First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta Archive Collection 1855-1907



            The First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta Collection contains annual reports, board minutes, treasurer's reports and other financial records including receipts, real estate documents, ministerial records (including some vital statistics) and correspondence, Sunday School records, Sewing School records, records of the Ladies' Mite Society and images of the church building.

            These records reflect the activities of the Society from its inception as The Unitarian Society of Marietta in 1855, through its 1869 merger with The Universalist Church in Marietta and into the 20th century.

            As a whole, the collection evokes an image of the issues and challenges of a young church congregation in a small frontier town in southeast Ohio during the last half of the 19th century.



            The First Unitarian Society in Marietta was founded on February third in 1855 by Nahum Ward (1785-1860), a prominent land speculator and philanthropist. A Unitarian since his boyhood in New England, Ward hoped to establish a liberal religious society in Marietta before his death.

            To that end, Ward placed a notice in the January 30, 1855 edition of the Marietta Intelligencer. He asked all friends of liberal Christianity to assemble at the Court House for the purpose of establishing a Unitarian Society in the community.

Construction of their new church began in July of the same year. William S. Ward, Nahum Ward's son, supervised the construction. It was completed two years later and dedicated on June 4, 1857. The total cost of the building was $25,000 and was assumed by Mr. Ward himself. He then sold it to the congregation for the sum of one dollar.

            In 1869, the Unitarian Society of Marietta merged with the older Universalist Society of Marietta which had been founded in 1817. Though the Universalists had built their own church in 1843 near Butler and Second Streets, they sold it and became part of the "United Society" at the Unitarian Church.


Scope and Content

            This collection contains documents and images found in the archives of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta that date from 1855 until 1907. Included are the following: legal real estate and probate related documents; receipts for several years of expenses; letters to and from various ministers as well as the private logs of several of them; detailed records of both the Sunday school and a Sewing school; and board minutes from 1855 to 1907. Some of the record books contain births, deaths and marriage information. One vital statistic ledger includes records between 1907 and 1986.


Statement of Arrangement

            The loose documents fall fairly closely into the categories indicated in the Index with only a few that could have fallen into more than one. Everything is sorted chronologically within each category.



            The only restriction regarding access to or use of the materials in the FUUSM collection is that no part of the
physical collection shall be removed from or separated from the Special Collections Department at Marietta College. The original sequence of documents within the collection is to be maintained at all times.

Indexing Terms

            FUUSM, First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta, Universalists, Unitarians, Unitarian Society, UU, Ladies Mite Society, legal, financial, governance, correspondence, photographs, vital statistics, birth, death, marriage, Board minutes, annual reports, Sunday School, Sewing School, Nahum Ward, William Ward, William H. Taft.


Preferred Citation

            First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta Archive Collection 1855 – 1907


Acquisition Information

            All material in this collection was transferred directly from the facilities of the FUUSM. They are comprised mostly of original official records of that organization. An electronic version has been created of all documents and is retained by the FUUSM. It is anticipated that these electronic copies will be available at


Detailed Description of the Collection

            This index applies to both the physical collection held by and located in the Marietta College Special Collections in the Marietta College Library and a digital collection located on the First Unitarian Universalist website ( The digital collection matches the physical collection as much as possible.
                   Box 1
Folder 1 - Building Dedication (including sermon)
Folder 2 - Church Women’s History
Folder 3 - Financial Info of the Society
            Folder 3A - Treasurer’s Reports
            Folder 3B - Receipts
Folder 4 - Documents of Origin
            Folder 4A - First Unitarian Society of Marietta (Organization of the Society)
            Folder 4B - First Universalist Society of Marietta
            Folder 4C – Unitarian Society Governance
            Folder 4D - Nahum Ward
            Folder 4E - Unitarian Society Real Estate Documents
            Folder 4F - Sarah Ward
            Folder 4G - William Ward
Folder 5 - Ministerial Correspondence (To and From Prospective, Temporary and Settled Ministers of the Society)
            Folder 5A - 1857 thru 1859
            Folder 5B - 1860 thru 1869
Folder 6 – Miscellaneous
            Folder 6A Images (First Unitarian)
            Folder 6B Miscellaneous
Folder 7 - Sewing School
            Folder 7A Reports (1871 – 1901)
            Folder 7B Attendance Records (1871 – 1893)
Folder 8 - Sunday School
            Folder 8A - Reports (1863 – 1887) (Treasurer & Superintendent Reports)
            Folder 8B - Attendance Records (1863 – 1887) (Class Rolls & Presents)
            Folder 8C – Miscellaneous (Catechism, Correspondence, History)
                    Box 2   (Records)
Record Book 1 - Congregation Reports 1857 – 1907 (Minutes of the Board, Treasurer’s Reports, Resolutions, Correspondence)
Record Book 2 - Vital Statistics 1857 – 1906 (Membership rolls, christenings, marriages, deaths)
Record Book 3 - Vital Statistics 20th Century (Membership rolls, christenings, marriages, deaths)
Record Book 4 - Ministerial Records 1857 – 1869 (Comments and remarks by Ministers of the Society)
Record Book 5 - Ladies Mite Society 1859 – 1886 (Meeting Notes and Reports)
Record Book 6 - Unitarian Sunday School 1857 – 1898 (Organization, Union of Schools, Reports)