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Oneida Colony Description

Page history last edited by Hanule Seo 13 years, 9 months ago



John Humphrey Noyes was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, in September 3, 1811. His family was very accomplished. His father worked in the United States House of Representatives, and President Rutherford B. Hayes was his cousin. In 1831, during the Second Great Awakening, Noyes experienced a religious conversion at a revival. Noyes conversion made him leave Vermont. He left to attend Andover and Yale, the school where many of the most prominent ministers of the Awakening received their training. He became a minister and became the founder of the Oneida Colony. He did a lot of things for his community, although Oneida has faltered in late 1870’s. Even though Noyes stood at the edge of American life with a sexual and social plan that challenged mainstream values, he was the most progressive of leaders. He died in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in April 13, 1886.


Founder of The Oneida Colony

    John Humphrey Noyes



    Oneida, New York


What did the founder do?

    John H. Noyes was a minister. Then he became the founder and the leader of Oneida Community.

He strongly believed in Christian Perfectionism and has declared himself free of sin and in a state of perfectionism. In his community,  Complex Marriage, Male Continence,  Mutual Criticism and Eugenics was practiced. The Oneida Community lasted more than 30 years.



(1) COMPLEX MARRIAGE - This is where every man and every woman is married to each other. They could engage in sexual intercourse.

(2) MALE CONTINENCE - This was a form of birth control where during and after sexual intercourse the man could not ejaculate. The Oneida community also belieced that their children shold be as strong and intelligent as possible, and so embarked on a program of EUGENICS to insure it.

(3) ASCENDING FELLOWSHIP - This is where the young virgins in the community were brought into the practice of Complex Marriage. The older godly members who were in a special group and were called Central Members would pick a virgin to be spiritually responsible for. This took place when the young people were about fourteen years old.

(4) MUTUAL CRITICISM - In Mutual Criticism, each member of the community that was being reprimanded was taken in front of either a committee or sometimes the whole community to be criticized for their action.

(5) CONFESSION - The members of the community, according to Noyes, were sinless after conversion, so no confession would be needed.

(6) REGENERATION - That Christ's death was not for the sins of man, but was the first blow to Satan. But that by believing in the death of Christ, one was released from sin, because Christ destroyed the central cause of sin. By believing then, one is regenerated.

(7) SEPARATION - The members did separate into a community, but their main separation was to be a sexual one.

(8) REVELATION - Noyes never said that he received special revelation, though he did have some twisted interpretations. Noyes once wrote an article in "The Berean" and emphasized the credibility of scripture and denounced those who denied the validity and relevance of scripture.

(9) EQUALITY OF THE SEXES - The Oneida Community believed in equality of the sexes.

(10) MILLENNIAL KINGDOM - That the Millennial Kingdom had been introduced in A.D. 70 at which time Noyes thought Christ had made His Second Coming.



Anyone who shared his theological view can join.

But once people were Oneidan, the community and Noyes, mostly Noyes, could control which members of the community parented children, and through this type of social engineering people his community with only the “best” individuals.



Started with 38 men and 54 women, which began in a log house in 1847. In 1851, membership had jumped to 205 with a peak membership of 300.


Time Period

    1848 ~ late 1870’s ( In 1830’s, Noyes came up with the idea of Oneida)

Oneida faltered in the late 1870’s because Noyes changed the population within the colony (“stirpiculture”), introduction of a group from another colony that had different opinions, agnosticism, and weak leadership from Theodore Noyes.


Religious Component

    Bible Communism is a unique blend of socialism, sexual freedom, and biblical rule that governed Oneida.

But in 1881, Oneida replaced communism with a joint-stock company. Oneida Community, Ltd., which became very famous for the manufacture of silverware.



    Everyone worked together and created an economy that was beneficial to Oneida Colony and the individuals as a whole. Later in 1881, Oneida Community, Ltd. has replaced communism with joint-stock (a company that is owned by all the people who have shares in it).


Works Cited Page


Claeys, Gregory, and Lyman Tower Sargent. The Utopia Reader. New York: New York

     University Press, 1999.


Cayton, Mary Kupiec, Gorn Elliott J., and Williams, Peter W., Editors. American Social History: Volumes 1 and 3. New York. Oct. 23, 2008


"John Humphrey Noyes." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 23 Oct. 2008



“The Oneida Community.” New York History Net. 24 Oct. 2008



“John Humphrey Noyes and the Oneida Perfectionists.” University of Virginia. 24 Oct. 2008



"Stirpiculture." Time, U.S. 25 Oct. 2008



"Noyes, John Humphrey." Infoplease: All the knowledge you need. Encyclopedia. 25 Oct. 2008



"John Humphrey Noyes." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 27 Oct. 2008



Oneida Colony Analysis 


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