Extra fruit was sold to the world’s people in various forms. Apples were made into cider, sauce, and pies, or were dried. A few apple trees planted by Shakers remain and other historic varieties have been planted more recently.
Representation of the apple orchard in the 1838 map by David. A. Buckingham.
New York State Museum
The first interment in this cemetery was that of an African American Shaker named Violet Bennett, who died in 1785. In 1784, Ann Lee, her brother William were interred on land located north of this cemetery. In 1835, the Shakers decided to move their graves to their present location.
Ann Lee resting place.
A report from the disinterment includes a graphic description of the appearance of Ann and William Lee’s remains. Prominent skull and bone fractures described in the report were the result of mob attacks and beatings that the Lees experienced as a result of their unique religious beliefs.
Shakers grew high quality herbs that were used in the production of Shaker medicinal remedies and sold to physicians and merchants throughout the United States. Shaker herb gardens were extensive, often with one variety planted over several acres of land. To ensure quality and prevent cross contamination, they harvested one type of herb at a time.
Sign near the entrance of the herb garden.
The garden is located within the perimeter of the 1838 Sister’s Workshop. Portions of the foundation of this demolished building are visible at the entrance to the garden.
Preliminary research indicates that much of this area has been used as pastureland for farm animals since the 18th century. Today, a handful of heritage breed oxen continue to graze in the pasture during the summer season.
The 1838 Buckingham map identifies six grass lands and one hog pasture area.
New York State Museum
Several hiking trails circumnavigate the pond. The area was a swamp that the Shaker Brethren cleared and dredged to create a pond that they named “Mill Pond.” Shakers used the pond for harvesting ice, fish and fresh water clams and for providing water power for their grist and saw mill.
Eldress Anna Case with Shaker children at the margins of the pond.
Shaker Heritage Society
Shaker journals note several occasions when the pond water became so low that additional dredging was needed. The area is currently beginning to revert to swamp land.