SOCIALIST MOVE TO YELLOW CREEK
During the early thirties when my dad was a boy playing in and around Ruskin cave it was common for him and the other boys to find printers type among the rocks and flint arrows they would collect.
The Ruskinites were led by J.A. Wayland in 1894. The community of Dickson had a population of 18,000 people and of them, very few knew much about the writings of Marx, Fourier or RUSKIN. There was suspicion of this group that came in and bought a 1000 acres surrounding the large cave and spring within. Wayland was described by a Marxian historian as “the greatest propagandist of Socialism that has ever lived.” he was born in Indiana in 1854 his father died when he was a toddler and his mother was destitute. At a young age he apprenticed to a publisher. While there he was eager to learn all about printing that was available to him. In time he became an Editor and at the age of 19 he became a partner in a printing business. By the time he was at 39 he was financially comfortable because of his investments in real estate and printing. He became closely tied to the Republican Party during the administration of Rutherford B. Hayes and was rewarded with a Postmastership. However he was happiest when he was writing and editing. His writings often got him in trouble and required him moving often. In Colorado in the 1890s he converted to Socialism. He was completely involved in the Populist campaign of 1892 and published a paper “The Coming Crisis”. Just prior to the Great Depression he wrote the first issue of “The Coming Nation”. This text made him know throughout the country as a “grass roots socialist”. The paper had a subscription of 14,000 within 6 months of the initial publication. Not being well received in Greensburg Indiana Wayland sent a frontman to Dickson county to scout appropriate property for him to move his operations. By July 21, 1894 he announced that the next issue would be published in Tennessee City, Tennessee.
As his assets accumulated his dreams became fired! The times were shakey…fears for the economy was troubling most Americans. Waylands’ dream of a colony began to take form.. he offered anyone that brought him two hundred subscriptions or $200.00 cash and of good moral character you would become a charter member of the colony. The subscription list grew rapidly. When capitalist tried to run an ad in his paper he loudly pronounced he was not interested in enriching himself at the expense of others while so many of his brothers were impoverished and hungry. This fed the colonies interest -the hope for a Utopia…a one of all and all for one mentality.
Originally he purchased property near Tennessee City. He was not pleased with the quality of the land but, because it was not near an industrial center chose to give it a try. During all of this time the presses rolled. He continued to point out the flaws in the capitalistic government that ruled this country. He uses every available tact to gain an edge for his philosophy. As time passed he recommended the reading and study of John Ruskin, the English socialist.