Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
3501 Lexington Rd., Harrodsburg, KY 40330
The United Society of Shakers at Pleasant Hill were early Kentucky agrarians and relied heavily on the land to supply their homestead economy. They grew hemp for fiber to make household goods like textiles and rope. Even hemp chord was used to suspend the mattresses on their beds. Shaker journal entries indicate the presence of a hemp and fulling mill used for processing hemp, and warehouse for storage.
The Shakers also grew hemp to support many of their industries. The hemp twine they made was used to bind their famous Shaker Brooms, and the hemp rope was used for shipping purposes. The Pleasant Hill Shakers became renowned for their craft by getting products to market. To do this, they built flatboats and established a ferry on the Kentucky River. The flatboats were equipped with hemp rope used for rigging and strapping down the cargo, then sent from the Shaker Ferry to markets along the river and beyond.
Pleasant Hill Shakers also advertised their merchandise, sold on credit, gave discounts on large or cash orders, placed goods on consignment, and were willing to threaten legal action for non-payment, as seen in Shaker records. In 1887, the Shakers offered a man named Norris who owed them $490 to “take his part of the Hemp he raised on the shares & allow him $100 for it,” adding that they would “get the remainder of the debt”. The Shakers kept detailed records of the daily activities at Pleasant Hill, many of which provide a glimpse into hemp production and sales at the village.