~~ 1897 to 1906 ~~
Taken From ~
"The North Cascadians"
by JoAnn Roe
1980, Madrona Publishers
2116 Western Ave. Seattle, 98121
1980, Madrona Publishers
The effort was recognized by such well-known socialists as Eugene V. Debs and Henry Demarest Lloyd. The founders of the Brotherhood taxed themselves and also required a membership fee of $160 per family, soon raising $10,000 to buy 200 acres of land in 1897 near the town of Edison on the Skagit-Whatcom border. *G.E. (ED) PELTON, leader of the first group of Northwest socialists, named the colony Equality from the title of a book by Edward Bellamy.
Barn, Root House & Bakery - April, 1900
All went beautifully until after 1900. Members lived in large apartments, later in individual homes. Each person was allowed to choose his occupation but also had to agree to work at other assigned jobs if he had spare time. All policy was decided at the frequent town meetings, which everyone over eighteen was required to attend. Equality's political publication, "Industrial Freedom", was circulated nationally.
Because the colonists behaved themselves, their neighbors liked them even if their way of life was different. Everything was, indeed, utopian for about four years; then, in succeeding years of the new century, matters worsened. Ideological disputes turned the town meetings into impossible wrangles. Professing socialist fever, freeloaders joined the colony to tap the abundant food and supplies. In early 1906, a fire set by arsonists destroyed several buildings, including the barn and most of the cattle inside. Declaring that taxes were delinquent and a reign of terror existed in the colony, a group of colonists petitioned the court in Mount Vernon to place the Brotherhood under receivership. The land was then sold, the assets distributed, the colonists scattered, proving the previously declared tenets of the national socialists - that cooperative living simply did not work....."
"A look at Washington's pioneer labor reform press -when journalism
by Carlos Schwantes
Front page banner for the June 4, 1898 edition of Industrial Freedom
(small print, top line: "Until a Slave Recognizes the He is a Slave, He Can Never Gain Freedom")
Equality School Souvenir
School Photo - 1898
George "Ed" Pelton
A Cooperative Colony - Seattle Times, Nov 25, 1962
1905 Tidbits - Mt. Vernon Argus
Recollections of Catherine Savage Pulsipher
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;
What is essential is invisible to the eye.
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,
The Little Prince
As you stroll down memory lane, PLEASE edit and let me know any corrections, etc. that need to be made.