The Shakers were a religious group that fled to the American colonies in 1774 to escape persecution in England, and to establish a utopian society. The group’s leader was Ann Lee.
In 1774, a small group of English Shakers led by Mother Ann Lee arrived in New York City. Two years later, they settled in Albany County in an area known (by local Indians) as Niskayuna, called Watervliet by the descendants of the Dutch settlers and now known as the Town of Colonie. The group was known as the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing. They were commonly referred to as “Shakers,” a name the group itself also used.