Johann Georg Rapp (1757-1847)

In 1803, George Rapp left his native Württemberg for the United States of America in search of the Promised Land. Between 1804 and 1825, Rapp and his sectarians established three utopian communities in the United States, each housing as many as eight hundred people. In order to realize his goal of a perfect society, Rapp established an organizational model that clearly defined interactions between his society and the outside world and religious observances. His so-called Divine Economy enabled him to negotiate between the community’s practice of an inner-communal socialism, external capitalist entrepreneurship, and spiritual millennial beliefs. Moreover, by adhering to this model, Rapp and his followers transitioned successfully from self-sustaining agricultural work to frontier marketing, manufacturing, and global business activities.

Updated: May 07, 2015

 

Introduction

In 1803, George Rapp (born Johann Georg Rapp November 1, 1757 in Iptingen, Duchy of Württemberg; died August 7, 1847 in Economy, PA) left his native Württemberg for the United States of America in search of the Promised Land. On his explorative voyage, Rapp was accompanied by three of his fellow separatists, namely, his son, Johannes (1783-1812), Dr. P. Friedrich Conrad Haller, and Dr. Johann Christoph Müller. Their arrival in Philadelphia on the ship Canton was recorded on October 7, 1803. A year later, three more ships with fellow separatists from Württemberg arrived in Baltimore and Philadelphia. Between 1804 and 1825, Rapp and his sectarians established three utopian communities in the United States, each housing as many as eight hundred people. Rapp named the towns Harmonie (Harmony), Pennsylvania (1804-1814), Harmonie (New Harmony), Indiana (1815-1825), and Ökonomie (Economy), Pennsylvania (1825-1903). In the United States, Rapp and his followers practiced communal socialism in the pursuit of the American capitalist dream while anticipating the second coming of Christ. In order to realize his goal of a perfect society, Rapp established an organizational model that clearly defined interactions between his society and the outside world and religious observances. His so-called Divine Economy enabled him to negotiate between the community’s practice of an inner-communal socialism, external capitalist entrepreneurship, and spiritual millennial beliefs. Moreover, by adhering to this model, Rapp and his followers transitioned successfully from self-sustaining agricultural work to frontier marketing, manufacturing, and global business activities.

Family and Ethnic Background

Johann Georg Rapp was born November 1, 1757, in the picturesque farming village of Iptingen in the Duchy of Württemberg. The idyllic setting, however, could not distract from the fact that Württemberg had suffered greatly during the Thirty Years War and in on-going conflicts with neighboring countries. During Rapp’s Württemberg residency, the region was intermittently under French and Austrian occupation.

George Rapp’s father, Hans Adam Rapp (1720-1771) was a farmer and weaver who supported his son’s apprenticeship to become a linen weaver, and he introduced him to the art of wine-making and sustainable farming. Hans Adam Rapp and his wife, Rosine Berger (d.1796), had five children, but very little is known about them. In 1783, George Rapp married Christina Benzinger, and the couple had two children. Their son, Johannes, died at the age of twenty-nine. Little is known about Rapp’s daughter Rosina, other than her giving birth to Rapp’s prominent granddaughter, Gertrude (1808–1889), who managed the Harmonist silk production. In later years, Rapp adopted Frederick Reichert (1775-1834), a stone mason and architect from Württemberg, who was foremost responsible for conducting the community’s business affairs. Rapp died August 7, 1847, at the age of ninety in Economy, Pennsylvania.

Business Development

In 1802, after the Württemberg government issued a decree of intolerance against George Rapp and his separatist followers, Rapp and his exploration team boarded a ship on the Rhine River to Amsterdam, and from the Netherlands sailed to the United States. Upon his arrival on the shores of America in 1803, he reported home,

This is very rich land, everything grows sufficiently…. Whoever wants to work here can obtain enough wealth. [T]here is no tenth here. [T]here is religious freedom enough here. Here they laugh of a person who speaks of parties. To be free from military training you must pay a dollar a year. [C]attle here is larger than with us, also the horses…. There are wonderful birds here, you may shoot them to eat, every person may do so, game belongs to every man.[1]

His optimism seemed to be justified because he and his followers arrived with much determination, craftsmanship, knowhow, and faith to lead a successful life in America.

Rapp wasted no time petitioning President Thomas Jefferson and the U.S. Senate for land in Pennsylvania. Although the petition was denied, “the United States Senate granted the Harmony Society the right to purchase one entire township in the Vincennes District of the Indiana Territory at two dollars an acre with the payment of the first quarter of the amount not due until six years from the date of purchase.”[2] Rapp, however, did not have the funds at hand to proceed with the purchase. The Harmonists survived their first year in the United States with financial assistance from the German Society of Pennsylvania and donations from Philadelphia residents. It took more than a year for the remainder of Rapp’s followers to reach the United States. They arrived on three separate ships, the Aurora, Atlantic, and Margaret, and when they joined Rapp, they placed their financial assets into a common treasury. With the money from the treasury at hand, Rapp eventually settled on four and a half thousand acres of land in Butler County, Pennsylvania on the Connoquenessing Creek. The purchase contract was signed on December 22, 1804, and the first of three installments totaling $10,217.74 (approximately $201,000 in 2011$) was paid. Rapp named his first community Harmonie and within five years the community had built a highly efficient agrarian infrastructure. In 1815, after Rapp sold the town of Harmonie to Mennonites for one hundred thousand dollars (approximately $1.5 million dollars in 2011$), he moved his community westward to Indiana. Hoping for a warmer climate that would be conducive to the cultivation of grapes and fruit trees, he founded the town of New Harmony. Indeed, over the next ten years, Rapp succeeded in cultivating vineyards and orchards and in developing the foremost frontier market in the state of Indiana. Despite the community’s economic successes in New Harmony, Rapp once more ordered his community to prepare to return to Pennsylvania. In 1825, he sold the entire village to the Scottish industrialist Robert Owen for one hundred fifty thousand dollars (approximately $3.5 million dollars in 2011$). At their final destination in Economy, Pennsylvania, the Harmonists invested in national companies, railroads, and oil wells. In 1903, exactly one hundred years after George Rapp had set foot in the United States, his final community was sold by the remaining members of the Harmonist movement for the extraordinary sum of two-and-a-half million dollars (approximately $66 million dollars in 2011$).

George Rapp’s agricultural success developed from a broader understanding of horticulture that was based on his knowledge of medieval monastery gardens, baroque gardens, and sustainable farming practices. In Württemberg, Rapp had frequently visited the monastery of Maulbronn, and had caught glimpses of the palace gardens in Stuttgart. After immigrating to the United States, he used his knowledge to develop a horticultural blueprint that included quarter-acre house gardens, greenhouse cultivation, and large-scale farming. The house gardens provided fruits, vegetables, and flowers for daily consumption, provisions for the winter months, and medicinal herbs to treat ailments. Since every household accommodated livestock, his followers soon attained a comfortable standard of living. Beyond the necessities of life, Rapp introduced exotic fruit growing and the propagation of grapes and espalier trees to the American Midwest. He employed a moveable greenhouse – fashioned after aristocratic baroque gardening practices – to grow fruit varieties such as oranges, lemon, and figs.

Even though the community primarily focused on self-sufficiency, its experimentation with new agricultural crops led to trade in these products. In order to enhance commerce and to strengthen communal bonds, each member signed well-crafted articles of agreement that were later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally, they created a “community of equals” by placing all personal assets into a common coffer. The centrally-managed finances helped to transform the agricultural sector into a capital market. Friedrich List, the German-American economist and author of The National System of Political Economy (1841), who visited the Harmonists in 1825, described the economic and social practices in the inner communal socialist sphere:

Flour is handed out as much as each needs. Chicken and poultry everyone keeps in his own garden, and slaughters them and brings the eggs as he sees fit. Now everyone still has his own cow. Later however a factory for milk, butter and cheese will be built where everyone will fetch as much as he needs…. Beer is distributed ½ measure per person…. Whoever is sick is sent to the doctor and the apothecary; whoever torn shoes etc. No account is kept.[3]

By following this model, living standards within the inner communal socialist sphere soon resembled those of the nineteenth-century petite bourgeoisie in Europe. As part of the lower middle class, the Harmonists accumulated property and they provided employment that stimulated industrial innovations. Moreover, a centrally-managed financial system produced funding surpluses to purchase new land for the cultivation of crops such as tobacco, cotton, hemp, wheat, corn, oats, flax, rye, barley, and sugar cane, as well as new varieties from abroad that included rapeseed, linseed, and grapes. In a very short time, crop sales laid the foundation for investments in a general store, an inn, and small trades’ shops. According to Morris Birkbeck, a visitor to New Harmony, the “colony… furnishe[d] from its store many articles of great value, not so well supplied elsewhere; and it [was] a market for all spare produce.”[4] In the community-owned stores, settlers could purchase frontier essentials such as furs and hides, wax, livestock, textiles, honey, cheese and butter, household utensils, shoes, hats, harnesses, barrels, farm implements, wine, beer, and whiskey. The Harmonists were also known to offer repair services for farming equipment and utensils.

Statistical records indicate that during the Harmonists’ first residency in Pennsylvania, the distillation of whiskey alone was estimated at three thousand gallons annually and in 1809, their harvest was listed as six thousand bushels of Indian corn, four thousand bushels of wheat, four thousand bushels of rye, five thousand bushels of oats, ten thousand bushels of potatoes, and four thousand pounds of flax and hemp, and other products.[5] Additional investments in mills, tanneries, breweries, distilleries, and a granary resulted in an estimated wealth increase from twenty-five to two thousand five hundred dollars per capita between 1807 and 1825.

In the same year, Rapp’s society also garnered the market for fine woolen textiles. As a first in U.S. history, the community imported Merino sheep from Spain to be bred with local stock. The geographer Margaret Ewing writes that the Harmonists “were successful in breeding them and eventually had more than a thousand. Woolen cloth was woven for members of the community, but due to the Embargo Act of 1807 and the Non-Intercourse Act of 1809, a demand for domestic cloth existed, and the Harmonists had no difficulty marketing their product.”[6] Thus in a very short time, Rapp and his followers succeeded in competing with European textile imports. By 1827, after the community had relocated to Pennsylvania, they added a highly profitable silk industry, which was managed by Gertrude Rapp. Under Rapp’s supervision, Gertrude imported silkworms from Italy, resulting in approximately six thousand cocoons annually and a production output of one hundred pounds of fine textiles such as brocade, silk, satin, and velvet. Her business drew national attention, and in 1844, she was awarded a gold medal at the Boston silk exhibition. The Harmonist success in the textile industry was indeed so great that by 1829, “a series of articles appeared in the Alleghany Democrat, attacking [them] as a monopoly.”[7]

Rapp’s path to economic success included such entrepreneurial firsts as selling whiskey to the U.S. Army; launching beer advertisements in local newspapers; creating a trademark for high-quality products – namely the symbol of the Golden Rose; constructing the largest granary in North America; and eventually exporting goods to twenty-one U.S. states. In addition, the Rappites expanded their commercial ventures into new geographical regions by establishing store branches in Vincennes, Indiana, and in Shawneetown and Albion, Illinois, and acquiring a license to operate a ferry on the Wabash River. They also opened The Harmony Society’s Farmer’s Bank in Vincennes to ease financial transactions. The opening of a new bank was also meant to ease Rapp’s concerns that his wealth would become known to the outside world. This was also the reason why in later years, he kept a cash fund of a half million dollars in gold and silver under his house in Economy, Pennsylvania.

In order to ease transatlantic inheritance transfers, the Harmonists convinced the king of Württemberg in 1824 to follow the French lead and open the first Württemberg consulate in the United States. Even though the Harmonists lived in a closed society, they freely engaged in politics to strengthen their place in American society. An example thereof is Gertrude Rapp’s petition to the U.S. government to halt silk imports from abroad.

[T]his new and most important branch of National Industry is needed to convince every Patriot, that. [O]ur own people’s hands themselves can produce and manufacture this so highly beloved article of luxury, one may justly feel a noble pride, but if the product of foreign hands, we have best reason in the world, to feel a noble shame, when we reflect, that by the way of obtaining it, we have so much and so unpatriotically contributed to squander our national treasure, burden our country with enormous debt, and there by lay the sure foundation of ruin and misery.[8]

By 1825, Rapp and his society were exporting goods to ten foreign countries. Although agriculture remained an important part of their life, excellence in craftsmanship, product diversification, and the introduction of technological innovations helped to create new industries. While the Harmonist community accommodated a variety of skilled professionals, George Rapp encouraged the import and development of new machinery. From the beginning, he invested in industrial technology such as the construction of grinding and hemp-mills and in the development of a castor oil-mill. In New Harmony, the mills were located at the end of the town, and they were powered by seventy-five-horsepower steam engines, which also provided heat during the winter months. In the early 1820s, the Harmonists added profitable cotton and wool factories to satisfy the high demand for textiles in the United States. Other improvements and inventions paralleled the development of industrial machinery, namely, new wagon and flatboat designs, the addition of a fire engine, and the establishment of the first independent printing press in the state of Indiana. The Harmonist press published the first theological-philosophical text produced in the Midwest, entitled Thoughts on the Destiny of Man, and a collection of poetry, called Fiery Coals.

Alongside industrial acquisitions, the Harmonist community evidenced a desire for philanthropic and cultural contributions in literature, music, and the fine arts. It is, therefore, not surprising that the Harmonists founded the first town band in the state of Indiana, and in 1827 in Pennsylvania, they built the second oldest museum in the United States that housed fine arts and natural science collections.

Even though Rapp lived a simple life, he surrounded himself with luxury items characteristic of the European bourgeoisie. When William Owen, the son of Robert Owen who purchased New Harmony, visited the community, he commented on its members’ high standard of living:

We returned to tea… or rather to an elegant supper…. Afterwards, in an adjoining room music commenced and we heard a concert of vocal and instrumental music until 9 o’clock. There were 12 or 14 singers and a pianoforte, 2 violins and 2 flutes, and a bass. Gertrude Rapp sang and played. During the concert wine, fruit, etc., was passed about.[9]

Despite a comfortable lifestyle, Rapp never lost sight of his brotherly duties. He supported philanthropic projects, such as providing financial aid to victims of the great Pittsburgh fire of 1845 and funding for a hospital on Eliashöhe in Palestine. He also granted loans to outside communities such as Louisville, Kentucky, for the construction of a water works, the building of the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal, and the bailout of the state of Indiana.

When the Harmonists returned to their final destination in Economy, Pennsylvania, they invested in factories, oil drilling companies, and railroads. However, the increase in factories, the need for more workers, and the decentralization of management slowly forced the Harmonists out of isolation. With the acquisition of new companies also came a greater need for labor resources. The Harmonists had relied on outside seasonal labor for many years, but as their investment in outside firms grew, they were unable to maintain their vast industrial output with traditional labor sources and part-time help. For that reason, the managers of Harmonist-owned firms hired Chinese laborers, which ignited a major labor dispute between the existing white labor force and management. It eventually reached the U. S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Federal Relations.[10] While the Harmonists tried to distance themselves from the conflict, they ended up siding with the managers of the firms in which they had invested.

By the mid-nineteenth century, the Harmonists operated one of the largest sawmills in Pennsylvania, and supplied timber throughout the region. Moreover, in 1860 after George Rapp’s death, the Harmonists struck oil in Pennsylvania. Even though their drilling profits from the Economy Oil Company matched those of the Drake Oil Company, they eventually sold their business to the Rockefellers, where it became part of Standard Oil.[11] The communal assets increased further when the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad in Ohio was completed in 1877. This new means of transportation instantly lowered production costs for Harmonist-owned steel mills and coal mines. But most importantly, the community’s initial investment of $650,000 (approximately $14.4 million dollars in 2011$) in the construction of the rail line yielded $1,150,000 dollars (approximately $27.2 million dollars in 2011$) when the firm was sold to the Vanderbilts in 1884.[12] Over the next few years, the community solidified its assets by investing in nine major companies including the Cutlery Company, the shovel factory of H. M. Meyers & Co., the Beaver Falls Steel Works, the Beaver Falls Car Works, the Valley Glass Works, the Beaver Falls Coal Works, the Union Drawn Steel Works, the Eclipse Bicycle Company, and the Western File Works. These companies were either acquired outright, or the community loaned capital to business owners or purchased significant quantities of company securities. Other financial transactions led to the establishment of the Economy Savings Institution, which, according to Harmonist records, held assets of one million dollars in over three thousand accounts. In 1903, exactly one hundred years after George Rapp had set foot in America, the community sold most of the town of Economy, namely 2,523 acres of land, to the Liberty Land Company for the extraordinary sum of two-and-a-half million dollars.[13]

Social Status, Networks, and Public Life

Rapp’s emergence as Württemberg’s most prominent separatist and his development as a prosperous nineteenth-century immigrant entrepreneur began at a young age. Already during his schooldays, Rapp showed signs of leadership and aptitude for writing, reading, and interpreting the Bible. When he preached in the fields, his fellow classmates completed his schoolwork.[14] After he finished eighth grade at the local village school in Iptingen, Rapp began vocational training as a linen weaver. Following in the tradition of the trade guilds, he traveled for approximately two years during which he visited master workshops in order to hone his skills. While on the road, he also met with other separatist leaders who introduced him to Pietist literature. Through his new contacts and intensive literary studies he gained confidence and a reputation as a charismatic but controversial figure. This was especially true when he proclaimed himself a prophet and he and his followers, who had grown in number, refused Lutheran baptism, mandatory schooling, military service, and taxation. Their refusal posed a threat to both the state’s religious and social order. During twenty years of confrontations with the authorities, Rapp frequently had to defend his separatist ways in church and civil hearings. He acquired a reputation as an “evil man… a Cholerico-Melancholicus… arrogant and self-righteous.”[15] But not everyone condemned his ways. Between 1795 and 1799, as his community grew to more than five hundred members, Rapp received support from the Oberamtmann of Maulbronn who was the father of the German poet Justinus Kerner:

Although my father as official had to oppose Rapp’s ambitions and the expansion of his sect, he tried to avoid all forces and severity against him and his brethren, even when urged upon… They were to be severely punished; but my father acted as intermediary between them and the government, and at this time Rapp often visited our house, and I recall him quite well and his long black beard, with which the farmer who later became so famous often sat beside my father at table.”[16]

Rapp’s tenacious efforts to separate from the institutional Lutheran Church were summed up in a letter of 1802. In this letter, the Maulbronn and Dürrmenz authorities stated that “complaints about Rapp and his followers began 20 years earlier [and that] threats of punishment [had] not been executed, and this [had] encouraged the Separatist movement. Rapp [had] been abusing the tolerance granted and enjoy[ed] an imposing respect among the people by his proclamation of the imminent Kingdom of God, the mutual assistance of the brethren among each other, and a claim of high protection.”[17] Eberhard Fritz in his book, Radikaler Pietismus in Württemberg, notes that between 1787 and 1800, Rapp received a total of eight court sentences for his activities, five of which consisted of fines that he paid without any problems.[18] Rapp’s financial situation was comfortable because he had married beyond his class, namely Christina Benzinger, the daughter of a wealthy villager. Christina brought a large amount of cash into the marriage, and as Rapp became more occupied with his teachings and religious functions, she and other separatists successfully worked the farm during his absence. When Rapp was sentenced to a short prison term, a public tumult arose and his followers demanded to be jailed together with their leader. These successful forms of civil disobedience, together with Rapp’s charisma and ability to choose capable and reliable delegates, confirmed his position as a spiritual and political leader. While he was revered and honored, he demanded strict obedience such as the confession of sins to elders, a concern with eternal values and the second coming of Christ, no distribution of posts of honor, labor as a means to purge the soul, and a separation from family and the world which included celibacy, the mortification of the flesh. His all-encompassing powers included the self-given right to perform marriages and grant divorces. Karl J.  R. Arndt summarized Rapp’s powerful leadership and persuasion when he argued that “no one had ever devised a better system to give man social and spiritual security from birth to the grave than George Rapp’s system with its dependable built-in birth control – don’t copulate! – and way to riches held in the name of the Society.”[19]

Rapp’s notoriety only increased after he moved to the United States. Even though he was criticized and mocked for his religious beliefs,[20] envied for his wealth, and decried as an authoritarian, religious leaders, politicians, and economists alike praised him as an entrepreneur and a visionary. The German socialist Friedrich Engels lauded him for reducing menial labor and eliminating strife and discord in the workplace, and the American economist Matthew Carey claimed Rapp's community made more “rapid advances in wealth and prosperity, than any equal body of men in the world.”[21] Notwithstanding such praise, Rapp’s transition to the United States was not an easy one because of his inability to communicate in the English language. While Rapp never became proficient in English, he turned this shortcoming to his advantage by insisting that German remain the dominant language within his community, thus increasing control and cohesion. But he also understood that knowing the target language and obtaining a cultural understanding was necessary to conduct business with the outside world. For that reason he encouraged select members of his community to become fluent in English. Amongst those were his adopted son, Frederick, his granddaughter, Gertrude, Dr. Baker, and Dr. Johann Christoph Müller. While Rapp’s financial endeavors blossomed, he was not immune to internal strife. As his grip on the community tightened, some members requested to leave and take with them shares of the profits. Perhaps he anticipated the possibility of dissention and financial losses; Rapp early on consulted legal counsel to draw up the society’s terms of agreement. In 1821, he had a second contract drawn up, which asserted even more control over the community. According to Romelius L. Baker, 

George Rapp step by step was increasing his prophetic grip on the Society in preparation of Christ’s second coming and was making it more and more difficult for anyone to disobey him or to be tempted to leave the Society…. In a full meeting of the congregation no one would have had the courage to speak against anything prosed by “Father” Rapp. His presence was too frightening and overpowering.[22]

When disputes had to be settled in court, they were decided in his favor. Rapp’s mix of shrewd practicality and spiritual control was epitomized by his handling of failed prophecies of the second coming of Christ and acknowledging an impostor, Count de Leon, as the new savior. Even though his predictions did not materialize and the affair with the Count led to a schism within his society, he focused on the future by choosing a new location for his followers, thus distracting from his failures and again shifting attention from spiritual and eternal matters to the community’s survival and the present. Rapp’s elevated social status, which he retained until his death, was ultimately based on him maintaining vital control over his followers’ daily routines, spirituality, and all aspects of business.             

Conclusion

In 1847 when George Rapp died, he was eulogized in the Pittsburgh Daily Morning Post as “The Greatest Communist of his Age” based on his system of social equality.[23] During the decades that followed, little mention was made of Rapp and the Harmonists, perhaps because their legacy was documented in the German language. Rekindled in the twentieth century, interest in Rapp centered on his unique spiritual and religious experiment. Nevertheless, the Harmonists’ accomplishments under Rapp’s leadership rest on the successful merger of communal socialism, outer venture capitalism, and millennial beliefs. Moreover, it is their entrepreneurial ingenuity, organizational talents, and selective cultural adaptability to their new country that ultimately define their role in American history.

Notes

[1] Karl J.R. Arndt, Harmony on the Connoquenessing, 1803-1815: George Rapp's First American Harmony, A Documentary History. (Worcester: Harmony Society Press, 1980), 2-3.

[2] Ibid., 159. Two dollars an acre would be approximately $41 per acre in 2011 dollars. All 2011 inflation calculations are based on Samuel H. Williamson, "Seven Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a U.S. Dollar Amount, 1774 to Present," MeasuringWorth, and employ the Consumer Price Index.

[3] Karl J.R. Arndt, Harmony on the Wabash in Transition, 1824-1826: Transitions to George Rapp’s Divine Economy on the Ohio, and Robert Owen’s New Moral Order at New Harmony on the Wabash: A Documentary History (Worcester, MA:  Harmony Society Press, 1982), 686-687.

[4] Morris Birkbeck, Letters from Illinois (London: Taylor and Hessey, 1818), 13.

[5]History of New Harmony in Posey County, Indiana,” in History of Posey County, Indiana, ed. John C. Leffel, (Chicago: Standard Publishing Company, 1913) (accessed 12/22/2014).

[6] Margaret Ewing, “Geographical Study of George Rapp's Harmony Society,” Winter 1979 (accessed 12/22/2014).

[7] John Archibald Bole. Harmonist Society. A Chapter in German American Culture History (New York: AMS Press, 1973), 106.

[8]  Karl J. R. Arndt, George Rapp’s Years of Glory: Economy on the Ohio 1834-1847: Ökonomie am Ohio. (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 1987), 773.

[9] William Owen, The Diary of William Owen from November 10, 1824, to April 20, 1825, ed. by Joel W. Hiatt (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co.), IV, 1.

[10] Edward J. M. Rhoads, "’White Labor’ vs. ‘Coolie Labor’: The ‘Chinese Question’ in Pennsylvania in the 1870s,” Journal of American Ethnic History, 21, no. 2 (2002), 3-32.

[11] “In the 1850s the Harmonists purchased 6,600 acres opposite Tidioute in Warren County, PA for timbering. When oil was discovered in 1860 the Harmonists set up the Economy Oil Company and entrusted its management to the former owner, with whom they shared the profits. In 1869 its Tidioute wells pumped more than 75,000 barrels and produced a huge profit of $200,000. The company, however, never, pumped on Sundays” (Photo and footnote credits: Courtesy of Old Economy Village).

[12] Bole, The Harmony Society: A Chapter in German American Culture History, 133.

[13] In 2010, the average acre of land in U.S. was valued at $1,000. The Harmonists had sold their property one hundred years earlier for $990 per acre or approximately $26,100 per acre in contemporary value.

[14] Rauscher, Victor.  Vom Leben und Treiben des Separatisten G. Rapp. Theologische Studien aus Württemberg (1910), 259.

[15] Karl J. R. Arndt, George Rapp's Separatists, 1700-1803: The German Prelude to Rapp’s American Harmony Society: A Documentary History. (Worcester, MA: Harmony Society Press, 1980), 74.

[16] Ibid., 229.

[17] Ibid., 321-322.

[18] Fritz, Eberhard. Radikaler Pietismus in Württemberg. (Epfendorf/Neckar: bibliotheca academica Verlag GmbH, 2003), 133.

[19] Karl J. R. Arndt, Harmony on the Connoquenessing, 1803-1815: George Rapp's First American Harmony, A Documentary History. (Worcester: Harmony Society Press, 1980), xxvi-xxvii.

[20] In his epic poem Don Juan, British poet Lord Byron mocked Rapp for imposing celibacy.

[21] Friedrich Engels. “Description of the Recently founded Communist Colonies Still in Existence.” Karl Marx-Friedrich Engels Collected Works. Vol 4. (New York: International Publishers, 1844), 330-335. Matthew Carey. Essays on Political Economy (Philadelphia: H. C. Carey and I. Lea, 1822), 12.

[22] Karl J. R. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decades of the Harmony Society 1814-1824. (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1978), 189.

[23] Karl J. R. Arndt, “Harmonist Music and Pittsburgh Musicians in Early Economy,” The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine 54, no. 2 (1971): 125-157, here 125.

 

Cite this Entry

APA Style

"Johann Georg Rapp." (2018) In Immigrant Entrepreneurship, Retrieved June 17, 2018, from Immigrant Entrepreneurship: http://www.immigrantentrepreneurship.org/entry.php?rec=237

Chicago Style

Rode, Silvia. "Johann Georg Rapp." In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 1, edited by Marianne S. Wokeck. German Historical Institute. Last modified May 07, 2015. http://www.immigrantentrepreneurship.org/entry.php?rec=237

MLA Style

"Johann Georg Rapp," Immigrant Entrepreneurship, 2018, Immigrant Entrepreneurship. 17 Jun 2018 <http://www.immigrantentrepreneurship.org/entry.php?rec=237>

Painting of George Rapp, n.d.

  • Golden Rose trademark developed by the Rappites to denote their high-quality products
  • Harmonist wagon
  • Fire engine built for George Rapp by Pat Lyon
  • Harmonist printing press

See more images »

TOP