By Kevin Williams
I have mixed feelings on the whole topic of Shakers (as they exist today).
There are two Shakers now left following the passing of Sister Frances Carr yesterday I think maybe, Arnold Hadd, the youngest Shaker wants to be the last of the line. While I understand that the church's position on celibacy ultimately killed its growth, with today's renewed interest in spiritualism and individualism, I find it difficult to believe that there would not be dozens, if not hundreds, of people willing to live and commune on quiet, beautiful Sabbathday Lake in Maine. The hoops one has to jump through to officially join the Shaker church are pretty onerous, as they should be (you wouldn't want a bunch of people with weak spiritual principles descending upon Sabbathday), but I still find it difficult to believe that no one is making the cut. So Hadd will likely live out his days in Sabbathday and then that will be it, a rich chapter of American spirituality, gone.
When I was there last year there was a young man who the remaining Shakers had high hopes would stay and become the newest, youngest Shaker, but I've not read any mention of him in news accounts.
The rich culinary legacy of the Shakers is one that will endure long after they are gone and we will explore more of that on Amish365 this year. Click here for a recipe for Shaker Baked Beans.