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Coal Creek Community and Church of God collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: S2538

Scope and Contents

This collection includes a record book containing the articles of association and other documents regarding the Rational Brethren of Oxford (1816-1821); the Coal Creek Community and Church of God manifest, constitution, meeting minutes, records of withdrawls of membership, and records of money paid by members for the purpose of buying land (1823-1832); and undated poems clipped from newspapers. The collection also includes photostatic copies of the church manifest and constitution, an article of agreement to build a church (1838), correspondence between J. Wesley Whicker and the Indiana State Library regarding the Coal Creek Community (1915-1923), and a May 14, 1915 abstract of Fountain County records related to the Coal Creek Community and Church of God prepared by Douglas & Nelson of Covington, Indiana for the State Library.


  • 1816-1923


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical / Historical

The Rational Brethren of Oxford was a socialist community attempted by James M. Dorsey and William Ludlow in Butler County, Ohio. Founded in September 1816, the only other recorded subscriber was Israel Ludlow and the society was dissolved on August 23, 1817. A few years later, William Ludlow joined with several families from Warren County, Ohio to found the Coal Creek Community and Church of God in Fountain County, Indiana. The church manifest was signed May 1, 1823 by the following members: Jonathan Crane, Keziah Crane, Isaac Romine, Elizabeth Romine, Huldah Crane, Ruth Crane, Enoch Bolen (Bowling), Oliver Osborn, William Ludlow, Ann Ludlow, Mathias Dean, Chester Chadwick, and Hannah Chadwick. On April 24, 1824, the church trustees purchased more than one thousand acres of land and on December 10, 1825, the community drew up its constitution and later had it recorded with the county in 1828. The Coal Creek Community only lasted about ten years and over the course of several years the communal land was divided up among the members, with the last remaining land split between Oliver Osborn and Jonathan Crane in August 1836.


Information found within collection.

Hamm, Thomas D. God’s Government Begun: The Society for Universal Inquiry and Reform, 1842-1846. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.

Whicker, John Wesley. Historical Sketches of the Wabash Valley . Attica, Indiana: Printed by the author, 1916.


0.05 Cubic Feet (2 folders)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from J. Wesley Whicker on 1914/07/09 and 1923/07/02.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2019/01/31 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2019/01/31 by Laura Eliason.
Coal Creek Community and Church of God collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.