Unitarians and Universalists of the Southeastern United States During the 19th Century by Earl Wallace Cory 1970

Unitarians and Universalists of the Southeastern United States During the 19th Century

Earl Wallace Cory

B.A. Degree from Linfield College, 1957
M.A. Degree from the University of Georgia, 1961

A Dissertation Submitted to Graduate Faculty of the University of Georgia in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Athens Georgia 1970


I wish to express my gratitude to all those who have helped me in my search for information on my topic. I am particularly indebted to the staffs of the Libraries of the University of Alabama, Columbia Theological Seminary, Duke University, the University of Iowa, Meadville Seminary of the University of Chicago, the University of North Carolina, the University of South Carolina, Starr King School of Theology, Tufts University, Boston Public Library, and the Library of Congress. Particular gratitude is expressed to Mrs. J. C. Bowers of Canon, Georgia for the material she supplied and to Dr. Richard H. Shyrock of the American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia for his discussing with me the role of Richard Arnold. Particular thanks is extended to the staff of the University of Georgia Library and to Mrs. Susan B. Tate and Mr. John Bonner who have taken so much time and shown so much interest, in searching out materials. I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to the faculty of the History Department at the University of Georgia and to Professor Horace Montgomery under whom I have written this dissertation. His patience, understanding, and encouragement will always be remembered.



Chapter I. Early Churches

Chapter II. Personalities

Chapter III. Unitarians and Universalist Beliefs

Chapter IV. Church Activities

Chapter V. Confronting Society

Chapter VI. Concluding Observations


Chapter I. Early Churches

The widespread dominance of conservative religion in the life of the southeastern United States might tempt one to assume that liberalism never emerged. Those familiar with the history of the South recognize that during the age of Jefferson there did exist a vital liberal religious voice in the South. Recognizing that denominational labelings do not tell the entire story, we could expect to find examples of liberal theology even among those technically tied to the more conservative denominations. But in order to tell at least part of the story of liberal religion in the Southeast, it is necessary to look at the Unitarians and the Universalists of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida during the nineteenth century.

These two denominations did not effect a merger until 1960. During the nineteenth century they were two distinct entities but they are treated together in this survey because they both manifest liberal theology. Both groups had reacted against the orthodox creeds of traditional Christianity. Unitarians distinctive belief was a rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity while the Universalists stressed that all mankind would eventually achieve salvation and eternal bliss. Both denominations emphasized God’s mercy rather than His wrath and shared a conviction that man’s nature was not totally corrupt as orthodoxy taught. Both advocated the application of <start page 2> reason to the interpretation of the Bible. As the century advanced many Unitarians embraced the Universalist doctrine of ultimate salvation for all mankind and many Universalists followed the Unitarian view that Jesus was not God but reflected the nature of God. In this chapter a survey will be made of the communities and the areas where Unitarians and Universalists established churches during this period.

The oldest Unitarian church in the South has an interesting history. Many assume that Unitarianism in the South was the direct result of New England influences or immigration from that area. The establishing of Unitarianism in Charleston, South Carolina has parallels with the conversion of New England Congregational churches to Unitarian. The Charleston church that gave birth to the liberal doctrine had been known as Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Independent. Sometimes all these titles were used. This church was located on Meeting Street. In 1734 the strict Presbyterians withdrew, although those who were left continued to call ministers from both Congregational and Presbyterian denominations. [1] One of the ministers of this church was William Tennent, who was active with William Henry Drayton in attempts to arouse Loyalists against Great Britain in the Revolutionary Period. [2] In 1777 Tennent was a leader of the dissenters in their effort to disestablish the Church of England in South Carolina; [3] (start page 3) Tennent was the moving force in the erection of a second church building on Archdale Street and the time of its dedication is sometimes used as the founding date of what later became the Unitarian church. This building was nearly completed before the Revolution, but after the war the congregation used the older Meeting Street edifice until the Archdale building was dedicated in October, 1787.

The two buildings reflected a unique church arrangement. There was one corporate institution, with two equal and undivided parts, with two ministers who each delivered his sermon twice, once on Sunday morning in one building and second in the afternoon in the other. Neither pastor could consider the one edifice exclusively his own pulpit. This arrangement lasted about thirty years and then in 1814 and 1815 both churches got new pastors. One of these, Anthony Forster, underwent a period of theological turmoil. His wife was a daughter of Joseph Gales, Unitarian newspaper publisher of Raleigh, North Carolina and in order to convert his father-in-law from his heretical views, Forster commenced reading Unitarian books to disprove them. Instead his own views changed and he announced to his congregation that he could not sign the creeds and articles of the church he was called to pastor. These were based mainly on the Westminster Confession. Controversy in the joint congregation resulted. Forster resigned, but those who favored his stand were interested in retaining his services. A business session led to the breakup of the <start page 4> twin congregation, the Calvinists taking the Circular Church and the Unitarians the Archdale Church. [4] The Circular Church had been built in 1806 to replace the smaller Hooting House on Meeting Street. [5]

This split was finalized in 1817, and the Archdale group became the Second Independent or Congregational Church of Charleston. It assumed $10,000 of the mutual debt of the two congregations, agreed to pay $500 for a small building and some ground south of the Arch, dale Church, and relinquished claim to the original endowments. [6]

In 1819 Reverend Samuel Gilman came to the church from Massachusetts as an avowed Unitarian, [7] but it was not until 1839 that the church officially changed its title to “The Unitarian Church in Charleston”. [8]

Charleston had the only organized Unitarian church in South Carolina during the nineteenth century, although in 1894 a Unitarian group did hold regular meetings each Sunday in Greenville. The local opera house in Greenville was also used for some public Unitarian services conducted by Reverend George Chaney of Atlanta, Georgia. [9]

In 1826 Reverend Gilman of Charleston preached in Augusta, Georgia. A Unitarian church building for Augusta was dedicated on <start page 5> December 27, 1827. Stephen C. Bulfinch served as Augusta pastor from about 1830 until 1838 when he became the Unitarian minister in Washington, D.C. [10] Richard Arnold wrote in 1845 of the “strangulation” of the Unitarian work in Augusta. [11] J. Allen Penniman was listed in 1851 as serving both Augusta and Savannah. [12] The Unitarian yearbooks continued to list Augusta until 1856 but without a minister. [13]

In 1831 the Savannah, Georgia, Unitarian Society petitioned the city council for a lot to build a church. [14] During 1833 and 1834 religious services were held at the hall of the Unitarian Society, Court House Square, Savannah. These services were generally held both mornings and evenings and were conducted by Reverend Ezekiel Lysander Bascom and Reverend Bulfinch of Augusta. [15] <start page 6>

In 1833 the subscribers to a fund to build a church for the Unitarian Society held several meetings at the society’s hall in Court House Square, Savannah. [16] In February, 1833, the Unitarians petitioned the city council for permission to sell or exchange the lots that had been granted to the society. The petition was referred to a committee that was composed of four aldermen including Richard Arnold, a leading Unitarian. The petition was reported favorably and an ordinance was acted upon to allow the trustees of the Savannah Unitarian Association to sell the lots, provided that the funds be used to buy a lot or lots to be used for church construction. [17] May 7, 1833 was the day set for the auction of “Lots, No. 36 and 37, Brown Ward, containing each 60 feet square, bounded North by McDonough street, East by McIntosh st., South by Percy street & West by Chippewa square, the same being the Lots lately granted by the Hon. the City Council to the Unitarian Society.” [18]

The Unitarians advertised in May for bids to build a church seventy-two by forty-seven feet, requesting separate bids for brick and wood buildings. [19] <start page 7>

An editorial in the Savannah Georgian praised the new edifice which was in Ionic design. The acoustics were singled out for favorable comment. [20] The treasurer of the Savannah Unitarian Society invited the public and clergymen of all denominations to the dedication. The dedication of the new edifice was held on December 21, 1834 with Reverend Bascom, who had become the regular Savannah minister in October. [21]

In 1846 Dexter Clapp was the Savannah minister. Reverend Penniman succeeded him in 1848. [22] In 1851 Penniman served Augusta as well as Savannah. After the Civil War the church in Savannah was not listed in the national register, but from 1868 to 1873 Charles Andrews Farley, a Unitarian minister ordained in 1837, was living in that city and preached occasionally. [23] <start page 8>

In early 1882 steps were taken to organize a Unitarian church In Atlanta. A local survey had indicated that there were only three Unitarian families and one man whose parents had had Unitarian ties. The Reverend George L. Chaney was the organizing force. The first service was held in the old Kimball House with Mrs. W. S. Morrill and Miss E. E. Collidge the only persons attending. The second service was held at a house on Ivy Street near Peachtree. Mr. and Mrs. J. Russell Hodge and their young sister attended this second meeting and swelled the attendance to five.

The first public service was held in the Senate Chamber of the old State House. Seventy persons attended, and about a dozen of these eventually joined the church. Governor Alfred H. Colquitt permitted the use of that site for two Sundays. Thereafter services were held at 4:00 P. M. on Sundays, for six months, upstairs in Concordia Hall. [24]

In the fall of 1882 Reverend Chaney returned to Atlanta, and during that winter services were held in the U. S. District Court Room. In the spring of 1883 the first Unitarian church in Atlanta was organized in an upper room of the old Kimball House. [25] Ten people were present. They signed the constitution and the new church was duly formed. The group bought property at the corner of North Forsyth and Church Street for $7,000. There was a private school house on the property and this was used for the Sunday service. A <start page 9> chapel was built on the land and was in use by 1884 and on April 23 of that year the edifice was dedicated debt free. [26] Thus during the century three Unitarian churches were established in the state of Georgia.

In Alabama, the first and only Unitarian church during the nineteenth century was established in Mobile. It may well have been inspired by a visit of James Freeman Clarke to that city in December, 1835. At that time Clarke was the minister of the Louisville, Kentucky Unitarian Church. [27] In 1837 the Mobile congregation was in its new building. [28] During the 1840’s the Mobile church was apparently conducted by lay leadership. In 1850-1851 Samuel Larnard was the pastor; he appears to have been the last regular minister at this church. [29] Its listing in the denominational register was dropped after 1856. [30] Though Mobile was without an organized church; Frederick G. Bromberg of that city was Vice-President of the Southern Conference of the Unitarians in 1891. [31]

After the Civil War Florida attracted numerous Unitarian ministers, who were usually without pastoral responsibilities associating them with a given congregation. The influence they exerted for the cause <start page 10> of denomination in the area in which they resided cannot be determined. Records show that there were five Unitarian ministers living in Florida during this period, [32] including Jonathan Christopher Gibson. He was ordained in 1870 and was in Mt. Pleasant, Florida in 1891. [33] In 1894 he was located at Edwards, Florida preaching and holding meetings at Pine Grove, Rock Bluff, Alligator, Bristol, and Mt. Pleasant in the western section of Florida. [34] Gibson observed in 1894: “But few are enrolling their names yet the general interest is deepening.“ [35] In the same year he reported to the Southern Unitarian Conference meeting in Atlanta that he preached nearly every Sunday and on other days as well. He traveled on <start page 11> horseback, by buggy, on foot, and sometimes by steamboat and railroad and generally ranged from Decatur County, Georgia to Apalachicola and Carrabelle on the Gulf Coast. [36]

In 1895 Gibson reported two Unitarian societies in his district, one with nineteen members and one with thirty-five. He also referred to a ministerial recruit who would probably attend the denomination’s Meadville Theological Seminary at Meadville, Pennsylvania. [37] In 1898 the report from Gibson disclosed meetings held at Bristol, Rock Bluff, Faceville, Blue Springs, and Quincy. [38] Ministers such as Gibson introduced the Unitarian faith in Florida; the establishing of churches in that state would come later.

Unlike Unitarians, Universalists, with few exceptions, located their churches in the rural areas in the Southeast. While the denomination never became firmly entrenched in Charleston, South Carolina, the First Universalist Society of that city did draft a constitution rural areas in 1836. [39] The site of the first Universalist Church in Charleston was at the corner of Anson and Laurens streets. [40] Very little information <start page 12> on this congregation has been found. Reference was made in 1848 of the move to Charleston of Reverend. I. D. Williamson; neither his activities nor those of the church have been determined and by 1858 the church edifice had been sold. [41]

Most of the Universalist churches in South Carolina were clustered in the Piedmont area. The earliest Universalists in this region appear to have emerged from the Dunkers, a German pietistic sect. This sect spread the doctrinal viewpoints, later held by the Universalists, in rural South Carolina. [42] Andrew Feaster, Sr., a Swiss immigrant form the Canton of Berne who had settled in Pennsylvania, moved to South Carolina during the latter part of the eighteenth century. [43] The Feasters were Dunkers who established a community that espoused Universalist views. The Feasterville Church seems to have been the oldest Universalist church in South Carolina. [44] <start page 13> It was located in Fairfield County, north of Columbia. Reverend Daniel B. Clayton helped to reorganize the Feasterville Church in 1871. [45] Two other early Universalist churches of the Piedmont were located in Fredonia and Huntsville. The 1842 South Carolina State Convention was held at the former church, which was located seven miles northwest of Newberry. The 1843 Convention was held at the Huntsville Church in Laurens County. This church was jointly owned by the Universalists and the Baptists. [46]

Another of the early Universalist churches, the Partlow Church near New Market in Abbeville County, had its origin about 1844 amidst unusual circumstances. When a wealthy man named Partlow died, his sons wanted the funeral service to be conducted by a Universalist minister that having been their father’s wish. One son was a Baptist and believed he could get permission to use that denomination’s church for the funeral. When his request was denied, the sons built their own church to fulfill their father’s request. Meanwhile the deceased was interred, and about four weeks later Universalist services were held in the new church. (In rural areas sometimes a few weeks, or even months, would intervene between interment and the funeral service.) The new church hosted the 1845 South Carolina Universalist State Convention. [47] In February, 1845 The <start page 14> Universalist Miscellany reported that a new Universalist meeting house had recently been dedicated in Abbeville District (County), South Carolina. [48] The meetinghouse referred to was doubtless the Partlow Church.

Throughout 1845 Reverend Clayton preached one Sunday a month at Partlow’s Church, one Sunday at Feasterville Church, one Sunday at Huntsville Church, and on the other Sundays of the month he alternated between the Fredonia and the Hartford churches. The Hartford Church was about seven miles southeast of Newberry. Thus, in 1845 the Universalists of South Carolina had four churches that were owned by their denomination and one whose ownership they shared with Baptists. [49]

That Universalist churches in South Carolina were ephemeral is suggested by the official report of 1873. It listed but two churches. One of them was at Feasterville where preaching was irregular; and the other was at Columbia. It was credited with twenty-two members. [50] The Columbia church had been organized in 1872. [51] In 1887 two churches were organized to the southwest of Newberry, one at Ninety Six and the other at Chapel’s with the <start page 15> former lasting only a short time and the latter for about a decade. [52]

In January, 1867, Universalist preaching took place in an abandoned cotton gin factory in a community known as Chapman’s Store in Edgefield County, South Carolina. A church was organized there with nineteen members, and they built a meeting house in 1888. [53] This congregation was known as Bethel Church. In November, 1888 Reverend E. C. L. Browne of the Charleston Unitarian Church was invited to participate in a four day meeting at Bethel Church. [54] It was a rarity for a Unitarian to participate in a Universalist gathering.

The Universalist Register for 1899 listed four Universalist churches in South Carolina, representing fifty-two families, with 153 members, and two church buildings with a combined value of $2,650. These four churches were at Columbia with twenty members, Feasterville with fifty-one members, Irving with seventy members, and Mountville with twelve members. C. C. Carson was listed as the pastor for all four churches of the state. [55] The Mountville congregation, organized <start page 16> in 1893, had dedicated an $800 wooden church in 1897. [56] Thus during the nineteenth century South Carolina had twelve Universalist Churches, eleven of them in the Piedmont to north and northwest of Columbia.

The Universalist churches of Georgia were spread along a path that crossed the state from Canon in the northeast to Americus in the southwest. At the centennial of organized Universalism in Georgia in 1938, Reverend Nellie Mann Opdale observed that extant state records dated from 1906. She called attention to the probability of itinerant preaching in the early period of the Universalist Church’s existence in Georgia. Though a church was organized in Macon in 1838, little is known about it. [57] At a place called Gordon, near Macon, there was a Universalist church by the end of the century.[58]

The Mulberry Church, later called the Rockwell Church, at Winder, was probably the first Universalist church in Georgia. Founded in 1838, it was reorganized a few years after the Civil War and continued as an active church throughout the century. [59] To the <start page 17> southeast of Winder, at Gratis, a parish with thirteen families was listed in 1899 as Consolation Church, but the parish was dormant at that time. [60]

The area near Americus in southwest Georgia had four Universalist churches. In 1846 William Coleman petitioned for the Georgia Universalist Convention to be held near Cuthbert, even though there was no church there. He felt that this would help the cause in southwestern Georgia. On his own land, and almost entirely at his own expense, Coleman built a frame church that cost about $500. The 1850 Georgia State Convention of Universalists was held in that church, which was located about six miles from Cuthbert, between that community and Lumpkin. [61] The 1858 Georgia State Convention was also held in southwestern Georgia, at the Plains of Dura Church in Sumter County. [62] In 1871 a church was established in Dooly County, apparently at Gum Creek where the records disclose regular preaching on the second Sunday of the month. [63] The fourth church in this area is listed in the denominational register in 1873 at Ellaville in Schley County. [64] <start page 18>

To the southwest of Atlanta there were five Universalist churches, Meriwether and Coweta counties having two each and Carroll County the other. One of the first congregations organized after the Civil War was the Universalist Alford Chapel in Meriwether County. It was formed in 1867. Two years later the second Universalist church in the area was organized. [65] It was named Old Harmony and was located between Senoia and Turin in Coweta County. [66] In 1870 a Universalist church was established at Woodbury, Meriwether County. Its wooden meetinghouse, valued at $300, was erected in 1860 and may have been purchased from another denomination. The other Universalist church of Coweta County was the Senoia Church which in 1873 shared a minister with the Old Harmony Church. [67] On March 20, 1897 the latter congregation moved into a new $1,800 wooden edifice. [68] The church in Carroll County was organized in 1881, no exact location being reported. [69]

Under the leadership of Reverend W. C. Bowman the Universalists unsuccessfully attempted to organize a church in Atlanta in 1879-1880. [70] <start page 19>

It was not until 1895 that a Universalist church was organized in Atlanta. Its twelve members held their first meeting at the Fulton County Court House. Reverend Quillen H. Shinn was an important figure in this achievement. [71] Services were conducted at various places in the city until 1900, when a church was built at 16 East Harris Street. [72]

Actually, Universalists were more numerous in the environs of Atlanta than in the city itself. In August, 1881, a two-day meeting of Universalists was held at the Pleasant Valley Church, which was about twenty-five miles from Atlanta. [73] This church had been organized in 1874. [74] New Hope Church, in Cobb County just north of Atlanta, had part-time services in 1899. [75] There were two other Universalist churches east of Atlanta. One was established at Ebenezer in Morgan County in 1872. [76] The other was the New Harmony Church at Windsor, <start page 20> built in 1837 at a cost of $500. [77] This congregation hosted the Georgia Universalist Convention that created the post of State Superintendent or State Missionary, a post to which Reverend Thomas Chapman was appointed. [78]

One of the strongest of the Universalist churches of Georgia was the Canon Church in the northeastern section of the state. In 1879 a new church was organized at West Bowersville (the name for Canon at that time) called the Church of Christ of West Bowersville. It was formed by members of the Poplar Springs and Old Canon churches that were known as Reform Baptist churches. Their differences with the main body of Missionary Baptists led them to form their own group. In 1886 this Baptist congregation installed Reverend Marion Cheek as minister. Dr. Q. H. Shinn, the Universalist missionary for the southern states, visited this church in 1888, and when the congregation heard the Universalist views they decided that the Church of Christ at Canon should become the Canon Universalist Church. [79] There were two other Universalist churches near Canon. To the southwest of Canon a church was organized in 1871 at Centre Hill. [80] To the south of Canon, the <start page 21> Universalists of Comer dedicated a $1,000 wooden church in September, 1898. [81]

Three Universalist churches were located in north central Georgia. The Salem Church in Cherokee County was established in the 1850’s. [82] The Walesca Church, in the same county, dedicated a $1,000 wooden church September 4, 1897. [83] Immediately to the northeast of Cherokee County, Universalists of Friendship, in Dawson County, erected a wooden meetinghouse in 1871. [84]

People in the extreme northwest corner of Georgia were not to be without Universalism. In 1860 a Universalist church in Walker County drafted a constitution and by-laws. [85] A Universalist church was listed in Floyd County from 1878 until 1883 although the exact location is unknown. [86]

There were also two Universalist churches in the extreme southern part of Georgia. A meeting house was built in 1858 in Lowndes County. [87] <start page 22>

In 1873 the denominational register listed a parish at Cairo in Thomas County. [88] Thus a total of twenty-eight Universalist churches existed in Georgia between 1838 and the end of the century. The Universalist Register for 1899 listed a total of eighteen churches in the state with an aggregate membership of 581 distributed among 293 families. There were twelve church edifices, and the total value of all property was estimated at $8,750 [89]

Much of the Universalist activity in Alabama was centered around two communities northwest of Columbus, Georgia. In 1846 a Universalist church was organized in Camp Hill, Alabama which was to become the largest Universalist church in the South. Another church was erected at Notasulga during the spring and summer of 1850. [90]

The nomadic quality of much of the Universalist preaching in the South can lead one to assume that a church was organized in a community when in actuality there were only occasional visits by a minister. Many times such services were held in homes or public buildings such as county courthouses. [91] The Universalist Herald of 1855 listed an appointment for preaching by a Reverend H. Lake of Gainesville, Alabama in Livingston on Wednesday evening June 6. Preaching by Lake was also scheduled in Rock Springs on the first <start page 23> Sunday in June, in Pineville on the second Sunday, and in McKinley on the third Sunday. [92] Gainesville end Livingston, both in Sumter County, were northwest of Montgomery near the Mississippi state line. Rock Springs, in Chambers County, was four miles north of Fredonia west of LaGrange, Georgia. Pineville, in Monroe County, was between Selma and the Mississippi state line. Except for Pineville, which was in the southern section of the state, these communities form a path across the central portion of the state.

In the northern parts of the state there were two Universalist churches near Huntsville. One of them was at Gunter[s]ville, in Marshall County. It was organized in 1870. The following year a church was established at Barren Ridge, in Madison County. [93]

Eight Universalist churches were located in the southern section of Alabama. Three of these churches erected new buildings in 1860. They were located at Andalusia, in Covington County; at Garland, in Butler County; and at Lewis Station, in Conecuh County. Ten years later churches were established at Abbeville, in Henry County and at Pollard, in Escambia County. [94] There was a church at Troy, in Pike County that had monthly services in 1875. [95] A $5,000 brick <start page 24> church was dedicated at Brewton on January 31, 1897. [96] The eighth church in this part of the state was at Grove Hill, in Clarke County and northeast of Brewton. [97]

Universalist sources in Alabama indicated that in 1873 their denomination had nine churches with 224 members; five meeting houses were built, or in the process of being built. They were estimated to be worth $3,500. These sources also listed ten union meeting houses, but failed to give their locations. Seven resident ministers were living in the state. [98] In 1875 other sources indicated that Alabama had six Universalist churches with two edifices and property valued at $1,400. [99] At the end of the century denominational records showed Alabama had nine Universalist churches with 412 members; there were six meeting houses, and all property was valued at $8,700. [100] <start [age 25>

In Florida Universalist activity was most conspicuous in the western part of the state. What appears to have been the earliest Universalist church in Florida was located in Walton County near McDade’s Pond. This church was organized in 1859, and in 1873 it boasted forty-one members. [101] In 1898 the Universalists built a wooden church at Pensacola, in Escambia County. The next year, the congregation at DeFuniak Springs, in Walton County, built a church and held services on a part-time basis. In 1899 the churches at Cottage Hill and Laurel Hill had monthly services, while the groups at Bluff Springs and Cantonment were considered missions that were not financially independent. [102] Cottage Hill and Cantonment were in Escambia County, north of Pensacola and west of Milton. Bluff Springs, also in Escambia County, and Laurel Hill, in Okaloosa County, were both near the Alabama state line.

Records list four communities in other areas of Florida with Universalist activity. Three of these were located in eastern <start page 26> Florida and one on the west coast of Florida near Tampa. In 1873 there was a Universalist Sunday school at Enterprise in Volusia County and at Sandy Point, in the same county, a building was used for occasional preaching as well as for holding a Sunday school. [103] These locations were southwest of Daytona Beach. In 1887 a church was organized at De Land. [104] The year before the Universalists built a wooden church at Tarpon Springs near Tampa, but in 1899 this church was active only during the winter. [105]

The Universalists had numerous retired ministers living in Florida. Among them was Russell P. Ambler, who had been ordained in 1848, and in 1899 was living in De Funiak Springs. Another was William Cathcart Brooks, formerly Universalist State Missionary of Indiana. He had been ordained in 1857, engaged in missionary work in Florida during the 1880’s, and in 1899 was living in Sorrento in central Florida. [106]

The Universalist Register for 1899 noted that there were seven churches in Florida with ninety-seven members and property valued at $6,300. Only Pensacola and Tarpon Springs had church buildings owned by the congregation. [107] <start page 27>

During the nineteenth century the Unitarians were largely confined to a few urban areas in Georgia and South Carolina and the Universalists clustered in the Piedmont areas of Georgia and South Carolina, the southern and central areas of Alabama, and western Florida. This clustering appears to have been related only to individual preference. There do not seem to be any particular factors that made one rural area welcome liberal groups more than other areas. Where there were liberals that had established good reputations tolerance would be created for others bearing the same label. This tolerance may have attracted some to settle in that area.

Another supposition might be made that some rural areas had more Universalist activity because they were more convenient for itinerant preachers. This convenience would not necessarily relate only to road conditions and railroad access. The location of homes where the traveling minister would be welcomed could establish a certain pattern of Universalist activity. The judgment of these itinerant ministers as to what areas would be most fruitful may have been based upon a solid appraisal of the strength of the orthodox, statistics of church memberships, and other such information but probably was based more on personal choice. Since most of these preachers also engaged in secular business pursuits, their economic prospects would weigh heavily. If a teaching position was available in a given community this could be the deciding factor for a preacher who sought to augment his income in the field of teaching.

The rural clustering was also connected with the fact that Universalist families often had children marry into other Universalist families and settle in the same neighborhood. One contingency faced by both <start page 28> Unitarian and Universalist denominations was the attrition rate that resulted from marriages of members to individuals of orthodox denominations. While such sects as the Amish have prohibited marriages outside their group, southeastern liberals apparently never considered such proscription. Those who chose mates of orthodox affiliations were often lost to the liberal churches, even though they might privately continue to espouse liberal theology.

Being strictly congregational in church polity the Unitarians and Universalists did not have master plans drafted by an ecclesiastical hierarchy that assigned ministers and picked areas for the establishing of churches. This independence of the local congregation also frustrates the historian. Minority groups and those without strong ecclesiastical chains of command could be expected to lack reports and records that would be more readily available within the more highly organized denominations.

The individualism of both Unitarians and Universalist denominations necessitates looking at many individuals rather than official pronouncements of a few leaders. In the next chapter a closer look will be taken of some of the personalities who made up these early liberal churches in these four southeastern states. <start page 29>


Chapter II. Personalities

In South Carolina prominent Unitarians were identified with the city of Charleston. Reverend Anthony Forster was a native of Brunswick County, North Carolina, who had graduated from the University of North Carolina. While serving in the army he was stationed in Georgia. His army service lasted from March, 1804 until October, 1806 and shortly thereafter he practiced law in Milledgeville. Forster supplied various Presbyterian churches before he became the pastor whose theological alteration led to the split within the Charleston congregation. He died at Raleigh, North Carolina, on January 18, 1820, at the age of thirty-five. [1]

Forster’s successor was Samuel Gilman who was serving as a tutor at Harvard when called to Charleston. Gilman was born at Gloucester, Massachusetts, February 16, 1791. His duties in Charleston commenced on December 1, 1819. [2] In 1836 Gilman wrote Fair Harvard for the bicentennial of his Alma Mater. During the nullification crisis he had written Hail Our Country’s Natal Morn. He received a Doctor of <start page 30> Sacred Theology degree from Harvard in 1837. [3] Gilman was a full-time minister, except for a time during the 1840’s when he worked as a teacher to earn funds to buy a house. He was able to cease teaching when friends gave him a thousand dollars to use for the purchase of a home. [4] Reverend Gilman died on February 9, 1858, at Kingston, Massachusetts. [5] His funeral in Charleston was attended by Roman Catholic priests, Jewish rabbis, Episcopal priests, and Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian ministers. [6]

Serving as a junior pastor under Gilman at Charleston was Charles Manson Taggart. Born in Montreal, Canada, October 31, 1821, he died in Charleston October 22, 1854 at the age of thirty-three. [7] On May 24, 1858 James R. McFarland was chosen to succeed Gilman. McFarland was born in Charleston, Virginia on December 17, 1828. He died at the age of thirty in Charleston, South Carolina on April 4, 1859. [8]

After the Civil War some members of the Charleston Church discussed the wisdom of calling English Unitarians to their pulpit. <start page 31> It was thought this might soothe sectional feelings. If ministers were sought from the stronghold of Unitarianism in New England the memory of abolitionism might be aroused. Thomas Hirst Smith was the first of two Englishmen who served in Charleston. Smith was born in Clifton Heights near Bradford, England in 1837 and graduated from the University of London. He came to Charleston in November, 1866 and served as Unitarian minister until February, 1868. [9] The second Englishman to serve Charleston Unitarians was James Boyd, ordained in 1867, who served as pastor in 1873. [10]

Between the pastorates of the two Englishmen a northerner, Rufus Putnam Cutler was pastor. He was ordained in 1846. [11] Cutler came to Charleston from Brooklyn, New York in December, 1866 and served as Charleston pastor for about four years. His health failed and he died in Brooklyn in 1877. [12] Three other ministers led the Charleston Unitarians during the balance of the century. Henry Fitch Jenkins, a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Divinity School, who was ordained in 1867, served in Charleston from 1873 to 1875. [13] His successor was Edwin C. L. Browne, who was ordained in 1863. [14] Browne was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 22, 1835. He <start page 32> served as Charleston pastor from January, 1876 to August, 1889. Browne died in Pomona, California, January 30, 1892. [15] Henry A. Altman, who was ordained in 1878, served as the minister of the Unitarian Church of Charleston in the 1890’s. [16]

The Charleston Unitarians numbered among their ranks numerous active laymen. Alva Gage was for forty years a member of this church. He was born March 18, 1820 and died September 12, 1896.[17] Gage contributed the money to build the parish house adjoining the Charleston edifice and this structure was named in his honor.[18] Gage and his wife served as directors of the Southern Conference of Unitarian and Other Christian Churches.[19] Arthur B. Rose, a physician of Charleston, served as the first president of the Southern Conference. He officiated from 1884 until 1892. [20] Another active layman was the physician, Dr. James Moultrie, who was senior deacon at Charleston and president of the Charleston Unitarian Book and Tract Society. [21]

One of the noted Unitarians of Georgia was Richard D. Arnold. He was born in Savannah in 1808. His parents were northerners who had moved to the South. Arnold was educated by tutors in Savannah <start page 33> before attending a private academy at New Brunswick, New Jersey. He graduated from Princeton in 1826 and then received his M. D. at the University of Pennsylvania. Arnold returned to Savannah in 1832 and in addition to his medical practice published the Savannah Georgian. [22] He disposed of his interest in the newspaper in January 1835. Arnold turned the paper over to his partner William H. Bullock. [23] Arnold served as an alderman, president of the board of education, and mayor. His six terms as mayor included the period of the Civil War. He surrendered Savannah to General W. T. Sherman in 1864. [24] Arnold was the first secretary of the American Medical Association. This distinguished Georgian was honored in 1858 by dinners given in Washington, D. C. by Howell Cobb, Robert Toombs, and Alexander H. Stephens. [25]

The Atlanta Unitarians lost two of their most active members in 1894 and 1895. John Y. Dixon, a native of Newton-Ards, Ireland, was treasurer of the Unitarian Church of Atlanta for seven years. He was business manager of the Southern Unitarian, and was serving as president of the Southern Conference of Unitarian Churches when he died in 1894 at the age of forty-six. [26] Theodor Schumann, who was born in Wurtemburg in 1823 and studied chemistry at the University of <start page 34> Tubingen, came to New York in 1854 and moved to Atlanta in 1869 where he operated a drug store. He was a trustee of the Atlanta church at the time of his death in 1895. [27]

Unitarianism in Alabama did not entrench itself during the nineteenth century, but a prominent physician, Dr. Thomas D. Hall, spread the Unitarian doctrine. He lived in the Robinson Springs neighborhood ten miles north of Montgomery. Hall had read an advertisement on the Unitarian Post-office Mission, and he wrote for Unitarian literature. [28] His efforts illustrate the influence of individual Unitarians, even where churches of this denomination did not exist.

Much of the story of Universalism in South Carolina revolves around certain families. Mention has been made of the Feasters. Andrew Feaster, Sr. was one of the first Universalist ministers in South Carolina. He died on July 15, 1821 at the age of eighty-six. His wife was a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; she died on October 10, 1833, aged ninety-five. [29]

The Coleman family lived in the same area as the Feasters and the two families intermarried. In 1871 Miss Jennie Coleman, a great-great-granddaughter of Andrew Feaster, Sr., joined the reactivated Feasterville Church. [30] John Coleman C. Feaster, a great-grandson of <start page 35>  Andrew Feaster, Sr., entered the Universalist ministry in 1859. [31]

The Feasters and Colemans of South Carolina helped to spread Universalism to other areas of the South. Capt. David R. Feaster, a great-grandson of Andrew Feaster, Sr., led a group of immigrants to Arkansas. An old Baptist edifice was located on their Arkansas property and during the 1880’s plans were made to use this for a Universalist church. [32] Descendants of the Colemans were influential in the life of the Universalist Church in Winston County, Mississippi. [33]

The Chapman family was active in Universalist circles. Giles Chapman was born in Virginia in 1748. The family moved to South Carolina where Giles became a saddler. He was ordained a Universalist preacher in 1782 and died in 1819. [34] John A. Chapman, a grandson of Giles Chapman, was a Universalist minister for a few years in the 1840’s and then ceased preaching and left the Universalist denomination. He became a Swedenborgian and operated a book and stationary business at Newberry Court House, South Carolina. [35] Thomas Chapman, a great-grandson of Giles Chapman, was ordained a Universalist minister by <start page 36> Reverend D. B. Clayton on February 10, 1889 and became the first state missionary for Georgia in 1893. [36] Reverend Elijah Linch, who lived in Newberry County, married a niece of Giles Chapman in the last decade of the eighteenth century. Linch commenced preaching Universalism in 1809. [37] He served both the Fredonia and Hartford churches in South Carolina. [38] Linch preached his last sermon in June 1842 at Fredonia Church and died August 10, 1842. [39] His funeral was held the day before the opening of the 1842 South Carolina State Universalist Convention and numerous Universalist ministers attended the funeral. [40]

The Teague family contributed to the Universalist cause in South Carolina. Dr. Abner G. Teague, the son of a physician, left the field of medicine at the close of the Civil War. He farmed and then entered the life insurance business about 1870. This Universalist died near Edgefield Court House, South Carolina, October 29, 1871 at the age of fifty-nine. [41] M. N. Teague of Mountville, South Carolina <start page 37> was president of South Carolina State Universalist Conference in 1898 and 1899. [42]

Allen Fuller was a Universalist minister who died at Dr. Abner Teague’s residence in February, 1864. He had come to South Carolina to recover his health. Fuller exerted a strong influence on Reverend Daniel Clayton, who considered Fuller an ideal Christian gentleman. [43]

Clayton, a tireless Universalist preacher, was born April 8, 1817. Reared a Baptist, he subscribed in 1837 to the Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate. This was a national periodical, published in Utica, New York, that propagated the denominational tenets of Universalism. Thus at the age of twenty, Clayton was exposing himself to Universalist views. In the spring of 1838 Clayton went to teach school at Van Patton’s factory on the Enoree River and boarded with a Universalist family. Another young boarder was also a Universalist. In the summer of 1838 Reverend Fuller came to the factory to get his wool carded and preached the first Universalist sermon that Clayton heard. Clayton left the Baptist denomination and spent about two years of reading and informal study preparing for the Universalist ministry. <start page 38>

Late in the fall of 1841 he preached his first sermon. He spoke on several occasions in Baptist churches. He preached little for about three years while he was mainly engaged in secular teaching. Clayton was ordained a Universalist minister at the Partlow Church in the summer of 1845 in a service conducted by Allen Fuller and C. F. R. Shehane. [45]

In the summer of 1846 Clayton moved to Mississippi where he lived for seventeen years. While in Mississippi he edited a newspaper and engaged in preaching. During the Civil War he volunteered for a Holley Springs, Mississippi company called the Jeff Davis Rifles. This company became part of the 9th Mississippi Regiment, which arrived at Pensacola, Florida, April 8, 1861 on Clayton’s forty-fourth birthday. He suffered diarrhea for several months and when a young man agreed to be his substitute he returned home. The Claytons left Mississippi during the Civil War and returned to South Carolina. Daniel occupied himself with teaching and preaching. At the end of the war his only possessions were a gold watch, two domestic animals, and eighteen dollars in gold and silver. He lived near Feasterville for about four years and then early in 1868 moved to Columbia. Part of the time at Feasterville was spent in the operation of a store. Clayton moved from Columbia to Atlanta, Georgia in March, 1880 and engaged in newspaper work as well as preaching until early 1883 when he returned to Columbia. [46] In October, 1880 Clayton <start page 39> represented Georgia at the Universalist General Convention at Hudson, New York. He was the first southern delegate after the war. [47]

The Clayton family ran a boarding house in Columbia that augmented their meager income. Clayton kept two rather large suitcases always packed. He carried two heavy blankets so that he could make a pallet on a house floor. This habit was due to his insistence that he always sleep alone while on his preaching trips. Clayton also carried twenty-five or thirty feet of rope for emergencies. He was met a various railroad stations and he never knew when he might need to help repair a harness. [48] <start page 40>

As late as 1897 Clayton was still active as a minister. Although he lived in Columbia, South Carolina, Clayton visited several churches in North Carolina three or four times a year. [49]

The last national denominational convention that Clayton attended was held in 1899 in Boston. Lyman Ward had made arrangements to meet him at the railroad station in that city. Clayton arrived early and took a street-car to a suburb that he thought was Roxbury and went to a house that he thought was the home of an old friend. When Clayton found that he was mistaken the couple in the house insisted that he stay overnight because of the snowy weather. The next day Clayton arrived at the convention late but safe. Ward had been greatly concerned for his safety since he knew that Clayton carried considerable money on his person. This habit was due to Clayton’s belief that at his age he might die away from home and the money would provide for his body’s return to South Carolina. Reverend George L. Perin had mentioned the day before, in his welcoming address, that New Englanders were cold and inhospitable and had asked the delegates to overlook this. After Clayton’s experience Ward asked permission to relate the incident to show that Bostonians were indeed hospitable. A collection was taken at the convention for Clayton, and Ward surmised that it was the largest amount of church money that the elderly minister had ever seen at one time. [50]

Universalism in Georgia numbered among its adherents numerous interesting personalities. Several of the Georgia ministers had come <start page 41> to the Universalists from other denominations. Dr. Lewis F. W. Andrews was born in North Carolina in 1802. He came to Georgia about 1835. He had been a medical doctor in his earlier life but he turned to journalism and engaged in newspaper activities in Macon, Columbus, and Americus. [51] His father was a Presbyterian minister. [52] Andrews was ordained a Universalist minister in 1831 and thereafter divided his time between preaching and journalism. [53] He died on March 16, 1875. [54] James C. Kendrick spent about twelve years as a Baptist minister prior to his conversion to Universalism. This resident of Meriwether County, Georgia continued to be highly esteemed by his Baptist friends. [55] He served as a Universalist minister from the time of his ordination in 1844 until his retirement. [56] Kendrick died at the home of a daughter in Terrel County, Georgia in December, 1884. [57] W. C. Bowman served as a Methodist minister in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee for about twelve years prior to becoming a Universalist. He came to Atlanta in 1879 and served as pastor and journalist. He was interested in Spiritualism and some Universalists <start page 42> questioned his views. He resigned as Atlanta pastor and retired from the ministry in 1881. [58]

The lack of economic remuneration affected many ministers during this period. In the area near Americus, Georgia there were two farmer-preachers. Micajah B. Pickett was ordained a Universalist minister in 1846. [59] He farmed and also preached at the Plains of Dura Church.                 [60] George R. Harper, who lived in the same county, was similarly occupied, but he finally left the ministry due to the small compensation. [61] Willis Harrison Grigsby was ordained a Universalist minister in 1868. [62] In 1870 he was living in Notasulga, Alabama. He had come from New York to engage in ministerial work in the South. When he found that a full-time religious pursuit was impossible, he turned to secular employment, serving as secretary to both Alexander H. Stephens and Georgia Governor James M. Smith. [63]

Georgia also contributed her share of interesting Universalist lay workers. Robert White was one of the founders of the Rockwell Universalist Church near Winder. He was also the first president of the Georgia Universalist Convention organized in 1838. [64] Known <start page 43> as “Uncle Robert,” White was opposed to brutality. There was an old muster ground in his neighborhood where men would fight “fist and skull,” but only after they had made certain that “Uncle Robert” would not come that way. [65]

Stephen Matlock, seventy-five years old in 1846, was a farmer who lived on the Altamaha River, fifty miles above Darien in Tattnall County. Since he had never heard a Universalist minister, arrangements were made for Reverend Clayton to preach in that area. Matlock rode fifty miles on horseback to meet Clayton at the home of Joseph Riall, a Universalist of Laurens County. Matlock was the wealthiest man in his area and was held in high esteem. He secured permission for Clayton to use various churches between his own home and the residence of Riall. Sunday morning services were held in a Baptist church about seven miles from Matlock’s home. There was an overflow crowd, and people stood in the rain outside the windows under umbrellas to hear Clayton’s sermon. Matlock offered to build a home on 260 acres that he would give him, if the minister would settle in their neighborhood. Clayton wrote in later life that he would have been tempted it the elderly gentleman who tendered the offer had been younger and could have thus provided a greater likelihood of the continuity of the endeavor. Some months after Clayton’s visit, Matlock’s third wife, some forty years younger than her husband, gave birth to a baby girl and the parents named her Clayton in honor of the minister. [66] <start page 44>

Reverend Clayton visited Marietta, Georgia in 1870 while on a trip to Texas. A young lady, attending a female school there, boarded at the house where the Universalist minister was staying. She was a Baptist and studied the Bible with Clayton. Within about two years she asked the Baptist deacons to remove her name from the church roll. They told her that there were only two ways to get out of a Baptist church: “to sin out or die out.” Soon thereafter, she attended a party and did some dancing. When news of this reached the deacons they visited her and inquired about the matter. She replied: “When I requested you to erase my name from the roll of your church, you told me that I could only get out of the church by dying cut or sinning out. I intended to get out, and preferred to sin out rather than die out, and so I attended the party and danced.” [67]

About seven years after their first meeting, Clayton extended the right hand of fellowship as this young lady joined the Universalists. She said that her first favorable impression of Universalism came from the breakfast-hour discussions in Marietta. The young lady became the wife of H. D. McCutcheon who served as clerk of the Georgia State Convention of Universalists in the 1880’s. [68]

Despite their minority status, some Universalists succeeded in politics. John Durden was an outspoken Universalist of Ebenezer in Morgan County, Georgia. He was elected to the state legislature more than once, despite the orthodox complexion of this county. Durden <start page 45> opened his home for Universalist preaching and Reverend Clayton visited there in 1846 and again in 1870. [69] The death of a transplanted Georgia Universalist, J. B. Cone of Gonzales, Texas, was noted in the denominational register in 1899. Cone served one year in the Texas state legislature. [70]

Alabama contributed Universalist ministers who were active in journalism and education. Charles F. R. Shehane was born in North Carolina and grew up in Tennessee. He became a member of the Disciples of Christ while living in Columbia, Tennessee and thus followed the theology of Alexander Campbell. Shehane entered the field of religious journalism and in September, 1835 he released the prospectus for The Religious Investigator to be published at Jefferson, Georgia. Shehane became a Universalist about 1843. [71] He published the Universalist Herald at Notasulga, Alabama. Reverend Clayton noted Shehane’s remarkable memory and the vast amount of Scripture that he knew by heart Shehane died at his home near Notasulga on May 17, 1857. [72]

John Crenshaw Burruss was another Universalist active in journalism. He was ordained in 1844. [73]  He served as a missionary in <start page 46>. North Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama. [74] He published, with Shehane, the Universalist Herald at Notasulga, Alabama from 18147 until he sold this religious journal to John C. Bowers of Canon, Georgia in 1897. [75] That year he received an honorary D. D. from Buchtel University in Akron, Ohio. [76]

Lyman Ward was a native of Hounsefield, Jefferson County, New York and graduated from Watertown High School. He received his college degree in 1892 from St. Lawrence University. Ward served Universalist parishes in New York state for five years and in the spring of 1898 he went to Alabama where he became a prominent educator. [77]

The influence of Universalism in the lives of Alabama citizens is illustrated by John Green, Judge William Harper, and Dr. Jerome Cochran. Green was a native South Carolinian who grew to manhood in Georgia, and went to southern Alabama in the early part of the nineteenth century. He was a farmer who helped to establish schools and churches. He used his own library to aid the neighborhood school. Reared a Presbyterian, he aided both Methodists and Baptists in establishing churches in the area and he attended preaching held by <start page 47> the various circuit riders. His study of the Bible led him to liberal convictions and he wrote to the Universalists in Boston. He attempted to aid Universalism in his area. [78]

The rural complexion of Universalism in the South should not lead to the assumption that professional people were not influenced by the denomination. Judge William Harper of Covington County, Alabama, who died at eighty-seven on October 28, 1874, was a well-known Universalist of his area. [79]

While Daniel Clayton resided in Mississippi, a fifteen-year-old boy attended his preaching. Years later Clayton was in Greenville, Alabama while the Alabama State Medical Association was in session and he met Dr. Jerome Cochran. This doctor was the boy of a quarter century before. Dr. Cochran credited Clayton’s inspiration for his entry into the field of medicine. [80]

The ties between Universalists in southern Alabama and those in western Florida were strong. William M. Jones of Troy, Alabama, a former Baptist, joined the Universalist Church in western Florida. He had been a friend of W. C. Bowman when they both had been students at the University of Virginia; and both later became Universalists. [81] Jones was licensed to preach by a vote of the West Florida Universalist <start page 48> Church in 1874. [82] Elias Ball Arms was ordained in 1853. [83] Arms was one of the founders and the first pastor of the West Florida Universalist Church. In 1871 he became a pastor in Escambia County, Alabama. [84] Arms lived in Garland, Alabama for many years. [85]

One of the best-known Universalist ministers in Florida was James Lewis Corbin Griffin who was born in Gloucester County, Virginia on March 17, 1814. He graduated from William and Mary College in 1833. After serving as a Methodist minister, Griffin received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in February 1839 but he only practiced medicine a short time. In 1844 he joined the Universalists and the following year he served as pastor of the Richmond, Virginia Universalist Church. [86] He taught at Lombard University in Galesburg, Illinois and at Madison College in southern Mississippi. [87] About 1859 he left Sharon, Mississippi and teamed with Reverend J. C. C. Feaster in preaching in the South Carolina counties of Fairfield, Laurens, Newberry, Edgefield, and Spartanburg. [88] He also preached in various communities of North <start page 49> Carolina and Virginia but he is particularly identified with Florida. [89] He was serving as minister of the West Florida Universalist Church in Walton County in 1873. [90] Griffin retired in Alexandria, Virginia although he continued to contribute articles for the Universalist Herald. [91] He died October 22, 1878. [92]

In addition to the resident Unitarians and Universalists the southeastern states were visited by prominent members of the two denominations. Jared Sparks, the noted Unitarian of Baltimore and close friend of William Ellery Charming, visited Charleston for the installation of Samuel Gilman as pastor in 1819. [93] In December, 1821, Sparks became the Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives. [94] Ralph Waldo Emerson preached in Charleston, South Carolina and in St. Augustine, Florida in 1826-1827 when he stayed in the South due to poor health. [95] Edward Everett Hale preached at the Charleston Unitarian Church for the Anniversary of the Unitarian Book and Tract [96] Society in 1848.               The well-known Universalist, Clara Barton, made <start page 50> a trip to Andersonville, Georgia in 1895 to mark Union graves. [97]

Doctors, lawyers, teachers, journalists, farmers, merchants, ministers – varied personalities bore the title of Unitarian or Universalist living and laboring as a religious minority in a bulwark of orthodox beliefs. The presence of numerous doctors, merchants, and prosperous farmers would point to an upper middle class following for the religious liberals in the Southeast. It might be supposed that those in lower economic and social status in the region would tend to greater conformity to the majority religious beliefs. If your economic livelihood depends upon deference to majority opinions, those in greater economic need would tend to shy away from unpopular opinions such as religious liberalism.

When these individual Unitarians and Universalists held places of esteem, such as Richard Arnold in Savannah, their influence, of course, was greater. Such individuals could make an impact in their area even if no church was established or no converts gained for the minority denomination. The beliefs of these Unitarians and Universalists of the Southeast is surveyed in the next chapter. <start page 51>


Chapter III. Unitarians and Universalist Beliefs

A survey of the beliefs of the Unitarians and Universalists of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida poses several problems. First of all, there is the problem of semantics, that is, how the meanings of words and idioms used in sermons and debates during the nineteenth century have changed. Actually, the beliefs of these southerners were being challenged and undergoing change throughout the nineteenth century. The Unitarians preferred the theology of William Ellery Channing to that of the more radical Theodore Parker. The controversy that agitated New England Unitarians influenced southern Unitarians less, because of the identification of both Parker and Ralph Waldo Emerson with abolition. The impact of both higher criticism and German scholarship would in time influence southerners, but readjustments in their beliefs were probably delayed because sectional animosity inclined them to distrust much that men like Emerson and Parker espoused. The diversity of Unitarian beliefs was noted in the secular press. Under the heading of “Miscellaneous Letters on the Eastern States” The Daily Georgian in 1820 referred to seven or eight churches in Boston called Unitarian. With some percipience the article cautioned that:

you must not understand that they are all strictly so, or that they agree in their creed. Probably no <start page 52> two of them agree exactly. There are shades of difference among those who have ceased to acknowledge the doctrine of the Trinity, but some have diverged much more than others. A part of them would be satisfactory to the orthodox, on most points of their preaching –  generally their discourses turn more on morality and the great practical duties of Christians. [1]

The central idea of Unitarianism was shared by those who bore this name, whether in the North or the South. This idea embraced both denial of the dogma of the Trinity and an emphasis on the unity of God. But even here there were degrees of affirmation. Channing’s views were more conservative than those of the English Unitarians, including Joseph Priestley, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1794, and Thomas Belsham. Channing affirmed that there is one God who sent Jesus and that this was the belief held by Jesus and His disciples. Channing stressed that Jesus surrendered Himself completely to the will of God and that Unitarians believed that Jesus reflected the Supreme God, although He was not God Himself. [2] Many American Unitarians, particularly those in the South, agreed with Channing. While they denied the deity of Jesus, these Unitarians ascribed to Him a unique position.  Samuel Gilman of Charleston, along with the denominational register, expressed the belief that Jesus was the Messiah. [3] <start page 53> Northerners and southerners cited numerous times the words of Jesus: “The Father is greater than I.” [4]  Thus Channing and conservative Unitarians generally followed the Arian viewpoint which held that while Jesus was inferior to God, He was the first and greatest of all created beings. Many other Unitarians came to the view of the English Unitarians which stressed the humanity of Jesus. [5] Basically, southern Unitarians emphasized the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. [6] <start page 54>

The early Unitarians grounded their theology in their interpretation of the Bible. They were shocked when charged with unscriptural opinions. In his famous sermon at the ordination of Jared Sparks in Baltimore, Charnning laid down principles of Biblical interpretation. The reader should seek the general spirit, the intentions of the scripture authors, and the circumstances of time when framed. [7] Gilman also referred to using “correct interpretation” when reading the Bible. In an 1826 sermon he said: “We only wish to understand and interpret that precious and sacred book, on principles of criticism, which, if stated without any reference to previous doctrines or prejudices, every man would cheerfully allow.” [8] The Bible “correctly interpreted” was a rallying point for many Unitarians.

The appeal to Scripture was widespread in early Unitarian sermons and literature. The Virginia pastor, J. B. Pitkin, criticized the Trinitarian formula declaring “it is no where stated in the Sacred Volume, but is a mere assumption – a mere supposition of uninspired men.” [9] The Bible was considered by the Unitarians as their only guide in faith and practice. [10] Gilman contrasted Deism and <start page 55> Unitarianism on the issue of the Bible. He said that Deists rejected revelation, whereas Unitarians believed “in the truth of the Bible. ” [11] This Biblical orientation was not confined to the South. Horace Mann opposed the introduction of religious libraries in Massachusetts’s public schools on the grounds that the Bible alone should be employed in religious instruction. [12] Thus Mann, as a Unitarian, revealed the deep attachment of early Unitarians to the Bible.

Despite their reliance upon the Bible, Unitarians also saw God’s revelation in other areas of human experience. At the dedication of the Second Unitarian Church in New York City, Channing declared that Unitarianism “leads us to seek Him in nature. It does not shut us up in the written word, precious as that manifestation of the Divinity is. It considers revelation, not as independent of his other means of instruction.” [13] In 1893 the Atlanta pastor, George L. Chaney, referred to Unitarianism as the “New Protestantism” and asserted that it “frees men from Biblical domination.” [14] By the close of the nineteenth century, Unitarians generally had come to mistrust their earlier attachment to the Bible, fearing that it might be construed as a kind of “paper pope.” In consequence they sought God in even wider realms. <start page 56>

The application of reason to man’s religious feelings was another characteristic of Unitarianism. Were revelation and reason at opposite ends of the spectrum? Channing did not think so. He tied reason to the Bible when proclaimed: “We profess not to know a book, which demands a more frequent exercise of reason than the Bible.” [15] In 1831 the Unitarian publication in Augusta stated: “We do not exalt reason above revelation; – but we believe that by reason we must find out what is revelation, and what revelation teaches.” [16] Chaney in his 1893 contrast between the old and new wrote: “The old Protestantism was a falling back on the recorded word of God; the new is a going forward in His present spirit. The first Reformation subordinated church to a book; the second submits both church and book to their common source the God-illumined Reason.” [17] Reason increasingly became a hallmark of Unitarianism and this would gain for the denomination the appellation of a reasonable religion.

Those holding the orthodox theology doubted the role of reason, because they considered man’s nature corrupt and dominated by the power of evil. Channing considered that man’s nature had been misinterpreted by Trinitarianism. He rejected the notion that man was as bad as the exaggerated view of the older theology. While he thought man had a “propensity to sin” and therefore was not perfect, he <start page 57> believed the emphasis should be corrected. [18] In discussing man’s nature, he explained in 1847 that “Unitarians believe in human depravity, not in innate and total depravity and the imputation of Adam’s sin – but in the very great depravity of mankind, the deceitfulness and wickedness of the human heart, the alienation, of man from God through ignorance and sin.” [19] Samuel Gilman and Charles Taggart, the two Unitarian ministers in Charleston in 1854, affirmed that “man is, by nature, capable of good as he is of evil, and however much depraved, is not totally depraved.” [20] The Unitarians professed to see a quality in man that they considered to be overlooked by many of the orthodox.

If Unitarians saw man’s nature differently from the orthodox they also had a certain perspective for observing God’s nature. The doctrine of the atonement caused controversy between liberal Unitarians and those of orthodox views due to the doctrine’s concern with the nature of God. While most Unitarians considered that the concept of a vicarious atonement presented a God of wrath who was totally foreign to their view of God, the doctrine had its supporters among the more conservative Unitarians. Frederic Dan Huntington was one of the chief conservatives among the Boston Unitarians. He stressed a “supernatural redemption from sin” and “thought the Atonement the crowning work” of God’s compassion. [21] A close friend of Huntington was James T. Coolidge, <start page 58> pastor of Purchase Street Unitarian Church in Boston. Coolidge referred to the “Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world.” [22] Conservative Unitarians such as these Boston pastors had less clash with the orthodox. They used the same terminology and this helped to prevent controversy.

Despite the conservative wing within their denomination, many Unitarians, including Channing, objected to aspects of the doctrine of atonement that considered the death of Jesus made God change His mind and His nature.[23] In 1895 the Charleston pastor, H. A. Whitman, referring to Jesus said: “Certainly he never made the slightest reference to himself as a victim prepared and offered us by God to approve the imagined divine wrath and thus save the believing sinner from the consequences of his wrong doing, as is so abundantly set forth and emphasized by the so-called old views of salvation and vicarious atonement.” [24] Thus the word atonement was respectable among Unitarians, but it evoked a variety of images within the denomination.

The concept of God’s judgment of mankind had many ramifications within Christian theology. It might be considered as applicable <start page 59> during life, or beyond the grave, or both. Much of the older theology placed the emphasis on judgment after death. The Unitarian Christian of Augusta, Georgia asserted in 1831 that Christ’s death “removes not one particle of our guilt or its punishment, except in so far as it became a motive to us to repent and abstain from future sin.” [25]

This journal continued by saying that the “good will be blessed and the wicked punished in another life.” [26] The denominational volume for 1847 noted that “Unitarians believe in the resurrection of the dead – a judgment to come, and a life beyond the grave ‘that without holiness, no man can see God’ – that for the good, there is happiness, without end; for the evil, the finally impenitent there is misery and woe beyond the grave.” [27] This pessimistic view of judgment that included eternal punishment would be discarded by many Unitarians as they accepted the Universalist doctrine on this point. [28]

Unitarians also took a stand on the age-old theological conflict between grace and works. Channing explained that Unitarians attached great importance to Christian works but “Still we always and earnestly maintain, that no human virtue, no human obedience, can give a legal claim, a right by merit, to the life and immortality brought to light by Christ.” [29] Unitarians expressed belief in salvation by grace, <start page 60> through faith, but also felt that true repentance leads to amending life and doing good. Righteous living was considered the only proof that atonement had been received. [30] The Atlanta pastor in 1893 summed up the issue as follows: “As Luther preached justification by faith, in opposition to justification by works of penance, so Channing preached justification by working faith in opposition to faith without works.” [31] Christian morality would fill a large part of Unitarian religion.

The supernatural aspect of miracles was an issue that points to the difference between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Augusta Unitarian journal expressed belief in miracles in 1831. [32] A one-time Augusta pastor said that the Apostles’ Creed generally expressed Unitarian sentiments but he continued: “A few indeed may question the doctrine of our Lord’s miraculous birth, or that of the resurrection of the body.” [33] Channing believed that in the miracles of Christ man could see God acting. [34] Although many early Unitarians believed in the supernatural and the New Testament miracles, these would be debated later in the century when a reaction against the supernatural emerged. [35] <start page 61>

As might be imagined, the Biblical basis of southern Unitarianism made members of this denomination react strongly against any who would deprive them of the Christian title. The Charleston Unitarian newspaper of 1822 concerned itself with the attempts of some to deny Unitarians the name of Christian. [36] This controversy was still agitating Charlestonians in 1827 when a Unitarian answered a newspaper article critical of Unitarians. He stated that the Roman Catholic Church, even during periods when it was the most dogmatic, had not denied Unitarians the name of Christian. He resented being lumped with “pagans, Mahometans, and infidels” and felt that these critics could at least call Unitarians “mistaken Christians, imperfect Christians” if they so differed with their theol1ogy. [37]

Unitarians shared with Universalists certain theological tenets, but in the earlier days the points of emphasis differed. The central doctrine of Universalism revolved around the two concepts of salvation and judgment. Universalists believed in the universal salvation of mankind. This belief was criticized by those of orthodox persuasion on the ground that it saved sinners with their sins intact. The Universalist Herald sought to explain the denomination’s view of salvation by pointing out that Universalists did not believe that men would be saved in sin but from sin. [38] The belief in Universal salvation <start page 62> was associated with the promise to Abraham that “in him all families of earth should be blessed” and it was sometimes known as the Abrahamic. [39]

The ultimate destiny of mankind was the central doctrine that differentiated Universalists from other denominations. This stirred arguments, not only regarding salvation, but also about judgment. Universalists believed that judgment took place within this world. They felt a second judgment beyond, that is in eternity, would be unfair. Rewards and punishments, they believed, took place on this earth.  [40] Some Universalists granted that man might have to go through intermediate processes before final salvation would be achieved. [41] The denial of a judgment that would usher in eternal punishment was grounded on the belief that God’s nature was expressed as a loving father. Shehane asked believers in endless misery: “Upon what principles do you account for the fact that God is not as good as yourself?” [42] <start page 63>

Seeking to prove their claims against eternal punishment, Universalists questioned the application of the word everlasting to eternal punishment. [43] The contention was made that the Hebrews learned the concept of hell and the devil from the heathen. [44] The New Testament use of “last days” was said to apply to the end of the Jewish dispensation and not to universal judgment and damnation. [45]

Universalists believed as they did about salvation and judgment because of their appraisal of man’s nature. They denied original sin and total depravity. Total depravity would indicate that a person was not “an accountable being.” Eternal bliss was not denied a person because he had not undergone a miraculous change of nature. Faith and repentance were both listed by Universalists as <start page 64> important to the enjoyment of life but not as essential to man’s eternal destiny. [46]

Due to their convictions about the nature of God and man, Universalists basically agreed with the Unitarian interpretation of the atonement. One Universalist document stated: “The word Atonement means simply reconciliation, and the sinner was the recipient thereof, not Jehovah.” [47] The atonement reflected God’s love, not an appeasement of His wrath. [48]

The denial of the Trinity that characterized Unitarianism would in time capture Universalism as well. The profession of faith adopted by the Universalists at Winchester, New Hampshire in 1803 expressed belief in “one God, whose nature is Love, revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of Grace, Who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness.” [49] The statement of Universalist belief adopted at Boston in 1898 stated: “We believe in the Universal Fatherhood of God; The Spiritual Authority and Leadership of His Son, Jesus Christ.” [50] The preamble to the constitution of the First Universalist Society of Charleston affirmed belief in one God who was love as revealed in the Bible and gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ. [51] This constitution <start page 65> was preached by a summary of Universalist beliefs which stated that they were not Tri-theists, or Trinitarians, or Polytheists but rather believed in one God. [52] The Unitarian viewpoint was not shared by all Universalists but as the century progressed more and more Universalists came to accept the unity of God.

Like many early Unitarians, Universalists stressed that their views were based upon the Bible. Universalist ministers appealed to the Bible in their defense of Universalism. In one debate Shehane stated: “With my opponent, I rejoice that the question is purely a Scriptural question, for I am willing to appeal alone to the tribunal of the word of God, and to abide its decision, anxious that the truth, and the truth only, should prevail. ” [53] Daniel Clayton called himself a “Bible Universalist” and he was a strict textualist. [54] Clayton told Lyman Ward that he had never read a life of Christ because he considered the whole story in the New Testament, but he borrowed Renan’s life of Christ and later wrote how much he enjoyed <start page 66> it. [55]

Clayton contrasted the God of Calvinism and the God of Arminianism with the God of the Bible that he respected. [56] The Universalist writers found the Bible an ally in their theological arguments. [57] Their statements of belief echoed this Biblical basis. [58]

The Biblical interpretation changed with the passage of time. Many Universalists accepted the account of miracles as supernatural intervention of God in the universe, but other questioned these aspects. Universalists called the belief in the devil a ridiculous superstition that would be discarded like beliefs in witches, ghosts, and goblins. They continued by saying:

Nor would it have been pretended that the notion derives any authority from the Bible had it not been the interest of the translators and their priestly successors to have some “bug-bear” with which to frighten the credulous. We are certain at least that a candid interpretation of the Holy Oracles will give no countenance to the common opinion on the subject. [59] <start page 67>

Like Unitarians, the Universalists would in time feel the impact of the new scholarship that opened fresh ways of looking at miracles. Being rural in orientation, it may be safely assumed that the impact of the new thought would take longer to reach southern Universalist congregations. Universalists generally had fewer professionally trained leaders than the Unitarians; hence many of the new views from German scholarship attracted fewer adherents.

To many people of the last decades of the twentieth century, nineteenth century debates over theology may appear strange. Doctrinal subtlety seemed to have more reality during the nineteenth century. Yet from these debates emerged the fact that Unitarians and Universalists looked at God and man from a different perspective than their orthodox neighbors. Universalists shared with Unitarians a higher estimate of man’s nature than did the older theology. Both professed to liberate man from the restrictions of the older theologies. Because of this contribution both have been regarded as liberal religions.

The basic difference between the two denominations in the early part of the century had become almost non-existent by 1900. The Unitarians had denied the validity of the Trinity and Universalists had denied belief in the endless punishment for mankind. Both groups came to accept the cardinal tenet of the other denomination but it must be remembered that these denominations were strictly congregational in their church government. There are no official beliefs for them. Even when they drafted professions of faith, these were only loose guidelines and were not binding upon the individual congregations. This congregational independence was reflected in the varied aspects of church activities. <start page 68>

Chapter IV. Church Activities

The theological tenets of Unitarianism and Universalism disturbed nineteenth century southerners more than doctrinal arguments agitate modern church members. Despite the difference of emphasis both centuries have witnessed the involvement of these two churches in a variety of activities. The size of the church, its rural or urban setting, and whether it was Unitarian or Universalist created differences. A rigid order of service was more likely in an urban than a rural church because of the congregational informality in the latter.

The long established Charleston Unitarian Church used a formal order of service. In 1854 this church prepared a service book for local use. It relied particularly upon the Old and New Testament, quoted selections for morning and evening worship services and for special occasions such as Christmas, days of fasting, Good Friday, marriage ceremonies, funerals, the Lord’s Supper observance, and baptismal services. Though the service was basically liturgical, complete with introductory sentences and closing ascriptions, provision was made for an extemporaneous prayer by the minister. [1] Many of the rural Universalist churches would have found a liturgical service strange due to its more rigid formality. <start page 69>

After the Civil War the Charleston Unitarians prepared an enlarged service and hymn book. Additions were taken chiefly from English Unitarian sources, showing the persistence of sectional feelings. This 1867 edition also altered the worship posture. The recommendation was made that the congregation kneel during prayer and stand during the hymns of praise. Selections in this Unitarian hymnal came from the pens of many persons of varied religious background. Hymns such as “Come Thou Almighty King,” “Nearer My God, to Thee,” and “Abide with Me,” were included along with those from Episcopal collections, Charles Wesley, and Mrs. Samuel Gilman. [2]

At least some Universalists could join in singing some of these hymns. There were other activities where Unitarians and Universalists found a common ground. Both observed the religious ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. [3] The Lord’s Supper was considered a <start page 70> memorial, and it was practiced because of scriptural admonition. Individual churches, both Unitarian and Universalist, varied manner of conducting this ordinance. In the Charleston Unitarian Church Samuel Gilman attempted to change the Lord’s Supper so that it would be held in the presence of the whole congregation. He eliminated the Charleston custom of congregational voting on who could accept the Lord’s Supper and allowed all who desired to participate. [4] Some of the Universalist churches practiced the southern custom of “opening the doors of the church” to new members after the Lord’s Supper had been observed. [5] The ordinance of baptism was administered by immersion or sprinkling in both Unitarian and Universalist churches. [6] The mode of baptism disturbed a few. The Universalist, Charles Shehane, wrote that “to baptize” was never translated “to pour or sprinkle.” Generally the method of baptism appears to have generated little real controversy within the liberal ranks. [7]

The significance of pulpit oratory has been considered a characteristic of the South. No statistics of sermon lengths have been found, but probably the rural churches, having at times a scarcity of preaching, were more tolerant of the long-winded minister than their <start page 71> city brethren. Daniel Clayton maintained that a minister could not get started in a thirty-minute sermon, and it is recorded that he often preached for two hours and a half. He preached to small audiences, recalling that on one occasion only four were present, one of whom was a minister. [8] Since much Universalist preaching occurred in private homes, court houses, and lodge halls, the service was intermit. A southern Universalist minister recorded that he preached to a crowd gathered in a home and recalled favorably an elderly Universalist who uttered frequent “amens.” [9] Such spontaneous outbursts might have disturbed a Unitarian congregation in an urban setting.

The sermons, ordinances, and hymns were accompanied by more adornments in the larger congregations. These churches provided for the employment of sextons, organists, and choristers. [10] In May, 1835 the Savannah Unitarian Church purchased a new organ. This was the third such instrument in the history of the Savannah congregation. [11] <start page 72>

To provide these extras the urban churches increased revenue above that received from Sunday offerings. Charging for the use of church pews was one method used to collect money. Assessment on pews was provided by the Charleston Universalists. [12] An auction was held in December, 1833 to assign the choice of pews in the Savannah Unitarian Church. After the choice was purchased the pew holder occupied the same pew exclusively as long as the annual assessment was paid, and no additional tax was collected without the proprietor’s consent. [13]

The worship service provided the focal point for church life, but special groups within the congregation were also organized. Sunday Schools were founded by some of the churches early in the nineteenth century. In 1831 the American Sunday School Union held an Augusta meeting at the Baptist Church. Stephen Bulfinch, the local Unitarian pastor, endorsed the community attempts to organize Sunday Schools. While he recognized that his denomination had no connection with the Sunday School Union and that views differing from his would be taught, yet he believed it was better for children to be taught “truth with some mixture of error, than not to be taught at all.” [14] This gathering decided that a committee with one representative from each religious group in the city and county would collect funds. The money was to <start page 73> be divided on a proportional basis to form Sunday Schools and to provide clothing for children in want. Bulfinch publicly relinquished any Unitarian claim to any of the funds after the Presbyterian, Baptist, and Episcopal members of the committee refused to cooperate with Unitarians. [15] In 1852 the Charleston Unitarian pastor reported that for about twenty years he had conducted the religious education of the children with an average of between forty and fifty pupils. [16] By the end of the century the Unitarians had well established Sunday Schools in Charleston and Atlanta, and the workers in these endeavors were advocating a graded curriculum with interesting and instructive lessons. [17] Some Universalist churches in the four southeastern states organized Sunday Schools during the 1870’s. [18] <start page 74>

The distaff (archivist: concerning women) side of the church program was not neglected. In antebellum Charleston the Unitarian women had a Ladies Society and a female Bible class that met every Friday afternoon. [19] the principal organization of Unitarian and Universalist women did not occur until the last decade of the nineteenth century.  Unitarian ladies of Atlanta and Charleston had active women’s alliances during that decade.  These groups aided local charities and raised money for church projects by selling homemade candy and aprons [20] A Ladies Aid Society was organized by Atlanta Universalist in 1895 and in March 1897 this society was replaced by the women’s mission circle. [21]

The men of liberal churches like their counterparts in orthodox denominations found and outlet for their business acumen in the financial aspects of church life.  Some of the churches attempted to involve men in other matters.  That Atlanta Unitarian Church founded a Liberal Church League that enlisted the interest and talents of the men in progress to strengthen their congregation, such as lectures and debates. [22] <start page 75>

The organization of young people for separate activities occurred rather slowly. In 1893 the youth of Rockwell Universalist Church had their own group, and in 1896 a Georgia state young peoples unit was established. [23] The Atlanta Unitarians sponsored a debating society known as the Young Men’s Saturday Night Club, but a majority of this club were not church members. [24] Other activities not geared exclusively to youth had an appeal to that age group. The Atlanta Unitarians had a literary and musical society known as the Fortnightly Club. Concerts by various musicians and discussions on cultural topics were presented. The average attendance was about forty-five. This club felt that if developed “a social feeling among members of the church and interested others in Unitarianism. [25]

Sometimes the ministers’ attempts to provide innovations proved unsuccessful. For about two years, Samuel Gilman held prayer conferences in his home but these were discontinued due to the poor response. His attempt to bold Friday evening lectures at the church also failed. [26] The ministers were sometimes frustrated when they sought to inaugurate new activities. They also had to face the problems presented by the weather. Rural churches had the challenge of muddy roads. Sultry summers curtailed church activities. In Charleston so many Unitarians were <start page 76> scattered throughout the northern states on vacations that the decision was made to close the Sunday School and worship services for the months of August and September. [27]

Discouragements came to ministers and laymen alike. Confronting the specter of orthodox pressure and numerical weakness, liberal religion found one solution by looking to a higher level of organization than the lone parish. Although the Unitarians and Universalists remained congregational in church policy, they adopted state and regional apparatus to achieve particular results. The Universalists had state conventions in Georgia and South Carolina prior to the Civil War and reorganization took place after that holocaust. There were state organizations in all four southeastern states by 1897. [28/30] (Archivist: There is an error in the sequencing of the footnotes in the original document.  This footnote is listed as 30) Regional meetings were recommended by the national Universalist denomination. These were to be held in the period intervening between the national sessions. One such conference was held October, 1898 at Chickamauga, Georgia. [29/31] Unitarians were also interested in regional operations. The Southern Conference of Unitarian and other <start page 77> Liberal Christians was organized April 24, 1884 at Atlanta. [30] This Southern Conference brought isolated liberal ministers and lay people together and they could “rejoice” in their convictions, even if their group was destined to remain a tiny minority. This group helped to unite Unitarians and Universalists in their labors. In 1893 Georgia Universalists created the post of State Missionary with Thomas Chapman being appointed to that post.[31] The following year Chapman wrote a letter of regret that he was net able to attend the Southern Conference meeting in Atlanta and he spoke “of our common cause.” [32] A state missionary helped supply preaching to weak and struggling congregations. His visits bolstered sagging morale. He did not have to proselyte but rather encouraged the faithful already in the liberal fold.

Another factor that helped to encourage the literal minority was the belief that liberal religion would thrive if the educational level of southern communities was raised. The multitude of motives for education can stagger the imagination. Education for some people is sheer indoctrination; to others it is the liberating of the human mind from the chains of tradition. Unitarians generally favored public education. To attach a denominational label seemed secondary if not undesirable. The Unitarians of Savannah were interested in the work of the Union Society. This was a group devoted to “the moral and <start page 78> mental education of orphan boys.” The Union Society held its eighty-fifth anniversary meeting at the Savannah Unitarian Church in April, 1835. [33]

After the Civil War the national Unitarian body undertook various educational endeavors with Negroes in the South. Reverend Henry F. Edes worked in Georgia and Miss N. Louisa Shaw in Florida. Commencing in 1868 northern Unitarians aided the African Methodist Episcopal Church by a $4,000 annual donation and presented a selected fifty volume library to each Negro minister who made a request. A school for Negroes was organized at Calhoun, Alabama in 1891 by Miss Mabel W. Dillingham and Miss Charlotte R. Thorn who had taught at Hampton Institute. After Miss Dillingham’s death in 1894 her brother, Reverend Pitt Dillingham, became the school principal. The main support for this school came from Unitarians. During the first eight years of the Tuskegee Institute $5,000 a year was given by Unitarians but not as an official denominational activity.[34] Southern Unitarian attitudes towards black education are not easily ascertained due to the absence of distinctly southern periodicals during this time. The plight of southern education captured the attention of northern Unitarian periodicals. [35] It was suggested that those interested in helping finance southern education should contact George L. Chaney, <start page 79> the Atlanta pastor. The training of public school teachers at Atlanta University was described. Chaney had lectured in the chapel of this Negro University.36 In addition to these educational concerns, Atlanta Unitarians aided in the founding of Georgia Tech, but it was not recorded how this aid was advanced. [37]

Universalism seems to have displayed greater denominational sensitivity than Unitarianism, and hence it exerted more energy in the cause of a more strictly denominational approach to education. Evidently an unsuccessful educational venture was launched by the Universalists in 1840 – 1841 at Feasterville, South Carolina. Little is known about it, though the Southern Universalist for March 31, 1841 gives it brief mention. It was announced that the second quarter of the Feasterville Academy was to commence April 18, 1841. The male and female departments were headed by Dr. and Mrs. L. F. W. Andrews respectively. Students boarded with the Andrews family while plans were made for a two story, forty-feet square dormitory to accommodate them. Jacob Feaster, Jr., Andrew Feaster, Henry J. Coleman, and Henry A. Coleman comprised the Board of Trustees. The Southern Universalist editor appealed to the people in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina to support the Feasterville Academy, offered his readers the following puffery:

the location of the Seminary is in a salubrious section, in the north-west part of Fairfield district, South Carolina, remote from the temptations and allurements of city or town life; and presenting advantages on the <start page 80> score of economy, which are believed to be worthy of notice of parents and guardians having children to educate. The annual expense for Boarding and Tuition inclusive of washing, fuel and lights, will not exceed $125 to $139, in the higher branches of English and in the Classics. Music, Painting, etc. are extra branches, but the price of instruction in these, will be 25 per cent less than the usual charges in the South. [38]

There were two Universalist educational ventures in Georgia during the decade prior to the Civil War. One took place in Griffin in 1855 and was known as the Southern Liberal Institute. William Wallace was the principal, his wife was the principal of the female department, and Charles Shehane was the general agent. [39] How long the school lasted has not been determined. Less successful was a project that began in 1858. That year the Georgia State Universalist Convention passed a resolution to commence a drive to raise $25,000 to establish a denominational high school the site to be determined later. A financial committee was organized which asked Daniel Clayton to solicit stock subscriptions from Universalists and other liberals in the state. His business affairs prevented him from commencing until the spring of 1859. Clayton received subscriptions of stock amounting to between $12,000 and $15,000 and many of the subscribers promised to double their pledge if necessary. Amidst the political excitement of the 1860 presidential election Clayton suspended his efforts in behalf of the high school, but the Civil War doomed the educational project. [40] <start page 81>

The most successful of the Universalist educational ventures in the Southeast still exists. Opening as the Southern Industrial Institute at Camp Hill, Alabama, September 21, 1898, it stressed vocational education. The initial faculty totaled three with Lyman Ward serving as principal. [41] This institution is now the Lyman Ward Military Academy and is under private, non-denominational auspices.

Education helped to lay a foundation upon which the structure of religious liberalism could be expanded. But some Unitarians and Universalists sought more immediate results. Some labored to gain converts in the traditional area of missionary endeavor. Reference has been made to the 1838 trip of twenty-three Unitarian missionaries to southern and western states. Unitarians also had foreign missions in India and Japan. [42] The mission in India attracted interest particularly in 1825 and 1826. [43] Universalists also had missionary interests. Missionary enterprises are not confined to recruiting converts; they had social concerns as well. The destruction of the Civil War called forth humanitarian responses from northern Unitarians in behalf of the defeated South, such as the economic aid given to Charleston. No account of southern missionaries or southern support has been found. <start page 82>

At best the ventures of Unitarians and Universalists in both education and missions were only modestly successful. While neither denomination can be said to have been aggressively committed to involving itself in community affairs, yet both saw the need to witness to the South. Atlanta Unitarians cooperated with other southern Unitarians and the national organization in arranging an exhibit at the Cotton States and Industrial Exposition held in Atlanta in 1895. Atlanta ladies staffed the exhibit, which consisted of books, pictures, and other items. [44] Recognizing the achievements of their faith and aware of the misunderstanding around them, Unitarians saw the Atlanta Exhibit as offering a practical remedy.

Universalist chose the theological debate as a means of addressing the community. Although this form of religious expression was characteristic of the nineteenth century, it sometimes required extended correspondence to arrange the details and agree on the areas of doctrine to be argued. [45] Such debates generally lasted at least three days, with the contenders performing four hours per day. Several of these encounters found Universalist ministers pitted against Methodist and Disciples of Christ minister. [46] <start page 83>

One such debate netted thirty converts to Universalism. Some years after this particular encounter twelve individuals, one a physician, signed a statement professing that their Universalism dated from this experience. All twelve lived about ten miles from Centre Point, Tennessee, the site of the debate. [47]

While education, missions, debates, and other activities all helped to keep liberal religion alive in the South, perhaps denominational publishing was the most important single means of promoting both Unitarianism and Universalism. During the nineteenth century four Unitarian periodicals were published in the Southeast in addition to columns that appeared in several secular newspapers. Attacks by journals of orthodox denominations in South Carolina aroused the Unitarians to strike back. [48] On June 22, 1822, the Unitarian Defendant commenced publication at Charleston, stressing that it was not seeking theological proselytes. [49] The periodical was not attempting to make new Unitarians but to answer the attacks made by the orthodox. Only eleven issues were published, the last on November 16, 1822. In it the conviction was expressed that it was unnecessary to multiply controversial publications when the Christian Disciple in Boston and the Unitarian Miscellany in Baltimore could fulfill this need, except when “local oppression and misrepresentation” occurred. [50] The editor of the short-lived Unitarian Defendant <start page 84> was Martin L. Hurlbut, a layman of the Charleston Unitarian Church, who was assisted by his pastor, Samuel Gilman. [51]

The second Unitarian publication in the Southeast published only three issues: in March, June, and September, 1831. Founded to meet an immediate need the Unitarian Christian was published in Augusta by Stephen G. Bulfinch. Local attacks had been directed against Unitarian ism in Augusta as in Charleston earlier. Bulfinch acknowledged a debt to the Charleston Unitarians who aided and encouraged the periodical by contributing articles and apparently money. [52] A third Unitarian publication was the Unitarian Monitor, a small local paper, issued in Charleston from January 4, 1852 until May 30, 1852. [53] The fourth was the Southern Unitarian, a monthly journal published in Atlanta. The first issue appeared in January, 1893. [54] This enterprise lasted for five years. [55] These four Unitarian journals spanned the period from 1822 until 1898.

In addition to the four Unitarian publications, other denominational periodicals were distributed in the Southeast. The Unitarian Miscellany and Christian Monitor, published at Baltimore by Jared Spark had a wide circulation in the South and maintained agents in both <start page 85> Charleston, South Carolina and Pensacola, Florida, as did the Christian Inquirer that was published in New York City. [56]

Some secular newspapers reprinted Unitarian material from various sources. In 1824 the Cheraw Intelligencer published at Cheraw, South Carolina was reprinting material from the Unitarian Miscellany. The South Carolina editor printed two letters, pro and con, on this policy of using Unitarian news. The negative letter writer discontinued his subscription, but the writer who favored the reprint policy enclosed payment for two subscriptions. [57] Another secular paper that utilized articles on Unitarianism was the Georgian, publishing Savannah by the Unitarian layman, Dr. Richard Arnold. [58]

Book and tract societies provided a significant service for Unitarianism in South Carolina and Georgia. These tracts were not mere one-or two-page missals passed out on street corners. Rather they were generally pamphlets and sometimes even bound volumes of Unitarian sermons and theological writings. The Charleston Unitarian Book and Tract Society was organized May 20, 1821, with thirty-three members. [59] Members paid two dollars a year, and elected nine managers <start page 86> who arranged the purchase and printing of books and pamphlets. An annual meeting was held each May, while the managers met in January, April, July and October to transact necessary business. [60]

When the American Unitarian Association was established the Charleston group used the national tracts, and in 1827 the Charlestonians became an auxiliary of the national association. [61] Samuel Gilman’s sermon at the dedication of the Augusta Unitarian Church December 27, 1827, was published the next year as a forty-three page pamphlet by the Charleston Society. [62] The following year the American Unitarian Association printed this sermon in its series of tracts. [63] Works published by the Charleston Society were sometimes sold by regular booksellers with the proceeds aiding the group. [64] <start page 87>

The Civil Jar destroyed the society but it was reactivated before 1893 when a business session of the Charleston group was held December 10th. [65] This long-lived auxiliary to the Charleston Unitarian Church exerted a strong influence by spreading the doctrines of their denomination, increasing the theological knowledge of their own members and letting others learn Unitarian views. Its output over the years was substantial. In 1854 Samuel Gilman reported that the Charleston Tract Society had printed about sixty tracts in Charleston in addition to the national tracts purchased and about seventy works were issued in bound editions. An average of twenty tracts per year were distributed. [66]

Unitarian tracts were distributed beyond the immediate Charleston area. The American Unitarian Association in 1829 listed agents for <start page 88> its tracts not only in Charleston but also in Augusta, Savannah, and Milledgeville. [67] In 1826 the Charleston Tract Society listed three members from York District (County), South Carolina and one from Milledgeville, Georgia, among the seventy-seven members. [68] Prior to establishing the Augusta Unitarian Book Association, that Georgia community supplied members for the Charleston Society and distributed its tracts in their area. [69] Once the Augusta Association was operating, it also engaged in publishing sermons. [70] Yet another storehouse of religious information was the church library.

The Unitarian churches in Charleston and Atlanta operated libraries. The theological library of Anthony Forster was purchased from his widow to provide the nucleus of the Charleston Unitarian library. [71] In Atlanta the Unitarians had a 1,500 volume library which in 1893 was being opened on Sunday afternoons and two evenings a week.  The following year public interest in the library was sufficient to keep it open four nights a week. [72] <start page 89>

Like their liberal religious partners, nineteenth century Universalists of the Southeast became involved in the publishing business and experimented with numerous short-lived periodicals. Lewis F. W. Andrews, the minister-journalist, was associated with several of them. In 1834 he began publication of the Southern Evangelist at Montgomery, Alabama and later moved it to Charleston, South Carolina. In April, 1838 Andrews and John Gregory, also a minister, established the Evangelical Universalist at Macon, Georgia and for a time issued a weekly edition. [73] It appears that this paper became the Southern Universalist that in 1841 was published in Macon under the editorship of Philo Brownson. This Georgia publication had a Charleston section and evidently served both states for a brief time. [74] Later in his life Andrews attempted another publication, the Christian Crucible, an eight page, semi-monthly in Macon that apparently failed in a short time. [75]

Two other Universalist periodicals were also destined for short lives. One of them was listed in the denominational registers for 1858 and 1859, as The Progressionist, a semi-monthly, published at Newnan, Georgia. It had been owned by Charles Shehane and after his death Reverend J. N. H. Smith of Pulaski, Tennessee edited this journal <start page 90> for the benefit of Shehane family. The other periodical was started by W. C. Bowman as the Atlanta Universalist. In 1880 Daniel Clayton came to Atlanta to assist in this venture. [77] Bowman withdrew from the enterprise in October, 1880 and since Clayton was committed to itinerant preaching, he suspended the paper until 1881 when R. E. Neeld came to Atlanta from Tampa, Florida, and worked on the paper for thirteen months. When Neeld withdrew, Clayton changed the Atlanta Universalist from a weekly to a semi-monthly and arranged with the semi-monthly Universalist Herald of Notasulga Alabama, to appear during alternate weeks. This compact was operative for less than two years, for in 1883 Clayton returned to South Carolina. The Atlanta Universalist then merged with the Universalist Herald. [78]

Of all liberal religious periodicals in the Southeast the Universalist Herald was destined for the longest life. It was founded as the Religious Investigator in June 1847 at Montgomery, Alabama. In 1849 it was moved to Notasulga, Alabama, and changed its name to The Universalist Herald. [79] Charles Shehane, who started this publication, was joined by John C. Burruss in 1849 at the time of the move to Notasulga. [80] Burruss issued a statement of the paper’s <start page 91> purpose in 1850,affirming that it was to promote and defend the Biblical doctrine of Universal salvation. He said that the periodical would publish literature, science, general news, and essays on scriptural interpretation to show that “God will finally destroy sin and misery from the universe, and cause righteousness and peace, to prevail universally.” [81]

The problems of the Herald were shared by many religious periodicals of the nineteenth century. To a subscriber in Fayetteville, Georgia, who complained the paper was delayed a week in the Griffin area, the editor pointed out that he had no control over the paper after it was mailed. In 1855 he printed the laws governing delinquent accounts and stressed that subscriptions automatically continued until subscribers ordered them discontinued. Names of delinquent subscribers were frequently published in a column entitled, “Names of Subscribers who will not Pay.” When a subscriber paid, his name was printed in the paper and this served as a receipt. [82]

The Herald served Universalism throughout the Southeast, appointing, agents in such remote places as Alligator, Florida. [83] During the <start page 92> nineteenth century the paper was both a weekly and a bimonthly. In 1897 it was sold to John N. Bowers and moved to Canon, Georgia where it was published every other week. [84] The Herald has continued into the present century and has helped to make Canon, Georgia a center of Universalist influence.

As already observed, numerous Universalist ministers engaged in journalistic endeavors, some of which were in the secular field. Although the motives of such ministers may often have been financial, they did provide a friendly auxiliary press for the Universalist cause. These secular enterprises were widely advertised in the religious papers. One such enterprise was the Democrat and the Independent Miscellany, two newspapers published in Aberdeen, Mississippi by Daniel B. Clayton. In 1855 he advertised an interesting subscription contest in the Universalist Herald. Clayton announced a $8,657 premium drawing that that was to be held July 4, 1855, if 10,000 subscribers had been gained by that time. The premiums included an eight-room house and lot in Aberdeen or $2,500 in cash, a piano, books, rings, bracelets, watches, sheet music, and 1,000 copies of “Self instructor in phrenology and physiology.” Clayton provided for the contest even if the numerical subscription goal was not reached. If 3,000 subscribers were obtained $2,000 worth of premiums mere to be given; 5,000 subscribers would provide $3,000 in premiums and 7,000 subscribers would provide the full $8,657 if it was determined the additional 3,000 subscribers could not be enlisted. The minister-journalist asserted that this scheme was not gambling since everyone <start page 93> would be gaining a fine new paper. [85] Another Universalist minister, Elias D. Arms, published The Troy Bulletin in Troy, Alabama. [86]

Universalist books were sold at the Herald office as well as by ministers and agents in the various areas of the Southeast. [97] The books together with the periodicals gave some people their first impressions of Universalism. For both Unitarians and Universalists the printed word was a strong tool in the producing of the morale of a religious minority among a sometimes hostile majority.

The varied church activities of Unitarians and Universalists provided the vehicles for their expression of liberal religious convictions in the Southeast. Worship services, Sunday Schools, educational ventures, missionary enterprises, and particularly publications enabled the religious liberals to provide a minority voice amidst the orthodox stronghold. This voice did not speak with uniformity. Due to the congregational government of Unitarians and Universalists, variations of belief would influence the activities of individual congregations. Uniformity of opinion was not a trademark of these loosely organized religious groups. They engaged in cooperation beyond the local unit in the form of state conventions, regional organizations, and their national conventions. These larger bodies brought together lay and clerical representatives, and <start page 94> resolutions were drafted but without binding authority on individuals members or congregations.

Thus the educational and publication enterprises bore the stamp of individualism.  The Southern Industrial Institute at Camp Hill, Alabama reflected the personality of Lyman Ward rather than Universalism in general. The various publications reflected the editor’s and his writers’ opinions and were not official organs of a denomination. This fact can present frustrations to one seeking to generalize about the views held by religious liberals of the Southeast.  These individuals collectively comprised a minority that was not always understood by the majority.  Their orthodox neighbors tended to generalize about the views held by the religious minority and at time hostility was expressed.  The degree of this hostility is part of the story of Unitarians and Universalists as they confronted their society. <start page 95>

Chapter V. Confronting Society

The perception of religious liberalism in the Southeast varied from both place to place and time to time. In an age of sectarian rivalries religious disputes were common. The large denominations attacked each other while still informing the minorities that their heresies were not forgiven. Points of doctrinal difference among the orthodox divided the major denominations, but they united in objecting to the liberal groups. Thomas Belsham, the noted English Unitarian, observed that “in England the spirit of the times is more liberal than the spirit of the laws. In America it is the reverse; and the bigotry of individuals sometimes labours to counteract the unlimited freedom of faith and worship, which is the glory of the Constitution of the United States.” [1] Some intolerance was expressed in deeds and some only in words. Publications of the various denominations engaged in verbal arguments. The attitude of some of the orthodox periodicals spurred Unitarian and Universalist use of journalism. In the second quarter of the nineteenth century Charleston Unitarians responded to <start page 96> criticism of their faith by Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist publications. [2] Universalist also counterattacked in books and periodicals. [3] Universalism was challenged particularly by questions <start page 97> of morel tendency. Some orthodox critics charged that Universalism removed the fear of God, and led to decline in ethical standards and to sinful behavior. Moral tendency had been a test applied in New England during the Unitarian controversy that debated whether the orthodox or the liberals had the “superior tendency to form an elevated religious character. [4] Some opponents of Universalism charged that disbelief in hell led to immorality. Daniel Clayton encountered this argument during his itinerant preaching. He reported that a minister in eastern North Carolina stated that if Universalism were true, he would not mind cutting someone’s throat for money. [5] This argument of moral tendency was an issue in the Pierce-Shehane debate, the 1850 Methodist-Universalist clash. Lovick Pierce charged that Universalism led to wickedness because all people would achieve bliss and hence religion would not he needed. Charles Shehane brought counter charges against. Methodism on the question of moral tendency. Shehane accused Methodists of teaching that all the world’s sin had been put on Christ and He had been punished for those sins before the modern sinner was born. Shehane felt that Methodists emphasized the pleasures of sin and if it were not for the restraints of human laws modern man would seek to sin since the <start page 98> amount of sins committed could all be charged against Christ’s punishment. Christ’s death paid for many sins just as much as for few sins and hence Methodists were preaching a dangerous doctrine. [6]

Debates were not the only arenas for religious differences. Threats to disturb Universalist services wore not unknown. Daniel Clayton faced these threats from time to time, but they usually amounted to little. While conducting religious services at the courthouse in Sandersville, Georgia, in 1846 some of the orthodox threatened that they would run him out of town, but he delivered a long discourse without, disturbance. During a Clayton sermon delivered on July 4, 1881 some firecrackers were set off in front of the hall. [7]

Providing locations for itinerant Universalist preaching also afforded opportunities for friction between denominations. On one occasion in 1848 or 1849 a relative of Clayton arranged for Universalist preaching at a Hardshell Baptist church in Greene County, Alabama. It was rumored that reconsideration of the offer took place and the Baptists agreed to hold their service and then leave the church doors open so Clayton could preach. The Universalist preacher declined entering the church but preached near the front door with the ladies sitting inside the church and the men standing outside. In 1881 it was proposed that Universalists and Presbyterians share the use of a schoolhouse for a Sunday, but a few Presbyterians resisted this arrangement. [8] <start page 99>

Despite these examples of tension, relations between liberals and orthodox denominations were sometimes cordial. In 1833 the Charleston Unitarian Tract Society reported that “no attack has been made upon us by Christians of other denominations in this city, for the last five years. A more catholic and liberal spirit is beginning to prevail.” [9] A liberal Presbyterian approached Charleston Unitarians about purchasing a complete library of American Unitarian Association tracts to present to a southern school. [10] When unprecedented cold weather struck Charleston in January, 1893, and ecumenical relief committee aided blacks and whites, the Unitarian pastor serving as the treasurer of this group. [11] When Charleston Unitarians closed their church for summer vacation in 1894, the Methodist pastor cordially invited the Unitarians to worship with his group. [12] Charleston Unitarians had the advantage of being a long established part of the life of their city, and this may have created more toleration for their congregation.

The more rural Universalists had both good relations with their neighbors and frequent misunderstandings. Despite what they might think of liberal doctrine, some of the orthodox Christians acknowledged the good character of individual Universalists. A group of women at Goosepond in Oglethorpe County, Georgia attacked Universalism, <start page 100> but one elderly widow insisted that no matter what was said about Universalism that Manoah Bolton, a wealthy Universalist, was the best friend of the poor widows in the neighborhood. [13] In 1879 Baptists of Camp Hill, Alabama requested that Daniel Clayton preach at their church on Saturday evening. [14] In 1888 when Clayton preached at Ringgold, Georgia a Methodist and a Baptist preacher attended and both were cordial to him. [15]

Sometimes friendships developed between orthodox and liberal ministers. In 1875 A. B. Woodfin, a native Virginian, became the Baptist pastor in Columbia, South Carolina, and Clayton attended the Baptist service where he heard allusions to Universalism which prompted him to write a letter to Woodfin. He met the Baptist minister as Woodfin was on his way to Clayton’s hotel. The Baptist said that he had used the sermon in Alabama where lived some professed Universalist who he believed were wicked. Woodfin declined to hold a public discussion in Columbia, because it would give Clayton a larger audience to advertise Universalism. Clayton appreciated this candor and for two years the Woodfin family boarded at the Clayton hotel. The two ministers shared a study room where they had friendly discussions. [16]

Relations between the orthodox and religious liberals were not always confined to publications, church activities, and individual <start page 101> contacts. Despite constitutional guarantees, religious intolerance erupted in both legal and political fields. For example, on January 17, 1840, in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, A. A. Bell, a medical doctor, and his father, James Bell, witnessed David Patton murdering Miles Jenning. The trial was held in the court of Judge Garnett Andrews of Lexington, Georgia in April, 1841. Joseph H. Lumpkin, the defense attorney, protested the Bells as witnesses due to their Universalist belief. After a mistrial the case was postponed for about a year, and the suspect escaped without recapture. [17] The judge had held that the testimony of those who did not believe in eternal punishment was not as valid as that of an orthodox believer. On November 13, 1841, a bill was introduced in the Georgia state legislature to correct this situation. Ten days later by a vote of seventy-six to nine any disability in court testimony due to religious opinions was removed. [18] Judge Andrews was defected as the Know-Nothing <start page 102> candidate for governor in the Georgia election in 1855, and his role in depriving Universalists of their rights to testify was an issue in the election.  Progress was made so that no judge dared the political consequences of depriving any citizens of their political rights because of their religion. [19]

The removal in 1834 of Thomas Cooper as South Carolina College President has shown the religious conservatism of that state. [20] This mood apparently persisted and late in the century helped to precipitate an unpleasant state of affairs.  In 1891 Governor Benjamin J. Tillman, the leader of the agrarian political movement of South Carolina, recommended to the legislature the reorganization of the state university, with a resulting teaching staff reduction from twenty-five to thirteen. One of those dismissed was William J. Alexander, a Unitarian and Professor of Logic and Rhetoric. [21] Since the Trustees <start page 103> had questioned him on matters of religion, he considered that this was the reason for his dismissal and a controversy developed. [22] The dismissal created divisions within the state, some considering it a display of religious discrimination and others crediting it to the reorganization alone. The vestry of the Charleston Unitarian Church passed resolutions that cited the tax-supported nature of the university; that charged a religious test had been applied to Alexander; that discrimination was being practiced; and that “in the dismissal of Professor Alexander for his religious views not only has South Carolina College lost one of its ablest and most distinguished professors, but the cause of religion has been injured more than it has been helped by those who profess to be its friends.” [23] Ira B. Jones, Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives denied that the Alexander case involved religious persecution but that there was just no place for the professor on the faculty due to the reorganization. Jones stated that “the friends of Dr. Alexander do him a great injustice by posing him as a martyr to religious convictions on so slight foundation.” [24] Alexander replied to Jones with information that he could not publish all the evidence in his favor in order to preserve confi[dence] (Archivist: assumed completion of hyphenated word in original document which is incomplete) but that one of the trustees had authorized him to publish what he <start page 104> had said to Alexander on the day before the second meeting of the board. That trustee had said, “Professor, I think I know the feeling of all the trustees toward you, and can say that, while they all appreciate your ability and high character, your religious views, and nothing but your religious views, will cause your removal. ” [25]

The dismissal of Alexander led to religious controversy. Two ministers particularly entered the fray. G. A. Blackburn, pastor or the Second Presbyterian Church in Columbia, “commended” the trustees and H. A. Whitman, pastor of the Charleston Unitarians, “censured” them. [26] One South Carolina newspaper, the Manning Times, considered the religious question of enough significance to observe that “it is barely possible that an investigation of the infidel views and teachings of some other professors is in order.” [27] A woman wrote a letter to The State, an anti-administration newspaper in Columbia, attesting to her own orthodoxy but championing Professor Alexander. She argued that “right living is of far greater moment than orthodoxy of belief. The State College is not a theological seminary and should have no ‘Thirty-Nine Articles’ for the faculty to subscribe.” [28]

Governor Tillman had written Alexander a private letter on April 22, 1891 saying:

I cannot refrain from giving expression to my own feelings in the matter and to say that while I <start page 105> fear your open avowal of such doubts will inevitably sever your connection with the college I do not share in the slightest in the feeling which will cause men to cry out against you and demand your dismissal. The masses of mankind inherit their religion and have no well-defined opinion on this subject. In proportion as they are ignorant are they bigoted–but I must not trespass further on your time or patience. I only desired to let you know that I do not share such feelings. [29]

On May 18, 1891, Alexander asked the governor for permission to publish this letter but Tillman refused stating “that as I am not a professor of religion of any kind, I would not like to appear before the public in the role of a critic.” Although denying permission to publish he said he would make a statement if needed. [30] Alexander requested this and the statement was provided May 20, 1891 with Tillman contending that the college reorganization plan led to Alexander’s dismissal and not the religious issue. [31] <start page 106>

The Charleston Sun published a reference to Tillman’s first letter to Alexander in which the governor expressed sympathy for the dismissed professor. Alexander wrote Tillman that he did not know how the Sun came to publish this private letter. A few days later Alexander wrote and informed Tillman that the governor’s public statement about the affair was not satisfactory and questioned the facts presented by the governor in the matter. [32] Sides were taken, newspapers defending the governor or upholding the deposed teacher.

The State in Columbia expressed support for Alexander. The editor stated that although religious liberty was a part of our national foundation there is always the danger of the religious majority seeking to impose its beliefs on the minority. The Columbia editor felt that there was no evidence that Alexander had influenced any students towards skepticism or Unitarianism or in any way affected the Christian faith of his students. [33] Exchange continued, Tillman asserting that Alexander was “ungenerous and ungentlemanly” and repeating that:

the chair which he occupied would have been abolished if he had never mentioned his religion. Instead of being a martyr to truth he now appears to want to make <start page 107> merchandise out of his religion, and seems to be one who would elevate himself in the opinion of mankind by the cry of persecution. [34]

Alexander referred to the governor’s “slight mistakes” and said that “it is another ‘slight mistake’ to say that I accused him of deliberate falsehood at all, and when I saw that my metaphor was misunderstood I immediately disclaimed any intention of charging him with falsehood.” [35] By continuing long afterwards to argue the case partisans publicized the fate of a minority religion when confronted by majority politics.

Religious liberals were not only involved in strictly religious pursuits concerning their own unique theologies, but they also found themselves part of the everyday life of their time. The attitude of Unitarians and Universalists toward various nineteenth century social and intellectual movements has not always been easy to determine, but isolated references focus on some aspects. Both denominations expressed interest in the Lyceum. The Lyceum presented the only organized lecture program for many American communities during the nineteenth century. The visiting speakers covered a wide range of subjects designed to enlighten and instruct their audiences. Prior to the organization of this cultural attribute in Savannah, the Unitarian lecture room was used for an illustrated lecture on astronomy. [36] When a meeting was held to organize a Savannah Lyceum, the Unitarian Richard Arnold was one of three selected <start page 108> to draft a constitution. [37] The editor of the Southern Universalist endorsed the Lyceum in 1841 but cautioned against the introduction of sectarian issues into the programs. [38] Even after the heyday of the Lyceum movement related activities continued, W. R. Cole, the Atlanta Unitarian pastor, for example, delivered three lectures on Buddhism in 1893. [39]

The interesting remedies and fads of nineteenth century life affected at least one Universalist publication. The Universalist Herald carried advertisements for books dealing with the water cure, diet, and phrenology. One such public notice stated that a book showed the “water cure applied to every known disease — a new theory.” [40] This particular paper did not state whether the application “cured” every known disease! How much faith the Universalist editor had in these theories and how much his motivation for accepting such advertising might have been strictly mercenary is a matter of conjecture.

In the antebellum South many “isms” were suspect, but there were at least two reforms that enlisted support. They were temperance and the establishment of asylums for the insane. A Unitarian welcomed throughout the South was Dorthea Lynde Dix who had been a teacher of William Ellery Channing’s children. Miss Dix labored in South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia to persuade state legislatures to build and improve asylums for the insane. She did not speak on the issue of slavery, <start page 109> knowing, that the South would be closed to her if she involved herself in such a controversy. After the Civil War she returned to South Carolina seeking to further her cause. [41]

Unitarians of the Southeast were also active in the temperance crusade. The Unitarian Christian of Augusta joined in advocating this reform, stating that “a portion of its pages will be devoted to the general advancement of morality and religion, especially to the great cause of Temperance. [42]

Samuel Gilman, the Charleston pastor, was also active in temperance work in both South Carolina and Georgia. The editor of the Unitarian Christian recommended in 1831 that the address delivered by Gilman at the anniversary of the South Carolina Temperance Society be read by “friends of this holy cause in Augusta.

Some considered temperance in manner of its dictionary definition, but many who paraded under that banner considered that kind of “temperance” too weak. The Augusta Unitarian periodical carried a plea for total abstinence and advocated “never tasting” intoxicating liquor. [44] These regional temperance activities were not unique to Southern Unitarianism. There was a national Unitarian Temperance Society, and in 1882 and 1891 temperance resolutions advocating total abstinence were adopted by the National Unitarian Conference. [45] <start page 110>

Practical realization of temperance goals found various advocates among Unitarians. Some were interested in teaching temperance lessons to the older children in the Sunday Schools, while others saw a possible application to the South of the Swedish Gothenburg Plan of liquor regulation by state monopoly. [46] But other Unitarians were involved at various times during the nineteenth century in the sale and distribution of intoxicating beverages. S. Philbrick, Savannah Unitarian layman, while operating an auction sales firm offered wine, whiskey, and gin. [47]

More benevolent was the behavior of Unitarian missionaries, who in aiding Charleston after the Civil War, used part of their money to purchase gin, whiskey, brandy, and wine for the people in need. [48]

The United States Convention of Universalists meeting in Akron, Ohio in September, 1843 passed a resolution advocating temperance. [49] Southern Universalists were also interested in the cause, and they <start page 111> appear to have worked through existing temperance organizations such as the Knights of Jericho and the Sons of Temperance. [50]

A rumor circulated that Daniel Clayton had been expelled from the Baptist denomination due to drunkenness, but since he had never been intoxicated in his life this did not concern him. In a letter to his wife, Clayton spoke of some ministers who had engaged in whiskey blockade running, apparently during the Civil War. He referred to this as that “disreputable and demoralizing traffic. All such men ought to be sent to the penitentiary, and made to work there for their meat and bread, for they are a curse to the communities in which they operate.” [51] But another Universalist preacher showed another side of the temperance issue when he spoke of a drunkard and immortality:

Is not the drunkard to be pitied as well as blamed in his down-trodden condition? Does he not suffer sufficiently here? Is it good logic to say that he will be punished here and hereafter? — What is drunkenness but the effect of excess in drinking; — and suppose a professed Christian was to experience death from indulging in eating to excess, would it not appear a hardship that he should also suffer <start page 112> endless punishment in the future for the same misfortune? [52]

Generally temperance was an issue which united the orthodox denominations and the religious liberals.

Religious liberalism did not necessarily foster political radicalism. When Unitarianism gained ground in New England the adherents of the new theology tended to be political and economic conservatives. [53] Some of the early Charleston Unitarians may well have been Federalists, particularly those coming from the North. Some of them were later to show an affinity for Whiggery. As they sought to water the exotic flower of liberal theology in a southern clime many of these people seem to have steered clear of political controversy. The 1833 Report of the Charleston Unitarian Tract Society noted that “the past year, however, has been a season of extraordinary political excitement throughout the country, and especially in South Carolina. The minds of men have been too much occupied about the things of time and sense.” The nullification crisis would be only one of many political diversions far church congregations. As the sectional issue influenced politics more and more, some religious liberals became more outspoken. [55] <start page 113>

Universalist ministers tended to follow their area in matters of politics. Daniel Clayton was described as a “staunch follower of John C. Calhoun and a firm believer in States’ Rights.” [56] The newspaper published in Troy, Alabama by Elias Arms, another Universalist minister, expressed its dedication to the principles of Jefferson, to States’ Rights, and to a strict construction of the United States Constitution. [57]

The American Party agitation, which grew out of the Know Nothing movement, involved some Universalists. The Herald advertised a Know Nothing publication of Alabama that was to publish pro and con articles. No record of the religious affiliation of the publisher of the Know Nothing journal has been found. His name was James T. Osborn but nothing has been found of his background or the fate of his publication. [58] Daniel Clayton considered the Know Nothing attempt of 1855 to deprive Roman Catholics of political office an attack on religious liberty. This Universalist minister worked energetically for the Democratic Party in order to defeat the Know Nothings. [59] <start page 114>

Georgia gubernatorial elections of 1855 presented another political challenge for Universalism. B. H. Overby, a Methodist, was the temperance candidate for Georgia governor and while speaking in Fayette, Georgia he asked if there were any in the audience who did not believe in God or in future rewards and punishments. When told there were, he replied that “than, such should enlist under the banner of Temperance, for if your hopes are bounded by this world, you should, by all means seek to make it a paradise, and this can never be done as long as there remains a grogship in it.” [60] Overby was criticized for lumping together atheists and Universalists, the Herald advising that “we hope the Universalists of Georgia will remember Mr. O’s unjust classification, and govern themselves accordingly. Bigotry is despicable enough at any time and it is more so, when foisted into the political arena.” [61]

Events in Kansas and the general turbulence of the late l850’s increased southern political temperature on the eve of the presidential election of 1860. [62] A short time after the election Richard Arnold wrote a friend in Philadelphia warning that since the North was ruled by men like William H. Seward, Charles Sumner, Henry Wilson, Horace Greeley, and Henry Ward Beecher the South could not remain a part of the Union. He particularly attacked Seward and Sumner, charging them with pulling down the United States Constitution for personal gain. Referring to the election of 1860, Arnold observed <start page 115> that “the very state which decided the election of the buffoon Lincoln refused to admit the negroes to a political equality and his own State refused the free negro a habitation within its limits. Glorious consistency!” [63] Clayton recorded that he and other southerners believed Lincoln’s election indicated that a majority in the North would use the power of the national government to make war on the social institutions of the South. [64]

The 1860 election had focused national attention on the lingering controversy over slavery. The roles of Unitarians and Universalists in this controversy demonstrates how regional attitudes influence religious institutions. The involvement of northern Unitarians in abolitionism poses the question of the attitude of their southern brethren. Is it true, as some have asserted, that no Unitarians defended slavery in the pulpit? [65] It would appear that while most Unitarian ministers in the Southeast did not commit themselves publicly on this issue, Unitarian laymen behaved otherwise. One such layman was the Savannah physician Richard D. Arnold. Although <start page 116> born in Georgia, Arnold had family roots in the North. [66] He defended slavery, attacked abolitionists, and predicted civil war if they continued their agitation. [67] Arnold reflected the typical southerner’s everyday concerns with slavery. He wrote a woman in Pennsylvania in 1848 about selling slaves for the benefit of an estate and reported that “it is necessary, for humanity’s sake, to sell negroes in families.” [68] When he contemplated taking his ill wife for a visit <start page 117> to their daughter’s home in Philadelphia, he was tormented by both the prospect that abolitionists might seize any slave taken along to care for his wife and the Georgia law that prevented him from returning to the state a Negro he might free. [69] Arnold expressed his satisfaction with slavery when he wrote his daughter in 1854 that “I do not believe anybody North or South has better servants than we have. God knows I should be very unwilling to exchange them for mere hirelings.” [70]

Southern Universalists were also apologists for slavery. A minister in Huntsville, Alabama, J. M. H. Smith, wrote the Universalist Herald in 1855, charging northern Universalist abolitionists with disrupting the unity of the denomination. A northerner had asserted that the Universalist denomination was shamed because of the course of Universalist ministers in the South. Smith denied these charges and called for a southern convention to encourage the southern press and pass resolutions protecting southern property. He expressed the wish that the two branches of the church remain in a unified denomination, but he believed the painful duty called for a split. [71] Smith had lived in the South for ten years. He declared that he did not intend to “defend the evils of slavery. That there are evils-in that and all other institutions, I also contend. Name an evil, or an abuse of society, where slavery exists, and I will direct you to an equivalent where it does not exist.” [72] He considered the abolitionists <start page 118> unfair in criticizing the Universalist Herald because it would not “depart from the laws, institutions, and customer of the country where it is published.” [73] The defense of slavery by Unitarians and Universalists appears to have been grounded in regional loyalty, rather than in seeking to prove the inherent ”rightness of slavery by using scriptural support as did so many of the spokesmen of orthodox groups.

The war caught up ministers and laymen alike, and they expressed their sectional loyalty in both word and deed. James L. C. Griffin, a Universalist minister, was in Williamsburg, Virginia during the hostilities and on August 21, 1863 he noted in his diary that “this day by proclamation of our beloved President, is appointed as a day of Prayer and Fasting among the people of the C. S. I have been using, with some modifications, the Prayer of our country.” [74]

Reference has already been made to Daniel Clayton’s military service.  He proclaimed that he tried to do “his duty as a loyal citizen of the Southern Confederacy.” [75] He once complimented two Union soldiers for their acts of humanity to his family and he looked back on the war latter as a necessity. [76] Clayton summed up the war declaring that:

It was best for the defeated party in the struggle that is should have resulted as it did. Slavery, as an institution, was inherently wrong in principle doubtless, and as such, was bound to perish before the <start page 119> advancing civilization of the world. But it was so completely interwoven in the social fabric of this Southern section of the Union that, the principles of human action being, as has always been too exclusively-the case thus far in the world’s history, based on selfishness it could not have been eliminated excepting by violence. Such being the case, procrastination of the evil day would have tended only to magnify the horrors of the struggle, on the arrival of the ‘impending crisis.’ Viewing the subject from this posterior stand-point, the writer rejoices that the result has occurred, and that the settlement of the question has not been left as a bloody heritage to a coming generation. [77]

Some southern Unitarians and Universalists suggested that slavery was the only method of “correct” race regulation. The degree that the racial inequalities of slavery disturbed the conscience of religious people may never be known. Little evidence has been preserved detailing; relations between religious liberals and the black population. Samuel Gilman, reporting on the black members of Charleston Unitarian Church in 1852, stated that “owning to the absence of efficient leaders, the colored portion of the communicants has generally been in a state of decline, in spite of my constant and earnest efforts to prevent it.” [78] Gilman’s deliberate silence on the issue of slavery appears to explain the lack of more information on the status of blacks in the church.

David Harris was a mulatto slave who served as a plantation foreman and learned to read and write. He attempted to learn Greek to aid his Bible study. Harris sat on doorsteps and listened to singing school and thus learned to read musical notes and later taught music <start page 120> himself. He spoke of religion with his master and came to accept Universalism, the faith of the master’s family. This intelligent slave subscribed to the Universalist Herald and named a son Hosea for the noted Universalist leader Hosea Ballou. This black religious liberal taught school and filled colored pulpits of the orthodox groups. He served two generations of the same family, and the daughter of the second-generation master said that “my father often declared that he had never found David guilty of falsehood or any of the low vices common to his race.” [79] The latter part of this statement reflects the stereotype and would suggest that white religious liberals viewed the black man in much the same way as other whites.

After the Civil War religious liberals still shared many racial attitudes commonly held by southerners. After the hostilities Amory D. Mayo, a northerner who had been both a Universalist and Unitarian minister, wrote somewhat favorably of slavery referring to the Negro as lacking:

the virile experience of centuries of battling for his rights, and has had less of practical slavery and oppression than the masses of any European people. On the other hand, his period of bondage was the mildest and the most instructive and healthful in history. The slave-holders were the superior class of their section; and, with ordinary exceptions, their handling of the slaves was in some ways an uplifting discipline. [80]

The destruction of slavery forced the South into the mainstream of capital-labor relations. Southerners soon faced some of the same <start page 121> social problems as northerners. Illustrative of this was a series of three lectures in January 1893 at the Atlanta Unitarian Church. The first was titled “The Power and Dignity of Labor,” the second “The Present Position of the Working-man in Relation to Capital,” and third “The Future Position of the Workingman in Relation to Capital.” [81] At the Southern Conference of Unitarians in 1895 a speaker posed the question “will the development  of Negro labor to the agitation and troubles which accompany industrial communities in other parts of the world and to socialistic complications?” [82]

The changed situation in the, using hired labor rather than slaves, brought new viewpoints to the surface. The economic goals of the “New South” were shared by many liberals. The views of men like Henry Grady had an appeal. [83] Many felt that, that the South would find prosperity in industrialization. Some pointed to problems that would be faced with the “laboring class,” a class that was not too well understood by southern agrarians.

One aspect of the labor question illustrates the feeling religious liberals had towards the “new immigration,” with its religious and cultural differences. Fear of the laboring class was expressed by some of the religious liberals. Amory Mayo was one of those who <start page 122> saw in the South a possible arena for helping the nation to control what he considered the “lower side of European civilisation” that had swelled the American labor market. He feared danger for the country from immigrants with ideas disliked by conservatives in the United States. He summed up his feeling that the South could help this problem with his conviction that the:

time may not be in the far future when the solid Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, conservative South will be a welcome ally in a dozen great Northern States, now virtually in the hands of “the lower orders” in as many overcrowded cities. South Carolina may yet return to Massachusetts the good office of helping to bring her back to the Union, by coming up in true American style, to “the help of the Lord against the mighty” who are plotting, in our Athens, to establish a rule of priest-craft which is repudiated even under the shadow of the Vatican in Rome. [84]

William Weeden, a writer for the Southern Unitarian, shared this cautious attitude toward immigrant laborers, but he also saw a chance for the South to solve the problem. He thought many of the immigrants were “rude” but that they could be assimilated gradually. He said that even the “polak” has cultivated fields abandoned by the lumbering interests and has thus contributed to the nation. Wooden considered the farm and homestead a conservative answer to urbanization with its importation of political ideas harmful to the United States. In his view the “South has great industrial possibilities but their industry will be combined with agriculture” and thus a conservative social order could be maintained. [85] <start page 123>

Despite the social and economic conservatism displayed by some of the theological liberals, others appreciated socialism and endeavored to explain and espouse its views to their religious compatriots. Mrs. Viola Neblett of Greenville, South Carolina considered the socialistic views of Edward Bellamy a goal for which mankind should strive. She pointed out historical examples of property being held in common by Greeks, Romans, and early Christians. Mrs. Neblett considered capital-labor conflict as witnessed in strikes and arbitration a necessary and healthy transition to the period when the workers would own the corporations in which they labored. She sought to show that “not each for self, but each for all is the higher law.” [86]

The so-called “Social gospel” that would influence Protestant theology in the early twentieth century was previewed by some nineteenth century liberals. In 1895 the concern of the church to develop a social conscience was cited by W. R. Cole, the Atlanta Unitarian pastor. He was critical of the church’s historical stance that poverty was a permanent condition for the world. He considered that the church did not have the power and means to cure the problem, but that society as a whole could accomplish the task of abolishing poverty. Cole applauded the growing secularization of charity since the physical welfare of people should be the concern of the state and society as a whole. He considered that the church had the great <start page 124> obligation of developing a social conscience for society. [87] He summed up his solution of poverty when he declared that:

the specialist is to discover the remedy, society is to apply it, and the church all the while is to be the quickener and the educator of the moral standards and conditions of men, out of which will proceed an atmosphere and life of justice and common sense that shall demand that every man, woman and child’s physical body shall have a chance to grow and be healthy, every mind an opportunity to develop itself, every conscience a vision of justice, and a chance to choose between right and wrong. [88]

The involvement of women like Mrs. Neblett in the economic and social concerns of the time illustrates the fact that some religious liberals were not adverse to an increased role for women in society. Some felt that this should include the political right of suffrage. When the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association met in Atlanta January 31 to February 5, 1895, one of the delegates wrote an account of the meeting which was used in the Southern Unitarian. [89]

Women increasingly involved themselves in the social concerns of their communities. The Unitarian women of Greenville, South Carolina, even without an organized church, were active in many areas. When the Spanish-American War brought an influx of servicemen to their community, these women spearheaded a drive for books and magazines that could be distributed to soldiers stationed in Greenville. [90] <start page 125>

As the nineteenth century closed the Unitarians and Universalists of the Southeast looked back on brief periods of intolerance when some of the orthodox attacked them in word and deed. But examples of friendship from those outside their faith were also recalled. They had shared in reform movements such as temperance and in defense of slavery and loyalty to the Confederate States. Generally, the religious liberals of the New South had been conservative regarding labor-capital relations and other controversial issues, but a few had spoken out for socialism and other social and economic innovations.

The Unitarians and Universalists of the Southeast were a tiny minority that, unlike the Amish and similar small religious groups, did not seek to isolate themselves from the normal historical process. These religious liberals preserved their own denominational existence by a general conformity to the attitudes of their region. Particularly during the heat of the abolition controversy, one can surmise that they would not have survived, as a group, if they had followed northern Unitarian and Universalist attitudes toward slavery. They paid the price of survival by conforming. Their confrontation with their society had preserved a small outpost of liberal theology in a region marked by the strength of orthodox denominations. <start page 126>

Chapter VI. Concluding Observations

The Bible was the constant, companion of nineteenth century religious liberals of the Southeast. Both Samuel Gilman in Charleston and Daniel Clayton in his itinerant preaching relied upon it for their theology. John Burruss, in his long-lived Universalist Herald, quoted and explained Biblical passages. In his debates with representatives of various denominations, Charles Shehane used the Bible to support his arguments. While some religious liberals gained inspiration from rational treatises, they usually found the Bible comforting in times of grief and discouragement.

Much has been written of southern liberalism’s debt to the Deism of men like Thomas Jefferson. Like southern religious liberalism Deism rejected creeds. However, Deism led to a more impersonal Deity than that which sustained southeastern Unitarians and Universalists of the nineteenth century. The often-used illustration of Deism’s God winding the universe as a giant clock and then abandoning it to natural law does not seem to fit the view of southeastern liberals. Their concept of God stressed His loving concern for the plight of men.

Because they sought the religion of Jesus rather than the religion about Jesus, nineteenth century religious liberals were setting the stage for the fundamentalist-modernist controversy that would agitate the larger denominations in the early twentieth century. <start page 127>

The scarcity of full-time ministers hampered the growth of the liberal churches in the Southeast. Churches that depended upon occasional preaching by traveling ministers proved ineffective. Some congregations, the Unitarians of Savannah and Mobile for example, survived after losing their ministers, but generally survival was short-lived.

The southeastern liberal ministry of the nineteenth century presented interesting and varied personalities. Some were informally trained famer-preachers, others were formally educated. In either case, their influence extended well beyond the liberal denominations they served. In a sense they played the role of devil’s advocate for many in the orthodox groups. An outspoken liberal minister often forced the orthodox church member to re-examine his traditional theology. How many liberal converts resulted from this questioning is purely speculative. Equally speculative is the extent to which this questioning strengthened orthodoxy.

The various church activities were not simply channels for liberal theology. They reflected a spirit of belonging. Liberal denominations that did not offer a full program of activities faced the possibility of losing members. It was not doctrinal viewpoints alone that attracted and hold members. A nation of “joiners” needed activities to escape loneliness. In an isolated rural area church activities were thus a particularly effective magnet. Despite such activities and the efforts of their liberal ministers, Unitarians and Universalists of the Southeast found their gains offset by losses. Those religious liberals did not enjoy the luxury of watching a constant <start page 128> and steady expansion of numerical strength. They remained a distinct minority throughout the nineteenth century. These nineteenth century religious liberals wanted to practice the religion that Jesus Himself had practiced, rather than a religion that relegated Jesus to a dogmatic object of worship. They saw Jesus as a source of inspiration, believing He had taught that a loving God was the hope of mankind. This became their guiding principle.

Liberal religion in the Southeast during the nineteenth century was marked by small congregations. While many of them were short-lived, a few tenaciously held their ground. Overall, liberal churches made little impact on nineteenth century religious life in the Southeast.

Because they were rural in both origin and outlook, Universalists were weakened by migrations from the rural areas. While all denominations were influenced by these shifts in population, minority denominations probably faced the greater frustrations from expressions of intolerance. They may therefore have viewed migration as a partial answer to their difficulties. Migration may have helped some individual religious liberals, but the numerical strength of their churches suffered because of the moves to urban areas.

Within their society, Unitarians and Universalists often faced an uphill struggle against a hostile majority. Examples of intolerance ranged from attacks against them by orthodox periodicals to the deprivation of political rights. The latter was well illustrated by the Oglethorpe County, Georgia, oath case when Judge Andrews would not allow the testimony of two witnesses to a murder because they were Universalists. The unpopularity of liberal theology led to the <start page 129> dismissal of Professor Alexander from the faculty of the University of South Carolina. When Unitarians and Universalists were attacked they explained their views. By this exercise they sought to arouse the conscience of the majority and to illustrate what they understood to be the meaning of religious freedom and separation of church and state.

These nineteenth century religious liberals were plagued by the age-old question of Christian interpretation. Was the Kingdom of God to be realized on earth, here and now, or only in some distant “eternity”? Increasingly religious liberals saw hope for man, here and now, by the application of rational solutions to human problems Some nineteenth century liberals placed emphasis on ethical aspects of man’s relations with man. Basically, however, Unitarians and Universalists of the Southeast were concerned with man’s relationship to God. Their roots were in a spiritual realm rather than in a strict pursuit of rational solutions to man’s earthly problems. Beyond man’s reason was a transcending faith that man’s future was not independent of God. The God worshipped by these southeastern liberals had not abandoned man to his own devices. This was particularly evident in the cardinal doctrine of the Universalists that decreed all men would eventually be blessed by a loving and just God.

These religious liberals believed that God would eventually provide the perfection desired, but most of them, faced with the pressures of daily association with members of orthodox groups, were practical minded enough to adjust. Men like Richard Arnold could strongly espouse religious liberalism and just as strongly defend slavery. Conservative reaction in labor relations was as evident among <start page 130> religious liberals as among the orthodox. On most of the controversial political and social issues of the nineteenth century religious liberals of the Southeast either accepted the majority viewpoint or maintained a discreet silence.

The membership of these denominations in the Southeast was marked by numerous doctors, lawyers, journalists, merchants, and others that attest to an upper middle class following. Those with enough social and economic position were better able to preserve an independent religious stance. A for individuals that stood in the esteem of their communities may have had a greater influence than we can document. Reference was made to the liberal Presbyterian who bought Unitarian tracts to present to a southern library. Possibly others in orthodox denominations modified their own theologies as they made contact with respected Unitarians or Universalists. This is mere speculation and the influence in this area was probably very small.

Since both denominations were strictly congregational in church government, the realm of individual difference is apparent. With no binding creed or profession of faith, the wide degree of attitudes held quietly by some of these religious liberals may never be known. How much did the outward conformity mask inner doubts and frustrations? If only more personal journals could be found that might reveal what some of these Unitarians and Universalists really thought about the controversial issues. Yet again the outer conformity might have been in harmony with the inner conviction.

The overall importance of both groups was meager. But their mere survival may have demonstrated limited success. At least they <start page 131> kept alive a minute liberal theology. Even among the more orthodox this might be considered a blessing. The mere presence of Unitarian and Universalists churches in the region might have “saved” some individuals from atheism and agnosticism. Some who might have deserted all religion might have found a home in the more liberal theology.

From this survey of Unitarians and Universalists of the Southeast during the nineteenth century three major generalizations emerge. Unlike their twentieth century heirs, they based their convictions more upon their interpretation of the Bible than upon a strict reliance upon reason. They remained a decided minority throughout the century. In the area of social and political controversy they were strongly influenced by sectional attitudes and generally tended to conform to them. Despite this conformity, these churches and many of the personalities identified with them persisted throughout the nineteenth century as a religious minority holding a liberal theology in the midst of southern orthodoxy.


Chapter I

[1] Samuel Gilman, The Old and the New: or Discourses and Proceedings at the Dedication of the Re-modelled Unitarian Church in Charleston, S.C. on Sunday April 2, 1854.  Preceded by Farewell Discourse Delivered in the Old Church, on Sunday, April 4, 1852 (Charleston: Samuel G. Courtenay, 1854, p. 17. (Hereinafter referred to Old and the New.)

[2] William N. Dabney and Marion Dargan, William Henry Drayton & the American Revolution (Albuquerque: The University of New Mexico Press, 1962), pp. 94-97, Gilman, Old and the New, p. 18.

[3] Dabney and Dargan, William Henry Drayton b. the American Revolution, p. 142; Gilman, Old and the New, p. 18.

[4] E. L. Browne, “Ecclesiastical Beginnings in Carolina,” Unitarian Review, XXII, No. 4 (Oct., 1884), pp. 322-324; H. A. Whitman, “The Dawn of Unitarianism in the South,” The Southern Unitarian (Atlanta, Ga.), January, 1893, p. 4; George Willis Cooke, Unitarianism in America (Boston: American Unitarian Association, 1910), p. 118; Gilman, Old and the New, p. 19.

[5] Ibid., p. 14.

[6] Browne, “Ecclesiastical Beginnings in Carolina,” p. 324.

[7] Gilman, Old and the New, pp. 20-21.

[8] Whitman, “The Dawn of Unitarianism in the South,” p. 4.

[9] The Southern Unitarian (Atlanta, Ga.), June, 1894, p. 104.

[10] Clarence Gohdes, “Some Notes on the Unitarian Church in the Ante-Bellum South,” American Studies in Honor of William Kenneth Boyd (Durham: Duke University Press, 19140), p. 350. (Hereinafter referred to as “Some Notes on Unitarian Church”); Christian Examiner (Boston), III (July and August, 1826), pp. 352-355;

[11] Ibid., pp. 351-352; Richard H. Shyrock, ed., Letters of Richard D. Arnold, M.D. (Durham: Seaman Press, 1929), p. 27.

[12] The Unitarian Congregational Register, for the Year 1851 (Boston: Wm. Crosby and H.P. Nichols,n. d.), p. 23.

[13] Gohdes, “Some Notes on Unitarian Church,” p. 352.

[14] The Unitarian Christian (Augusta, Ga.), June 1831, p. 94.

[16] Ibid., Feb. 12, 1833; March 20, 1833; March 21, 1833; May 6, 1833; June 3, 1833.

[17] Ibid., Feb. 22, 1833; March 8, 1833; April 5, 1833; April 19, 1833.

[18] Ibid., April 5, 1833.

[19] Ibid.,May 10, 1833.

[15] The Georgian (Savannah), Jan. 12, 1833; Feb. 2, 1833; Feb. 9, 1833: Feb. 16, 1833; Feb. 23, 1833; March 9, 1833; March 16, 1833; March 23, 1833; March 30, 1833; April 13, 1833; April 20, 1833; April 27, 1833; May 4, 1833; May 11, 1833; May 18, 1833: Dec. 14, 1833; Dec. 24, 1833; Dec. 28, 1833; Jan. 11, 1834; Jan. 18, 1834; Jan. 25, 1834; Feb. 8, 1834; Feb. 15, 183b; Feb. 22, 1834; March 1, 1834; March 8, 1834; March 15, 1834; March 22, 1834; March 29, 1834; Nov. 1, 1834; Nov. 3, 1834; Nov. 15, 1834; Nov. 22, 183h; Dec. 6, 1834; Dec. 13, 1834.

[20] The Georgian (Savannah), Dec. 18, 1834, p. 2. Clarence Gohdes has reported that the Library of Congress could find no report in The Daily Georgian or Daily Savannah Republican of a dedication of the completed building. (Gohdes, ”Some Rotes on Unitarian Church,” p. 356.) However, the dedication is mentioned in three separate editions of The Georgian (Savannah).

[21] Ibid., Dec. 24, 1834, p. 2; Oct. 25, 1834, p. 2.

[22] The Unitarian Annual. Register, for the Year 1846 (Boston: WM. Crosby and H. P. Nichols, n. d.), p. 19; The Unitarian Congregational Register for the Year 1850 (Boston: Win Crosby and If. P. Nichols, n. d.), p. 24.

[23] The Year-Book of the Unitarian Congregational Churches for 1868 (Boston: American Unitarian Association, n.d.), p. 25. (Hereafter referred to as Unitarian Year-Book with appropriate year.) Unitarian Year-Book for 1871, p. 26.

[24] George L. Chaney, “Address at 10th Anniversary of Atlanta Church The Southern Unitarian (Atlanta, Ga.), March, 1894, p. 36.

[25] Those attending this meeting were Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Snowden, Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Hodge, J. A. Burns, Frank Lederle, G. L. Norrman, Mrs. W.C. Morrill, Miss E. E. Coolidge, Mrs. J. Seaver, and Reverend and Mrs. George L. Chaney. (Ibid.)

[26] Ibid., p. 37.

[27] Arthur S. Bolster, Jr., Janes Freeman Clarke (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1954), pp. 91-92; Gohdes, “Some Votes on Unitarian Church,” p. 363.

[28] Western Messenger (Cincinnati), III, April, 1837, p. 644.

[29] The Unitarian Congregational Register, for the Year 1851, p. 23.

[30] Gohdes, “Some Notes on Unitarian Church,” p. 364.

[31] Unitarian Year-Book for 1891, p. 49.

[32] In 1869 and 1870 John Savary, who had been ordained in 1861, was living in Port Orange, Florida. (Unitarian Year-Book for 1869, p. 29). Almanza S. Ryder, ordained in 1854, was in Jacksonville in 1869. (Ibid.) From 1870 to 1878 Daniel Bowen, who was ordained in 1859, lived in Jacksonville and from 1879 to 1883 he was in Mandarin, Florida. In 1891 he was back in Jacksonville. (Unitarian Year-Book  for 1870, p. 24; Unitarian Year-Book for 1871, p. 24; Unitarian Year-Book for 1872, p. 2h; Unitarian Year-Book for 1873, p. 24; Unitarian  Year-Book for 1874, p. 24; Unitarian Year-Book for 1876, p. 25; Unitarian Year-Book for 1877, p. 25; Unitarian Year-Book for 1878, p. 2 Unitarian Year-Book for 1879, p. 23; Unitarian Year-Book for  1880, p. 25; Unitarian Year-Took for 1881, p. 25; Unitarian Year-Book  for 1882, p. 25; Unitarian Year-Book for 1883, p. 25; Unitarian Year-Book for 1891, p. 26) James Halkyard Collins, ordained 1870, had been Unitarian minister at Pembroke, Massachusetts from 1877 to 1881 and from 1881 he was located at Crescent City, Florida. (Unitarian Year-Book for 1880, p. 26; Unitarian Year-Book for 1881, p. 26; Unitarian Year-nook for 1882, p. 26; Unitarian Year-Book for 1883, p. 26.)

[33] Unitarian Year-Book for 1891, p. 28.

[34] The Southern Unitarian (Atlanta, Ga.), April, 1e94, p. 65; Ibid., May, 1894, p. 76; Ibid., Sept., 1694.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid., May, 1894, p. 76.

[37] Ibid., Dec., 1895, p. 235.

[38] National Alliance,” The Christian Register (Boston), July 14, 1898, p. 802.

[39] The Constitution of the First Universalist Society of the City of Charleston, South Carolina: Printed at the Office of the Southern Evangelist, 1836).

[40] Diary of James Lewis Corbin Griffin,” (1859-1860), p. 7. (Manuscript at Virginia Historical Society in Richmond. Hereinafter referred to as “Griffin Diary” with date.)

[41] The Universalist Miscellany (Boston), Sept., 1848, p. 112: The Universalist Companion, with an Almanac and Register, containing the Statistics of the Denomination for 1858 (Boston: Abel Tompkins, 1558), p. 50. (Hereinafter referred to as Universalist Companion with appropriate date.)

[42] John Coleman Adams, Universalism and the Universalist Church  (Boston: Universalist Publishing Rouse, 1915), p. 14; Thomas -Whittemore, The Modern History of Universalism (Boston: Published by Author, 1830), p. 421.

[43] Daniel Bragg Clayton, Forty-Seven Years in the Universalist Ministry (Columbia, South Carolina: Published by Author, 1889), p. 271. (Hereinafter referred to as Forty-Seven Years.) Thomas Chapman, “South Carolina,” The Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.)) July 20, 1937, p. 6.

[44] Clayton, Forty-Sever Years, p. 271; Thomas”0ver tile Southland,” The Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), 20, 1933, p. 14.

[45] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 273.

[46] Ibid., pp. 84, 87, 91.

[47] Ibid., p. 91. The first name of Mr. Partlow has not been located.

[49] The Universalist Miscellany, Feb., 1845, p. 326.

[50] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, pp. 90-91.

[5l] The Universalist Register and Almanac, Containing the Statistics of the Church for 1875 (Boston: Universalist Publishing p. 77. (Hereafter referred to as Universalist Register appropriate date.)

[51] Universalist Register for 1875, p. 73.

[52] Universalist Register for 1888, p. 52; Universalist Resister for 1E69, p. 52; Universalist Register for 1889, p. 52; Universalist Register for 1890, p. 54;Universalist Register for 1891, p. 54; Universalist Register for 1893, p. 55: Universalist Register for 1896, p. 54; Universalist Register for 1897, p. 56.

[53] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 338; John Pelton (Mean and John A. Chapman, The Annals of Newberry (2 parts in one volume: Newberry: Aull & Houseal, 1892), p. 70. The mention of services being held at this location twenty-five years before has not been documented.

[54] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 339.

[55] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 67.

[56] Ibid., p. 76.

[57] Nellie Mann Opdale, “One Hundred Years of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” The Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), Oct. 20, 1938, P. 3.

[58] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 37.

[59] Cpdale, “One Hundred Years of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” p. 3. Reverend Opdale gave an 1938 newspaper (unnamed) as her source. This account was disputed by Miss Grace House, Secretary of the Rockwell Church, who said that the church was: organized until 1867. Miss House’s objection is given in the Universalist Herald, Oct. 20, 1938, p. 15.

[60] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 37.

[61] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 176.

[62] Ibid., pp. 67, 201.

[63] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 32; “Scrapbook of James Lewis Corbin Griffin 1873-1875″ p. 271. (Manuscript at Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, Hereafter referred to as “Griffin Scrapbook.”)

[64 Universalist Register for 1873, p. 32.

[65] Ibid.

66The Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), Jan. 20, 1932, p. 9.

[67] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 32.

63Universalist Register for 1898, p. 714.

[69] Universalist Register for 1890, pp. 15-16.

[70] Viola Stanford, “History of the Universalist Church in Atlanta, “The Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), Dec. 20, 1934, p. 7; Frederick C. Hoger, “The History of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” The Universalist Herald (Camp Hill, Ala.), Dec., 1956, p. 7; Opdale, “One Hundred Years or Organized Universalism in Georgia,” p. 4.

[71] Hoger, “The History of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” p. 7. The charter members of the Atlanta Universalist Church included Mr. and Mrs. L. C. McCutcheon and their two daughters, Mr. and hrs. P. G. Lynch, a Mrs. Day, a Mrs. Harwood, Miss Bertha Harwood, Mrs. A. L. Blackman, and a Mr. and Mrs. Buchanon. Reverend W. H. McGlauflin held services twice a month in Atlanta while living in Harriman, Tennessee. He moved to Atlanta in 1896. (Ibid.)

[72] Stanford, “History of the Universalist Church in Atlanta,” p. 7. The Atlanta merger with the Unitarians occurred in 1918. (Ibid., p. 8.)

[73] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 328.

[74] Universalist Register for 1884, p. 14.

[75] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 37.

[76] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 32.

[77] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 37.

[78] Hoger, “The History of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” p. 7.

[79] Opdale, “One Hundred Years of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” p. 5.

[80] Universalist Register for 1875, p. 38.

[81] Universalist Register for 1898, p. 74.

[82] Reverend Clayton wrote that this church was organized in 1858, but the denominational register lists 1855 as the date of its founding-(Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 286; Universalist Register for 1873, p. 32.)

[83] Universalist Register for 1898, p. 74.

[84] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 32.

[85] The Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), March 20, 1932, p. 7.  This reference may have been to a church at Chickamauga of which there is a record in the 1890’s. The Chickamauga Universalists dedicated an $800 wooden church December 12, 1897. (Universalist Register for 1899, p. 76.)

[86] Universalist Register for 1878, p. 12: Universalist Register for 1879, p. 13 Universalist Register for 1879, p. 13; Universalist Register for 1880 for 1880, p. 12; Universalist Register for 1882 p. 12; Universalist Register for 1883, p. 13.

[87] Universalist Companion for 1858, p. 50.

[88] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 32.

[89] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 37.

[90] “Cornerstone of First Universalist Church of. Camp Hill. Organized 1846. Erected 1907; Lyman Ward, “Daniel Bragg Clayton,” The Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), Aug. 20, 1937, p. 5; Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 177.

[91] “Giffin Diary – 1859,” p. 20; Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p.153.

[92] Universalist Herald (Notasulga, Alabama), hay 25, 1855, pp. 2-June 1, 1855, p. 3. The denominational register in 1876 spoke of eight preachers in Alabama “Who are welcomed on their missionary journeys in many a city and neighborhood where there are scattered Universalists; but what are these few preachers compared to the broad extent of the State, embracing a territory nearly as large as the six New England States?” (Universalist Register for 1876, pp. 21-22.)

[93] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 28.

[94] Ibid.

[95] Universalist Register for 1875, p. 34.

[96] Universalist Register for 1898, p. 74. A dispute exists regarding the founding of the Universalist Church at Brewton. Twentieth century sources have given 1888 as the date for the establishment of this church. (Directory of Unitarian-Universalist Association 196162 (Boston: Unitarian-Universalist Association, 1962), p. 58.) Reverend Clayton recorded that he preached nineteen sermons at the Brewton Church in 1884. (Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 333.)

[97] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 34.

[98] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 29.

[99] Joseph Hodgson, ed., The Alabama Manual and Statistical Register for 1875 (Mobile: Daily Register Book and Job Office, 1875), p. 109. This was compared to a total of all denominations for the state of 2,095 churches with 1,958 edifices and property valued at $2,414,515. (Ibid.)

[100] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 34.

[101] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 31. In the 1850’s there had been a Universalist minister and a society listed for Alligator (the name for Lake City prior to 1859), but this does not appear to have led to the formal establishment of a church. (Universalist Companion for 1855, p. 54; Universalist Companion for 1858, p. 51; Universalist Companion for 1859, p. 55) As early as 1863 a distinction was noted in denominational records between the church at McDade’s Pond and another Walton County church with no exact location given. (Universalist Almanac for 1863 (Boston: Tompkins & Co., 1863), p. 57.) Commencing in 1868 just a “Walton County” church was listed. (Universalist Register for 1868, p. 42; Universalist Register for 1870, p. 41; Universalist Resister for 1875, p. 38; Universalist Register for 1867, p. 24; Universalist Register for 1877, p. 24.

[102] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 36.

[103] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 31.

[104] Universalist Register for 1888, p. 15.

[105] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 36. The church at Tarpon Springs was called the Church of the Good Shepherd. (Universalist Register for 1887, p. 14; Universalist Register for 1888, p. 15.)

[106] Universalist Register for 1883, p. 13; Universalist Register for 1884, p. 13; Universalist Register for 1885, p. 14;  Universalists Register for 1899, p. 104.

[107] Ibid. p. 36.

Chapter II

[1] Stone tablet on interior wall of Charleston Unitarian Church; William Buell Sprague, Annals of  the American Unitarian ‘pulpit (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1885), pp. 547-460; Martin L.Hurlbut, “Anthony Forster,” American Unitarian Biography (2 vols; Boston: James Munroe and Company, pp. 379-400.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Loose newspaper clippings in Gilman pamphlets at Duke University Library.

[4] Gohdes, “Some Notes on Unitarian Church,” pp. 341-342.

[5] Gilman tombstone in Unitarian Churchyard, Charleston, South Carolina.

[6] Francis Tiffany, Life of Dorthea Lynde Dix (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1918), p. 317.

[7] Stone tablet on interior wall of Charleston Unitarian Church.

[8] Ibid.; McFarland tombstone in Unitarian Churchyard, Charleston, South Carolina.

[9] Browne, “Ecclesiastical Beginnings in Carolina,” pp. 331-332.

[10] Ibid., p. 333; Unitarian Year-Book for 1873, p. 24.

[11] Unitarian Year-Book for 1871, p. 25.

[12] Browne, “Ecclesiastical Beginnings in Carolina,” p. 333.

[13] Unitarian Year-Book for 1874, p. 27

[14] Unitarian Year-Book for 1877, p. 25.

[15]Stone tablet on interior wall of Charleston Unitarian Church.

[16] Unitarian Year-Book for 1891, pp. 20, 32.

[17] Stone tablet on interior wall of Charleston Unitarian Church.

[18] The Southern Unitarian, May, 1893, p. 6.

[19] Unitarian Year-Book for 1891, p. 49.

[20] The Southern Unitarian, May, 1893, p. 4.

[21] Browne, “Ecclesiastical Beginnings in Carolina,” p. 332; Appendix in Charles A. Taggart, The Two Stand-Points, and the Contrast (Charleston: Press of Walker & Evans, 1854).

[22] Shyrock, Letters of Richard D. Arnold, M. D., p. 7.

[23] The Georgian (Savannah), Jan. 31, 1835, p. 2.

[24] Shyrock, Letters of Richard D. Arnold, M. D., p. 7.

[25] Ibid., p. 89.

[26] The Southern Unitarian, June, 1894, p.98.

[27] Ibid., March, 1895, p. 56; Jan., 1895, p.

[28] Ibid., July, 1893, p. 11.

[29] Clayton, Forty–Seven Years, p. 272.

[30] Ibid. pp. 271, 274.

[31] “Griffin Diary 1859-1860,” p. 142. The medical profession was also represented in the Feaster-Coleman family. Robert W. Coleman, M. D., died June 3, 1873. (“Griffin Scrapbook,” p.89.) His cousin, Mrs. F. J. Rawls, was married to a doctor. Her husband was a physician who died in Columbia, South Carolina, February 20, 1876. Mrs. Rawls was a sister of Reverend John Coleman C. Feaster, (Letter from J. L. C. Griffin, Gloucester County, Virginia to Mrs. F. J. Rawls, Columbia, South Carolina, April 13, 1876. (Letter at Virginia Historical Society, Richmond).

[32] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 276.

[33] Ibid., p. 272.

[34] Ibid., pp. 277-278.

[35] ibid. p. 85.

[36] Thomas Chapman, “Torrid Weather Over Dusty Roads Experienced by a Missionary,” The Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), Oct. 20, 1938, p. 9; Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 339; Hoger, “The History of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” p. 7.

[37] Universalist Herald, Oct. 15, 1873 copied into “Griffin Scrapbook,” p. 181.

[38] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 91.

[39] “Griffin Scrapbook,” p. 181.

[40] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 85.

[41] “Griffin Scrapbook,” p. 6.

[42] Universalist Register for 1898, p. 29; Universalist Register for 1899, p. 30.

[43] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, pp. 61, 64-65, 68.

[44] Ibid., p. 10. Clayton was a great-great-grandson of Captain Christopher Newport of the British Navy whose name was given to Newport Mews, Virginia. Captain Newport married a sister of George Washington’s mother. Clayton’s grandfathers, both paternal and maternal, were Baptist ministers during the American Revolution. An uncle of his father was also a Baptist minister. (Ibid., pp. 6-7, 11.)

[45] Ibid., pp. 54, 56, 70-71, 75, 78-79, 82, 87, 91.

[46] Ibid., pp. 65, 200-201, 219, 2211, 227-228, 332.

[47] Ibid., p. 322; Lester Ward, “Daniel Bragg Clayton,” Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), Aug. 20, 1937, p. 6.

[48] Ibid., Daniel Clayton kept records during some of the years in his long ministry. In 1878 he traveled 9,686 miles and preached at fifty-five places: twenty-two in North Carolina, eighteen in Georgia, two in Alabama, nine in western Tennessee, and one in Mississippi; nineteen of these were new preaching locations for Clayton. (Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 279.) In 1879 he traveled 6,350 miles and preached at thirty-six places with eighteen of them being new locations for him. (Ibid p. 293.) In 1880 he traveled 10,282 miles and preached at twenty-four different places with eight of these new sites for him and he netted $236.75 above traveling expenses. (Ibid., p. 325.) In 1881 Clayton traveled 9,426 miles, preached at forty-four places with twelve of these new locations and he netted $532.09 above expenses. (Ibid., p. 326.) In 1882 he traveled 8,601 miles, preached at forty-two places with eleven being new sites and netted $498.15. (Ibid., p. 330.) In 1883 the travels were 9,052 miles visiting forty-five places, eleven being new, and netting $449.00. (Ibid., P. 332.) In 1884 he traveled 10,320 miles visiting thirty-six locations and netted $472. 65. (Ibid., p. 333.) From January 1, 1885 to December 31, 1888, Clayton traveled 47,865 miles visiting eighty-one places with thirty-seven new for him. The year of 1886 was the hardest travel year with 13,31h miles covered which was 902 miles greater than any other year. (Ibid., pp. 335, 344.)

[49] Ibid., p. 5.

[50] Ward, “Daniel Bragg Clayton,” p. 7.

[51] Universalist Herald, April 1, 1875. (Clipping in “Griffin Scrapbook,” p. 275.

[52] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 84.

[53] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 75.

[54] Elmo Arnold Robinson, The Universalist Church in Ohio (Published by Ohio Universalist Convention, 1923), p. 168; “Griffin Scrapbook,” p. 275.

[55] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 113.

[56] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 83.

[57] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 113.

[58] Ibid., pp. 312-312, 316; Hoger, “The History of Organized Universalist in Georgia,” p. 7.

[59] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 86.

[60] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 201.

[61] Ibid., pp. 201-202; “Griffin Scrapbook,” p. 143.

[62] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 81.

[63] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 242; “Griffin Scrapbook,” p. 180.

[64] Universalist Herald (Canon, Ca.), Dec. 20, 1935, p. 15.

[65] James Rasnake, “Motes on the Georgia Convention,” The Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), Feb. 20, 1935, p. 13.

[66] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, pp. 105, 122, 127-132.

[67] Ibid., pp. 236-237.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Ibid., pp. 108-109, 111, 235.

[70] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 104.

[71] J. Edward Moseley, Disciples of Christ in Georgia (St. Louis: The Bethany Press, 1854), pp. 87, 91.

[72] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, pp. 30, 351; Universalist Companion for 1658, p. 51.

[73] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 108.

[71] Clinton Lee Scott, The Universalist Church of America: A Short History (Boston: Universal Historical Society, 1957), p. 24.

[75] 0pdale, “One Hundred Years of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” p. 6.

[76] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 108.

[77] Richard C. Ellsworth, “A Tribute to Rev. Lyman ward, D. D.,” The Universalist Herald (Canon, Georgia), June 20, 1935, p. 7.

[78] Southern Unitarian (Atlanta, Ga.), April, 1893, pp. 7-8. 79″Griffin Scrapbook,” p. 245.

[80] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, pp. 141-142.

[81] Newspaper Clipping reprinted from Christian Leader, Feb. 5, 1876 in miscellaneous unmounted newspaper clippings in Griffin Papers at Virginia Historical Society, Richmond.

[82] “Griffin Scrapbook,” pp. 111, 241.

[83] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 106.

[84] “Griffin Scrapbook,” p. 111.

[85] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 75; Universalist Register for 189, p. 106.

[86] Universalist Register for 1860, p. 85.

[87] Ibid.; “Griffin Diary-1659,” p. 27.

[88] Newspaper Clipping, n. d., in Griffin Papers.

[89] Library card identifying Griffin Papers in the Virginia Historical Society, Richmond. (Hereinafter referred to as “Griffin Library Card.”)

[90] Universalist Register for 1873, p. 31.

[91] “Griffin Scrapbook,” pp. 235-236.

[92] Universalist Register for 1880, p. 85; “Griffin Library Card.”

[93] Gohdes, “Some Notes on Unitarian Church,” p. 334; Cooke, Unitarianism in America, p. 118.

[94] Gohdes, “Some Notes on Unitarian Church,” p. 327.

[95] Ibid., p. 330.

[96] Edward Everrett Hale, What is the Worth of Doctrine (Charleston Unitarian Book and Tract Society, 1848.

[97] Mrs. J. C. Bowers, “History of the Georgia Woman’s Missionary Society,” Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), Sept. 20, 1938, p. el.

Chapter III

[1] The Daily Georgian (Savannah), June 3, 1820, p. 2.

[2] The Works of William T. Channing, D. D. (8 vols., Eighth Complete Edition: Boston: James Munroe and Co., 1848) III, pp. 71, 78, 168; V, p. 394.

[3] Ibid., III, p. 65. The denominational register for 1847 stated that Unitarians “Believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah promised of Jehovah to the Jews – the Christ, ‘the Son of the Living God’ – sanctified and sent into the world by his Father, because ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ – that he is the only Savior of sinners, the only Mediator between God and man, ‘the way, the truth, and the life, worthy to beloved, honored, trusted and obeyed. They believe that all their prayers should he offered to the Fathers in the name of Christ – that they should possess his mind and spirit, imitate his example, and, through him, look to God for pardon and external life.” (Unitarian. Register for 180, p. 55.)

[4] Works of Charming, V, p. 395; Samuel Gilman, A Sermon on the Introduction to the of St. John (Charleston, S. C.: Charleston Unitarian Tract Society, 1825), p. 16; S. G. Bulfinch, Jesus Christ Dependent on the Father (Augusta, Ga.; printed by W. Lawson, 1e30), p. 8.

[5] Earl Morse, A History of Unitarianism (2 vols.; Boston: Beacon Press, 1952) II, p. 431.

[6] In 1827 a Charleston Unitarian observed that Unitarians believed “that there was a mysterious and intimate connexion” between the Father and Jesus. (A Unitarian Charles Wentworth Upharm), A Letter to the Editor of the Charleston Observer, Concerning his Treatment Unitarians Charleston: James S. Burges, 1827, p. vi.) An Augusta Unitarian Journal in 1831 described Jesus as God’s “last and greatest messenger- ‘his only-begotten Son’ who came without sin.” (The Unitarian Christian Augusta, Ga. March, 1831, p. 3.) A Unitarian sermon preached in Richmond, Virginia was reprinted by Charleston Unitarians in 1843. In this sermon Jesus was described: “It is true we call him a man – for so Isaiah called him – so Peter and Paul called him – and so he called himself. But, my hearers, our blessed Lord is neither to be elevated nor degraded by a mere title. And a man endued by the Creator with intellectual and moral powers beyond those of even the highest of other created intelligences, is, surely, no contemptible, no degraded object!” (J. B. Pitkin, A Discourse, Embracing Several Important Objections to the Doctrine, ‘That Jesus Christ, as Mediator, possesses Two Natures, the Divine and Human, in Mysterious, yet all harmonious union.’ In Reply to a Recently Published Sermon, Delivered by the Rev. Daniel Baker, in the First and Second Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Va. (Richmond: Printed by Samuel Shepherd Company, 1834; Charleston: Reprinted by B. B. Hussey, 1843 p. 109. (Hereinafter referred to as Discourse Embracing Objections.

[7] Works of Channing, III, p. 65.

[8] Samuel Gilman, A Sermon on the Introduction to the Gospel of St. John (Charleston: Printed by C. C. Sebring, 1825, p. 6.

[9] Pitkin, Discourse Embracing Objections, p. 106.

[10] Upham, A Letter to the Editor of the Charleston Observer, Concerning  his Treatment of Unitarians, p. 16; Unitarian Register for 1847, p. 55: Service Book for Worship in the Congregation and the Home (Charleston, S. C.: Samuel G. Courtenay, 1854), p. vii.  (Hereinafter referred to as Service Book of 1854.)

[11] Samuel Gilman, Unitarian Christianity Free from Objectionable  Extremes (Charleston: Printed by James S. Burges, 1828), p. 18.

[12] Timothy L. Smith, Revivalism and Social Reform (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1958), p. 41.

[13] Works of Channing, III, p. 184.

[14] George L. Chaney, “The New Protestantism,” The Southern Unitarian (Atlanta), Jan., 1893, p. 3.

[15] Works of Charming, III, p. 62.

[16] The Unitarian Christian, March, 1831, p. 7.

[17] Chaney, ‘The New Protestantism,” p. 3.

[18] Works of Channing, III, p. 185; V, pp. 396-397.

[19] Unitarian Register for 1847, p. 56.

[20]Service Book of 1854, pp. vi-vii.

[21] Smith, Revivalism and Social Reform, p. 95.

[22] Ibid., p. 99.

[23] In his Baltimore Sermon Channing spoke of the atonement; “Whilst, however, we differ in explaining the connexion between Christ’s death and human forgiveness, a connexion which we all gratefully acknowledge, we agree in rejecting many sentiments which prevail in regard to his mediation. The idea, which, is conveyed to common minds by the popular system, that Christ’s death has an influence in making God placable, or merciful, in awakening his kindness towards men, we reject with strong disapprobation.” (Works of Charming, III, p. 89).

[24] H. A. Whitman, “New and Old Views of Salvation and Vicarious Atonement,” The Southern Unitarian (Atlanta), June, 1895, p. 118.

[25] The Unitarian Christian (Augusta, Ga.), March, 1831, p. 1.

[26] Ibid., p. 6.

[27] Unitarian Register for 1847, p. 57.

[28] Asa N. Bradley, “Unitarianism,” The Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), Oct. 20, 1933, p. 3; Chaney, “The New Protestantism,” p. 3.

[29] Works of Channing V, p. 399.

[30] Unitarian Register for 180, pp. 56-57.

[31] Chaney, “The New Protestantism,” p. 3.

[32] The Unitarian Christian (Augusta, Ga.), March, 1831, p. 6.

[33] S. G. Bulfinch, The Unitarian’s Appeal. Three Sermons Illustrative of the Claim of Unitarian to the Character of Evangelical Christians, Independent of the Truth of Their Peculiar Opinions ( Boston: Munroe & Co. for the Unitarian Association,  1842), p. 9.

[34] Works of Chinning, V, p. 394

[35] Cooke, Unitarianism in America, pp. 156, 439; Whitman, “new and Old Views of Salvation and Vicarious Atonement,” p. 118.

[36] Unitarian Defendant (Charleston, S. C.), July 20, 1822; August 3. 1822.

[37] Uphan, A Letter to the Editor of the Charleston Observer Concerning his Treatment of Unitarians pp. 16-17.

[38] The Universalist Herald (Notasulga, Ala.), May 25, 1855, p. 3.

[39] Nicholas U. Hodges, Letters on Universalism (Charleston: James S. Barges, 1835), p. 18.

[40] “Universalism Summary of Opinion” The Constitution of the First Universalist Society of the City of Charleston (Charleston, S. C.: Universalist Evangelist, 1836), pp. 10-11.

[41] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 302.

[42] Shehane, Key to Universalism, 143. Shehane, in his denial of eternal punishment, quoted Christ ‘a words that God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world hut to save it. Shehane asked the question: “Do you believe that the all-glorious Creator, who is infinite love, can place a child in such a world, and under such circumstances, as could even expose him to the perils of endless pain?” (Ibid., pp. 89, 96.)

[43] Shehane stated: “We find upon examination that the word everlasting is used in the Scriptures frequently in a limited sense. The hills were said to be everlasting, the priesthood was said to be everlasting, and a number of other things which we know have already had, or are to have a termination. And to this day, we use the word in the same sense. We say of one man that he is an everlasting talker, and of another that he is everlastingly idling away his time, yet no one misunderstands us in these things; then why is the word misunderstood and so strangely applied when found within the lids of the bible?” (Discussion Between Rev. James L. Chapman and Rev. C. F. R. Shehane, on the Important Query in Relation to the Final Destiny of Man, Whether it is the Purpose of God to Bless All, or a Part of His Children with immortal Bliss Second Edition; Notasulga, Alabama: Printed at Universalist Herald Office, 1850, pp. 123-1240 Shehane did not think that the Old Testament applied the term everlasting to the word “Sheol” or that everlasting punishment is to be found in the Old Testament. (Shehane, Key to Universalism, pp. 77-78, 80.)

[44] Chapman and Shehane Discussion, p. 34.

[45] John C. Burruss, “Theological Discussion between Rev. John Robbins and Rev. J. C. Burruss,” Universalist Herald (Notasulga, Ala.), June 15, 1855, p. 2.

[46] “Universalism Summary of Opinion,” pp. 5-6, 8-10.

[47] Ibid., p. 6.

[48] Ibid.

[49] The Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), Oct. 20, 1938, p. 2.

[50] Ibid.

[51] The Constitution of the First Universalist Society of the City of Charleston, p. 13.

[52] Universalism Summary of Opinion,” p. 4.

[53] Chapman and Shehane Discussion, p. 11. Shehane was a very talented Biblical scholar and used rational methods of interpreting scripture. (Ibid., p. 110.) He studied the Hebrew and Greek scriptures carefully in his arriving at Universalist doctrine. (Shehane, Key to Universalism, p. 74.) Shehane expressed his view on the Bible when he said: -“I have laid an emphasis on the phrase scriptural facts; because the religion which I profess to teach, is, as it seems to me, that of the Bible – the whole Bible – and nothing but the Bible. With me, an assertion of this sacred volume is as immeasurably above that of any uninspired man as the throne of the Creator is above this humble pulpit. One is the decision of unerring wisdom – the other is a conjecture, or opinion, or, at best, an argument of some mind, perhaps as weak, frail and fallible as my own.” (Ibid., p. 72.)

[54] Ward, “Daniel Bragg Clayton,” p. 5.

[55] Ibid., p. 6.

[56] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 46.

57A. D. Mayo stated in 1847 in his presentation of the moral arguments for Universalism: have not declined to offer the usual scriptural arguments from any want of confidence in their strength, but rather from a conviction that this portion of the subject has been adequately treated by those more skilled in biblical criticism than ourselves.” (A. D. Mayo, The Balance: or Moral Arguments for Universalism Boston: B. B. Mussey and A. Tompkins, 1847, preface p. 3.)

[58] The Winchester Profession of Faith stated: “We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments contain a revelation of the character of God and of the duty, interest and final destination of mankind.” (Universalist Herald, Oct. 20, 1938, p. 2.) The Boston Statement of Belief affirmed: “The trustworthiness of the Bible as containing a revelation from God.” (Ibid.)

[59] “Universalism Summary of Opinion,” p. 11.

Chapter IV

[1] Service Book of 1854, p. 22.

[2] Services and Hymns for the Use  of the  Unitarian Church of Charleston, S. C. (Enlarged ed.; Charleston: Joseph Walker, 1867, pp. 11, 19, 34,68, 129.

[3] The Unitarian Christian (Augusta), March, 1831, p. 35; The Constitution of the Charleston Universalist Society provided that “the Celebration of the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and the ceremony of dedication of children are neither enjoined or prohibited by the Constitution, but are left to be regulated by future by-law-enactments, if it should be deemed necessary or expedient.” (Constitution of the First Universalist Society of. Charleston, S.C., p. 15.); South Carolina Universalist is Convention meeting in Lexington District (County) in November, 1832 passed a resolution that “this Convention recommends to the societies in Connection with this body, that the ordinance of the Communion, or Lord’s Supper, be administered in the several societies, as often as they shall respectively determine, as we recognize it as an express command of our Savior.” (Asa N. Bradley, “Universalism in South 100 Years Ago,” The Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), Dec. 20, 1934, p. 12.)

[4] Old and the Arm., p. 24.

[5] The Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), Sept. 20, 1936), p• 22.

[6] Universalist Miscellany (Boston), Sept., 1845,             p. 124; Service Book of 1854, p.117; Samuel Gilman, pastor of the Charleston Unitarian Church, estimated in 1852 that he had baptized 521 people, thirty-seven of these being adults. (Old and the New, p. 29)

[7] Shehane Key to Universalism, p. 39.

[8] Ward, “Daniel Bragg Clayton,” p. 5; Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, pp. 261, 289.

[9] The minister wrote that “there is a power for good in these impromptu bursts of emotion during public service. It stirs one like an electric shock to hear the hearty ‘amen’ from the lips of the devout worshiping assembly. It shows that some, at least, who hear are receiving a full measure, running over, of the divine unction of the Holy Spirit, and for one I love to preach and I can preach better, to a people who hear, both with their ears and eyes.” (Griffin Scrapbook,” p. 142.)

[10] The Constitution of the First Universalist Society of the City of Charleston, p. 14.

[11] The Georgian (Savannah), May 20, 1835, p. 2.

[12] The Constitution of the First Universalist Society of the City of Charleston, p.15.

[13] The Georgian, Dec. 22, 1835, p. 2; Dec 26, 1835, p. 3

[14] Unitarian Christian, March, 1831, p. 41.

[15] Ibid., pp. 42, 44-45.

[16] Old and the New, p. 24.

[17] Southern Unitarian (Atlanta), May 1893, P. 5; March, 1983, p. 7. A. L. Jones of Charleston advocated the establishment and improvement of Sunday Schools. He urged well graded classes and interesting, entertaining, and instructive lessons. (A. L. Jones, “Sunday-School Work,” Southern Unitarian, March, 1893, pp. 5-6.); Theodor Schumann, an active Atlanta layman, advocated that Sunday Schools in the liberal church should provide instruction in ethics for children to the age of twelve or thirteen, in the history of the Christian religion for those thirteen to fifteen, and in the Bible along with science and comparative religion for those sixteen and up including adults. Schumann strongly endorsed a graded curriculum. (Theodore Schumann, “Suggestions About Sunday Schools in the Liberal Church,” Southern Unitarian, January, 1895, pp. 5-7.)

[18] The Sunday School in Volusia, Florida was mentioned in the first chapter. Alabama Universalist organized Sunday Schools at Camp Hill Guntersville in 1870, at Barren Ridge in 1871, and at Brewton in 1874. (Universalist Register for 1875, p. 34.) Universalists in Georgia started Sunday Schools at Alford Chapel and Salem Church (Cherokee County) in 1870, at Harmony (Coweta County) and Centre Hill (Jackson County) in 1871, and at Rockbridge in 1875. (Universalist Register for 1875, p. 38; Universalist Register for 1876, p. 25.) Feasterville Universalist Church in South Carolina organized a Sunday School in 1877. (Universalist Register of 1896. P. 54) In 1938, referring to Georgia, it was stated that “the earliest record of local Sunday Schools we have succeeded in obtaining was in 1898.  We have secured some personal and newspaper mention before that time but nothing positive, but since 1898, the Sunday Schools, as to their numbers, but not their location appear with regularity in the Register,” (Opdale, “One Hundred Years of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” pp. 6-7.)

[19] Old and New, p. 26.

[20] Southern Unitarian, Feb., 1893, p. 11; March, 1893, p.12; May, 1893, p.5; Feb., 1894 (archivist: Unsure of year, asumed 1894 based on dates of other references), p. 24.

[21] Sanford, “History of the Universalist Church in Atlanta,” p. 7; Mrs. J.C, Bowers, “History of the Ga. Women’s Missionary Association,” The Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), Sept. 20, 1938, p. 6.

[22] Southern Unitarian, May 1893, p.5

[23] 0pdale, “One Hundred Years of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” p. 6.

[24] Southern Unitarian, May, 1893, p. 5.

[25] Ibid., April, 1893, p. 10; March, 1994, p.38.

[26] Old and the New, p. 25.

[27] Southern Unitarian, Sept., 1893, p. 12; July, 1895, p. 137.

[28] The Georgia State Universalist Convention was reorganized in 1869. (Universalist Register for 1873, p. 32.) The Alabama Universalist State Conference was organized in March, 1895. (Universalist Register for 1898, p. 10.) The South Carolina State Conference was established September, 1895, (Universalist Register for 1899, p. 30.) The Florida State Conference was organized in 1897. (Universalist Register for 1898, p. 12.)

[29] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 7.

[30] The Southern Conference met at Atlanta again in 1887, 1888, and 1894. The meetings were held in Charleston in 1885 and 1892: in Chattanooga in 1889 and 1891; and in New Orleans in 1893. (Southern Unitarian, May, 1893, p. 4; May, 1894 p. 74.)

[31] Hoger, “The History of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” p. 7.

[32] Southern Unitarian, May, 1894, p. 78.

[33] The Georgia; April 20, 1835, p. 3; April 21, 1835, p. 2; April 22, 1835, p. 3; April 23, 1835, p. 2.

[34] Cooke, Unitarianism in America, pp. 338-339.

[35] Unitarian Review and Religious Magazine (Boston), Nay, 1874, pp. 272-273.

[36] Ibid., March, 1884, p. 275.

[37] Chaney, “History of Atlanta Church,” p. 36; “A Word from the South,” Unitarian Review and Religious Magazine, June, 1891, p. 481.

[38] Southern Universalist, March 31, 1841, pp. 2-3.

[39] Universalist Companion for 1855, p. 53.

[40] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, pp. 203, 212.

[41] Universalist Register for 1899, p. 90. Reverend A.R. Smith, who held a Ph.D., was Professor of Languages and History, and Miss Annie Slaughter was preceptress.

[42] Cooke, Unitarianism in America, p. 295; Unitarian Review and Religious Magazine, Dec.; 1875, pp. 611-617.

{43] A. C. Patterson, A View of American Unitarian Missions: with Thoughts on the Missionary Cause, and the Interest, of Unitarians in It (Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1838), pp. 14, 17.

[44] The Atlanta Exhibit, “Southern Unitarian, August, 1895, p. 146.

[45] A Theological Discussion, held in Americus, Georgia on the 14th, 15th and 16th of March 1850, Between Rev. Lovick Pierce, D.D., Methodist, and Rev. C.F.R. Shehane, Universalist (Notasugla, Ala.: Printed at the Investigator & Herald Office, 1850), first three pages unnumbered.

[46] Claytons, Forty-Seven Years, pp. 178-181, 212, 317-318.

[47] Ibid., pp. 309-311.

[48] The Unitarian Miscellany and Christian Monitor (Baltimore), July, 1822, pp. 123-124.

[49] The Unitarian Defendant, June 22, 1822, p. 2.

[50] Ibid., Nov. 16, 1822, p. 44.

[51] H. A. Whitman, “An Old Time Southern Unitarian Paper,” The Southern Unitarian, Feb., 1893, p. 3.

[52] Unitarian Christian, June, 1831, pp. 58-60, 94; Sept., 1831, p. (Archivist: page number not visible in original document)

[53] Charles M. Taggart, The Two Stand-Points, and the Contrast (Charleston: Power Press of Walker & Evans, 1854), appendix, pp.22-23.

[54] John Y. Dixon, “Business Announcement,” Southern Unitarian, January, 1893, p. 2.

[55] Cooke, Unitarianism in America, p. 451.

[56] Ibid., pp. 330-331; Covers of 1821 Unitarian Miscellany; Charleston Inquirer (New. York), April 27, 1826, p. 272.

[57] The Unitarian Miscellany and Christian Monitor, July, 1825, pp. 109-110.

[58] Georgian, May, 28, 1835, p. 2.

[59] Report and Addresses Delivered at the Twelfth Anniversary Meeting of the Charleston Unitarian Book and Tract Society (Charleston: James S. Burges, 1833,), p. 4. (Hereafter referred. to as 1833 Tract Society Report.)

[60] “Charleston Unitarian Book Society – Articles of Association,” The Unitarian Miscellany and Christian Monitor, Dec., 1821, pp. 166-167. Charleston Unitarian Book Society printed and reprinted sermons from various sources. When Daniel K. Whitaker was requested to deliver a Unitarian sermon before the South Carolina House of Representatives the Book Society published the discourse. (Daniel K. Whitaker, The Unity and Supremacy of God the Father (Charleston: Printed by Riley for Charleston Unitarian Book Society, 1826), p. 5. A sermon by a Richmond Unitarian minister, J. D. Pitkin, was published in Virginia in 1832 and reprinted by the Charleston Society in 1843. (J. B. Pitkin, A Discourse Embracing Several Objections in the Doctrine, ‘That Jesus Christ as Mediator, possesses Two Natures, the Divine and Human. Yet all Mysterious yet all harmonious Union’ (Printed by Samuel Shepard & Company, 1832; Reprinted by B.B Hussey, 1834)

[61] 1833 Tract Society Report, pp. 6-9.

[62] Samuel Gilman, Unitarian Christianity Free from Objectionable Extremes.

[63] Samuel Gilman, Unitarian Christianity. Free from Objectionable Extremes (Boston: Gray and Bowen, 1829)

[64] Rules of the Charleston Unitarian Book Society (Charleston: William Gray’s Press, 1826), p. 7.

[65] Southern Unitarian, Feb. 169L, p. 23.

[66] Taggart, The Two Stand-Points, and the Contrast, appendix, p. 25. The report of the first twelve years listed eighty-two tracts from the American Unitarian Association numbering about 7,349 copies (210,561 pages); fifteen original tracts published 4,150 copies (101,300 pages); five reprinted making 1,600 copies (16,000 pages); seventy-four books and tracts from other sources (4,777 copies  (621,382 pages) for a total of 17,860 books and tracts (621,382 pages). There had been 155 members in the twelve years with receipts of $1,600.44 and expenditures of $1,564.07. (1833 Tract Society Report, p. 8.). On the anniversary of the founding of the Charleston Tract Society special addresses were delivered and these were published by the group. They sometimes added the year’s record of the society to the printed sermon. (Taggart, The Two Stand-Points, and the Contrast, appendix, p. 25.) Edward Everret Hale gave the anniversary sermon by the Charleston Tract Society in 1848 and this was published by the group. (Hale, What is the Worth of Doctrine.)

[67] Gohdes, Notes on Unitarian Church,” p. 330.

[69] Rules of the Charleston Unitarian Book Society, p. 8.

[69] Tract Society Report, p. 18.

[70] Bulfinch, Jesus Christ Dependent on the Father.

[71] Old and the New, p. 26.

[72] Southern Unitarian, May, 1893, p. 5; May, 1894, p.

[71] Opdale, “One Hundred Years of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” p. 3.

[74] Southern Universalist, March, 31, 1841, pp. 2-3.

[75] Griffin Scrapbook,” p. 264. Newspaper article was not dated but was entered in the scrapbook near articles dated November, which would place The Christian Crucible in the last years of Andrew’s life. This is the only reference to this publication that has been found.

[76] Universalist Companion for 1858, p. 51; Universalist Companion for 1859, p. 54.

[77] Gertrude Earle, “Beginning of the Universalist Church,” Universalist Herald (Canon, Ga.), Feb. 20, 1933, p. 13; Sanford, “History of the Universalist Church in Atlanta,” p, 7.

[78] Clayton, Forty-Seven, Forty-Seven Years, pp. 325-326, 332,

[79] 0pdale, “One Hundred Years of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” p. 6.

[80] Universalist Herald (Canon, Ja.), March 20, 1941, p. 7. This 1941 source lists Wetumpka, Alabama, rather than Montgomery as the foundation site for the Religious Investigator.

[81] A Theological Discussion, held in Americus., Georgia on the 14th, 15th and 16th of March, 1850, Between Rev. Lovick Pierce, D.D., Methodist, and Rev. C. F.R. Shehane, Universalist, last page not numbered.

[82] Universalist Herald (Notasoulga, Ala.), May 25, 1855, p. 3; June 1, 1855, pp. 3-4; June 15, 1855, pp. 2, 4.

[83] Ibid., June 15, 1855, p. 2. In 1872 special contributors were listed: S.J. McMorris from Alabama, J.L.C. Griffin from Florida, M. Gardner from Texas, E. Darnielle from Kansas, D. B. Clayton from South Carolina, B. F. Strain from Georgia, and W.H. Grigsby from Tennessee.

[84] 0pdale, “One Hundred Years of Organized Universalism in Georgia” p. 6; Universalist Register for 1899, p. 90.

[85] Universalist Herald, June 15, 1855, p. 4.

[86] Ibid.

[87] Ibid., May 25, 1855, p. 3; June 1, 1855, p. 3; June 15, 1855, p. 3

Chapter V

[1] Thomas Belsham, American Unitarianism (2nd edition: Boston: Printed by Nathaniel Willis, 1815), p .18.

[2] On October29, 1825 the Wesleyan Journal published an article entitled “Unitarian Antidote.” A member of the Charleston Unitarian Tract Society protested this article and its implication that Unitarianism was poisonous. This answer to the Methodist journal was published by the Charleston Tract Society. (Remarks on a Late Article in the Wesleyan Journal by a Member of the Charleston Unitarian Tract (Charleston: Printed by C.C. Sebring, 1825). This published controversy continued and in early 1826 the Charlestonians published a continuation, citing letters that had been exchanged by the disputants. (Reply to a Third Article in the Wesleyan Journal of Jan.  21, 1826, Respecting Unitarians (Charleston: Unitarian Tract Society, 1826). Another controversy involved Unitarians and the Charleston Observer, a Presbyterian periodical. The Tract Society issued a forty page pamphlet in answer. (Charles Wentworth Uphar), A Letter to the Editor of the Charleston Observer, Concerning his Treatment of Unitarians (Charleston: Printed for the Unitarian Book Society by James B. Burges, 1827). In 1837 a Baptist publication, the Southern Watchman criticized Unitarians and once again the Tract. Society published a reply. (“Calling Things by Their Right Names”: A Brief Reply to an Article Under that in the Southern Watchman of May 19th, 1837 (Charleston: Charleston Unitarian Book and Tract Society printed by Walker & James, 1837).

[3] N.W. Hodges, a Baptist minister of Newberry, South Carolina became upset because Universalism was extensively believed in the area where he lived. He attacked Universalism in a book published in 1835. (N. W. Hodges, Letters on Universalism (Charleston: n. p., 1835], preface.).             Spencer J. McMorris answered Hodge’s booklet the following year with a defence. (Spencer J. McMorris, A Defence of. Universalism, Being a Reply to Nicholas W. Hodges (Charleston: Universalist Hearld sought to answer attacks upon their group that originated in other publications. In 1855 John Burruss asked the editors of the Russell, Alabama Recorder to publish his letter of reply to the charges against Universalism made in this paper but the newspaper refused to publish the letter. (Universalist Herald, June 1, 1855, p. 2).

[4] Arthur W. Brown, Always Young for Liberty (Syracuse, Now York: Syracuse University Press, 1956), p. 177.

[5] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 332. A Methodist sinister listened to Clayton when he preached in Arkansas and Clayton reported that the Methodist’s expression was “given to the writer by one who heard him utter it: ‘If I could just know that the doctrine preached by Mr. Clayton here last night is the truth, I would have high old time here in Arkansas. I tell you, there would not be many a little chap round here, by and by who would not be able to tell who his father was.’ The last expression is given in language not quite so inelegant as the worlds through which he conveyed the idea.” (Ibid., p. 248).

[6] Pierce and Shehane Discussion, pp. 20, 70.

[7] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, pp. 111, 327. Two attempts were made in March, 1830 to burn the Savannah Unitarian Church. (George H. Gibson “Unitarian Congregations in Ante-Bellum Georgia,” The Georgia Historical Quarterly, Summer, 1970, p. 159.)

[8] Ibid., pp. 175, 329.

[9] 1833 Tract Society Report, p. 14.

[10] Taggart, The Two Stand-Points, and the Contrast, appendix, p. 24.

[11] Southern Unitarian, April, 1893, p. 11.

[12] Ibid., Sept., 1894, p. 167.

[13] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 107.

[14] Ibid., p. 294.

[15] Ibid., p. 340.

[16] Ibid., pp. 260-263.

[17] Hoger, “The History of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” p. 7; Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 356; Clement Eaton reported Judge Garnett Andrews viewed the case and that “he ruled that the testimony of certain Universalists, who refused to take an oath that they believed in a future state of rewards and punishments, was invalid. This decision was based on the ground that no testimony was entitled to credit unless the witness believed that the violation of an oath would expose him to punishment in the life beyond the grave.” (Clement Eaton, The Freedom-of-Thought Struggle in the Old South / Revised and enlarged edition; New York: Harper Torchbooks, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1964/ p. 310.) Clayton referred to a similar case in South Carolina about 1826 but little details are given, (Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 355.)

[18] Journal of the Senate of the State of Georgia 1841 (Milledgeville: n.p., 1842), pp. 84-86, 103, 136, 138-139, 146. The original bill submitted November 13, 1841 was “to remove all disability whatever from persons in this. State, from testifying in any of the Courts thereof, or having their oath touching any matter of thing, when an oath or affidavit is necessary to secure any right or interest, by reason of any religious opinion they may entertain or express.” (Ibid., p. 84). The select committee that had been appointed reported a substitute bill On No. 17, 1841 that was “a bill to be entitled an act to remove all disabilities whatsoever, from persons in this State from testifying in any of the Courts thereof, or having their oath or affirmation when the same is necessary to secure any right or interest whatever, by reason of any religious opinion he, she or they may entertain or express.  Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Georgia, in General Assembly me, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same.  That from and immediately after the passage of this act, no person shall be excluded from testifying as a witness in any of the Courts of law or equity in this State, or deprived of his, her or their oath or affidavit, touching any matter or thing where an oath or affirmation is necessary to secure any right or interest whatsoever, by reason of any religious opinion such act shall prohibit such disabilities going in evidence to the Jury to affect the credit of such witness or witnesses.” (Ibid., p 139).

[19] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, pp. 358-359.

[20] Eaton, The Freedom-of-Thought Struggle in the Old South, p.226; John Samuel Ezell, The South Since 1865 (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1963, p. 341.

[21] Francis Sutler Simins, The Tillman Movement in South Carolina (Reprint edition; Gloucester, Massachusetts: Peter Smith, 1964), pp. 142-144; Francis Butler Simkins, Pitchfork Ben Tillman (Reprint edition; Gloucester, Massachusetts: Peter Smith, 1964), pp. 177-178.

[22] H. A. Whitman, editor, “Alexander Case Scrapbook,” p. 3. (Manuscript at South Carolinian Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.)

[23] Ibid., p. 10.

[24] Ibid., pp. 10-11.

[25] Ibid., pp. 15-16.

[26] Ibid., pp. 7-8, 11-12.

[27] ibid., p. 14.

[28] Ibid., p. 20.

[29] Ibid pp. 20-21.

[30] Ibid., p. 21.

[31] Tillman reported that “at the first meeting, the whole faculty, one by one, were invited before us and asked to give their views on the proposed reorganization. During the hearing your religious views became a matter of discussion. The question of Mr. Sloan as to Bain’s scepticism (SIC) causing you very frankly and boldly to avow your own scepticism (SIC). After it had lasted a long while, to bring matters to an end, I asked as to your belief in Christ; as you declined to answer the board was left in ignorance as to what you did believe. Nothing was said by you at that meeting about your being a Unitarian.”

The governor continued with an account of the college reorganization and said that Alexander’s chair was abolished and “this would have happened if you had never given any information as to religious views, because it was one which could be naturally and easily divided. You again appeared before the board and read your protest, which has been published, claiming to be a Unitarian Christian…These are the facts, and I will only add that I cannot see any ground for the cry of religious intolerance which has been raised. You and your co-religionists have no cause for complaint that I can see. There is a vast difference between allowing a man perfect religious freedom and putting him in a position to teach his dogmas. Speaking for myself, I can say that fitness and high moral character will govern my vote in choosing a faculty for the college, as I believe it will the other trustees, and no Unitarian will be ostracised for conscience sake.” (Ibid., p. 21.)

[32] Ibid. pp. 21-22.

[33] Ibid., pp. 23-24. The State made the further observation that “a chaplain is attached to the institution, and that he offers the precepts of Christianity, broadly, and without seeking to advance any particular sect. But this is because the Christian religion is practically the only one in South Carolina. Technically, –constitutionally indeed, — the Israelites would have the right to object to this, and to say that their money should not be paid to swerve their sons from their ancient faith.” (Ibid., p. 24.)

[34] Ibid., p 25,

[35] Ibid., pp 25-26.

[36] Georgian, January 29, 1822, p. 3.

[37] Ibid., Dec. 28, 1833, p. 2.

[38] Southern Universalist, March 31, 1841, p. 2.

[39] Southern Unitarian, March, 1893, p. 7.

[40] Universalist Herald, May 25, 1855, p. 4.

[41] Tiffany, Life of Dorthea Lynde Dix, pp. 23, 136-137, 148, 320, 329, 350-351.

[42] Unitarian Christian, Sept., 1831, pp. 135-141, back cover.

[43] bid., p. 144.

[44] Ibid., March 1831, p. 29.

[45] Cooke, Unitarianism in America, pp. 352-353.

[46] A. L. Jones, “Sunday School Work,” Southern Unitarian, March, 1893, p. 6; George B. Penney, “The Gothenburg Plan,” Southern Unitarian, August, 1893, p. 6. This latter article told how the Swedish plan utilized the profits to reduce taxes while a similar state monopoly of liquor sales in Norway used the revenue to found schools, libraries, and parks. Under this plan consumption had dropped, crime fallen, and pauperism decreased. It was also noted that there were no attractive saloons, no treating, no loafing, no selling to minors or drunkards, and strictly cash sales under the Gothenburg Plan.

[47] Georgian, March 8, 1833, p. 3.

[48] Calvin Stebbins, “Report of Rev. Calvin Stebbins, Missionary of the A. U. A. in Charleston, S. C.,” The Monthly Journal of the American Unitarian Association (Boston), October, 1865, p.

[49] Universalist Miscellany (Boston), November, 1843, pp. 172, 175.

[50] Universalists announced the third anniversary of the Notasulga, Alabama Lodge No. 2 of the Knights of Jericho which was to be held at the Baptist Church. (Universalist Herald, May 25, 1855, p. 3.) James L. C. Griffin’s initiation as a member of the Sons of Temperance took place at a Universalist meeting house. He copied extracts from the minutes of this temperance lodge into his diary. (“Griffin Diary-1859,” pp. 2, 23, 62.) In the Griffin Papers at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond there are several newspaper clippings with no date or name of paper given. These state that 3riffin and J. C. C. Feaster gave temperance sermons, were active in the Sons of Temperance in the Feasterville community, and traced the progress of total abstinence in that neighborhood. (Miscellaneous Griffin newspaper clippings.)

[51] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, pp. 104, 287.

[52] Chapman and Shehane Discussion, p. 38.

[53] W.W. Sweet, The Story of Religion in America (Rev. ed.; New York: Harper & Brothers, 1950), p. 242.

[54] 1833 Tract Society Report, p. 9. (Archivist: This footnote is not referenced in the original document)

[55] Richard Arnold expressed his Unionist sentiments in 1850, and although a Democrat he supported the Union Party in 3eorgia that year. He spoke out in behalf of the Clay Compromise of 1850. (Shyrock, Letters of Richard D. Arnold, M.D., pp. 39-40, 88.)

[56] Ward, “Daniel Bragg Clayton,” p. 6.

[57] Universalist Herald, May 25, 1855, p. 3.

[58] The prospectus for the publication, Know Nothing, stated that “the menacing and usurping aspects of political and Papal, Ecclesiastical comninglement (SIC), require to be promptly, and boldly confronted. To this end, it will be the aim of the Know Nothing, to warn all lovers of American principles, of the foreign and seductive influences which are knawing (SIC) at the vitals of our government. When the authority of a foreign Pope, is held by thousands above all American law, it is time for us to awake to our danger, and sound the alarm! In short our sheet will oppose all encroachments of the Church and State policy, either Papal or Protestant.” (Universalist Herald, June, 1855, p.4.)

[59] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p. 194.

[60] Universalist Herald, June 15, 1855, p. 2.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Shyrock, Letters of Richard D. Arnold, M.D., p. 58.

[63] Ibid., pp. 98-99.

[64] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, pp. 214-215.

[65] George Willis Cooke stated that “no Unitarian defended slavery from the pulpit or by means of the press, and no one was its apologist. Many, however, did not approve of the methods of the abolitionists, and some strongly opposed the extreme measures of a part of the body of reformers.” He listed a possible exception to this in the person of Theodore Clapp of New Orleans who was generally listed as Universalist rather than as Unitarian. (Cooke, Unitarianism in America, p, 353,) Clarence Gohdes reported that “at times the Southern-born pastors were more radical on the subject of slavery than their Yankee fellows.” (Gohdes, “Some Notes on Unitarian Church,” p. 332.)

[66] Amory D. Mayor, A Unitarian minister, writing after the Civil War observed that “the thousands of New England and Middle States young mon who went South before 1850 were as essentially Southern in the war was those ‘to the manner born.'” (Amory D. Mayo, “Northern Estimates of Southern Life and Affairs,” Unitarian Review and Religious Magazine (Boston), January, 1889, p. 39.)

[67] Shyrock, Letters of Richard                  D. Arnold, M.D., pp, 17-18 183? Arnold wrote Chandler Robbins, pastor of the Second Unitarian Church in Boston, asserting that “the abolitionists, of whom I am most happy to hear you disclaim being one, have by their intemperance, united the whole South against them as one man. To carry their plans into effect they would have to wade knee in blood. I speak the language of truth and not of hyperbole.  The two races are so separated, that the one now the lower, will never be allowed to mount to perfect equality, except over the prostrate bodies of the upper. But I will not be away into any discussion. I will not be led away into any discussion. I will only observe that with you Slavery is an abstract question, — with right I do not argue for, but it is not always mere abstract ideas to all the relations of social life; and the institution of Slavery, although indefensible on the ground of abstract rights, can be defended and well defended upon this, that so intimately is it mingled with our social conditions, so deeply has it taken root, that is would be impossible to eradicate it without upturning the foundations of that condition. On the ground of expediency we are still stronger, for without a population of Blacks the whole Southern Country would become a desert.” (Ibid. p14) In 1845 Arnold wrote a former Savannah pastor, Dexter Clapp, then living in Northampton, Massachusetts, observing that he was happy “to hear that there is some prospect of Abolition becoming less rabid than formerly.” (Ibid., p 27)

[68] Ibid., p. 33.

[69] Ibid., p. 39.

[70] Ibid., p. 67.

[71] Universalist Herald, June 1, 1855, pp. 1-2.

[72] Ibid., May 25, 1855, p. 2.

[73] Ibid.

[74] Griffin Diary 1863, p. 102

[75] Clayton, Forty-Seven Years, p, 2200

[76] Ibid., pp. 210-221.

[77] Ibid., p. 225.

[78] Gilman, Old and the New, p. 29.

[79] Mrs. F. C. Swift, “A Colored Liberal,” Southern Unitarian, August, 1893, p. 5.

[80] Mayo, “Northern Estimates of Southern Life arid Affairs,” p. 39.

[81] Southern Unitarian, March, 1893, p.7.

[82] Carroll D. Wright, “Labor and Industry at the South,” Southern Unitarian, May, 1895, p. 92

[83] The last time that Henry Grady attended a public worship service was when he attended a Sunday evening service of the Atlanta Unitarian Church.  The next week he journeyed to Boston to deliver his final address. (Southern Unitarian, March 1895, p. 38) Grady’s Boston speech was delivered December 17, 1889 and he arrived back in Atlanta on December 17th and died December 23, 1889. (Raymond B. Nixon, Henry W. Grady, Spokesman of the New South. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1943.)

[84] Mayo, “Northern Estimates of Southern Life and Affairs,” p. 48.

[85] William B. Weeden, “How the South May Help in the Impending Social Trouble,” Southern Unitarian, April, 1893, p. 6. Background material on Weeden has not been found.

[86] Mrs. Viola Neblett, “Social Equity,” Southern Unitarian, April, 1895, pp. 64-67.

[87] W. R. Cole, “How Can the Church Help Solve the Problem of Poverty,” Southern Unitarian, July, 1895, pp. 123-125.

[88] Ibid., p. 124.

[89] Southern Unitarian, March, 1895, pp. 47-49.

[90] “Report–The National Alliance,” The Christian Register, November 17, 1898, p. 304.



Published Books and Pamphlets

Bulfinch, Stephen G. Jesus Christ Dependent on the Factor. Augusta: Printed by W. Lawson, 1830. Located at the University of Georgia Library, Athens, Georgia.

The Unitarians Appeal, Three Sermons Illustrative of the Claim of Unitarians to the Character of Evangelical Christians, Independent of the Truth of Their Peculiar Opinions, Boston: James Munroe & Co., for the American Unitarian Association, 1842.

Located at Columbia Theological Seminary Library, Decatur, Georgia.

“Calling Things by their Right Names”: A Brief Reply to an Article Under that Title in the Southern Watchman of May, 19th 1837. Charleston:-Charleston Unitarian Book and Tract Society printed by Walker & James, 1837.

Located at Duke University Library, Durham, North Carolina.

Channing, William Ellery. The Works of  E. Channing, D. D., 8 vols. Eighth complete edition. Boston: James Munroe and Co., 1848.

Clayton, Daniel Bragg. Forty-Seven Years in the Universalist Ministry,

Columbia, South Carolina: By the Author, 1889. Located at University of North Carolina Library, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

The Constitution of the First Universalist Society of the City of Charleston. Charleston, South Carolina: Printed at the Office of the Southern Evangelist, 1836. Located at Duke University Library.

Discussion Between Rev. James L. Chapman and Rev. C. F. R. Shehane, on the important Query in Relation to the Final Destiny of Man, Whether it_ is the Purpose of God to Bless All or a Part of His Children, with Immortal Bliss. 2nd ed. Notasulga, Alabama: Printed Universalist Herald Office, 1850. Located at Duke University Library.

Pitkin, J. B. A Discourse, Embracing Several Important Objections to the Doctrine, “That Jesus Christ, as Mediator Possesses Two Natures, the Divine and Hunan, in Mysterious, yet all Harmonious Union,” Richmond: Printed by Samuel Shepherd & Company, 1834; Charleston: Reprinted by B. B. Hussey, 1843.

Located at South Carolinian Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S. C., also at New York Public Library, New York City, New York.

Remarks on a Late Article in the Wesleyan Journal, Charleston: Unitarian Tract Society. Printed by C. C. Sebring, 1825. Located at the South Carolinian Library of the University of South Carolina.

Reply to a Third Article in the Wesleyan Journal of Jan. 21, 1826, Respecting, Unitarians. Charleston: Charleston Unitarian Tract Society, 1825. Located at the South Carolinian Library of the University of South Carolina.

Report and Addresses Delivered at the Twelfth Anniversary Meeting of the Charleston Unitarian Book and Tract Society, Charleston: James S. Burges, 1833. Located at the Boston Public Library.

Rules of the Charleston Unitarian Bock Society, Instituted A. D.; 1821. Charleston: William Gray’s Press, 1826. Located at Duke University Library.

Service Book for Worship in the Congregation and the Home. Arranged for the Use of the Unitarian Church in Charleston, S.  C. Charleston: Samuel G. Courtneye, 1854. Located at Duke University Library.

Services and Hymns for the Use of the Unitarian Church of Charleston, S. C. Enlarged ed. Charleston: Joseph Walker, 1867. Located at Columbia Theological Seminary Library, Decatur, Georgia.

Shahan, Charles F. R. A, Key to Universalism. Griffin, Georgia: By the Author, 1854. Located at Duke University Library. Tufts University Library, Medford, Massachusetts also has a copy.

Shyrock, Richard H., ed. Letters of Richard D. Arnold, M. D., Durham: Seaman Press, 1929. A copy of this is available at the University of Georgia Library but use was also made of the editor’s personal copy at the American Philosophical Society Library and he was also consulted on the subject of this dissertation.

Upham, Charles Wentworth. A Letter to the Editor of the Charleston Observer, Concerning his Treatment of Unitarians. Charleston: James S. Burges, 1827. Located at Boston Public Library.

Whitaker, Daniel K. The Unity and Supremacy of God the Father. A Sermon Delivered in the Second Independent Church, in Charleston, 22, 1826. Charleston: Printed by 4. Riley, 1826. Located at University of South Carolina Library.


“The Atlanta Exhibit,” Southern Unitarian (August, 1895), pp. 145-146.

All issues of this periodical cited are located at Tulane University Library, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Burruss, J. C. “Theological Discussion between Rev. John Robbins and Rev. J. C. Burruss,”Universalist Herald (June 15, 1855), p. 2. Located on microfilm at University of Alabama Library, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Chaney, George L. “Address at 10th Anniversary of Atlanta Church,” Southern Unitarian (March, 1894), pp. 35-39. “The New Protestantism,” Southern Unitarian (January, 1893), P. 3.

“Charleston Unitarian Book Society – Articles of Association,” The Unitarian Miscellany and Christian Monitor (Dec., 1821), pp. 164-167.

All issues of this periodical cited are located at the University of Iowa Library, Iowa City, Iowa.

Cole, W.R. “How Can the Church Help Solve the Problem of Poverty?” Southern Unitarian (July, 1895), pp. 123-125.

Dixon, John Y. ‘Business Announcement,’ Southern Unitarian (January, 1893), p. 2.

Gibson, George H. “Unitarian Congregations in Ante-Bellum Georgia,” The Georgia Historical Quarterly (Summer, 1970), pp. 147-168.

Jones, A. L. “Sunday-School Work,” Southern Unitarian (March, 1893) pp. 5-6.

Mayo, Amory D. ‘A Ministry of Education in the South,” Unitarian Review and Religious Magazine (Sept., 1832), pp. 193-207.

All issues of this periodical cited are located at University of Iowa Library.  “Northern Estimates of Southern Life.” Unitarian Review and Religious Magazine (January, 1889), pp. 33-48.

National Alliance,” The Christian Register (July 14, 1898, p. 802. All issues of this periodical cited are located at Starr King School of Theology.

Neblett, Mrs. Viola. “Social “Equity,” Southern Unitarian (April, 1895), pp. 64-67.

Penney, George B. “The Gothenburg Plan,” Southern Unitarian (August, 1393), pp. 6-7.

Schumann, Theodor. “Suggestions About Sunday schools in the Liberal Church,” Southern Unitarian (January, 1895), pp. 5-7.

Stebbins, Calvin. “Report of Rev. Calvin Stebbins, Missionary of the A. U. A. in Charleston, S. C.” The Monthly Journal of the American Unitarian Association (October, 1865), pp. 454-459.

Swift, Mrs. F. C. “A Colored Liberal,” Southern Unitarian (August, 1893), pp. 5-6.

“Universalism Summary of Opinion,” Constitution of the First Universalist Society of the City of Charleston, Charleston: Printed at the Office of the Southern Evangelist, 1336.  Located at Duke University Library.

Weeden, William. “How the South May Help in the Impending Social Trouble, “Southern Unitarian (April, 193), DD. 5-6.

Whitman, H. A. “The Dawn of Unitarianism in the South,” Southern Unitarian (January, 1393), pp. 3-4.

“New and Old Views of Salvation and Vicarious Atonement,” Southern Unitarian (June, 1895), pp. 117-120.  “An Old Time Southern Unitarian Paper,” Southern Unitarian (February, 1893), p. 3.

“A Word from the South,” Unitarian Review and Religious Magazine. (June, 1891), pp. 480-484.

Wright, Carroll D. “Labor and Industry at the South.” Southern Unitarian (May, 1895), pp. 92-93.

Unpublished Material

Gilman, Samuel. Loose newspaper clippings in Gilman pamphlets. Duke University Library.

Griffin, James Lewis Corbin. Papers, 1839-1875. Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia.

Cornerstone of First Universalist Church of Camp Rill, Alabama.


Stone, Tablets on interior walls of Charleston Unitarian Church. Charleston, South Carolina.

Tombstones in Charleston Unitarian Churchyard.

Whitman, H. A. Compiler. “Scrapbook Alexander Case.” South Carolinian Library of the University of South Carolina.

Periodicals and Newspapers

Christian Examiner (Boston), July and August, 1826.

On microfilm at University of Georgia Library from original at Yale University.

Christian Inquirer (New York), April 27. 1826. Located at University of South Carolina Library.

The Daily Georgian (Savannah), June 3, 1820. Located at University of Georgia Library.

The Georgian (Savannah), January 1, 1833 – December 28, 1835. Located at the University of Georgia Library.

The Southern Unitarian (Atlanta), January, 1393 – December. 1495. Located at Tulane University Library, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Southern Universalist (Macon, Georgia), March 31. 1841. Located at University of Georgia Library.

The Unitarian Christian (Augusta, Georgia), March, June, September. 1831. Located at Meadville Seminary of the University of Chicago. University of North Carolina on microfilm.

The Unitarian Defendant (Charleston, South Carolina), June 22, 1822 – November 16, 1822. Located at Meadville Seminary Library of the University of Chico and the University of Iowa Library.

The Unitarian Miscellany and Christian Monitor (Baltimore, July, 1821 – July, 1824. Located at University of Iowa Library.

Unitarian Review and Religious Magazine (Boston), May, 1874, December 1875; March, 1884. Located at University of Iowa Library.

Universalist Herald (Nostasulga, Alabama), May 25, 1355 – June 15, 1855. Located on microfilm at the University of Alabama.

Universalist Herald (Canon, Georgia), Jan. 20, 1932 – March 20, 1941. Originals were consulted that are in the possession of Mrs. J. C. Bowers of Canon Georgia.

The Universalist Miscellany (Boston), November, 1843; February, 1845; September, 1845. Located at Duke University Library.

Western Messenger (Cincinnati), April, 1337. Located on microfilm at University of 3eorgia Library from original at Yale University.

Secondary Sources

Published Books and Pamphlets

Adams, John Coleman. Universalism and the Universalist Church. Boston: Universalist Publishing House, 1915.

Belsham, Thomas. American Unitarianism. 2nd ed. Boston: Printed by Nathaniel Willis, 1815. Located at University of Iowa Library.

Bolster, Arthur S., Jr. James Freeman Clarke. Boston: The Beacon Press, 1954.

Brown, Arthur W. Always Young for Liberty. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1956.

Cooke, George Willis. Unitarianism in America. Boston: American Unitarian Association, 1902.

Dabney, William M. and Dargan, Marion. William Henry Drayton the American Revolution. Albuquerque: The University of New Press, 1932.

Directory Unitarian Universalist Association 1961-62. Boston: Unitarian-Universalist Association, 162.

Eaton, Clement. The Freedom-of-Thought Struggle in the Old South. Revised and enlarged ed. Harper Torchbooks. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1954.

Ezell, John Samuel. The South Since 1865. :New York: The Macmillan Co., 1963.

Moseley, J. Edward. Disciples of Christ in Georgia. St. Louis: The Bethany Press, 1954.

Nixon, Raymond B. Henry W. Grady, Spokesman of the New South. New. York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1943.

Neall, John Belton, and Chapman. John A. The Annals of Newberry. Two parts in one volune. Newberry, South Carolina: Aull & Houseal, 1892.

Robinson, Elmo Arnold. The Universalist Church in Ohio. n. p. Published by Ohio Universalist Convention, 1923.

Scott, Clinton Lee. The Universalist Church of America:  A Short History. Boston: Universalist Historical Society, 1957.

Simkins, Francis Butler. Pitchfork Ben Tillman. Reprinted ed. Gloucester, Massachusetts: Peter Smith, 1964. The Tillman Movement in South Carolina. Reprinted ed. Gloucester, Massachusetts: Peter Smith, 1964.

Smith, Timothy L. Revivalism and Social Reform: In Mid-Nineteenth Century America. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1957.

Sprague, William Buell. Annals of the American Unitarian Pulpit. New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1865. Located at Starr King School of Theology.

Sweet, William W. The Story of Religion in America. Rev. ed. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1950.

Tiffany, Francis. Life of Dorthea Lynde Dix. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1918.

Whittemore, Thomas. The Modern History of Universalism Boston: By Author, 1830.

Wilbur, Earl Morse. A History of Unitarianism. Vol. II. Boston: Beacon Press, 1952.


Bowers, Mrs. J. C. “History of the Georgia Women’s Missionary Association, Universalist Herald (September 20, 1938), pp. 8-.9.

Bradley, Asa M. “Unitarianism,” Universalist Herald (October 20, 1933), pp. 8-9. Universalism in South 100 Years Ago, Universalist Herald, December 20, 1934, p. 12.

Browne, E. C. L. ‘Ecclesiastical Beginnings in Carolina,” Unitarian Review and Religious Magazine (October, 1884, pp. 317-335.

Chapman, Thomas. “Over the Southland,” Universalist Herald (Nay 20, 1933), p. 14.

“Torrid Weather Over Dusty goads Experienced by a Missionary,” Universalist Herald (October 20, 1938), P. 9.

Earle, Gertrude. “Beginning of the Universalist Church,” Universalist Herald (February 20, 1933), p. 13.

Ellsworth, Richard C. “A Tribute to Rev. Lyman Ward, DID.” Universalist Herald (June 20, 1935), pp. 7-8, 15.

Gohdes, Clarence. “Some Notes on the Unitarian Church in the Ante-bellum South,” American Studies in Honor of W. K. Boyd. Durham: Duke University Press, 1940.

Roger, Frederick C. “The History of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” Universalist Herald (December, 1956), pp. 7-8.

Hurlbut, Martin L. “Anthony Forster,” American Unitarian Biography. Edited by William Ware. Vol. II. Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1851_.

Opdale, Nellie Mann. “One Hundred Years of Organized Universalism in Georgia,” Universalist Herald (October 20, 1938), pp. 3-7.

Rasnake, James. “Notes on the Georgia Convention,” Universalist Herald (February 20, 1935), p. 13.

Stanford, Airs. Viola. “History of the Universalist Church in Atlanta,” Universalist Herald (December 20, 1934), pp. 7-8.

Ward, Lyman. “Daniel. Bragg Clayton,” Universalist Herald (August 20, 1937), pp. 5-7.



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