Kentucky Historical Society


Moments in Kentucky
Legislative History

14. Suing Shakers (1828)

On February 11, 1828, the General Assembly passed "an act to regulate civil proceedings against certain communities having property in common." The act specified that any person having "any demand exceeding the sum of fifty dollars" against any of the "communities of people commonly called shakers, living together, and holding their property in common" may prosecute suits "by the name or description by which said community is commonly known without having or designating the individual of such community." Subpoenas were to be placed on the door of the community's meetinghouse, delivered to "some known member of the community," and read aloud at one of the community's dwellings ten days before the beginning of a court term. The act would not hold the community responsible for acts done by anyone not authorized to act on its behalf nor would it confer on anyone leaving the community "any right in consequence of such membership which he or she would not have had if this act had not been passed."

Shaker village at Pleasant Hill, ca. 1905.

Shaker village at Pleasant Hill, ca. 1905. Photograph by James A. Hibben, Kentucky Historical Society Collections.

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