DeVan Family History and Genealogy

DeVans Who Were Shakers

Several DeVans forsake their "normal" lives and joined the Shaker community at North Union. North Union was located at the present day site of Shaker Heights, near Cleveland, Ohio.

Talcott, son William, William's wife Hannah, and six of William's children (Temperance , Nehemiah, Maria, Ralph P., Lois, and Emma) joined the Shaker community. It's unknown when Talcot joined; however William & family (except Erastus A.) joined sometime between 1845 and 1850 and are shown on the 1850 census for the Shaker community. (See the Vital Records page. For several years they lived as Shakers. Talcott, William, Nehemiah, and Temperance are documented as having died while living in the Shaker community and were buried in the mass Shaker grave in Warrensville Heights, Ohio.

It's not known how these DeVans lived while they were with the Shakers, but the Shaker lifestyle is well documented. This section provides a little insight into how Talcott and William and his family might have lived during the years they were Shakers.


The official name of the Shakers was The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing. In England they were a branch of the Quakers, first known as the Shaking Quakers, and nicknamed ‘Shakers’ because of the dancing that was part of their worship services.

The Shakers were a Utopian religious sect founded by Ann Lee in Manchester, England in the 18th century. The late 1700's and early 1800's saw the founding of a number of ‘utopian’ or ideal communities in Europe and America. The Shakers were among the most successful.

The Shaker movement reached its height between 1840 and 1860, with 19 communities and as many as 6000 members. The goals of the Shakers were order, industry, and subordination of the individual to the good of the whole.

The Shaker religion was based on the confession of sins; community goods (there was no private property); withdrawal from the world; celibacy; and separation of the sexes (their meeting houses had separate doorways for men and women). However, women had equal status with men. Although men and women were kept separate, women shared an equal role in government, worship, and work.

The Shaker community leaders were elders and eldresses who regulated all aspects of Shaker life, work, and worship. Shaker "families" were groups who lived in the same house. The sexes were equal and there was no marriage within the community.