The subject for the evening is one of great interest, as dating back 186 years, we find the Shakers to be an exceedingly ingenious people, devoted pioneers of this adventure.
It is rather difficult for one who has been a member of this church, to speak of the achievements of this especial group without seeming boastful, yet, we, the inheritors can justly be proud of the useful contributions made in early days. It therefore is our duty to inform those interested while we are able.
While different societies originated and manufactured some particular item, these were shared with all others as, while we were like one big family, each society was a complete unit within themselves, self-sustaining, supplying the necessities for their own needs. An interchange of goods from one village to another was possible because of frequent visits of the leaders. I will now try to detail for you some of the early industries and inventions.
Perhaps the most colorful of the early industries was the herb and root industry. This was a natural outgrowth of the Shakers’ interest in gardening and agriculture. Eldress Anna White states in her writings that, “the Shakers were the first in this country to introduce botanical medical practice, the first roots, herbs and vegetable extracts for medicinal purposes placed on the market having borne the Shaker stamp”.