Unitarians in St. Louis History


Rev. William Greenleaf Eliot

Rev. William Greenleaf Eliot, a Unitarian minister from Massachusetts, came to St. Louis soon after graduation from Harvard Divinity School to found, in 1835, the first Unitarian church west of the Mississippi. It was named the Unitarian Church of the Messiah, which became the First Unitarian Church of St. Louis. Rev. Eliot became known for inspiring the development of a large congregation and for co-founding, with church members, Eliot Seminary, which he asked to be renamed Washington University in St. Louis. He also was instrumental in the founding of St. Louis Public Schools, the Art Museum, Mary Institute, St. Louis Urban League, and other civic institutions. Rev. Eliot was the grandfather of poet T. S. Eliot.