The Third Period
Burying The Hatchet--From 1866 to 1876 Ten Years
PART II. RESTORING HARMONY: 1866-1886
THIS is not simply a history, but a compilation of statistics, gathered from every available source, with the personal reminiscences of a few of the old pioneers added.
The civil war had closed. The slavery question, the war issues, and many other questions of difference had been settled, at least nominally. But the wounds and sore places caused by the struggles still remained. The bitter and serious hurts of the conflict, even among Christians, were to be mollified, and reconciliation brought about if possible, and the most encouraging foundation for hoping for success in such movements, lay in the fact that the large majority of the Christian community earnestly desired such a consummation. The love for Christ, the love for His cause, and genuine love of brethren for each other, lay at the foundation of all their plans for securing this result.
Perhaps the brightest, as it was the first public action looking to this end, was a resolution of the Willamette Association at its session in 1866, holding out the olive branch of peace, and asking the Central Association to reciprocate, by resuming fraternal correspondence. Without intimating where, or with whom the blame of discord originated, or casting the least reflection upon the past, that action was most intensely appreciated by the entire denomination, and how soon brethren, churches, or Associations would again come together as brethren, was only a question of time, and comparatively a short time at that. But there were some difficulties and obstructions to overcome that were serious hindrances in restoring harmony as before.
Counting those organized during this period with the others, at least a score of churches were affected by the deaths and removals of many of its very best members; and about half of these churches had become extinct; three or four churches were entirely broken up by the removals; not enough being left to continue the organization; and even with the others it was a hard struggle to live. When they could do no better, they had Sunday Schools, Bible classes, prayer meetings, one or all, as they thought best. Our pioneer Baptists, many of them were especially active, they had strong faith in a crisis; even if the prospects were not so flattering as was desirable, they would not admit serious discouragement, but were zealous and determined in building up the cause, and peace and harmony were the general rule. Once-a-month preaching was the custom in the country; twice or three times a month was sometimes the case in the villages; and possibly a very few of the larger cities had preaching every Sunday, but even these had some interruptions. But if no preaching, some other religious service must be held. When the brethren were early, and some almost always were, they would soon begin to sing, and if the preacher was a little tardy, he was liable to find a fully developed prayer or conference meeting in session. And the glad and cordial greetings of the worshippers was a rousing inspiration and stimulus for the precious message for the waiting flock.
Possibly for a short time, there was a little hesitation in fully endorsing all the plans and methods of the State Convention (under different names for awhile) for prosecuting missionary work. Some plans were new. Some methods were strange. Brethren wished to consider. But all these matters were soon adjusted, and no trouble or disaffection worth naming was long manifested. It required time to bring about results. Little local ripples only caused a slight flurry which soon passed away. Nearly all the old troubles were swept away by the war. Even the Landmark question did not call for enough attention, outside of the temporary notice on the reception of an "Alien Immersion," to call for comment. To illustrate the extent to which Baptists carry the Independence of their churches in their own affairs, one of our quite prominent churches, in its Articles of Faith put "Accountability of Man," for "Free Agency of Man;" and the "Preservation of the Saints," for the "Perseverance of the Saints;" and added another Article of Faith, as follows:
"One Church. We believe that there is but one true church of Christ, towit: The Baptist Church. And that all His ordinances, together with the administrations of the same, were delivered and committed to that church, and to no other; and that this trust has never been changed nor taken away; and hence that all administration of the ordinances of Christ by other organizations claiming to be Gospel churches are invalid and void, and will not be recognized by us as true, nor will their officers be considered by us as officers of a Gospel church."
Yet beyond perhaps a passing comment, no Baptist paid any attention to it, nor did it in the least affect the standing or fellowship of that church with any Oregon church, Association, or Convention. Such was the spirit of harmony and desire for reconciliation, that even the church at Oregon City, which had been one of the foremost in opposing Secret Societies, rescinded their old resolution, and voted to allow "each individual to be left free to his own convictions of duty with reference to these matters."
The only really contentious question before the churches during this period calling for earnest discussion, was brought up in the Central Association in 1875 . "Should women represent their churches as messengers in the Association?" In 1875 that Association changed its Constitution so as to read, "Each church shall be entitled to four delegates (or messengers) who shall be Male members of the church they represent." It was so passed under some excitement, and the word "Male" was not noticed; and it took until 1882 before a two-thirds vote could be secured to take it out. During that time it is probable that every member of the Central Association was most thoroughly instructed in every phase of "Women's Rights," that was invented until then, and some of them were certainly "original." But the women gained the victory with flying colors. And in settling the numerous matters that arose at first it is not at all strange that sometimes the "Unruly Member" would slip, and if great care was not taken, some old sore would be rubbed and the wound break out afresh. But as a rule, brethren were watchful, and tried to be careful to avoid dangerous outlooks. It was plainly evident that the desire of all was to avoid wounding feelings, and to cultivate and encourage whatever would tend to harmony and brotherly love. The spirit of Christ was the prevailing desire.
Perhaps the most serious trial to the churches in their labors for the advancement of the Redeemer's Kingdom, arose from what we usually called "delinquent" members; that is, members who, because of removals, or perhaps from other causes, long failed to report. Whether this evil exists in other communities or not, the writer does not know, but all along the Pacific coast the complaint is very general. As samples: A deacon (also the clerk) of one of our most prosperous churches was asked who a certain member was. "He is one of our members." "But where does he live? I thought I knew the most of your members, but do not think I ever met him." The deacon studied a minute; "The last that I heard of him was about six years ago. and he was then somewhere back in Michigan." Another church, one of the largest in the State at that time, instructed its clerk to revise its list of members. striking out such as had not been heard from for a specified time. He reported having erased fifty, and ask further instructions whether or no to erase another fifty! Another church, whose roll counted far above a hundred, published a notice, and also sent a written notice to such as their address was known. informing them that all names of members who failed to report within three months, either in person, by letter, or by messenger, would be dropped, Only eighteen reported! About a dozen afterwards. Nor are these extreme cases, unless in the comparative number of delinquents in the different churches. In a few instances brethren "1aid hands suddenly" on some men, and were imposed upon; it taught them a lesson.
Some special cases are worth noticing. The Corvallis church made a desperate struggle for life, yet even in its last extremity, it sent $17.50 to the Umpqua and Rogue river missions, and $53 to the A. B. P. Society. The receipt from that Society is its last record; and then it was substantially extinct. By a special effort, it afterwards found a few of its old members, and they requested its trustees to give the title to the property back to the proprietor of the town, "because that in 1863 the church ceased to occupy the lots, and in all probability it would never occupy the lots for the purpose for which they were intended, or donated; that is, for church purposes." This was done, and this was the last of the original First Baptist church of Corvallis. The last report was at the Corvallis Association in 1867; the membership eight.
The Forest Grove (West Tualatin) church was abounding in trials, It was very poor and much scattered. Rev. William Porter, who had been its main pillar for years, died in 1872. Next, Rev. G. C. Chandler worked hard and faithfully not only in preaching for it, but also in collecting funds for its improvement. In 1874 he was stricken down with paralysis. For three years the church had no pastor. Then Deacon McNutt, their main stay, had a sun stroke or paralysis, and after that the church had no regular leader. They numbered only ten, and for three years had only three sermons from Baptist ministers. In its letter to the Association the church says: "We are discouraged." No wonder! Yet that grand, noble woman, Mrs. P. W. Chandler, with her paralytic husband to care for, and other cares to weigh her down, with her devoted family and a few others, and all poor, kept the light burning, true and bright, though feeble, for more than another decade of years afterwards! God bless those faithful ones!
The church at Eugene started on this decade with bright outlooks. The old difficulties which had separated it from some of the other churches and brethren had all healed. In 1868 Brother T. M. Martin was ordained and called to the pastorate. Rev. C. M. Hill thus alludes to the church about this time. "Taking it altogether, this was a prosperous period in the church history. It more than doubled its membership, began the Sunday School, built a meeting house, and began systematic benevolence." But a sad accident occurred in 1869. The house of Brother J. Steventon, one of the most efficient members, was burnt, and Sister Steventon and three children were burnt in it. The church had just returned in deep sorrow from the last funeral rites, when the hour for the regular church meeting arrived, but "with much prayer and many resolves for a better life, the church adjourned without doing any business." The church was much worried on a debt contracted in building, but it finally was all canceled, the A. B. H. M. Society extending aid to Brother Martin for seven months to help them out. But in 1874 , a terrible blow fell upon the church in the apostasy of its pastor, who lapsed into infidelity, and was excluded. In 1876 the church adopted a rule requiring five objectors to reject a candidate for membership. This was new, the former practice in Oregon requiring a unanimous vote on all questions of fellowship; but the former custom has since largely changed.
The Rogue river valley had about half a dozen poor, weak, struggling churches, which in addition to the common slavery and war issues, had been terribly disturbed by the Indian outbreaks in that section, so that at times they could hardly maintain their existence at all. They had also three or four preachers. But one was ninety years of age and died in 1870. Rev. M. N. Steams, Rev. Joseph Ritter, and Rev. Alpheus Wooldridge were the main stays. Brother Wooldridge's experience was somewhat peculiar. He had united with the church and been ordained. He afterwards had become dissatisfied with his baptism, and was again baptized, but not re-ordained. In the midst of the surrounding troubles it was overlooked, and passed unnoticed. Some three or four young men were licensed and helped considerably. Rev. S. S. Martin visited the valley occasionally. The H. M. Society aided Brethren Ritter and M. N. Steams some, and also Rev. William Jeter was sent by the State Convention in this field, being also aided by the H, M. Society. Rev. S. E. Steams was part of the time aided by the H. M. Society and part of the time labored as a Colporteur of the A. B. P. Society .The private members were nearly all workers. Deacon Horace Root came from New York in 1861; was a grand help, live, wide awake, energetic, always ready. Deacon W. T. Leever was another member who could always be depended upon. And the brethren generally were not backward. Both in the Rogue river valley, and also in the Willamette valley many of the lay members were fully as active and zealous as were the ministry. Besides those already named, might be mentioned Dr. W. B. Magers, of French Prairie, and Elias Magers, of Shiloh. John Magers, Esq., a prominent lawyer, was for many years an active member of the Board of Trustees of McMinnville College. And nearly all of the early Baptist deacons were men that could be counted on as of full value. And their wives kept even pace with them in aiding to build up the cause they loved.
The churches could pay only small salaries. As a good brother once said: "We starved them out! We follow the good old Baptist custom of selecting a pastor possessing the two most important graces: Humility and Poverty! We hoped the Lord would keep him humble; the brethren would keep him poor!" Yet the most of the churches prospered. Possibly their pastors had an extra stock of humility and hard work. But, of the plans adopted by the churches for supplying their needs, one at least may be worthy of imitation. It was a country church and had just built a meeting house. Another country church was about six miles distant. The brethren had been heavily taxed in building, and whilst all wanted a bell, some said. "Wait awhile;" Others said, "Not able just yet;" etc. About this time one of the brethren picked up a copy of one of our Eastern Baptist papers, in which the editor offered a church bell worth $150 as a premium for 150 subscribers, and this brother undertook to secure them in the two churches, and by persuading some of the abler ones to take two or three copies for friends, he succeeded. In about a month of hard work the bell arrived and all were satisfied. It is certain that every member of those two churches had a first class Baptist paper for one year at least, (and some of them may be taking it yet), and their pastor declared that those churches were among the easiest to preach for, and the promptest to meet his needs of any he had ever preached for. And their reputation still holds good. "Go thou and do likewise."
Several of the churches began also to try to systematize their work, but the progress was slow. It required time to correct habits of neglect and carelessness which had previously largely prevailed. Rev. David Hubbard labored incessantly for this object, and his death in 1868 was a severe blow to the Dallas church, and to the denomination at large. The same remark will apply to the death of Hon. Hector Campbell, of the Clackamas church in 1870. He came to Oregon in 1849 from Massachusetts; warm-hearted safe adviser; a member of the Legislature in Massachusetts, and also in Oregon, as well as of the Constitutional Convention of Oregon; for seven years Probate Judge of his county; and a constituent member of the Clackamas church from its organization. A man hard to spare. Another man hard to spare was Deacon Wade, of which the Salem church thus speaks in 1874:
"November 4th, Our dear old Father Wade died this afternoon at three o'clock. Our loss, but his gain; for we know that he has gone to join the Savior, of whom he never tired of telling. We shall miss him from our meetings and Sunday School. His venerable presence and words of cheer have for a number of years been a comfort and stay to our covenant and prayer-meetings, which he always found, in sunshine and storm, unless providentially hindered. God grant that we each of us may, like him, ever live near our Savior, that when we are called away we may meet again in the home prepared for the children of God."
The death of Rev. Ezra Fisher was severely felt at The Dalles, and the paralysis of Rev. G. C. Chandler, just after the close of his first sermon after his call to take Brother Fisher's place, almost paralyzed the church. For awhile it had no preaching, but the brethren kept up its weekly prayer meeting and Sunday School. And the sad death of Rev. Henry Sewell was a terrible shock to the West Union church, as well as to the brethren wherever he was known, as he was one of our best and most efficient ministers. At Alsea, Rev. Anthony Roberts became insane and was sent to the Asylum, and Rev. W. H. Pruett moved away, and for sixteen years the church had to secure its preaching as best it could, and the church at Prineville was nine years without a pastor.
But notwithstanding all these trials, drawbacks, and difficulties there was much of encouragement. During this period 31 new churches were organized. True, some had become extinct, and some of the older churches had also died. Yet the cause was growing. A dozen new meeting houses had been built. A large number of churches had mission stations or at least Sunday Schools. Salem church had two out-stations, sustained chiefly by the liberality of Deacon A. W. Kinney. The Portland church had a flourishing mission in East Portland, and was spending much money in improvements. It had a most remarkable Chinese mission in Portland with a number of converts. It also had a Scandinavian mission with Brother Landstone in charge which reported six baptisms. In fact, it can truly be said that the large majority of the churches were either supporting small mission stations of their own or aiding itinerants in preaching among the destitute to the extent of their ability, the effort mostly being to secure for this purpose at least $1.00 from each member, as often as possible. Of the preaching force, fifteen new ministers had arrived. and thirty-nine men had been licensed or ordained, or both, by ourselves, There was a gain of over 1000 members, and of a score or more of churches, But better than all this, was the evident willingness of all to work. Revivals were quite prevalent, In a letter to the H. M. Society, Brother Chandler thus describes one at West Union in 1873:
"Dear Brother Backus: Yesterday, I baptized into the West Union church, six, A man and his wife, about 45; another man and his wife, about 35; a brother and son, 16 and 14. The first baptism, and the first administration of the Lord's Supper for several years, with this church. This is the first (Baptist) church organized on the Pacific coast; and here were the first baptisms; and the organization of the first Baptist Association on the coast.
"The little in-gathering has been very unexpected. It seems to me somehow to be one of God's strange ways. In a farming community, full of harvesting. No extra meetings, no preaching but one sermon a month by myself, church meeting on Saturday almost abandoned, but few of the church out at any time. These six were received and connected with the church a week ago. I made special arrangements to have my place filled at Forest Grove, and gave notice that I would be here yesterday, preach, administer baptism, and the Lord's Supper. It was a lovely day, and the congregation was large and very solemn; but only eight members of the church there to enjoy and be blessed by such a precious time. I never baptized six converts that appeared better than they did. GEO. C. CHANDLER, MISSIONARY."
Other letters could be given. Several churches would sometimes report from twenty to fifty converts from a series of meetings. In some localities, the circulation of tracts, small books, and other denominational literature was a prominent part of the work of the church. To a slight extent, "Union meetings" were occasionally held, but one of the most prominent of the "Union" men once said: We have to some extent practiced union efforts, but the majority regard the results as unsatisfactory." But the most critical and conservative of our churches most heartily endorsed the following resolution:
"Resolved: That we joyfully approbate the disposition of any or all the members of this church to publicly preach the word whenever or wherever the Lord may open the way and duty leads."
East of the Cascade mountains, except at The Dalles and in its vicinity, but little was done until the Umatilla country was reached, where Rev. W. H. Pruett was almost the only worker. The Weston church (first called Mount Pleasant) was organized, and within a short time, it licensed and ordained Brethren E. B. Lile, N. F. Lieuallen, L. W. Warmouth, and D. P. Brooks, and all were good workers; faithful, and full of zeal and the Holy Spirit. The Indian troubles disturbed them some, but their faith was strong, their zeal ardent, their churches grew, and they felt much encouraged. And they always had most urgent calls, and a vast territory to cover.
Some of the preachers were in great demand. The Oregon City church, with half their membership scattered, no one knew where, offered Rev. G. C. Chandler $500 to move into town, as its pastor, but he could not see his way clear to accept. His way was among the poor, who could not pay half this salary. Revs. C. P. Bailey. J. T. Huff, and S. S. Martin always had many calls which they could not possibly fill. Rev. J. C. Richardson, for some time was the Associational Missionary or the General Missionary of the State Convention, but he preferred the pastorate, or short itinerant missions of his own choosing; in fact, frequently his churches would not give him up for any other work. The same can be said of Revs. J. W. Osborn. Jr., A. J. Hunsaker, G. W. Bond, W. G. Miller, or Stephens Jenkins, and especially of Dr. R. C. Hill. There was plenty of room and none need crowd another, and all true men were always more than welcome, and sometimes most blessed results followed even volunteer efforts. One case will suffice:
At one time, Brethren J. C. Richardson, S. S. Martin, and W. E. Thornton took a trip over the Coast mountains, into the Coos Bay and Coquille country. Over the mountains, the trail was rough, steep, narrow, crooked and dangerous. On the right the mountain side, steep and covered with forest; on the left, almost precipitous, several hundred feet below, a rocky, raging mountain torrent; sometimes the trail so narrow that they dared not ride their horses, as a slip or false step would probably hurl them to certain destruction; God watched over them. Down on the Coquille river they organized a little church of eight members. Among others, C. P. Bailey was put into the ministry by that church. S. V. Beaven was another man sent out by that same church. Of both of these it can truly be said, "Their praise is in all the churches;" one in Oregon and the other in Washington.
The H. M. Society aided more or less during each year of this period. The minimum time for any locality was thirty-nine weeks at Albany, and the maximum time for any locality was 3 years and 47 weeks at Portland. The aggregate time for the period was twenty-six years and four weeks. The aggregate money expended on the entire field (Oregon) was $13,743.01 Further details given further on.
I. MISSION OF THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF PORTLAND. 1874
Note. Although the Chinese work was really a part of the special work of the different churches engaged in it, yet it is of such magnitude that it is thought best to put it in a separate division.
In August, 1875, several members of the First Baptist church of Portland began to consider the possibility of establishing a Chinese mission at that place, and Rev. A. R. Medbury, the pastor, in behalf of the church, wrote to ascertain if a thoroughly qualified Chinese convert, who could preach to the Chinese could be procured in San Francisco. Not securing one, Brother Medbury was opposed to any mission effort outside of preaching in the Chinese language, and the subject was not further agitated at that time. Afterwards learning from Rev. John Francis, of San Francisco, that Brother Dong Cong, a Chinese convert, was ready to accept the position, the subject was brought up again in May, 1874 . From personal acquaintance, Brother Medbury recommended this brother as an exemplary Christian and thoroughly educated in Chinese literature. But as a change in the pastorate of the First Baptist church was then pending, the matter was again postponed until the arrival of the pastor elect, Rev. D. J. Pierce, who arrived July 22, 1874. Brother Medbury thus again alludes to this subject:
I have spoken before concerning the hope that the time would soon come when it should be the manifest will of God that this church should enter upon Christian work among the Chinese in this city, making the preaching of the precious gospel of Christ in their own language. If possible, the primary object of such labor. One prominent member of the congregation indicated a willingness to give liberal material support to such an enterprise. Members of the church have expressed a desire to labor in such a mission. Encouraging correspondence has been had with brethren in San Francisco concerning a devoted Chinese Christian and able preacher now in that city, whose services are available for the labor of a mission here. I have also conferred with your pastor elect about the matter and his heart is all aglow with true interest in it as I might have known it would be. And thus, as I go from you, I am glad of the assurance that both pastor and people will most heartily undertake this blessed work at the earliest possible time."
Brother Pierce brought the matter before the church October 8, 1874, stating that the object aimed at was the conversion of the Chinese. An earnest discussion followed, and after careful consideration, the mission was established October 15th, under a committee of five, Brother William Dean being very active in the work. Miss L. A. Mitchell and Miss Louisa Sparks, and some others whose names are not recorded, volunteered as teachers; and many others were active laborers for the cause. Miss Mitchell was a most faithful assistant in the school for several years, until her health compelled her to retire. She came to Portland from Illinois in 1869, and was about 18 years of age. Since her conversion, about four years previous, she had been a devoted and active worker in the mission cause, and was a good counselor, having a very correct intuition of what ought to be done. At first there was considerable opposition to the movement, it being the first effort of the kind north of California. Disaster to the mission was predicted, and ruin to the church. but the brethren and sisters worked on, and paid little attention to the opposition. The church has never flourished better than since the mission was started. The opposition ceased and at length the mission was regarded as a part of the regular work. The pastor wrote to Rev. E. Z. Simmons, a lately returned missionary from China, now at San Francisco, about the call of Brother Dong Gong" to take charge of the school, and $50 was appropriated out of the Sunday school mission fund, to be used in establishing it. November 11, 1874, Rev. E. Z. Simmons and Dong Gong arrived at Portland. Aided by the church committee, they soon arranged a plan, rented rooms and invited the Chinese people to receive instruction in the English language and Chinese doctrine.
"To human sight the project was Utopian; to the eye of faith, a certainty. The Spirit of Him who has made the human heart, has spoken, and His children know that though China is 10,000 miles away, across a trackless sea, yet the Chinaman is a neighbor."
Mr. Simmons gave practical illustrations of the best plans for teaching and spent a week in working for the mission, and it was finally decided to teach English five evenings of each week; Thursday evening to be occupied in religious teaching by the missionary, Dong Gong*, who was paid $40 a month and his passage from San Francisco. Brother Dean was appointed director. The school was to be supported by the church until it became self-supporting. Classes were formed of from four to eight persons and taught one hour each evening The school was opened by prayer in Chinese. The singing was especially attractive. Teachers and pupils entered into the work with vigor and animation, and the prayer of the church was that God's blessing would attend the labors, and crown them with success in the salvation of many souls. The formal opening was November 13, 1874 , with Brother W. M. Dean as manager; Miss L. A. Mitchell, leading the music, and Brother Dong Gong as missionary and interpreter. (He says his name is Gong Ting, but he was known to Oregon as Dong Gong. Whether this was a nickname or not, the author does not know.) Several persons volunteered as teachers, and worked faithfully for months with no remuneration except the consciousness of doing good to a needy class groping for the light. At the first meeting, 75 Chinese were present, but some from curiosity. Brother G. W. Traver was superintendent of the Sunday school; Brother Dean directed the night school. The progress of the school is seen in the following table:
Date Pupils Teachers Remarks
Nov. 13 75 13 Many came from curiosity.
15 22 14 Sunday School.
22 12 14 Address in Chinese by Dong Gong.
29 22 18 Sunday School
Dec. 6 33 22 Hymns translated into Chinese for all to sing.
Concert reading from a chart.
13 36 16 Three Chinese merchants, visitors. Sang Happy Land
translated by one of Miss Mitchell's pupils.
20 50 13 Sunday School.
27 42 15 Sunday School.
At the Sunday morning services: Greatest Number 50; least, 12. At the Thursday evening services: Greatest Number 106; least, 35.
Dec. 22, a vote of thanks was tendered to the teachers for their volunteer services and faithful labor in the work.
The Sunday services were all Sunday Schools except the first, and included pupils only; not visitors, of whom there were some at each school. And the interest of the Chinese was manifest in their subscribing about $70 for an organ; in their presenting the school with an eight-day clock and a call bell; and in their transcribing and translating many of the exercises and hymns to be used by all.
A disastrous fire in the Chinese part of the city reduced the attendance somewhat, but the teachers were prompt and their devotion was very encouraging to those having the work in charge. and spoke well for the continued success of the school. The progress of the pupils was also encouraging, but the extra cold weather added somewhat to the expense. The Chinese New Year also interfered with the attendance, but there were enough pupils to call for more teachers in February. In March, 1875, the report said that an increased interest of pupils and teachers, especially at the religious meetings, was manifest under the faithful teachings of your missionaries and the teachers, the truth as it is in Jesus, seems to be taking root in the hearts of not a few of those who attend school. In April the interest reported was very marked. Many were inquiring about God and salvation through a crucified Savior. Bible knowledge was inquired after more than any other, especially by those who comprehended something of our language. About this time a change was made in the plan of the school, and pupils at the English night school were charged $1 a month for tuition; but many of the teachers turned this over to the school fund, preferring to teach gratuitously. The prospects of the school were bright. The pupils were quick to learn, the most of them, mastering the alphabet in one evening. The primary studies of the common school were taught, and Moody and Sankey's Gospel Hymns were used. Every school was closed by singing and prayer. On Thursday evening and Sunday morning, Dong Gong conducted a religious service, and on Sunday evenings their Sabbath school was held. At these services no English was taught except what was drawn from the Bible lessons, yet the average attendance was but little less than at the English schools. At the close of the six months' term a Chinese concert was given, the proceeds from which relieved the mission from debt, and exhibited the progress made, and satisfied the doubts of many as to its success. The city papers were enthusiastic, declaring the success as "grand," "far beyond the expectations of its most sanguine friends." "The pupils acquitted themselves to the satisfaction of their teachers, and of the large audience present, who showed their appreciation by giving close attention for nearly two hours." "The committee would ask the prayers of the church for the success and extension of this mission work, knowing that unless God gives the increase our labor is in vain." During the month of January two Chinese women placed themselves under the protection of the mission. and the sad story of their wrongs showed the necessity of Christian help for that unfortunate class. Efforts were made by law, threats and intimidation, by their pretended owners, to have them return to their bondage, but in vain. Brother and Sister Pierce were particularly active in caring for them, and finally in securing for them a home in Christian families.
AVERAGE STATISTICAL EXHIBIT
Many of the reports are summaries. The concert paid the balance of
the debt. The following incidents from a circular published by the board of directors illustrate the disastrous results which were prophesied.
"After three months' attendance, one of the pupils left for Astoria. His heathen uncle had removed him from all Christian influence, and threatening to disown him if he did not forget the school. His teacher wrote him a Christian letter. In his reply, he said, "I know you can only pray for me. I hope you will ask God to keep me, for I am walking in the way of difficulty, and I had myself ready to ask Him to help me to walk in the King's highway. I pray that you will help me to know Christ, and that I may be able soon to enter the wicket gate."
This boy had before attended the Episcopal school, but this was his first confession of faith. It led the teachers to inquire into the religious condition of their pupils. Ten of them declared themselves believers in Christ; were carefully examined by the pastor, and afterwards by the church, and on April 22, 1875, they were accepted. But there was strong opposition to their reception; so strong that five members left the church in consequence, but three of them came back. It is pleasant to remark that Hon. J. N. Dolph, since United States senator from Oregon, most eloquently advocated their admission And so clear and pointed were their testimonies, that one member who voted against their reception on the plea of inferiority of race, declared himself fully convinced of their Christian character. Two of these boys lost good positions as clerks for their heathen relatives, and considerable money for their course. They were offered larger wages if they would recant, and refused entrance to the stores because of their firmness. Were they converted for money? Every circumstance forbids the supposition."
After the Baptism of the converts, many of the regular pupils stayed away for a time, intimidation and threats of violence being used to prevent their coming, but afterwards they returned, so that the average attendance was about 30. The interest manifested in the religious teaching was deep and earnest. The expenses of the school from May to September were $251.75; the receipts, $246.22, yet at this meeting the committee decided to send one of the pupils, Brother Sam Bo to McMinnville College, to fit himself for the ministry to his people, and the funds subscribed at the Willamette Association for the Chinese mission, $4.70 were applied for this purpose. At the close of the year, the school numbered 52, with 10 regular teachers, as follows: Misses L. A. Mitchell and Louisa Sparks, 4 each; Misses Mary Shogren, Ida Olinger, and two Misses Caldwell, 5 each; and Mrs. Woodward and Misses M. Mack, Ida Shogren and Miss Groutes, 6 each. The teachers were expected to receive $1 a month for each pupil of her class, but this sometimes failed. Some of the teachers put all of their receipts into the mission fund. Miss Mitchell was paid a trifle from the fund for extra services as organist, assistant superintendent and day laborer. Dong Gong received $40 a month as missionary. With these exceptions, all services were free, and the entire expense, except a few small contributions, was borne by the Portland church and friends of the mission residing in Portland. The expenses for the year were $1100.50; of this, the Chinese paid $188.50, exclusive of what was paid to teachers. Meanwhile, 20 of the pupils had formed themselves into a "Christian Knowledge Society," and met weekly to study the Bible doctrines of the Christian religion; and in this society all gambling. drinking, visiting houses of ill-repute and opium smoking was strictly prohibited. Their meetings were orderly and earnest, and before the year closed four of their number united with the church, making 14 in all. All but one of these 14 converts, are still active Christians. They are original in their Christian experience, and positive in their opinions, though technical and forgiving. From the moment of their first examination of the Bible, loss is neglected. Infidelity is the first step. Faith in the Christian's God is the result of continued deliberation.
On June 22, 1875, Brother Dong Gong was ordained to the full work of the ministry. The council consisted of messengers from the Oregon City, Salem, Shiloh, Albany, Amity and McMinnville churches. His experience, doctrinal views, and call to the ministry, were most satisfactory. He was baptized in San Francisco, about 1869-70, and served as a licentiate and city missionary in San Francisco until he came to Oregon. He served the Chinese mission in Portland five years, the Portland church paying his entire salary, ($480 a year) until April, 1878. After that time the A. B. H. M. Society assisted. His willingness to do and to suffer all things for his Master's sake, his clear views of gospel truth, and his sufferings caused by his heathen father after he had professed Christianity, gave assurance of his honesty and sincerity, whilst his ability had been so manifest among his countrymen as to remove all doubts as to his calling and labors. For some time during the summer he conducted street preaching to the Chinese and others. After the services large crowds would follow the missionary to the school room, where the exercises would continue. At one time 400 were thus addressed. In this way these disciples of Jesus were endeavoring to obey the command, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." At the anniversary of the mission held November 22, 1875, Rev. Dong Gong delivered an address descriptive of the early history of the Chinese which was very interesting to those that heard it, and highly commended by the city papers, some of them publishing it in full.
Brother Dean in his annual report for the year ending November 13, 1875, thus sums up the results of the mission until that time:
"1. The conversion, under God, of 14 Chinese youths, many of whom have held places of trust in the best Chinese houses in the city, one of whom has already dedicated his life to the ministry of the gospel, whilst all will work earnestly and intelligently for the cause they have espoused.
2. A strong and increasing moral and civilizing influence over 40 other pupils, the majority of whom have already renounced the idol worship of their ancestors, and are ready to be led to the light.
3. A convincing impression of the superiority of Christian customs made upon the entire Chinese population of Portland. The equality of the female sex alone, as recognized in the part assigned to our lady teachers, has a powerful influence upon the heathen mind.
4. The appropriation of $1100 baptized with earnest prayer, and utilized with self-denying labor to the spread of Christ's word among the most populous nation of the earth fulfilling the prophecy of the Psalmist (XLIX.12), 'Behold these shall come from afar; and lo, these from the north, and from the west, and these from the land of Sinim'.
5. An increase of religious interest in our own congregation, in accordance with a law long since recognized, that mission labor increases home efficiency." (And he adds:)
"In closing the report made at the Chinese concert six months since, it was said, 'This work is growing in extent and interest, and is now thrown on the sympathy of the Christian public for that moral and financial support without which it is impossible to proceed.' Tonight we are gratified to report that the work has continued to grow in extent and interest; and hearts filled with love to God and love to man are knit in closer bonds by labor and sacrifice."
February 21, 1876, Brother Dean reports the number of pupils on the roll as 48, of these, 18 entered in 1874; the others later.
Average attendance, regular evening school, 43.
Average attendance, Thursday evening religious meeting, 35.
Average attendance, general exercises, Saturday evening, 30.
Average attendance, religious meeting, Sunday evening, 30 to 45.
Of those entering the school at first, 10 had gone to China, three being Christians, and all impressed with the wonders of American knowledge, and the power of the Christian's God as they expressed it. One is at work at Oregon City, who said that after the teacher had taught him what was right he had sent $300 to his mother and sisters in China. This brother also sent $9.12 to Sam Bo. The Young Men's Christian Association, formerly Christian Knowledge Society, was still kept up, meeting after the weekly prayer meeting; also, often on the Sabbath evenings after the regular services had closed. It now numbered over 30 members, and among the attendants were many who were not Christians, but who had lost their faith in the idol worship of their native land. They took a lively interest in the subjects brought before the meetings, often taking part in the discussions, and they always joined reverently in the songs and prayers of the Christians, and listened with deep interest to the relation of Christian experience.
In the spring of 1876 Brother Dong Gong was sent on a mission to Puget Sound. On his return he reported a mission school at Olympia, and that arrangements were nearly completed for one at Seattle. The Willamette Association at its session in 1876 urged the importance of the work, and recommended that the churches take collections for the mission, and foster it as a work of God laid at their own front doors.
REPORTED STATISTICS, OCTOBER 23, 1876
Total number at date, 40; average the previous four weeks, 45; number last year's students in school at date, 20; number who began in 1874 in school at date, 13; number attending Thursday evening service, 45; number attending 4 p. m. Sunday service, about 42; number attending Sunday evening meetings, from 30 to 40; number at street meetings, from 100 to 500.
Teachers. 7. Misses L. A. Mitchell, Alice Dobelbower, Ida Clinger, Kate Kingsley. Maria J. Lewis and Rena Walker.
In the secretary's report to the board of managers, he said. "There seems to be but one serious hindrance to the continued prosperity of the school: i. e., funds. But missionary enterprises should not be run on a credit." And he hopes that this good work, so signally blest in the past, and so promising in the present, will not be allowed to flag. In October Brother Dean resigned, and a highly complimentary resolution in relation to him and his work was adopted.
Dr. S. J. Barber was his successor. The expense for the year was $893.10, besides what the teachers were paid by the pupils, and this expense was borne by the people of Portland. Business men of different faiths gave from $20 to $120 a year for this noble work. One Brother, a firm friend of the work, but by no means an enthusiast in either faith or life, thought that if the matter was properly presented, showing simple facts and tangible results, two or three wealthy men in New York would pay the entire expense, if necessary, so small was it compared with the expense of foreign missions to secure the same returns. Some paragraphs are transcribed from the annual report for November 13, 1875.
"While we must not ignore the command of Christ to go into all nations, to preach the gospel, yet shall we not most certainly 'begin at Jerusalem', when the largest nation on the face of the whole earth is at our doors by its representatives, and can be reached at one-fourth the expense required in his own land? The question is often asked whether the Chinese mind is capable of receiving spiritual ideas. We all know how quickly they catch the objects presented to the eye. I am persuaded. after careful observation. that they do gain spiritual ideas as readily as any other people with the same partial knowledge of the language in which the ideas are presented. They are eager to hear, and quick to discuss the doctrines of Christianity. Dr. Barber says he is often surprised at their quick conception of Bible truths, and nearly every Christian experience thus far related has presented original thought in a light peculiar to the individual. Converts are not urged forward. but restrained in various ways."
One convert, though not having made a profession of Christianity, died in hope of salvation through Christ. As he was very poor, his brethren paid his entire funeral expense, (about $200), thus evincing their liberality.
At the close of the year 40 pupils were in their places and earnestly sang "Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus." At the proper time, five short articles, arranged in haste on a week's notice, by as many members of the school, were presented, and seemed to elicit general favor. During the entire exercises the audience increased until the house was crowded to its utmost capacity. Brother Pierce urged aid for the endowment of a college or school for Chinese instruction, but practically, this idea has not been developed. A debt of $160.15 existing, an appeal was made, and $95 pledged by the church and friends, $50 by the Chinese and a cash collection of $19 taken, which left $3.85 in the treasury. The expense for the year had been $749.85. The ordinance of baptism was then administered to a Chinese convert by the pastor, and the meeting closed by singing "We Shall Meet By and By." A list of the officers will show how the work was regarded by distinguished men who filled important positions.
Directors: Hon. J. N. Dolph, since United States Senator; Hon. H. W. Corbett, Ex-United States Senator; Gen. O. O. Howard, U. S. A.; Deacon D. W. Williams; Deacon Josiah Failing, treasurer; Rev. D. J. Pierce, secretary; S. J. Barber, D. D. S.. Sunday school superintendent; Major W. W. Boyle, English superintendent; A. Mattison, assistant superintendent; Rev. Dong Gong, missionary. The following names of some of the contributors show how the enterprise was regarded by some of the leading business men of Portland, regardless of denominational bias: Hon. Henry Failing, James Failing, C. A. Dolph, W. S. Ladd, William Wadhams, Gen. Babbitt, J. M. McCracken, Capt. J. H. Flanders, C. H. Lewis, J. McCrum. Jas Steele, J. K. Gill, C. Rosenbaum, to whom many others could be added.
2. CHINESE MISSION OF THE AMITY CHURCH. 1875
In 1875, under the pastorate of Rev, E. Russ. some of the brethren established a Chinese class at Amity, and kept it up for about two years. There are no reports, except a contribution for the cause by the Chinese of $9.00 in 1875, and $2.25 in 1877. Nothing further is known about this effort.
Another decade has passed. Increased harmony is made manifest. The excitements because of the slavery question; the bitterness engendered by the Civil war issues; the sharp speeches of rabid partisans--all these are now of the past, and largely forgotten. The spirit of the Master began anew to develop in the hearts of His children and "love without dissimulation" was bringing them together. The old fraternal feeling broke forth spontaneously. The Holy Spirit was displaying His power in bringing in the redeemed, until the baptisms since 1844 outnumbered the present membership. Nearly fourscore of churches had been organized, though some had become extinct. The baptisms were about 50 per cent of the increase in membership. Energy, self-reliance, and a trust in God were brought into full exercise. A score and a half of meeting houses had been built; plain, unpretending structures, unadorned by mortgages; perhaps unfurnished, and possibly, a trifle uncomfortable for an ascetic; but built according to their ability, with many thanks to God for giving them the power and the will to even do this. Some sixty preachers, licensed or ordained were proclaiming "the unsearchable riches of Christ." Surely the outlook was encouraging. And now, all they needed was a leader to gather and direct the scattered forces, and lead them on to conquest for our Lord. And the time having fully come, the great Captain was bringing his tried servant on the field to supply this great need, of which more will be said in the next period.
I. NEW ASSOCIATIONS
During this period three new Associations were organized as follows:
Name Date Moderator Clerk
Mount Pleasant October 3, 1868 Rev. S. Neil Rev. J. H. Lewis
Eastern Cal. & Or. October 10, 1873 J. D. Bonner Rev. Eli Rice
Grand Ronde October 9, 1874 Dea. Owenby F. T. Dick
At first, the Mount Pleasant Association had three churches and thirty-six members; one member and two churches less than at the organization of the Willamette Association twenty years before. One church was in Washington, and two in Oregon. By its Constitution the Association allowed questions of difficulty to be considered when they affected the union of the Association and had been considered in one of the churches, and were still unsettled. In such cases it claimed the right to sit as an advisory Council when called upon for that purpose, endeavoring to promote by its advice and counsel the general good of the churches. Finally, it claimed the right to discontinue the membership of any church which should violate any of the rules of the Association. or deviate from true orthodox principles.
The Eastern Association of Oregon and California was organized in Honey Lake Valley, Lassen County, California, with four churches and three ministers present. After meeting it helped organize the Johnsonville church. (First Honey Lake Valley). It recommended the "Evangel," and Vacaville College. No Resolutions or Statistics published.
The Grand Ronde Association was organized with four churches and seventy-four members, at Indian Creek. and adopted the following:
"Covenant of Love. Whereas: We, the United Baptist churches of Christ, here assembled in an Associated capacity, and believing, as delegates from, and members of separate, distinct, and independent churches, that we are, notwithstanding, all one in Christ Jesus, and that our annual assembly in an Associated capacity, is truly the congregated church of Christ, with only delegated power from their respective churches of which the Association is composed, met for the mutual and united interests of the churches, the conversion of the world, and the glory of God; and believing that all baptized, true believers in Christ Jesus are united in the bonds of Christian love; that our Lord through his Apostles, established this grand principle of love, and said that the gates of hell could not prevail against it: Therefore, we do covenant together, in the organization of this, our Association, that we may by our united efforts, with the help of God, work for Him, for the undivided interests of our churches, and the advancement of the Kingdom and the Glory of God. And in testimony of this, our Covenant of Love, we hereby extend to each other our hands with our hearts. Amen."
Early in this period, the churches and Associations accepted the situation, and a more fraternal feeling of cooperation prevailed, and after some correspondence and overtures, gradually the old relations were established, and all were again working heartily together. But in 1876, the Umpqua Association held its last session, the churches which had not become extinct or joined the Corvallis Association, organizing the Rogue River Association, with which there has never been any friction. At this last session of the Umpqua Association one person was baptized. It also declared opposition to excluding the Bible from the public schools, and to any division of the public school fund for sectarian purposes. Thus peace and harmony was restored between the churches and Associations, and all rejoiced, regarding it as a cause of much thankfulness, and hoped that they might ever be in hearty cooperation in a common cause "contending for the faith once delivered to the Saints," and the building up of the Kingdom of Christ. And one great agency in bringing about this result, was the action of the Central Association, which in 1871 turned the care of McMinnville college over to the State Convention, and this went a long ways towards reconciling old differences, since the leading Baptists of the State almost unanimously, were disposed to regard McMinnville college as really the denominational school, at least for Oregon. And after this action, the Associations all most heartily took hold of the enterprise, recommending an endowment at once, and the Trustees put Dr. R. C. Hill into the field as an agent for that purpose, rejoiced in his success, and declared it to be "imperative to bestow on the college liberal patronage, hearty sympathy, and earnest prayers."
3. THINGS NEW AND OLD
Because of the numerous environments and circumstances following the immigrations, and the settlement of the Slavery and War questions, several features of our plans and methods of work called for some discussions, but no serious trouble. Among these, may be named--sisters being sent as messengers to the Associations, which required seven years to settle; inviting ministers of other denominations to participate in our deliberations; appointing reporters for the different papers; publishing circular letters, and a digest of the letters from the churches, (but these were only occasionally); preparing programs before the meeting; the "Rules of Order" being considered sufficient for the churches, and the "Committee on Order," appointed after meeting, enough for Associations, etc. "Boards" were unknown, and "Standing Committees" but seldom. All these were comparatively new to the majority of our early Baptists, and some discussions, but no friction worth naming, and many of the old practices, but not all, were giving place to the new; for instance: Sometimes an acceptance to unite with the church in commemorating the Lord's Supper would be voted, or a minister was ordained; and in one instance, a meeting house was dedicated, and an appeal made and $1200 pledged for liquidation of its debt. Ministers' and Deacons' meetings were thought to be beneficial. Weekly prayer meetings were urged, and occasionally some of the Associations named a day of fasting and prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, or for the conversion of souls, or for some kindred subject. In 1858, the Willamette Association made its Moderator, Rev. George C. Chandler, a life member of the American Bible Union, (Revision) and the Central Association made its Moderator, Rev. R. C. Hill, a Life Director in that institution; and its work, especially the Revised New Testament, was recommended. "Yearly Meetings" were held in six churches of the Mount Pleasant Association in 1876, but after that, these were superseded by the annual protracted meetings called by the churches direct. In 1871, the Willamette Association "Unanimously" voted to use the title, "Elder," instead of "Rev." in the Minutes, but the "Rule" was long ago forgotten. The majority of Baptists in Oregon being practically prohibitionists, their official declarations were usually along that line. If a new Association was contemplated, with one or two exceptions churches were dismissed for that purpose. Church fairs, lotteries, dancing, and some other amusements or devices to collect money for religious purposes, were denounced as "forbidden by the teachings of God's word, demoralizing in their tendencies, and calculated to bring dishonor upon the name of the Master." Churches failing to represent were to be looked after, and aided and encouraged if necessary. Resolutions were adopted protesting against the school funds being "under the control of sectarianism in any and every form." Some of the Associations recommended the raising of a fund for the relief of widows and orphans. In 1875 a committee was appointed to examine the State history of the denomination with a view to its publication. There is no report, nor anything known of the history or its author. Women's Societies were just starting and meeting with much favor and encouragement. Associations in cities sometimes had street preaching, it was hoped with good results. Churches were often urged to have some service every Sunday. Some of the Associations had occasional resolutions or reports on special queries, or incidental matters which arrested their attention at the time. Thus in 1868 the Willamette Association
"Resolved: That the distinctive mission of the Baptist denomination is to maintain the spirituality of the church, and the purity of the ordinances as found in the New Testament; and it is our duty to distribute such books and tracts as will shed light upon our distinctive views among all the people of Oregon."
"Resolved: That this Association believes that the reception by one church of members excluded by another, and not restored, is not consonant with the state of fellowship which ought to exist between such churches, and we believe no such step ought to be taken unless the excluding church has acted with such gross wrong as to require that it be refused the fellowship of sister bodies." Again in 1876, the Willamette Association
"Resolved: That in the ever accumulating evidence of corruption in high places, and the unprincipled struggle for gain and position, we recognize the great need of a thorough, straight-forward, and spiritual propagation of the principles of our Master, who recognized no true greatness except service, and no gain comparable to strength of character."
The Central Association in 1874
"Resolved: That we cordially approve of the efforts of the A. B. Historical Society in attempting to gather and preserve the archives and historical data of the denomination in such shape as to be accessible to our people, and wishing it success, recommend it as worthy of consideration, contributions, and prayers."
In 1875, the following queries from one of the churches were considered by the Central Association:
"1. Is it consistent, and in accordance with sound Baptist doctrine and practice, for a church to send one as a messenger whose known views and practices are not in harmony with the doctrines and principles enunciated from time to time by the Association? And should the Association receive such messenger?
"Answer. It is an old established Baptist principle that each church is independent of every other Baptist church in all its actions, and it also is an item in the Constitution of the Association, that the Association shall not interfere with any church in its doctrine or practice, and it looks to us that any dictation, whether direct or indirect, as to whom it shall or shall not send as its messenger is such an interference. On the other hand, the Association should have power to free itself from error, and its abettors. Hence, should a church send messengers who are known to hold to and promulgate serious errors, from the fact that messengers are usually supposed to represent the sentiments of the church which sends them we have strong presumptive evidence that the church holds or sanctions said errors; and this would give just grounds for at least admonishing said church of its errors, and if it persisted in the same, of ultimately excluding it from the Association for unsound doctrine, or disorderly practice, as the case might be. And we further declare that the Association cannot consistently receive messengers either from churches, or from corresponding bodies whose known views or practices are opposed to those of the Gospel, as we understand and teach the same."
"2. Is it consistent for churches to encourage or aid such ministers or missionaries as do not without quibbling or evasion represent the views of the Association?
"To this question, but one answer can reasonably be expected. Every person or Associated Company expects to be correctly represented by every individual recommended, and they cannot consistently recommend any other, nor encourage, aid, or support such in any sense of the term."
4. ERRONEOUS IDEAS CORRECTED
It is natural, on a first arrival, for a stranger to write back to friends and papers his first impressions regarding his surroundings. Much that he writes is taken second hand, or from imperfect observations, and often found incorrect. The Baptists of Oregon are no exception to this statement. Some of these publications, whether in pamphlet or periodical, are of far reaching influence, and so glaringly incorrect, conveying impressions of the early Baptists so unjustly erroneous, that their correction is due to our pioneer brethren. Writers are not named, because, (1) They were probably misled, or not fully informed; and (2) It might savor of unkindness, which is not intended. For instance, an idea has largely prevailed, especially with new comers, that our churches have not developed as they should, because they adopted what was called a "Southern policy" of organizing churches in the country instead of in the towns or cities, but after 40 years of uncertainty as to the method of evangelization that should eventually be adopted, we had settled down to the practice and the polity of the 'Northern States." One can but be astonished at such an erroneous idea, which is so at variance with the established and indisputable facts of the early history of Oregon. There were no towns or cites here at an early day except on paper. Oregon City was a mere village; Salem was a trading post; Albany was a hamlet in the summer, and a mud hole in the winter; Corvallis, Eugene, and places further south, existed mostly in the imagination; Astoria was a second New York when two or three generations had passed; The Dalles was another Cincinnati or St. Louis, only not built yet; and Portland only lacked population and palatial residences to make it an immense city. The Donation Land Law took professional men, mechanics, and nearly every one else to the country to secure "claims" for a home. Scarcely was a Baptist church organized except in the country. For nearly a score of years, every Baptist church organized in a town, so called, was organized by a Southern man. Every Baptist church in which a Northern man took the lead in organizing was in the country. When the farms were some what developed, and prosperity attended the settler's labors, a portion of the people floated back and built up the towns, and churches were then established there. All this was only the result of natural causes. Neither "Southern policy" nor "Northern policy" was ever even suspected, until, in some unaccountable manner, some dreamer, in his researches dragged out what had never before existed except in his own imagination.
But a more serious error, and one calculated to do more harm than any other yet promulgated at that time, began to be published and freely talked among Baptists, (especially by new comers), that the H. M. Society had done substantially about all that was worth mentioning; and it was published in some of our leading periodicals that "every self-supporting Baptist church in the State, as the general missionary reported had had the Society's direct aid." Or, to put the same thought in another shade, that "in Oregon City, in Portland, and in Salem, where Johnson and Fisher, and soon after, Chandler held their first meetings and preached the first sermons, there are now churches and Sabbath Schools, and able and excellent pastors; and what they did in the beginning of our work has led to the existence of three Associations of churches." Now such ideas, substantially expressed in public speech and in widely circulated periodicals, with the labors of our other workers almost, if not entirely ignored, and often in language liable to ambiguity was not very pleasing to many of those who had borne at least a part of the brunt of the conflict. As we understood it, it was a disparagement, and a few facts are presented to correct what was, and is yet regarded by many of our best and most charitable brethren, as mistakes.
Perhaps the word most frequently used, and as it was understood by a large majority of our people, was the most objectionable, was "Self-supporting." What was meant by it, where the ambiguity, or the misunderstanding? As it was then understood, and is yet by the majority of the older Baptists of Oregon, the later Baptists, especially those of the Northern States, mean by a "Self-supporting church," a church which, without aid, has a pastor, who supplies it with preaching every Sunday. It is admitted that during twenty or thirty years, this definition has been somewhat modified by some, but not all, and many, even yet, often get dangerously near the old definition. Now outside of the cities and larger towns there are no such churches in Oregon; never have been; and if ten miles distant from a railroad or navigable stream, it is doubtful if there ever will be before the millennium. The most of the churches in the country and small towns have preaching only once a month; possibly a half a dozen may have preaching twice a month. The reason why this is almost necessarily so is apparent. About seven eights of the Oregon churches are of this class. They have struggled through the various vicissitudes of existence for ten, twenty, forty, and even fifty years of sacrifices and toil, divided their scanty living with their ministers, baptized hundreds of converts, built scores of meeting-houses, dismissed large numbers to organize prosperous churches, given hundreds of dollars for missionary and other benevolent work, and thousands of dollars to help establish McMinnville college, have exerted a powerful influence for good on the surrounding community at home, and are still a power as they struggle for life with only once a month preaching, and some of them with scarcely that. Such churches are surely self-supporting. Of the entire number of churches organized in Oregon, outside of brethren at home, not to exceed 30 per cent of them ever received a dollar of aid; nor a sermon from a Home Mission appointee, unless it was from the general missionary or some other minister in passing, or a few weeks aid in a protracted meeting, which the final collection usually fully paid for. If only the churches in the country and small towns are counted, 16 per cent will cover all thus aided; and if the extinct churches are dropped out, the percentage is still less. And of the country churches thus aided, it has always been in connection with other churches, so that they only got preaching once or possibly twice a month for a short period varying from three months to one, two, or perhaps three years; and this aid perhaps at irregular intervals. Hence, the idea of their excessive conservatism, or that their prosperity and attainment to self-support is due largely, if not entirely to the "direct aid" of the Society, is hardly in keeping with the facts, to say the least about it. And to ignore or repudiate this large number of churches which have struggled, and labored, and lived, and brought forth such results, and a few of them still standing as living monuments of God's grace and protecting care, certainly calls for correction.
But let us take another look. It is true, that in 1850, Rev. H. Johnson organized a Baptist church at Salem. It is equally true that there is no record of any second meeting of that church; that it never was represented in any Association; that no other church went out from that church, but was organized nearly ten years afterwards by members dismissed from the French Prairie church, and the French Prairie church was organized by Rev. R. Cheadle, who was never in Oregon, an employee of the A. B. H. M. Society. For nearly six years the Salem church was self-supporting and built its meeting house without debt. After that it received some aid from the Society, but no other church ever went out from that church until 1888. Again; in 1847, the Oregon City church was organized. In 1853, it dismissed some members to organize the Clackamas church. This church disbanded in 1876, and there has been no Baptist church there since; nor did any church go out from it. Probably a few members were dismissed from Oregon City to, go to the churches at Clear Creek and Damascus, but these churches existed but a few years, and no other church ever went out from them. All the other extension work of the Oregon City church has been quite recent and within a few miles from home. Again; The churches of Portland and its suburbs, except the foreign churches, are largely offshoots from the First church and its missions, but with a few slight exceptions, these missions never extended beyond a few miles from the outskirts of the city. And none of these churches, nor those of Oregon City and vicinity, have ever been a direct factor in the prosperity and growth of any other Association than the Willamette. And if about half a dozen churches in the Central Association for which Rev. G. C. Chandler preached occasionally for a year or two (once or twice a month), and some general missionary work of Rev. Ezra Fisher for two or three years before the division of the Willamette Association in 1856, are excepted the entire labors of all three of these men was almost entirely limited by the present bounds of the Willamette Association.
Then let us take a glance at statistics. Associational minutes and church records show that about 60 men baptized 2385 candidates, and collected for various purposes over $100,000. The H. M. Society, in the same time had on the field about 20 men, (several commissions renewed), and they report, whilst in the employ of the society only about 150 baptisms, and their aggregate time of labor about 50 years. The appropriations were about $25,000. The time includes that of two men crossing the Plains, and one year of teaching at Oregon City. To itemize further: The field raised for foreign missions about $2522.95; for Home (Domestic) Missions, over $12,625.97; for A. B. P. Society, including colporteur work, over $697.93; for education, including estimated sum at Oregon City, nearly $9000; for pastors' salaries over $45,461.72; for building 27 meeting houses, $59,800; seating 7500. About 100 churches were organized with nearly 2000 members. Of course, the appointees of the society did their proportionate share of this work, but it cannot be segregated from the total. But it would not be correct to say that the churches of the 40 ministers who baptized more than 2000 converts were not self-supporting. Nor that the brethren who helped contribute more than $25,000 for benevolent work over and above paying their pastors and building their meeting houses were so conservative that they did not lift their full share. Further, only about a dozen churches received any direct aid from this $25,000, much of it being for general missionary work; and more than one-third of it going to Portland.
It is to be distinctly understood that in all this labor, trials, sacrifices and difficulties; in the zeal, sympathy and earnestness; and in the raising and using of funds, both the appointees of the A. B. H. M. Society and those not appointees, according to their ability and opportunity, bore their full share. All together, side by side, these early pioneers stood and battled for God and truth. Or if anyone failed, it was simply the individual, whose unfaithfulness does not in the slightest degree affect the general statement. And these facts are given solely to correct wrong impressions and that justice and honor may be duly credited to all alike.
5. SUNDAY SCHOOL, A. B. P., AND COLPORTEUR WORK
All the Associations were enthusiastic in support of the Sunday school work, which was usually considered in connection with the A. B. P. and Colporteur work. A half day at least was given to these subjects, often an entire day with a regularly prepared program. Denominational papers and the books of the A. B. P. Society and the Baptist Publishing houses of Memphis and St. Louis were recommended; and the work of Brethren A. M. Cornelius, W. J. Loughary, S. E. Steams and Jonathan Wichser as colporteurs was most heartily sustained. Sunday school institutes were held in some Associations, and systematic work urged. In April, 1873, a Sunday school convention was held in Portland, lasting three days. Over 40 messengers from all over Oregon and Washington were present, and several earnest Sunday school workers in different sections of the field sent letters full of sympathy and hearty cooperation. It was the first Baptist Sunday school convention held on the North Pacific coast, and thoroughly missionary in spirit, purpose and result, and gathering of brethren so widely scattered, bound by the sympathies of a common faith and love, and glory in a common cause, could not fail to encourage and inspire all hearts, especially when the Savior's presence was manifested, giving a spiritual feast the entire time.
A resolution was adopted, urging, with the aid of the A. B. P. Society, the appointment of a general Baptist Sunday school missionary for this field. The convention has since held its sessions in connection with the state convention; a day being set apart for its purpose.
The Central Association, at its session in 1876, rejoiced that the A. B. P. Society had established an agency for its books on this coast, thus bringing them within our reach; and Rev. J. C. Baker proposed to send to the Sunday School committee to be given away to poor ministers or Sunday schools, $100 worth of books of the society, provided the brethren would raise $100 to be used for the purposes of said society. On this proposition he received in cash and responsible subscriptions, due in 90 days, $71.85, and the balance was afterwards secured.
6. MISSION WORK
In 1867, the Willamette Association thus speaks of that field:
"We find a decided improvement over that of the previous year. Copious showers of divine mercy have descended on some of our churches, resulting in the conversion of sinners. and accession of large numbers to their membership. Others which have not shared so liberally in the revival influence show a decided growth in grace, and an increased desire for greater blessings; and will need to be strengthened in the conviction that nothing is too good for God to do; and to be more earnestly engaged in prayer for the general revival of religion."
But the other Associations report a lack of funds and but little or nothing done. Committees were appointed to lay the matter before the churches. In some of the Associations a brother or two had been employed for a short time. Of those who labored, some were "at their own charges." Some with a little help from a church or two, or an Association, and a very few got a little help from the Convention or H. M. Society. The destitution was "deplored," the ministers urged to give as much time to the field as they could, and the churches to bring out their own gifts and talents and develop them as far as possible. An effort to raise a fund of $1 to the member was almost universal. but in some cases it failed. Several Associations tried to urge a ministerial support so that they could give their entire time to the work, and ministers were urged to preach on this subject. But even one itinerant in each Association was too much; the field was needy, but the brethren could not raise the support. They could only occasionally employ a man for a short time. Among the important points calling for help were Eugene, asking for Rev. G. W. Bond; Salem, for Rev. J. D. P. Hungate; Portland, for Rev. E. C. Anderson; and the Umpqua Association for Rev. S. E. Steams as an Associational missionary; and Oregon City for a faithful man. Monthly contributions were called for. The Associations all favored and largely operated with a State Convention. Boards were established, committees appointed and canvassers named in the most of the churches. Occasionally there was a bright spot. The Mount Pleasant Association in 1869 thus speaks of its sessions:
"On Saturday the brethren met at 2:30 p. m. to spend a short session in prayer and conference. The holy spirit of our Lord Jesus was so wonderfully shed abroad in the hearts of his followers and the time was so well filled that there was no preaching until Monday. We had a refreshing season and six additions to the church."
And the Corvallis Association in 1870
"Resolved, That we recommend to the churches never to rest satisfied until every Baptist church in our country shall have a settled pastor, and preaching, or other religious exercises every Lord's day."
And the other Associations echoed the desire. Yet, "The harvest was great and the laborers few." And the recommendations were "daily consecration of Christ's service; meetings every Lord's day, bringing out and developing the talents of the church, the duty of every member to contribute as the Lord prospers him, so that all the benevolent work can be efficiently pushed forward, and the ministry be able to give themselves entirely to the work." And the most of the people said, "amen." In 1871 all were made to rejoice by the arrival of Rev. E. Curtiss as a general missionary under the appointment of the A. B. H. M. Society, and hearty cooperation with him was asked in the work. The Associations generally responded favorably, though the Corvallis Association thought action relative to cooperation "premature, until further acquaintance, and therefore deferred such action, but he was invited to continue his labors among the churches until further action." Weekly contributions were also recommended by some of the Associations about this time, and the general tone of the missionary effort was steadily improving. Rev. William Jater was appointed for a year by the A. B. H. M. Society for the Rogue river valley, and in 1873, Rev. Joseph Ritter was appointed to the same field, but no further aid was secured for the Umpqua Association during this period, although its needs were urged most earnestly, and aid asked for. Neither could any help be obtained for the Corvallis, Grande Ronde or Eastern Associations. Brethren Jenkins, Miller, Richardson and S. S. Martin, one or more of them, preached a little for the Corvallis Association each year, but the labor was only at short intervals: "No funds." Rev. C. W. Reese was the Associational missionary of the Eastern Oregon and California Association, and solicitors were appointed to secure his support. In 1876, he reported the churches to be in a growing condition. He had averaged over one sermon for every two days on the field. As a rule, he had large congregations everywhere, some coming who had not heard a sermon for several years. The field was large, the laborers few and the harvest ripe. God's blessing was sought on this inviting field of mission work. The local ministers of the Grande Ronde Association did considerable general work, but it was mostly at their own charges, with perhaps a very little help from the Association or some church. The Mount Pleasant Association could do but little in 1871; but Rev. G. W. Clancy and N. F. Lieuallen traveled some and the Association divided its funds between them. In 1873, and 1874 Rev. W. H. Pruett was appointed by the A. B. H. M. Society as missionary east of the Cascade mountains. In 1873 the Association voted to include Ada and adjacent counties in Idaho in that Association and that Rev. B. F. Morrow act as missionary in that section of the country. In 1875, it recommended Brother Clancy as missionary within the bounds of the Mount Pleasant, Dayton, Friendship and Harmony churches, and appointed a committee to secure $500 for his support; he giving his entire time to the work. It also recommended raising a fund for the support of an evangelical ministry, or for any good word or work; to be raised by laying by as the Lord prospered each member, and by bringing the same into the church at the regular meeting. In 1876, Brother Clancy reported that he had traveled 1872 miles and collected $411.18.
In the fall of 1872, Rev. E. Curtiss returned to Michigan on account of poor health. Revs. A. J. Hunsaker and J. W. Osborn, Jr., were missionaries of the Central Association in 1873. On ministerial supply and support, the Association "urged the need of the one, and the prompt payment of the other, and declared to be the bounden duty of every member to contribute as God prospered him; and such as failed in this, act inconsistently as Christians, and did not come up to the full requirements of duty as laid down by the great Head "of the church." The minimum of $1 per member was still urged for the contribution. In 1874, Brother Hunsaker labored 33 days, and Brother Osborn, 45 days; further than this, no missionary was employed, and there was no assurance of their support. For 1873 there was due Brother Hunsaker $190.92, and to Brother Osborn, $175.53. Upon this statement, enough pledges and collections were taken to pay up the debt, and leave a small balance in the treasury. Whereupon, Brethren Hunsaker and Osborn agreed to give the sums due them to the Association, provided the Association would keep two missionaries in the field the entire coming year. The Association appointed standing committees to look after the matter, and urged frequent collections in the churches to aid the cause. The next year the committee reported that no one had been employed for the want of funds. The debt was yet $196.39, and $250 was unpaid on the old subscriptions. A subscription was again circulated, and a solicitor appointed in each church, and the churches urged to make immediate efforts to raise the money; but little or nothing was done.
The report from the Willamette Association in 1873 was quite encouraging. God's Spirit had been poured out and there was rejoicing over conversions. But fields were white and laborers few. There was a growth in grace and in the missionary spirit, and several churches were enjoying the advantages of a regular ministry, though not all with preaching every Sunday. Rev. George C. Chandler had received an appointment from the A. B. H. M. Society for Washington county, and was doing a good work. In 875 and 1876 the foreign mission collections were all turned over to the Chinese mission at Portland. The report on the state of religion in 1875 thanks God for His blessing in quickening so many churches to activity in Christian work. Some without pastors had kept up Sunday schools and prayer meetings, thus maintaining regular public worship. Some with pastors had supported mission schools and mission preachers. There had been more consecration of time and money to every form of Christian activity than formerly. Feeling that "the set time to favor Zion" had come, various items of labor and efficiency were suggested, and especially to seek those who have a disposition to work for Christ, and encourage them to give their lives to His service. In 1876, the report on the Home field, after describing the work done; among other places deserving special attention, mentions Washington county, Vancouver, Astoria, Highland and East Portland and recommended the appointment of a committee of influential laymen with full power to engage an efficient missionary, to cooperate with the A. B. H. M. Society in his support, and that the Association also open a subscription list for the same object, and that the committee take immediate action. The Chinese mission at Portland was also highly approved.
6 (sic). THE GENERAL ASSOCIATION. 1868
1. In its letter to the Willamette Association in 1867, the Clackamas church suggested the propriety of calling together, or forming a General Association, and the matter was referred to a committee consisting of Rev. Henry Sewell, Rev. J. D. Hungate and Rev. J. J. Clark, who, before the final adjournment of the Association, reported as follows:
"We are deeply impressed with the conviction that the condition of the Baptist cause in Oregon, and the immense amount and importance of the work to be done, make it both expedient and advisable that some organization bearing the character of a general Association or Missionary Society, and composed of the Baptist ministers and delegates of the Baptist churches of the state of Oregon, be organized; and that the time has now arrived when the preliminary measures should be taken for the speedy organization of such a body. To this end, we recommend that a committee of three be appointed to address the Baptist ministry and churches of Oregon and the Territory of Washington on this subject, and request the churches to each appoint four messengers to meet the Baptist ministers of Oregon and Washington at such time and place as the committee shall determine, for the purpose of effecting such organization. We further deem it all important that all the churches distinctly understand that, in this covenant, the Willamette Association claims no advantage; but that as all enterprises require that some one originate and set them in motion, we simply wish to inaugurate a movement that shall result in the inauguration of a society in which each church throughout the state will stand on an equal footing.
HENRY SEWELL, Chairman.
The committee was as follows: Revs. J. D. P. Hungate, C. L. Fisher and A. J. Hunsaker. There is no record of their having ever made any call.
2. A call without signature was issued for Brethren to meet at Brownsville, Linn county, December 25, 1867, to organize a State Convention. Dr. R. C. Hill was moderator, and Dr. Stone, clerk. In consequence of high water, few met. The original call was continued, and the time of meeting fixed on July 2, 1868, at the same place. All Baptist ministers and churches in full fellowship were earnestly urged to meet in Convention, and cooperate in organizing a State Convention.
3. "Messengers from many churches" met at Amity, June 25, 1868, to consider the same question. After a full and free discussion of the subject, the conviction arose that such an Association was desirable, and that it should be so organized as to enlist at the outset, the sympathy and cooperation of all the churches; but as the notice of the meeting at Brownsville had been published, the Brethren at Amity deemed it best to defer further proceedings, and appointed a committee to represent them at Brownsville, and to confer with a similar committee from that meeting with authority jointly to issue a call for a subsequent meeting of the entire Baptist Brotherhood of Oregon and adjoining territories.
4. The next meeting was at Brownsville, July 4, 1868. A constitution was adopted, and a synopsis of its most important features given.
Name. General Baptist Association of Oregon; auxiliary to the A. B. H. M. Society of New York.
Articles of Faith. As given in J. Newton Brown's Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge.
Object. To promote the preaching of the Gospel and the spread of divine truth in Oregon and adjoining territories.
Membership. Annual, by contributing to its funds; life membership, by contributing $20 at one time; the representatives of contributing churches and Associations.
Reports. Annual, showing results of mission work, and sums expended on the field by the A. B. H. M. Society.
Executive Committee. Officers of the Convention, and seven others; the officers and three others a quorum. Meetings, semi-annually, and oftener, if necessary. They could appoint one agent for each Association, if thought proper.
Elections by ballot. At the second voting all candidates for the same office were dropped, except those receiving the two highest votes at first. A majority of all the votes cast was necessary to elect.
Standing Committees. On nomination of the Executive Committee; on Educational Statistics, and cooperation of Associations and churches; on the Bible cause. These committees were appointed the year previous, but the Moderator could fill vacancies, ad interim. This was the first nominating committee among Oregon Baptists.
5. The final meeting was held at Scio, October 1-3, 1868, and the indications were fair for a union of the denomination in Oregon. This article was added to the Constitution.
"This Association utterly disclaim all power to exercise any ecclesiastical jurisdiction over individual churches, or interfering with their discipline."
The Executive Committee, in view of the pressing needs of the field, had sent out Revs. J. C. Richardson and J. W. Osborn, Jr., to as many of the churches and destitute places as they could visit. They both speak of holding protracted meetings at different places, at which were several conversions, many rising for prayers, and much general interest manifested. The Board concluded its report in this language:
"From the reports of these missionaries, and also from our own knowledge of the situation of many of the churches, the Board feels deeply impressed with the importance of the immediate, united and energetic effort on the part of those composing the General Association. We believe that the present is an important epoch in the history of the Baptists of Oregon. The fields are already white and open to the Baptists."
1869. The General Association met with the North Palestine church this year, and appointed Deacon Claiborne Hill as financial agent to collect funds for the mission work. His time and labor were gratuitous. A hearty cooperation with the A. B. H. M. Society was recommended. It was also recommended that the Association employ two ministers to travel and preach all the time, and a financial agent to travel and secure funds. A standing committee on Sunday schools was appointed. A circular letter or appeal was published. The plan of cooperation with the A. B. H. M. Society was that "the Society proposed to bear seven-tenths of all the expenses incurred in the interests of home evangelization, within the limits of $3500 per annum, and to send among us as the general missionary of the Association, Rev. E. Curtiss, of Michigan," who was known to some of the Brethren as being well adapted to the work. Brother Curtiss reached Oregon in April, 1871.
1870. The General Association met with the McKinzey's Fork church and made a call for statistics. The name of the body was changed to that of the Oregon Baptist State Convention, and all membership on a money basis, except life membership, was abolished. Brother Hill had secured in cash and pledges a little over $300; his expenses, $5.75. He was credited with a life-membership for his gratuitous services. Two missionaries had been employed; Rev. William Jeter and Rev. S. E. Steams; each for three months at $100 a piece. They found large fields, great destitution and rich harvests abundant, if faithful men could be put into the work. The treasurer reported: Receipts, $195.35; paid out, $165.50; to the balance add pledges and collections at the Convention, $225, and a conditional subscription of the Umpqua churches of $355, and there was $609.85 to carry on the work.
1871. The General Association met with the Providence church and its name was changed to the Baptist Convention of Oregon and Washington Territory. The trustees of McMinnville College were made members of the standing committee on Sunday schools. The treasurer reported $86.50 received on old subscriptions, which with the balance of last year, gave him $116.35. Of this, he paid to missionaries, and for printing minutes, $115.50. Sunday schools were urged, and Rev. W. H. Pruett was recommended to the A. B. P. Society as Sunday school missionary for Eastern Oregon and Washington at $700 a year. Some extracts from the Report of the Executive Board are given:
"There is at the present time but one Baptist pastor in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, who preaches every Lord's day to the same people. Our expectations of a rapid growth have not been realized. First, our development was retarded by a similar organization being attempted about the time the Convention originated, and the brethren who started that were disinclined to enter this one under the circumstances. (2) It was out of the question at first to be very aggressive because we had not the means. A. B. H. M. Society was asked to duplicate in currency within the limits of $400 coin to be raised by the church, to aid Rev. T. M. Martin at Eugene. Also an appointment was solicited for Rev. G. W. Bond to travel and preach doctrinal sermons. At present the Sunday school Board was practically inoperative. and a colporteur was much needed. but we have achieved more than the most sanguine among us dared to expect at the beginning of the year. We have just begun our work as a Convention. and doors of usefulness stand open on every hand. These destitute fields can be, and may we not presume to say, shall be cultivated and harvested for God? God has given our people an overflowing harvest; the A. B. H. M. Society stand ready to back up our suggestions with substantial aid; and now what hinders us from becoming one of the most, if not the most influential denomination in the state?"
Rev. E. Curtiss. in his report, said:
"On the whole. I think I have received the sympathy and cooperation of the brethren to as great an extent as could reasonably be expected under the circumstances, and the result, as it regards the collection of funds, is quite encouraging when we consider the scattered condition of the churches, but few meetings oftener than once a month, and all but little practiced in systematic benevolence. In connection with the collection of funds. I have labored to introduce into the churches a system of benevolent contributions. And when this is done, and all contribute regularly to the great work of evangelizing the world. and feel the obligation in this way to carry out the commission of their risen Lord, 'Go, ye, into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature,' then will a brighter day have dawned upon the Baptists of Oregon. Already, I think, may be seen the glimmerings of the morning star."
Resolutions adopted on evangelization:
"1. Resolved, That we believe that Christ, in giving the great commission to His Disciples, gave it to them as a church; in other words, that it is the duty and business of the church to evangelize the world to the truth as it is in Jesus.
"2. Resolved, That in this work we cannot see any inconsistency in two or more churches uniting their efforts and plans, but on the contrary, when the magnitude of any enterprise for this cause demands it, we consider such cooperation eminently proper; and if, for the more effectual carrying out of these plans, they see fit to appoint committees, trustees, boards or other agencies, through which to operate, we cannot see anything improper in so doing.
"3. Resolved, That whilst we regard the above as perfectly proper and legitimate, we are equally as decided in expressing our conviction and belief that the entire and absolute control and direction of said committee, trustees, boards or other agencies should rest and remain in the churches and should never be surrendered; and that all members of such committees, trustees, boards or other agencies, should be Baptists in good standing, and in all cases amenable to the churches for any and all abuse of authority.
"4. Resolved, That we do not believe that Christ ever committed any of His work, or the work of His church, in any particular, to the world, either in whole or in part. Any principle that admits any but Christians to a voice in this matter is wrong; hence, we are equally as decided in expressing our belief that any rule basing membership in any committee, trusteeship, board, Society, or other agency for the spread of the Gospel, or the up building of the church, on the payment of money, only, not to be in accordance with the teachings of Christ, or the genius and spirit of the Gospel."
1872. The State Convention met at Salem and limited the messengers from each church or Association to 7. and annual members were not allowed to vote when their church delegation was full. Rev. Sterling Hill was recommended to the A. B. P. Society for appointment as colporteur and Sunday school missionary for Oregon and Washington, to labor east of the Cascade mountains. Besides the general missionary. Brother Curtiss, the A. B. H. M. Society had under appointment on this field, Rev. Joseph Ritter in the Umpqua Association, Rev. Sterling Hill at The Dalles, and Rev. Joseph Casto at Olympia, at an aggregate salary of $1000. There had been raised for the treasury of the general missionary about $700, and the Society had paid out during the same time not less than $3000. Rev. W. H. Pruett had been recommended for appointment, to labor in Umatilla and Walla Walla counties, at a salary of $800, one-half to be raised on the field. There was also gratuitous labor of ministers with pledges paid, worth $188.45. Total collections in 1871, $1477.45; in 1872, $252. The Executive Board said:
"The prospects of the Convention for extensive and effective labor are, to say the least, not very encouraging. Partly from a misunderstanding of the method of operating, as well as the system of organization and creation and partly from other causes, the brethren of Oregon have not to any great extent practically cooperated with it, either as churches or as individuals. The method of cooperation with the Home Board in New York, we think is not understood. It has been stated that the Home Board would pay seven- tenths of the support of laborers within the limits of $3500. Brethren understood from this that each laborer would receive seven-tenths of his salary from the Home Board, if necessary, instead of the aid being unequally distributed. Under this impression, which it seems was not entirely correct, some mistakes and misunderstandings have arisen relative to some subscriptions, which have seriously embarrassed the work. In addition to this, brethren have heretofore generally understood that when collections have been taken, their contributions have helped to make up their three-tenths; whereas, an impression has since prevailed to a large extent, that all collections taken by the general missionary are Home Mission funds, credited to the field it is true, but going into the genera! fund, and helping to make up the seven-tenths to be paid by the Home Board. It is thought that the first impression named above is the correct one; there is not sufficient data to speak positively on this point. Another difficulty is found in the conflicting views of brethren as to the method of securing missionaries. In the report of last year. it is stated that the general missionary, conjointly with the Executive Board of the Convention, recommend applicant preachers for appointment. But practically, there appears to be a difference of opinion amongst brethren with reference to the authority of the general missionary in this matter. As these various circumstances have tended to hindering brethren from giving their aid and sympathy to the Convention, they are mentioned, that if possible, some way may be devised whereby these difficulties may be overcome, and the Baptists of the coast become a united people."
The report concludes by setting forth briefly the needs of the field, and the lack of laborers. The total appropriations of the A. B. H. M. Society up to this time were $20,350, and the receipts from the field $2,066.
1873. The State Convention met with the Pleasant Butte church and recommended that an effort be made to secure two missionaries to labor within the limits of the Convention, the one as a general missionary, the other more especially in the Sunday School and Bible work. Deacon Claiborne Hill was appointed financial agent, desiring only his traveling expenses. During the year appointments from the A. B. H. M. Society had been secured for Rev. Joseph Ritter in the Umpqua Association for one year at $100 currency, and for Rev J. A. Wirth at Oregon City at $250 a year in currency. No other missionaries had been employed. The Report of the Executive Board says:
"The Board received the trust from the Convention in the face of serious complications and great discouragement. We also began the year at a time of great financial depression which was felt all over the country, with an empty treasury, and at the same time when the financial agent of McMinnville college was canvassing the field, soliciting the much needed endowment for the college. Under such circumstances the time has not yet presented itself during the entire year when the Board felt at liberty to take any steps to send forth a missionary. We could do but little more than hold in trust the life of the Convention, during a trying interval, with a hope that in His gracious providence, God would quicken and enlarge this life by the revelation of some feasible plan of aggressive labor during the coming year. But though so little has been accomplished, we have done what we could."
1874. The State Convention met with the Pleasant Butte church. The Executive Board had changed the time of meeting, so that but seven months of labor are given. Rev. C. C. Sperry had been employed as a general missionary and had labored two months, for which he had received $31; his expenses, $5.50; baptisms, two. Rev. Sterling Hill had traveled as Sunday School missionary six months in 1873; had organized one school, and assisted in a protracted meeting at The Dalles, at which fifteen converts, mostly from the Sunday School had united with the church. He received $206.85; expenses, $46. Rev. E. Russ had traveled the last six months as Sunday School missionary. He spent much of his time in visiting the churches and urging upon them the importance of this work. He found many of them without schools. The Umpqua Association had five churches, and three schools; the Corvallis Association, nine churches, and two schools; the Central Association, twenty churches, and eight schools; the Willamette Association, thirteen churches, and seven schools; total, forty-seven churches, thirty-two schools.
Rev. J. A. Wirth at Oregon City and C. H. Mattoon at Albany had received appointments from the A. B. H. M. Society. A Minister's and Deacon's meeting had been organized, and an eloquent appeal was made for increased activity, urging the scarcity of laborers, and the present needs of the field. The Educational Board urged the organization of a Society to look after the education of young men for the ministry, and pastors were asked to preach on the subject of ministerial education, and to seek out faithful young men and send them to McMinnville. Rev. J. Wichser was recommended to the A. B. P. Society as a colporteur for the country east of the Cascade mountains. The sale and use of intoxicants was denounced. The A. B. Historical Society was cordially recommended. The week of prayer was urged, especially the day for prayer, for Sunday School work, and the day for college work. The treasurer had $20 on hand, and the financial agent had collected $258.50 cash, and $53.50 pledges. The programs on Sunday School were carried out, being interspersed with singing and five minute speeches. At the Ministerial Conference Rev. S. E. Steams presented the subject of "Justification by Faith;" Rev. A. R. Medbury presented that of the "Resurrection." The time and place of the next meeting of the Convention, and Ministerial Conference also, were left to the call of the Executive Board, and as there was no call, there was no further meeting of either until 1877. Reason unknown.
This brings the Associational records down to the close of the meeting in 1876. Since 1866 the field had been extended, the Associations multiplied, and the churches almost doubled. There were more ministers, and there was more work. The field had grown faster than the supply. But the outgrowth and strength can best be learned by studying the statistical tables.
III. Eastern Societies
1. FOREIGN MISSIONS
There was an increase of interest in foreign mission work during this decade. There was no agent to keep the churches posted, but very few copies of the Missionary magazine taken, and only here and there a pastor who gave the subject any special attention. The most of the Associations would pass a resolution, or make some report of approval, and only the Willamette and Central Associations would take an occasional collection for this purpose. The churches (or some of their members, individually), contributing, were Amity, Salem, Portland, McMinnville, Forest Grove, Eugene, Clackamas, Oregon City, and Silverton; and the aggregate sum contributed was $373.88. In addition, the women were commencing to agitate their work, though as yet no Circles had been organized, and they contributed $14.50. Also, a few individual brethren sent some contributions direct to some missions they were specially interested in; in all about $50. The Portland Chinese also sent some money direct to China to aid their brethren there. Such is the summary of the work up to 1876: and considering all the circumstances, perhaps it was as much as could have been expected with so little effort to push the work.
2. HOME MISSIONS--A. B. H. M. SOCIETY
During this period the A. B. H. M. Society employed in Oregon, sixteen missionaries, who labored twenty-three years and thirty-two weeks, occupying thirteen fields. Of these fields, eight were church stations, one was the general missionary for the entire North coast; Washington county also included West Union and Forest Grove one field: and the other two were the Umpqua and Mount Pleasant Associations. In May, 1869, the Board says that "Never in the history of the world were such opportunities to do good things for Christ in laying foundations as at the present time along the Pacific Railway, on the Pacific coast." The same year, at one of the most hopeful meetings of the general Association up to this time, that body, after speaking of the grand work done by the Home Mission Society, "earnestly recommended a complete and hearty cooperation on the part of the general Association."
But Dr. Anderson at Portland, and Rev. T. M. Martin at Salem were all the appointees until 1871, when the hearts of the brethren were made glad by the appointment by the Society of Rev. E. Curtiss, of Michigan, as the general Missionary for the Northwest coast, on the financial basis of $7 for the Society, and $3 for the field, within the limit of $3500.
The principles and purposes of the Society were substantially these: (1) To practice the most scrupulous economy in every department consistent with the highest efficiency. (2) To occupy fields of the best promise as center of influence and power, from which to radiate outward as was thought advisable. (3) To employ only laborers of known industry, piety, energy, and efficiency. (4) To insist that pastors and churches aided must be contributors from the very first. (5) In building, to urge economy, commodiousness, durability, and taste, and that the site be such as will commend its selection to meet the future probable changes in surroundings. (6) To encourage churches to borrow as small sums as possible, and to repay the debt at the earliest practical moment.
In 1872 the Society had seven missionaries on the field; in 1873, three; in 1874, five; in 1875, three; in 1876, three; but for various reasons, their aggregate labor was only about twelve years. In December, 1873, Brother Chandler wrote to the Society:
"This $40,000 of debt is a sad thing. I hope to aid at least a little in its liquidation. I hereby propose to donate that $100 due me towards liquidating the debt of the Society; I hope this will be satisfactory. We are all brethren. I hope to do a little among my brethren here. My voice, pen, and influence, if I have any, is at your service to payoff the debt. It must be done; and the advance work ought not, must not, God helping, be checked. Has not the Lord money in His safe, and can we not find the key? Confidence, prayer, and Christian work! This three-fold key will open the safe. The money will come, and with it the Spirit, far better.
"GEORGE C. CHANDLER, MISSIONARY."
3. AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY
After about ten years in which nothing was done by the A. B. P. Society in Oregon, work was resumed by the appointment of Brother A. M. Cornelius as colporteur for Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and except an occasional interval, one or more colporteurs, or their equivalent has been kept in the field ever since. The aggregate of their labors is: time, seven years, 233 days; miles traveled, (their own conveyance) 23,281; sales, $5051.60; donations, scriptures, 24; books, 469; tracts, pages, 9716; baptized 4; churches organized 1; Sunday Schools organized, 20; Sunday Schools aided, 127; grants, 4; value, of grants $31.55; collections for the missionary department, $187.33. In addition to this we had our own Sunday School work under direction of our Associations and Convention. And inasmuch as the work of our Societies is very imperfectly understood by many of our people, it may be in place to show the workings of the A. B. P. Society, omitting illustrations, and matters not relevant to the North Pacific coast.
"The A. B. P. Society is, in its workings, divided into two distinct and separate parts. It is a business firm, manufacturing and selling religious and denominational books; and is conducted on strictly business principles. This department receives no benevolent contributions, but sustains itself by the profits on its sales. The business perpetuates itself, and bears its own expenses of every kind.
"There is another department. The Society is not simply a business firm, but also a benevolent or missionary organization, conducting a diversified missionary work. It is a Colporteur Society, sustaining many wayside preachers of the word. It is a Sunday School Society, not only manufacturing Sunday School literature, but supporting Sunday School missionaries whose work is to strengthen existing schools,. and to establish new ones. It is also a Tract Society, making free grants of tracts to the missionaries of the Home Mission Society, of the various State Conventions, and to pastors all over the country. And it is to sustain and greatly enlarge this varied missionary work that the Society's agents ask the churches for funds. The work in each of these directions, might be increased a hundred fold, if funds were furnished. And every dollar that is given to the Society is sacredly applied to the prosecution of this missionary work. The business department not only bears its legitimate expenses and pays the salaries of all its officers and clerks, but it also pays the salaries of all in the rooms who are directing the work of the Missionary Department. So the Publication Society, in both its business and its benevolent aspect, is officered and supplied with all the necessary help, without a dollar's cost to the churches. We have therefore, in the Publication Society, an organization whose entire expenses at the rooms and the major part of whose salaries for agents are provided for by itself. In proportion therefore, as the work and the workings of such an organization are understood by the churches, it would seem that its receipts must increase." And the organization never has had, nor has it now, any stockholders. No one has ever received a dividend, nor in any way shared in its profits. All the property of every sort is simply held in trust by the Society for the Baptist denomination of America, for the purposes set forth. The capital, buildings, machinery, branches, cars, wagons, and largely the book stock, are special gifts for that purpose only, or from the proceeds of the business sales. Not a dollar came from contributions for missions, colporteur, tract, Bible, or Sunday School work. Its agents and colporteurs go mainly among the destitute and the poor, visiting from house to house, giving where the poor or the unwilling do not buy, often selling below cost. Every cent of their sales goes back to be used over, not for the business, but solely for the missionary work. It is totally unlike a book agency in intention or management. Its small salaries, necessary travel, many gifts to the needy, the freights, and other necessary expenses being considered, there is no profit, nor is any intended, but on the contrary, if dependent on the sales, the colporteur work would soon cease and all the means be gone. It can be kept going only when supported by the generous for this purpose. Our men are not allowed to sell books or other things furnished on commission, or for their own profit, nor is the object in any wise to make profit for the business. or even for the missionary department. When practicable, books are sold to cover part of the cost to use again, and is the constant helper of every interest among us. Churches, pastors, missionaries, visitors, Sunday Schools, Institutes, Societies, asylums, missions, about every sort of Baptist Christian work, are constantly receiving the help and sympathy of this Society. It asks, needs, and deserves the approbation, advocacy, and liberal aid of every Baptist. Its best vindication is the riches of the blessings of God and of soul harvests."
IV. Educational Work
The question of an endowment for McMinnville college was agitated again in 1867. and the Central Association made some recommendations, but the other Associations did nothing.
The school under Prof. Johnson was prosperous. He had expended over $1100 in improvements. The trustees controlled the property; Prof. Johnson controlled the school, the assistants, and the income. During the year the attendance ranged from 90 to 135; average per quarter, 104. In 1868 the average was 90. This year Professor Johnson resigned. From this time to 1871, the school appears to have been self-sustaining and fairly prosperous. At the session of the Central Association in 1871, it was
"Resolved: That we give the care of McMinnville college into the care of the Oregon Baptist State Convention. in connection, and in cooperation with the Trustees of said college, which latter shall consist of eight members of the Central Association, and as many as six from the said Convention and other Associations in Oregon, with instructions that they secure the services of two suitable agents--one for Oregon, and the other for the States to secure an endowment of at least $20,000; and we further recommend that the said trustees be hereby authorized to confer with the Willamette Association as to the propriety of uniting our educational interests."
The Willamette Association "heartily concurred with this action, and appointed Henry Warren, George C. Bell, Rev. E. Curtiss, and Rev. G. C. Chandler as Trustees, and Rev. W. H. Pruett was appointed by the Mount Pleasant Association. No action was taken by the other Associations. The perpetual endowment plan was agreed upon, the price per scholarship, $500; and Dr. R. C. Hill appointed as financial agent to canvass Oregon and "the States." In September, 1871, Prof. J. D. Robb took the school for five years. Meanwhile, the Trustees, regarding themselves as a self-perpetuating body, independent of any other authority, had paid little or no attention to the action of the Association of 1871, and in 1872, the Central Association gave another expression, limiting the Trustees to 16; each Baptist Association of Oregon and Washington being allowed at least one member, and more pro rata according to membership; that the present Board of Trustees procure such amendments to the charter as were necessary to carry out these items; that present Board of Trustees continue until these arrangements could be carried into effect; and that this action take the place of the action of last year. Upon this, in order to secure as far as possible the cooperation of all the Baptists of Oregon and Washington, without reference to Association or convention, on October 4, 1872, the Board of Trustees took action, and made their number 16 or more, adding the following members: W. H. Pruett, H. Warren, D. W. Williams, J. C. Richardson, G. C. Bell, David Hurst, T. M. Martin, Joseph Ritter, and R. C. Hill, of Oregon, and R. S. Greene, of Washington. By this act the school became the Institution of the Baptists of the North Pacific Coast, and not of a local Association; thus securing new friends for its support, and encouraging its old friends to increased energies and sacrifices for its prosperity. The Trustees also passed an act prohibiting the sale or removal of the college property.
In November, Dr. Hill reported thirteen scholarships, and forty-two half scholarships secured. and these with sundry donations amounted in all to over $23,000. His salary came out of the donations. Ten years time was given on the scholarship notes, with interest at 8 per cent per annum after March 12, 1873. All endowment cash paid in was loaned at 10 per cent per annum.
In February, 1873, Professor Robb's contract was modified so that he was employed at a salary of $1400 a year; he acting as president of the college until a Baptist could be secured. In August, Rev. Mark Bailey was secured at $1500 a year, and Professor Robb took the chair of mathematics. Rev. E. Russ was also given a professorship at $1000 a year. Owing to Dr. R. C. Hill's success in Oregon, and the increasing prosperity of the school, it was now thought best for him to visit the states east of the Mississippi, to secure for the college an additional endowment of not less than $50,000, but this effort was not a success. Cholera, yellow fever and financial embarrassments were ascribed as causes of failure. In his report of March 30, 1874, the Dr. claims that from December 1, 1872, to July 1, 1873, he had secured a fraction over $24,000, mostly in scholarships. His agency was continued. In June Professor Robb resigned. About this time a movement was started for a new college building, but nothing accomplished. The Central and the Willamette Associations both passed the following resolutions:
"Resolved, That we will do all in our power to make McMinnville College, under God, a mighty power for truth and Christ.
"Resolved, That we will especially seek to make our college largely useful in preparing for the ministry young men who are called of God for that work."
The Board of Trustees also adopted the rule that the holders of scholarships and half-scholarships, who had paid the interest due on notes for the same should have one year of grace; limiting each full scholarship to two scholars each year to make up unused time; but no person was to be entitled to the above benefits whilst interest on notes was due. In March, 1875, the college lost one of its best friends in the death of Hon. R. C. Kinney. By his wealth and liberality, he had been a most efficient aid in many of its severest trials. His sons nobly took up the burden, and continued the fast friends of the Institution, but debts began to accumulate. In June, the treasurer's report showed a total debt of $3975.43. Further endowment funds were solicited. In 1876, President Bailey resigned. At the close of this period, the college was without a president or faculty, was $2000 in debt, and claimed an endowment fund of about $29,000, which mostly was in scholarship notes with much of the interest unpaid.