Source: City Records - Vol 2 - pp19 Newport, RI - June 2, 1882 - Groom, Samuel Barber - Bride Sarah Smith - first marriage for both - Residence -7 Coddington Block - Occupation Samual Carriage painter - Place: Newport, RI - First Unitarian Congregation Church - on Mill Street near Spring Street Est. 1735 -Rev. M.K. Schermerhorn, pastor - Age: Samual 25 - Sarah 21 - Samuel born Morsley (spelling, may be Mawdesley), England -Sarah Lancashire, England - Parents: Groom, William Barber & Sarah A Buckley - Bride, Joseph Smith & Mary A Gill
Beginning in 1878, the Rev. M. K. Schermerhorn served as the minister of this congregation for four years. During that short period of time, he inspired the congregation and the entire Unitarian Association to build a monument to honor Channing in his birthplace. This church was built by international subscription. Unitarians from across the country and in England sent contributions in support of the vision of a monument dedicated to the memory and vision of William Ellery Channing. The cornerstone bearing the words "Faith, Hope, Charity" was laid in 1880, the centennial of Channing's birth. The dates carved into the front of the church 1780-1880, pay tribute to this anniversary; 1780 being the date of Channing's birth in Newport. It is significant that this memorial bearing his name is not a cold edifice but houses a thriving Unitarian Universalist congregation.
The church was constructed in little more than a year, built of pink stone from Lyme, Ct. (unlike the gray foreseen by Governor Van Zandt) and was dedicated October 19, 1881. In its new building, the Unitarian society became a forceful religious and cultural center for the Newport community.