Issachar Bates

A Shaker’s Journey

Carol Medlicott

Issachar Bates (1758–1837) was a Revolutionary War veteran in rural upstate New York who, at the age of forty-three, abruptly turned from his family life to become a celibate Shaker. He immediately became instrumental in Shakerism’s westward expansion, and his personal charisma, persuasive preaching, and musical talent helped stimulate the movement’s growth. Bates drew “western” converts in abundance, profoundly changing the character of Shakerism by increasing its geographic reach. He also helped shape the Shakers’ unique theology and hymnody through his many influential texts and songs.

Cover Image of Issachar Bates: A Shaker’s Journey
E-book: $39.99
ISBN-13: 9781611684087
Pages: 448 | Size: 6.25 in. x 9.25 in.
Date Published: June 11, 2013


  • The text is accessible to any student or scholar interested in the Early Republic, daily life of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, and Shakerism.

    Nova Religio
  • This biography is so rich and multi-dimensional that it becomes far more than simply a contribution to Shaker studies In particular, it should have special appeal to anyone interested in pioneer life on the midwestern frontier, the dynamics of religious revivalism during the Second Great Awakening, and the development of religious music during the early nineteenth century.

    Indiana Magazine of History
  • Carol Medlicott’s choice to allow Bates to speak for himself through his autobiography, poetry, and music gives her fine biography a wonderful sense of immediacy.

    Andrew Cayton
    Miami University, Ohio
  • How a rough-talking, hard-drinking ex-soldier became a Shaker preacher is an intriguing story, and Carol Medlicott has done it justice. Her biography of Issachar Bates will add immeasurably to our understanding of Issachar Bates’s life and times, and his significance to western Shakerism.

    Glendyne Wergland
    author of Sisters in the Faith: Shaker Women and Equality of the Sexes
  • Medlicott masterfully exploits the historical and religious sources that shed light on Bates’s diverse roles in western Shakerism. Her narrative breaks new ground and attains the highest level of biography.

    Stephen J. Stein
    Chancellor’s Professor, eme

About the Author

CAROL MEDLICOTT is an associate professor of history and geography at Northern Kentucky University.

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