V. Personal Sketches
39. DEACON D. W. WILLIAMS. 1859
Deacon D. W. Williams was of New England descent, born in 1808. His father moved to Ohio in 1816, died in 1822. In 1829 he went to Buffalo, New York, and in May, 1831, professed religion, uniting with the Washington Street church. In 1832 he married a lady of deep piety, and extraordinary ability, who made his home one of love and happiness until 1889, when she went to her reward. In November 1859, he came to Portland, Oregon, and was one of the constituent members of the re-organized church of Portland in 1860. He was clerk of the church for thirteen years; Sunday School Superintendent ten years; deacon twenty-four years; trustee twenty-three years; treasurer of Multnomah county two terms; Moderator of The Willamette Association five years and treasurer of that body for seven years; and filled these positions with honor and credit. He had prudence, tenderness, and patience, and with experience, he had a willingness to work, which well qualified him for all his positions. He was wise in counsel, a judicious help, and a true friend. He was an anxious Sunday School teacher, and thus defines its object: "The first and great object of the Sunday School should be the salvation of each scholar through our Lord Jesus Christ." He said he was stimulated to this work by the dying words of his child: "Tell all the Sunday School children to love Jesus that they may come to heaven, where I am going." In the memorial sermon, Rev. Dr. Gordon, his pastor; thus speaks of him:
"There was no set service too exacting for his willing hands; no mission too arduous for his ready feet; no burdens too heavy for his manly shoulders; no difficulties too great for his unwavering faith; no needs of Zion too numerous or menial for his cheerful performance; no suffering or sorrow beyond the response of his loving heart. If ever a man lived who could honestly use the language of a familiar hymn, Brother Williams was that man, and truthfully and unreservedly might he have sung, 'I love Thy Kingdom, Lord,' etc. Noble in the example of his life as a man, husband, friend, citizen, and Christian! Grand are the lessons taught by his consistent daily walk and conversation! By his pure record before his fellow men in our community! By his domestic life, and by his persistent and undeviating attachment to the church of his first and sweetest love! No day was too stormy; no rain too heavy; no cold too intense; no heat too oppressive; no night too dark, for Deacon Williams to wend his way to the house of God and place of prayer. His seat was never vacant; his presence was never questioned; his devotion never faltered; his lamp never flickered; his love never waxed cold. Never till his last illness laid him aside, did he lay down his burden, or cease to associate with the people of God. Nor even after death's shadows were gathering around him did he cease to care for Zion's joy and welfare."
The Portland Baptist Missionary Union said of him:"In him were united in an unusual degree, those traits which characterize true godliness. His life was illustrious for gentleness, kindness, patience, temperance, and personal purity. He was the true missionary, for his daily life was an epistle seen and read of all. He was so generous, so good, so loving, so beloved. His integrity was never questioned, his piety was never doubted. His whole life was worthy of emulation. And the memory of his good deeds, his humble trust, his faithfulness, and his devotion to the Master's service will be an inspiration and a benediction to those who must now take up the work his weary hands have laid down forever."
And another resolution said, "His name has been, and will continue to be a symbol alike of Christian aggressiveness and of Christian love."
He died March 7, 1891, and the First Baptist church put this on the Record:
"We thank God for the noble Christian manhood he was permitted to exemplify before this church and the community for the last thirty years of his life rounded and complete in Him who is the sum of all goodness-Jesus Christ,
"We thank God for the sweet Christian spirit he always manifested before this church and the world, the inspiration of which he derived from the constant daily communion with the Lord and Savior.
"We thank God for the loving and tender solicitude expressed for the spiritual welfare of his brethren and sisters in Christ, not only in the church but also in the wider fields of the State.
"We thank God for his example of patience, ever mindful of human weakness, yet overlooking the faults and mistakes of others, in the deeper consciousness of human imperfections, and the gracious spirit of his Master who could forgive the erring and the wandering.
"We thank God for his example in prayer, the crowning excellence of Christian manhood, The reverence and godly fear which characterized all his approaches to the throne of Grace."We thank God for his completed life, the good fight of faith, the blessed assurance, and for his unswerving loyalty to the word of God.
"We thank God that it has been our privilege to know and love him.
"May it please the great Head of the church to bestow upon us who remain, in large measure his spirit of meekness, charity, patience, and faithful consecrated devotion, and loyalty to God and His truth."
40. REV. SAMUEL CORNELIUS, JR., D. D. 1860
Rev. Samuel Cornelius, Jr., D. D. was born at Alexandria, D, C., February 22, 1825. His father, Rev. Samuel Cornelius, D. D., was for thirteen years pastor of the Baptist church at Alexandria, and with Noah Davis helped originate the American Baptist Publication Society of Philadelphia.
He was widely known as a minister of marked consecration and effectiveness, and died at Ann Arbor, Michigan. The connection were all Baptists. Samuel, the son, had the best of educational advantages. He graduated at Columbia college, Washington, D. C., in 1844. He had previously experienced religion and been baptized into the E street church, Washington, by Rev. Jacob Knapp. In 1847 he was licensed by the church at Mt. Holly, N. J., and ordained October 18, 1848, by the Tecumseh church in Michigan. Before coming to Oregon, his principal. labors were at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and at Winona, Minnesota, at each of which places he gathered a large church and built a meeting house. About six years of that time he was under appointment of the A. B. H. M. Society. He came to Portland, Oregon, in 1860. Aid was obtained from the Society and he stayed in Oregon about six years; five years at Portland, and one year at Salem. At Portland he found the cause prostrate. But the brethren, though much discouraged, hailed his coming, and having building lots, and about $800 secured for a meeting-house, Brother Cornelius, who was very hopeful and energetic, soon gathered the brethren together into a little church, and put up and enclosed the building; at first, finishing only the lecture room for immediate use. He also held successful meetings at Salem and West Union, strengthening the brethren very much. He was an active, stirring man, adapting himself readily to western habits, and went everywhere within reach preaching the Gospel, as opportunity permitted. He visited nearly all the Associations in the State, from 1862 to 1864, making the journey on horseback, and was always welcomed. His zeal was ardent, burning; and his passion for souls made preaching his element. And it was in such a way that the most simple could understand, and his hearers could not avoid being moved with him in his intense longing for results. He preached extempore, with brief notes, preferring the pastorate, but was ever ready to assist in a revival. His prayers were indeed petitions for bounties from God's fullness. And in preaching he gave thoughts for thinkers. He was a young man of the highest culture; at that time, perhaps the best educated and trained of any preacher amongst us, unless it was Brethren Chandler or Fisher, yet he had no theatrical clap-trap; he uttered no platitudes; there was no note service, either in his preaching or in his prayers. He did not "despise the day of small things," but trusted God, not doubting that He would fully verify His promises. His fine scholarship was much enlarged by reading and observation. He once said he never let a valuable thought escape him, and he carried a pocket memorandum book in which to jot sudden inspirations or unexpected gleanings. His life was distinguished for purity, a nice sense of honor in personal and business affairs, and a thorough devotion to his work. An idea of this latter thought may be gathered from his journal, under date of December 31, 1863:
"I have never entered upon a new year with feelings of so much solemnity, as I now enter upon this. It appears as if it would be a searching, humbling proving time with me. O, may I be kept by the Keeper of Israel, and blessed of the Lord who made heaven and the earth. The prayer of Habakkuk is mine. (Heb. III-12)."
At one time, a blatant infidel, thinking to embarrass him, asked in the presence of a crowd: "Do you believe every word of this common Bible such only as we common people can read?" Brother Cornelius looked at him sternly for a moment, and perceiving his object, caught his Bible to his bosom exclaiming: "Yes, indeed; every precious word of this blessed book!" The action, the rapt, intense devotion in his countenance, threw the caviler into confusion, and produced a most profound impression on his auditors. His cordial, affable ways endeared him to every one. He had no pedantry, not, the slightest air of fancied superiority, but rather the opposite. He delighted to meet the brethren and hear of the prosperity of Zion. When he left there was not one who knew him but regretted his departure. After leaving Oregon, he was pastor at Indianapolis, Indiana; at Pueblo, Colorado; and at Little Rock, Arkansas, where he died December 29, 1886. A wife and two sons survive him.
41. REV. C. L. FISHER. 1860
Rev. C. L. Fisher was born of Baptist ancestry at Norwich, England, in 1817. He was brought to Utica, N. Y., in 1827. He had good educational advantages, graduating at Clinton, N. Y., the seat of Hamilton college. He was converted in 1840, uniting with the Broadstreet Baptist church of Utica; and was licensed and ordained in Wisconsin; in 1851. In 1860 he came to Oregon with an ox team, (six months on the road), and settled in Salem, serving that church as pastor some three or four years, and irregularly, some two or three years longer. Whilst at Salem, he built a substantial meeting house.
He is an earnest, live, wide-awake preacher. His sermons are largely written, but so thoroughly studied as to be almost committed to memory. He is a stirring man; always at work; and has the happy faculty of infusing this same industrious spirit into others. He is also excellent at keeping a church at peace. By superior tact and skill he can check the threatenings of disturbance or trouble in its very incipiency, and manage it so adroitly as to satisfy and please all. The growth of his churches is more steady and sure than spasmodic and fitful. Hence, he usually has a reliable membership of solid, consistent men and women. He commands the deep-seated respect and esteem of others, more than their overflowing enthusiasm. His labor is earnest and practical, and his work abiding. In Oregon, he is kindly remembered as a most efficient laborer. He was a member of the State Legislature in 1864 and 1865. In 1868 he moved to California, much regretted. There, and in Nevada he was the same active rustler as in Oregon. He claims some 1200 converts, has preached over 1000 funerals, and married nearly 1000 couples.
42. REV. J. C. RICHARDSON. 1846
Rev. J. C. Richardson, in the days of his physical strength, was one of the best of evangelists. He and Rev. J. W. Osborn, Jr., were the first missionaries of the early Convention. Like Brother C. C. Sperry, his greatest forte was exhortation. He almost always had "good meetings." At one of his protracted meetings in Lane county, assisted by Rev. C. C. Riley, they baptized eighty converts. At another meeting at Brownsville, were 120 conversions. At Oakland, at another lime were twenty or thirty.
He was born in Missouri in 1832, and brought to Oregon in 1846. He had the common school advantages of Missouri at that time, but otherwise, no educational privileges. Like many other young pioneers, his early life was a wild one. From the stories told of him he was decidedly "a hard case." This continued until he was about 29 years of age, when the grace of God reached him and he was converted and baptized into the Palestine church by Rev. R. C. Hill. He at once felt that his boon companions must also find the Savior precious, and at once commenced warning them and pleading with them to turn from their evil ways and accept eternal life. On December 26, 1862, the Palestine church ordained him. He started out on his new life with zeal and vigor. He and Rev. S. S. Martin were the first Baptist ministers to cross the coast mountains into Coos county, where they organized the first Baptist church in that section.
He was full of the Spirit and this evangelistic work was his delight until his physical infirmities compelled him to give more attention to a settled pastorate. He was missionary at times for the Corvallis Association, one year for the Convention, and often "at his own charges." His salary, when he had one, was usually from $300 to $400 a year for all his time; in a very few instances, for a very short time, he received from $600 to $800 a year. His mode of travel was on his horse; in later years, in a buggy. He took little or no rest or vacation, unless from sickness of himself or his family, until broken health compelled him to stop traveling. He now lives at Eugene, and preaches for surrounding churches as his health permits. He has often denied himself and his family of comforts, and even necessities, that he might preach Christ. Although he has traveled over nearly all Oregon, yet his chief field of labor has been in the southern portion of the Willamette valley, in the Umpqua valley, and between the latter valley and the coast. When not on missionary tours. he preaches regularly for some church or churches within his reach. He is determined to wear out rather than rust out. and with the true instincts of a shepherd scours both hills and valleys for the lost sheep of the house of Israel, having many appointments and trusting to God to keep the results. He was pastor of the Calapooia church from its organization in 1865 until 1887. and also much of the time for some other churches in Douglas county. His manner is earnest and pleasing, and his delivery easy, with a ready command of appropriate language. His social affability and generous spirit make him a favorite everywhere, especially with young people, and his consistent life commands the respect and confidence of all. He reads carefully, and takes pains to keep himself well informed on current events. He is fairly posted on Baptist history, and can ably defend Baptist doctrines and practices. He is a Landmarker and on proper occasions teaches his doctrines. He has no compromise with error, and does not hesitate to stand for his principles or practice if occasion demands it. He does not court popularity. and yet is a most popular man. He has several times been Moderator of the Corvallis Association. and has also filled other important places in the denomination. His advice and counsel are much sought, for he is prudent and careful, and his words are usually considered safe. He has a place in the affections of the old Oregonians that no later man can fill, and an influence that cannot easily be set aside. In 1897 he wrote a series of Articles for one of our Baptist papers, giving sketches of his early ministry, which show so much of the early pioneer. that many of his incidents will well illustrate the work almost from the first; and hence are here presented; sometimes direct, sometimes condensed or paraphrased; but at all times aiming to give his entire thought clearly and intelligently. And his experience is but a counterpart of perhaps a score or more of others, who, with limited attainments were put forward by the early churches to preach Christ. He, as a representative man, illustrates very largely the early aims, plans, and methods of work, and the sacrificing spirit of those who were the burden bearers in laying the foundations of our future growth on the North Pacific coast. His experience in conversion was most clear and vivid. He says:
"The whole current of my mind and heart was completely revolutionized. Almost as soon as I breathed the heavenly atmosphere I felt a deep desire for the salvation of men, and while I did not feel like it was possible for me ever to be a preacher, I nevertheless felt that I would love to be one of the Lord's ministers, and like one of old, 'I conferred not with flesh and blood' but went about immediately, holding prayer meetings, attending other meetings when opportunity afforded, and my exhortations were attended with great power. Many times the effect was perceivable."
It took some time to decide as to his denominational standing, but he finally came out a sound Baptist. He says:
"I was busily engaged in the work of my Master whenever opportunity offered itself. The little church of which I was a member had preaching once a month by a minister from abroad, and I made it a point always to be in attendance and take such part as was assigned me by the pastor."
His first sermon was in the spring of 1862, It was announced at the morning service, and he says, "If it had thundered from a clear sky I am sure I would not have been more surprised." It took away my appetite, and he prayed "that there would be but few out that evening." But the house was crowded even for standing room. For a few moments he " hardly knew whether he was preaching to human beings or to the trees." When he came to himself, his pastor and the audience were bathed in tears. He says that from the first of his ministry, he "always entered upon the discharge of that duty with more or less fear," lest in his weakness he might fail and the cause suffer in consequence. He says, "It seems as if the eternities of God are present to rebuke the preacher for a failure." One day at a baptism one of the deacons said to him, "Well, Brother, the church has concluded that it is her duty to set you apart to the full work of the Gospel ministry." Now whilst he had "desired the office of a Bishop," yet his high estimate of the Gospel ministry, and his great inability to meet its requirements, caused him to shrink, and he "hoped the deacon would not bring the matter before the church" because "it seemed an impossibility for him to be a minister of the Gospel." But the deacon brought it up, a council was called, and Brother Richardson ordained, He says if any one with "the ken of a prophet" had told him that he would preach to many strangers, as well as acquaintances all over this North Pacific Coast, he "would not have believed one word of it." He attributes much of his success to the wisdom of his little church and its pastor, who held him up; and all of it to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. His education was very limited. His great desire was to spend two or three years in school that he might master the use of the English language, But he was too poor, and the brethren were not able to help him, so he got a Webster's Dictionary, and with this and his Bible for text books gave all his spare time to hard study. This gave him a thorough knowledge of God's Word, and the correct use and meaning of terms. And right here is the grand secret of his wonderful success in winning converts and building up churches. In 1863, when the war feeling was at its height, he sent an appointment to Monroe. A street fight over some political issue occurred at the place a few days before the time, and several were badly hurt. The prospect was serious, and Brother Richardson was advised to stay away. But after earnest prayer he went on with trembling, and preached about the "City of Refuge." There was no trouble, and they had a most blessed meeting, the effects of which were felt for many years. Brother Richardson's congregations were largely infidels of the Tom Paine school; though he had some Christians of different denominations and "a very few irregular Baptists." To meet the issues, his lack of education worried him. Like the Psalmist, he found some "deep things of God." And he got scared over the Apostle's language, that "some things were hard to be understood which they that are unlearned do wrest to their own destruction;" and he feared lest he do this, and says that "Many, many times have I gone into the pulpit when the weight of my subject came upon me with almost crushing force." But with prayer for help God gave him grace, and he kept at his work and faltered not. The churches then held protracted meetings each fall or winter, and he thus describes one held near Smithfield, with Rev. S. Jenkins and Dr. R. C. Hill to help him:
"In the early part of the meeting God blessed the truth to the conviction of sinners, and nearly every time we met there were some converts. One thing remarkable on the meeting, was that the Christians would take the inquirers off to some grove and there pray for them in secret, and the consequence was, the Lord rewarded them openly. One night there were five young women at the anxious seat. One after another was converted until all were converted but one; she lingered long and became perfectly helpless; other women held her on their laps like a child. After a long, hard struggle, Mary arose, and looking over the audience, finally commenced to shake hands with those near; then she went on shaking hands until she went all through the room. Some one commenced to sing; then all sang; and a general handshaking followed. One brother, who could not sing, cried "Shout! Shout! We are gaining ground!" That night was a wonderful night with God's people. One thing occurred that to me was quite amusing. Back in the further end of the house from where Brother Jenkins and I were standing, a lady arose and bounded across the room as if she were on springs of steel, at the same time bringing her hands together so hard that it seemed like they would be blistered. My brother carelessly stood in her track. She brought her hands together striking him on each side of the head, making his ears fairly ring and burn. Many a time have I laughed at him. "because," said I, "you got your ears slapped." But it was not very laughable to him. The lady came and made all necessary apologies for her mistake. Sabbath came and we resorted to where there was "much water," and baptized the converts; quite a number. I do not now remember how many."
No wonder Brother Richardson says "the people were quite demonstrative; not unfrequently bordering on confusion. Often we had to put on the brake. More than once have I had my sermon broken off in the middle and had to give the last half over to the people. At one time perhaps half of the entire audience were on their feet, and I could not stop them. But he claims that "this was the result of a high state of religious enjoyment," and not an evidence of a low type of intellect. He quotes, "My cup runneth over," and Christ's triumphant ride into Jerusalem, and urges that the demonstrations in Christ's time were not rebuked by Him, and concludes by saying "that the people shouted in those early days because of the fact that the Christians were enjoying a large increase of the Divine Spirit's presence."
At another meeting, after night, he found a house full of people, no candle nor light except a firelight, and only one person who would sing. He sang, prayed and preached, and the effect was good. An infidel invited him home with him, and the next morning had his neighbors come in to discuss the Bible. The discussion lasted till noon, when the infidel said: "If the Bible with all its teachings and influence; Christianity with all its influences are removed from the world; the only advice I would have to give to the people would be for everyone, man and woman, to take a revolver in one hand and a bowie knife in the other and fight their way through." What effect the discussion had on him Brother Richardson never learned. From here, he went 12 miles to preach, where there were a very few Christians; no church and a very wicked community. He stayed over Sunday and there was some interest. Four difficulties met him when ready to start home. ( 1) He had no money. (2) The North Umpqua river was between him and home. (3) It was 20 miles around by the way he came. (4) The ferryman was a stranger and a wicked man. But when his horse was ready and the parting hand given, his host, an unconverted man, gave him 50 cents, and he rode off thanking God. And the ferryman would not charge him. In a day and a half he was with his family. All well and glad to see him again. Some years after he visited this neighborhood again, when a gentleman told him the following story:
"My son and another young man had a difficulty and my son resolved that if that young man ever crossed his path he would kill him. One night after listening to your sermon he went home and went into his mother's bedroom, unbuckled his pistol from his body and said: "Mother, I had determined to kill M- if he ever bothered me again, but after listening to that man's sermon tonight, I don't want to hurt him. You take my pistol and don't let me have it any more."
Brother Richardson says the early settlers here "were more of the common type of humanity than of the aristocratic type. They were whole-souled, but very far from being God-fearing or God-loving." An infidel challenged him for a public debate but at the time it was not thought best. Ten years later, when he was general missionary for the Convention, that community was in his field and some Christian people had settled there, and sent him a very pressing invitation to come and hold a meeting there, and he accepted the invitation to come and hold a meeting there, and he accepted the invitation (sic). In this meeting the infidel's daughter and daughter-in-law were converted. That raised the infidel's ire, and he sent another challenge. The daughter was in great trouble, as she thought the good meeting would be broken up. But Brother Richardson told her not to fear. He accepted the challenge; questions were agreed upon; and the arrangements made; the infidel boasting that "no one had ever discussed the Bible with him but that he went to the wall before it was over." Brother Richardson knew that the infidel's arguments would be based on Paine's "Age of Reason," and had studied the book carefully. In his argument, he took the entire Bible and dwelt upon its internal evidence to sustain himself. In his rejoinder, the infidel denounced the Bible as a "book of lies." Richardson would not allow him to use it in the discussion, because no court would admit an admitted lying witness to testify. That broke the infidel's hold, and he could not rally. One gentleman said to him, "Sir, your theory is completely torn to pieces." His wife said, "I never heard you make so poor an out in your life." His daughter said, " Well, Pa, I never was so happy in my life. I think I will go down to the schoolhouse and preach myself." It was said to Brother Richardson, "you have done a great deal for this community, in breaking the hold of infidelity from it. Soon after, the infidel, before a large audience repudiated his infidelity, joined the Campbellites, and entered their ministry. He and Brother Richardson were afterwards the best of friends, After the discussion Brother Richardson resumed his meeting, a large number were baptized, and a Baptist church was organized in that locality.
Brother Richardson and Rev. C. C. Riley held a protracted meeting with the McKinzey's Fork church. (Now Springfield.) The Holy Spirit moved among the people. Christians were full, ready for the Master's work. Sinners were converted with deep and pungent convictions, and everything moved forward. One night four young women were converted and the mourner's bench was cleared. Brother Riley said, "Now, Brother, we must go to the forest for more material to work on." This meeting was a most remarkable one. God's power was clearly manifest. About 40 converts were baptized, and in all the country around the impulse for righteousness was tremendous. Several very interesting cases are mentioned by Brother Richardson. He thus speaks of the meeting:
"That was one of those meetings where God's power was so great that one could hardly enter that house without feeling the mighty power of God, and it has seldom been my lot to see Christian people move among the unconverted with such power as they did in that meeting. Everything seemed to give way before them like melting snow before a warm wind."
Soon after they held another meeting of much the same character, and fully as much power at Eugene. About the same number were baptized, and how many went to the other churches is not known. Brother Richardson pays the following tribute to Brother Riley:
"Brother Riley was a noble Christian man of a very unassuming disposition, was meek and humble in his demeanor, rather retiring, not the least bit haughty, and like Apollos, 'mighty in the Scriptures.' Of all the ministers that I have had the good pleasure to labor with or listen to, he was the ablest in exhortation that I ever heard; highly poetical in his flights of oratory . In revival work he had strong faith in God. He believed and therefore spoke and expected God to bless."
Brother Richardson tells of an Association that he attended. The custom was then to attend to business in the day time, and have preaching in the evening at family residences, and one night he was to preach. He says:
"I preached, I don't remember the subject, but I do remember the closing service before I pronounced the benediction. Some one broke out in a big ha! ha! laugh, and then others and still others. Among those who took part in this laughing exercise were Dr. Hill and Elder South. This was new to me. I had heard people shout the praises of God and some I had seen become helpless, but never before had I witnessed the laughing exercise. But on they went, stretching out my sermon about 30 feet; in fact, if the benediction is a part of that service, it was never pronounced. Therefore, that sermon has never been closed, and is the longest sermon I ever preached. It is going on still. If I had been taught then to appreciate the power that God gave me, I could have taken that community for Christ. Perhaps it is well that I did not know."
He thus sums up his life work:
"My trip home was a hard one, and a long one. I arrived there after some eight or ten days, and resumed my labor on the farm, and all this time studying very hard, preparing myself for greater usefulness. In those early days we had a hard time to live; we had two daughters, quite small, and my wife and I had to work hard to obtain necessities. Many a time we were driven almost to give up, for the churches could do little. One thing helped us very much. I never had a hotel bill to pay if the innkeeper knew me, nor blacksmith bills, nor for crossing rivers, as soon as I was known. During all my ministry, I traveled on my profession. Many times I have come home with an empty purse, almost in despair, but my wife always encouraged me to go ahead. Many times we lived very scant. Many years I would not receive enough to clothe me. This, mark you, was in the early days of my ministry. Some, in reading these lines will blame, but we must remember in those days there were very few Baptists, and they had but little to do with. All these years I studied the English language, Webster's Dictionary for my teacher.
"And now, after many years, looking back over the 35 years, humanly speaking, I have lived a hard life, and a very self-sacrificing life. Perhaps one-half the time from my family, and traveling a great deal. Once I traveled 250 miles a month, (on horseback). This, I kept up for three years in succession. And now looking back over these years, it seems marvelous how I endured the hardships, but I was serving a wonderful God who told me to go and I will help you. 'As thy day is so shall thy strength be.' But God gave me 'favor with the people.' Hundreds of times have I wondered how we lived. If I ever had any real doubt as to my call to the ministry it has rested upon this text: 'They that preach the Gospel shall live of the Gospel.' I know full well that my living has not been of the income of my preaching; perhaps I am safe in saying that one half of our living has come from that quarter, the remainder we have worked for; but 'By the grace of God I am what I am,' and now that my work is drawing to a close, my only hope is in God's mercy. 'The mistakes of my life have been many; the sins of my heart have been more.'"
A score or two of pioneers now living can furnish data fully as interesting, if not more so, as any of the stray glimpses shown in these "Annals." And the sisters could also tell a story. More than once has a woman's lip quivered and her cheek paled when the question was asked her, either at her husband's ordination, or at her home, "Are you willing for him to give up all and consecrate himself wholly to this work as his life work?" Ah, from her own observation, too well she knew what this question meant. What cares, what anxieties, what fears, what labors in providing for the home and caring for the little ones, what responsibilities almost unshared. Could these experiences, with all that they comprise, be compiled in befitting language, they would make a volume larger, more interesting, more pathetic, more thrilling and showing more of true consecration, and holy, loving, sincere devotion to the dear Savior, if possible than the records of their consecrated husbands. Truly, with a provident, careful, discreet woman, such a question, or its equivalent, asked in all seriousness. it required nerve and consecration to answer, "Yes, for Jesus sake." And when, in after life, sometimes the husband and father would falter and faint, and almost give up by the way, she would still encourage and strengthen and urge him on in this labor of love--aye, labor of love and faith, but often, with very little of sight. Truly, this record should also be written; but she ever shrinks from its being seen elsewhere than in "The Lamb's Book of Life".
43. REV. STEPHEN JENKINS. 1846-1862.
Rev. Stephen Jenkins was of Anti-Missionary Baptist descent, born in Woodford county, Kentucky, June 5, 1821. His parents moved to Missouri in 1835, and to Oregon in 1846, by the "Southern Route." The hardships of that route, then traveled for the first time, have been very graphically told by others; and there were probably more severe hardships on that route that year than has been endured during any other year of the immigrations, unless in the years when the cholera was prevalent. And when Mr. Jenkins reached Southern Oregon, he was compelled to rush ahead to the Willamette valley to procure food for the starving ones behind. In the fall of that year he volunteered to go against the Indians to punish them for the Whitman massacre. In 1849, he went to the gold mines in California. In 1850, he settled on his claim in Lane county, and married the same year. He visited his old home in Missouri in 1888, and died March 8, 1895.
He early had much conviction for sin, but it produced little or no lasting effect until the fall of 1861, when the loss of an infant child brought both him and his wife to more seriously consider their situation as sinners in the sight of God. Brother Richardson thus describes his condition at this time. He said to me, "Often darkness would come into my heart, and my sadness no one could tell. So miserable was I one day that I would have been glad to kneel with the blackest negro and have had him pray for me." Again, "One day as I was riding on my mule, weeping and begging the Lord to have mercy on me and forgive my sins, just then the blessed Lord won the victory; my burden of guilt was gone; a mothers prayer was answered."
At first he was inclined to join the Campbellites, but finding that he could not endorse their views, in September, 1862, he united with the Palestine Baptist church, being baptized by Rev. Silas Williams. The effect upon him was wonderful. Like Brother Richardson, he had led a hard life, but now his soul was filled with the love of God. He wanted to tell what the Lord had done for him. He soon gave evidence of his call to the ministry, and his aptness to teach convinced the church that he was called of God, and he was ordained August 23, 1868. But his educational advantages were very limited, and mostly acquired after he was grown. Yet, he became an earnest practical worker. He had naturally a strong mind, active, vigorous and quick to reach conclusions, and very tenacious when decisions were reached. He was ever ready to defend his principles and an opponent soon found that he had no weak foe as an adversary. Nor was he overbearing nor dogmatic, but like Paul, he felt his responsibility; he believed, and therefore, spoke. He preached several years for the Mount Zion church in Lane county, besides doing a vast amount of general work in destitute parts of both these counties where there was no preaching. He was a fair speaker and was well liked by all his churches. He preached for the poor, and said that he sometimes got compensation enough to pay for shoeing his horse. The care and support of a large family hindered him much, but he did a vast amount of good in places where, but for him, there would have been no preaching. And in his last years, when age and feeble health kept him more and more confined at home, he grieved much because these destitute fields were so sadly neglected.
44. REV. J. W. SHORT. 1853-1863
Rev. J. W. Short is a man whom everyone loves. In many respects he resembled Rev. C. C. Riley. He was modest, unassuming and extremely diffident, and either underrates his own abilities, or the brethren overrate them. He was of Methodist ancestry, born in Delaware in 1816. He had common school advantages. He was converted in 1843, but made no profession until 1850, when he united with the Separate Baptists in Des Moines county, Iowa, and the same year the church licensed him to preach. He came to Oregon in 1853, and settled in Marion county, uniting with the Lebanon (Sublimity) church, and was ordained to preach by this church November 8, 1853. He served the churches at Sublimity, Pleasant Hill and French Prairie for several years, besides preaching much in adjoining regions. In 1873 he moved to Klickitat valley in Washington, remaining two years, and assisted by Rev. T. J. Harper, planted the Baptist cause there, organizing a church or two, and baptizing several. He speaks of his work there as being most signally blessed. Brother Short's sermons were extempore, doctrinal and practical, and often marked with deep pathos and earnestness. He was a man of thought, careful study, clear utterance, and regarded as uncommonly sound, and abundantly able to maintain and defend his positions. There was nothing cloudy or vague in his preaching. He did a little work in the vicinity of his home, and his advice and counsel were esteemed by the brethren. He labored for peace, and for winning souls. No one could be long in his company without feeling that he was an earnest, good man, and that his company was profitable. His language was simple, easy and ready, with no taint of dogmatism or self-importance. In confidence, and the full fruition of his hopes, he patiently and calmly waited the summons of his Savior to "enter into that rest remaining for the people of God."
45. REV. JAMES D. P. HUNGATE. 1864
Rev. J. D. P. Hungate was born in Indiana in 1831. He united with the Mill Creek Baptist church in 1845; graduated at Franklin college in 1854; was ordained in 1865; was pastor at Salem, Illinois, in 1858, where he built a meeting house and increased the membership from 6 to 76 in two years. In 1860, he was appointed as a missionary to Nebraska by the A. B. H. M. Society, and was in the employ of that society for about three years and ten months. In May, 1864, he started across the Plains for Oregon with a team, under appointment of the A. B. H. M. Society, and at first preached for the church at Forest Grove and West Union, with an occasional service at Hillsboro. He was then called to the church at Salem, the capital of Oregon, which church he served for about three years. The membership was small, but good, and true as steel. His first work was to gather in the outlying forces which hitherto had not united with the church. In three years the membership had just trebled, from 31 to 93. He here taught a Bible class of 30 young people, the most of whom he baptized. In December, 1867, he moved to Petaluma, California, and now lives in that state.
46. MRS. SARAH A. FARNHAM. 1864
Mrs. Sarah A. Farnham was the active, earnest, efficient worker for the Women's Mission cause in Southern Oregon. She was born in Maine in 1832; was married in 1858, and came to Oregon in 1864, settling near Ashland, where she resided until her death, June 29, 1888. She was a constituent member of the Wagner Creek church, but afterwards, for convenience, placed her membership at Ashland. She was an exemplary and devoted Christian, true in all the various positions of life, and proved by her walk and conversation that she believed in a risen Savior; that she had indeed been with Jesus. All branches of church work found in her an earnest helper, but the cause of missions, either at home or abroad, lay nearest her heart. From the time when she made her first appeal in 1881, as the Associational secretary of the W. B. F. M. Society of Oregon, until her labor ended, she was the active, persevering worker in that cause; and well did she labor at her appointed task until she aroused the apathy of the slumbering Christians of Southern Oregon, and the enthusiasm now manifested in that work by the Rogue River Association is the proof of her zeal, energy and success. Her death was a severe loss, not only to her family and church. but also to the denomination; and especially to her special work. Her love for the cause, and her wisdom to plan and execute so as to develop great results, were most rare accomplishments and qualifications, which were exceedingly difficult to supply.
47. REV. GEORGE W. WARMOUTH. 1865.Rev. G. W. Warmouth was a pastor. The pastorate was his peculiar sphere; a work in which he delighted. Prudent, careful and deliberate, he would look after the interests of a church, and accomplish a large amount of good with very little friction. With little or no "gush," there was an earnestness and a sincerity in his preaching that carried conviction and blessed his labors. He was born in Kentucky in 1811. When quite young, his parents moved to Missouri. He was self educated, and of no mean attainments. He was converted in 1831, and united with the Providence Baptist church in Charlton county. Mo. He was licensed in 1845, but sickness and other causes prevented his ordination until 1858. He came to Oregon in 1865; settled near Halsey; and preached mostly for Brownsville, Halsey and prairie Precinct churches. He spoke extempore. His Instruction was mostly practical; good, wholesome and well calculated to build up and establish churches in the faith. His blameless life gave him favor and confidence with all the people. He was modest and unassuming, preferring others to himself. He could always be relied on in denominational work to the extent of his ability and influence. He died, universally regretted, January 16, 1886.
48. REV. WILLIAM JETER. 1866
Rev. William Jeter was born of Baptist parents in Botetourt county, Virginia, in 1812. He was converted in 1839, and united with the Tinker Creek church in Roanoke county. He had two brothers, Baptist ministers, and one brother, a Methodist minister. He was licensed in 1840 and ordained in 1846 by the Suck Spring church in Bedford county. He preached in several counties in Virginia until 1855, when he moved to Missouri and preached some ten years, mostly in Gentry and Audrain counties. In 1865 he came to Oregon and settled in Marion county, near Stayton, where he died, March 3, 1890. After coming to Oregon, he preached mostly for churches in his own neighborhood, excepting one year in the Rogue river valley, as a missionary of the State Convention. His preaching was extempore with a short skeleton, and he preferred the pastorate. He was best adapted to building up and confirming the churches. He helped to organize the church at Stayton, and kept it in a growing, healthy condition for over 20 years, but a cancer on his face in later years compelled him to cease from preaching much of the time. He was regarded as a sound, solid man, beloved by his church, and universally respected for his true worth.
49. REV. JOSEPH RITTER. 1866
Rev. Joseph Ritter was born in Indiana in 1829; professed religion and united with the Baptist church in 1845, and was put into the ministry the same year. He preached there until 1845, when he moved to Missouri, where his wife died; but in 1858 he married again. His health failing, he moved to Kansas in 1861, where he taught school awhile, but in 1862, he was preaching for three churches. In 1863 he was chosen as the Associational missionary, but could not fill the position on account of poor health. In 1864 he crossed the Plains, but stopped at Yreka, California, until 1865, when he settled in Jackson county, Oregon, near Jacksonville. Though his health was very poor, he labored here faithfully for 19 years, undergoing many hardships, often traveling through snow, rain and mud when barely able to ride his horse. Two years he was under appointment of the A. B. H. M, Society. In 1885 he moved to Coos county and remained there a year; then moved to Grant county. He continued faithful to his trust, and had a number of his appointments to fill at the time of his death, October 20, 1886. Brother Ritter's uniform kindness to his family, his love for all, and his zeal for the cause of Christ. were marked characteristics of his life. He was an exhorter, and did a great deal of evangelistic work at his own charges. He was an indefatigable worker, and for years, almost alone, kept the churches of the Rogue river valley in a living condition. He was moderator of the Association for five years. His memory is affectionately cherished by all the old pioneer Baptists of Southern Oregon. Though of but limited attainments, yet by his zeal, activity, earnestness and devotedness to the cause. he did a vast amount of good, and laid a solid foundation for the churches that are now the pride of the denomination in Southern Oregon.
50. REV. L. J. BOOTHE. 1865
Rev. L. J. Boothe was the pioneer Baptist minister of all that section of Oregon lying east of the Blue mountains. True, Rev. W. P. Koger was a little in advance of him, but for active, energetic work, Brother Boothe must take the lead. He was born in Virginia in 1820. His mother was a Baptist, and he had one brother, a Baptist minister. He moved to Missouri at an early day, and was converted at a Methodist camp meeting in 1837, and immersed by a Cumberland Presbyterian minister. He afterwards united with the Baptists, and in 1857 was licensed. In 1859 he was ordained by the New Salem church. He came to Oregon in 1865; settled in Union county. Brother Koger had organized the church at Cove, and preached for it awhile, but the next year Brother Boothe was called to the pastorate and in 1870 he and Brother Koger organized the church at Indian Creek. After this Brother Boothe's time was largely given to these two churches; the balance of his time being given to the destitute places. He delighted in protracted meetings and general revival work, at which he was usually quite successful. When he first came to Oregon he found but few professors, and the churches very weak, but under his earnest labors, the brethren began to take courage and hope. He organized the church at Wingville, and at a protracted meeting soon after, had about 20 accessions. He also organized the church at Baker City, but Rev. E. P. Waltz coming soon after, this work was left for him. He also held a very successful meeting with the Indian Creek church, baptizing 17 converts, among whom were some very interesting cases. His preaching was extempore, somewhat doctrinal, with much of the emotional in his applications. In early life he traveled considerably, but in later years, he preferred the pastorate. He assisted in organizing the Grand Ronde Association and also helped ordain Rev. L. W. Warmouth in 1868; Rev. B. F. Ford, in 1869; Rev. J. B.Foster, in 1871; and Rev. B. H. Lewis in 1874. He was considered a prudent adviser and able to sustain Baptist doctrines and principles. He died November 6, 1892.
51. REV. S. NEIL. 1865
Rev. S. Neil came to Oregon in 1865, an ordained Baptist minister from Missouri, and preached as a pastor of a church, or as a voluntary itinerant, for five or six years, when he returned to Missouri, and died there. He was a man of limited attainments, but zealous and active and helped much when preachers were scarce. He was a good man and very devoted.
52. REV. ANNANIAS LAND. 1865
Rev. Annanias Land came from Missouri, an ordained minister in 1865. He was a faithful under-shepherd, steadfast in the faith, and ready at all times for any duty required of him. He was an old fashioned preacher, or would be so termed today, with a limited education, yet full of faith and the Holy Spirit. He preached for several years in the Umatilla and Walla Walla country, but at the latest advice, was too old and feeble to labor as of old, and was hopefully waiting to be called home.
53. REV. JOHN W. OSBORN. SR. 1866
Rev. J. W. Osborn, Sr., was born of Methodist parents, in Pennsylvania, in 1802. His parents afterwards became Baptists, and his father a Baptist minister. His educational advantages were very limited. He was converted in 1821, and united with the Cantine Baptist church. In 1826 he was licensed by the Turkey Hill, now the Belleville church, and on May 23,1830,was ordained by the Illinois church; all three of these churches being in St. Clair county, Illinois. He preached in Central and Northern Illinois, and Southern Wisconsin and Iowa for several years with little or no salary, but with most remarkable success; baptizing a large number, and organizing a number of churches, nearly all of which are still in existence. He was most bitterly opposed, and sometimes even his life was threatened, but he was fearless in exposing the looseness of his time, when error was creeping into the churches, and as a result of this he experienced something of what Paul meant by "perils amongst false brethren." Like the Apostle, he did not wish to build upon other men's labors, but delighted in hunting places where there was no preaching and there building up churches. He came to Oregon in 1866, and at once went to work, preaching as opportunity offered. His labors were mostly in the Central Association. His sermons were largely doctrinal, using a short skeleton, and moving his audience by the eloquence of truth. He was earnest, untiring, and full of energy and perseverance. His labors were appreciated in Oregon, and he was regarded as one of the strong men. He died October 16, 1875, of chronic bronchitis. His wife, who had shared his labors for 52 years, died October 30, 1894. But their mantle has fallen upon their son, and also upon their grandson, Rev. J. Q. A. Henry.
54. REV. JOHN W. OSBORN, JR. 1866
Rev. John W. Osborn, Jr., is the youngest son of Rev. J. W. Osborn, Sr., of whom a sketch has been given. He was born in Wisconsin in 1838; educated at Central University, Pella, Iowa; was converted in 1860, and united with the Baptist church at Pella. He was licensed in 1862, and ordained March 29, 1864, by the Concord church, Appanoose county, Iowa. He preached in various places in Iowa, and Nebraska until 1866, when he came to Oregon. Here he has preached mostly for churches in the Central and Corvallis Associations, and with Brother Richardson, was the first missionary of the old State Convention; and was also, for a time, the missionary of the Central Association. On account of sickness he went to Eastern Oregon in 1878 and spent a couple of years preaching in that locality, when he returned and has since lived in the Willamette valley. He has always preached without a stated salary, though his churches have usually paid him from $250 to $400 a year. He has done a vast amount of mission work in the Willamette valley; organized, or helped to organize a number of churches; helped organize the General Association in 1868; and was one of the principal movers in organizing the Western Association in 1889. The claim for the origin of this latter body was, that it was a missionary movement for the more careful looking after the feeble churches and the destitute portions of the Central Association. And whether this claim be true or not, this movement, with others similar, or close akin to it, certainly had a tendency to arouse increased interest along these lines of missionary work.
Brother Osborn preaches extempore altogether, but he reads closely, and retains impressions almost equal to a photographic plate. He is an earnest, self denying, influential minister, and is successful both as a pastor, or as an evangelist. He is well posted on Baptist faith and practice, a careful and critical student, logical and analytical in his reasoning, with a kind of sledge hammer force in presenting truth, which makes him an opponent worthy of any man's attention. He also dwells much on vital religion, thus reaching the heart as well as the judgment of his audience. He is an ultra Landmarker, but commands earnest attention, and has good congregations. He seldom publishes accounts of his meetings; is not given to boasting. His fearless, outspoken, uncompromising attitude, neither courting smiles nor fearing frowns, make him unpopular with some, but loved by many. His wife is a most worthy help-meet for him, and nobly aids him in all the sacrifices he makes for the Master. He is still strong, though age is telling somewhat on him, and many and fervent are the prayers that he may long be spared to contend for "the faith (and practice) once delivered to the saints."
55. REV. E. C. ANDERSON, D. D. 1866
Rev. Edward Coffin Anderson, D. D., was born of Scottish and Presbyterian ancestry, in Prince Edwards Islands, Nova Scotia, educated at Acadia College, in that province, and in due form entered the ministry of the Baptist church. He was sent out by the A. B. H. M. Society from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Portland, Oregon, and arrived in December, 1866, to take the pastorate of the First Baptist church. He found the church weak and scattered, services having been suspended for about two years since Rev. S. Cornelius had left, and several active members had removed from the city, making his task almost like beginning anew. Yet he did a permanent and substantial work, and brought the church into a state of prosperity and usefulness. He was a fine classical scholar, well read in whatever pertained to his profession, and possessed a large fund of general information. Every sermon was the result of careful study and preparation, and his ability and talents as a preacher were unquestioned. But the growth of the church was slow, and he stayed only until January, 1871, when he returned East. In 1881 he came back to take charge of McMinnville college, of which he was President until June, 1887, when he resigned. As a teacher, he stood second to none in scholarship and experience, having formerly held high positions in schools in the East. In 1884, in consequence of overwork and hard study by lamplight, he lost the sight of one of his eyes. On June 20, 1887, he was stricken with paralysis, but partially recovered, and soon after, left Oregon for the East, and died at the residence of his son, at Lansing, Michigan, May 29, 1890. The church at Portland, and the Trustees at McMinnville college passed some very appropriate resolutions, and many felt "That a friend of education, a friend of Christianity, and a friend of human progress had laid aside his armor and gone home to glory."
56. REV. WILLIAM G. MILLER. 1853-1866
Rev. W. G. Miller was born in Missouri, in 1835 ; professed religion there and united with the High Prairie Baptist church in Cedar county; came to Oregon in 1853, and settled in Lane county. He was both licensed and ordained by the Palestine church; the ordination in 1866. He has preached for the most of the churches in the Corvallis Association, organized the Roseburg church, and was its pastor for several years; sometimes in connection with some other church. He also did a great deal of itinerant work in destitute portions of Umpqua county much of the time under appointment of the A. B. H. M. Society. He was a member of the Mission Board for two years; has been seven years Moderator of the Corvallis Association. and has the full confidence of his brethren. He is an earnest, forcible speaker, of the Landmark school, but warm hearted and zealous, and quite a revivalist. He can hold a congregation and wears well in a community. He is modest and retiring, but able. if necessary. to defend the doctrines and practices of the church with skill and effectiveness.
57. REV. A. J. CUMMINGS. 1866
Rev. A. J. Cummings came from Virginia to Iowa, and thence to Oregon in 1866, settling not far from Weston. He had a fair education, was a good speaker with great energy, and well calculated to do mission work; but he stopped in Oregon but a year or two, and went to California. His preaching was mostly in his own locality.
Down to this date two facts stand out very conspicuously in these sketches. (1) The Baptist meeting houses. built were all plain, simple structures, free from debt. So far as known. no church has yet gone abroad for help in building. True, they had helped each other, but they had never gone outside of the State; seldom, beyond the Association. The brethren believed that the Apostle's injunction, to "owe no man anything but to love one another," should apply to churches as well as to individuals. and practiced their belief. Hence. they had no serious debts from that cause to wrangle over and perhaps cripple their work for years. And (2) The large majority of our most successful workers had very little, if any more than a common school education. Yet they laid solid foundations which later men are glad to build upon. Some Articles. written several years ago by some pioneers of other States, with some slight changes, will so exactly fit Oregon, that they are here presented.
BY REV. SUPPLY CHASE. D. D.
"The first thing, I said was the cabin, the second thing was ordinarily, a log schoolhouse, for these men from New York and New England carried the schoolhouse with them. These were the only places of gathering that we had, excepting where they had barns and dwelling houses which they would throw open to us, and this was a common thing. I preached a great many times, weeks at a stretch, in dwelling houses. It wasn't much of a place for reading sermons. The ordinary proclamation for a meeting was like this;
"There will be preaching at such a schoolhouse at early candle light, and be sure to bring a candle." Sometimes we got one, and sometimes three or four, and we got enough light out of them to make darkness visible, but not enough to read a sermon by. A man couldn't stop long enough to hear a sermon read. We had to take men on the wing. They hadn't much time to spend in listening to such sermons. They didn't like them; they had heard that kind down East.
"Now, sir, a word of our sisters, the wives of these men. They were as glorious a company of women that stood side by side with those men as you could find anywhere; women that knew how to keep house; women that knew how to live on a little; how to cut their garments according to the cloth they had. I say they were the grandest workers in the salvation of men that we had in Michigan."
2. UNCUT DIAMONDS. BY PROF. H. C. VEDDER, D. D.
The houses of worship in which these preachers held their services, were generally God's own temples; the woods and prairies. Their libraries consisted of a Bible and a hymn book, carried in their saddle-bags. They did not read polished essays from a manuscript, as we, their degenerate successors, so often do. The rough backwoodsman had no use, as he phrased it, "for a preacher who couldn't shoot without a rest." The preaching was of a rough sort; not always scrupulous of the Queen's English; strongly tinged with the good old doctrines of grace, eminently evangelistic, to use our modern phrase, and was richly blessed of God to the conversion of their hearers. These men, uncouth as they would seem now, unwelcome as they would be to the pulpit of any fashionable Baptist church in our cities, led multitudes to the cross of Christ, founded churches in all the new communities of the West, laid the foundations of the denominational institutions, on which a magnificent superstructure has since been built. Let us honor as he deserves the pioneer preacher of the West. We who have entered into the labors of such men are noble indeed if we are worthy to unloose the latches of their shoes. Their record is on high; their names are written in the book of God's remembrance. "And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels."
3. BY REV. E. N. ELTONThe story is soon told, but between the date of settlement and the gathering of the first fruits, there were not only days of wearisome toil, but some privation was many times suffered. Many of these pioneers scarcely knew from whence the food for themselves and their loved ones was to come, or how the clothing was to be secured to protect them from the cold of winter, with, stockingless, and sometimes shoeless feet, the children waded the snows of winter. Only those who have endured like privations can appreciate the toil and hardships these early settlers were subject to. Even so, they were not all of them successful in securing the coveted home. Perhaps through sickness or misfortune, (it might be death), debts were incurred before the first fruits rewarded their toil, the home was lost, and they set adrift, weary, disheartened, broken-hearted, to begin anew, or to settle down in hopeless despondency, that expected naught, and had no courage to try for else than a mere subsistence.
4. BY PROF. J. T. HENDERSON
The men who laid the foundations of our cause, were in the main those enjoyed but little school training, but were "mighty in the Scripture," and "Full of the Holy Ghost." They felt, "Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel," and so went, "Without money and without price," (save occasionally a free will gift of some provisions or an article of clothing, or possibly, a trifle of money), proclaiming the Gospel of the blessed God, with demonstration of the Spirit and of power, in the groves, in the private homes, in the log schoolhouses and churches. Under this earnest preaching, scores of men and women came home to God, and Baptist churches were planted in many communities through the country. The old brethren were afraid of the towns but they clung to the creeks and the rivers. Like Burdette's brake man, they "preferred the river road." Like Enon, near to Salem, Oregon is well watered, and is adapted to the growth of cattle and Baptists. There were giants in those days, and all honor to these heroes of the Cross, illiterate though they were, who took much of our country for the Baptists. However, in these times, a new order of things is upon us. The more progressive of our country cousins are moving to the towns and cities, and the unlettered ministry has passed out of date in the centers, and is fading away by degrees in the remote country sections.
5. FROM RURAL RHYMES OF OLDEN TIMES. BY MARTIN RICE
- "And then we had our preachers too,
- And some of them I think you knew,
- And knew their Christian walk;
- "And who of you that ever heard,
- Joab Powell preach the word,
- But had his better feelings stirred,
- By plain and simple talk.
- "Ah! Yes! The preachers of those days,
- Were noted for their simple ways;
- And some for style uncouth;
- "But they are gone! They are all dead!
- Another class are in their stead,
- Much better paid, and better read,
- But have they more of truth?
- "The incidents of early years,
- Known only to the pioneers,
- With them will soon be lost;
- "Unless before they hither go,
- These incidents are stated so,
- Posterity the facts may know,
- When we the stream have crossed."
VI. RETROSPECTION AND DESCRIPTION
The influence of the gold mines of California and Southern Oregon was perceptibly felt early in this period. Many made successful trips there, and those who remained had ready sales for their stock and produce at good prices. Everything showed prosperous growth. There was still vacant land, and immigration continued; mostly by teams across the Plains. As of old, many of the newcomers arrived with only an ax, a dog, their rifle, the worn out team, and family, and the old wagon. With these he expected to hew out a home, educate his children and help build a state. The vacant land would be settled; he might get a homestead. If he was hampered and very poor, with health, strength, economy, energy and perseverance, he could pull through in time. Yet, for awhile, there was hardship and privation, though not so general or severe as at first, and there were constant improvements. Railroads, with all that they implied would come by and by. The vessels, and steamships now brought out much, and if prices were high, wages were correspondingly high. The Indian troubles still disturbed Eastern and Southern Oregon somewhat, but these were soon settled, and there was marked progress in every direction, and much ground for encouragement.
The slavery question and the war issues still caused considerable irritation. Partisan feeling ran high, and interfered much with cooperation and hearty fellowship. The first question really caused the death of the General Association. Sometimes an extremist would use caustic language, and it was hard to maintain an equilibrium. But the majority of our people were more considerate and careful. The war decided the slavery question as well as other issues. These excitements died away, and peace and good fellowship again prevailed.
Religious advancement was in full keeping with the other progress. Churches were being organized and located. Meeting houses, plain and simple, were being built without mortgages or harassing debts. Missionary work was being prosecuted, and brethren were looking and reaching for glorious results. Brethren began to come to their sober senses. The old fraternal feeling began to return, and the prospects of a reunited people increased daily. Love for Christ and each other gained the ascendancy over partisan passion. The future looked hopeful. In the missionary work aside from the Associational efforts, men went mostly "at their own charges." They were not collegiate men. Perhaps half a dozen were graduates; the others could boast only of common school advantages. some, perhaps, hardly that. But their text book was the word of God; that and their hymn books were their companions, and their motive was the love of souls. Armed with the one, and urged on by the other, they were a power. Without acquired eloquence, they were full of experience in spiritual life; which impressed all with its truth as prompted in its utterance by love. With all the vehemence of absolute conviction, it drove home the fundamental truths of Baptist doctrine; blood before water; Christ before the church; the ordinances declarative and not procurative; and by their actions at least, gave no sanction to those who taught otherwise. In their homely phrase, the earnestness which enforced the sterling common sense of their teachings, often won more converts than the diploma with all its polish and erudition. With little aid, except the Holy Spirit, they attacked the unregenerate heart in its strongholds, and many glorious victories crowned their labors. The churches prospered and grew; slowly, perhaps, but symmetrical and true; an honor to the builders, an honor to God. They were sound in doctrine, and steadfast in the consistent practice of the commands of the Master. Getting but little help from abroad they did the work largely through individual sacrifice. This gave self-reliance and inherent strength. And it may fairly be a question whether the work was not as well done, and as thoroughly perfected then as today. The arrow of "a certain man," shot "at venture," was no more sure to penetrate "between the joints of the harness" and slay the enemy of God and His people, than were the burning appeals coming from a heart fired by the Holy Spirit, to reach the hearts of those who were "aliens from God and strangers to the Covenant of Promise." Rude, awkward and uncouth as some of them unquestionable were, the Word of God was the "Sword of the Spirit," which they well knew how to use effectively, and the experience of God's love and mercy was an irresistible argument. Further, the brethren developed their own talent. A large percentage of their ministers were from their own churches. These were in sympathy with the brethren. Plans, methods, desires were all common, and well understood because common, Perhaps some things were not so systematic as today, but what was lacking in formality, was more than compensated in spirituality. The deficiency in polish was fully made up in zeal and hard work for God. There was not so much aiming at the head and intellect as there was driving at the heart. There was not so much calling for money, as there was for repentance and faith towards God. Sacrifice was understood to its every letter, and consecration to God and His work was written in CAPITALS all over their lives. "And their works do follow them." The Associations were often places for anxious deliberation. Sometimes exciting questions were introduced. Earnest discussion was not uncommon. But order was reduced from chaos, and brotherly love triumphed. And thus working. "hewing to the line and the plummet," "the word of God increased and the number of the disciples was multiplied."