Finding aid for the Society of Separatists of Zoar Records


Repository: Western Reserve Historical Society
Creator: Society of Separatists of Zoar
Title: Society of Separatists of Zoar Records
Dates: 1817-1927
Extent: 1.90 linear feet (4 containers)
Abstract: Society of Separatists of Zoar (1817-1898) was a religious community founded by German immigrants, who named their settlement overlooking the Tuscarawas River in Ohio after the Biblical Zoar. Zoar, according to the Bible, was the refuge of Lot after the destruction of Sodom, and to these immigrants their community in America was a sanctuary from the persecutions of the government and the established church of Wurttemberg, Germany. These Germans were called "separatists" for their separation from the established church and were scorned and punished for their opposition to baptism and confirmation, their pacifism, and their refusal to acknowledge secular and religious authority by removing their hats. In April 1817, three hundred impoverished separatists led by Joseph M. Bimeler (formerly Baumeler) sailed from Germany to Philadelphia, from whence they moved to what became Zoar. The collection consists of papers relating to this German religious community both in English and German. Among the English documents are account books, 1818-1820, 1841-1862 ; banking and other financial papers, 1818-1873 ; deeds, contracts and agreements, 1818-1860 ; post office records including reports, mails sent and mails received, 1821-1845 ; Fairfield Furnace Store records, 1843-1852 ; subscription lists, 1870-1900 ; an undated map of Zoar ; and a petition concerning a road through Zoar ; copies of land patents sent to J.K. Johnson of Coshocton, Ohio, 1871 ; and typed copies and summaries of the "Appraisal of the Zoar Mills", Zoar, Ohio, March 10, 1911, with blueprints of the Society's property. Among the German documents are a hymn book, letters, a medicine book, prescriptions for medicine, orders, a religious treatise, and copies of sermons, 1840-1860. Also included are three volumes by Joseph Bimeler: Die wahre Separation (published Zoar, Ohio, 1856-1860. 4 v. in 2) and Etwas furs Herz (2 v. in 1, 1860-1861).
MS Number MS 1663
Location: closed stacks
Language: The records are in English and German