Issachar Bates (1758-1837) was a Revolutionary War veteran in rural
upstate New York who, at the age of forty-three, abruptly turned
from his family life to become a celibate Shaker. He immediately
became instrumental in Shakerism's westward expansion, and his
personal charisma, persuasive preaching, and musical talent helped
stimulate the movement's growth. Bates drew "western" converts in
abundance, profoundly changing the character of Shakerism by
increasing its geographic reach. He also helped shape the Shakers'
unique theology and hymnody through his many influential texts and
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