Vegetarian Settlement Company.In the summer of 1855 a few men got together in the city of New York and projected a company for the purpose of establishing a colony in the Territory of Kansas. In September of that year Dr. John McLaurin, one of the promoters, visited Kansas to select a site for the proposed settlement. After traveling for several weeks along various streams, he decided in favor of a location on the left bank of the Neosho river, in the southeast corner of Allen county and about 6 miles south of the present town of Humboldt. Having made his selection, he returned to New York, and on Jan. 5, 1856, the organization of the company was completed by the adoption of a constitution, of which the following is the preamble:
"Whereas, the practice of vegetarian diet is best adapted to the development of the highest and noblest principles of human nature, and the use of the flesh of animals for food tends to the physical, moral and intellectual injury of mankind, and it is desirable that those persons who believe in the vegetarian principle should have every opportunity to live in accordance therewith, and should unite in the formation of a company for the permanent establishment, in some portion of this country, of a home where the slaughter of animals for food shall be prohibited, and where the principle of the vegetarian diet can be fairly and fully tested, so as to demonstrate more fully its advantages; therefore,
"Resolved, That we, the undersigned, do hereby agree to form ourselves into a Vegetarian Settlement Company, and to abide by the following constitution."
The constitution declared the object of the company to be the establishment of permanent homes in which there would be concerted action for a system of direct healing and the practice of the vegetarian principle, as applied to human diet. The company was to be operated on the mutual joint stock plan, the capital stock to be divided into as many shares as there were acres in the colony. Members were required to be persons of good moral character, not slaveholders, and applications for membership were subject to the approval of the board of directors. Each member was required to pay an entrance fee of one dollar and an installment of ten cents a share on not less than twenty shares of five dollars each.
Charles H. DeWolf was elected president of the company; Henry S. Clubb, secretary; and Dr. John McLaurin, treasurer. One of the first acts of the officials of the company was to levy an assessment of 10 per cent. (50 cents a share), to provide a fund with which to erect a saw and grist mill, purchase a stock of provisions, seed grain, tents, utensils, etc., the assessment to fall due on Jan. 1, 1856. As this date preceded by a few days the completion of the organization, each member was immediately called upon to pay $10 into this equipment fund. Headquarters were established at No. 308 Broadway, N. Y., where all fees and assessments were payable, and from which place the operations of the company were directed.
The first colonists, accompanied by the secretary of the company, arrived early in the spring of 1856. Others came in later, and by July 1 there were probably 100 settlers on the ground. These trusting people were doomed to disappointment. The management had failed to erect the mills, provide supplies, etc., as promised, though the members of the company had generally been prompt in paying their assessments for that purpose. Charges of speculation and dishonesty were made, and to add to the discomfort of the settlers their fields were raided by the Indians and their crops destroyed. As winter approached the sufferings of the colonists increased. Those who had the means to get away returned to their old homes in the East; others sought relief in other settlements, and by the spring of 1857 all that was left of the Vegetarian Colony, which started out with such brilliant promises, was the name "Vegetarian," applied to a small tributary of the Neosho near the settlement.Pages 842-843 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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