tarry would be short. But since my arrival I find such an interesting field and such an important and useful school in Putney that my former plans and calculations are all knocked in the head and I am thrown upon the indications of Providence rather than my own forecast.

It would be gratifying to me to narrate to you what I have seen, heard and felt since I landed in this place, but for several reasons I am unable to do it at present. Suffice it to say, that I am perfectly satisfied that the Kingdom of Heaven is come in reality, and that so far as I am concerned an everlasting end has come upon all further cavil and dispute about the matter. Among a great many other things the fact that I have found the one in whom the spirit of the Lord resides and through whom God intends to reign over this kingdom is a most splendid and joyful discovery to me. In a word I


would say to you, that Brother Noyes instead of claiming too much confidence and dependence upon him as a leader has claimed too little, and instead of having placed too much confidence in him heretofore I deem it perfectly safe to confide m him still more implicitly. And should any inquire of you, Is J. H. the one that should come, or do we look for another, you may refer them to the things which I have seen in Putney, viz., that the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf bear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them; and blessed is he, in my Opinion, whosoever shall not be offended in the leadership of Brother John H. . .

As I know you must feel interested in my remaining here as long as God shall direct, that I may learn any useful lessons which it may be necessary to know in order to conduct our infant Association with success, I feel confident that you will not consider it a burden to take charge of my temporal matters at Oneida Depot during my absence. . .

In respect to Central New York do not think my interest and attachments are lessened. I feel for you in your isolated state, and am ready to throw myself into your ranks and share with you in your conflicts with the enemy as soon as you are ready for battle and I am qualified to aid you. .

Yours in the spirit of complete association,


About the first of November 1847 Joseph C. Ackley made me a visit to see if he and his Beaver Meadow associates could not join me at my place. Such an arrangement was easily con cluded I was to dismiss my sawyer and other hired help, and Ackley and company were to take their place; and we were to carry on the business in common. On account of Mrs. Burt


not being in full sympathy it was thought expedient to let the business continue in my name for the time being, hoping and expecting her speedy conversion. She consented to have the Ackleys come into our house until such time as we could prepare quarters elsewhere. They arrived on the 26th of November, 1847.[1] On the 27th we commenced digging and preparing for the foundation of a house in which to accommodate the three families. The house, which was little more than a shanty, was ready for occupation by the middle of December, and Mr. Ackley with the other two families moved in.

The brethren from Hamilton brought no money. Mr. Ackley brought a horse, and I bought one to match, which made us two teams. I had good contracts with the Railroad for all the lumber the mill could make. Mr. Timothy Jenkins had lent me his name to the Vernon Bank for $200, which I had been obliged to borrow. But while this money was being spent we had no snow, and most ot the time the mud was so deep our teams bad to stand idle in the barn. Of course there were no logs to saw at the mill, and no money coming from the sale of lumber. Time for the payment of the bank note was drawing near, and I had no means of paying. I felt however a strong trust that God would provide. Meanwhile our little band were internally harmonious, and in the main buoyant and happy. Hial Waters from Hamilton joined us sometime in December. He was under age, but a warm-hearted believer and very energetic. The Association know what good material he had in him for a pioneer. Mr. Abbott had made us a visit, and had decided to join us in the spring with his family.

We bad first learned from Dr. Gould the situation at Putney He expressed great confidence in Mr. Noyes as a leader, and

1. Noyes Comments in his First Annual Report of the Oneida Community, that not until later was it perCeived that the very day of the diss~ution at Putney was the day of the first union at Oneida.-G. W. N.


was full of enthusiasm for starting a community, pledging himself to sell his property and join us as soon as possible. He made some complaint about what he called Mr. Noyes's aristocratic tendency; thought it was a family trait, but believed things would come out right in the end. I inferred that he had had some difficulty touching his own personal liberty, but did not learn the exact nature of it. I refused to entertain his accusation of Mr. Noyes, being satisfied that Mr. Noyes had met in him something that needed resistance.


East Hamilton, New York, December 18, 1847.

My dear Brother George W. Noyes:
In our Beaver Meadow move for community we are greeted by acclamation by our townsmen. "That is the true state of society," say they; and to their cheer our hearts respond a loud amen.

Our affairs are working well, "to a charm." Our eyes are Opening to heaven's order. Our community house is built, and Brother Ackley and family are on the ground. Six inches of snow will start all of our Beaver Meadow band, save Holmes and Waters who are to follow in the spring, if God wills.

The following is a list of our Circus Company:

Joseph C. Ackley
Daniel P. Nash
Julia Ackley
Sophia Nash
Albert, Edgar, and Alice
Edwin S., Olive Ann, Florilla S.
Wm. S. Hatch
Elmer Waters, wife & Reuben Holmes
Evoline Hatch 2 sons & 1 daughter, wife, 1 son & 2 daughters
Mary Emily
23 souls.


The Providence of God placed us contiguous three years since, and our coming together has been emphatically "without sound of hammer."

We should be happy, if it is not too much trouble for to give us each and all of the names of our family at Putney. When Ackley wrote last, Burt's house contained 16 souls.

We hear Gould has returned.

Cook hails from Syracuse as yet, but it seems as though the Hamiltons would like to join us en masse.

I have just petitioned the Cabinet of Heaven for $300, and I shall get it, for my faith apprehends it.

Our bark rides well. All on board are in high glee. Mrs. Burt is exceeding kind, and has invited myself and wife to take up lodgings in "Burt's Hotel."

New York is fitting up her car. God is the locomotive, and we are the whiffletrees. The steam is smoking. Hail the mighty ship riding in the eastern waters!

More anon.

Yours for the Truth,


Oneida, New York, December 25, 1847.

Brother Noyes:
In reporting to you from this part of the field I am happy to say that I found on my return from Putney that association was progressing much faster than I expected. Burt was building a house for the East Hamilton company, and Ackley and family bad arrived. Today Hatch and Nash will move in. Waters is also there.

Foot and wife came here two weeks since to buy Stone 5 place and form a domain at the Depot by adding that to my place and gradually extending it. He appeared to have had a


revelation to that end. Burt and myself opposed them very mildly, and the next Sunday went over to Lairdsville with Lovett and wife and we thought succeeded in satisfying them it would be better to buy a farm adjoining Burt. Foot can sell his farm to Sanford, and his wife is willing. She however is still no more favorable to association and is very jealous of Putney fashions.

There is now a pretty strong prospect that in the spring we shall have about three hundred acres adjoining Burt of arable and pasture land and an association house commenced. Abbott and Cook stayed with us Tuesday night. Abbott has sold his place for $850, and has consented to join Foot in the purchase of a farm adjoining Burt's.

Cook talks somewhat differently from what I expected. He is very much engaged in bringing others into the dispensation of righteousness instead of association. Has fourteen converts under his care. I should judge they were Millerites. He talks about a roving commission and of Coming into association after all the rest are in. I was somewhat surprised to hear him say, that he stood ready to put his hand on Putney if he found they had crossed the present custom of the world in respect to the sexual relation. I wanted to tell him that he needed resurrection faith and a baptism of the fire of free love, but I durst not.

My wife and self leave today for Syracuse. Shall remain there till Monday. Expect to see quite a gathering there with Burt and Hatch.

I think I can see plainly enough that if Cook holds on to his present Syracuse project God will come in a way he is not aware of and knock it all into a cocked hat. I shall endeavor to convince him of this if the prospect justifies the attempt, but my hopes are small.

I1 am run pretty close on all hands about Putney customs,


but thus far succeed in referring people to your former writings, to Brother Foot who has also made a visit to Putney, and to my letter to Cook, a copy of which I carry for this particular use. But Mrs. Foot on the back of all promptly declared her settled opinion that promiscuous intercourse was the order of the day at Putney Burt is most clear on this subject by all odds of any I come across.

I do not understand your object in proposing to sell out in Putney and locate in New York City. The suggestion of selling I think I can see is good policy. In respect to the Putney Invincibles coming into sympathy with the persecuted Jews, I talked with Skinner and wife about their being ordained as missionaries before I left Putney, and invited them into this part of the vineyard if they should be licensed.

We suppose Cragin and wife are with you. When you get through in the City, if all three of you wish a home, my wife and I will endeavor to make Oneida Depot as comfortable for you as we can during your expatriation, and will share with you the opprobrium and persecution with which the enemies of righteousness are now so hotly pursuing you.

Yours in haste,


Burt's, January 4, 1848.

Dear Brother Hial:

By the request of Brother Burt I forward you a line by way of a call for you to come immediately to this place, if you can. Brother Burt has bought another horse, and wants you that he may start another team. Please inform him immediately either in person or otherwise in answer to the call.

Things in this region bear a favorable aspect toward our contemplated movements, more so than we could have expected


a short time since. It looks just like God, for he will do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think. We are expecting Brother Hamilton here this week to make arrangements for moving on. It is proposed that the brethren buy out Cram, Francis and Corkins, if the means can be furnished, and 1 think they can. I think we have hit upon the right place by grace, and that now is the time of salvation to the church, We have got to stand as minute-men ready to enter in at every opening of a door.

Tell your father he has a place among us somewhere; it will be found in due time. Say to your mother, Be not disconsolate nor in dismay, but come into conjunction with apostolic faith. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and connection with that power now will as quickly restore the withered hand as it did then. Sister, wilt thou believe? If thou wilt, 1 say unto thee, Arise and show forth the glory of God. God is a miracle not to himself but only to the mind that cannot discern his supernatural power. You need not expect a whirl-wind or a hurricane, but simply have faith in God. My prayer is, God bless you with the whole truth as it is in Christ Jesus.

Julia sends love. Yours in the faith of Christian love and fellowship,

Report No. I from District of New York and New Jersey

Oneida, New York, January 18, 1848.

Brother Noyes: . . .
Perceiving that Cook would never be fit for the service while he continued in so much bondage to exclusiveness . . .

I accepted his invitation to visit Syracuse and took my wife, with intention of laying siege to him in his own fortress. I found, as I suspected, that he was making a tremendous effort


to organize a force in Syracuse that should be under his exclusive control and independent of Putney as well as of Oneida. I found him surrounded with the fourteen inquirers or, as he had expressed it, new converts, and the Perfectionists generally of that region. I sat down in silence Sunday and Monday to reconnoitre his position, and found him as legal as Latourette, preaching two days and nights with as much vehemence.

I prayed God on Monday to let loose the Devil's artillery upon him and spike his guns. On Monday evening I saw my prayer was being answered. He became enveloped in thick darkness, and seemed like a lunatic beating the air. At ten o'clock his physical strength became exhausted, and in the night Satan made a savage attack upon his body in the form of disease On Tuesday I found an Opening through his fortress, and opened a fire on him. That night the Devil was let loose upon Lucinda.

On Wednesday I found them willing to hear, and stated in the finale that I had become tired of his evasive and unmeaning answers about practical association, that myself and the church here and at Putney had been waiting on his motion since last September, and that we would wait no longer; that instead of being charmed by the beauties of association he and Lucinda were occupied in contending against lasciviousness and Gatesism; that instead of being willing to forsake all I found him in love with city life, fashions and luxuries; that they were hugging their worldly relations and his $500 salary; that it was all wrong and would call down the curse of God Almighty; that although I was the most independent Perfectionist in the State I had thrown all overboard and God had rewarded me with an ability to move my wife into a log house, the meanest on the domain, and live on corn bread and potatoes, if need be; that instead of being terror-stricken by the sound of the enemies' artillery at Putney it girded me with


Herculean strength, and nothing less than the challenge of Roderick Rin expressed my mind, "'Tis come on, come one, come all." Admitting that he was right in his suspicion that you were rather arbitrary, this was no time for parley or explanation; the enemy was invading the country, and we must now turn our attention to defense. I said that our subjects were yet undisciplined, ignorant and incapable of a perfectly free government, and that at a proper time I would sanction the project of communicating with you on the subject of national polity, to which he assented and expressed himself as greatly relieved.

After arousing them somewhat with my spirit they heard me with considerable interest. I spread out before them the honors, pleasures and privileges of the station to which the Commander-in-chief had nominated them. I said that you had authorized me to act by like nomination, and my business was to see that my district be put in a proper state of defense; and that I had now come as God's special ambassador to warn him to his post. As evidence of my commission I referred him to the authority with which I was enabled to speak, and the notable miracle wrought through me the day before in casting the Devil out of Hamilton's wife and restoring her to health.

I told him that I suspected he was not in the spirit of association; that I could take no more promises, nor could the government rely upon him without more particular examination and acquaintance with his state of mind. They agreed positively, and I think earnestly at the time, that they would visit us that week for this purpose, and that Hamilton should come the week following. But after I left, exclusiveness again got possession of Cook. He told Hamilton he stood ready to break with Noyes and Gould; did everything to hinder Hamilton from coming and to stop further arrangements in respect to


Oneida: wrote Abbott to go to Worden's instead of Oneida; and drew up a constitution for an association in his region without concentration. But God has completely foiled him. His own friends are disgusted with his opposition and his numerous foolish and conflicting plans. Even Worden has kicked out of his traces already. Hamilton and wife came according to engagement, stayed five days, and proved most satisfactorily that they are worthy of our confidence. His mother will visit us next week. Hamilton left here this morning to capture the remainder of Cook's forces, if any stragglers can be found.

Hamilton and myself visited Foot yesterday; found he had been quite sick, and had again moored his vessel alongside of the wharf of isolation, all I think in consequence of the firing at Putney He will not promise to loose his boat again without a fresh revelation.

The Beaver Meadow company have arrived. They dedicated their house on Sunday, and the unprecedented glory of God shone upon us~ Half a dozen families I think would be ready to move on before spring, if Burt and I can prevail on Foot to hoist sail in time.

I have devoted nearly all my time to the Kingdom of God since I saw you until I am out of provisions and not a dollar in purse, and yet never felt so rich. Burt has been the only man I could rely upon in case of attack even in externals. Am greatly relieved now with Hamilton in the free love department.

Myself and wife have stood like Ishmaelites, every man's hand against us The intrigues of the Devil have been resorted to in full At times all men have forsaken us. But I have been able to rejoice in the darkest times that your dispersion and apparent overthrow has only increased my interest and determination to sustain you, and that your orders shall be as promptly executed when issued from the Tombs of New York


as from the White House at the Capitol. I exceedingly rejoice that though all men forsake the cause I have never felt the first symptom of exclusiveness, misgiving or fear about our success since last September, and I glory in the sight that what we are binding on earth is also bound in heaven.

I think we could get above families here and build association house next summer, if Foot would cut loose within a month. I have little expectation that he will unless cured of exclusiveness, which I believe stands in the way of his wife. Had good fellowship with them yesterday. Made him acknowledge that you might not have intended more than God did with Abraham in offering up Isaac, and admit to his wife that he did not know but some such test might be useful on the subject of exclusiveness.

I do not expect blind men to distinguish colors. Believe I could put them through the test, and they would with Hamilton begin to see as gods. What say you? If I have a fair prospect, will you sustain me? .

Having formed a spiritual nucleus I have promised Burt I would move mildly in my department. But he does not understand that our success as well as providing a safe retreat for your Putney troops (if need be) depends upon above enter-prize. Can I hear soon through Brother Cragin?

Want to answer your wife's letter, but have not time. Should you deem best, you might send her this as substitute.

In haste, your most obedient
W. C. G.

To J. H. N., Commander-in-chief.


I have just read my husband's letter, and fully endorse all he says in it. I feel one with you and the persecuted saints of


Putney I am not one of them that draw back to perdition. The more I lose, the more I find I gain. I believe I have put everything I had on the altar, but if I find anything hid I will put that on also. I rejoice that my character has gone by the board, and am not afraid of the result.

Yours in like faith,


Chapter 35: The Call to Oneida | Contents