Men in woods photograph   Save
Louis Baus Collection
Description: Taken by photographer Louis Baus, this photographic reproduction shows men of the Society of Separatists of Zoar meeting in the woods, ca. 1896. A note on its reverse reads "Another of the outings; from left are - Jos[eph] Breymaier; Christian Ruof; John Bimeler; Louis Zimmerman; Jacob Breymaier; and Aug. Kuecherer. About 1896." Led by Joseph Bimeler (sometimes spelled Bäumeler) in 1817, a group of Lutheran separatists left the area of Germany known as Wurttemberg and eventually established the small community of Zoar in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. The community of Zoar was not originally organized as a commune, but its residents had a difficult time surviving in 1818 and early 1819. As a result, on April 19, 1819, the group formed the Society of Separatists of Zoar. Each person donated his or her property to the community as a whole, and in exchange for their work, the society would provide for them. In the decades following the establishment of the Zoar commune, the Separatists experienced economic prosperity. The community was almost entirely self-sufficient and sold any surpluses to the outside world. In addition to agriculture, Zoar residents also worked in a number of industries, including flour mills, textiles, a tin shop, copper, wagon maker, two iron foundries, and several stores. The society also made money by contracting to build a seven-mile stretch of the Ohio and Erie Canal. By the second half of the 19th century, the community was quite prosperous. After Bimeler's death in 1853, the unity of the village declined, and by 1898 the Zoarites disbanded the society. The remaining residents divided the property, and the community continued to prosper in Zoar. Louis Baus was a prominent photographer in Cleveland, Ohio, who began his career with studio work, but in 1911 became a staff writer for the Cleveland Advocate, a local newspaper that was later purchased by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: P223_B04_Vol2_77
Subjects: Society of Separatists of Zoar; Zoar (Tuscarawas County, Ohio); Picnics; Nature
Places: Zoar (Ohio); Tuscarawas County (Ohio)