D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives

 Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville
(Asheville, NC)
1950 -




Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville

Alt. Title Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville (Asheville, NC) 1950-


Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville (Asheville, NC)

Identifier http://toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/mss/unitarian_universalist_church_asheville/

Subject Keyword

Unitarian Universalist ; Unitarianism ; Unitarians; Rev. Henry Addison Westall ; churches ; religion ; ministers ; architecture ; architects ; congregations ; Mark Ward ; James Anderson Inman ; Inman, North Carolina ; Thomas Wolfe ; Charles Frazier ; Julia Westall Wolfe ;  kindergarten ; vocational training ; Inman Chapel ; Forks of the Pigeon, North Carolina ; Canton, North Carolina ;

Subject LCSH

Unitarian Universalist churches -- United States -- History. 
Unitarianism -- History. 

Westall, Henry Addison, Rev.
Church buildings -- North Carolina -- Asheville
Murray, John, 1741-1815
Unitarianism -- Southern States -- History -- 20th century
Southern States -- Church history -- 20th century
Unitarianism -- Southern States -- History -- 20th century
Southern States -- Church history -- 20th century


The collection spans the years from 1950 to the present. The material in the collection includes various church activities, the minutes of meetings, photographs, membership lists, service bulletins, and the plans for construction of the church on Charlotte Street.  It also includes papers related to the governing board (Board of Trustees) and to the various  ministers who have headed the Asheville, NC church. Included in the administrative records are minutes, annual reports and administrative correspondence; the personal correspondence of ministers of the church and the correspondence related to the activities of the various committees that functioned within the church may also be found.  Papers related to specific individuals and events are found throughout the collection.  Personal oral histories are also included in the materials as are the taped sermons of some of the ministers, particularly their more recent sermons and are included with the collected oral histories located here:   http://toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/oralhistory/default_uuca.html  


D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804


 DeAnn Brame

Date Original

 1950 -

Date Digital 2009-08-26


Collection ; Text ; Image


 10 cartons






See Unitarian Universalist Oral History Collections : http://toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/oralhistory/default_uuca.html  D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, UNC Asheville. ; Unitarian Universalist Church Asheville, NC Homepage ;

Coverage temporal 1950- present

Coverage Spatial

Asheville, NC ; Canton, NC


No restrictions.
Any display, publication, or public use must credit the D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.  






Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville (Asheville, NC) 1950-, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804.

Processed by

DeAnn Brame, summer 2009 for the Universalist Unitarian Church and as student staff of the UNCA Special Collections, fall 2009.


Both Unitarians and Universalists had attempted to establish congregations in Western North Carolina as early as the late nineteenth century. Thomas Wolfe’s uncle, the Rev. Henry Addison Westall, brother of his mother, Julia, received “a law degree in the South, but gave up the legal profession to study theology at the Harvard Divinity School, where he met Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. As a minister he shifted from the Episcopal to the Presbyterian to the Unitarian church---only in the end to abandon the pulpit because he discovered that he was an agnostic.” (David Herbert Donald, Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe. Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1987. 73-74.)

According to Westall’s daughter, between 1894 and 1897, her family lived on Sunset Mountain and on Sundays her father preached to a “sparse congregation of Unitarians” who met in an “Upper Room,” probably of the Odd Fellows Hall on Broadway Street, “used for civic meetings and band practice, grim, bare and a little shabby, [it] contained, besides rows of wooden settles, only a reading desk and a piano. When my father sat in the high-backed chair his head showed above the lectern so that it seemed to be resting on the Book. The ‘two or three gathered together’ in that place moved on a higher plane than the rest of the town, my father insisted.’” They were mostly from the North and had come “to occupy, for a few months of the year, estates outside of town to which they expected to retire later.” “Besides this small coterie, a doctor or lawyer or two, and the visiting teachers, scientists, artists and writers may have concentrated in the congregation the intellectual cream of the community.” (Elaine Westall Gould, Look Behind You, Thomas Wolfe: Ghosts of a Common Tribal Heritage. Hicksville, NY: Exposition Press, 1976, 33.)

After three years, the Westalls moved back to Massachusetts, where Henry preached to the Unitarian congregation in Medford. Thomas Wolfe visited them frequently during his years at Harvard.

Itinerant Universalist preachers occasionally came to the mountains even before the Civil War. Inman Chapel, Forks of the Pigeon, near Canton, North Carolina, was built in 1902 by the Reverend James Anderson Inman, brother of “Inman” of Charles Frazier’sCold Mountain fame. He also fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War and was imprisoned in Chicago. He had been recognized as a Universalist preacher as early as 1859 and was officially ordained in 1868. After Inman’s death in 1913, the Women’s National Missionary Association of the Universalist Church sent the Rev. Hannah Jewett Powell to continue his work. Inman Chapel advanced a socially progressive ministry that included many firsts for the county and even for the state: a kindergarten, vocational training, a summer school, handicraft classes, adult education classes, a school for African American children, a library, and the county’s first free public health clinic. After the Rev. Powell retired, the congregation declined and closed in 1927. Inman Chapel has been restored and can still be visited. (Phyllis Inman Barnett, At the Foot of Cold Mountain, Waynesville, NC: Pigeon River Press, 2008).

[Paula Robbins for the Unitarian Universalist Church, Asheville.]

SERIES (Being processed)
1 History
  Board of Trustees
2 Ministers and Other Officials
3 Committees and Groups
4 Oral Histories
5 Membership Records
6 Printed Material
7 Buildings
8 Social Action
9 Photographs & Misc
10 Audio tapes


Series Folder  
1 History
1.1 Constitution and Bylaws
1.2 Materials covering the history of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville
1.3 Church archives and newspaper clippings
[Additional newspaper clippings are included in the records of the Women's Alliance]
  History Committee
1.4.1 Guides
1.4.2 Correspondence
1.4.3 Reports
1.4.4 Timelines - covering 1950-56 and 2004 -
1.4.5 Oral history - guidelines
1.4.6 Oral history - interviewees (See also Oral Histories)
1.4.7 Miscellaneous notes and jottings - believed to be by Bob Potter
  Chronological history  (Link to church website - will open new window)
2 Board of Trustees
  Minutes and agenda of  Meetings
2 Ministers
  1955 - 1963 Rev. Daniel M. Welch - Minister Emeritus


  1963 - 1967 Rev. Richard R. Gross


  1968 - 1974 Rev. Dr. Tracy M. Pullman - Minister Emeritus
  1974 - 1983 Rev. William D. Hammond - Minister Emeritus



  1983 - 1990 Rev. James Brewer - Minister Emeritus


  1990 - 1991 Rev. Dr. William Houff  - Interim Minister


  1991 - 2002 Rev. Dr. M. Maureen Killoran  - Minister Emerita


  2003 - 2004 Rev. Dr. Neil Shadle -  Interim Minister
  2004 - R Rev. Mark Ward


Other Officials
  1982 Sara Campbell - Ordination
  1983 - 1985 Jay Plumb - Organist - Employment agreement
  1986 - 1993 Janet Harvey - Director of Religious Education - Papers
  1993 - 2000 Guest preachers - Sermons and other writings

Committees and Groups

Committees Programs & Activities - Annual Reports

Adult Education  (see also Religious Education)

Building Rental Committee
(lease of space to Asheville Montessori Children's Center)

Canvass Committee  (also known as  Annual Budget Drive)



1994 to 1996



Finance Committee

History Committee, see HISTORY

Laymen's League (Unitarian-Universalist)
 Long Range Planning Committee

Membership Committee

Ministerial Search Committee (1983, 1990, 2003)

New Congregation Task Force

Religious Education (see also Adult Education)

Stewardship Committee (see Ways and Means Committee)


Ways and Means Committee
Women's Alliance

Women's Breakfast

Worship Committee


4 Oral Histories

UUCA Printed Material

Newsletters 1951-2009

Orders of Service

Brochures and Programs

Strategic Planning 2007-2009



Membership Records

Membership lists (by year)

Important people









Construction of new church building 1971

Purchase and demolition of 9 Edwin Place

Additions and remodeling 1979

Purchase of 21 Edwin Place (Jefferson House)

Draft copy of proposed lease agreement with Montessori Children's Center , 1984 - 86


Executive Building Committee (1978)

Building Task Force

Pledges & Fund Raising

8 Social Action


Social Justice



Photographs & Misc






10 Audio Tapes

A small collection of audio recordings on cassette and micro-cassette tapes. Generally believed to be sermons but some also relate to seminars / symposia

    4/1/1989 - Theology symposium [micro and cassette tape]
    11/12/1989 - "Effects of the arms race" - Drs. Clark, Grainger and Takaro
11/19/1989 - "A Thanksgiving thought" - Brewer [casstette]
    12/17/1989 - "Holiday expectations" - Brewer and Brass Choir
12/24/1989 - "Christmas message" - Brewer [cassette]
    1/7/1990 - "The recovery of silence" - Ronald Manheimert and Richard Chess [cassette]
    1/21/1990 - "The spirit of democracy" - Brewer
2/11/1990 - "The problem of good", part 1 - Brewer [cassette]
    2/18/1990 - "The quest for reverence" [micro and cassette tape]
    3/1/1998 - Congregational growth task force meeting [two cassettes]

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