The Rappite Oak


In 1814, George Rapp, a native of Wurtemburg, Germany, purchased 30,000 acres in Posey County, Indiana. He along with 800 settlers had journeyed down the Wabash with the goal to found a new community, which they named New Harmony. The settlement was governed by the principles of the New Testament as “Father Rapp”  understood them, and was modeled after their former settlement of Harmony, in Pennsylvania.

2012-10-11_16.34.53It is said that on the night of their arrival the Harmonists slept under the shade of a large Oak tree, which became known as the Rappite Oak. Near it, Father Rapp would later build his house.

Later the Harmonists sold the town to Robert Owen, who had the dream to form a Utopian society, stressing education and social equality.

For many years the historic old oak was preserved  and though showing the stress of age, it was left standing. Finally in 1900, a summer storm  felled the tree.

If only we could hear the stories that the tree could have told! Perhaps we would hear long sermons of the pious or dreams of Owen as new town residents studied, education, geology, botany and other pursuits.

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