I first ran across a mention of the Friendship Community in the History of Dallas County several years ago. The entry said that the community was established in 1872 by Alcander Longley, publisher of a communist newspaper dedicated to social reform; that members of the community shared everything equally and lived together as one family; that they were left alone to do as they pleased; but that they disbanded in the 1880s as members became disillusioned.
All of this is largely true. The Friendship Community, located about four miles due west of Buffalo on Lindley Creek, was, in fact, a communist community, one of several started by Longley throughout the state of Missouri during the late 1800s. Longley did not view communism in political terms and was not an admirer of Karl Marx. Rather he was an advocate of what he called "practical communism" and urged people to live together in shared communities.
However, the county history entry is not entirely true. In the first place, the community had completely disbanded by the summer of 1877. Also, one of the main factors contributing to the exodus of members was threats and intimidation from Dallas County neighbors. Although Longley was an advocate of monogamous marriage, the common perception around Buffalo was that the community practiced polygamy and free love. Longley received anonymous, threatening letters telling him to quit advocating such "doctern," and the community was victimized by vandalism on a couple of occasions.
Later Longley formed a similar community just east of Halfway in Polk County called Principia, but it was even shorter lived than the Friendship Community.