In 1862 George Jones Adams and his "loud-voiced" wife arrived in the coastal town of Jonesport, Maine.
Some twelve hundred people lived in Jonesport and most of the men were farmers, fishermen or seafarers.
Life was drab and uninteresting and Adams was telling anyone who would listen, that they could help speed the messiah’s return, by helping to develop the Holy Land.
He told the settlers that they would settle on a three million-acre grant of land he had acquired, where they would build a model farm. His new followers were selling their properties and turning the proceeds over to Adams.
In August 1866 George J. Adams led a group of 156 members of the Church of the Messiah to Jaffa.
They left Jonesport, Maine, on the clipper "Nellie Chapin" and arrived 42 days later as Jaffa colonists. They brought with them 22 sets of pre-fabricated Maine-made house parts, they hoped to construct.
They were heading east across the Atlantic to build the first neighborhood outside the walled city of Jaffa. But on arrival in Jaffa, the colonists discovered that Adams had not obtained a parcel of land. While Adams negotiated the purchase of a ten-acre tract near the city, 16 of the Mainers died and many others became seriously ill.
Once the land was secured, the colonists constructed a church and school from their stock of lumber, surrounding it with 17 "neat square cottages." Adams, for his part, ensconced himself in the best of the homes with most of the group’s supplies and all of their money.
Things quickly turned disastrous; the crops failed, supplies ran out. Most of the colonists were desperate to return home, and even published an open appeal "to philanthropy and common humanity" to help them return to Maine.
Some forty members went aboard a steamer heading for Egypt and came face-to-face with Mark Twain, who happened to be on the ship.
"They felt humiliated and unhappy. In such circumstances people do not like to talk.
The colony was a complete fiasco", wrote Mark Twain in The Innocents Abroad (chapter 57).
After three years of poverty and disease the American Colony was forced to sell the houses to the German Templars.
Christoph Hoffmann and Georg David Hardegg founded the Temple Society in 1861. This religious society has its roots in the Pietism within the Lutheran in the State of Württemberg.
In 1868 the Templers started to create settlements in Palestine.
First they purchased land that was far from the city of Haifa and set out to build the first planned agricultural community in the Holy Land. Hardegg stayed and established the community in Haifa, Hoffmann established the community one year later in Jaffa, who also built Sharona (today’s Kirya), and who enjoyed tremendous financial and agricultural success.
The Colony became a focus for Christian activity and one of the more well-known centers in the country for tourist services, like the "Thomas Cook" Travel Agency and the best hotels, such as the "Do Park Hotel", owned by Baron Ustinov (Grandfather of Peter Ustinov, the actor).
The hotel was renowned for its large, beautiful garden, where monkeys and parrots roamed free and in it an archeological museum. The impressive church and buildings (some of them restored) still stand in Hoffman Street.