The Baha’i Faith first became known in Ohio by way of a Chicago Insurance salesman named Thornton Chase, who mentioned his new religion to two colleagues in Union Mutual Life Insurance Company’s Cincinnati office during a visit in 1898 or 1899.
Chase, one of the first four Americans to study the faith, enrolled in 1895. His hometown Baha’i community of Chicago dispatched another Baha’i back to Cincinnati after Chase’s visit there. That visitor offered a class in January 1899, and five people enrolled in the faith, giving birth to the first Baha’i community in Ohio.
Acceptance of the faith required then, and today, belief in Baha’u’llah as God’s messenger for this age and in His teachings that there is one God who has educated mankind continuously through the ages, that humanity in all its diversity is but one race, that men and women are equal in the eyes of God, that science and religion are in harmony, and that every human soul progresses toward God through life and after death.(Religion In Ohio, Profiles of Faith Communities, p.351)
Currently more than 160,000 Baha’is reside in over 7,000 localities throughout the United States, including over 100 Indian reservations.