Founded by George Rapp, the leader of a group of German Separatists who had emigrated from Württemberg, Germany, 1803-1904, the Harmony Society was formally established as a "Christian communist" community at Harmony, Butler County, Pennsylvania in 1805. Following the War of 1812, Rapp and his followers moved to a site near the mouth of the Wabash River in the Territory of Indiana where they constructed a new town, which also was called Harmony. In 1824-25, the Indiana property was sold to the Scottish reformer, Robert Owen, who renamed it New Harmony, and the Harmonists returned to Pennsylvania where they established the most lasting of their communities, the town of Economy, Beaver County, about twenty miles north of Pittsburgh. The death of George Rapp in 1847, the coming of the Industrial Revolution, and rather strict adherence to the practice of celibacy were factors involved in the decline in the association’s fortunes and membership in the latter half of the nineteenth century. In 1905, on its one hundredth anniversary, the Harmony Society was dissolved.


Indentures, 1809-1889. Included in the records is an indenture dated May 18, 1807, which states that a "Negro woman of the age of sixteen years being a slave named Henny belonging to John Waller and by him brought into this territory from the State of . . . shall serve him for a period of seventy years." The agreement was signed and dated October 2, 1817 in Knox County, Indiana.

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