1 of the last remaining Shakers dies at 89, leaving just 2


PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Sister Frances Carr, one of the last remaining members of a nearly extinct religious society called the Shakers, has died. She was 89.

Carr died Monday surrounded by family and friends in the dwelling house at the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester after a brief battle with cancer, said Brother Arnold Hadd, one of the group’s two remaining members.

“She had a death with dignity and love,” Hadd said Tuesday. “She was surrounded by love, tears and a lot of Shaker songs.”

Their community at Sabbathday Lake was settled in 1783 and was one of more than a dozen such communities created in the New World by the Shakers, formally known as the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearance.



I watched a good documentary on them several years back. Very interesting. May she rest in peace.


Many years ago, I visited the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Kentucky. It was quite remarkable, as is the history of this group. It’s not entirely surprising that their numbers are so low, given the strict prohibition against sex – no babies to replenish the community. But still quite an amazing group.


They used to be known for building circular barns, if I remember correctly.


While celibacy may have contributed somewhat, it seems other factors may have contributed more to their decline. After-all, just because someone might have been born into their community wouldn’t have guaranteed that he/she would have stayed in the community upon reaching adulthood. And indeed, the Shakers’ enjoyed considerable expansion simply as the result of converts joining their ranks. What seems to have contributed to their decline at least as much, if not more, was the loss of their markets when they had to compete against the cheaper, factory-produced goods that became available after the Civil War and the dawn of industrialization.


Good thing they had no kids…they wouldn’t be able to make them sit in the corner.


I don’t know about circular barns but they were known for their furniture. Roy Underhill has done a number of episodes of “The Woodwright’s Shop” on making Shaker style furniture. I always thought they were nice looking pieces.


I visited one of these barns in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, I think it was. It was a very impressive and unusual-looking structure.

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