The Alphadelphia Association

alphadelphia_association

The Alphadelphia Association

The Alphadelphia Association was established in Galesburg, Michigan, in 1844. A German, Dr. H. R. Schetterly, was the leader. Three thousand acres of land were purchased, and a large mansion was built. At one time probably 300 members were admitted. The common property was valued at $43,897.21 in 1846. It was disbanded in 1848.

Two of the primary founders were the Rev. Richard Thornton, and the Rev. James Billings, both Universalist preachers. They published the Association’s paper, the Alphadelphia Tocsin, from 1844 to 1846.

The association was founded on the principles set forth by French socialist Charles Fourier which combined a belief in the possibilities of scientific evolution and social progress and the sense that ridding the world of evil would inaugurate a “reign of Social Harmony” that would hasten, according to the members of such groups as Alphadelphia, the coming millennium or the thousand year reign of Christ on earth.

The constitution for Alphadelphia was drawn up in December 1843 by a small group of individuals from various Michigan counties. These same selected members for a site committee to search out a suitable location for their home. Some partially cultivated acreage in Kalamazoo County seemed ideal for their purposes. The land was cut across by the Kalamazoo River and close by the anticipated completion of the Michigan Central Railroad tracks. Those who owned land on the site were encouraged to join the organization.

In the spring of 1844 a barracks for living quarters was built. There would also soon be a saw mill for the timber on the land, a blacksmith shop, and a printing office. From this latter office, the Alphadelphia members printed the Alphadelphia Tocsin and a journal, the Primitive Expounder.

Alphadelphia lasted but four years and really flourished only for one year until 1845. Some members left because of poor economic conditions and their sense that they could better themselves elsewhere. Internal dissensions also tore at the organization with charges of mismanagement and the shortage of cash to do business and to pay taxes. Alphadelphia ceased functioning, according to their records, in 1848.

More information on the Alphadelphia Association can be seen here.

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