dove of peace

Adin Ballou
and the Hopedale Community


The Hopedale Community

Hopedale Walking Tour

Works by Adin Ballou

Works on Adin Ballou and Hopedale

Friends of Adin Ballou



Adin Ballou Biography

Hopedale Town History

Vine and Fig Tree

January 2012

Patricia Hatch Reveals Super Finds at FAB Fall Lecture

by Marcia Matthews

An enthusiastic audience was rewarded with "super finds" at the Friends of Adin Ballou Fall Lecture. Patricia Hatch, researcher par excellence, an award-winning writer, Master of Divinity, and itinerant Unitarian Universalist preacher, spoke on "Women in the Early Hopedale Community." Ms. Hatch is interning at the Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson, where Adin Ballou's son-in-law William Heywood was a past minister. In November the congregation celebrated the 150th anniversary of its building, which was built by abolitionists.

In her lively and entertaining presentation, Patricia challenged the crowd to identify 19 of the unsung founders. Hopedale webmaster Dan Malloy won a prize for the most correct answers, including psychic Cora Scott, painter Elizabeth Humphrey, mail carrier Susan Thwing, and escaped slave Rosetta Hall.

"The Unitarian Universalist message is love and peace," said Patricia. She demonstrated, with snippets of 19 lives, just how advanced was the Early Hopedale intentional community. "It was a true community that struggled with many issues but maintained their ideals." Wrote historian Edward Spann, "With the exception of the Shakers, Hopedale came as close to equality between the sexes as any place in America."

Women could vote and fulfill their potential according to their abilities. Many women served in community offices and elected positions. Equal wages, one uniform rate of wages at 50 cents for eight hours, were codified in the charter of Fraternal Community Number One. Although the patriarchal interpretation of divine law declared "the division of labor ordained by the all-wise Creator," nursing mothers were credited with a 48-hour work week. Many women belonged to the Hopedale Sewing Circle and Tract Society, which freely distributed leaflets such as "Away with War."

Religious leadership was open to women. Although they were not ordained, laymen and women did lead services.

Abbie Ballou Heywood, Adin Ballou's daughter, worked as co-principal of the Hopedale Home School. Former student Ellen M. Patrick praised her among "helpers of the spirit" who left a permanent impression: "our dear Miss Abbie."

Divorce was not allowed except for proven adultery. An exception was made for Sarah Baker Holbrook, whose husband, William Rich, was ensnared by the inebriating pull of alcohol. Women had the option of keeping their own name, as Harriet Greene did, and Mrs. Rich took back her maiden name. The fashion statement of bloomers caused a riot at the Worcester convention in 1850, when police had to be called at the sight of 25 female Hopedalians wearing the costume.

Patricia, who grew up in Willington, Connecticut, focused on fellow Connecticut native Abby Hills Price (from Willimantic). Price enjoyed opportunities in Hopedale that would have been denied to her in the outside world. A preacher, writer, poet and gardener who advocated equal work, pay, and wearing of bloomers, she spoke at the First National Woman's Rights Convention in Worcester in 1850. In one anti-slavery poem she urged her readers to "Make their case your own."

Abby Hills Price was the Community's poet laureate until, in a scandal worthy of "Desperate Housewives," Brother Henry Fish had an affair with Sister Daphne Seaver. Both Henry and his wife Margaret confided in Abby Price. Said Abby, "I sometimes felt they were all to blame ... I was charged with knowing too much to keep dark." Abby called upon the Council to prove that their charges were correct. Within the month, she and her family withdrew from the Hopedale Community and went to another intentional community, the Raritan Bay Union, in New Jersey. That same month, the Hopedale Community passed new resolutions denouncing Free Love.

In her research, Patricia found scribbled in the margin of the record book for July 26, 1853, "Mr. Ballou said he never said women were as tyrannical as men..." but notes imply he did basically say just that.

When later, Abby Price went to live in Brooklyn, she became good friends with Walt Whitman and influenced him toward women's rights. She started a new business making ruffles and wrote Whitman requesting that he advocate in Washington against her being taxed twice.

During the lecture a red cloth lay across a front table. At the end, Patricia whipped off the cloth to reveal some surprise super finds of her research: rare photos of Abbie Ballou Heywood and her husband William. Abbie looks like her father, only with wire-rimmed spectacles and long hair done up. Other rare photos give a face to Abby Hills Price, Cora Scott, and others.

As Sherry Ceniza said, Hopedale was "a world different from mainstream American society, a world in which women had voice." The experience of being steeped in the unique history of our community and having its people brought to life was welcomed by the devoted crowd.



How many of these Hopedale women can you identify?

Click here to check your answers!

In Celebration of the Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.

Friends living in the Hopedale area are invited to share in
A Celebration of the Legacy and Inspirations of
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Annual Community Event
of the Hopedale Public Schools and the Hopedale Churches

Hopedale Unitarian Parish
7 PM, January 16, 2012.

We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say "We must not wage war." It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace. There is a fascinating little story that is preserved for us in Greek literature about Ulysses and the Sirens. The Sirens had the ability to sing so sweetly that sailors could not resist steering toward their island. Many ships were lured upon the rocks, and men forgot home, duty, and honor as they flung themselves into the sea to be embraced by arms that drew them down to death. Ulysses, determined not to be lured by the Sirens, first decided to tie himself tightly to the mast of his boat, and his crew stuffed their ears with wax. But finally he and his crew learned a better way to save themselves: they took on board the beautiful singer Orpheus whose melodies were sweeter than the music of the Sirens. When Orpheus sang, who bothered to listen to the Sirens? So we must fix our vision not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but upon the positive affirmation of peace. We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody that is far superior to the discords of war.

-- Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1964

In this Byzantine mosaic, Orpheus tames wild animals with the sound of his lyre

FAB Online

In the middle of the nineteenth century, small, privately printed newspapers, like Hopedale's Practical Christian, were the "social media" of the day. In these days, we have the internet, Facebook, and Twitter, but the principle is the same.

If you have a Twitter account and want to receive Tweets from Adin Ballou you can follow him by searching @AdinBallou and clicking "Follow". If you donít have a Twitter account, you can still go to and search for @AdinBallou. You will see some recent Tweets from or mentioning Adin Ballou. However, to receive regular Tweets, you must have an account.

Two of Adin Ballou's books, Christian Non-Resistance and Practical Christianity, are now available in Kindle editions. Look for them on, or follow the link from the FAB Bookstore. (Of course, the Boosktore still has an assortment of print books, as well as pamphlets and note cards.)

Vine and Fig Tree: A Round

Vine and Fig Tree Song

from the Unitarian Universalist Association hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition