Butler County Place Names‎ > ‎U‎ > ‎

Union Village

Union Village was a Shaker community in Warren County, east of Monroe and the Butler County line. "The post office is known as Union Village, but to the surrounding country it is known as Shakertown," wrote J. P. MacLean in 1902.

An Ohio historical marker says: "Union Village, the first and largest (United Society of Believers) community west of the Allegheny Mountains, was established in 1805. Nearly 4,000 Shakers lived in Union Village, the last continuing to live here until 1920. They owned 4,500 acres of land with more than 100 buildings. Union Village was the parent to other [Shaker] communities in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Georgia. Shakers were among the most successful religious communal societies in the United States. Belief in the equality of men and women, separation of sexes, confession, communal ownership of property and celibacy helped define their society. The name Shaker was derived from shaking and dancing that were part of their worship.

Union Village Shakers were successful entrepreneurs selling herbal medicines, garden seeds and brooms. They also raised and bred Poland China hogs, Durham cattle and Merino sheep." The marker also explains that "Union Village was purchased by the United Brethren in Christ Church in 1912. The site was a home for children from 1913-1963 and a retirement center for adults from 1913 to the present. It is related to the United Methodist Church." It has been known as Otterbein Homes. Henry Howe in his 1888 book, Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio, volume 2, said: "The village extends about a mile on one street. The houses and shops are very large, many of them brick, and all in a high degree neat and substantial. They are noted for the cleanliness and strict propriety of conduct characteristic of the sect elsewhere, and take no part in politics or military affairs, keeping themselves completely aloof from the world, only so far as is necessary to dispose of their garden seeds and other products of agriculture and articles of mechanical skill." A Western Shaker Study Group web site calls the village "the center of Shakerism in the West, 1805-1920." The web site also says: "In 1805, the Turtle Creek New Light Presbyterian Church followed its pastor, Rev. Richard McNemar, into Shakerism. It had been quite a journey for them moving from Calvinistic Presbyterianism into the New Light movement (fostered by the Great Kentucky Revival) and then eventually into the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing. This spiritual journey was just the beginning, however. From 1805 until 1912, and even up into the 1920s, the Shakers had a great presence in the Cincinnati-Dayton area. The Shaker town they founded in 1805 was named Union Village and it was the headquarters of the Shaker bishopric of the West." Union Village was the parent village of Watervliet Shaker Village in Montgomery and Greene counties (Dayton, Ohio); Whitewater Shaker Village in Hamilton and Butler counties (New Haven, Ohio); North Union Shaker Village in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland, Ohio); Pleasant Hill and South Union Shaker villages in Kentucky; and West Union Shaker Village in Busro, Indiana. See entry for Morgantown for details on the 1,457-acre Whitewater Shaker Village (New Haven) that was partially in Butler County from 1834 until 1909. The Union Village/Otterbein Homes site is half a mile north of the intersection of state routes 63 and 741, which is three miles west of I-75.

 (Also see Red Lion, Beedle' Station and Warren County)