24. DEACON JOSIAH FAILING. 1851
Deacon Josiah Failing truly lived for the good of others. He was of German descent, born in Montgomery county, N. Y., in July, 1806. On his father's side, his ancestry were Lutherans; on his mother's side they were Baptists. He experienced religion about 1840, and was baptized by Rev. W. W. Evarts, D. D., into the Tabernacle Baptist church of New York City. He came to Oregon by way of Panama, in 1851, settled in Portland, and laid the foundations of a business that afterwards grew into the flourishing importing house of Corbett, Failing & Company. In 1853 he was chosen Mayor of the City and was one of the chief supporters and founders of the Public School System of Portland, his keen perceptive faculties, and Methodical intellect carried into the transactions of commercial exchange a lustrous integrity that was never darkened by a shadow of doubt, and gave universal confidence. He also carried the same common sense and pious zeal into all his religious activity. As soon as there were indications of accomplishing good, he was ready to assist, and to stand fearlessly for his faith. For years, he and his family, were practically the Portland Baptist church, yet he prayerfully and hopefully stood up to the work. His home was a "Baptist Hotel," and he was always ready to greet a true brother; and his wife, a woman of rare nobility and true Christian womanhood, gladly shared his generous impulses. With earnest, patient toils, together they labored and prayed to establish Baptist faith in their chosen city, and in time, he saw the result of their labors and the answer to their prayers in a prosperous and growing church. And then he was called to his rest. He died August 14, 1877. But his labor of love did not end with his life. By his will. $3000 was left as an irreducible fund. the interest to be used for missionary work within the limits of the Willamette Association, and under the direction of that body. Also a house and lot, the income from which was to be applied to missionary work in the city. This is worth from $250 to $300 a year. Meanwhile, "The Failing Fund" for an added endowment for McMinnville college, was commenced, and in 1886 amounted to $7,122.50 which sum was to be held intact at compound interest until the aggregate sum amounted to $15,000. His children now living are still all supporters of the First Baptist church, and give hearty encouragement to all of its work; and nearly all of his family are, or were, Life Members of the A. B. H. M. Society.
The following action was taken by the Portland church September 30, 1877:
"Inasmuch as our heavenly father has called from his sphere of usefulness here, to the reward in heaven, our brother and deacon, Josiah Failing, this church desires to place upon record its feelings upon an event of so much importance in its history. No formal resolutions can express the sense of our loss in parting from one whose wise counsels, earnest labors, and generous use of the means which God gave him, have done so much, more indeed, than any other one person in establishing this branch of the church of Christ. His hopeful nature has helped to cheer when our hearts grew faint; his wise advice has often restrained our wayward course; his Christian life and character have been an incentive example; and his liberality has been as broad and generous as the calls of humanity upon it. As he lived, so he died; with a hearty cheerful trust in the Savior of mankind. But though his body be dead, his influence, his example, his labors, live and increase, a grand memorial of his life and character. One of the original founders of our church in this city, he lived to see it a large and flourishing body; from a constituent membership of fifteen, he has seen over 300 names upon its rolls; upwards of 200 of which are now active members. He has always been one of the most aggressive champions of that apostolic faith and doctrine of which the Baptist church is today the exponent. Whilst he was ever generous in his charity for all mankind, yet he was very conservative of the customs and beliefs which have been handed down from the early church, and jealous of all innovations that detracted from its honor and usefulness.
"Resolved; That this expression of our feelings be placed upon the records of our church as a tribute of our esteem and love, and that the clerk furnish a copy of this action to the family of our dear Brother. "W. B. HALL, Church Clerk."
And Deacon D. W. Williams, his fellow worker, thus speaks of him:
"He was ever watchful and careful for the interest and prosperity of the church, and was ever ready to stand up for the doctrines and practices of the church, which have been handed down from Christ and the early disciples and apostles, as revealed to us in God's word; which he took as his guide, and which he believed to be the only sure word of promise on which he could safely rely, and hope for eternal life. He did not expect to be accepted on the grounds of his own righteousness, but he trusted in the righteousness of Christ as his only hope for salvation. He was solicitous that we should be sound and stable and not be carried about by every wind of doctrine, but having our hearts fully established and grounded in the truth. might grow up into conformity with Christ, and so be as individuals and as a church a light in the world. His anxiety for the welfare and prosperity of the church continued until the last. His work on earth is ended. God has taken him to Himself. We hope his example will stimulate each of us to more faithfulness, more searching of heart to find out what Christ would have us do, and to do it with all our might, that it may truthfully be said of each of us, (as it can be said of Brother Failing), "He has done what he could."
25. REV. JOAB POWELL. 1852
Rev. Joab Powell, in his day, was unquestionably, the eccentricity of Oregon. He traveled all over the Territory, and was well known everywhere, and wherever it was announced that he was to preach, he was sure of a crowded house. He could "draw" certainly; the motive for coming was fairly questionable. He was of Quaker descent, born in Claiborne county, Tennessee, July 16, 1799. He had no education, in fact could read very poorly, and write scarcely at all. But though illiterate, he was by no means ignorant, as many count ignorance. He was profoundly versed in human nature, in later life knew his Bible so nearly "by heart" as to be practically independent of it, and his hymn book, or "song book," as he called it, he knew from cover to cover. He was largely supplied with good common sense, a keen perception and a full supply of "mother-wit." This with his close observation of men and things he sometimes used with tremendous effect, and would occasionally hit to hurt. It mattered not to him whether it was the Governor of the State, or the beggar on the street; some "hoodlum" raising a disturbance, or some church member derelict in duty; he "let drive" when they were least expectant, and in a way easily understood. Yet all would go to hear him the next time, and few animosities were created; each watching and anxious to see whose turn would come next. He married in 1818; professed religion in 1824; and was baptized into the Big Barren Baptist church, in his native county. He afterwards moved to Missouri, and in 1830 was both licensed and ordained, by the Salem Baptist church in Jackson county. This church was largely anti-mission, whilst Brother Powell was decidedly missionary. Hence, it was not exactly smooth sailing, and his ordination was hindered somewhat, but finally it was accomplished. He preached extensively in several counties of Missouri, building up and strengthening many of the churches. He usually traveled as an itinerant, taking some brother with him, for he believed in the Gospel rule of going "two and two." He had none of the polish of the schools, murdered the English grammar, and used figures of speech that were certainly original. Yet he did a vast amount of good. His sermons were full of earnest appeals, and he would exhort, sing, pray, and entreat, until his audience was sometimes in tears, and sometimes in smiles. During his life he baptized a vast number of converts. Few could excel him in pointed questions to reveal an impostor. It was seldom that he made a mistake. At Blue Springs, a County Judge, supposing him to be anti-missionary, said to him, "If you come here to preach to the sheep and lambs, you need not stop here, for we have no sheep nor lambs." Brother Powell replied, "My mission is to poor sinners." "Well," said the Judge, "We want you to preach for us." He did so, and built up a large church, baptizing between 150 and 200 into its fellowship. At one time he was impressed that he was preaching too much abroad, and not enough at home. He at once commenced a meeting near home, at which about fifty were converted. He baptized thirty-three in one day. The church grew until it numbered over one hundred members. Once when preaching in the Umpqua Valley, he was asked why the brethren in the Willamette Valley did not send some of their big preachers out to the Umpqua. "Well," said Brother Powell, "I guess I'm about as big as any of 'm! Brother Bond may be a little bigger'n I am, but not much!" As either of them would tip the scales at from 275 to 300 pounds, the "big preacher" is perceivable. He came to Oregon in 1852 and settled in the Forks of the Santiam river, where he lived until his death, January 25, 1873. His large family are all Baptists, and he and his companion lie side by side in the cemetery of the Providence church, for which he labored so faithfully and so long.
Brother Powell and Rev. J. G. Berkley were both pastors of the Providence church, both living near, but they worked harmoniously as they also did with Rev. J. D. South who came the next year. Brother Powell preferred to travel as an itinerant; Brother Berkley preferred the pastorate, and Brother South was indifferent. The church grew till it was one of the most important and influential in the Central Association, numbering about 400 members, among whom were several politically prominent men. Brother Powell also preached more or less for Good Hope, Washington, Butte, Pleasant Valley, Scio, and Sublimity churches. He would accept no compensation for preaching except the care of himself and horse. But before his death he changed his views, and said he had done wrong in refusing pay and that preachers should be paid if it was freely contributed. His preaching was usually practical or devotional though he was no poor hand at doctrine. But as he said, his "mission was to poor sinners," he believed that he was especially called to preach to the wicked and profane; the hardest kind of sinners. With his ready wit and uncultivated. humor, he was always ready for interruptions, disturbances, or emergencies. No matter how rough or tough the crowd, "Uncle Joab" could manage it, and whilst many came to scoff, more remained to pray. True, there was much in many of his discourses to provoke laughter yet he never trifled with the truth, nor compromised with sin. Brother Dickens, or Brother South, or Rev. W. P. Koger were his usual companions in traveling. He had not the least hesitancy in striking at fashionable follies or the popular vices and practices of the day, whether in the church or out of it. His sharp hits and pungent thrusts, expressed in his original and peculiar manner, gave rise to a multitude of most ridiculous stories of his sayings and doings, which were circulated all over the Pacific coast. Many of these were fabrications. and others, exaggerated out of all reason, yet many were well authenticated, and by no means wanting in pungency or originality.
The roughs, the toughs and the hoodlums, all knew him, and whenever he appeared they would at once urge him to preach for them. Having gained his consent, they would take him to the best hotel in the place and see that all accommodations for him and his horse were "first-class"--the best that could be had. Next, they would engage the largest audience room in the place and circulate the word that "The harp with a Thousand Strings," (one of his titles) would preach! This was enough. The room would be literally packed Brother Powell would come in, bow his head awhile, apparently in prayer, and perhaps read a little to himself from his testament, perfectly oblivious of the gathering congregation. He would frequently rub his hand down from the crown of his head to his forehead, and in his later years complained much that his head was hot. He kept his hair so closely shingled that it stuck out like bristles. It was said that he was troubled with some disease of the head that affected his brain, but this did not prevent him from keeping the general thread of his discourse. His aberrations ran in other directions. When his audience had gathered, he would look around and say: "Well, breethring, I will sing you a little song!" All hymns were "songs" with him. If the hymn was familiar, the congregation would probably join with him; if not (and he never appeared to notice or care on that point) he would sing it alone. In either case, he would lean back, shut his eyes and give his voice full vent, and it was no child's voice". His singing was not over-charged with either rhythm or melody, but it pleased him to sing, and no one ever complained. After singing, a short prayer and then the sermon; frequently a good one. This sketch would be incomplete without one or two illustrations. A most worthy Baptist deacon vouches for the following incident, of which he was an eye witness.
"Uncle Joab" had allowed the word to be circulated that he would preach in the "Court House Loft" of the town, and the room was densely packed. A prominent lawyer of the place, a smart man, and a perfect gentleman in deportment, but an incorrigible wag, had come in late, and missed a seat, or had given it to another and stood leaning against a pillar that supported the gallery. Something that the old man said caused him to smile. Brother Powell saw it and stopped in the midst of his sermon: "Young man! you feller leaning agin that post! you're the one I mean; you'd better go to praying than to be standing there a laughin at me, you poor, miserable sinner, you!" The crowd looked around and saw that it was the lawyer, and it was all they wanted. Some one called out: "That's so, Uucle Joab! Three cheers for Uncle Joab!" The cheers were given, and "Uncle Joab " proceeded with his sermon but the lawyer never heard the last of it.
Another lawyer once asked him to preach in his town. In giving his reason for coming, he said that once a lawyer in Missouri asked him to preach for him but for some reason he declined. Soon after, that lawyer died and he was afraid he had gone to hell! So when a Lawyer asked him to preach for him, he was afraid to stay away as he did not want two lawyers to appear against him at the Judgment. Then for an hour he pictured before his audience death and the judgment as an assured reality.
At another time he had been privately invited to preach before the legislature then in session. He told them that his mission was "to preach to poor sinners", and now he felt that he was before the chief sinners of Oregon, and then "spread himself" in urging them to repentance as the only hope of salvation.
At another time he was holding a very interesting meeting with one of the churches. In the neighborhood was a Baptist--call his name Jones--who had a letter from some Eastern church, but would not put it in here; he took an active part in the meetings and was very zealous; in fact he was a live, energetic man, such as any church would be glad to have among its membership. But he refused to unite with the church. Brother Powell made several efforts to get him in but was met only by frivolous excuses. So one day he stopped suddenly in the midst of a sermon and said: "Breethering, I want to tell you what a curious dream I had. I expect you will think I dreamt it wide awake, and I sha'nt tell you whether I did or not. I thought I had a fine lot o' hogs, they were in splendid condition, in a good pasture, with fine picking, and I fed them well, and I was a flattering myself what a nice lot o' bacon I would have in the fall. Well, one of them hogs got out into a summer fallow where there wasn't no picking at all. I tried to coax him back, but he would not coax a bit! I tried to drive him, but hog-like, he couldn't find the hole! So I had to feed him to keep him alive, and he kept getting poorer and poorer. And whilst I was a working with him and a feeding him, and a trying to get him back with the rest, all of a sudden that hog turned out to be Brother Jones!" The point was plain, and Brother Jones came in!
But if the reader has got the idea that Brother Powell's sermons were made up of, or frequently interspersed with, odd conceits, or uncouth illustrations, or outrageous personalities, he will be very much mistaken. These were only occasional episodes. As a rule his sermons were as straightforward and decorous as any of the brethren, his educational advantages being duly considered. Almost from the start there was a clearly defined, logical line of thought plainly perceivable from first to last. True, he had a habit of intoning his utterances, and when he became much in earnest his sing-song was very decided, and the "ahs" quite copious. But this habit, contracted in youth, attracted but little attention after it became familiar. The old man, through charity, was patiently allowed what in a young preacher would not be tolerated at all. And with all his defects and eccentricities his preaching, far and near, was followed by revivals of astonishing power. It was claimed that with his own hand he baptized nearly or quite 3000 persons. He was a straight, honorable, upright man. No breath of scandal ever reached him. Those who best knew him loved him best, and most highly appreciated--a work which has stood the test of time.
At one of the Associations he preached from the text "For thus it behooved Christ to suffer;" from which he tried to show that Christ's sufferings were an actual necessity in the plan of the Redemption; and, correcting his bad grammar and faulty orthoepy, and throwing out an occasional digression as irrevelant, the main body of his discourse was a connected, solid, able argument; such, that it is doubtful if many men could have surpassed it. Many of his thoughts, if not original, were new to the greater part of the congregation, and, put in his peculiar way, were at least suggestive. The sermon was certainly profitable in directing thought into new lines of study, and from any other man would have been regarded as a masterpiece.
At another Association, Brother Powell and Brother G. C. Chandler were stopping at the same place. By some means the two got into a warm discussion on some point of doctrine. Brother Chandler was cultured, educated, and full of "Authorities." Brother Powell was illiterate, uncultured and without "Authorities," except his Bible and hymn book. Brother Chandler would tell what Doctor this one said and what Doctor that one said. Brother Powell would tell what Dr. Paul and Dr. Peter and Jesus Christ said. His quotations were so pertinent that the hearers were of the opinion that Brother Chandler had about all he could do to keep even. At last about midnight he laughing said, "Well, Brother Powell, you and I are too old to change our views much on this subject. Suppose we quit and go to bed." "All right," said Brother Powell, "but we'll have prayers first, and I want you to pray the Lord that he will open your mind to understand the Scriptures." From the nods and smiles of those present it was clear this parting shot was appreciated.
26. REV. JESSE G. BERKLEY. 1852
Rev. Jesse G. Berkley was a Virginian, born in 1796. Of his early life little is known, except that he married in 1824. He came as an accredited Baptist minister from Missouri in 1852, and his pleasant ways at once won him the confidence of the people; a confidence which he ever retained. He was chosen pastor of the Providence church at its organization, and served it at different times for several years. He also served the Shiloh church, and some others very acceptably, besides preaching at various points without churches; usually preaching somewhere every Sunday, and often going beyond his strength to meet the engagements that his zeal prompted him to make. He was intensely earnest in his preaching, and when he failed to reach his people by preaching, he would kneel and with earnest crying unto God in prayer, sometimes melt his congregations to tears while thus pleading. He appeared anxious to be always busy, working for the Master. But having a large family to support, he had to spend much time at his trade. (A painter). His sermons were altogether of a devotional cast, dwelling much on experimental religion. He wished to win souls. His ideal was that of the Apostle; to "persuade men." He rarely alluded to strong doctrine and then simply as a reference, yet he was sound and well posted, and he altogether avoided controversy. He sought peace and purity, and holiness. His earnest pleadings were backed by a holy life. It was his faithful preaching that laid the foundations for the first gracious revival in the Shiloh church, whereupon, over thirty were baptized. Among these was A. J. Hunsaker, afterwards so successful as a missionary. He was very sensitive, appreciating a kindness or feeling a hurt most intensely. He would yield before contending, and some brethren thought he carried his forbearance further than justice or Scripture required; but he seemed to realize and fully appreciate the Apostle's injunction, to "suffer wrong" before contending with a brother. A brother who boarded in his family several months, and had a good opportunity to learn him well said that the more he knew him the more lovely did his Christian character appear; and that the entire family was one of the most pleasant that it was his lot ever to be thrown amongst. He was a man of fair education, and had a few choice books, which were closely read. But his delight was in the Word of God. He had a pleasant address, and a ready flow of language, and could interest almost any audience; not by his eloquence or learning, for he was modest and unassuming, and shrank from any thing like public notoriety; but by the easy simplicity of his style, and the direct adaptation of his truth to circumstances.
There was never a complaint that a sermon of his was out of place. He always preached what was wanted just then. How he could always meet the present wants no one could tell. Every one loved him, and he loved every one. His attachment to his friends was very strong. There was no false pretense in Brother Berkley, and he never had two faces.
Like many other of the pioneer preachers, he preached for little or nothing, until at last, his home had to be sold to supply his needs. After his place was sold, he lived with his children, some of whom were able to care for him. He died August 24, 1872.
27. DEACON CLAIBORNE HILL. 1852
Deacon Claiborne Hill is another pioneer Baptist who made his mark. He was born in Tennessee April 17, 1802; professed religion and united with the Warm Springs Baptist church in McMinnville county. He moved to Oregon in 1852, settling near Brownsville, where he died in 1886. For over sixty years he was a faithful, consistent, active Christian. He was one of the constituent members of the Pleasant Butte church, and for over thirty years one of its deacons. He was always remarkable for his zeal in religious work, and doubtless led many to Christ. At Associations and Conventions he was ever ready to contend for the truth, no matter how dark the prospect. For several years he was the financial agent of the State Convention, and without any salary, by his energetic perseverance he kept the missionary work alive and vigorous. In urging active work, he was a host; in resisting error, he was a Gibraltar. He knew neither compromise, concession, nor evasion. The old Baptists honored him for his conscientious adherence to principle. His children are all Baptists; one, Rev. Sterling Hill was a minister in Oregon. One grandson, Rev. C. M. Hill, was the general missionary of the State Convention, and now pastor of a church in Oakland, California; another grandson, Rev. G. W. Hill is a missionary in Japan; a third grandson, Rev. C. A. Wooddy , is the District Secretary of the A. B. H. M. Society for the Pacific coast. A son-in-law, Hon. A. W. Stanard, has been president of the State Convention and has also filled several high positions in the city, county and state. Brother Hill's hopes of heaven were bright and his end was peaceful. He lies beside his wife in the cemetery of the old church of which they were so long honored members.
28. REV. CLEVELAND C. RILEY. 1853
Rev. C. C. Riley was a warm, enthusiastic preacher. "He always had good meetings." Many of the old pioneers look back and sigh for the day "when Brother Riley was here." He was a revivalist; not in the modern sense of the term. He always kept his church in a good healthy condition, converts coming in gradually nearly all the time, though seldom in a crowd. The most of his converts were of the permanent kind. There was no claptrap about him, nothing sensational, but a pathos and feeling that seldom failed to reach the hearts of his audience. His idea was that preaching was God's appointed means of saving sinners and that all side issues were unwarranted and unscriptural. He was simple, unassuming, unpretending. His modesty amounted almost to diffidence; yet his true worth shone so conspicuously that it could not be overlooked. He was always willing to take a back seat and evidently much underrated his own abilities. At least brethren always gave him credit for more than he claimed.
He was born of Baptist parents in East Tennessee in 1818. His education was limited. but he read closely, was a careful observer, and was always stocked with a fund of general information. His flow of language was easy and natural he seldom made a blunder, misapplied a word, or presented an incongruous thought. His elucidation of a text was usually so simple, so pertinent and so true that it was often wondered that it had not been seen that way before. Brother Hunsaker thus describes him:
"He was in the prime of life when be came to Oregon. He was not so profound a thinker or as good a sermonizer as some others, yet he was one of the best revivalists of his day. He had a way of presenting his thoughts that carried conviction to his hearers. Many successful revival meetings were held at different places in the state by him, and he was probably in some localities, the most popular preacher among us. He possessed some things peculiar to himself. One was, all his gestures were made with his left hand and he always held his book with his right. When he became fully warmed up he would put his left hand to the side of his head and hold it there for perhaps two minutes, and when that hand moved again, one would always look for his clinching argument, and most earnest appeals."
He experienced religion and was baptized in Missouri in 1848, was licensed in 1849 and ordained in 1850. In 1853 he came to Oregon. He was very poor having a yoke of immigrant cattle, the running gears of a wagon, a wife, five children and was $300 in debt! He went to work making rails to support his family, preaching on Sundays as he had an opportunity. He had stopped in the neighborhood of the Lacreole church, and the brethren soon found out his worth and called him to the pastorate, helping him as they were able in order that he could give a portion of his time to the ministry. After he had preached awhile, they bought a farm of 160 acres and gave it to him and thus located him in their midst, and a Methodist brother with a Baptist wife gave him a horse. This nearly spoiled him. He gave himself so much to preaching, that his farm was neglected and after a few years he sold it, but he never got rich by the operation. His whole heart was set on preaching, and not on farming or money-making, hence his farming was not a success, though the brethren wondered why, especially as his farm was good soil and well situated. But he had "higher work." He organized the Union church, and at different times preached for the Lacreole, Union, Yamhill, Shiloh and French Prairie churches, and always acceptably. In 1869 he moved to Southern California, and at the latest advices was living near Los Angeles, at a ripe old age, beloved and honored as of yore. In 1883 some of the brethren, being desirious of again hearing their old pastor, invited him to make a missionary tour through the Willamette valley, which he did, and all were rejoiced to welcome him.
Brother Riley was an extreme, ultra Landmarker, and did not hesitate to preach his views whenever he thought it advisable, yet all would go to hear him, because his deep, unobtrusive piety gave him "favor with all the people." It was probably due to him more than to any other, that the Tennessee Baptist gained so large a circulation at that time in Oregon. And to his preaching, and to the circulation by himself and others of small, cheap Baptist books, which were then very scarce, may be attributed to a great extent the strong, decided Landmark sentiment among the membership of the Central and Corvallis Associations. His preaching was extempore, and he labored mostly in the pastorate, though sometimes he would travel as an Evangelist, and was equally as well liked and fully as successful in that work. But a church and its out-stations suited him best. He was very apt and ready to seize any passing event or circumstance and apply it to some point in his discourse. He could hold his audience well, even if he preached an hour. Sometimes in his warm discourses, some sister or young convert would get so "full and happy" that their feelings found vent in shouting. It never disturbed him nor threw him off the thread of his discourse unless they all "got happy" and broke up his preaching, as was sometimes the case. But it was his delight to see them thus manifest their joy.
Yet with all his enthusiasm, Brother Riley would never engage in a pulpit discussion, beyond some short speech in a church meeting or at an Association. He declared himself incompetent, although the brethren thought otherwise. If anyone in the chimney corner tried to assail Baptist faith or practice and accounted him an ignoramus, such an one soon found that he had made a grand mistake. Get him started, and the result was astonishing. Very few ever tried a second encounter. He had a small library of well selected books which he read carefully and studied closely. If the old proverb is worthy of heed to "beware of the man of only one book," Brother Riley was the man to beware of; for though he read more than one book yet his reading was not so extensive as to make him superficial. He could maintain his positions, but had to be almost cornered before he could be drawn out. His family are all Baptists, scattered over the coast. The infirmities of age forbid his preaching much, and he can get about but little. but he yet desires to do all the good he can until he is called "Home."
29. REV. GEORGE W. BOND. 1853
Rev. George W. Bond was regarded as one of the Fathers in Israel and one of the strong pillars of the Baptist work in. Oregon, and his labors, trials, and sacrifices for the cause of Christ were worthy of all commendation. Soon after he came here a brother found him splitting rails, and showing his blistered hands, he said: "I came here to work for the Lord, and this is what he put me at." "Well," was the reply "if it is the Lord's work you should not complain; and possibly this discipline is to fit you for a more important work." "Perhaps so," he replied, "and I do not complain, though it is rather severe on the flesh." Brother Bond was born in Kentucky in 1818. His father was a Baptist minister who, having come to Oregon, died in 1866. One brother, James Bond, was accidentally shot in 1849. Another brother was one of the pillars of the Halsey Baptist church. In his youth he had only common school advantages, but he improved in later life. He married in 1838, was converted in 1841, and baptized in Iowa by Rev. J. M. Post. About 1846 he was licensed and traveled and preached until May 30, 1847, when he was ordained by the Albia (since Princeton) church. In 1851-2, for 18 months he was under appointment of the A. B. H. M. Society in Iowa. In 1853 he came to Oregon and settled near Eugene, where he remained until his death from heart disease, January 9, 1880. Of his large family all were professors of religion. Three children are deaf mutes.
In early life he gave himself mostly to revival work, in which he delighted. Later he became corpulent and could not get about so easily and gave his attention more to doctrine and to the pastorate. But he was good anywhere. He kept a daily journal from February 1, 1852, to December 25, 1879. In Oregon he preached at different times for nearly all the churches south of Corvallis and Pleasant Butte, besides preaching in school houses.
He was pastor of the Eugene church about 14 years; of the Springfield church about 8 years; and of the Springfield and Halsey churches at the time of his death. He preached his first sermon in Oregon, October 9, 1853, and his last sermon October 26, 1879, thus making 26 years and two weeks of preaching in Oregon. In this time he preached 1307 sermons, baptized 81, married 58 couples, helped ordain seven preachers, helped organize five churches and four Associations, and was in the employ of the A. B. H. M. Society about four years. He also had about 100 manuscript sermons which he left to Brother Richardson. His last sickness was a perfect triumph. Brother J. C. Bushnell says: "As he talked to us of dying, of his past life, of his hopes beyond the grave, he seemed almost to speak to us from the other side." Thus the old fathers who have built up the cause in Oregon have passed away, and who are taking their places? Have not many of them left a vacancy that is not being supplied? Were they appreciated whilst living? Was their worth realized until after they were gone? Is it realized now?
As a preacher Brother Bond was doctrinal and practical. He had a strong intellect. His sermons showed study and appreciation. He always said something worth thinking about and his short sentences and clear and conclusive arguments called forth frequently such expressions as, "A strong man," "A sound preacher," "A solid discourse," etc. He often evinced deep feeling and strong emotion which were responded to by his audience and produced more lasting effects than mere surface excitement. There was so much of the spirit of the Master in his sermons that he always left his audience in a better frame of mind than he found it. He could lay foundation work perfectly safe for others to build upon. He was one of the pillars of the Corvallis Association and he always met a warm welcome when he visited other Associations. He was a peace-maker and had remarkable skill, an almost intuitive tact in "pouring oil on troubled waters." He had an easy command of language and spoke rapidly but distinctly, and without manuscript, from a few notes, and always had good attention. His genial countenance, his tender admonitions, his earnest warnings, his labor and sacrifices for the cause, his prudent counsel and salutary advice will long be felt and remembered by the Baptist pioneers of Oregon. He "died with the harness on," but "though dead, he yet speaketh," and his teachings and influence are yet perceivable in the workings of many of the churches of the Upper Willamette valley.
30. REV. DAVID HUBBARD. 1853
Rev. David Hubbard was one of the sound, staunch Baptists, and a strong pillar of the church in the 50's and 60's. He was born of Baptist parents in Kentucky, November 18, 1795. His education was mostly studied out by fire light at night. He moved to Missouri, professed religion, was ordained and traveled quite extensively as a missionary of the churches in Missouri and Western Illinois until 1853, when he came to Oregon and settled in Clackamas county, but afterwards moved to Polk county, where he died June 14, 1866. His wife died in 1882. He preached for the Clackamas church, and for half a dozen or more churches in the Central Association, and much at out-stations. He had no stated salary, but went mostly at his own charges, and provided for his family by secular labor. He preferred the pastorate, especially in later life, the cares of his family and his poor health keeping him closely at home. He was well liked and regarded as sound, though he made but little noise. He was very tender in the pulpit, and studied to show himself approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. His sermons were sometimes lengthy but not wearisome, and always good. He was apt in Bible illustrations, which usually enforced the doctrine of the text. He was systematic, and wanted every thing in order. His extempore sermons were always methodical, aiming at a point and usually hitting it, mingling doctrine and practice, and often very emotional at the close. His strong forte however, was not so much in awakening sinners, as in confirming, building up, and establishing the churches. He was a safe counselor, a prudent adviser, and a good man. In the community he stood high; in the church he was a strong pillar. He could not put in as much time as he desired but preached all he could. He was a strict disciplinarian and somewhat inclined to be dogmatic. This sometimes caused a little friction, though nothing serious; but the careless ways of some worried him considerably. The Central Association in 1868 noticed his death and work in appropriate resolutions.
31. REV. R. D. GRAY. 1853
Rev. R. D. Gray was of Baptist ancestry, born in Tennessee, in 1805. He was a man of fair attainments which he used to good advantage. Himself and wife, a daughter and son-in-law, with several others were baptized into the Liberty Hill church in 1842. In 1843 he was licensed, and ordained in 1845. In 1847 he moved to Arkansas, where he preached and organized several churches. In 1853 he came to Oregon. Here he preached for the Pilgrim's Home, Palestine, and Corvallis churches; also in Lost Valley, and the Siuslaw Valley, and other points where there were no churches. For a few months he was an evangelist for the Willamette Association. Except for this short time he had no salary, but preached for the small, voluntary contributions of the brethren. In 1859 the Corvallis Association sent him and Deacon John Lloyd on a mission to Washington Territory, where, so far as known, he preached the first Baptist sermon by an ordained minister, organized the first Baptist church, baptized the first converts, and ordained the first Baptist minister in Washington.
His preaching was extempore, mostly doctrinal, and he preferred the pastorate, but traveled considerably as an evangelist; sometimes for his churches, but much of the time on his own responsibility. He was moderator of the Corvallis Association for eight consecutive years. He was pastor of several churches until his disease (dropsy) interfered so much that he had to desist from preaching. He died September 17, 1871. About three days before his death he commenced singing some of his old favorite hymns, and to rejoice, declaring that he saw some of his old friends who had gone before. He died gloriously, triumphantly. His children are all Baptists but one; one daughter married Hon. J. S. Slater, afterwards U. S. Senator from Oregon.
32. REV. JOHN D. SOUTH. 1853
Rev. John D. South made up in energy and push what he lacked in education. He was a man of strong physical constitution and robust health, and these with the desire to be always useful carried him almost everywhere within reach, if there was a prospect of work for Christ. He was born in Tennessee in 1805, moved to Missouri in 1825, was converted in 1832, baptized and licensed by the Bethel church in 1836. In 1845 he moved to Iowa, and was ordained in 1848. In 1853 he came to Oregon and settled in the neighborhood of Providence church. In his extempore preaching, his thoughts and the scope of his sermons may well be said to have been extensive and scattering. Some of his expositions of scripture were new and not found in any standard commentary. Yet his preaching was effectual, with numerous converts, permanent ones; and during his life he is said to have baptized over 800. He seldom alluded to his success unless questioned and gave God all the glory. He always lived on the frontier and had no education beyond the rudiments, but he more than supplied the deficiency by zeal and devotion. Sometimes he traveled as an itinerant missionary, often with Joab Powell and sometimes with Rev. R. Dickens or others. He was pastor of the Pleasant Valley church for about ten years, of Liberty church about six or seven years, and of other churches for a shorter time, besides preaching much for Providence church. He never got any stated compensation, but his churches each gave him about $100 a year for once a month preaching. His family are all Baptists. His delight was in a revival meeting and he always went to one when within reach, and engaged actively in the services. He would work harmoniously with anyone. In his last sickness his sufferings were severe, but he bore them patiently, saying that he was ready and only waited the Lord's time to go home. And in this frame of mind he fell asleep in Jesus. He died in February, 1884 and his wife died in 1881.
33. REV. C. C. SPERRY. 1851-53
Rev. C. C. Sperry is an exhorter. He tries to preach sometimes but he forgets his theme and gets off into an exhortation, which is his forte. When in his prime there was not a man in Oregon could excel him. With his earnest appeals, his sympathetic utterances, and his vigorous singing, he was a host by himself and could arouse the most apathetic audience. As some of the brethren said: "He was nearly a whole camp meeting alone."
Rev. C. C. Sperry was born in Ohio in 1830. His father, Rev. William Sperry, has already been noticed. He had good, common school education and improved his opportunities. He moved to Iowa in 1840, and was there converted and baptized. He came to Oregon in 1851 and settled near Brownsville, where he now resides. He had backslidden greatly, but aroused in 1853, and from that time was an earnest worker. He was licensed in 1857, and soon after moved to Shasta county, California, where he remained about four years, assisting in organizing two or three Baptist churches. He then returned to Brownsville, and was ordained by the Pleasant Butte church, and was its pastor until 1866, when he moved to Eastern Oregon and spent a year or two traveling for his health, going as far as Boise City, Idaho. But he was still on the move, staying a short time at several different places, until 1883, when the Brownsville church again called him and he went back to his old home, and preached for that church and its out stations until 1888. After that he was pastor at Halsey, Scio, Providence, and Harrisburg. He is still a stalwart, robust man and apparently has yet many years of active service for the Master.
His sermons are altogether devotional. He takes a skeleton into the pulpit. but when he gets into his subject he usually looses sight of aids in his warmhearted appeals. He has an easy delivery and a ready flow of language, seldom makes a mistake, and his illustrations are apt. He has large social qualities which aid him much in his influence. Every one likes him because of his kindness and geniality. And he is always the same. All know where to place him. He is fearless and outspoken, with no catering whatever for popularity. He is honest and conscientious, and those who differ from him give him the fullest confidence and respect.
34. REV. W. P. KOGER. 1853
Rev. W. P. Koger was born in Kentucky in 1816; professed religion about 1832; moved to Missouri in 1836; commenced preaching in 1841, and was ordained soon after. He came to Oregon in 1853, settling in Linn county and preached at various places in that and adjoining counties. He preferred the work of an evangelist, hence he traveled the most of his time, and was often assisting in protracted meetings, or preaching in destitute places. In 1864 he moved to Union county and settled at "The Cove," where he soon after organized a church, which was one of the three churches forming the Mount Pleasant Association at its organization. He preached for the Cove, and generally within the Grand Ronde Association until his death October 2, 1870; and as one of the pioneer preachers of Eastern Oregon did a good work.
35. REV. ANDREW J. HUNSAKER. 1847
Rev. Andrew J. Hunsaker is of Irish and Scotch descent on his father's side, and of English descent on his mother's side. Of his father, a sketch has been given. Andrew was born in Adams county, Illinois, January 10, 1834. When he was very young, his parents moved to Missouri, where they lived until 1847, when they came to Oregon and settled in Marion county, about 12 miles from Salem, living there until their death. Andrew was subject to deep religious impressions from early childhood, and as he grew older, he sought to free himself by reading infidel books, but in vain. He was converted in 1853, and united with the Shiloh Baptist church, being baptized by Rev. J. G. Berkley. In 1854 he moved to Lane county and in 1855 married a daughter of Rev. R. C. Hill, but she died in 1858 leaving him a daughter less than two years old. Meanwhile, he had moved back to the old home, and engaged in farming. In December, 1860, he married again.
He was early impressed to prepare himself for the ministry, but receiving no special encouragement, his parents poor, and his educational advantages limited, he made them excuses for not entering on the work, and tried to satisfy his conscience by teaching in the Sunday School. After 16 years of hard struggling, he yielded, and was licensed in 1869, and ordained March 5, 1871, and for a time tried to farm and preach. His preaching was very acceptable to the churches. A part of one year he and Rev. J W. Osborn Jr., were missionaries of the Central Association at $500 a year, they paying their own expenses. At the end of their time, they found that they would have to assume a good portion of their pay themselves. and they are still assuming it. He was next pastor of the Pleasant Butte church for four years, preaching for it half the time. In 1875 he moved to Albany, and divided his time between that church and the Pleasant Butte church for a year, when he resigned at Albany. In 1877 he held a meeting of three weeks in McMinnville, at which were a number of baptisms. The church asked him to supply them once a month until December, 1877, when he moved there for all his time, resigning at Pleasant Butte. At McMinnville he expected $800 a year; one-half from the A. B. H. M. Society, but this was not obtained, and the church assumed it for one year, and then paid him $400 for one-half his time, and he preached the balance of his time for Carlton and Union churches. In December, 1879, he resigned to accept the work of general missionary of the Convention of the North Pacific Coast, and labored in that field for four and one-half years, under appointment of the A. B. H. M. Society at $800 a year and traveling expenses. The Board then increased his salary to $1000, but some complaining of his large salary, he resigned. During this time, he traveled on foot, on horseback, by stage, on boats, cars, wagons, and sleds, sometimes going as much as 40 hours without rest or sleep. From 1884 to 1886 he was financial agent for McMinnville college, in connection with some evangelistic work. Then for two years he was missionary for the Central Association, but also under appointment for the A. B. H. M. Society. In 1888 he was commissioned by the Society as pastor for Weston and Adams, and served those churches for ten months, when he resigned and returned to the Willamette valley and accepted the pastorate at Independence and North Palestine until the summer of 1893.
He says that he never attended anything above a third grade district school and therefore has "always had to work with a dull ax;" but he is naturally studious and has well improved his opportunities, and his "ax" is not "dull," or he has most wonderfully supplied its deficiencies by extra hard work. And if, from the first, Oregon could have had a score or two more of such "dull axes," the Baptists would be able to make a vastly better showing than they do. He has given much time, and liberally of his means to the building up and fostering of McMinnville college; been a member of its Board of Trustees since 1885; and during that time was President of the Board for fifteen years. He has always been an advocate of higher education, and urges young men who have impressions to preach to seek the highest educational advantages within their reach. He is popular as a preacher. His preeminent social qualities largely pave the way for this. In preaching, he has an easy flow of words, and a pleasant and graceful delivery, with a kind of pathos which captivates his audience. He can seize and apply passing events and circumstances, and so group his Scriptural illustrations and proofs as to make his discourse very interesting. He is methodical and systematic, but not deep in logic or metaphysics. As a general missionary, he has traveled over the field north of California and west of the Rocky mountains, and is thoroughly posted as to its needs and capabilities. He is more than ordinarily good, either as pastor or evangelist. He is a good disciplinarian, and is most excellent, either as a presiding officer, or as a clerk; and hard to be surpassed in parliamentary tactics. In short, for any and all kinds of general work, he is a success; and probably the best man the Baptists have in the State for universal usefulness, and this is due more to his superior tact in adapting himself to circumstances than to his talent, though he is by no means lacking in talent. He is an earnest supporter of all missionary, educational, and denominational enterprises, and is justly regarded as a prominent man among the Baptist brother-hood of the North Pacific Coast.
Soon after he was of age, he was chosen as Justice of the Peace for his precinct, and re-elected some two or three terms, and it is said that no decision of his was ever reversed by a higher court. He was also a candidate for Sheriff in his county, but not elected. Lately, he was a candidate for Governor of the State, on the Prohibition ticket, and though he polled a heavy vote, no one expected him to be elected on that ticket, in Oregon. He claims to be a Landmark Baptist, but some of the brethren shake their heads, and think him not sufficiently outspoken, and intimate that he has "an itching for popularity." Be that as it may, in crises and emergencies he usually comes out on the "winning side," Yet in his denominational work, his course has been generally approved, unless in some special cases. He is President of the State Convention, (1900) and also fills other important positions, and is a large factor in our denominational work.
36. HON. HENRY WARREN. 1847-1853
Hon. Henry Warren was born in Nova Scotia in 1812, came to Boston, Massachusetts in 1833, to Illinois in 1836, to Missouri in 1841, and to Oregon in 1846. Here he settled not far from McMinnville, and died at McMinnville September 13, 1885. His ancestry belonged to the church of England. and he was raised in that faith. In 1852, whilst hunting for proofs for sprinkling, he suddenly found himself unconverted, and in March, 1853, he found the Savior precious. Still he had no love for the Baptists. As he said, he had "always thought them a devilish set that ought to be exterminated." But in hunting objections to them, he again became convinced, and was baptized by Rev. Vincent Snelling into the Yamhill church. After this, his religion was his life. He lived for others. Pure unselfishness was one of his characteristics. Although called to several important stations in civil affairs, his Christian calling was first, and all other matters were secondary. He was one of the first advocates and movers for McMinnville college. His name is first in the charter of incorporation; he was a trustee until his death, and Secretary nearly all the time, and to his wise counsels and liberal contributions, the college in all probability owes its existence today. True, others may have given more money, but to his vigilant watch care is due to a large extent, the preservation and appropriation of the contributions. The school was his pride, and its prosperity was his study. He was ever ready to labor and sacrifice for it.
The mission work had a large place in his heart. On this, his views were broad. Wherever there was a soul to be saved there he was ready to send the message. And in all the affairs of the church, in all the Associational and missionary gatherings, he was there to help. At home, he was the friend of the poor and the needy, of the fatherless and the widow. In the Sunday School his interest never flagged; as Superintendent, or teacher he was alive and gave energy and strength to all. Politically, he was deputy or sheriff of his county for nearly ten years, a member of both houses of the legislature, Recorder of the U. S. land office for ten years, candidate for Congress, Mayor and City Recorder of McMinnville, and in several minor positions. But amidst it all, he was ever ready to give any man a reason for the hope he had of a blessed immortality. He was never ashamed of his religion, nor afraid to show his colors. Nor was he gloomy or morose. His religion was a cheerful religion, full of humor, vivacity, and sunshine. His faith was unshaken and it gave firmness to his purpose, and stability to his character. He had misfortunes and calamities, but amidst it all he never wavered. For months he suffered from a painful disease, and his faith triumphed. His life was one of unfaltering trust.
At his funeral were the Governor of the State and other officials, and people of all ranks, for he was beloved and honored by all. His loss to the denomination was great, for he was a pillar in his church, an unfailing support to the college, an honor to the Baptists, and a bright and shining light and Christian example to the world. Truly it can be said of him, that "when a good man dies the people mourn."
His widow was as consecrated to the service of Christ as Brother Warren, being actively engaged in the work of the W. B. F. M. Society, where full mention is made of her in connection with that work.
37. HON. WILLIAM CAREY JOHNSON. 1845-1854
Hon. William Carey Johnson, LL. D., son of Rev. Hezekiah Johnson, one of the earliest pioneer Baptist ministers on the coast, was born in Ross county, Ohio, October 27, 1833. He came with his father in 1845. He obtained a fair academic education, and has worked his way into eminence in his profession, (lawyer). He has been State Senator, District Attorney, and was an attorney of the United States in the case of the claim of the Hudson Bay Company for $7,000,000 indemnity. In 1868 he married Miss Josephine DeVore, the first lady on the Pacific coast to win the degree of A. B., graduating in honor in 1868 from the full course at the Willamette University. He was converted in 1854, and baptized into the Oregon City church by Rev. Ezra Fisher. He at once took an active part in religious matters and church work, and soon became quite prominent in the denomination. Commencing in 1856, he was for years the clerk of the Willamette Association, and afterwards its presiding officer. He has also been President of the State Convention, has long been a member of the Board of Trustees of McMinnville college, as well as their treasurer. He is a reliable, active worker in all Baptist interests, and his influence has perhaps been equal to, if not superior to that of any other man. Severe sickness, and perhaps other causes, have lately so impaired his faculties that he prefers to put others forward and to be more retired. Genial and affable, he can differ from brethren and still, retain their highest esteem. He is outspoken in his views, and scurrilously conscientious in both religious and secular affairs. In his profession, he always declined a case which his conscience could not approve. He knows nothing of double-dealing or chicanery. He does not carry two faces. He is an honest lawyer. The degree of LL. D. was conferred on him by McMinnville college in 1886.
38. REV. MYRON N. STEARNS. 1854 [copied from Third Period personal sketches]
Rev. Myron N. Stearns was born in Vermont in 1812. His father and one brother were also Baptist preachers, and both came to Oregon. He was converted and baptized at Essex, N. Y ., in 1829, and educated at Brown University, R. I., and at Dennison University, Ohio. He preached at various places in Ohio, New York, and Vermont, until 1853, when he came to Oregon, settling in the Rogue River Valley , preaching four years in general missionary work in the southern part of Jackson county, and also in supplying the Table Rock Baptist church. About that time the Indian war broke out, and in 1857, he moved to the Umpqua Valley, and in 1858 he became principal of the Roseburg Academy for two years, then settled on a farm for the support of his fami1y, preaching for the weak churches and destitute places round about. The first three years of his work he received just five dollars salary. He then moved back to Jackson county, where he worked and preached until 1864, when he moved to Oregon City as pastor of that church for a year; then a year of teaching at McMinnville; then took a homestead a few miles from Oregon City. Here he continued his missionary work until 1867, when he accepted the pastorate of the church at Santa Clara, California, where he remained until his death December 19, 1868.