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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"

Chapter  38 - Eau Claire Churches

Universalist Church

(-as transcribed from pages 517 - 518)

Late in the Fall of 1858 Mrs. Edwin Wilkins issued a card of invitation to all Universalists, and other liberally inclined religious people of Eau Claire, to meet at her residence and confer upon the subject of their religious welfare and advancement. It was responded to beautifully, and resulted in the organization of a Universalist sociable to meet once a week, with the ultimate object of establishing a Universalist church. In July, 1859, the Rev. Dolphus Skinner, of Utica, New York, visited his son, Dr. F. R. Skinner, and held divine service at Reed's Hall on Sunday morning, and in the afternoon on the West Side. The sociables were well sustained and contributions accumulated until there was a handsome sum in the treasury. Rev. Joseph O. Barrett was in February, 1860, engaged to minister to the spiritual needs of the congregation. Building lots were soon purchased and an exchange made with the second school district for its building and the lot on which it stood, next to Christ church. The organization was considered to be prosperous, but dissensions arose, and many of the influential supporters removed to other localities, until at last nothing was left but the building. Rev. J. O. Barrett afterward became the principal of the East Side school and wrote a very interesting history of "Old Abe," the famous eagle which followed the Eighth Wisconsin regiment through the war.

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