A DISTINGUISHED modern writer has said: "History deals with facts. It has nothing to do with the pleasant or unpleasant:" If this is true, two questions present themselves:
1. Is the statement true?
2. Is the fact sufficiently important to justify its insertion?
The aim has been to carry out the full spirit of these ideas. Indulgence is asked, because this is the first effort to write a detailed history of Baptist work on this field, and because much of the data, especially the earliest, has been exceedingly hard to find. Many records are lost, and, with solitary exceptions, brethren contemporary with the events, are far removed or dead. For personal gratification, and without definite aim, the author, almost from his arrival in Oregon, in 1851, commenced gathering minutes and other data relative to Baptist work. Early in the 60's, a remark by Rev. G. C. Chandler, D. D., that "some one ought to be gathering our records for a future historian." gave increased impetus to his labors. In 1878, he was appointed Statistical Secretary of the Oregon Baptist State Convention, and his report in 1879 was so highly approved that the Convention continued his appointment, and recommended him as a suitable man for this work; and also as a Colporteur in connection with it; but circumstances prevented his entering on the Colporteur work, though he began to think seriously of gathering materials for a full history.
In 1886, the Oregon Baptist State Convention appointed a Committee, consisting of Rev's. W. J. Crawford, J. C. Baker and A. J. Hunsaker to gather and formulate the materials for a history of our Baptist labors on the North Pacific coast. C. H. Mattoon, had for several years privately been engaged in a similar work, and the above committee after careful consideration, agreed to cooperate with him in completing his labors, and if approved, to make his work a substitute for their own. Being short of data to make his work what he desired, Mattoon organized a stock company* to provide expenses for him to visit churches, gather data and put it in order for publication. In due time he reported both to the Stockholders (individually), and also to various committees of the Convention; all of whom examined, criticized, and corrected the same. He also had it thoroughly revised by Professor W. J. Crawford, A. M., B. D., and by request of the Convention Committee, he also submitted it to Rev. C. A. Wooddy, A. M., D. D., who gave it another thorough revision. It was then approved by the Oregon Baptist State Convention, at its session at Independence, in 1892.** (See records and Reports of State Convention for these years).
Owing to the hard times in Oregon in 1893 and 1894, the work was not published, and the work lay dormant until 1903, when Rev. W. H. Latourette again brought the matter before the Convention, and another committee was appointed, to inquire into its condition, &c., and with one or two changes in its membership, arising from parties removing from the State, this committee now has the matter under its supervision, and its proceedings can be found in its Reports to the Convention. But so much time has elapsed since the approval above alluded to; and also, as Brother Mattoon desired to bring his work down to the close of the century, and thus add much new matter, (especially to the last period), the following brethren were appointed to again revise the work, to-wit: Prof. W. J. Crawford, A. M., B. D., H. F. Merrill, Esq., Rev. C. A. Wooddy, D. D., and Prof. E. Northup, A. M., of McMinnville College. And this action was approved by the Convention.
Again, as the original Stock Co. was at large expense in gathering material and putting it in proper shape for publication, (nearly $1000), it seemed eminently proper to allow it representation on the committee, and also as revisers. So Hon. S. K. Crowley, as a stockholder, and Brethren Crawford and Wooddy , both stockholders and revisers were put on the Committee.
Further: One aim of the book has been, to make it such that it would meet the approval of the entire Baptist people of the North Pacific coast, so far as possible, without regard to denominational differences between individuals or churches. Hence, on the committee can be found extremists of both sides of the most important differences between us either in faith or practice. And if these can harmonize on the book, we hope the others will. And the results justify the wisdom in the selection of this committee. Owing to their widely scattered condition, it would be impracticable for the stockholders to hold a formal meeting, but by correspondence and personal interviews, parties, holding fully two-thirds of the stock have expressed themselves as not only cordially willing but anxious for the Convention to publish the work, and some of them have subscribed liberally for the expense. And a number of others, prominent in the denomination, have expressed themselves quite as cordially. Of course, there may be, and is, even in the committees some differences of opinion with respect to some items that should appear, or be left out, yet of the work as a whole, we can say with Dr. Wooddy, "Very rarely, we believe, will the well informed reader have occasion to question the accuracy of the statements of this work. We commend most heartily this book. It is invaluable." Therefore, by the authority of the Convention, we offer this first volume to the public. We also hope to present an additional volume within a reasonable time.
The data complete was gathered from the following sources: Church Records, Conversations, Reminiscences, and private Journals of persons contemporaneous with the events; Letters in Baptist papers from all sections of the United States, written by brethren in Oregon, at different times since 1843; a full file of the Minutes, and Newspapers published on the field; a file of the A. B. H. M. Reports since 1832, and of the H. M. Monthly since its first issue. Also valuable statistical data from W. P. Plant, Accountant for the Society; and other information from Rev. J. T. Morgan, LL. D. and Corresponding Secretary. A nearly complete file of the Reports of the A. B. P. Society; and a full statistical exhibit of the work of the Society on this field: a file of the Missionary Magazine since January I, 1870, and an itemized statement of the contributions from this field for foreign missions prior to that time, furnished by the publisher. Cathcarts Baptist Cyclopedia.
For special assistance, in various ways, and in different localities, thanks are due to Hon. W. Carey Johnson, Deacon D. W. Williams, Rev. C. M. Hill, Rev. J. C. Richardson, Rev. A. R. Medbury, Deacon W. T. Leever, Rev. A. J. Hunsaker, Rev. J. W. Osborn, Sister P. W. Chandler, Rev. G. J. Burchett, A. C. Chandler, Rev. W. H. Pruett, Rev. L. J. Boothe, Rev. O. Okerson, Rev. N. Hayland, Rev. John Croeni and Rev. Jacob Kratt.
Mrs. P. W. Chandler, Mrs. Henry Warren and Mrs. E. S. Latourette revised the parts relating to the Women's work. Numerous selected portions of the work were submitted to brethren specially well posted and competent to detect errors of fact, or oversights in diction. To this it may be added that had it not been for the business tact, sagacity, liberality and energy of the members of the committee, and by Deacon Caldwell of the stock company, and the printers, it is very doubtful if this work would have been published. So if there are any superior excellencies in the work, the credit belongs to these brethren and the committees; whilst the blemishes and imperfections (which possibly have been overlooked) are justly chargeable to the author. And for himself, he will say, that he has earnestly sought to make the history authentic and reliable; having availed himself of every opportunity to do so, within his reach, and labored diligently both to secure data and to verify facts. There are doubtless imperfections remaining; some errors may need correction; some statements may need modifying. It is possible that some important facts have not been secured, or they may have been unconsciously omitted. Any suggestions will be thankfully received, and all necessary corrections made in future editions, and in such criticisms. If brethren will remember that the author has been exploring a region hitherto untrodden, and will exercise kindness and leniency towards unintentional mistakes, no complaint will be made; on the other hand, gratitude will be rendered for any aid that will enable him to exhibit correctly the labors, trials, and sacrifices of the Baptists who first planted their banners on these distant shores.
C. H. MATTOON.