A Spiritualist community, based upon the doctrines of communalist
Francois Fourier, founded by Warren Chase in 1844.
Chase had settled in Southport, Wisconsin, in 1838, and with
his wife and child, he lived there for a time in poverty. At
length, however, their circumstances improved and Chase attained
to a position of civic honor in Southport. During this
time he studied mesmerism and socialism with the aid of a few
periodicals such as La Roy Sunderlands Magnet and the New
York Tribune, and he was filled with the idea of founding a community
where his ideals of social order and harmony might be
With the aid of his friends, he formed such a community.
Each member had a share of 25 dollars. The chosen settlementnear
the town of Riponwas christened Ceresco, in
honor of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture. For six
years the Wisconsin Phalanx flourished, with Chase acting as its
leader and ruling spirit.
But dissension arose, and in 1850 the community was dissolved.
When its affairs were closed, a considerable profit fell
to its members. In all, it was one of the more successful Spiritualist
communes of the time. (See also Apostolic Circle; Mountain
Noyes, John Humphery. History of American Socialisms. 1870.
Reprinted as Strange Cults and Utopias of 19th-Century America.
New York Dover Publications, 1966.