University of Chicago Library

Guide to the John Morgan Walden Papers 1820-1914

© 2006 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Walden, John Morgan. Papers




2 linear feet (4 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


John Morgan Walden, Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church and editor of the Quindaro Chindowan (Kansas Territory). Contains correspondence, a diary, manuscripts, sermons, clippings, speeches, articles, and biographical material. Some material relates to Walden's experiences as a newspaperman in the Kansas Territory and his involvement with the Methodist Episcopal Church, its polity, missions, and attempts at federation.

Information on Use


No restrictions.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Walden, John Morgan. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

John Morgan Walden (1831-1914), bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was born near Lebanon, Ohio, the son of Jesse and Matilda (Morgan) Walden, who moved to Hamilton County in 1832. He was of Virginian ancestry, his great-grandfather Walden having moved from Culpepper County to Kentucky in 1770, and his grandfather Benjamin, to Ohio in 1802. After the death of his mother in 1833, John went to live with relatives near Cincinnati. He attended a local school until 1844, when he went to work. Becoming a wandering laborer, he found employment as a carpenter. A carpenter for whom he worked interested him in Thomas Paine's writings, and he became a skeptic. He read extensively in Scott and Goldsmith and wrote romantic stories over the name Ned Law for the Hamilton Ohio Telegraph (1849-53). After attending Farmers' College, College Hill, Ohio, in 1849, he taught for a year in Miami County, where he was converted by a Methodist circuit rider. Returning to Farmers' College, he was graduated in 1852 and for two years was a teacher there.

In 1854 he went to Fairfield, IL, where he published the Independent Press, opposing in his editorials the liquor traffic and “squatter sovereignty.” The Illinoisans starved him out by refusing to support his paper, and in 1855 he returned to Ohio, where he reported for the Cincinnati Commercial. So deeply interested in the Kansas troubles did he become while reporting the National Democratic Convention of 1856 that he went to Kansas, where he established the Quindaro Chindowan, a free-soil organ. He was a delegate to five free-state conventions, including the Leavenworth constitutional convention (1858). That same year he campaigned over half the Territory, opposing the Lecompton constitution.

On September 8, 1858, he was admitted on trial to the Cincinnati Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The first two years were spent on circuits, and on July 3, 1859, he married Martha Young of Chevoit, Ohio. In 1860 he was admitted to the Conference in full connection and sent to the York Street Church, Cincinnati. While he was there the Civil War began, and he became very active and raised two regiments to defend the city against threatening attacks, and became a colonel.

fter service in connection with the Ladies' Home Mission in Cincinnati (1862-64) and as corresponding secretary of the Western Freedman's Aid Commission and of the Methodist Freedman's Aid Society, he became in 1867 presiding elder of the East Cincinnati District. The following year he was chosen an assistant agent of the Western Methodist Book Concern. His penchant for statistics and organization, his business ability, and his sympathetic cooperation with preachers made the Concern a financial success.

t the General Conference of 1884 he was elected bishop. In his official capacity he presided at some time or other over every conference in the United States and inspected Methodist missions in Mexico, South America, Europe, China and Japan, doing much to shape the missionary policy of his Church. He was a delegate to the Ecumenical Conference in London (1881), Washington (1891) and Toronto (1911). With respect to church organization he insisted on strict adherence to the written law, but otherwise was liberal in his views. His wife and three of his five children survived him. In recognition of his work for African Americans, the name of Central Tennessee College in Nashville was changed in 1900 to Walden University.

Scope Note

This is a collection of letters, newspaper clippings, sermons, addresses, articles, and personal material of John Morgan Walden, 1831-1914, Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and one-time editor of the Quindaro (Kansas Territory) Chindowan.

The collection, which is far from complete, contains approximately 500 items, exclusive of newspaper clippings. Its principal points of interest embrace several fields: Walden's newspaper days in the Kansas Territory and his influence there; his Civil War experiences, which, while not unusual perhaps, are certainly of interest in the field of civil defense; Walden's connection with the M.E. Church, its polity, missions, attempts at federation, etc.; and a first Report of the Board of Managers of the Cincinnati Public Library, 1868.

The numerous newspaper clippings range from those of the Chindowan of 1857 to the metropolitan press of 1914, with a number of clippings dealing with the Presidential election of 1856.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:


Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1

Letters 1855-1900; Diary-1855

  • Dec. 29, 1854-Jan. 1, 1855 1 p. of daily journal (Ohio)
  • Apr. 15, 1855-May 3, 1855 17 p. daily journal. Travel, description (Indiana, Ohio)
  • June 4, 1856 3 p. account of visit with Col. Thomas H. Benton (description of Benton, short political discussion). [Ohio?]
  • March 21, 1857 3 p. contract between Edmund Babb and John M. Walden to establish and publish a newspaper in the town of Quindaro, Kansas Territory
  • Between Apr. 4 and Apr. 11, 1857 [?] Notes en route to Kansas (plug for Pacific RR)
  • Apr. 11, 1857 Letter to Uncle from Quindaro describing journey by steamboat and RR. Description of Kansas Territory.
  • May 1, 1857 Notice of beginning of publication of Quindaro Chindowan (Wyandotte for leader) on 1 May 1857, with subscription price. (shorthand notes on back)
  • June 28, 1857 30 p. account of early life
  • June [?], 1857 2 p. account of early childhood and home
  • Aug. 3, 1857 Letter to Uncle--discusses the troubled conditions in Kansas Terr. Topeka Convention
  • Nov. 22, 1857 Letter to Uncle, discusses political and personal matters. Description of Kansas.
  • Feb. 10, 1858 Letter to Uncle. Political and personal matters.
  • March 17, 1858 Letter to Uncle. Elected member of Constitutional Convention. Personal matter.
  • Apr. 30, 1858 Letter to Uncle. Return from a Topeka Convention. Candidate for Superintendent of public schools.
  • May-June 1858[? about 1 yr post-first pub. of paper] 2 p. of "Personal Article" (to be published in the Quindaro Chindowan . . . traces his political career, and sentiments since coming to Kans. Terr. rest of article missing.
  • June 25, 1858 Letter to Uncle. Personal matters. Broke--undecided what to do.
  • July [?], 1858 1 p. notation of a 4th of July speech F. P. Stanton at Topeka.
  • July 5 - Aug. 1, [1857] Itinerary of political speech tour of Kansas.
  • July 28, 1858 Letter to [?]. Declines to run for election to post of Superintendent of Public Schools because of legality of such an elected position when by law the post should be filled by appointment.
  • July 30, 1858 To [?]. Covering letter to the above.
  • Aug. 6, 1858 To [?]. Discusses Kansas, election of 1858.
  • 1858[?] 9 p. MS article (for newspaper) replying to Mr. Gally, ed. of Zanesville (Ohio) Aurora. Discusses slavery and political parties and politicians.
  • 1858[?]-1859 27 p. narration of entering the ministry in 1858 and the first 4 months of preaching.
  • June 28, 1859 Letter to Rev. E. S. James. Declines to go to Missouri for missionary work.
  • Oct. 10, 1860 Printed notice of election to membership of Young Men's Mercantile Library of Cincinnati.
  • Feb. 27, 1862 Letter to cousins. Personal
  • Oct. 1, 1864 Certificate of exemption for a Civil War draft on account of disability.
  • Apr. 9, 1868 Certification that Rev. John M. Walden, D.D, was elected a delegate to the General Conference of M. E. Church in Chicago, May 1, 1868.
  • Nov. 1, 1871 Letter to Uncle and Aunt. Account of Chicago fire of 1871. Loss to Western Methodist Book Concern.
  • June 24, 1882 Letter to Ohio State Temperance Convention. (Written on Palmer House stations complete with engraving and rates.)
  • May 22, 1892 Letter to Mattie (wife). Personal.
  • Dec. 2, 1895 2 p. letter from Michael Kauffman, quoting excerpts from K's journal relating to the conversion of Walden in 1850.
Box 1   Folder 2

Letters 1901-1915; Memorials

  • 1901[?] Description of reception at Walden's 70th birthday.
  • Nov. 21, 1902 Letter from W. H. Hickman, Chancellor of DePauw University concerning Petition (item 3) to restrain Walden from visiting Africa.
  • 1902 Petition to Senior Bishop of M. E. Church to restrain Walden from visiting Africa.
  • Apr. 1, 1903 3 p. "open letter" from Murat Halstead re Walden's support of Ingall's candidacy for mayor.
  • Apr. 1, 1903 10 p. (typed and MS versions) reply to Halstead.
  • Jan. 20, 1904 6 p. letter from G. J. Ferril recalling Walden's conflict with a skeptic in Lawrence, Kansas in 1858.
  • Apr. 13, 1904 Letter from V. F. Brown giving Masonic data.
  • Sept. 14, 1904 5 p. letter (and clipping as pub.) to Farmer College alumni
  • June 3, 1905 6 p. letter to Dr. Blodgett entitled "My Solder [sic] Life," giving military experience during the Civil War.
  • Sept. 6, 1905 Letter from Kansas City Star requesting information about Quindaro's first news paper.
  • Feb. 11, 1907 Letter from Bishop B. Vincent re Walden 75th birthday.
  • July 26, 1907 Letter from the Central Christian Advocate requesting jurisdictional information re M. E. bishops.
  • July 30, 1907 Letter giving information asked for in item 12.
  • Dec. 18, 1907 Letter to Bro. Miller discussing M. E. polity.
  • Dec. 15, 1908 Letter to Dr. Blodgett repeating information on Army career (see item 9)
  • May 16, 1910 Credentials of Walden to General Conference of Colored M. E. Church for Board of Bishops, M. E. Church
  • Items 17-26 Congratulations on 80th birthday from,
  • Feb. 6, 1911 W. W. Pinson, M. E. Church, South
  • Feb. 6, 1911 Judson Harmon (Gov. of Ohio)
  • Feb. 7, 1911 Charles W. Fairbanks (Vice President of U. S. 1905-1909)
  • Feb. 9, 1911 A. W. Wilson
  • Feb. 10, 1911 Eli Fasold
  • Feb. 10, 1911 Albert J. Kast
  • Feb. 11, 1911 Porto Rico Mission
  • Feb. 11, 1911 J. B. Foraker
  • Feb. 11, 1911 Robert J. Miller
  • Feb. 27, 1911 Rev. L. Peter, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Apr. 24, 25, 1911 2 letters inviting Walden to a world conference on Faith and Order.
  • Oct. 21, 1913 Minutes of Committee on Federation of the M. E. Church
  • 1913[?] Letter to Rev. Brooks et al., re Committee of Federation
  • 1913[?] Invitation to meeting in Mobile declined
  • 1913[?] Fragment of a letter to [?] . . .
  • Jan. 5, 1914 Letter to "Dear Father" from "Stanley"(son-in-law, S. O. Royal)
  • Jan. 20, 1914 3 p. account of Walden's last few days, by Samuel Rye.
  • Items 34-55 Letters, Memorials, etc. re the death of Walden,
  • undated (1914) Memorial from the Society of Past Masters, F & A M of Hamilton Co., Ohio.
  • Jan. 27, 1914 Bethesda Hospital
  • Jan. 22, 1914 West Ohio Conference, M. E. Church
  • Jan. 23, 1914 Der Christliche Apologete
  • Jan. 23, 1914 Student Association, Farmers' College
  • Feb. 3, 1914 The Methodist Union
  • Feb. 16, 1914 Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce
  • March 9, 1914 Cincinnati Commandery No. 3, Knights Templar (gives Walden's Masonic history).
  • March 30, 1914 Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain
  • Apr. 2, 1914 Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain
  • Apr. 3, 1914 Cincinnati Schoolmasters Club
  • Apr. 24, 1914 Freedman's Aid Society
  • Oct. 30, 1914 Letter to Bishop David Moore from Tillie W. Royal (Walden's daughter), discussing Walden's papers.
  • Nov. 2, 1914 Postcard to Bishop Moore re Walden's position in the Civil Guards
  • Nov. 3, 1914 Letter to Bishop Moore from J. M. de Camp re Walden as a teacher.
  • 1914 Eulogy of Walden by R. T. Miller
  • Dec. 2, 1914 “In Memoriam” by A. B. Huston (2 copies)
  • Dec. 16, 1914 Letter to Bishop Moore from Samuel Rye re Walden.
  • Jan. 16, 1915 Letter to Bishop Moore from May Getzendanner re Walden and the Freedman's Aid Society.
  • Jan. 18, 1915 Letter and memorial to Walden from George C. James to Bishop Moore.
  • 1915 A sketch re Walden's sermons . . . by [?]
Box 1   Folder 3

Biographical sketches and personal papers

  • Feb. 20, 1868 Invitation to YMCA Convention (Walden on committee)
  • 1871[?] Walden's activities during June, 1871[?]
  • Sept. 1881 Press ticket to Ecumenical Conference, London.
  • Sept. 1881 Delegate's ticket to Ecumenical Conference, London.
  • 1886[?] Biography of Walden through 1885
  • Oct. 1, 1891 Delegate's certificate to 2nd Ecumenical Conference in Washington, D. C.
  • 1892 Lapel ribbon to M. E. General Conference Lincoln, 1892
  • 1892[?] Fragment of a biography
  • 1892 Form sheet for Masonic history
  • Sept. 19, 1892 Address in appreciation of Walden
  • Dec. 11, 1896 History of conversion on 46th anniversary of same.
  • July 1899 "An Anniversary Reminiscence"
  • 1902 Recollections of school life
  • May 2, 1906 Appreciation of Bishop W.
  • Dec. 23, 1909 Bill for 2 pairs of eye glasses (paid)
  • Feb. 11, 1911 Reminiscences of early life
  • 1911[?] Reminiscences of 1857, newspaper and ministerial work.
  • March 31, 1912 Bill for repairing time pieces (paid)
  • ? A personal reminiscence
  • ? Dates of some events in W's life
  • ? 5 pictures of Walden
  • ? Receipts of benevolence
Box 1   Folder 4

Press clippings 1880-1914

Box 1   Folder 5

Miscellaneous Correspondence

  • Nov. 14, 1868 John Wentworth to [Osmyn Brewster?]
  • Nov. 14, 1868 John Wentworth to Osmyn Brewster
  • Feb. 26, 1891 Josiah Strong to Bishop Walden
  • Oct. 30, 1914 May Getzendamer to Bishop D. H. Moore
  • no date Gustave Dore to [?]
  • ? Certificate of appointment of John Walden to Ninth Conference of Christians of All Nations, Florence, Italy, by the Evangelical Alliance for the United States.
Box 1   Folder 6

Essays, classical ? one essay not complete

Box 1   Folder 7

Speeches, essays, etc. 1850 . . . Early poems Commencement exercise of Farmers' College, 1852 Notebook containing outlines of sermons given at Farmers' College, 1852 3 essays (for school) 1 oration "Man's Restoration" 6 speeches (early sermons?)

Box 1   Folder 8

Speeches, reports, etc.

  • 63 p. speech on history
  • Fragment of commentary on Lincoln's death
  • Speech on church attendance
  • Fragments of 2 speeches
  • Speech on the Civil War
  • 14 p. (first) report of the Board of Managers of the Cincinnati Public Library, June 28, 1868
  • Address, Nov. 28, 1869
Box 1   Folder 9


  • Recollections of "Bleeding Kansas," envelope of clippings re Walden, the Quindaro Chindowan, constitutional convention, political division in Kansas.
  • Description of Kansas
  • Notes on the history of Kansas
  • Recollections of "Bleeding Kansas" (45 p.)
  • Recollections of Kansas (8 p.)
  • Clippings re Buchanan
  • Clippings re Fremont
  • Clippings re statistics of 1856 election
  • Clippings re Democratic Party and Presidents, Free Speech, Sumner assault
  • Platforms
  • Notice of speech by Walden Aug. 28, 1858 [?]
  • Notice of speech by Walden, Sept. 8, 1856
  • 2 clippings (1908)--account of Walden and early days in Kansas Territory
Box 2   Folder 1

Speeches and clippings re temperance

Box 2   Folder 2

Speeches on education

Box 2   Folder 3

Five speeches on social and economic conditions

Box 2   Folder 4

Miscellaneous speeches and clippings on Methodism

Box 2   Folder 5

Clippings and speeches on the South (emancipation and education)

Box 2   Folder 6

One set of galley proofs of article for Harpers New Monthly Magazine, April 20, 1891, "The Argentine People and their Institutions." Chronological data (1820-1882) respecting Protestant worship in Buenos Aires.

Box 2   Folder 7

Clippings re Methodist missions in Mexico and South America. 1889-1899.

Box 2   Folder 8

Clippings and addresses re Missions

Box 2   Folder 9

Sixteen Miscellaneous sermons

Box 3   Folder 1

About 30 (some fragments) sermons, by title

Box 3   Folder 2

About 35 (some fragments) sermons, by text, Old Testament

Box 3   Folder 3

(About 90, many fragments) notes for sermons; New Testament Gospels and Acts.

Box 3   Folder 4

(About 75, many fragments) notes for sermons; New Testament Romans and Revelations.

Box 3   Folder 5

Church Polity, federation reports, clippings, resolutions, letters, addresses, etc., re the federation of the branches of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Box 4    Folder 1

Pamphlets, statistics, articles, speeches, re M. E. Church polity.

Box 4    Folder 2

Cape May Conference, 1876. Statistics of membership of M. E. churches. Rules of the conference. Report of the conference. Also 2 versions of the history of the conference by Walden.

Box 4    Folder 3

Clippings of church conferences 1891-1909 in which Bishop Walden figured.