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March 2016 – Page-3

We never tire of posting articles from the Community Current Events column, or, as it was known in 1916, “Current Events in Our Community Life”. This one, from April 1916 describes life in the Unity in the early part of the last century, within eight years of the death of Cyrus Teed.

Here is the April 1916 edition, ((1)) with the addition of a photo related to parts of the article.

WE HAVE HAD a very pleasant two week visit from Brother Peter Campbell and his wife, Sister Jennie, and their little grandson, Raymond King Trebell. They have been connected with this work for a good many years, being among the early pioneers here in Estero. Sister Jennie was caretaker of the younger folks in Chicago, and brought them to Estero years before the Northern Division of the Unity left Chicago. She had at one time in her charge as many as 42 children; and while these have now grown to be men and women, it is pleasing to notice her motherly regard for them all, and every once in a while we hear of some of them gathering at their New York home. Brother Peter had charge of the saw mill on Estero Island, during the pioneer days, and did his share in helping to transform Estero from a wilderness into a beautiful spot.

It will be of interest to many to know that the Campbells, with their daughter Edith, were with the Master on Bunker Hill, Portland, Ore., when he delivered that memorable message, the “Proclamation,” the “Battle Cry of the White Horse Army,” which is recorded in THE FLAMING SWORD of January 24, 1891 This “Proclamation” is also in pamphlet form. The Master told Brother Peter it was necessary for the message to be delivered from that very spot. Since our friends have lived in New York City, they have performed some valuable work in behalf of the Koreshan cause. It surely has been a great pleasure to have been favored with this visit,’ and we hope they will repeat it often, as no one will be more welcome than they.

At the Sunday evening Service of March 12, a sister read the following article from the Writings of KORESH, in FLAMING SWORD of August, 1908: “Does Humanity Constitute a Brotherhood?” The quartette sang, “The Lord Is In His Holy Temple,” after which three more short articles were read: “Progress Through Dispensations,” “Thoughts are Things,” and “Incarnation and Insanguination,” from FLAMING SWORD of Oct., 1908. “In the Hollow of His Hand,” was then sung; the Service closing with a prayer, and the Anthem, “Lift Up Your Heads, 0 Ye Gates.”
We had visiting us for a week, Mr. Benjamin Franklin, of Philadelphia, who has been somewhat interested in Koreshanity for the past twelve months.

On Saturday, March 18, a great many of the members of the Unity availed themselves of the opportunity to visit the Boomer property, across the river, and inspect the new barn just completed. The contract was let to the Koreshan Unity; the

Koreshans gather at the Boomer Barn in 1916.

Koreshans gather at the Boomer Barn in 1916.

construction was in charge of Brother Stephen Chislett, and certainly reflected great credit on him and his co-working brothers for fine workmanship, and on the Unity, in having such efficient and faithful members.

Sister Berthaldine, the mother of Mr. LL M. Boomer, and her daughter, Sister Bertie, made this occasion one to be long remembered. The building was gaily decorated, and presented a gala appearance. Sister Elizabeth Robinson played a number of new records, as well as many others from her voluminous collection, on her Victor Talking Machine, which were very much enjoyed. The male quartette sang the following popu-lar numbers, assisted on the violin by Brother Harold Moreland: “Hail Columbia;” “The Battle-Cry of Freedom;” “Flag of the Free,” and the “Song of a Thousand Years.” The one thing which furnished the most amusement was the so called fish pond, inasmuch as each had to exhibit what he caught. The pond was a large clothes basket, which was out of the fisher-man’s view, filled with packages contributed by the different members. Some of the -contributions were exceedingly funny. Refreshments were served as a crowning climax, after which the members took the boat for home, with a most pleasant memory of a well spent afternoon.

That same night Mr. and Mrs. Albert Miller, of Chicago, came in on “The Estero.” Mrs. Miller, or Sister Alice as she is familiarly known here, was on the contributing staff to THE FLAMING SWORD in the early days in Chicago, and wrote under the name of Alice Fox Miller. Her keen grasp of Koreshan fundamentals is very marked in all her articles. Mr. Miller, though not of our faith, has nevertheless been a good friend to the cause; on certain occasions assisting the Unity very materially. We appreciate and always enjoy a visit from them.

At our Sunday evening Service of March 19, the following article was read from THE FLAMING SWORD of March, 1909: “The Possibility and Process of Redemption.” Every now and then the Master used to give what he pleased to call “A Home Talk.” The above selection is such a “talk,” stenographically reported by Sister Isadora. It is truly a wonderful article; one that can’t be read too often, inasmuch as special emphasis is placed on doing the commandments : “Blessed are they. that do his commandments.” The quartette sang, “Adonai.” Having many visitors at this time, the decorations were unusually attractive and beautiful.

On the following Monday, a picnic was arranged in honor of our guests. “The Estero” left the dock in the morning, with twenty-eight on board, bound for Garlos Point. At the mouth, of the river we anchored, and some of the brothers busied themselves gathering oysters. The tide was low, and in a short time we filled several sacks. Our next stop was the fish house, where, with a silver hook, we purchased the choicest silver mullet caught in these waters; these were cooked to suit the taste of the most exacting, and it is needless to say that everyone did full justice to the good things prepared. Brother John Sargent made a short speech, thanking us all for helping him to celebrate his birthday, he having reached his seventieth milestone. This was news to us; nevertheless, we were glad to help Bro. John celebrate. Many interesting things were recalled during the day, in connection with the Koreshan movement, which were exceedingly interesting to some of the newer members, as well as a joy to those who had passed through them. The day was all one could wish for; and having to wait till about nine in the evening for the tide, we returned home under the most glorious moonlight, feeling very much rejuvenated.

On Saturday evening, March 24, the Dramatic Art Club of the Unity, under the direction of Sister Bertie Boomer, presented at the Art Hall, Lady Gregory’s short play, “Spreading the News,” with the following cast: Bartley Fallen, John Clinchy; Mrs, Fallen, Bertha M. Boomer; Mrs. Tully, Marie Fischer; Mrs. Tarpey, Ella Graham; Shawn Early, Arnold Fischer; Tim Casey, Lou Staton; James Ryan, Frank Rahn; A Policeman, Alfred Christensen; A Removable Magistrate, Chas. Hunt; Jack Smith, D. J. Richards. This is one of seven short plays that Lady Gregory has written, and the London Daily News speaks of them as follows:

“There is indeed something very fine in the genius of Lady Gregory, which enables her thus truly and delicately to convey the fine edge of humor and the preying loveliness of grief. She has a very sure hand. It would be hard to recommend too highly this ingratiating volume of plays.”

The audience was well pleased with the production; the many complications proved exceedingly humorous, but at the same time imparting a good moral lesson, that of circulating stories without the least basis of foundation, and when repeating same, coloring it to suit one’s own fancy. The special scenery provided for the occasion was very effective, for which much credit is due Brothers Peter Blem, John Clinchy, and Lou Staton, who assisted Sister Bertie in making this feature a decided success.

At our Sunday evening Service of March 25, the following selections were read by a sister from the Writings of our Master: “The New Jerusalem, the Hidden City of God,” in FLAMING SWORD of Oct., 1908, and “The Koreshan Religio-Sociology” in F.S., Sept., 1908. The solo for the evening was “Open the Gates of the Temple.” We are often asked why we don’t increase in numbers faster than we do, but the following quotation from THE SWORD of Sept., 1908, is the best answer that could be given:

“The Koreshan Unity is the power ordained of God to fulfil the purpose of the Almighty in the estab-lishment of the new order of society. We are often advised to drop religion from our advocacy of the cooperative and communistic principles to which we hold. We are frequently informed that our work would progress more satisfactorily if we would leave religion out of the question. We have to again iterate our statement: We want the fruit of the age only, as our gathering represents, and therefore do not urge irreligious people to enter our institution. We are after the people who love the Lord, and who can be induced to love him through the power of regeneration, which began to work in them at the beginning of the Christian dispensation.”

On Wednesday evening, March 29, the K. U. Orchestra gave a concert in honor of our friends from New York City. The Campbells hail originally from Scotland, and so does our Orchestra leader. Brother James W. Calderwood, so he aimed to make the evening ring with memories of the “Auld Kintry.” The stage was decorated with Scotch thistles. The writer sang “Ye Banks and Braes of Bonny Doon;” Brother James Calderwood sang “The Auld Scotch Sangs” very effectively, and responded to an encore with “Annie Laurie.” Another distinctive feature was a Highland dance by Brother John Watson, dressed in his Scottish kilts.

Brother Harold Moreland, a recent acquisition to the K. U. Orchestra, made his initial bow in this concert as a violin soloist, playing for his first number, “Chopin’s Nocturne,” in a very beautiful manner, which gained him instantly the approval of his audience; he responded to an encore with Mascagni’s “Cavaleria Rusticana.” His technique is very good, and with the right kind of training Harold is destined to become a master on the violin. The Orchestra played the following numbers: “The Winning Fight;” “Vienna Beauties, Waltz;” “Moskowski’s Serenade;” “Light Cavalry” and several Waltzes and Two-Steps in which dancing was participated, making the evening one of great enjoyment.

At the Sunday evening Service of April 2, the following selections were read by a brother, from the Writings of KORESH : “The Apostolic Succession,” from THE FLAMING SWORD of March, 1910, and “The Science of the Resurrection,” from SWORD of July, 1910. The male quartette sang, “The Lord Is My Shepherd.”

We have had with us for a few days, Mr. L. M. Boomer, of New York City, who is paying a visit to his mother and sister, as well as looking after the interests of his property, which we have previously mentioned in this issue. Mr. Boomer is manager of the McAlpin Hotel in New York, one of the largest hotels in the world.
At our Sunday evening Service of April 9; a sister read articles from FRAMING SWORD of June, 1909, entitled: “A Return to Correct Principles,” “A House Divided Against Itself;” and “The Performance of Uses of Life;” The quartette sang “The Lord Is Great,” after which “The Confession of the Messiah” and “The Overcomer and Baptizer,” were read from FLAMING SWORD of May, 1909. The last being a short paragraph in which KORESH states as follows:

“Some one at the end of the age must overcome for all other men. We mean by this, that there must be a Discoverer, a Teacher, who must be the Baptizer; for it is only through his power to overcome and baptize, that others can come into the power of .life. ‘Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.’ Elijah the Prophet is the High Priest of conjunction. He will purify the sons of Levi; that is, the sons of conjunction. Elijah is the Lord in his personal coming; he is Peter, who comes in authority.”

Also, March 29, is the 124th anniversary of the birth of Hedwig Michel.

Hedwig Michel

Hedwig Michel

She was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1892 to Ferdinand Michel and Emma Wertheimer. Many call her the “last” Koreshan, others say she was merely an opportunist. There is no doubt that she helped to sustain the Unity in bad times with her management skills, but one has to wonder why it was that two original Koreshans, Allen Andrews and Laurie Bubbett ended up as enemies after Hedwig entered the scene. Hedwig and Laurie were also accused of spending money on themselves instead of on the remaining Koreshan members. At one point Hedwig and Laurie took a cruise to Europe. Perhaps it was necessary, but it certainly makes one wonder about Hedwig’s commitment to the “community”. Others simply say that she was committed to the Unity and she did everything she could to carry it into the 20th century that saw scientific advancements that disproved many of the Koreshan theories. The Fort Myers News-Press ran an article in their “Tropicalia” section back in 2010 asking many of the same questions. Amy Bennett Williams, the Tropicalia editor, pretty much came to the same conclusions. Namely, that despite her talents, Hedwig could have done nothing to stop the demise of the Koreshans. Her somewhat caustic personality also contributed to some ill will. Author Lyn Millner, in her book, writes that Hedwig was described as an “Interloper” ((2)). Some former park rangers have said that when Hedwig was living in the Planetary Court she used to come out agitated and tell them what they were doing wrong. Perhaps that was nothing more than her apparent difficulty in letting go.

  1. Catalog # PA—0209–The Flaming Sword, April 1916–Current Events in Our Community Life – By D. J. RICHARDS []
  2. Quoting Bill Grace in: Millner, Lyn. The Allure of Immortality: An American Cult, a Florida Swamp, and a Renegade Prophet. p.255 []

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