Help from the Indians
|When George Whitefield returned to England after his fifth trip to America, he preached how America was a land for opportunity and rebirth of spirit. His words appealed to Ann and she began thinking seriously of taking herself, along with her followers to the new land, to worship freely without persecution. After months of decision-making, the Shaker group headed by Ann Lee were looking foreword to their new home in America. The group found two wealthy sponsors that financed the voyage, since none of them could afford the cost of the move. When asked by one of her future followers in America about why she made this decision to leave England, Ann Lee replied, " I knew by the revelation of God, that God had a chosen people in America; I saw some of them in a vision; and when I met them in America, I knew them. I had a vision of America: I saw a large tree, every leaf of which shone with such brightness as made it appear like a burning torch, representing the Church of Christ, which will yet be established in this land. Previous to our coming, we called a meeting, and there were so many gifts (such as prophecies, revelations, visions, and dreams) in confirmation of a former revelation for us to come, that some could hardly wait for others to tell their gifts. We had a joyful meeting, and danced till morning."|
|On May 9, 1774, there were only eight Shakers who boarded the Mariah to set sail out of Liverpool. The group included Ann Lee, Abraham Stanley, her husband; William Lee, her brother; Nancy Lee, her niece; John Hocknell, with his son Richard; James Whittaker; Mary Partington, and James Shephard. Despite their previous enthusiasm, many Shakers decided to stay in England in fear of failure in the new world. The voyage to America was not pleasant, for the passengers encountered several obstacles in which they came close to death. However, just as the disciples in the Bible had Jesus to calm them during a storm at sea, the group on the Mariah looked to Ann Lee, who calmed them through the rough encounters.|
| The eight Shakers finally
arrived in New York on August 6, 1774. They would remain one group who worshipped
together, but had to split up to find work in order to get a start in making a living. Ann
and Abraham stayed with a family by the name of Cunningham, and the man of the house was a
blacksmith and gave Abraham a job from the start. They stayed with the Cunninghams for
about a year until Abraham became wrapped up in sin and left his wife of thirteen years.
New York was the home of many "public houses" in which Abraham chose to
associate with. He soon lost all sense of religion and renounced Anns teachings. Ann
loved her husband, and was willing to do anything for him, but she would never consent to
violate her duty to God. Abraham brought a lewd woman into the house to Ann and declared
that, unless she would consent to live in sexual cohabitation with him, he would take that
woman for his wife. Ann refused, and he soon went off with the woman, and it was reported
that he was shortly after married to her.
Again, Mother Ann was faced with hardship. Her children were dead, her husband left her, and her voyage to America seemed as though it was a bad idea because of financial problems her and the group faced.