Mention of O. E. Harmon of Liberal, Mo in the 1921 “Unitarian Register”

April 14, 1921


Orrin E. Harmon is the only Unitarian in Barton County, Missouri. He lives in the town of Liberal, a community of interesting citizens. It seems that a man named G. H. Walser, a Spiritualist, owned a plot of land on which he conceived the notion of founding a town of liberal ideas. Spiritualists and free-thinkers were to have homes where they could practice their beliefs without being molested by churches. A clause in the town charter provided that no church or saloon should have a place in the community. The children were to be educated at a school known as the Free Thought University. In course of time the citizens disagreed, both saloons and churches entered and flourished. The saloons were finally voted out under the local options law, but the churches made progress and now Methodists and Christians are firmly established. It was a notable fact that as the liberal element which founded the town grew less influential, saloons and denomination elements became strong. Mr. Harmon has heard but three Unitarian sermons, but he has read the words of Channing, Dewey, Parker, and Martimeau, has access to Unitarian literature, and enjoys particularly the weekly visit of THE CHRISTIAN REGISTER.

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NOTE: O. E. Harmon was the author of The Story of Liberal, Missouri and a son-in-law of James Allen Noyes, whose family moved to Liberal in 1882.

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