House Of David Virtual Tour  
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Benton Harbor, Michigan


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The Israelite House of David was established at Benton Harbor, Michigan, in 1903 by  Benjamin Purnell, a former roving preacher, and his wife Mary. In 1895, Purnell received a revelation that he was the "seventh messenger" described in the Book of Revelation. The previous six "angels" were Joanna Southcott, Richard Brothers, George Turner, William Shaw, John Wroe, and James Jezreel, all of England. As outlined in biblical scripture, the function of the seventh angel was to gather together the tribes of Israel prior to the second coming of Christ.

Incorporated under a religious charter, the Israelite House of David was a commonwealth with all possessions of members surrendered to Purnell who in turn provided for their support from a central fund which he administered. Most of the original members of the colony came from Indiana and Ohio, but this number increased dramatically following a trip to Australia in 1904-05 when Purnell appeared before the members of the previous messengerís followers, James Jezreel. During its heyday in the 1920s, the Benton Harbor colony numbered more than 900 members.

Activities of the colony included a farm, numerous commercial ventures including an amusement park, an open air tabernacle, a vegetarian restaurant, hotel, bands, crafts for sale in a gift shop, and a printing press. The colony was also remembered for its traveling baseball team with playersí trademark braided long hair and beards.

After Ben  Purnellís death the colony split in 1930 and the formation of a new colony, the Israelite House of David as Re-organized by Mary Purnell, later shortened to Maryís City of David, led by Purnellís widow Mary. The original colony which had earlier shortened its name to the House of David was led by Judge H. T. Dewhirst, the colonyís chief secretary. In 1966, membership in the House of David numbered under 100, though some operations continued, such as the miniature train locomotive.  



The above is an excerpt from

MICHIGAN HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS

BENTLEY HISTORICAL LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

ALLEN, D.C., COLLECTOR

House of David Collection, 1795-1980

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Many of the incredible accomplishments that came
 from the House of  David include the Waffle Cone,
 Automated Bowling Lanes, The Pepper Game. 
For extensive historical information please visit

Israelite House of David - Internet Presence

The House of David Baseball Team

The Pepper Game

Grand Scales Train History

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Brief History of The House Of David