Lloyd Dalager joined the colony in 1914 at age 5. He remained a member until he died this August just before his 99th birthday. He played catcher.
“We got along with all of them. And we won more than we lost,” said Dalager in an interview taped in his room in the Shiloh house before his death.
In fact in ‘34, the House of David played and beat the St. Louis Cardinals just after the Cards won the World Series. And the team also made history by touring with the Negro League.
The African-American players enjoyed the rivalry and referred to the House of David team as the "Jesus Boys."
Estimates show the colony amassed at least a $10 million fortune and by 1916 had 1,000 members, running more than 40 businesses.
“The most fascinating thing was its success,” says Myers who wrote a book titled, "Millennial Visions and Earthly Pursuits: The Israelite House of David.
The colony owned hotels, a bakery, ships, a bus line, large farms and dairy operations, oil wells, diamond and gold mines, a car dealership, even a 500 acre lumber operation in northern Michigan known as High Island, and the list goes on and on and on.
But in the early 20’s, the House of David’s successes were clouded amid sexual scandals and money swindling accusations.
At least three women from the Girls Band later accused Purnell of rape.
WSBT Reporter Denise Bohn read through a stack of court documents dating back to 1923. The cases are housed in the Berrien County Archive Office in Benton Harbor. The ladies claim as teenagers Purnell fondled them and had sex with them as part of a religious rite known as "deflowering of virgins," or "blood cleansing."