Campbellites were religious followers of ministers Thomas Campbell and his son Alexander Campbell in the early nineteenth century. Originally associated with the Presbyterian Church in western Pennsylvania and Virginia, the Campbells argued that the strict religious practices of the church were too divisive and that all denominations should give up their doctrinal differences and reunify as one single Christian Church. In addition, they believed that all Christians, regardless of denomination, should be allowed to participate in the Lord's Supper. Unable to convince the various denominations to follow their teachings, the two men founded their own church in 1809. They later formed an alliance with the followers of another religious dissenter, Barton W. Stone of Kentucky, to create the Disciples of Christ in 1832.
Over time, the Campbells' new church gained members from a number of denominations, in spite of its perceived radical views, and spread into Ohio. By the 1850s, the Disciples of Christ, also commonly known as the Christian Church, had established ninety churches in the state and had founded Hiram College.