Shakers On The Decline

Word has come that one of three remaining members of the Shakers religious sect has died. The group believes in celibacy, which has caused its numbers to decline.

But at the time of the Civil War, there were several thousand members in the U.S. President Abraham Lincoln gave them a blanket exemption as conscientious objects, one of the first times that occurred. But the Shakers were still active.  In one community in Kentucky (see photo), members estimated they fed, clothed and provided medical services to more than 50,000 Union and Confederate soldiers.

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Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine, a former managing editor for Western Shooting Horse Magazine and the chief purveyor of ScarletMask Enterprises.