We pride ourselves in collecting some obscure manuscript collections. The information contained in these unique materials can be better than gold to scholars. The Christian (as in the "Christian Connection") material we have collected is particularly rare and precious given the denomination's propensity to either not keep formal records or to destroy them in accordance with their religious principles.
Therefore, when we are given a surprise gift such as the one we acquired this month, it goes to the top of our to-do list. Rob Peters joined our board for their fall meeting and presented an amazing ledger book from the Ohio Central Christian Conference, which had been kept by his family for generations. This book was started by his ancestor, Isaac N. Walter, the first secretary of the Conference; Rev. Walter transcribed over half the contents of this book. It contains an historical introduction, lists of ministers and delegates, and the Conference's annual meeting minutes. It is a stand-out collection due to its rarity, but additionally, it has gorgeous, sturdy paper, handwriting that is a work of art, and finally a fascinating commentary from the good Rev. Walter dated 1841 and sealed for an undetermined amount of time. He wrote:
The Christian denomination wants public spirit and enterprize and I am fearful never will advance much, beyond what it now is. Notwithstanding our last Conference posed a resolution to build a College. I am fearful it never will be finished even began. I hurt I may be mistaken. You will determine.
Beware of Coveteousness for I have discovered more of this sin in the Christian Church than an other.
Beware of those men who always slandering their brethren in the Ministry and trying to rise on the downfall of others.
Beware of those men who will never do any thing for the cause of Christ unless they are the leaders and at the head.
Beware of Campbellism, when ever a man begins to try to every form first just let him go for he will be a curse of you keep him. From such turn away.
Two men belonging to the Christian Church I am fearful will yet cause trouble to the body.
Brethren, live prayerful, holy and godly lives do good and get good, that you might be prepared to meet me in heaven.
December 10th 1841
Yours in Christian Love
Isaac N. Walter
We hope many of you will be visiting us to use this new collection. Special thanks to Barbara Brown Zikmund and Mrs. Peters for supporting the idea of donating it, and the biggest thank you to Rob Peters for sharing this family heirloom.