Ohio Central Christian Conference ledger, 1829-1896.
"The Christians came into existence as a separate and distinct organization with the avowed purpose of seeking to unite all the true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, of every persuasion, by breaking down party spirit and sectarian feeling, and in fusing into the hearts and minds of all lovers of the common Saviour, a more liberal spirit, and inducing them to pursue a more liberal practice." —Annual of the Christian Church for 1872, vol. II, edited by Rev. W. B. Wellons 1873 p.3
The Christian denomination began in the late 18th century. The Herald of Gospel Liberty newspaper helped the disparate sections of the denomination together. In 1931, the Christians and Congregationalists merged to form one denomination, which is now half of the current United Church of Christ.
The Ohio Central Christian Conference formed in 1829. Its first president was Jacob Rabb and first secretary Isaac N. Walter. At that time, they called themselves the Sunsbury Christian Conference, owing to the first meeting's proximity to the town of that name. The following year, they changed the name to Ohio Central. The Conference continued on, past when this ledger ended in 1896; the Congregational Library & Archives has copies of annual meeting proceedings through the mid-1920s.
Scope of Collection
The collection is one ledger book and runs consistently from 1829 through 1896. The book includes an introduction, list of ministers and events, officers, and conference session minutes. Within the sessions are minutes of the meetings and events; lists of churches, ministers, and delegates; and after 1889, statistical information for churches and Sunday schools; and ministers reports. The Articles of Incorporation are transcribed in 1893. A few loose certificates of good standing from 1847 and a letter from 1894 are sandwiched in the 1896 pages. A separate list of ministers is included on page 11. Isaac Walter uses the last page of the ledger to observe on the state of the Conference and his concerns about its well-being. He had that page sealed with a cautionary note that it should not be opened during his lifetime. It is unclear when the page was revealed. There is still evidence of sealing wax on the confessional page.
Related Materials held at the Congregational Library & Archives:
Proceedings of the Ohio Central Conference, 1900-1926, gaps (16.7.5 1003)
One ledger book, introduction and lists followed by recordings of sessions.
Note: There are several blank pages, but the final page of the ledger has a note written by Isaac Walter. It is as follows:
I do not wish this to be opened till after my decease then I want read in open Conference. If I ever leave the Conference I may recant it read before
[has several sealing wax blobs remaining on the verso]
The Christian denomination wants public spirit and enterprize and I am fearful never will advance much, beyond what it now is. Notwithstanding our last Conference posed a resolution to build a College. I am fearful it never will be finished even began. I hurt I may be mistaken. You will determine
Beware of Coveteousness for I have discovered more of this sin in the Christian Church than an other
Beware of those men who always slandering their brethren in the Ministry and trying to rise on the downfall of others
Beware of those men who will never do any thing for the cause of Christ unless they are the leaders and at the head .
Beware of Campbellism, when ever a man begins to try to every form first just let him go for he will be a curse of you keep him. From such turn away
Two men belonging to the Christian Church I am fearful will yet cause trouble to the body
Brethren, live prayerful, holy and godly lives do good and get good, that you might be prepared to meet me in heaven.
December 10th 1841
Yours in Christian Love
Isaac N. Walter