The Morehouse Union
Researched and transcribed by Joanne Murray
63.196.279 [folder 270-285]
At a meeting of sundry purchasers of land in Hamilton County held in the city of New York at Weidermeyer's Coffee House in William Street on the evening of the 4th day of August 1837 [blank space] Braker Esq. Was called to the chair and Geo. A. Mayhew appointed secretary.
Mr. Morehouse then stated the object of the meeting to be for deliberating upon proper measures for clearing some portion of the lands purchased by the individuals composing this meeting... It was then resolved that such persons present as wish to have said lands cleared be requested to subscribe the following agreement:
We whose names are hereunto annexed hereby promise and agree to and with each other that we will cause to be cleared of the lands purchased by us of A. K. Morehouse the number of acres set opposite our respective names as shall hereafter be agreed and fixed upon us.
New York August 4th 1837
We, the subscribers, do agree to the principles and articles of the Morehouse Union, and engage in the spirit of good will to conform to its inquisitions [?], promote its interests, and share in its privileges and immunities.
Ezra Thompson - One Hundred shares in property at valuation
63.196.273.a [folder 270-285]
At a meeting of the proprietors of land situate in the County of Hamilton State of New York held at Weidermeyer's Coffee House on Tuesday evening August 30th for the purpose of taking into consideration a plan of operations for the improvement of the said lands. John F. Engold was appointed Chairman and Geo. R. Lawrence Secretary.
The object of the meeting having been stated in reference to the contemplated improvements.
On motion of Mr. A. K. Morehouse it was resolved that Ezra Thompson Esq. Of the town of Morehouse be appointed to Superintend the improvement of said lands.
Resolved - That A. K. Morehouse be held responsible that the contracts with E. Thompson Esq. Be strictly complied with.
Resolved - That a contract or article of agreement shall be made - binding the subscribers - the contractor and said Morehouse to the fulfillment of said agreement.
Resolved - That A. K. Morehouse be security for said Thompson to the amt. of One Hundred and Fifty Dollars forfeiture conditioned that the improvements specified in the said contracts shall be completed within one year from the First day of June A.D. 1837.
Resolved - That a committee of seven be appointed to prepare the said contract and draft resolutions expressed [?] of the same of this meeting.
Resolved - That the following named gentlemen be appointed to constitute a committee of arrangement
Resolved - That the proprietors subscribe to their respective named the number of acres required to be improved on each lot or farm.
Resolved - That the committee prepare the proceedings of this meeting and present the same at the next meeting of the proprietors.
On motion - Resolved That this meeting adjourn to meet on Monday evening the Twelfth day of September at Weidemeyer's Coffee House.
John F. Engold, Chairman
63.196.275.b [folder 270-285]
Article of agreement made and entered onto this Twenty eighth day of June 1843 between Andrew K. Morehouse of Morehouseville State of New York of the first part and Ezra Thompson, Ransom Smith, Bela Brown, J. H. Jennings, Samuel W. Frisbie, William D. Jones, William Hull, Loring D. Dewey, Joseph W. Fish and Andrew K. Morehouse of the second part trustees for the Morehouse Union.
Witnesseth. Whereas the said party of the first part hath made an offer as seen in the second page of a certain printed pamphlet, entitled Reports of a committee appointed to examine the lands of A.K. Morehouse Esq. in Herkimer and Hamilton Counties State of New York together with the constitution by Law of the Morehouse Union, and whereas also the said party of the first part doth for himself, his executors, administrators and assigns hereby stipulate and agree with the parties of the second part in the words of said offer (except with certain variations) to wit that to one or more associations the said party of the first part will give the privilege of selecting Thirty Thousand (30,000) acres of Land out of Fifty Thousand (50,000) acres in the counties of Herkimer, Hamilton and Saratoga in the state of New York as a donation to the association on the following terms. Viz. Said association shall have a good and sufficient deed in fee simple of so much of said land as they shall have improved within three years from the first day of May One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty four (1844) together with one acre of wood land for every nine acres so improved.
Also for every nineteen dollars subscribed for improvements of said lands, he will subscribe one dollar in cash if the association shall desire it. Or
Also having on the said lands several mills, houses and other improvements, he will put them at a cash appraisal so far as the association shall choose.
If an association shall select Thirty Thousand (30,000) acres and by the end of the three years from May 1st 1844 shall improve Three Thousand (3000) acres in Three Hundred (300) acres the first year, Five Hundred (500) the second, One Thousand (1000) the third and Twelve Hundred (1200) the last year, the balance of the lands selected except the one acre for every nine cleared may be relinquished by the association or retained more or less of it at a price not exceeding Seven Dollars per acre to be paid one seventh yearly with interest at five percent, and the land shall be considered improved if so cleared and enclosed as to be fit for pasture or crops, although twenty trees on an average remain standing on an acre.
And whereas an association called the Morehouse Union of which the said parties of the second part are denominated the Executive Council in pursuance of said offer have selected in the County of Hamilton in the State of New York several parcels of land viz
First in what is known and distinguished as the Lawrence Tract. Lot Numbers 1, 4, 27, 41, 42
Second in what is known and distinguished as the Benson Township. Lot Numbers 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 32, 33, 34, 35, 85, 86, 87, 88, 139, 148, 36.
Third in what is known and distinguished as the Moose River Tract. Township Number 9. Lot Numbers 25 to 37 inclusive, 40 to 71 inclusive, 73 to 87 inclusive, 90 to 97 inclusive, 99 to 100, 109, 111, 114, to 117 inclusive, 119, 129, 131, 156.
Fourth in what is known and distinguished as the Oxbow Tract. Lot Numbers 20, 224, 164, 165, 140, 272, 273, 287, 288, 304, 289, 290, 300, 301, 302, 303, 283, 284, 277, 200, 215, 208, 221, 226, 227.
Now therefore in consideration of the sum of one dollar to me in hand paid by said Morehouse Union and the agreement herein made by said persons, parties of the second part, the said party of the first part hereby agrees to do stand by and perform all the things and acts express or implied in the above mentioned offer and aforesaid stipulation and agreement provided and upon condition never [?] the lots that the said parties of the second part or their legal representatives, their successors in office shall on their part do stand by and perform all the things and acts express or implied for them to do and perform in the above mentioned offer of the said party of the first part.
And also the said parties of the second part for themselves and their legal representatives do covenant and agree to and with the said party of the first part his heirs and assignees, that the said parties of the second will faithfully execute and perform all the things and acts express or implied for them to do and perform in the above mentioned offer of the said party of the first part and further will pay all taxes and assesments whatsoever imposed on said several lots or parcels of land.
And it is further agreed between the parties to these presents that if default be made in fulfilling this agreement or any part thereof on the part of the parties of the second part then and in such case the said party of the first part his heirs and assigns shall be at liberty to consider this contract as forfeited and annulled and to dispose of the said land to any other person in the same manner as if this contract had never been made.
In witness where of who have hereunto interchangeably set our hands and seals the day and year first written.
Sealed and delivered in the presence of Andrew K. Morehouse & wife
63.196.276 [folder 270-285]
Cantwell's Bridge, Del. Nov. 15, 1843
President of Ex. Council of Morehouse Union
I understand that you have been presented by Mr. A. K. Morehouse with land sufficient for five domains of the largest size contemplated by Fourier. Whether that land may all be cultivated, my "deponent saith not. If it may, or only a part of it, I presume you must want help. As I am a farmer and an ardent admirer of Fournier's theory, I should be very much pleased to be with those persons who are endeavoring to put his theory in practice. You will be kind enough to write to me immediately after the receipt of this, acquainting me, whether you wish any more members and what is price per share of stock. By so doing, you will greatly oblige me. I can give testimonials of all the requisite qualifications. Wishing you, under any circumstances the most unbounded success in your glorious undertakings, permit me to subscribe [?].
Yours in great haste
To the Pres. Of Ex. Council
[A letter from Edw. Crofts, father of Thos., follows this introductory letter.]
[The Fournier referred to in the above letter seems to be this man, Charles Fournier (1772-1837). French and Swiss Immigrants may have been more familiar with his ideas. This is an excerpt of some info I found online. Do you think this what A.K. Morehouse had in mind with his Morehouse Union? Or did the author of the letter just assume that this was the idea?]
Modern History Sourcebook:
Charles Fourier's, later called a "utopian socialist" by Marx, was one of the earliest to realize that while industry could produce wealth, its methods of work were intensely alienating. His proposal was for a type of work unit - called a Phalanx - in which work was distributed on a rational and rotating basis. Several phalanxes were set up in the United States, although none succeeded for long. The idea, however, bore more significant fruit in the institution of the kibbutz among Zionist settlers in Palestine/Israel.
We are amazed when we calculate the benefits which would result from a union of 1600-1800 persons occupying a vast and elegant edifice in which they would find apartments of various sizes, tables at different prices, varied occupations and everything that can abridge, facilitate and give a charm to labor. . .The Phalanx will produce an amount of wealth tenfold greater then the present. The system allows for a multitude of economies of operations and sales which will increase the return enormously. . . .The officers are chosen from among the experienced and skillful members--men, women and children, each elected from the members of the Phalanx. . .By means of short industrial sessions everyone will be enabled to take part in seven or eight different attractions with industry not now done, and will eliminate discord of all kinds. A refinement of taste will be cultivated. Minute division of labor will increase production and lower costs. It requires a tract of land three miles square, well-watered, flanked by a forest. The personal and real estate of the Phalanx will be represented by stock divided into shares. Each Phalanx will engage in both agriculture and industry. Meals will be in common but there will be at least three different tables with different prices and children will have their own tables, separate from the adults. The Phalanx will construct a vast and regular edifice suited to material and social needs, modified only by topography, climate and national experience. The only buildings not connected being the stables, barns, factories, kitchens, and warehouses. The aim is to be self-sufficient in both the agricultural and industrial spheres. Plus there will be laid-out gardens, grounds for physical exercise, and so forth, all, including the edifice logically laid out. We shall see people engaged in attractive occupations, giving no thoughts to material wants, free from all pecuniary cares and anxieties. As women and children all work, there will be no idlers, all will earn more than they consume. Universal happiness and gaiety will reign. A unity of interests and views will arise, crime and violence disappear. There will be no individual dependence---no private servants, only maids, cooks, and so forth all working for all (when they please). Elegance and luxury will be had by all. The Phalanx will be devoted to the service of useful labor, of the sciences, the arts, and of the culinary department. They will render Industry attractive and end the evil distinction between Producers and Consumers. Unity of manners and civility will reign, acquired by universal free education---but study in the schools should occupy a subordinate place, connected with labors in the gardens and workshops. To secure the execution of uncleanly and offensive labors a body of youths--those attracted to much dirty work (youngsters aged nine to sixteen, composed of one-third girls, two-thirds boys)--what we shall call the Juvenile Legion--who shall perform them all. The young love to wade in the mire and play in dirt, are self-willed, rude, daring, and fond of gross language. From a sense of honor the Juvenile Legion will do the dirty jobs--highway repair, cleaning the stables, feeding and slaughtering animals, maintaining the buildings, and so forth.
Source: Charles Fourier, Theory of Social Organization (New York: C. P. Somerby, 1876).
From the "History of Hamilton County," by Ted Aber and Stella King, Great Wilderness Books, 1965, pages 861-2:
... Then in the spring of 1843, he attempted a bold scheme known as the Morehouse Union. A committee of six, including L. D. Dewey, W. Burbeck, George A. Mayhew, David Harriot, Ranson Smith and Josiah Raymond, met on May 3rd of that year at Croton Hall in New York City to approve Morehouse's somewhat unusual offer.
To any interested association of individuals, he would give the privilege of selecting 10,000 acres of land from 50,000 acres situated in the Counties of Herkimer, Hamilton and Saratoga. These acres would become the donation of Morehouse to the association. Every acre of land improved within three years from June 1, 1843, Morehouse would deed to the association, together with one acre of woodland for every nine acres so improved.
In addition, Morehouse would contribute one dollar in cash for every nineteen dollars subscribed for improvements of the land. The balance of the uncleared land could be purchased by the association for seven dollars per acre, to be paid one-seventh yearly with interest at five percent. Mills, houses and other improvements on the land could be purchased at the appraised value.
There is no indication that any of the desired groups responded in vast numbers to his offers.
Last Updated: Wednesday, 14-May-2008 13:37:19 PDT