On this day at the Oneida Community

Oneida Community in the early 1860s

April 15, 1959 ~ Pierrepont Burt Noyes dies in the Mansion House at 88.

April 13, 1886 ~ John Humphrey Noyes died in Stone Cottage, Niagara Canada.  He is buried in the Community cemetery in Oneida.

April 12, 1855 ~ Newark, NJ Community closed, members and machine shop moved to Oneida.

April 6, 1875 ~ Building a cottage by the sea in Conn. called “Cozicot”.

April 3, 1853 ~ Use of tobacco ends in the Oneida Community.

April 1, 1861 ~ Cornerstone for brick Mansion House laid.

March 30, 1876 ~ Community publication reformatted entirely and renamed The American Socialist, which continues to publish until December 25, 1879.

March 27, 1856 ~ Large order of traps received from several sources.  All other Community businesses reduced to fill trap orders.  First Business Board appointed.

March 21, 1864 ~ Printing operations moved to Wallingford, chain manufacturing moved from Wallingford to Oneida.  Community publications renamed The Circular, a name it retains until 1870.

March 10, 1868 ~ Printing business returns to Oneida from Wallingford, Connecticut.  Tirzah Miller returns after a four-year absence.

March 9, 1845 ~ All members sign the “Constitution” of the Putney Community

March 4, 1856 ~ Visit to the Oneida Community by L.N. Fowler, famous Phrenologist, who does a head reading of John Humphrey Noyes

March 1, 1873 ~ Story quilt made by Community members

March 1, 1860 ~ Community gives up coffee and tea, but strawberry and other herb tea

March 1, 1852 ~ Temporary suspension of Complex Marriage until August.

March 1, 1848 ~ First members of Putney Community arrive at Oneida.

February 26, 1844 ~ Contract of partnership is signed by John Humphrey Noyes, George Noyes, John Skinner and John Miller forming the original organization at Putney, Vermont.

February 20, 1866 ~ Membership in Oneida Community numbers 209

February 20, 1851 ~ Membership in Oneida Community numbers 205

February 20, 1834 ~ “High Tide of the Spirit”… John Humphrey Noyes declares his belief in Perfectionism and that he is free of sin at Free Church of New Haven.

February 5, 1841 ~ John Humphrey Noyes and his siblings, Harriet, Charlotte and George, receive part of their father’s estate – $19,920.  This becomes the original capital of the Community.

February 5, 1841 ~ Perfectionist store and chapel built in Putney.

February 4, 1848 ~ John Humphrey Noyes decides to move the Putney Community from Vermont to Oneida.

February 2, 1853 ~ Manufacture of rustic furniture begun under the direction of Charles Ellis.

January 29, 1865 ~ William Mills becomes only member of Community to be forcefully expelled. Actually thrown out a window into a snow bank.  Mills sues the Oneida Community.  Cases settles by payment of $2250 to Mills to leave in peace.

January 29, 1857 ~ Manufacture of trap chain begun at Wallingford, Ct.

January 28, 1850 ~ The Free Church Circular, Vols. becomes the first Community publication.

January 25, 1878 ~ John Humphrey Noyes resumes leadership from his son, Theodore, who resigns.

January 25, 1875 ~ Stirpiculture Committee formed for the first time.

January 16, 1859 ~ Community gathers materials to build a new Mansion House, which was completed in 1862.

January 15, 1837 ~ John Humphrey Noyes sends a detailed letter describing doctrine of Complex Marriage to David Harrison.

January 6, 1876 ~ New Turkish bath in Arcade nearly complete and will be open to the public.

January 1, 1881 ~ Joint stock corporation ~ Oneida Community Limited ~ instituted.  Assets of Oneida Community divided among all members.

January 1, 1849 ~ Membership of Community members at 87.

January 1, 1835 ~ Perfectionist Convention in Canastota, New York denounces Noyes’ teachings.

December 28, 1864 ~ Community establishes a sales office at 40 Reade Street, New York City.

December 23, 1848 ~ Oneida Community occupies the Old Mansion House.

December 17, 1869 ~ Oneida Community railroad station  near Mansion House opens.

November 27, 1880 ~ First Board of Directors of Oneida Community Limited elected both Theodore Noyes and James Towner as Board members.  Dissension does not end.  John Humphrey Noyes moves to Stone Cottage, Niagara Falls, Ontario.  Eleven other families move to Niagara Falls, settling on both the Canadian and American sides of the “suspension bridge.”

November 27, 1870 ~ Old Mansion House demolished.  Community publication renamed again, now The Oneida Circular, a name it keeps until 1876.

November 26, 1847 ~ Arrest warrants issued for the Cragins.  John Humphrey Noyes and the Cragins leave Vermont.  Putney Community formerly dissolved.

November 25, 1869 ~ Trains begin running on the new line of the Midland Railroad, which crosses the Oneida Community lands.

November 18, 1872 ~ Cottage on Oneida Lake – “Joppa” – built at the mouth of Fish Creek.

November 16, 1874 ~ Turkish baths constructed at Oneida Community.

November 8, 1876 ~ New Community house completed in Wallingford.

November 1, 1831 ~ John Humphrey Noyes enrolls in Andover Theological Seminary, where he  develops idea of “Mutual Criticism” from a study group called “The Brethren.”

October 30, 1879 ~ Current library in the New House in use.  The rest of this wing not finished until later.

October 26, 1847 ~ John Humphrey Noyes arrested in Putney Vt. and charged  with adultery.

October 25, 1869 ~ Steam heat turned on for the first time in the Mansion House.

October 24, 1868 ~ Community cemetery and graves moved to current location to make way for the railroad.

October 15, 1857 ~ Financial panic throughout the United States causes hard times at the Oneida Community, no new members admitted.  All business enterprises reduced.October 3, 1879 ~ First standard marriage performed at Oneida Community: Frederick Marks to Martha Hawley.

September 25, 1865 ~ John Humphrey Noyes and 4 other Community men travel to the Laurentians in Canada to go trapping for the winter.  They last until December.  A humorous account can be found in The Trapper’s Guide.

September 25, 1870 ~ Children’s House and South Wing dedicated.

September 21, 1868 ~ End of canning business announced.

September 9, 1880 ~ Oneida Community Limited leases land and factory buildings in Niagara Falls,  New York for tableware and chain factories.

August 26, 1879 ~ Community ends practice of Complex Marriage.

August 20, 1866 ~ Croquet is introduced to O.C.; it quickly becomes the favorite sport.

August 20, 1863 ~ “Great cow barn” begun. This building is later known as the “Arcade” and the “Fruit House.”

August 16, 1866 ~ William Hepworth Dixon visits the Oneida Community.  Later, he writes two popular books about his impressions.

August 16, 1863 ~ Military draft for the region held, but overlooks the Oneida Community.

August 9, 1878 ~ Tornado hits Wallingford, Community buildings damaged, 30 town residents killed.

August 3, 1848 ~ Construction of the Old (wood) Mansion House begun, architect, Erastus A. Hamilton

August 2, 1875 ~ Turkish bath for the public is built in Wallingford, Conn. Promoted as cure-all.  Membership in the Community numbers 298.

July 30, 1866 ~ Manufacturer of silk thread and ribbon commences at Oneida.

July 26, 1851 ~ Sinking of the sloop Rebecca Ford and drowning of Mary Cragin & Eliza Allen

July 22, 1878 ~ First administrative council of 19 members selected to lead Community until January 1, 1880

July 11, 1864 ~ First reference in The Circular to the Summer House (which still sits on the North Lawn), designed and built by Charles Ellis.

Summer House 2011

July 5, 1851 ~ Fire destroys the press at Oneida, printing operation moved to Brooklyn. Community publication now changed to The Circular, a name it continues to use until 1864.

July 1, 1877 ~ First tinned iron spoons produced at the Wallingford Community

July 1, 1849 ~ First Children’s House built & occupied

June 28, 1879 ~ Newspaper reports that Professor Mears of Hamilton College has definite plans to have John Humphrey Noyes arrested.

June 28, 1852 ~ First Strawberry Festival for Oneida Indians.

June 26, 1862 ~ Dedication of Big Hall.  North wing of Mansion House completed.

June 24, 1852 ~ First Strawberry Festival for general public.

June 22, 1879 ~ John Humphrey Noyes fled the Mansion House for Niagara, Canada to avoid possible prosecution for sexual relations with minors, and to escape from the relentless internal strife within the Oneida Community over the management of the Community.

June 16, 1854 ~ Tirzah’s father, John Miller, died.  Tirzah was 11 years old.  John Miller was the Oneida Community’s first treasurer and the person responsible for managing the Community in Oneida in its early years.

The Tontine

June 13, 1870 ~ The dining room was moved from the old Mansion House to the Tontine,  part of the new Mansion House.

June 1, 1848 ~ Women adopt the short dress, pantalettes, and short hair.

June 1, 1846 ~ Putney Community declares publicly the “Kingdom of Heaven has come!” in a document that makes the practice of complex marriage public knowledge, The Spiritual Magazine is published and continues until 1850 at Oneida. The Berean is published and becomes the “Bible” of the Community.

May 26, 1873 ~ D. Edson Smith set up a darkroom in the Seminary, first photographs taken by Community members.

May 24, 1875 ~ Two-story Children’s Playhouse begun on the South Lawn.

May 17, 1877 ~ John Humphrey Noyes resigns leadership of Oneida Community.  He requests that his son, Theodore, replace him.  The Community agrees.

May 2, 1864 ~ Willow Place aka the “Water Power” factory begun in Turkey Street for silk, trap and chain manufacturing.  This is the original of the current Oneida Ltd. factory.

May 1, 1878 ~ Membership of Oneida Community at 306.

April 22, 1872 ~ Community acquires the Wilson farm, renovates it for Willow Place family, renamed “The Villa.”

April 22, 1867 ~ The Willow Place Community home is set up in former Wager farm adjacent to new Factory; Charles Guiteau leaves the Oneida Community and sues for $9,000 for past wages. Guiteau’s lawyers later drop the suit.  On July 2, 1881, Guiteau assassinates President James Garfield.

April 21, 1874 ~ Twelve members of the “Cleveland Family” of James W. Towner accepted as members of the Oneida Community.  Towner was the leader of the Berlin Heights Free Love Community in Cleveland, who led a faction within the Oneida Community opposed to John Humphrey Noyes and contending for Community leadership in the years leading up to the Break-up in 1880.

April 20, 1876 ~ Stirpiculture Committee disbanded, authority passes back to Community central members.

April 19, 1869 ~ The wooden Children’s House was moved across the road in two sections to the Vineyard and renamed “The Seminary”.  A bell tower was added to the side facing the road.  This building was later moved to a site near the South Bridge and renamed “The Elms”.  It exists today as a private apartment building.

April 16, 1834 ~ The Yale Divinity School revokes John Humphrey Noyes’ license to preach for his assertion that he had achieved freedom from sinning.












  1. Marion Harris said,

    September 8, 2012 at 11:42 am

    thank you. I have just come back from a 2 day stay at the Manison. I wish I had seen this before I went.

  2. hi said,

    May 18, 2015 at 9:58 am


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