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The school houselocated in the Harmonia Village. The building became the “Automatic Rifle School” for Camp Custer.As a village, commune and school, Harmonia was short-lived – 1852 to 1862. The Battle Creek Weekly Journal (August 27, 1852) had this announce- ment:The proprietors and friends of Bed- ford Institute, having secured the ser- vices of competent teachers ...invite at- tention to their institute. It is situated five miles west of Battle Creek on a beautiful plain, free from unhealthful causes and the contaminating influences...The most famous resident was Sojourn- er Truth who bought land there in 1857. She had a one story home with her chil- dren and grandchildren. It was her base for travel and lecture, especially into Indiana. In 1867 she moved into Battle Creek.The school went bankrupt and much of the village was destroyed by a tornado on August 4, 1862. Timber from houses in Harmonia was found five miles away. The Quakers moved on and people from Pennsylvania moved into the area, estab- lishing a predominately Methodist com- munity.These farms are long gone, absorbed by the construction of Camp Custer and the expansion of Fort Custer. Today the main structure of note on Harmonia Road is the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks - Lodge No. 131 (see their web site for further information https:// This lodge held an open house in August of 1985 as a new home replacing the one at State and McCamly.I am indebted to local historian Fran- ces Thornton for her detailed account of Harmonia. It has a more complicated history than I can provide here especial- ly the connections between the Quakers and the Spiritualism. I invite you to readThornton’s detailed article published inHeritage Battle Creek Journal of Lo- cal History (Spring 1993 Volume 4). It can also be found on the web site of the Historical Society of Battle Creek: See DIRECTORS & PRENEED ADVISORSToServe You Better105 Capital Ave., NE • 269-962-5527 • www.farleyestesdowdle.comCHARLIE JOHNSONROSS SCHIMMELJOHN DOWDLEJON BARNESANDY EMERSONBATTLE CREEK | AUGUSTA | RICHLANDMEN IN BUSINESS I SCENE 4401 25

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