Elder William Dumont with Jennie and colt, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1910

Contributed by United Society of Shakers


The Shakes' reverence for nature was also manifested by their love of animals. Entries by Elder Otis Sawyer in the 1872 Sabbathday Lake Church journal reflect this attitude:

"November 11, 1872: The Horses are harnessed today for the first time since they were seized with prevailing Epidemic (Epizootic). Much credit is due Br. Wm. Dumont (1851-1930) for his unwearied care and attention for those noble animals.

"November 12, 1872: Two Beef oxen were slaughtered today and sad to relate, by inexperienced hands. Lord hasten the day when they shall not destroy life to furnish food for fleshe eaters, nor harm any of thy creatures in all the holy Mount Zion of God.

"Held in even higher esteem were a succession of pet dogs. Elder William's dog, Pup, was the first to be allowed in the Dwelling House.

"Elder William has not become as well known as such contemporary Maine Elders as Otis Sawyer, John Vance, Joshua Bussell, Joseph Brackett, Henry Green and Delmer Wilson. He was neither an authoritative leader and meticulous historian like Elder Otis nor an inspiring orator and teacher like Elder John.

"He did not possess any outstanding skill, unlike Elder Joshua who painted watercolor maps, Elder Joseph who wrote Simple Gifts, the most famous Shaker hymn, Elder Henry who built cabinetry and Elder Delmer who made oval boxes.

"Nevertheless, Elder William was an exemplary Shaker who cared for the farm animals, developed the orchard, planed poplar, marketed Tamar Laxative and in general, contributed to the betterment of Sabbathday Lake in an unassuming way."

Photo taken outside Trustees' Office, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village.

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About This Item

  • Title: Elder William Dumont with Jennie and colt, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1910
  • Creator: Delmer Charles Wilson
  • Creation Date: circa 1910
  • Subject Date: circa 1910
  • Location: New Gloucester, Cumberland County, ME
  • Media: Slide from a glass-plate negative
  • Local Code: ITE 48
  • Object Type: Text and Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

United Society of Shakers
707 Shaker Road, New Gloucester, ME 04260
(207) 926-4597

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