Brother James Howard – Shaker Village


The beautiful village of the Shakers, located in Mercer County, Kentucky, is one of our favorite places to walk – located just six miles from our home.  This is the cemetery where members were buried, many with just an unmarked stone.  It is a lovely, quiet place.  You can tour the buildings and renactors bring the beautiful, calm life of the Shakers to life again.  Walking past the dining hall wonderful smells of Shaker dishes waft past, enticing you to share a meal – they are famously known for their Lemon Shaker Pie!  And passing the building of worship the wistful sound of hymns from long ago makes you stop and listen.  If you are ever in the area, I suggest you stop by. 

The Shaker community eventually dwindled to just a few older members and the property was sold around 1919.  I believe it was the 1960’s when the property was again sold to a preservation group and after much work Shaker Village was alive again!  And the Shaker slogan lives on, ‘We make you kindly welcome!’


from The Harrodsburg Herald, Mercer County, Kentucky

Friday, March 25, 1921

“Brother James” Passing of the Oldest Shaker Leaves Only Two of Society

Another member of the Shaker Society has “passed into the twilight beyond the clouds”.  Brother James Howard died a few days ago, aged 85 years.  He was one of the members who fell to the care of Dr. W. F. Pennebaker when the Shaker property was sold.  Infirmities incident to his age had kept him bedfast for about six weeks, although he has been practically an invalid for more than a year.  Brother James had never formally joined the Society of Shakers, although he had been identified with them for more than twenty-five years.  He was born in Devonshire, England, on February 9, 1839.  The first known of him in this section he was working on the roads and attracted the attention of Dr. Frank Pennebaker, who took him in and placed him in charge of the gardens.  In all the long years since that day the magnificent Shakertown gardens have been his care and pride, and he loved to work in the soil until advancing age prevented.  The funeral service was conducted last Thursday afternoon by Rev. L. E. Sellers, pastor of the Harrodsburg Christian Church, and he was laid to rest in the little Shaker burying ground where to many of the “United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearance” are waiting the Resurrection.

Only two of the Shaker colony are now left.  They are Dr. W. F. Pennebaker and Sister Mary Settles, the latter of whom was at the head of the School in Shakertown for so many years.


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  1. My mother, Sarah Beatrice Watts. daughter of James Thomas Watts and Gillie Huff Watts, was born in Perryville Kentucky but every year we went and visited her relatives in Harrodsburg, KY. We always went by Shakertown in the early years and were allowed to go into what is now the restaurant where they were restoring the building and the spiral staircase. After the complete restoration of Shakertown, we went every visit to a Shaker meal and toured the restored site. There was beautiful music and other events. It was lovely and peaceful for the eyes and the soul. The boat trip on the Kentucky River is also a delight. I highly recommend a visit and or a stay overnight. Marilyn Watts McGaughey

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