The Oneida Community (1848-1880) of central New York was notable for its intellectual garrulity—a curiosity about other utopians coupled with eagerness to make first-hand acquaintance with idealists of every stripe. Founded and led by Vermonter John H. Noyes, Oneida Perfectionists considered themselves members of one extended family sharing equally in all relations of labor, love, and property. They felt especially close to their fellow Christian communists, the Shakers, and, for a time, developed neighborly ties with one particular community of the Millennial Church. Watervliet, just north of Albany and about one hundred miles east of Oneida, was among the largest Shaker settlements with some 235 members (about the same as the Oneida Community) divided among four families.

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