Founders and History


Disciples Founders in Canfield

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) grew out of two movements seeking Christian unity that sprang up almost simultaneously in western Pennsylvania and Kentucky – movements that were backlashes against the rigid denominationalism of the early 1800s.

Thomas and Alexander Campbell, a Presbyterian Scotch-Irish immigrant father and son in Pennsylvania, rebelled against the dogmatic sectarianism that kept members of different denominations – and even factions within the same denomination – from partaking of the Lord’s Supper together. Walter Scott, an immigrant from Scotland, was a successful evangelist of the resulting Campbell movement as it separated from the Baptists. The only other major founder, Barton Stone, does not appear to have a direct connection to Canfield.   
"When the association met in David Hays' barn at Canfield in 1826, Adamson Bentley was elected moderator and Joab Gaskill, clerk. Prominent men in attendance were: Alexander Campbell, Thomas Campbell, Sidney Rigdon, and Walter Scott. Alexander Campbell delivered the keynote address, an exposition of the seventh chapter of Romans. The next day being Sunday, several sermons were heard. When Walter Scott preached, it was his first appearance before the association. His message was well received."

"Minutes of the Mahoning Baptist Association," Palmyra, 1825, A.S. Hayden, p. 24, quoted in
Shaw, Henry K. , Buckeye Disciples: A History of the Disciples of Christ in Ohio, St. Louis, Christian Board of Publication, 1952, p. 41

"About this time [1827] he [Scott] moved his family to Canfield where he purchased a home. He intended to make this community his headquarters, bur never quite got around to it."
Buckeye Disciples, p. 47

"The Yearly Meeting  [1848] at Canfield attracted seven thousand persons. It was held in a large tent pitched in a shady grove. [Co-founder Alexander] Campbell claimed not more than half the audience could get in the tent at one time. He also wrote that the horses and carriages covered a twenty-acre field... The appearance of Campbell as a speaker always guaranteed a successful meeting."
Buckeye Disciples, p. 151


History from our Historical Marker      

Side A : "Canfield Christian Church"
The Canfield Christian Church began as a Baptist congregation in 1822 and church met for worship in William Dean's home. The Mahoning Baptist Association Meeting of 1826 was held in David Hayes barn. In 1827, Walter Scott was asked by the Association to be the first paid traveling evangelist in the Mahoning Valley area of Ohio. Scott accepted the offer and moved his family to a house next to the Canfield Church. By June of 1829, the Canfield Church voted to lay aside the Baptist name for the name Disciples of Christ. They believed all creeds were unnecessary and took the Bible alone as their sole rule of faith and practice. In 1847, a new church was built. Charter members of the church include James and Sarah Caldwell, Ann Winfield, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Caldwell and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Flick, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Clark, Mr. and Mrs. John Flick, and Mr. and Mrs. Simmon Sackett and daughter.

Side B : "Canfield Christian Church"
Numerous alterations have been made to the Canfield Christian Church over the years. In 1870, the sanctuary was redesigned, and in 1905 the building was raised to provide access to the basement. In 1907, the plain glass windows were replaced with arched windows and stained glass. Between 1932 and 1937, a new entrance was placed at the southwest corner and the stairway to the basement was enclosed. Many improvements were made from 1949 to 1950: the main entrance was changed from Broad Street to Maple Street, and two wings were added at ground level on the north and south sides of the building. A full basement was added, allowing room for four classrooms, a kitchen, a baptistery, and a fellowship hall. A narthex was dedicated in 1983 and a memorial bell tower was added in 1983. Ten years later, in 1993, a new steeple and carillon chimes were dedicated.