Henry Edger

Henry EdgerHenry Edger was born in England at Chelwood Gate on January 22, 1820. He was one of the ten disciples of Auguste Comte, a French philosopher who developed the theory of Positivism. At first Edger studied law in London and married Millicent Hobson in 1843. Although he was raised a Protestant he renounced Christianity and started following the principles of Communism. He left England and moved with his family to New York City on April 10, 1851. With in a month’s time he went to visit Modern Times and returned several time before deciding to move to Modern Times in the spring of 1854. Between 1851 to 1854 he became interested in Comte’s theory of Positivism. His reason for moving to Modern Times was to spread Positivist Philosophy. Positivism relies on scientific method to determine what is real. Edger wrote to Comte from 1854 to 1857 sixteen letters where he described Modern Times. Sometime during this period Edger started the Positivist society in Modern Times. It was Comte who suggested to Edger that he could convert Modern Times into a center for Positivism. During that time Warren viewed Edger and his beliefs as an intrusion on his community because Warren’s beliefs were opposite of Edger’s. Edger had five children from his first wife, one had perished before they moved to Modern Times. The family moved into a small shack which was in need of a lot of repair. Then they moved into a new two room log cabin. As the family grew they enlarge the cabin and built an Oratory where John Metcalf was married according to the Positivism ritual. The Oratory was used as a chapel by Edger and other Positivists. During Edger’s stay in Modern Times he wrote, published, and distributed three major documents on Positivism. Edger only converted a few residents of Modern Times to Positivism. His first wife who was living with her son in Utica was admitted to the New York State Lunatic Asylum on November 18, 1866. She was released from the hospital on September 20, 1868. She died approximately four years later and was buried on the Edger property in Brentwood. Later her casket was removed and buried in the Brentwood Cemetery. In 1880 Edger left Brentwood and moved to Paris with his second wife and family. He died at the age of 68 in April 1888. M. Koferl -- Local History Newsletter -- June 2008 Positive Community of Modern Times

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