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During one of the most tumultuous decades in the history of Switzerland, a small group of Vaudois republicans chose to secure their children’s familial, cultural and spiritual patrimony by relocating to the New World. In April 1800, at Le Chenit in the Vallée de Joux, five families framed a compact intended to organize a communal settlement in the Northwest Territory. Recently discovered, their pact is presented here in its original French and in English translation, along with an accompanying letter; additionally, another letter and an English translation of the compact as prepared by Jean Jaques Dufour in 1801 is supplied. Dufour is considered to be a founding father of American viticulture, and the Swiss settlers at Vevay, Indiana the first to succeed as commercial winemakers in the territorial United States. Scholars with an interest in founding documents, early American communes, early American commercial enterprises, the processes of cultural assimilation, and Swiss history in the Napoleonic era are among those who may find these documents especially intriguing.

Jean Jaques Dufour; John James Dufour; Daniel Dufour; Jaques Daniel Golay; Philippe Berney; Joseph Meylan; Jean Pierre Daniel Borralley; Francois Louis Siebenthal; Jean Francois Bettens; Jean Daniel Morerod; Switzerland County; New Switzerland; Vaud; Swiss colony; Vevay, Indiana; First Vineyard; Kentucky Vineyard Society; Compact; Founding document; 18th century viticulture; Northwest Territory settlements; 18th century communal settlements

doi 10.32873/unl.dc.zea.1074


isbn 978-1-60962-149-0

Publication Date



Zea Books




Dufour, Jean Jaques, Dufour, John James, Switzerland County, Indiana, Vaud, late 18th-early 19th century, Compact, Founding document, Dufour, Daniel, Golay, Jaques Daniel, Berney, Philippe, Meylan, Joseph, Borralley, Jean Pierre Daniel, Siebenthal, Francois Louis, Bettens, Jean Francois Philippe, Morerod, Jean Daniel, Kentucky Vineyard Society, First Vineyard, Kentucky, New Switzerland, Vevay, Indiana, Northwest Territory, Swiss colony, Communes, early American, Communal enterprises, Viticulture, early American


American Material Culture | American Studies | European History | European Languages and Societies | History | Other American Studies | United States History


Copyright © 2019 Ellen Stepleton.

Envisioning New Switzerland: A Founding Document for the Swiss Colonists at Vevay, Indiana