Ann Lee was the first leader of the SHAKERS in America. Lee was born in Manchester, England, in 1736. She was an illiterate cotton millworker and a cook. After marrying, Lee had four children, all of whom died at an early age. Around 1758 she joined the Shakers, a small sect of former Quakers in England. Lee embraced celibacy, had religious visions, and experienced “awakenings” that led her to bring the first group of Shakers to America in 1774.