During the 1780s, the Shakers established
two settlements in Maine -- one at Sabbathday Lake (West Gloucester)
and the other in Alfred. Jabez Ricker and his family were neighbors
to the Alfred Shakers. The Shakers were interested in converting
Jabez Ricker, since his property contained the only millstream near
the Shaker Village. After several unsuccessful pleas, Elder John
Barnes went to Jabez and said: "Jabez Ricker, God says you must
give the Shakers your farm." The story continued "Jabez … had the
fear of God before his eyes. He answered quite humbly, "Well, if
God says so it must be so." Then with little more spirit, he added,
"But you shall pay me for it.""
Above: A view of the Wentworth Ricker Inn as pictured
in "Poland Spring Centennial: A Souvenir," copyright 1895
by Hiram Ricker & Sons, South Poland, Maine. Collection of
the United Society of Shakers, Sabbathday Lake, Inc.
In exchange for his Alfred property, the Shakers provided Jabez
with a homestead in Poland, Maine that once had belonged to a Shaker
convert. Jabez moved his family to the new property, just north
of the Sabbathday Lake Shaker settlement. The Rickers’ new home
was situated on a major thoroughfare that led into the Portland
area and beyond. In 1797, the Rickers opened the Wentworth Ricker
Inn and offered lodging to the farmers and herdsmen who traveled
back and forth to the markets.
Prepared for the Ministry’s Shop Exhibit, Summer 2001
Written by Michael S. Graham, curator.
© The United Society of Shakers, Sabbathday Lake, Inc.
707 Shaker Road
New Gloucester, Maine 04260