The United Brethren Church (officially the Church of the United Brethren in Christ) was first formed in 1767 by Martin Boehm and Philip William Otterbein.
The United Brethren Church of today is descended from the United Brethren who did not participate in mergers with other Protestant groups. This group first broke from the main body of the Church of the United Brethren in 1889, led by Milton Wright, a United Brethren bishop who disagreed with the increasingly liberal direction of the denomination. Bishop Wright formed a new group, which he called by the same name ("Church of the United Brethren"), but which came to officially be known as the "Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Old Constitution." So for 57 years there were two separate denominations named "Church of the United Brethren in Christ."
In 1946, the larger United Brethren religious body merged with the Evangelical Church (previously known as the Evangelical Association) to form the Evangelical United Brethren Church. This meant that there was now only one Church of the United Brethren in Christ, and the remaining un-merged group longer needed to append "Old Constitution" to its name in order to be distinguished from anybody. The Evangelical United Brethren Church later merged with the Methodist Church in 1968 to form The United Methodist Church, further eliminating any competition for the "United Brethren" denominational name.
Francis Scott Key - wrote "The Star Spangled Banner" during a War of 1812 battle (United Brethren Sunday school teacher)
Mark Souder - U.S. Representative from Indiana's 4th District
Martin Boehm - co-founder of the United Brethren Church (formerly a Mennonite preacher)
Philip William Otterbein - co-founder of the United Brethren Church (formerly a Reformed pastor)
Milton Wright - father of Wright Brothers; influential United Brethren bishop who led breakaway conservative United Brethren group which eventually became the present-day United Brethren Church
Famous Members of the Church of the Brethren
The "Church of the Brethren" (organized under this name in 1908) is part of the Schwarzenau Brethren family of religious bodies that dates back to the early 1700s. The Church of the Brethren is not really directly related to the United Brethren, except by the similarity in their names.
Scott Harshbarger - Massachusetts Attorney General; TV new show 20/20 profiled his controversial child abuse investigation based solely on manipulated testimony of children
Famous River Brethren
Dwight D. Eisenhower - U.S. President (born into River Brethren, but raised mainly in Jehovah's Witnesses)
Other Famous Brethren
The following individuals belong to "Brethren" denominations, but the specific denomination is unknown.
John B. Kimble - unsuccessful Republican candidate for U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland