Ann Lee, the founder of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, a Christian sect commonly known as the Shakers, is born in Manchester, England.
In 1770, “Mother” Ann broke from the Quakers to establish her own religious movement based on celibacy, sexual equality, energetic worship, pacifism, and a communal economy. The Shakers derived originally from a small branch of radical English Quakers–known as the “Shaking Quakers”–who had adopted the French Camisards’ ritual practices of shaking, shouting, dancing, whirling, and singing in tongues. In 1774, Lee led her flock to the New World. By the mid-19th century, some 17,000 Shakers lived in the United States. Today, the Shakers are best known for their simple yet masterfully designed furniture and architecture. There are only a few living Shakers, in Sabbathday Lake, Maine.