FARM COLONIES OF THE SALVATION ARMY. BY COMMANDER BOOTH TUCKER.
The farm colonies of the Salvation Army in the United States were first organized in the spring of 1898 for the purpose of enabling stranded but worthy families to keep together and ultimately, by their own exertions and payments, to become home owners. Experience has shown that, while it is comparatively easy to take care of the unmarried poor in the cities, and to find sufficiently remunerative work for them there, the case is different with the family.
In case of sickness or loss of work the position of the women and children is especially distressing. Rent has to be paid, hungry mouths have to be fed, clothing must be provided, and the numerous requirements of a growing family must be met.
It is stated that in London 3,000 families consisting of 9 persons each, 7,000 of 8, and 23,000 of 6 or 7, live huddled together in dwellings of but one room. The furniture ordinarily consists of one bed, and as many as can do so get into it, while the others sleep under it, that being the next warmest place.
While conditions are not at present so bad in American cities, they are rapidly trending in the same direction. Hence the colonies of the Salvation Army were specially organized for the purpose of relieving city congestion and of preventing families from being broken up, the theory of redemption being thus formulated: “Place the waste labor on the waste land by means of the waste capital and thereby convert the trinity of waste into a unity of production;” or, as it has been tersely put by one of our great writers and thinkers, “The landless man to the manless land.”
In the United States the experiment now comprises the following three colonies: (1) Fort Amity, in Colorado, in the fertile valley of the River Arkansas; (2) FortRomie, in California, not far from the famous Hotel del Monte, near the Bay of Monterey; (3) FortHerrick, in Ohio, about 20 miles from the city of Cleveland.