5 E. Streetsboro St. | Free Congregational Church & John Brown marker​

5 E. Streetsboro St. | Free Congregational Church & John Brown Marker​


Owen Brown left the First Congregational Church and established the Free Congregational or "Oberlin" Church on October 7, 1842, and paid to have a building constructed for the congregation. Anti-slavery was a central tenet of the founding of the church and the articles of faith even established as a rule "to receive no one into our communion who is a slave holder or advocate of slavery nor will we invite a slave holding minister or one who advocates the system of slavery to preach or officiate in our pulpit." (First Congregational Church (Hudson, Ohio) records, Hudson Library & Historical Society). Lora Case notes that John Brown made his last appearance in Hudson in front of this building shortly before he went to Harpers Ferry.​


On January 27, 1847 a meeting of the Liberty Party took place at this location. The U.S. Liberty Party advocated for the abolition of slavery and the use of political action to further antislavery goals. This political group felt that abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison's beliefs were too radical. George Bradburn, a member of the American Anti-Slavery Society present at the meeting in Hudson said that "political action was the only way in which slavery could ever be abolished; one vote will move a slaveholder more than seven thousand speeches." The Liberty party was never able to elect a candidate for president, and many party members eventually joined the Free-Soil party.​

The church was in existence from 1842 until 1849, until it dissolved due to dwindling membership. Most of the members of the Free Congregational Church rejoined the First Congregational Church, including Owen Brown. 

"Whereas a great portion of the church of nearly all denominations, are withholding their testimony & influence against the sin of slavery & oppression & whereas we believe the continuance vs. Abolition of slavery depends in a great measure upon a right procedure on the part of Christ's representatives on earth, therefore we in assuming to be witnesses for Christ & Cooperators with him in the work of removing all sin from the face of all the earth, establish it as a rule in our church to receive no one into our communion who is a slave holder or an advocate of slavery nor will we invite a slave holding minister or one who advocates the system of slavery to preach or officiate in our pulpit."


Articles of Incorporation, Free Congregational Church, First Congregational Church (Hudson, Ohio) records, Hudson Library & Historical Society