MARY'S CITY of DAVID - The Israelite House of David as reorganized by Mary Purnell
The Mary's City of David website has won many internet awards!The Mary's City of David website has won many internet awards!

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City of David ... a National 'Historic District' ... click for information.The Mary's City of David website has won many internet awards!The Mary's City of David website has won many internet awards!

Israelite House of David
Church of the New Eve, Body of Christ
1902 at Fostoria, Ohio, Mary and Benjamin's last means of transportation during a 7 year sojourn on the road as itinerant preachers.

Founded at Fostoria, Ohio, 1902, by Mary & Benjamin Purnell;
relocated in 1903, by inspirational direction, to
Benton Harbor, Michigan;
reorganized by Mary Purnell, 1930, as today's:

Mary Purnell 1912, an accidental picture that became the emblem of her authority to govern the House of David after her husband's death in 1927.

Mary's City of David


AMERICA'S THIRD OLDEST CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

 

In the Spring of 1902, Mary and Benjamin Purnell had found a temporary home and resting place in Fostoria, Ohio, after 7 years on the road as itinerant preachers. Here they would found the nucleus of the Seventh Church at the Latter-Day, the Israelite House of David, Church of the New Eve, Body of Christ, and finish the printing of their 780 page manuscript, of 7 years in writing,

The Star of Bethlehem, The Living Roll of Life.

By inspiration, Mary Purnell was given the actual home base for the newborn church to be at Benton Harbor, Michigan. In the Spring of 1903, a small party of Charles Norris, John Schneider, Cora and Paul Mooney, Mary, Benjamin and Coy Purnell journeyed from Fostoria to Benton Harbor, arriving on Saint Patrick's Day. Silas Mooney had been sent ahead to procure properties for housing and open ground for raising food, and to meet with the heads of the local circle of believers, the Louis and Albert Baushke families and a party of nine in Benton Harbor. The Baushke family being prominent citizens and carriage makers by trade, built in their down town Benton Harbor factory, America's first automobile of their own design.

By 1910 the Star of Bethlehem was in its third edition, had circulated around the world to the churches/followers of the former six Israelite messengers, and had gathered into the fast growing Israelite House of David community over 700 people.Israelite House of David Co-Founders: Ben and Mary Purnell

Eden Springs Park was in its second extra ordinarily successful season on its way to become America's premiere pre-Disney, theme park; the House of David schools would provide education and recreational activities for its children that would soon develop into legendary barn storming base ball teams, "Jesus Boys", and traveling jazz bands that would catch the attention of America in sweeping nationwide vaudeville circuit tours throughout the 1920s. By the mid 1930s, and in spite of world wide economic depression, the Israelite House of David and its reorganization, Mary's City of David, would come to dominate southwestern Michigan's economy, tourism and agricultural industries.

Mary's City of David harvest crew, Rocky farm, September,1940.

As today's third oldest practicing Christian community in America, we welcome you to browse/study/enjoy your way through the pages of our rather unique and extraordinary record; you will find there are many facets and interests upon many levels within the pages. And should you want more information (as this format is only a brief), we welcome you to look at our literature selections at the end of our Gift shop page; contact us by mail, email or phone; and please visit our "Living History" experience of Mary's City of David Museum and Tours (open June through the end of September each year) for an in depth look at the innumerable details of 100 years in progress with roots back to post-Elizabethan England, and Jane Lead's Philadelphian Society.

Within this history you will see that the Israelite House of David and its reorganization, Mary's City of David, over the century, has touched the lives of most of the local population, and also has had its significant effects upon American culture.
 

  • We played in the first night baseball game in history at Independence, KS, April, 1930
     

  • Our ladies could VOTE and hold office in 1903, 17 years before the 19th Amendment.
     
  • One of our founding families was one of America's earliest automobile makers, 1894.
     
  • We promoted a vegetarian diet for healthy living in our restaurant and cafe from 1908-1975.
     
  • John Philip Sousa led our band in 1921 at San Francisco during our California/west coast tour.
     
  • We provided a Jewish summer haven (resort) for 35 years within our Christian community, 1930-1965.
     
  • We invented the automatic pin-set for bowling, 1909-10.
     
  • A 1929 Michigan State Supreme Court ruling in favor of the House of David reaffirmed freedom of religious practice and expression in America.
     
  • Jackie Mitchell, professional baseball's first female, pitched for us in 1933, and was our starting pitcher in our victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, in September of that year
     
  • Walt Disney bought one of our original 1909 miniature steam locomotives in the early 1950s.
     
  • Our hospital, for its short history, boasted of  having the leading surgical theatre in America (1938-39).
     
  • Produce from our numerous agricultural properties made the open-air market in Benton Harbor, the largest in the world during the 1940s-1950s.
     
  • Our final basketball tour of 1954 was an exhibition series throughout Europe against the Harlem Globetrotters.
     
  • We invented the sugar waffle-cone for ice cream.

1927 House of David traveling `all-stars` team.1927 House of David traveling `all-stars` team. 

The 1894 Baushke automobile, built in downtown Benton Harbor as an experimental investment idea, that if successful, would lead to grandiose plans of manufacturing at Benton Harbor.The 1894 Baushke automobile, built in downtown Benton Harbor as an experimental investment idea, that if successful, would lead to grandiose plans of manufacturing at Benton Harbor. 

Traveling concert jazz band, the Syncopep Serenaders, mid-1920s. They toured America in their own railway passenger car playing and promoting the new rage of jazz across the continent. Advertised as the `Sheiks of syncopation`, they became nation wide headliners for most of the 1920s.Traveling concert jazz band, the Syncopep Serenaders, mid-1920s. They toured America in their own railway passenger car playing and promoting the new rage of jazz across the continent. Advertised as the `Sheiks of syncopation`, they became nation wide headliners for most of the 1920s. 

News clipping that heralded the final and crucial religious rights victory at Lansing, not only for the House of David, but for the principles upon which the American constitution was written.News clipping that heralded the final and crucial religious rights victory at Lansing, not only for the House of David, but for the principles upon which the American constitution was written. 

1909 miniature steam locomotive and carriages of the M&B Railroad. Steam engines were built at the House of David, and the carriages by the Baushke family.1909 miniature steam locomotive and carriages of the M&B Railroad. Steam engines were built at the House of David, and the carriages by the Baushke family. 

Advertising poster for the week of May 10th,1954, in London, as George Anderson's House of David basketball team played exhibitions across Europe in their last major touring season.Advertising poster for the week of May 10th, 1954, in London, as George Anderson's House of David basketball team played exhibitions across Europe in their last major touring season. 

Historical Society of Michigan
Historical
Society of
Michigan

Berrien County Historical Association
Berrien Co
Historical
Association

Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council
Southwest
Michigan
Tourist Council

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