Shaker Village is truly a step back in time! Once you enter the area you feel the strength of their convictions, of simplicity and peace. Oh and incredibly hard work......you see the results of that everywhere.
I must admit I knew very little about this quaint and unusual group of deeply religious people.
You may or may not know that the Shakers invented the flat broom, the clothespin, and the circular saw, among many other items. This all seems amazing to me since their leader Mother Ann Lee never learned to read or write.
Shaker men and women lived separately. Some members came to the group as married couples but once they became a Shaker they lived the rest their lives in separate quarters. Order,simplicity,hard work and celibacy were strong convictions of this group. In spite of the celibacy though there were lots of children raised in the Shaker villages. Often they were orphans brought in when no one else would take them.
This is one of the rooms once occupied by children. It doesn't look like a lot of fun for a kid.....we didn't see any toys or dolls or any thing child like that said children once lived here.
They may have given the children a roof over their heads and three meals a day but fun and play I guess was not a priority.
We fell in love with the furniture and the architecture of the village. I knew from my Mother's love of ladder back chairs that they were invited by the Shakers,and trust me comfort was not part of that invention. I think they designed these chairs so they could hang them on the wall in the evening and sweep the floors clean.
This trip was for two reasons,one to visit the Shaker Village, and two to search my mother's family tree the LeMay side. We share a family tree with General Curtis Lemay who was very important during WWll. We spent a lot of our time there in Lancaster Ky in the library researching. This research led us to meeting a few women from D.A.R. The Daughters of the American Revolution, a group I hope to join, and a women writing a book about local war veterans. What a surprise to learn she had a story about my mother's cousin who served in WW11. It gave me some much needed information about him I never would have known.
Each time we passed an abandoned house I wondered....could this have once been owned by someone in my family. I have been told that the house my grandmother was raised in still partially stands, but where? So still more to research. My next stop is the University of Kentucky to look at old newspapers and even older recorders.You see this search is easy and hard because my great-great grandparents were first cousins! So my search for both sides is with the same last name. Often back in those days people could not read or write so they never knew if the census taker recorded them correctly. This has made me crazy at times!
After I find all I can on this part of my tree I plan to do more on my Dads side the Jones'es and my mom's father's side the Sawyers. An interesting discovery was made before my dad died. We never knew that my mom's maiden name was not Sawyer it was in fact we believe Sawyers......or so I have seen on old records in Kentucky. This search has led me to discover that we descend from Daniel Boone's sister, Mary Polly Boone. Still lots to confirm and discover.......but one fact has I have learned for is more and more interesting and colorful characters turn up at each point of this process.
I just wish I had paid more attention to my parents and grandparents when they tried to tell me who and where I came from. I hope to leave a better record of things for my sons and their family!
As an interesting foot note, I discovered that as of 2010, this once thriving group has dwindled down to only 3 remaining Shakers. I don't know if this number is still true today.