Bushnell, Richard (1791-1873)

Birth date
Death date

Richard Bushnell happened upon the Mount Lebanon community while traveling at the age of 21. He not only decided to join the community but persuaded ten of his family members to join, all of whom remained Shakers and many of whom rose to positions of leadership. He remained at the North Family at Mount Lebanon, where he became a trustee in 1821, second elder in 1827, and first elder in 1832. He worked at a number of tasks including making brooms, boxes, and at least one piece of furniture (a signed blanket chest in the Shaker Museum's collection). He was appointed to the Ministry in 1858, but Eldress Polly Reed wrote in a Church Family journal that "He feels very unable to fill the place & it is with great reluctance that he makes any attempt." In 1859, he asked to be released from the Ministry. Nevertheless, he proved to be a capable manager of the North Family's finances, which later gave Elder Frederick Evans the financial means to build the North Family's Great Stone Barn.

See blog post on Brother Richard, and his blanket chest: https://shakerml.org/no-carpenter-or-joiner-elder-bushnells-blanket-chest/



Do you have information you'd like to share?


Shaker Museum updates database records with information when it becomes available.

Copyright of this artwork Citation rules

Citation rules

Shaker Museum Bushnell, Richard (1791-1873). https://shakermuseum.us/people/?id=231. Accessed on February 22, 2024

We are dedicated to making the cultural heritage of the Shakers available to the public for free.

A black and white photo of a person smiling.

Shane Rothe

Curatorial Associate

Shane Rothe (they/them) joined Shaker Museum in July 2023, working with independent curator Maggie Taft on an exhibition for the new museum space in Chatham. Shane is an artist as well as a curator and continues to create in the mediums of painting, sculpture, writing, and performance. Shane holds a BFA from CalArts and an MA in art history and curatorial studies from the University of Chicago.