In 2012, a set of forty-eight journals which followed the life of Wendell Elkins until his death, were donated to the Andover (N.H.) Historical Society. Written by the son of a Shaker apostate, these journals provide a new look at how the relationship between the Shakers and their former Believers had evolved by the late nineteenth century. The earlier, stricter edicts separating Believers and apostates had softened with time. The Elkins family’s relationship with the Enfield, New Hampshire, Shakers was neither combative nor dismissive, but rather, kind and loving. The journals’ many Shaker-related stories which are extracted here give credence to the idea that it is likely there were many more apostates who maintained intimate relationships with their former communities.
American Communal Societies Quarterly