Development of the Wisconsin Phalanx

Warren Chase was a committed Fourierite from Southport (Present-day Kenosha), Wisconsin. The thirty-year old was known for his intellect and integrity when he first started promoting the phalanx. He had also amassed a decent amount of wealth, which enabled him to travel the country and converse with a diverse group of individuals.

He spoke publicly on his concerns of local villages' ability to survive. Articles were printed in the Southort Telegraph, encouraging locals to join in the phalanx. Chase determined people would thrive the best living in a phalanx and shared his view with others from Southport. In 1843 he took further action alongside his associates. By the winter of 1843-1844 the concept stuck and six-hundred acres of land was acquired in Ripon, Wisconsin. A constitution was written and the Wisconsin Phalanx was founded in March 1844.

In May 1844, nineteen men traveled to Ripon behind teams of oxen and began laying the groundwork for what would be called the Wisconsin Phalanx, also known as the village of Ceresco. Sixty cattle accompanied the men on their journey.

They carried large tents that stood as homes for the first several months until shelters were built. They relied on hay for bedding and to patch holes in both tents and their unfinished shelters. These shelters were primarily built from local timber because the saw nearest saw mill was over twenty miles away.

Primary Sources

One of the first reports back to Southport from Ceresco. A brief message regarding the initial findings and construction of the phalanx.

 

July 8, 1844
Southport Telegraph
click image to see .pdf version

 

The following letter was issued by Phalanx President Warren B. Chase approximately three years after Ceresco was formed. It is his explanation on how it began and what occurred during its conception.

 

May 19, 1847
Fond du Lac Journal
click image to see .pdf version

 

 

Table of Contents

1. Development
2. Geography and Physical Description
3. Rules and Regulations
4. Labor
5. Women of Ceresco
6. Religion at the Phalanx
7. Demise of the Wisconsin Phalanx

Other Resources

Recommendations for Ceresco Research Questions and Projects

Annotated Bibliography