And then there were two?
With the death of Sister Frances Carr, the number of Shakers living in the U.S. is down to two.
Carr, 89, died due to cancer Monday at the Shaker community of Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester, Maine, surrounded by friends and her nieces. Before she died, Carr said she was hopeful more people would join the Shakers; remaining member Brother Arnold Hadd, 60, said some people have come to Sabbathday Lake in recent years, but they decided not to stay. "Every day the prayers go up that we will get people to come, that we get competent vocations," he told The Associated Press. "It's a calling from God."
Members of the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Coming fled persecution in England, settling in upstate New York in 1747 (critics dubbed them the "Shaking Quakers" because of the way they worshiped at the time). They believe in pacifism, communal ownership, celibacy, and gender equality, and are credited with creating the flat-bottom broom and circular saw. Before the Civil War, there were more than 5,000 followers in 18 communities across 10 states, but the numbers gradually dwindled due to the celibacy of members and the decision to stop accepting orphans into the fold. Now, the only Shaker community is Sabbathday Lake, home to Hadd and 78-year-old Sister June Carpenter. Catherine Garcia