1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Economy (Pennsylvania)

ECONOMY, a township and a village of Beaver county, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., on the E. bank of the Ohio river, 17 m. N.W. of Pittsburg. Pop. of township (1900) 1062; (1910) 860. The village is served by the Pennsylvania system. It was owned until 1904, when it was sold to a land company, by the Harmony Society (see Communism), commonly called the Economites, Harmonists or Rappists. The founder, George Rapp, after living with his would-be primitive Christian followers at Harmony, Butler county, Pennsylvania, in 1803–1814, and in 1815–1824 in New Harmony (q.v.), Indiana, which he then sold to Robert Owen, settled here in 1824 and rapidly built up a village, in which each family received a house and garden. The culture of silk, flax, grapes (for wine-making) and fruits and cereals in general, and the manufacture of flour and of woollen, flannel and cotton fabrics, were carried on under a rule requiring every adult to labour 12 or 14 hours each day in field or mill. Celibacy had been adopted in 1807 as the rule of the community. New members were received after a half-year’s probation, and members who left received their original investment. Three hundred thus separated from Rapp in 1833, with $105,000 as their share of the communal property, to build the millennial kingdom of New Jerusalem at Phillipsburg (now Monaca), Beaver county, Pennsylvania, under the lead of Bernhard Müller, who had come to Economy in 1831 as a fellow religionist, and was called Count Maximilian de Leon (or Proli); in 1833 Leon went, with his followers, to Louisiana, and established a religious colony 6 m. from Natchitoches. After his death his wife until 1871 was head of a similar community at Germantown in Webster parish. The Harmonists at Economy flourished under the rule of a tradesman, R. L. Baker, or Romelius Langenbacher, after the death of Rapp in 1847, and during the Civil War had about $500,000 buried away. Their numbers were for a time kept up by the addition of fresh converts, but the employés who were not Harmonists soon greatly outnumbered the members of the community, the basis of which was always religious. Baker died in 1868, and his successor, John Henrici, in 1892, when John S. Duss became first trustee. In 1907 there were only two or three members in the society. In 1851 the township of Harmony was set apart from Economy.

See Morris Hillquit, History of Socialism in the United States (New York, 1903); William A. Hinds, American Communities (revised edition, Chicago, 1902); John L. Bole, The Harmony Society (Philadelphia, 1904); Charles Nordhoff, The Communistic Societies of the United States (New York, 1875); and among several excellent monographs in German, Karl Knortz, Die christlichkommunistische Kolonie der Rappisten (Leipzig, 1892), and J. Hanno Deiler, Eine vergessene deutsche Colonie: eine Stimme zur Verteidigung des Grafen de Leon (New Orleans, 1900).