Monday, March 26, 2018

Pandora's Safe #10: Is 13 His Lucky Number? Complex Marriage etc

During the 19th century Americans - especially those on the western frontier were on fire to find new ways to be as families and communities. 

 Check out this map which shows settlement along the Erie Canal and Great Lakes as tens of thousands of people -- then hundreds of thousands -- shifted from farm to factory, 
and from factory towns to the frontier.


People who chose to join the  Shakers 
would lead lives of strictly segregated activities, chastity and communal ownership.





Oneida was a much different community.  Founded by John Humphrey Noyes and based on complex marriage.   If you were in class for the lecture on the 2nd Great Awakening, millenialism and perfectionism you remember how Noyes came up  with "Complex Marriage." 

The rest of you can try reading about it: 







This isn't everyone who lived in the Oneida commune, just the people who hammed for a picture in the 1870s


So if you look John Humphrey Noyes up on Ancestry you get this --->



I'm not sure 13 is the right number, but it sounds lucky for him.

John Humphrey Noyes was a religious leader, philosopher, economist and most of all he was someone who wrote about all of his great ideas, even "male continence" during sexual intercourse. 





The Oneida community grew and grew and then fell apart. 

Never before did I wonder what happened to the children of Oneida.

But then I was looking through almost 1400 admission forms to Blackwell Island in New York City and I found one card that said  "Occupation: Writer" (Green arrow)  My eyes then went to see the poor writer's destiny --  "Future doubtful" (yellow arrow) before they moved up to see that her father was also a writer (blue arrow) and finally I saw her last name was Noyes (pink arrow) and I may or may not have howled in celebration. 

I cannot find an exhaustive list of John Humphrey Noyes' children, but I do believe Deborah believed that he was her father, which probably shaped how she saw herself and the choices she made,

 I hope that she left us  stories we have yet to discover.