Initial Universalist Services in Atlanta

The table below contains a chronology of early Universalist services held in Atlanta.  The data in the table was obtained by reviewing church and other notices in contemporary Atlanta newspapers.

 

Date Service Description
Jul 19, 1879 From proceeding of General Assembly: Mr. Duggar, of Fannin – A resolution to gran the use of the hall on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights to Rev. W.C. Bowman, of North Carolina, for a series of free lectures.  Agreed to.
Jul 20, 1879 The Churches To-day column:  Rev. W.C. Bowman, Universalist, of North Carolina, will preach at 11am and 8pm in the hall of representatives capitol building. Music under the direction of Charles A. Capwell.

No other references to Universalists or Rev. W.C. Bowman in the Atlanta papers until September 1879

Sep 7, 1879 Rev. W.C. Bowman, universalist, will preach to-day at 11 a.m. at the Georgia Academy of Science, on Mitchell street between Whitehall and Broad. Subject in the morning: “What must I do to be saved?” Acts xvi:30. Sunday-school at 3 p.m. The public are cordially invited to attended.
Sep 21, 1979 Georgia Academy of Science, hall No. 9 Mitchell street – Preaching at 11 a.m. by Rev. W.C. Bowman. Subject: “The End of the World.” Text: Matthew xiii.  At night a practical discourse from the 12th chapter of Romans. The public are cordially invited.
Oct 19, 1879 Georgia Academy of Science, hall No. 9 Mitchell street – Rev. W.C. Bowman, Universalist, will deliver a discourse at 11 a.m. on “The Devil.” At 7:30 p.m.: “Why Men Continue to Sin.” Text – Eccl viii:11. Seats free.
Oct 26, 1879 Georgia Academy of Science, hall No. 9 Mitchell street – Rev. W.C. Bowman, Universalist, will deliver a discourse at 11 a.m. on “What is Truth.” At 7:30 p.m.: “The Truth Tested.” Seats free.
Nov 2, 1879 Georgia Academy of Science, hall No. 9 Mitchell street – Rev. W.C. Bowman, Universalist, will deliver a discourse at 11 a.m. on “Rational Evidence.” At 7:30 p.m.: “Goodness of God.” Seats free.
Dec 14, 1897 Universalist, hall No 9. Mitchell street – W.C. Bowman, pastor. Preaching at 11 a.m. Text “The Church Assembly.”
Feb 15, 1880 Universalist, hall No 9. Mitchell street – W.C. Bowman, pastor. Preaching at 11 a.m. by Dr. Clayton. Topic: “Christ as Teacher of the Truth.” At night by the pastor. Topic: “Wisdom of God in the Bible.” Sunday-school at 9:30 a.m.
Mar 21, 1880 Universalist, hall No 9. Mitchell street – W.C. Bowman, pastor. Preaching at 11 a.m. – Topic: “What the Universalist Believe.” At night by the pastor. Topic: “Bible Proofs of Universal Salvation.” Sunday-school at 9:30 a.m.
Apr 4, 1880 Universalist, hall No 9. Mitchell street – W.C. Bowman, pastor. Preaching at 11 a.m. by the pastor – Topic: “Christ the Way, the Truth and the Life.” The Bible Doctrine of Rewards and Punishments.” Sunday-school at 9:30 a.m.
May 16, 1880 Universalist, hall No 9. Mitchell street – W.C. Bowman, pastor. Preaching at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. by the pastor.  Topic for morning sermon: “The Mission of Universalism.”  Night: “What Wisdom Is and Where to Get It.” Sunday-school at 9:30 a.m.
Jun 20, 1880 Universalist, hall No 9. Mitchell street – W.C. Bowman, pastor. Preaching at 11 a.m. by the pastor.  Topic: “Universalist View of Conversion.”  Dr. Clayton will preach at night. Subject announced at morning service. Sunday-school at 9:30 a.m.
Jul 24, 1880 That fine hall over the Orphan school, corner Forsyth and Walton streets, is being newly painted and elegantly fitted up to be used as a church by the Universalist. W.C. Bowman, pastor. Mr. M.A. Bell is canvassing the city for money to buy an organ for this church.
Aug 13, 1880 Go and hear Temperance Talk by Rev. D.B. Clayton, D.D., to-night at the Orphan Free School Hall, cor. Walton and Forsyth streets.
Sep 3, 1880 Rev. W.C. Bowman elected president of the State Prohibition Convention.
Oct 1, 1880 Published in the “Gossip” column: Dr. W.C. Bowman has been re-elected pastor of the Universalist church in the city.
Nov 2, 1880 Published in the “Personal Mention” column: Rev. Dr. Burrus, of Notasulga, Ala., editor of the Universalist Herald, preached two interesting sermons at Universalist hall Sunday.
Feb 13, 1881 All lovers of the good, the true and the beautiful will be refreshed and entertained by Rev. D.B. Clayton at Universalist hall, corner of Forsyth and Walton streets, this morning at 11 o’clock. Everyone welcome. Come!

 

In early 1881, the American Unitarian Association (A.U.A.) began efforts to establish a Unitarian presence in Atlanta.  We see examples pulpit sharing between Unitarians and Universalists in these early days that is consistence with the history of Universalists and Unitarians in Atlanta.

We also see at this time, Rev. W.C. Bowman’s  continuing spiritual evolution.  Rev. Bowman noted of his early life that he was a, “traveling Methodist preacher, and continued in the business fifteen years, meantime passing through the Civil War, serving a part of the time as a chaplain in the confederate army. I fully believed in the divine right of slavery and the justice, (the necessity even) of secession, for I had been so taught.”  Over time he evolved his spiritual beliefs declaring that he had become a Universalist.  His spiritual evolution was not complete. In the early 1880’s, we see his move to spiritualism.  The Universalist Hall becomes the Liberal and Spiritual church.  A formal Universalist presence begins to fade just as the time a formal Unitarian presence is beginning to appear.

Note that by March 27, 1881, the Rev. D.B. Clayton is noted as the pastor of the Universalist church.

Rev. Bowman leaves Atlanta in July 1883. At that time his church is referred to as the Spiritualism Society.

Date Service Description
 Mar 26, 1881 Rev. Heywood (Unitarian) preaches the Universalist Hall filling in for absent Universalist pastor. Moring topic “The Upward Path” a sermon on the life and character. Evening topic “The Adaptation of Liberal Christianity to Human Nature and Life”.  Heywood  “a pioneer among liberal Christians in the South…is now visiting Atlanta for the purpose of looking over the field and determining whether the prospects are sufficiently promising to encourage Unitarians to enter upon the permanent denominational work here.”
 Mar 27, 1881 Universalist Hall, corner Walton and Forsyth streets – Rev. D.B. Clayton, pastor. Preaching at 11:00 a.m. and at 7:30 p.m., by the Rev. John H. Heywood, of Louisville. Subjects: “The Upward Path” and “Liberal Christianity.” Sunday school at 9:30 a.m. Seats free.
Apr 17, 1881 Universalist Hall, corner Walton and Forsyth streets – Rev. D.B. Clayton, pastor. Preaching at 11:00 a.m. and at 8:0 p.m. by the pastor.  Sunday school at 9:30 a.m. Seats free.

 Begin seeing notices for the Liberal and Spiritual Church, Rev. Bowman, pastor as well as preaching by Rev. Clayton at separate locations.

 

 Oct 9, 1881 The Church Notices column: Liberal and Spiritual church, corner of Walton and Forsyth streets – Rev. W.C. Bowman, pastor. Lecture at 7:30 p.m. by Rev. W.C. Bowman.
 Oct 23, 1881 The Church Notices column: Liberal and Spiritual church, corner of Walton and Forsyth streets – Rev. W.C. Bowman, pastor. Lecture at 7:30 p.m. by Rev. W.C. Bowman.
 Jan 15, 1882 The Church Notices column: Liberal and Spiritual church, corner of Walton and Forsyth streets – Rev. W.C. Bowman, pastor. Services at 11 a.m. and  7:30 p.m.
 Jan 22, 1882 The Church Notices column: Liberal and Spiritual church, corner of Walton and Forsyth streets – Rev. W.C. Bowman, pastor. Services at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
 Feb 19, 1882 The Church Notices column: Liberal and Spiritual church, corner of Walton and Forsyth streets – Rev. W.C. Bowman, pastor. Services at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
 May 8, 1882 Temperance hall, 9 ½ Mitchell street – Preaching by Rev. D.B. Clayton, Universalist, at 11 a.m.  and 8 p.m.
 May 14, 1882 Liberal and Spiritual church – Regular services at the hall, corner of Whitehall and Peters streets.  Children’s Progress Lyceum at 10 a.m. Experience meeting 11 a.m. Rev. W.J. Ellis at 8 p.m. You are cordially invited to meet with us.
 May 28, 1882 Liberal and Spiritual church – Regular services at the hall, corner of Whitehall and Peters streets.  Children’s Progress Lyceum at 10 a.m. Experience meeting 11 a.m. Rev. W.J. Ellis at 8 p.m. You are cordially invited to meet with us.
 Jun 2, 1882 Temperance hall, 9 ½ Mitchell street – Preaching by Rev. D.B. Clayton, Universalist, at 11 a.m.  and 8 p.m.
 Jun 4, 1882 Liberal and Spiritual church – Regular services at the hall, corner of Whitehall and Peters streets.  Children’s Progress Lyceum at 10 a.m. Experience meeting 11 a.m. Rev. W.J. Ellis at 8 p.m. You are cordially invited to meet with us.
 Jun 11, 1882 Temperance hall, 9 ½ Mitchell street – Preaching by Rev. D.B. Clayton, Universalist, at 11 a.m.  and 8 p.m.
 Aug 13, 1882 Liberal and Spiritual church, corner Peters and Whitehall street. Children’s Progressive Lyceum meets at 10 a.m. Lecture by Mrs. Van Duzee at 11 am and Dr. W.C. Bowman at 8 p.m.
 Sep 3, 1882 Liberal and Spiritual church, corner Peters and Whitehall street.  Lecture by Mrs. Van Duzee at 11 am and Dr. W.C. Bowman at 8 p.m.  Public cordially invited.
 Sep 24, 1882 Liberal and Spiritual church, corner Peters and Whitehall street. Children’s Progressive Lyceum meets at 10 a.m. Lecture by Mrs. Van Duzee at 11 am and Dr. W.C. Bowman at 8 p.m. Seats free. Public invited.
 Oct 15, 1882 Liberal and Spiritual Church. Meets in Liberal Hall, No 140 Whitehall street. Children’s Progressive Lyceum at 10 a.m. Lectures at 11 a.m. and 7:45 p.m. by Mrs. Carrie C. Duzee and Dr. W.C. Bowman.
Oct 27, 1882 In the City News column: Mr. W.C. Bowman, who for several months had had supervision of the letter carriers of the Atlanta post-office, had tendered his resignation to take effect on the 1st of November. It is said that the vacancy will probably be filled by appointment of Mr. Seifert of Macon.  Dr. Bowman will devote his time to lecturing in the Universalist hall and editing “Light for Thinkers.”
Oct 29, 1882 Liberal and Spiritual Church. Meets in Liberal Hall, No 140 Whitehall street. Children’s Progressive Lyceum at 10 a.m. Lectures at 11 a.m. and 7:45 p.m. by Mrs. Carrie C. Duzee and Dr. W.C. Bowman.
Nov 5, 1882 Liberal and Spiritual Church. Meets in Liberal Hall, No 140 Whitehall street. Children’s Progressive Lyceum at 10 a.m. Lectures at 11 a.m. and 7:45 p.m. by Mrs. Carrie C. Duzee and Dr. W.C. Bowman.
Jul 8, 1883 In the Church Services column: Spiritualism.  Spiritualism Society – Liberal hall corner Whitehall and Peters street. Lecture Sunday July 8th at 8 p.m. by Rev. W.C. Bowman. A farewell service previous to his removal to Cincinnati. Public invited.
Jul 15, 1883 In the Church Services column: Spiritualism. Light for Thinkers Hall, corner Whitehall and Peters street. Lecture on “Organization” by G.W. Kates Sunday night at 8 p.m. Public invited.  Archivist Note: No further tracking of Spiritualist included in the Digital Archive.
Sep 9, 1883 Universalist. Universalist services – Rev. D.B. Clayton at the dwelling house of J.J. Pillsbury, corner of Chatham and Thomas streets one square south of the cemetery.  Services at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. All who are not afraid of the truth are cordially invited to come out and hear it.

 

After this September 1883 notice in the Atlanta papers, there is limited reference to the Universalists until October 28, 1893 when a notice appears in the Constitution announcing that the Rev. Q.H. Shinn, Universalist, will hold a meeting in the Second Baptist tabernacle on Mitchell Street.

Posted in Newspaper Article, Universalist Church of Atlanta

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