The Fifth Period
From 1886 to 1900
Being the history of the later missionary work in Oregon, and the marvelous advancement along every line of denominational activity. It was also a period of drawing lines: first, on the organization of new Associations and, Conventions; and secondly, from divisions caused by differences in belief or practice, or both.
In 1886, The North Pacific Coast Baptist Convention disbanded, and three Conventions were organized: Oregon, Western Washington, and British Columbia, and the Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. This gave more convenience in meeting at annual gatherings, as well as closer concentration of labor, and increased activity with the laborers. Of the churches organized up to date, 97 remained; 16 died; so that at 1900, 106 churches remained and some extinct churches had been re-organized; others remained struggling for life, and a few for various causes were not manifest. There were about 100 churches in 1900, the most of them alive, wide awake, active, and anxiously endeavoring to win souls for Christ. And this, not only where the field had been partially cultivated, but also to enter new fields. and supply as far as possible needy and destitute places. And records, whether by individuals, churches, or general missionaries for Associations, or Conventions, were many of them worthy of notice. With churches in villages or cities, these efforts usually commenced with mission Sunday schools, and were sustained as a part of the regular church work. When more aid was requested, it was made a preaching station; and unless abandoned it usually resulted in the organization of another church with its own accessories.
The churches are considered by Associations. The story of each is told from 1887 to 1900.
The Willamette Association. 1848
The Willamette Association was the first on the Pacific coast, and until 1858, the only one north of California. It now comprises only the churches in the northern part of the Willamette Valley together with the church at Astoria and that at The Dalles. The Association has always been foremost in all the benevolent work of the denomination. To a large extent the membership is mostly from the Northern States, and Northern peculiarities are stamped upon churches and Association. Hence, as a rule, the churches are Anti-Landmark in practice. The Association has always held the greater share of the talent, wealth and influence of the denomination in Oregon. The Pacific Baptist is at Portland (moved in 1906 to McMinnville), and with one or two exceptions, the Executive Committee of the Mission Board of the Convention is composed of members belonging to this Association. The churches are nearly all in the cities or villages, and as a missionary field the entire northern part of the Willamette Valley from the Cascade mountains to the Pacific ocean is within its limits. Laborers and aid are both lacking.
In 1900 the Willamette Association had 150,000 population; Portland had two-thirds of it. In this period it had about 30 churches, seven with over 100 members; the Sunday schools were vigorous and prosperous; the Y. P. Societies efficient; 92 baptisms. It recommended systematic help to weak places, religious visitation at home and more sympathy with the calls of pastors. In one of his public addresses Dr. C. A. Wooddy said he had carefully searched, but could find no reference to the Landmark question; he thinks it was usually left to the churches. He overlooked the minute of 1874, at Amity, when Rev. G. H. Martin offered a resolution. which was published at his request. The question was sometimes discussed in some of the Associations, and some brethren would get warm over it; but if it passed, it was only by those present at that session. Before 1889 no church in Oregon was ever rejected by any Association, for receiving alien immersions. The question was not raised, as long as free discussion was allowed in the Association Convention; and no one thought of raising an objection, either to cooperation, or as a discordant element. Practically nine-tenths of the Landmarkers were cordially willing for it, and also willing for each church to decide the question for itself. At the close of the period, the Association had 9 ordained ministers, 5 licentiates. and 1 young man studying for the ministry.
First Baptist Church of Portland. 1854
The First Baptist Church of Portland has had more or less of mission schools or stations, almost from the beginning. The first was on Stark street. At first the church took the direct oversight and superintendence of the work; but in 1887 they relegated it to the Board of City Missions, which in 1891 was disbanded to organize the Missionary Union of all the Baptist churches of the City, which was only enlarging the work, and choosing a Board to supervise it, leaving each church to look after the details within its jurisdiction, and many of these beginnings developed into city churches which aided in extending the blessed work into other fields.
In Portland and its suburbs and vicinity there have arisen some 15 or 20 churches or mission stations of Baptist faith; the result of 40 years of labor; a gain from 15 in 1860 to probably 1500 or 2000 in 1900. And the natural surroundings of Portland are such that it must grow. It has room for indefinite growth and it cannot be hindered. Hence, if honest, faithful, united labor is prosecuted by Baptists, their growth and expansion is absolutely inevitable, and the present indications are that they are wide awake to the situation, and realize to some extent at least, their responsibility and the importance of this work. And they are sufficiently intelligent and progressive to be fully alive to the task of up building the Baptist cause all over the city.
But the First Baptist Church has been especially blessed with wise counselors and prudent advisors, and exceptionally able pastors. These down to Dr. Henry have already been noticed. Since then, Dr. Gordon excelled in logical force and reasoning ability; Dr. Grant was a rustler, full of new plans or extensions; Rev. Mr. Raboteau, by his winning ways and sweet spirituality, attracted all and was greatly beloved; and Dr. Blackburn was conspicuous for his prudent discrimination and sound, practical common sense in managing affairs, and keeping in close touch with brethren generally. True, some of these have removed to other fields, and others have been called home to the Savior they loved, but their mantles have fallen on worthy shoulders; a few of the old guard are still on hand for duty, as zealous and as earnest as ever, and under its able and efficient pastor the church in 1900 was moving forward with high expectations, and its outlook is hopeful and encouraging.
Rev. J. Q. A. Henry resigned the pastorate in 1888, on account of poor health, and was followed soon after by Rev. John Gordon, D. D., of Lowell, Massachusetts, who arrived in October, 1888. The church manual for 1887 says:
"Over 900 members have been connected with the church. Deacon D. W. Williams, Major H. M. Roberts, Rev. A. R. Medbury, Hon. J. N. Dolph, Nathaniel Ingersoll, Deacon H. M. Clinton, H. R. Hubbard, and Dr. S. J. Barber have superintended the Sunday school. Prominent among the lay members have been deacon Josiah Failing and Captain Ingersoll, of blessed memory. Major Roberts, deacon Williams, Senator J. N. Dolph, and Hon. W, Lair Hill. Among the congregation, W. S. Caldwell and Hon. Henry Failing have been warm friends, wise counselors and liberal supporters of the church. Of the pastors, Dr. Cornelius was earnest, active and able; Dr. Anderson was distinguished for profound scholarship; Mr. Medbury for consecrated ability and pulpit power; Mr. Pierce for Christian sociability, aggressive earnestness, and executive capacity; Mr. Coats for dignified scholarship and able management; Mr. Gray for brilliant oratory; and Mr. Henry for pulpit eloquence and indefatigable industry. Never was the membership so large as now. Never the organization so wide or perfect; never the force of disciplined workers so great; never was the demand for interest more pressing; nor the opportunities for service more manifold."
On April 17, 1889, brother E. G. Wheeler was ordained. He was the Sunday school missionary of the American Baptist Publication Society, in charge of the chapel car Evangel. In 1891 deacons D. W. Williams and Albert Mitchell died. Deacons Williams and Josiah Failing were constituent members in 1860, and for several years were the mainstays of the church, and during their lives could always be relied on in an emergency. (See sketch in Vol. 1.) Dr. Gordon resigned and was followed by Roland D. Grant from Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1891, and his opening outlooks were most encouraging. In 1892 the church sold its property for $150,000, and bought a half block on Taylor street, between Eleventh and Twelfth, for $52,500, rebate $2,500, and built the "White Temple." During the fall, the church liberally aided the Calvary Church to build, in addition to its own burdens. Dr. Grant was an indefatigable worker, always busy, and "wearing well" and growing in favor both with the church and the general community. The prayer meetings were increasing in attendance and interest. The church had a historian and a corresponding secretary for non-residents ; and the money collected at communion seasons was for the poor.
Two new mission Sunday schools were established by the First Church in 1891. The young people gave liberally, doing considerable mission work on the streets and in hotels. Brethren A. P. Brown and Fred A. Agar were licensed, and went back to Louisville to attend the Seminary there, and on the request of the First Church of Portland Brother Agar was ordained by the Walnut Street Church of Louisville, and sent as a missionary to Africa. Also in 1893 the First Church in the vestry, daily, except Sunday, opened for two hours a free dispensary, at which medicines were furnished at cost, or thereabouts, designed especially for the poor and needy of the church. Some of the best physicians of the city were in attendance. In its report of this work in the fall the church says:
"The free social dispensary was reported as doing a good work in the healing of the bodies of the suffering. Medical advice that would have cost $3,000 has been given without money and without price, and no questions asked as to where they worshipped or to what denomination they belonged, and no questions required as to church relations in future. The only question required is, 'Are you sick and in need of relief?' The church unanimously endorsed this institution of the church and authorized its continuance."
The same year the church had five mission schools in operation and started a mission among the Japanese; some other lines of work were undertaken.
The corner stone of the new church was laid November 24, 1892, in the presence of a large concourse of people, and the work of construction was continued without intermission until completion of the lectureroom, which was occupied on the first day of January, 1894, and possession of the old church surrendered to the purchaser pursuant to the terms of sale. The church was completed at a cost, including equipment, of approximately $110,000, and was dedicated on July 8, 1894, with impressive ceremonies. Dr. J. Q. A. Henry preached an able, eloquent and appropriate dedication sermon from the topic, "The Church of the Living God, the Pole Star and Spirit of Truth."
The building is 125x130 feet, with a tower 19 feet square, height 136 feet. It is beautiful, imposing, convenient, well lighted, well ventilated, acoustic properties good, and will accommodate about 2,000 persons. Its organ is unequaled on the coast. It is beautiful within and without; chaste and rich, truly artistic, and well adapted to its purposes. The building, furniture, organ and lot cost $160,000. And yet this fine church, with its eloquent pastor, and everything first-class, has no choir, not even a soloist; its singing is wholly congregational; and it is good, being led by Professor Wilder himself, and sounds as if the injunction, "Let all the people sing," was being obeyed.
August 30, 1894, a certificate of good character was given a sister who had joined the Salvation Army. The Chinese mission was placed under the management of the general missionary of the Convention and the Board, without financial responsibility, the A. B. H. M. Society assuming this. This included also the Chinese work in some other places in Oregon, and Mrs. Laura P. Baker was placed in charge. In the spring of 1896, Dr. Grant resigned. In the spring of 1897, Rev. Claude Baboteau, of New Jersey, was called to the pastorate at $2,000. He soon resigned because of poor health, and left, but his health improving he returned in 1898; but was compelled to leave for the same cause. He died February 16, 1900. He was a scholarly man, of fine personal presence, with unusual polish in his whole bearing. He loved the ministry, and everywhere gave his entire strength to that work, and his helpfulness drew all towards him with whom he came into contact. He was of a sweet, kindly spirit, and greatly beloved, and a model man to lead the church.
In September, 1898, Rev. Alexander Blackburn, D. D., of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was chosen pastor, and arrived in November. He was from Monmouth College, Illinois, and Morgan Park Seminary of the same state. He had had experience in large and small cities, and his energy had produced excellent results. At 17 he entered the army in 1861, and served three years, being wounded at Chickamauga. He was converted, got his education, and entered the ministry after returning from the war. He had filled several honorable offices in the denomination, and was the pastor of the First Church of Portland in 1900, in the prime of life, full of energy and zeal.
In November, 1898, the church lost a valued member in the death of Hon. Henry Failing, long closely identified with its growth and success. He was a member of its board of trustees, a wise counselor in times of prosperity, a generous helper in times of need, of spotless integrity and kindness of heart, and liberality. He united with the Sixteenth Baptist church of New York when a boy, and at 17 came to Oregon in 1851. In 1869 he became president of the First National Bank of Portland. He was three times mayor of the city, and at the time of his death was president of the Board of Regents of the State University, at Eugene, and also treasurer of the Pacific University at Forest Grove, by both of which institutions he was greatly missed. He also served for many years on the Board of Trustees of McMinnville College. By his liberality, the Josiah Failing Professorship in McMinnville College was established and will perpetuate not more surely the name of his honored father than his own filial regard and interest in denominational education. His contribution of $1,000 made possible the completion of the first house of worship of the Portland church, and largely by reason of his insistence the church retained the whole of the half block of land secured for it at the time of its organization. His judgment was abundantly justified when the time came to sell this block of ground that the present property and house might be had. He himself bought the old house and land largely because of his attachment to the place with which his father and family had so long been associated.
In 1889 the National Anniversaries met in San Francisco, California, and a special train of five Wagner sleepers brought its load of visitors by way of Portland on their way home, and the First Church gave them a grand reception. Nearly all the pulpits of Portland were occupied on the Sabbath by distinguished men from the East, and "Baptist stock was higher than ever before in the city."
The church letter to the Association in 1900 reports "a steady maintenance of the work under the pastor's faithful leadership; a net gain of 50 members; the wiping out of a deficit on current expenses; and an increased attendance and efficiency in the Sunday school." The church had eight ordained ministers in its membership. "Special evangelistic meetings were held by the pastor in March and April. Open-air services were conducted on Saturday evenings during the summer months last year, at Third and Burnside street. Baptisms had occurred every month in the year except two. The societies were all flourishing and especially "the Gleaners," composed of young ladies over 14 years of age, whose object was to develop an interest in missions and kindred work. They had contributed for various interests near home $58.85; and $68.70 for foreign work. The work of Fung Chak of the Chinese mission was recommended. During the year the Chinese had contributed $464.51.
In the fall Rev. R. W. King and his wife held a meeting at a school house five miles up the mountain from Dixie post office, in Washington County. He said that "about all the people for five miles around came out." Three were baptized, and eight persons wanted to unite with the First Church of Portland. Land was offered for the purpose, and they planned to build a meeting-house in the near future, and without an appeal for help from the Board. Brother Blackburn says, "Put down First Portland as having a mission in the country."
The pastors of the First Church have been as follows : Rev. W. F. Boyakin, 1855-1855; Rev. Samuel Cornelius, Jr., 1860-1864; Rev. E. C. Anderson, D. D., 1866-1870; Rev. Harry Taylor, 1871-1871 ; Rev. A. R. Medbury, 1872-1874; Rev. D. J. Pierce, D. D., 1874-1877; Rev. A. S. Coats, D. D., 1877-1880; Rev. John A. Gray, 1880-1883 ; Rev. L. W. Hayhurst (acting), 1883-1884; Rev. J. Q. A. Henry, D. D., 1884-1888; Rev. H. C. Leland (acting during Mr. Henry's absence), 1887-1888; Rev. John Gordon, D. D., 1888-1891; Rev. Roland D. Grant, D. D., 1892-1896; Rev. Claude Raboteau, 1897-1898; Rev. Alexander Blackburn, D. D., 1898-1903.
First, East Portland. 1879. (Later, Second Portland)
After Rev. C. H. Hobart had left, the church had an occasional supply, but no pastor until May, 1887, when Brother G. W. Hill, just from Rochester, was chosen, and ordained September 20, 1887. That year the church cooperated with the First Church in a mission Sunday school in East Portland. The Society of Christian Endeavor and the Women's Aid Society of the church gave efficient help. In April, 1888, Brother Hill was commissioned by the Home Mission Society; served the church a year and was succeeded by Rev. J. A. Snodgrass, from Youngstown, Ohio; followed by Rev. D. T. Richards. That year a long-standing debt was paid. In 1890 a protracted meeting resulted in more than 30 additions, 21 by baptism. In October Brother Richards resigned, and Rev. J. C. Read from Oregon City, took the pastorate. Up to June, 1891, about 50 were added by experience and baptism. The Sunday school was prosperous, the house inadequate, and the brethren decided to build another house at an estimated cost of $15,000, but were not yet able. In April, 1892, the church had a gracious revival in the Sunday school; over 30 baptisms. One teacher rejoiced as five of her class were converted, and the pastor rejoiced as some of his children were baptized. In 1893, the church received a bequest of $1,000 from Sister N. J. Long, one of its constituent members, who had always taken a lively interest in its prosperity. In 1894 its name was changed to "The Second Baptist Church of Portland." Brother Read's mental condition, caused by physical prostration from over labor was such that the church employed another pastor, and in 1894 Rev. M. M. Lewis, of Washington, was chosen. The church began a new meeting house, to accommodate 1100 people and costing $6,000, and dedicated it in April, 1896. In May, Rev. S. Ray Palmer and H. B. Turner held special meetings with the church; over 30 additions, 26 by baptism. In September, Brother Lewis resigned to go to Albany, and the reluctance of the church to accept his resignation is set forth in the following extracts from their closing address:
The Second Church stands today a monument of your zeal, your perseverance, and your faith. We appreciate your strong doctrinal, spiritual, practical preaching, which has been an educating. indoctrinating, and spiritualizing force, and you, as a missionary pastor can look with satisfaction upon the more evident fruits of your sowing beside all waters, because of the growth of the missionary spirit under your pastorate; of this leading of others to share in carrying out the great commission, you have done what can never be measured in time in helping to hasten the coming of the King.
"We think of another monument, not of wood and stone, but more enduring, because it was reared in human hearts to which you have ministered in trial and adversitv; in death and burial. You care and prayers for the sick of your flock have cheered many a sufferer, and soothed many an aching heart, as a pastor beloved for his work's sake. And while we receive once more the benediction of peace from you, we gladly offer this appreciation which, we trust, may be an encouragement to labor under all circumstances till we shall meet--pastor and people--to join in the new redemption song, about the great white throne, to go out no more forever."
Rev. Ray Palmer was the next pastor and has continued until the present time (1900). A mission work has been established among the Roman Catholics, especially such as are losing faith in Romanism. In 1899 Brother B. Clarence Cook was both licensed and ordained. Brother Palmer's labors were a complete success. There were frequent additions to the church, and every department of work was being persistently pushed forward. When he came, a debt of $3,000 worried the church, but one member offered $1,000 to meet it, the A. B. H. M. Society gave $500, and finally it was all paid. The brethren declared against any more debts, but they put about $3,000 of further improvements on he property, making it worth about $16,000, and paid for it. The entire surroundings and furnishing are made more attractive. The ladies' aid is a strong element of the church life, the Sunday school prosperous, and the young people a great help. In 1900 the church celebrate its twentieth anniversary, and had an inspiring time in retrospective addresses, and other features. All agencies were prosperous and actively at work. And Brother Palmer is a good pastor, a thorough reformer (especially along temperance lines), and popular as a lecturer. Thus, being without a debt and everything encouraging, with a popular, able, and consecrated pastor, and the members all willing and anxious to work, the church certainly has a glorious outlook before it for successful labor in the Master's vineyard. The later dedication, after the improvements above named, was not until July, 1901. At this time, Brother Linas Clark, one of its members, sold the church a fine organ, worth $1,400, for $500, thus donating $900.
Immanuel of Portland 1886, (Second)
This was a mission school of the First Church, located at Mead Street in South Portland, with 31 members. It gave the new church a commodious chapel, and in two years they added 138 new members to their band and were talking of building. The next year their need was urgent, because of increase. Revs. P. M. Weddell, B. F. Rattray, and L. T. Bush had been pastors; every line of church work was flourishing; alive, and active, and all the societies wide-awake. But a wolf in sheep's clothing got amongst them and did them serious injury, which it took time to repair. He left in a year. and one of the Portland pastors said, "He left with but few friends in the church and none outside of it." The next pastor did remarkably well under the circumstances. He labored faithfully, patiently, and prudently. He infused the spirit of Christ into the prayer meetings; he aroused zeal and activity into the societies; he put energy and life into the Sunday school. Aided by a few faithful ones who stood firmly, kept up all departments, until the glimmerings of prosperity appeared, hopes revived, and something of the old life began to manifest itself.
He was succeeded by Rev. H. R. Turner, who continued the work along the same lines, the congregations averaging over 100 in the morning, and about 200 at the evening services. At a meeting in 1897 there were 69 additions, 34 baptisms, 10 waiting baptism. The church was in good condition; an excellent feeling prevailed; all had a mind to work, The membership was poor, but, according to their means, liberal; contributions were made for all lines of work. For a while a debt caused some anxiety, but this was all paid in 1899. The church raised $336.36 of the pastor's salary, and $98.10 for other expenses. They numbered 170. Bright prospects were before them; the outlook hopeful; they expected soon to reach self-support. Brother Turner was a decided success. In 1899 he resigned, leaving a good house, with no debts. He was followed by Rev. S. C. Lapham, and the church in 1900 was prospering; harmony and zeal prevailing; the property worth $5,000; no debts; and the church self-supporting.
Third Church of Portland. 1889. (Albina)
The First Church also started a mission in Albina. and in 1889 Rev. G. W. Hill took charge under the direction of the City Mission Board. In 1890 it organized a church of 24 members. For a while it had a hard time; Brother Hill went to Albany. J. T. Hoye, S. J. Nunn, and C. A. Wooddy preached for it occasionally. It had a flourishing Sunday school, its membership increased to 55 in 1891. It had two lots, worth $3,000, and a small chapel worth $1,000. It put up a tabernacle on its lots; its outlook was bright. It got some help from the Home Mission Society. Rev. J. O. Burroughs was pastor in 1892; he was highly appreciated, though the work was hindered from lack of a house.
Poor health compelled Brother Burroughs to resign, to be followed by Rev. W. Sandford Gee, a live man, and an energetic worker. The growth of the church was gratifying. He baptized about 50, and several came in by letter. Some dismissals, but 125 were left. They sold the tabernacle for $50, and Brother Gee pushed work until he built a meeting-house. The times were hard; the members poor; but Brother Gee had faith, and believed in "the perseverance of the saints." They finished a building costing about $4,000, with gallery seating comfortably 400. On the same lot (100 feet square), the pastor put up a parsonage with eight rooms; the entire property was worth $10,000; Home Mission Society gave $300 and loaned $500. The lots were donated by members of the First Church. It was located in a community of homes, rapidly growing and was one of the best fields in the city for building up a family church. With such a location and such a pastor, the church grew. The congregations were large, and Brother Gee had the full confidence of church and community. In 1898 baptisms were frequent; about 50 were added and the church was considering the establishment of mission stations in its vicinity.
But Brother Gee resigned. Rev. J. H. Teale supplied the church awhile; then Rev. T. S. Dulin for a year. Then there was no pastor till 1899; then Rev. Harry Ferguson, from Atlanta, Georgia, was pastor one year. The church said in 1899: "This is quite a difficult field. A debt of $1,175 rests upon the church. When Brother Ferguson came, the church was in a low state. It had been a fight for existence, but things now are taking on new life, and the outlook better than for some time past." The congregations increased, and the Sunday school more than doubled. The church was thoroughly united in the pastor, and felt that if he left them, the cause at that point was hopeless. But Rev. E. M. Bliss followed Brother Ferguson in 1900. The church was happy and hopeful, desiring to do great things for God. They expected to pay all their debts by fall.
Calvary Church of Portland. 1890
Calvary Church, corner of Eighth and Grant streets, in Stephen's Addition, East Portland, was another Sunday school mission started by the First Church, on which a small chapel was built. The movement was pushed actively by Rev, G. W. Hill, and the church was organized with 22 members in July, 1890, and had a vigorous life from the start. All the lines of work were prosperous, and the brethren began to talk of building, though with only 36 members, half of them young people, and none wealthy. The Bible class numbered 100. In 1891 the church grew to nearly 50, who raised $3,847; but about $1,000 of this was for pastor and incidentals. But every member contributed regularly. The pastor was paid every two weeks; the workmen on the building, every Saturday night. Two lots, each 50x100 feet, costing $3,000, were secured; all bills were promptly met. They had $3,500 subscribed; the property donated by the First Church was sold for $2,000; $3,000 more was needed. The A. B. H. M. Society paid $500 on pastor's salary. Deacon D. W. Williams of the First church paid for a handsome Gothic front window; the ladies' aid society put in another; the Sunday school worked for another; the carpenters (not members of the church) put in a four-faced clock. "A friend" gave liberally for a bell, and all sacrificed cheerfully, and worked hopefully. In January, 1892, the new building was enclosed, the site paid for, and all workmen paid.
With only about 50 members, the church and its friends had raised about $3,350 during the year, besides $900 for home expenses and benevolence. This strained the members to the utmost, and about $3,000 was yet wanting. The members were poor, or only in moderate circumstances. The largest subscription was $400 from a young brother of very limited means. Nor was the other work neglected. Every department of labor grew and prospered. Harmony, prosperity, and general enlargement characterized the year's work. The teacher's meetings were specially helpful, and some revivals were reported; 30 converts, 20 from the Sunday school. A mission school of about 75 pupils was started in a locality where permanent work looked encouraging. In 1893 the church membership was 78; its mission school was self sustaining; 12 members from it were added to the church; 20 members lived near it. Sunday schools, prayer meetings, and preaching were kept up there regularly. The deficit was now $2,200, with $800 in good subscriptions, and the balance carried by the trustees and individual brethren. But the money market was very stringent and caused some uneasiness.
In connection with this work two things ought to be recorded. First, two years earlier a committee met to discuss the advisability of disbanding this mission, and concentrating its interests with our one church on the east side of the river. In 1893 we had four churches instead of the one, with three other missions, all in a flourishing condition. The increase of Baptists. including the four churches, during the preceding twenty-two months, was three times the membership of the one church at the time the advisability of concentration was being discussed. The First Church during this time had the greatest growth in all its history. The second thing that should be recorded is that the timely help of four hundred dollars from the Home Mission Society was the one thing especially that encouraged and made possible this wonderful expansion of the work for God.
In 1894 there was a shrinkage in membership and in finances. The house was not completed, and the work had been suspended, but there were hopes of resuming it soon. Brother Teale resigned. Rev. J. O. Burroughs followed him. He baptized 27 converts during the next year, raised $25 for the Convention work, $275 for other beneficence, paid $300 for permanent improvements, and received on his salary $481.31. The church built for him a cosy parsonage, and the entire property, when completed, was estimated to be worth $10,000. The Home Mission Society loaned $1,200, Work was resumed, and the house was finished in 1895. With the gallery, it seats 600; total cost $8,605; debt $4,500; with $306 pledged at the dedication. Brother Burroughs was offered a more desirable situation with higher salary, but he felt that duty more strongly called him to suffer and bear burdens here a while longer. And his labors were blessed. The membership and the congregation were increased and an opportunity given for the accomplishment of splendid work. The church much needed him and that was enough. He continued his labors with this church until July, 1897, when ill health compelled him to resign, and he was a great loss to the missionary force of the state when he left. He was born in western Kentucky, and educated at Clinton College in that state, and also at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Louisville. He was pastor at Madison, Indiana, and in southern Idaho, and for one year general missionary in Idaho, before he came to Portland. He married in Portland and his wife was truly a helpmeet for him.
After his resignation in Portland, he was followed by Rev. T. A. Harris a few months; then by Rev. E. M. Bliss. But a heavy debt of $5,300 troubled them, and the interest, $338 annually, must be met. The pastor toiled faithfully under the burden, and the church stood by him heroically. The Home Mission Society loaned the church $2,100 to pay a mortgage, and the work prospered; 30 members were received, 22 by baptism; the members increased to 110. Brother Bliss resigned in April, 1900, to take charge of the Third Baptist Church of Portland (Albina). The church was then meeting its obligations and interest promptly, and the prospects were encouraging, though the debt was still a source of some annoyance. Rev. A. L. Black, a student at Mc- Minnville, was the supply in 1900.
Mount Tabor. 1883
In March, 1887, Rev. S. P. Davis was chosen pastor. The Home Mission Society assisting, the church adopted a systematic plan of mission work. The prospects were encouraging at the time of the association. Rev. C. C. Bateman became the pastor for two years from January, 1889. In 1890 the church was self-supporting, and the church was blessed under Brother Bateman's preaching. In 1891 Rev. Joe Waldron was pastor, and all lines of work flourishing. Rev. S. J. Nunn was pastor in 1892, and Bro. Waldrop went into the temperance work. At a meeting in April, upon an invitation to those who wanted to give themselves wholly to Jesus, over 30 from the Sunday school came forward.
For a couple of years or thereabouts, a mission Sunday school had been sustained at Montavilla by the Mount Tabor church, under the efficient management of Brother James C. Nicholson. The average attendance was over 60, and the culmination was the Montavilla church. In 1893 the school had contributed about $160 for self-support, library, and missions; about 20 per cent. of this was for beneficence. The Mount Tabor pastor preached for the people here on Thursday evenings. In 1894 Rev. S. J. Nunn. the city missionary, was pastor. The field, taking in Sellwood, was aided by the Home Mission Society. In 1895 Rev. N. S. Holcroft, from Kentucky was the pastor. The aid was from $200 to $300 a year, each church paying about the same. Brother Holcroft found the church with a debt that threatened to crush it. But this was paid, and a meeting-house built and furnished, costing $2,200 and seating 250. The Home Mission Society donated $300 and lent $900. The work was harmonious, and without fair; festival, or pay supper, the little church met the obligations. According to its members, it claims that it gave more to missions and beneficence than any other Baptist church in the state. It was receiving additions frequently, had a large Sunday school and a well attended prayer meeting. In 1898 it gave to missions and beneficence. Several members moved away, and Brother Holcroft found only 20 members. He received 49, 35 by baptism. He is still the pastor (1900). Some of the time he had another church or two in connection with the Grace Church, and sometimes not. The church most heartily cooperated with him in his work. In 1898 the church was weakened by removals, but pressed on with untiring zeal; it had 19 baptisms that year. The church maintained a steady and healthy growth in 1899, with continued additions; the outlook was promising, and all lines of work flourishing. This state of affairs continued through 1900, and the church was called upon to enlarge its building for preaching room.
Another mission Sunday school of the First Church was at Park Place (University Park), organized into a church by Brother C. A. Nutley, in 1894. He preached for it a couple of years, but it was weak and discouraged; 25 per cent. of its membership was non-resident, but it held on. Rev. J. T. Hoye was pastor in 1896, and then the church had no regular pastor till 1900, but was supplied by some of the city pastors. It was a delightful suburb, high, overlooking the city on one side, and a beautiful valley, covered with small fruit ranches, on the other side. Three lines of electric cars reach it and it is a very desirable place for a residence. The brethren have built a comfortable house, costing about $2,500, seating 300. It was dedicated in 1896. A. B. H. M. Society aided $250. In 1900 C. A. Nutley was ordained and called to the pastorate, and the outlook was encouraging. The church has no debt.
Bethel Church. 1882. (Gresham)
In February 1887, Rev. Gilman Kelley was licensed. The church came into the Willamette Association in 1883, but left that body and helped organize the Columbia River Association in 1885. In June, 1888, it reported as prosperous, and the outlook hopeful. Rev. J. M. Haskell was pastor, receiving $250 from church and $250 from H. M. Society, but he moved to Eastern Oregon in 1889. In 1892 the church returned to the Willamette Association without a pastor and much discouraged. Rev. George H. Brown was pastor in 1896 and 1897. J. B. Embree was licensed in 1896. The building was dilapidated, the membership scattered and discouraged. But Pastor Brown went to work quietly. He put new foundations under the house, thoroughly renovated the inside, raised the money and paid for it, and woke up the membership; until matters looked decidedly better. His preaching was well received, and there were additions, both by baptism and by letter. and the church was working unitedly. In 1900 it asked help of the Home Mission Society for Rev. N. S. Holcroft, the church to pay $60. The meeting-house, begun in 1886, was completed, mainly by the efforts of Deacon James Stott, who paid $500, and of Brother J. Cleveland, with much aid and labor donated. The building cost $1,000 and seats 200. The church has no debt, and it had very little aid except from the two brethren named. The entire property is worth $2,500. Gresham is a wide-awake village, twelve miles from Portland, with which it is connected by a motor line.
The First Sellwood. 1891
Six miles from Portland, up the Willamette river, on the east side, reached by a boat four times a day, and also by the electric line from Oregon City every 30 minutes, is Sellwood, a suburban town of some 1,500 people or more. Some hundreds of men go daily to Portland to work, and many a tired business man has his family residence in this delightful outskirt of the city. A revival commenced soon after the church's organization in 1891, conducted by Evangelist W. A. Lindsey. About 50 professed conversion within a month; 27 united with the church. The Mount Tabor and Calvary churches supplied it with preaching for a while, and in December Rev. T. J. Hoye became pastor. It had then secured and partly paid for a lot for a meeting house, and its membership had increased to 61. 41 by baptism. In June, 1892, Rev. May C. Jones and daughter held a protracted meeting with the church; there were 17 additions. and the church began to talk of building. It had raised almost $500 for building, but that was the limit. All was harmony and peace, and the church in a healthy condition. In the fall of 1893 Brother Hoye resigned, and Rev. Henry A. Barden supplied the church for some months. In 1894, Rev. N. S. Holcroft, under appointment of the Home Mission Society, took charge in connection with the church at Montavilla, and some other out-stations, and preached for it until 1896. But it was a hard struggle to live. During the hard times in 1893 and the years following the members were scattered, until finally so few were left (and they not in harmony) that in 1897 the church disbanded. The money which had been spent in repairing an old building for temporary use, and as part payment on a lot and small chapel, was all lost.
Montavilla. Grace. 1894
In 1894 the Executive Board of the State Convention voted with the City Mission Union of Portland in employing a city Missionary. The first appointed was Rev. S. J. Nunn, followed a few months later by Rev. N. Sydney Holcroft. The missions at Savier Street, Sellwood and Montavilla were first occupied. The young people's society of the First Church aided much in the Sunday school and devotional work at Savier Street, and the outlook was hopeful. Meetings well attended. They tried to build at Montavilla. Earnestness and activity promised success, and the progress was cheering; so much so that in 1895 Montavilla and Sellwood thought they could unite and with a little help support a pastor. But it was a heavier job than they had anticipated. In 1899 Mr. Holcroft was dividing his time between the two churches, with Park Place added. He was encouraged by 16 baptisms at Montavilla, but they had a debt of $750 for their pastor and had to call for help. The Sunday schools all were flourishing. So Brother Holcroft continued another year, reporting additions both by baptisms and letter, and Montavilla church changed its name to "The Grace Baptist Church of Portland."
First, Oregon City. 1847
The church at Oregon City almost from the first had more or less of mission schools, and some of them very prosperous, and baptisms not infrequent. In this work the young people's society has been very active. Brother James Hargreaves as a missionary colporter was traveling and distributing tracts and Bibles in districts that were without churches and had only occasionally preaching at the most. He reports his greatest obstacles to be an indifference to religious matters, with some scoffing, but this was fast being overcome and an interest created for good. Yet he says: "As I read the mission cry from foreign fields, of villages asking for teachers, and the disheartening reply that we have no money to send them, I have asked myself the question, Is it worse than to know that in this Christian land, a land of Bibles and of Christian privileges, we are without the means to care for those outlying districts away from the centers of population? In many of these communities the Sabbath is disregarded, and men and women have grown to years of maturity, indifferent, and oftentimes with the bitterest sentiments towards everything of a religious character. The work requires great patience, much prayer, persistent effort. and faithfulness."
For a few years there was some shifting of pastors in the Oregon City church, but Rev. C. C. Bateman says: "We are surrounded by evidence of the gracious presence of the Spirit in the conversion of many young persons. Never have we been happier and more contented in our home life than during our residence in Oregon City; never was a church more united on a pastor than it is on the present incumbent; never were the congregations larger, never were the departments of our work freer from friction." And the church reported itself in better condition spiritually and otherwise than ever before for active and aggressive work in the Master's vineyard. The net increase was 59 new converts. A young people's society was organized and soon had 100 members; they pledged $50 a year to support a lady missionary in Assam, and $100 for a missionary in Clackamas County. The A. B. H. M. Society gave $300 and the church expected to give $300 more for its work. The aggregate was over $1,600 for home missions, and about $650 for foreign missions; $40 was given to aid a student at McMinnville College. In the spring of 1881, Hon. F. O. McCown died. He was a great-hearted, earnest Christian man, and one of the main pillars of the church. But great interest was manifested both by the church and the community. Baptisms were frequent. The schools were wonderfully prosperous. The one in charge of Brother Cross numbered 74; some were received for baptism, and "more a coming. " Another Sunday school was started, also a branch of the young people's Society at Canemah. and a brother licensed and put into the missionary field.
At the roll call in 1893 the church reported $2,505.80 spent for beneficence and expenses, 100 new members in twenty months, and everything prosperous. Four missions were doing good work. The young people's societies were making rapid growth in spiritual knowledge and experience, being helped by Miss Addie Williams recently from the Training School in Chicago. Some were converted, others were strengthened. The junior class numbered 250. In January, 1896, all departments showed a good year's growth, and were in good condition for the labors of the coming year. Being straitened for room, Brother Cliff donated a lot worth $250 for a meeting-house, and the building (the second house) was enlarged to double its former capacity, so as to seat from 400 to 500, at a cost of $3,200. There was no debt. Oct. 31, 1896, Brother Parker resigned, but before he left the ladies aid society presented him with a fine quilt on which were the names of 516 friends, together with the outlines of the old building of 1894, and of the new one of 1895. This quilt, at ten cents a name netted the society $51.60, and is cherished by Brother Parker's family as an heirloom.
Rev. M. L. Rugg was the next pastor. The church had five regular Sunday schools, besides its societies and other agencies for effective work. At the annual meeting in 1896 the membership was 352, and during the year $4200 had been raised and expended, of which $325 was for home mission work. The Sunday school attendance had largely increased, and it was said to be the largest Sunday school in the State. All the societies were prosperous. The prayer meeting attendance averaged 100. The ladies' societies raised over $200. At a revival in 1896 Brother Rugg wrote: "It now looks as if God was going to save our entire school. Whole classes are being converted." Over 100 professed conversion. At the annual meeting in 1897 the church numbered 396. Of the increase, 49 were by baptism. The contributions were about $2,400. The total raised was $4,200, about $325 for home missions; the women's mission society raised about $100; the ladies' aid $115. The Sunday schools and societies were prosperous and growing. The Superintendent of the home school, Brother George Swope, was highly praised. About the first of June the church reported having raised over $450 for missions during the previous three months. It had also divided the city into seven districts under the supervision of the seven deacons of the church, to look after the sick and needy members of the church, as well as the derelict ones, and to make regular reports each month. It also kept in the lecture room good literature for free distribution among the congregation. A canvass was also to be made among the members to ascertain what literature was taken and read by the church.
The Semi-centennial Celebration of the church's organization was held July 17 and 18, 1897, at Gladstone Park, about two miles north of the city. Addresses were delivered by Miss Ackerman of the W. C. T . U., by Chaplain Bateman, on the first day; and on Sunday, Rev. A. W. Lamar, D. D., preached at the church in the forenoon; in the afternoon was a reunion of members and friends, and short addresses from some of the pioneers and others. The church was in fine condition for general rejoicing. "Its internal harmony and vigor, its extraordinary Sabbath schools, its home and foreign mission work, its thorough organization in every department of Christian work in accordance with the most effective modern methods," all gave cause for praise. The presence of the old pastors and members, some having reached their four-score years and even more, as well as the large attendance of the worthy children of the pioneer members only tended to intensify the good feeling. The outline history of the church, by Mrs. Julia Johnson, was excellent, and has been largely copied from for the present data.
In August, the church licensed brother V. E. Renton. During 1898, 1899 and 1900 there is but little to present outside of the regular work. The church was thriving. Early in 1898 Evangelist Gallahorn and Ledford held a series of meetings with the church and about 30 were received for baptism. In November Pastor Rugg offered his resignation. After Brother Rugg left, the church was ten months without a pastor, but its work was still prosecuted, though it lagged somewhat. Rev. J. H. Beaven accepted the pastorate early in 1900 at $1,000 a year, and $175 traveling expenses from Illinois. He soon gave new life to every department of the church work. No indebtedness troubled the church, and the outlook was very encouraging at the meeting of the Willamette Association in 1900. The two mission schools, and two home schools were fully alive, and all were contributing liberally for different lines of church work.
Calvary Church, The Dalles. 1888
The Calvary Church came into the Middle Oregon Association in 1889. Brother D. A. Lynch preached for it awhile, but in 1890 Rev. C. A. McIlroy was pastor and served it a year. Then it had no regular pastor, and from removals and other causes it became weak and its prospects discouraging; it did not report in the association, and little or nothing was heard from it for some time.
In the fall of 1894 Rev. W. H. Shearman visited it and reorganized it with 32 members September 30, 1894. giving it the name of "The Calvary Baptist Church of the Dalles." The church says: "We believe that the time has come when all true Baptists of The Dalles should organize for aggressive work, the promulgation of the gospel in its primitive purity, and the preservation of the ordinances as delivered by our Lord and Master to his church. And whereas such conditions exist, and have long existed in this city, that the cause of Christ has been retarded and his people have become a reproach, therefore. resolved that we organize for work." In its constitution, the church says its object is the "holding forth of the Word of Life to the world. the simple truth of the gospel, and the rejection of all human variations from the Word of God." Candidates could be received on "giving proof that, upon a saving faith they have been baptized by the authority of a true gospel church; all other so-called baptisms being rejected." Candidates cannot be received "when it is known that any absent member has objection." The church came into the Convention of the North Pacific Coast (formerly East Oregon Convention).Rev. J. H. Miller accepted the pastorate in December. Early in 1895 the church bought an old building of the Dalles Electric Light Company and made it a comfortable meeting house. The building cost, with labor in alterations, $989.30; but a debt of about one-half remained. The church gave the Baptist Sentinel a home "free of charge, so long as it swerved not from strict Baptist doctrine." Some candidates were rejected because of "alien immersions." In 1895 the church went into the Middle Oregon Association. In the fall of 1896 Brother Miller resigned and went to Heppner; and Rev. J. W. Oliver served the church for a few months; also others supplied it for a short time, but the membership was somewhat scattered, and the difficulties great. Rev. W. S. Wilburn was chosen pastor in 1897; he stayed one year. During the year the church bought the lot on which its building stood, and the work was harmonious, and the prospects more encouraging. Rev. W. B. Clifton, lately from Martin, Tennessee, was called to the pastorate, coming early in 1899, and is the present pastor (1900). In February 1899, Brother T. T. Hill was licensed. In April, the rule against "alien immersions" was re-affirmed. In the fall of 1899 the A. B. H. M. Society aided Pastor Clifton $150.
In the summer of 1900, it was decided to tear down the old building and build anew. The church was very enthusiastic and concluded to make the effort themselves, and succeeded, with some little help from outside brethren. The State Convention met with the church that fall, and the brethren contributed $80. The Methodists gave the church the use of their house while the new building was being erected. That summer C. P. Bailey assisted the pastor in a series of meetings, when there were several additions. The membership in June had increased to 84. The new house was dedicated January 27, 1901, Rev. Ray Palmer, of Portland, preaching the sermon. It cost $2,108, the debt being $181.85. Brother Clifton is well grounded in the affections of his people and stands high in the general community.
Note. The meeting house of the First Baptist Church of The Dalles was burned in 1891, but another was built soon after. Rev. O. D. Taylor preached for the church awhile, but later little is known of it. There has been little preaching in it for a long time and generally neither Taylor nor his church is spoken of in very glowing terms; he is said to claim the property. The church had dwindled and struggled till scarcely alive, when, in 1887; Rev. T. C. Baker accepted the pastorate for a year and then moved to Washington, and left Taylor in charge; but Taylor's efforts were useless and the church ultimately became extinct. It had considerable property but what became of it is unknown to the author. The Calvary church is now the only Baptist church at The Dalles.
Rev. W. H. Black was pastor in 1887 and 1888, $300 aid being granted by the Home Mission Board. During that time the church built a meeting-house costing $2,000 and seating 300. The summer following, Brother Black moved to Wallowa valley. Rev. D. T. Richards, lately from Iowa, succeeded him. aided $500 by the Home Mission Society for both Hillsboro and Forest Grove. In 1889 Brother Richards wrote to the Society that. "while perhaps Hillsboro church could not, under ordinary circumstances, be considered self-supporting, yet he did not feel at liberty longer to accept the aid at that place. They were in a very prosperous condition except financially, and he trusted ere long even this might be included. The Society would always find him a warm friend of that work." It was an example of noble self-sacrifice by both pastor and people. But Brother Richards resigned and left. He was followed by Rev. Joe Waldrop, lately from Kansas, at $800. His labors were blessed and at the association in June the church reported 29 additions; peace and harmony prevailed
Rev. W. A. Lindsey succeeded Brother Waldrop in 1891 at $600 and reported at the association 45 additions during the year. But he left, and the church had no pastor, though with encouraging prospects, until December, 1891, when Rev. A. A. Witham, from Washington. took the church at $450 paid by church, $300 by H. M. Society. Matters brightened. and confidence was restored. During eight years the church had had six pastors, and some peculiar vicissitudes, but all agreed that it had done some remarkably quick work where it was most needed. In 1893 no pastor. In 1894 Rev. E. F. Schofield came at $150 in connection with Forest Grove and other points, for about three years. In 1894 the church lost one of its main pillars in the death of Deacon R. D. Malone, who was justly ranked as one who could always be depended on. After Brother Schofield left, the church was supplied for a short time by students from McMinnville College, and in 1897 it reported 48 members. After that to 1900, its name is not in the minutes, yet 48 members should not disappear without cause.
Here is the first Baptist church on the railroad south of Portland. This used to be a flourishing church, having a good house and a congregation. It has had no pastor for two or three years, and no regular preaching for a long time. No one here even takes The Pacific Baptist (once that paper had a score or more of subscribers here); hence, the conditions of the church can be imagined. Something besides hard times has afflicted our people here. It is to be hoped they have a future as bright as the past has been dark, though that bright day has not yet dawned.
Note. Since the above was written the church has been resuscitated, and is now in a flourishing condition; Rev. J. F. Day, pastor ( 1902).
First Church of Forest Grove. 1852
If of any Baptist church of Oregon it can truly be said that it struggled most desperately for its very life for years, and finally died from abandonment and neglect, it is surely true of the church of Forest Grove.
Forest Grove is one of the most picturesque villages in Oregon. It is situated at the foothills, about 26 miles west of Portland, on a gentle declivity, on the West Side Railroad to Corvallis, about half-way between Portland and McMinnville. Its shaded avenues, large yards, and comfortable homes, and the influence of its fine school (the college and academy of the Congregationalists of Oregon) give it an air of cheer and refinement that makes it attractive to a cultivated taste. This place being the established seat of learning for the Congregationalists, it is but natural that it should command the favorable attention of that denomination. With the increase of their patronage of the schools, the predominating influence of the town was in that direction. Yet notwithstanding this, the Baptists, weak, and sometimes hardly alive, kept up their congregation, for nearly 50 years. With strong faith in God, trusting in his promises, even in their weakness they talked of being encouraged. In a letter to The Pacific Baptist in 1887, Mrs. Chandler said: "Our congregations are increasing. They are larger now than at any time for three years, and the attention given is encouraging."
In January 1888, Rev. W. H. Black thus writes in the Home Mission Monthly, concerning this field. To this favored county the writer came one year ago, then a licentiate, and, as he looked over the beautiful stretch of country, dotted with groves, farm-houses, and villages, and inhabited by an intelligent people, mostly unsaved, he was convinced of the importance of the field and his duty concerning it. The Baptist churches were without any supply, and there was not a Baptist minister in the county. The church at Hillsboro numbered eight; the one at Forest Grove, 26; badly scattered. The writer accepted as supply, until he could be ordained, at an anticipated salary of $250 a year. I preached once each month at each place, and the rest of the time I did evangelistic work in the country. I began a series of meetings early in the fall at Shadybrook, nine miles north of Hillsboro, held two weeks. Some 12 or 15 were converted. And during the fall and winter I held seven protracted meetings. God blessed our work in the saving of souls. There is much destitution in this part. One place where I held a meeting of twelve days, they told me they had no preaching for three years--not one sermon; and some had not been to church during that time. The church at Hillsboro has been greatly strengthened. There have been eleven accessions during the year. We are now building a house of worship, 32 x 60 feet, to cost $300; it is almost completed. Hillsboro is the county seat of Washington County, and a very important point. The church at Forest Grove has received six members during the year. There ought to be three active Baptist ministers in this county. I will continue to preach every evening during the fall at different places."
But in June. Brother Black moved to the Wallowa Valley in Eastern Oregon. For a little time the church obtained some aid from the Home Mission Society and different brethren with intervals between gave it a semi-monthly or bimonthly service for a short time each. It had no debt; it occasionally had some conversions. In May, 1892, Brother Witham, its pastor, held two special meetings, with nine additions. Brother Witham stayed about a year, and his labors were highly appreciated. The church built a parsonage costing $668, but $140 of this was debt. A mission had been established on Gales Creek, some time before, seven miles distant; five had been baptized there. In 1897 letters were granted to organize a church there, and the church felt that it could make rapid strides if it had twice-a-month preaching at about $50 to $80 or $90 a year; the remainder of time being given to Hillsboro, West Union, and outlying places without preaching.
Brother Witham resigned in the summer of 1893, and for several months the church had no pastor; then Rev. F. E. Schofield was appointed by the Home Mission Society for Forest Grove and Hillsboro, at $550 a year and the use of the parsonage, and he was to have one Sunday each month for the out-stations. He had a mission station at Gales Creek, about six miles distant. In 1894, $300 was asked from the Board, and $150 from the churches. In August Deacon B. H. Catching died. He was one of the constituent members, and 42 years an active deacon. C. H. Mattoon is the only constituent member of this church now living. In 1895 Brother Schofield was offered $130 a year, and the use of the parsonage; but he moved to Hillsboro in the fall, and the regular pastorate of this church terminated. He left it in a fairly healthy condition. After that the church did not report any pastor, except that in 1898 Rev. E. K. Chandler, D. D., of Bishop College, Texas, visited this coast and preached at Forest Grove four months, for $40 from the church and $60 from the Home Mission Society.
Report of the mission board of the State Convention for 1898 says, "The church is almost extinct, and the missionary advises no further money be expended. The property was to be deeded to the Convention to hold in trust to be disposed of and the money used elsewhere. Though the church was too poor to employ a pastor, and unable to obtain any help for some three years or more, and though its membership, from deaths, removals, or other causes, had dwindled to about one-half the number when Brother Schofield left, yet 17 members in 1898 raised $72 for their various lines of work. In 1899, 15 members raised $111.65; and though only 11 members remained in 1900, they reported $82.26 for beneficence and expenses. Since the church had a good house, seating 200, and parsonage, with no debt, it would seem as if, such a struggling, faithful band should be helped. But help being refused, the church could do no more, and its last letter to the Association tells its story of faithfulness even unto death: "During the last year we have done nothing for ourselves, but hope that we have laid plans that will benefit others in the future. We have deeded our church property to McMinnville College, with the condition that, when sold, they pay $500 to the American Baptist Mission Society for the Church Edifice Fund. We have given also one-half of our working members to other churches, hoping that they will carry on the Master's work more effectually in other fields than they have been able to do here. Mrs. S. C. Roberts, Church Clerk."
This was done by a vote of the church; any balance from the sale or use of the property was to be devoted to the aid of ministerial students in the junior or senior classes at McMinnville College, the principal remaining intact and to be known as "The George C. Chandler Fund." The books of the church were to be given to needy churches; the organ, lamps, etc., to the missionary societies. The church then gave each other letters, and disbanded, December 20, 1901. The property has since been sold.
First Astoria. 1877
From 1884 to 1887 the church at Astoria had no pastor, and its existence was checkered. At the first business meeting in 1887, only three members were present; four or five others came in shortly by letter. The pastorates were short and scattering. Some improvements were put on the property, and the aim was to pay at least half the pastor's salary, the balance coming from the Home Mission Society. The young people were especially active, and much good resulted. A Chinese school was started, and Brother Vantassel says: "Nothing undertaken has failed of the desired result. The people are surprised; they expected the church to die, and were looking for the denominations to divide up the flock among themselves; some of our best members have been importuned to unite with a certain church, as ours was going to pieces. But the funeral services have been postponed. Every indication is encouraging." In the fall, Miss Alice Voss visited the church in the interest of the women's work, and every department of church work was blessed by her coming; especially the Sunday school, the young people and the Chinese school.
Early in 1892 Brother Vantassel reviewed some of the changes in the church since his arrival. Forty had been added; among the new accessions were many earnest workers. The congregations averaged 40 in the morning, and about 75 in the evening. The Willamette Association met with the church that year, and proved a blessing to all. The church was prospering, and the pastor faithful. The contrast with the year before was very marked. Then there was no covenant meeting; now it was held monthly. Then there was no communion service. Then no officers; now a full corps, then no young people's society; now a flourishing Baptist Young People's Union. Then a decaying church, from which some were about taking their departure lest they should die with it; now a church full of life and promise. An especially fruitful revival meeting has held under the leadership of Evangelist George Robert Cairns.
But Brother Van Tassel left, and no pastor was reported in 1893, and at the association in 1894 the church said: "No pastor. Discouraged. But slowly pressing on." In the fall, Rev. L. T. Trumbull accepted the call and served the church until the present (1900). He found the church scattered and discouraged, but has succeeded admirably in calling them together again. For two years there was a steady and healthy growth, the attendance about doubled at all the services, and there were occasional baptisms. In 1897 the church greatly improved its house, making it one of the best in the city. It also had an increase of some valuable members. In 1898 and 1899, they were hopeful; every department active; $11.75 given by the young people's society to the India famine suffers. Property worth $4,000.
Maineville Baptist Church. 1897. Yankton
In The Home Mission Monthly Rev. L. W. Riley gave the following account of this church: "Some years ago a man by the name of Charles Tarbell, moved with his wife and children from Maine to 'Yankton,' as he called his new settlement, some 30 miles west of Portland, Oregon. Himself and wife devout Baptists, they brought their children up in the 'nurture and admonition of the Lord,' and this man and his wife, their son and his wife, and their daughter and her husband, with some help from the community, paid for the material and built the meeting house in which the Yankton church now worships. Almost the entire work, aside from that part which required the hands of several, was done by this man, now more than seventy years of age. He first put in over $100 in cash, and then needing more in order that there might be a house of worship in that community, he sold his only horse and means of travel for $50, and put that into more material which with his own hands was worked into the building. The new organ was also his gift. The bell, the song books, the pulpit Bible and some other necessities were the gifts of this devoted family.
"Everybody connected with the building, inside and out, was complete before the day set for the dedication. To the little church of twelve members that was indeed a glad day! And best of all, everything in and about the house, including organ, Bible, hymn books, and chandelier, was paid for before the day of dedication; and wonderful to relate in the history of Baptist church building, when the report of the building was read and the house formally turned over to the church, there was also turned over to the church treasurer a neat sum in hard cash, that the building committee had left after the last bill was paid!
"The house is carefully and substantially built, for it was built by those who expected to worship in it, and not by contract with men--rather by contract with God! It is beautiful within and without. The windows are stained glass, the floors oiled hard wood, and the seats are comfortable pews, made as was also the pulpit stand, by seventy-year-old Deacon Tarbell! It is worth noting that none of the dozen members is rich in this world's goods, and yet they asked no help, either gift or loan, from the Home Mission Society.
"Thus Father Tarbell and his family and church solved the building problem. The building, however, to them was not an end in itself, only a means to an end, the salvation of their kindred and neighbors! The next thing was a pastor, who was soon secured, Rev. E. A. Smith, a recent graduate of McMinnville College and an earnest seeker of souls. Then this consecrated 'father and mother in Israel' proceeded to solve the great problem that is furnishing the material for our religious newspapers and many of our sermons today. And who will say that they did not solve it? Each day at noon this aged couple toiled up the hill from their humble home and spent an hour together with God in prayer for those around them. Their godly lives had prepared the soil and sown much of the seed, and the Lord heard and answered their petition. As a result of the meeting held, in which the pastor was aided by Colporter J. L. Whirry and Rev. J. F. Day of Hillsboro several backsliders were reclaimed, the whole church was quickened and eleven young men and women stand approved for baptism. The one store in the little country community is now closed Sunday--not one of the least things accomplished by prayer!"
A Sunday School and a prayer meeting had been running at Yankton for over two years and both were in a flourishing condition. A church was organized, and mostly supplied with occasional preaching by some of the Portland pastors until 1897, then Rev. T. A. Fairchild became pastor. This county has some 60,000 inhabitants, and only one little Baptist church of 16 members in it, Brother Fairchild was hired for half his time and half his time was given to mission work, each paying $100; not obtained. He reports the field as a needy and important one. The county was fast filling up, and towns and villages needed the gospel. Two new churches were organized the year before on this field, and they had a few baptisms, and it was important that that county should have a missionary. But in 1899 and 1900 no pastor is reported. The church got some preaching from passing brethren, or from other denominations, and paid for it according to its ability. The church also paid $20 to the state convention, and $2 to foreign missions. It had a mission station at Tide Creek.
So far, the churches which represented in the association in 1900 have been noticed. They have also represented seven counties, as follows: Clatsop, 1; Columbia, 1, Washington, 2; Clackamas, 1; Wasco, 1; and Multnomah all the rest. These counties embrace a vast territory, and a heavy population, not counting Portland. To supply this (and other) destitution, district missionaries were sent out as itinerants--sometimes in one association; sometimes two or more, as men and means were available. The Willamette and the Central Associations united in employing Rev. A. W. Snyder for their point field. He was the choice of the Executive Board of the State Convention, who fixed his salary and directed his work. The association boards (if they had any) advised and recommended, and collected their pro rata of the salary. But the brethren generally agreed or submitted, though sometimes there was friction, especially if the missionary was acceptable to one association and not to the other. But this was usually only where strong partisanship prevailed, and crippled the usefulness of the missionary. Brother Snyder got along with but little friction, visiting several destitute fields. He baptized 21, reported 142 converts, helped organize a church, a Sunday school, and helped ordain a minister. Another year he baptized 29, and collected $300 for the Convention. Brother Snyder's entire time as a district missionary was one year and 39 weeks.
Close akin to the district missionaries was the city missionary. This office was first started in Portland as a timid venture in 1887. Under the skillful management of brethren Nunn and Holcroft, the office developed into a permanent necessity; and afterwards with the cooperation of the State Convention was one of the most efficient aids in the successful city work. Astoria needed a good pastor, and one had been secured, and it was hoped that all would unite in his support. The Failing fund of the Willamette Association at its meeting was designated for that field.
A few other localities can be enumerated. Ravenswood, at Logan, a few miles from Oregon City, had a fine new house, with Rev. James Hargreaves for a pastor. It was represented in the association for several years. Brother Hargreaves was compelled to move to another place to provide for his family; the church was allowed to die from neglect. It could not alone support a pastor. Middleton, on the Southern Pacific R. R., West Side, was once a thriving church; could not be helped, represented for a few years, dwindled and died; it had a good property. Sellwood, Laurel, Mount Olive, Gaston and Gales Creek once had Baptist churches, but they died from various causes or are in their dying struggles. No help; no one cares. But perhaps one of the most touching incidents of our history, was when the West Union Baptist Church, the first Baptist church on the entire Pacific coast, after a sleep of 26 years, without pastor or association representation, started again into life; there was left only one male member, who, receiving some others, applied for admission into the Willamette Association. But the brethren thought this was a little irregular and advised a council of recognition first. The council was held, but after two or three fruitless efforts the feeble few were unable to bear the burden, and sorrowfully relaxed their attempt.
Willamette Baptist Association. 1848
Nearly every church and all the associations urged the claims of the convention with which they were connected; systematic contributions by weekly offerings were generally the rule, especially in pastoral support. Every association had its pressing needs and destitute places, which were persistently crowded forward with all the zeal and energy possible; and the convention boards doubtless were often bewildered by the conditions presented. The question of which church to aid and which application to reject, as well as the sum to be allowed, often called for prayerful study. The conclusions were reached with difficulty and much hesitation. An illustration will show the attitude and trend of the associations. The Willamette Association had the interest of the "Failing Fund" to apply each year to aid some poor church, or needy part of the field. In 1889 it raised in all about $2,100 for mission work. In 1890 Portland had three missions besides the Chinese work, and expended $2,320 in mission work during the year, having employed a special missionary for its work. Besides these, it was largely interested in the Portland Baptist Mission Union work, with which the other city churches also cooperated, and which was most energetically prosecuted. So too Oregon City had three missions, and $100 pledged for missions in Clackamas county.
The importance of strategic points, and the consideration of the needs of the field were duly set forth in resolutions and reports. In 1891, the advisability of an evangelist in western Oregon was considered. Also the generosity of the American Baptist Home Mission Society and the State Convention was presented, and "recognized with the deepest gratitude, and generous financial cooperation and prayerful sympathy with the board was urged upon the churches." The 1,736 members had contributed $1,683.90, and the only church not contributing was not yet a month old. In 1893 ten of the seventeen churches in the association received aid from the American Baptist Home Mission Society. A new "plan" of work with the Convention was also adopted: that a committee be chosen to advise with the State Board relative to the work of the association.
In 1896 the association committee says: "The reports from the churches show an advance in benevolence over the past year, so far as some missions, foreign missions, and Publication Society are concerned, but a falling off in the offerings to education. The interest manifested in the young people's movement and Sunday schools is encouraging. The spirit of more aggressive work seems to pervade the churches as manifested in letters, but your committee is confronted with the discouraging feature of an unhealthy state in too many of our churches manifested in the short pastorates, not only in this association, but in our entire State Convention. In fact it has come to that point that a pastor cannot promise himself more than a twelve months' probation when he enters upon the most inviting fields of our land. Your committee would call attention to another point, where improvements are greatly needed-that of personal evangelistic work in communities adjacent to our churches."
The Association passed this resolution: "Resolved: That, as an association, we see the necessity of reaching out our influence and occupying our territory in the name of our Lord and Master, where as yet we have no foothold. And we would urge, and hereby pledge our cooperation and support, financial and otherwise, in the appointment and maintenance of such helpers as are demanded by the work, under the guidance and direction of our state missionary.--We much need some one to give his whole time to evangelistic work in the state, that our churches may be brought to a greater degree of strength, so that self-support and a more settled ministry may be secured. If the Convention can see its way clear to do so, we hope it will instruct its board to arrange with the Society for such an appointment. Such an appointment will make possible the strengthening of weak interests, and the encouragement of small churches, which now so much feel the need of settled pastors."
In his report for 1897 and 1898, the district missionary makes most pathetic appeals for the almost utterly destitute portions of his field. In 1898 a distinction is also recognized between home missions,--that is, the field and work of the Home Mission Society,--and state missions.
The following resolution was adopted in 1901: "Resolved: That we, the churches and pastors of this association, do hereby tender our services for special gospel work in any part of this field, subject to such arrangement as can be made through Geo. R. Varney, general missionary, who will act as secretary." The following recommendation also calls for study: "We urge upon the board and the executive committee the adoption, more and more, of the policy of seeking out the most important fields, and the best men, granting a living support, rather than scattering the money over other parts of the state of less promise. Better fewer missions with permanent pastors, than so many where the work is necessarily transient."
Columbia River Association. 1885
This association was composed of four churches in Washington and two in Oregon, all of which had belonged to the Willamette Association. They withdrew for substantially the same reasons as were given for the withdrawing of the churches for the Western Association; to-wit, they were ignorant and neglected. No records. but it was thus generally understood.
In 1887 the association made an unsuccessful effort to have itself attached to the Oregon State Convention for missionary purposes. It took an interest in all phases of religious work. At the different sessions facts were brought out which revealed the painful religious destitution within its bounds. Many of its churches had only an occasional visit from a preacher or missionary. Yet each church was recommended to take at least one collection each year for home missions. But the churches got no help. The association recommended our denominational work as did the other associations. All its ordained ministers were members of the association, ex-officio. In 1892, only four churches remained, and they decided with the utmost harmony to disband and let the churches go into such associations as they might choose. "It was presumed that the Washington churches would go into Washington associations, and the Oregon churches into Oregon associations." Thus ended the Columbia River Association. Of the four churches in Oregon, Gresham is the only one left, the other three having become extinct.
The associations, by resolutions or reports, all recommended all our denominational interests, and, except the Western Association, since 1899 have cooperated with the Oregon Baptist State Convention. Sometimes some of the feeble churches would get a little help from the Convention, but it was not kept up long enough to put them on solid footing. Some churches had to struggle hard against error rampant among its members. The Highland Church was troubled with Campbellism from its start, and with later fads since. It had, however, kept up a Sunday school with varying interests, when about 1890 it took a new impetus, and about 1894, under the labors of Brother William Rutherford and his wife, it numbered about 60. Rev. William Short, the pastor, waked up the church. It dismissed 12 members to organize another church some six miles distant. Among the converts baptized by him was Brother Charles Rutherford in 1889, who (with his wife) was sent as missionary to South India, being supported by the McMinnville Church. Brother Short was pastor of Highland Church until 1904, and Brother William Rutherford moved to McMinnville in 1905. The Sunday school soon after decided to go into a "union school" and the usual results of such a combination followed. The church was torn to pieces, and the deeds and titles to property were turned over to the trustees of the Oregon City Church, to be held in trust for a Baptist church, if any such should ever again be established in that locality.
Note: All this territory, both original and at the present time, was included in the Willamette Association, with some six or eight working Baptist churches. Now Gresham is the only one left of the old lot. But some fair meeting-houses still remain for everything but Baptist work.
The West Willamette Association
This association was not organized until a year or two in the next period, but to prevent mistakes as to positions it is mentioned here. The locality is as now. It takes in all the churches of the Central Association west of the Willamette river, except North Palestine. The division was for convenience in attending sessions. The east side kept the title, and both took some churches from adjoining associations. The West Willamette Association takes in Yamhill, Polk, Benton, Tillamook and Lincoln counties, and spreads from the Willamette river to the Pacific ocean.
First Baptist Church of Carlton. 1870
From 1886 to 1900 there was not in Oregon a more energetic and successful Baptist church than that at Carlton, if its enrollment, its ability and its opportunities are considered. Rev. W. E. McCutcheon was a quiet, reserved farmer, well educated at home, and a man who never boasted of his work. A sketch of his church shows his methods. In 1887 the church said it had everything to encourage it. It had more spirituality in its doings, and brighter activity was displayed. The pastor believed in systematic giving and the people came up to his standard very largely. The collections were from $10 to $100, averaging about $50, according to the object, or the time of the year. The principle was that all members of the church worked. In November it voted to drop all absentees for a year, unless they had a valid excuse. Brother McCutcheon was the beloved pastor until July, 1898, when, owing to feeble health. and many other duties developing upon him, he resigned.
(1) The work was done by the church. It planned and directed it all from start to finish. The pastor acted under its directions. The church established the stations, and watched over and controlled the work. (2) The funds all went into the treasury and were drawn out on the order of the church. The collections were all by the church, and for the church, and in this manner all the members became intensely interested. (3) It was very careful to establish mission stations, and when they were once decided on, the church worked for definite and tangible results. Thus the stations both at Mount Olive and at Chehalem Valley were nurtured until both became prosperous churches. The Chehalem church also established a mission station at Newberg, which culminated in a flourishing church at that place. (4) Being only in moderate circumstances, and the contributions comparatively small, great care was taken that every item of the work should produce the best possible results. Carlton in 1900 was a village of 300 or 400 inhabitants. But the work was thoroughly organized. There were monthly financial reports. and annual reports from all committees and officers. The ladies worked in an able society. There were regular solicitors for home and foreign missions, and careful attention was given to all lines of associational work.
The superintendent of the Sunday school (Brother C. G. Scott) had held his position about 15 years to 1900. In Brother McCutcheon's eighteen years' pastorate he baptized some 200 converts. He preached two Sundays in the month at Carlton, and two Sundays at mission stations of the church. His fifth Sunday was usually spent in training his people in temperance matters. For a while after his resignation, the Carlton pulpit was filled by students from McMinnville College. The church has ever been a friend of the college, and the Carlton community patronized it. In 1899 Rev. Lyman Munro, from Leesville, N. Y., was called to the pastorate, but stayed only a short time. In December, 1900, Rev. J. F. Day was called, and the outlook is good.
First Baptist Church of McMinnville. 1867
In 1886 the meeting-house was insured for $2,045. In 1887 it helped the Dayton church $80.75 in building. In April Brother Burchett resigned to go into the general missionary work. In June Rev. W. T. Jordan, from Wake Forest College, N. C., was chosen pastor at $850.00, and soon after took a wife from his flock. He stayed a year; then Professor Emanuel Northup preached a year. At a protracted meeting in February, 1889, 26 were baptized. The wheel plan of contribution was adopted. Rev. R. McKillop was the next pastor, at $1,000 a year. He was of Scotch descent. a Canadian by birth, a graduate of McGill University, and also of Rochester, N. Y. He came to McMinnville in November, 1889. He is an able man. and stands high as a preacher and as an educator. Early in 1890, Brother Paul Heinze was ordained; died the same year. The collections for the year were $1,455.32, and the church had to enlarge its house. Early in 1891 special services were held; more than 30 were baptized, 13 of these college students. The church approved of the appointment of Miss Ida Skinner as a foreign missionary of the American Baptist Missionary Union of Boston. In the winter of 1892-3 Brother McKillop resigned. About the same time a mission was established at Whiteson, and members received there. Rev. C. L. Bonham, of Rochester, N. Y. was pastor in 1893. In the same year one member was excluded for renting a room for a saloon; and another for Sabbath desecration, and not attending his church, nor aiding in its support, though abundantly able.
Rev. E. B. Pace. a graduate of Shurtleff College, Upper Alton, Illinois, and of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Louisville, Kentucky, was the next pastor, beginning his work in December, 1894. He was also spoken of as discreet and cautious, a careful student and a thoughtful preacher. His work was satisfactory, and the church prospered. At this time, a distinguishing feature of the church was its prayer meetings; largely attended and interesting. The teachers of the college set a good example to the students by their promptness in these meetings. The sisters had their meetings, average attendance about 25. The majority of the families in the church took a Baptist newspaper. At the close of the year the Baptist outlook in all directions was encouraging. The contributions for missions and beneficence had been 49.6% of the collections; that is, 115 members, and none of them paying taxes on over $5,000 worth of property, gave $1,861.76, and of this amount $946.15 was for the benevolent work of the church. In 1896 the rate proposed by the church for distribution of gifts was 10 per cent. for McMinnville College; 70 per cent. for church expenses; 7 per cent. each for foreign missions and home missions; and 5 per cent. for other purposes.
Rev. A. J. Hunsaker followed Brother Pace as pastor, serving with energy and efficiency. In February, 1897, Rev. R. W. King, from Ellensburg, Washington, came and held a series of meetings. Some 20 professed conversion, and several others were hopefully reclaimed. The experiences of converts were unmistakably clear. In March the church lost a valuable member in the death of Deacon Samuel Cozine. He was the first man baptized into a Baptist church on the Pacific coast by a Baptist minister, being baptized by Rev. Vincent Snelling into the Yamhill Church in 1846. When that church divided to organize McMinnville Church he came to McMinnville and was the senior deacon. He came to Oregon in 1843, and lived near McMinnville until his death. He and Hon. W. T. Newby were the proprietors of the town and they gave the first land to McMinnville College; Brother Cozine could always be depended upon in an emergency of either the church or the college. The same year it lost another choice member in the death of Brother O. E. Skinner, father of the missionary, Miss Ida. He was a strong pillar, who could always be relied on in all pertaining to the church. On June 2, 1897, Brother Alfred Huguelet was ordained, and called to the pastorate at Ashland.
In 1898 the church commenced revising its roll and, being straitened for room, built another meeting-house, costing $6,000, the American Baptist Home Mission Society giving $500. It was dedicated in January, 1899. In its letter to the association, the church speaks of "a higher standard of brotherly love and Christian usefulness than in the past. There was a marked increase of membership, and also of spiritual development and Christian labor." In its letter for 1900, the church said that all was prosperous. In August it decided to establish a mission in Gopher Valley, about seven miles from McMinnville. In the fall Brother King held a series of meetings there, at which several conversions were reported, and a mission station with some twelve or fourteen members was established. About the close of the year Brother King decided to go into the evangelistic work, and resigned as pastor after about four years' service. During this time, 113 had been added to the membership, of whom 47 were by baptism. In 1901 the church's beneficence included $779 for "Christian education." The church numbered about 250 members. President Boardman of the College was chosen as a permanent supply.
The Yamhill Church kept up a flourishing Sunday school and one or two missions, a woman's mission society gave from $75 to $100 a year for beneficent work besides its own home expenses. It never received any aid from any society, except a few tracts for its pastor in 1878, and was doing very well for a poor country church, with no rich member".
First Dayton. 1885
In December, 1887, Rev. G. J. Burchett having gone into the general missionary work, Rev. T. G. Brownson was chosen pastor and served the Dayton Church until 1893, preaching once a month. Dayton kept up a flourishing Sunday school and a weekly prayer meeting, and was forward in contributing for all benevolent work. The situation was full of promise. They were pleased with Brother Brownson. The meeting-house cost $1,800 and was raised by the members exclusively; it is centrally located, and well furnished. The ladies' aid society was one of the main factors in raising money. When Brother Brownson left, the church was without a pastor for about a year, Rev. A. J. Hunsaker is the present pastor (1900). There has been a slow, but steady increase and growth of the church from the first. Like the first Baptist church ever organized, it began with 12 members. No money is raised by fairs, festivals, or suppers, but by methods more after the style of the churches described in the New Testament history. It is located in Yamhill County, near what was the Narrow Gauge Railway, about seven miles east of McMinnville, in a town of about 600 people, the commercial center of a rich farming community. The church has about 50 members; the house seats 200; and has no debt. The property is worth $2000; the salary to pastors from $80 to $100. The church will incur no debts.
The Mount Olive and Chehalem Valley Churches were active and zealous of good works, the latter helping much to start the work at Newberg. Newberg Church was formerly an arm of West Chehalem Church. The latter church had bought an acre of ground within the city limits some time before, and Rev. W. E. McCutcheon preached there for a time. When the church organized, Brother Davis, the pastor, gave half his time to Amity. A Sunday school was started, and in August, 1891, the foundation of a house of worship was laid. On March 13, 1892, it was dedicated. It seated 200, cost $2,600, and with the help of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, which donated $400 and loaned $300, it is free from debt. The house was built by 17 members (none of them wealthy) and their friends. Brother Davis resigned and in June, 1893, Rev. Mark Noble came from Roseburg for three-fourths of his time; one-fourth was given Sherwood, a village a few miles distant. New members were added, and the condition much improved. In 1894 the contributions averaged about $12.50 per member. Early in 1895 special meetings were held, with several baptisms. The utmost harmony prevailed. Brother Noble was pastor of the church for two years and four months, when he resigned to go to Corvallis. In 1896, Rev. R. F. Jerard was pastor for 47 weeks; six members were received by letter; salary $275, received from the field. He preached also at Sherwood a part of the time. But on account of nervous prostration, he was compelled to resign. Rev. A. L. Black supplied the church in 1897 and 1898. Late in 1898, Rev. J. F. Day from Springfield came and preached until December 1900, when he resigned to go to Carlton, and was followed at Newberg by Rev. F. C. Stanard. Brother Day's entire time was given to the work at Newberg; received 15 members; 10 by baptism. Rev. J. F. Day was born in 1862, near Eugene, Oregon; learned the blacksmith trade, married in 1889; converted and commenced preaching in 1891. His first pastorate was at Prineville; he more than doubled its membership in one year. Then he was pastor at Springfield, and afterward missionary of the Corvallis Association. He next took charge of the churches at Springfield and Oakland; thence to Newberg.
Several adverse conditions made Amity struggle for life. Too many non-resident members was one. It had a few additions every year after 1887, but not much increase. The Sunday school prospered, with about 100 attendance. Rev. J. H. Douglas was pastor in 1900, the church barely holding its own but having some good workers. One of its best, Brother George Bell, was run over by a train in 1893. The church asked $400 of the Home Mission Society in 1888; the same in 1899 for Brother Wooddy; $250 for Brother Douglas in 1889; Brother Russ' salary averaged about $300 a year for half his time; Brother Baldwin's was $12 a trip from Independence. The church property was worth $2,500. It has a parsonage and two and a half acres of ground, besides the meeting-house and lot. It has 100 members, a united people, zealous of good works.
First Dallas. 1856
Frequent change of pastors and too many non-resident members were serious drawbacks on this church, but it struggled along dismissing about a dozen to organize at Oakdale and about the same number to organize at Fairview, mission stations five or six miles distant. Rev. J. W. Osborn and Rev. M. F. S. Henton followed each other as pastors, and preached for the church until 1883. The prayer meetings were kept up with good interest and a Bible reading each Tuesday evening during the winter; also a good Sunday school. After Brother Henton left, the church had no pastor for two or three years and was nearly dead when Mrs. Addie Williams Short came to Dallas. By her earnest preaching she created a stir among the dry bones. The Sunday school was reorganized. Rev. R. Y. Blalock was called to the pastorate for half his time. In 1899 Rev. A. T. Hunsaker, a missionary, came to Dallas. A series of meetings begun by Brother B. B. Jacques, of the chapel car, and continued by the general missionary, proved very helpful; 21 were added to the church and the house of worship was repaired at a cost of $325. The church has commanded the attention of the town; congregations are good. The total amount of money raised on the field for all purposes was $502.27 in 1900.
First Independence. Antioch. 1869
In February, 1887, the church extended an arm to Airlie, about 15 miles distant, and some converts were baptized. In March, Brother Osborn was called to preach twice a month. This was practically a renewed call to the pastorate, the first since the organization. Brother Hunsaker had been preaching one Sunday each month at Independence for some time, on his own responsibility; but now with his cordial consent, the church took up this work and assigned it to its pastor. Lots were secured in Independence for a meeting-house, and the first steps were taken in building it. The pastor and Brother Hunsaker held a series of meetings, 26 baptisms. In May the name of the church was changed to "The First Baptist Church of Independence." Brother Osborn still kept up his meetings at Airlie, receiving members there. His was one of the oldest pastorates in the state, and had always seemed satisfactory to all parties. He and his father served the church acceptably, from its organization, with no change of pastor for 19 years. The life of the church at times had been one of much opposition. Early in 1888 Rev. A. A. McLeod from Prince Edward's Island was chosen pastor and served the church until fall, when Rev. A. J. Hunsaker succeeded him. The work on the new meeting-house was pushed, and completed in January, 1889. It was of brick with a seating capacity of 350; and cost, including the grounds, $4,550. The American Baptist Home Mission Society donated $500. In the fall of 1889 a parsonage was built costing $1,000. In 1886 a Sunday school was organized at Oakview, and kept up by brother P. W. Haley, and after moving to Independence, another Sunday school was organized under the care of Brother A. S. Locke. At times the church had a third Sunday school under its supervision. Pastors and church were in full sympathy with all our denominational interests. In March 1889, 10 members were dismissed to organize a Baptist church at Airlie. On September 30, the church lost one of its most esteemed members in the death of Rev. Preston Holman (see Vol. I, Part II, The Third Period, Personal Sketches). In 1890 the church voted to refuse letters of dismission to those "whose subscriptions for church expenses or pastoral support were unpaid."
In January, 1891, it was voted to have preaching twice each Sabbath, and also to look after five mission stations (which were named). In 1892 the State Convention met with the church; Rev. C. M. Hill and the pastor held a revival meeting, at the close of the convention. There were 15 baptisms; 6 additions otherwise. In March, 1893, Brother Hunsaker resigned the pastorate, and entered upon the financial agency of McMinnville College. In September 1894, Rev. J. Fred Jenkins, from Otay, Calif., was called as pastor, and the church grew under his leadership, and it was thought that the house would have to be enlarged. This condition continued through the year. With a membership of about 120, the attendance at the prayer meetings often counted 75 or more; the Sunday school 200 or more. In July, 1895, Brother Jenkins resigned. During his pastorate 51 persons were added to the church. In November, Rev. W. T. Fleenor, from Seattle, Wash., was called. A writer in The Pacific Baptist about this time speaks of it as one of the best churches in the state. The church complained of lukewarmness in 1896, and it was said that only about half of the members would assist in paying its expenses. The church was trying to meet expenses without aid. The Sunday schools and Societies were doing well, but the spirituality was at a low ebb. Brother Fleenor resigned in July, and the church had no pastor until June, 1897, when Rev. A. L. Black, a student at McMinnville, was called. The parsonage was sold. Brother Black preached for the church about two years. He reorganized the societies and the prayer meetings, and the church began to show more signs of life. Early in 1899 Rev. Ray Palmer of the Second Church, Portland, began a series of meetings and much interest was manifested. Afterwards, Rev. R. W. King of McMinnville continued the meetings, and about 40 were added to the church, of whom 39 were baptized. On December 27, 1899, Brother R. E. Story was ordained. He was an Oregonian, but a graduate of Brown University, living at McMinnville temporarily, supplying President Brownson's classes. The prospects of a successful pastorate for Brother Story were bright, but he stayed only a few months, and was succeeded for a short time by Rev. H. B. Blood, a licentiate, and student at McMinnville. At the close of 1900 the church had no pastor.
Spring Valley. 1871
For the last twenty years or so the Baptist church of Spring Valley (Zena) was compelled to live along as best it could. Sometimes it had a pastor for a short time, but was not able alone to support a pastor, nor to obtain help. It averaged 20 to 25 members; farmers in moderate circumstances; some were non-residents. It lost two of its main standbys--Deacon B. F. McLench in 1892, and W. M. Walker in 1886. After this, the church dwindled till in 1890 it was nearly dead. But it has since been much built up by the efficient labors of Rev. W. J. Crawford, who lives in the neighborhood. The church is now in a healthy condition, and, according to its ability, ready to aid in all the benevolent enterprises of the denomination.
First Corvallis. 1851
The first Baptist effort in Corvallis was made in 1851. A meeting-house was built and 100 members gathered. In 1856 it dismissed about two-thirds of its members to organize the North Palestine church. The remnant died or moved away; two or three efforts were made to revive it, but with only temporary success. Then Rev. E. G. Wheeler, with the chapel car, came to Corvallis, and made another effort, being aided by Rev. C. M. Hill, the general missionary. They reorganized the church with nineteen members, to whom sixteen more were added under the labors of Rev. G. W. Donnell. Among these were some of the prominent citizens of Corvallis, and now the most pressing need of the church was an able and efficient pastor. Rev. W. D. Risley, a young brother just ordained by the North Palestine Church was called for a temporary supply for two Sundays each month. The Sunday school enrolled 60, and 16 of the church members were subscribers for The Pacific Baptis; Brother Risley resigned in November, 1891. In July following Rev. W. H. Dorward of Algina, Iowa, came to Corvallis, accepted the pastorate, and entered at once upon his labors. The church responded with a much larger support than they had ever before contributed. The new pastor entered heartily upon strengthening the things he found, and adding to them. The church had long owned a good lot, and now built a good tabernacle, which it used until better things could be devised. This was then looked upon as one of our most important fields, being a county town, with a rapidly growing fruit industry around it, and also the seat of the State Agricultural college, which was very prosperous. The outlook was most hopeful. But for some reason, Brother Dorward resigned and left for California in 1893, and in October 1893, Rev. Noble was chosen pastor; his salary was to be from $150 to $250 from the church, and the same sum from the American Baptist Home Mission Society, for all his time. He built a meeting-house costing $1,500, seating 250. A quiet and unassuming man, his pastorate was an encouraging one. He raised the standing of the church in the community, and had several cheering revivals, sometimes aided by neighboring pastors. Without being eloquent or profound, Brother Noble's utterances commanded attention and respect. Every one loved him; the children were his strong friends. He was pastor of a church in Nebraska 21 years; also pastor at Winlock, Wash., Roseburg, and Newberg in Oregon before coming to Corvallis. And here he was soon in hearty cooperation and harmony with his entire membership. Though the Baptist cause is yet small and comparatively weak, having only about 60 members (1900), yet the outlook is hopeful. The church received continuous aid from the American Baptist Home Mission Society from 1893 to 1900. The pastor stood well with the people, but opposition arose, and the so-called "popular" religious teaching, so detrimental to the progress of Baptist principles. A debt on the building was an annoyance, but the Home Mission Society assumed half of it; the church secured the other half, so that trouble was settled in 1899.
The Trouble in 1889
In 1889 the Central Association met at Brownsville, in Linn County. Perhaps the most sharply contested question before the body was the employment of an associational missionary. One party wished his chief attention to be given to the general destitution of the field ; the others wished to group the weaker churches and have the chief attention given to them. To add to the intensity of the discussion, two years before Rev. A. J. Hunsaker was the associational missionary, on the old plan of giving largely to the destitute sections. When he reported at the end of the year, he claimed 26 baptisms, and $400 collected from the field, but also secured the following action, giving as his reasons therefor, that the Board was not justified in spending so much of the Lord's money with so many more important points crying for aid: "Whereas this association deems it best not to sustain an associational missionary longer; therefore, Resolved: That we communicate this fact to the state mission board, and urge that Board to take into earnest consideration the destitute field of the Central Association, and if they can see their way to do so, to expend within the bounds of the association no less money than they were expending when they were helping to sustain an associational missionary."
Justice requires the statement that this was wholly an Oregon matter, for which the board in New York was in no way responsible. In addition to this, in 1898, President Brownson made a long report on the grouping of churches for pastoral work which was adopted in the Association, but was not applied to any great extent. It went too much into detail, specifying what churches should be grouped, and also the sum each should pay. The churches evidently regarded the settling of these details as their prerogative, and, with one or two exceptions, ignored his system. Yet, theoretically, it was probably as good a showing as could be made.
And a third item added to the complications. Some one accused the State Board or some of its officials or employees of abrogating an important rule in the annual appointment of the missionaries; and, when this was denied, and the book produced, and the rule found absent, under the excitement following the claim that the absence was due to an oversight in the transcription, the rule was completely ignored. The result was that strong churches from the very heart of the association on the west side of the Willamette river withdrew from the Central Association and with others organized "The Western Association," declaring that they could manage their own affairs, and would not be bossed by anybody. There are many thinking brethren that are fully satisfied that it was the intention of the author of the resolution of Brother Hunsaker in 1889, mentioned above, either to sellout the Central Association to the Convention, or to break it all to pieces. And it is this spirit that is the key note that actuates the hostility to both the Western Association and the Eastern Oregon Convention.
Western Baptist Association. 1889
Waldo Hills Baptist Church. 1862
In 1887 the church had preaching once a month; Rev. J. T. Huff, the pastor, also preaching for Shiloh, Stayton, and French Prairie. In 1885, the church reported itself unable to support a pastor, and Brother Huff was about to leave, but meetings were maintained regularly. It had a thriving Sunday school and every possible effort was made to keep alive the Baptist interest. In 1888 Rev. J. W. Osborn, Jr., served the church for a year. On August 3, 1889, Brother William Short was ordained, and served as pastor until 1891. The church helped organize the Western Association in 1889. Rev. D. A. Lynch was pastor in 1892. The same year it lost three of its efficient members: Brethren Thomas Patton, David Hurst and William Oeff--reliable, strong men. Rev. William Short was pastor in 1896, and Rev. W. W. Davis in 1899. Otherwise no reports until 1900. The meeting-house seats 300; the property is worth $1,200.
Stayton. 1851 (Formerly known as Lebanon and Sublimity.)
This was one of the earliest of Baptist churches in Oregon, but the organizing in Stayton, with the change of name, was not till 1872. Rev. William Jeter came to Oregon from Virginia in 1865, settling near Stayton, and for several years was the pastor of that church. His death was from cancer in the face; he was loved and honored. The church holds a fine property, and is usually one of the first to aid in denominational work when it meets with its approval. But the members are very tenacious of their rights, being ultra-Landmarkers, and affiliated with the Western Association, staying with it till it became extinct. They now are reported as affiliating with the State Convention.
This church is located about half way between Albany and Corvallis. It came into the Western Association in 1890. Deacon V. H. Caldwell and his wife and their family, were the main strength of the church for several years and kept it in a flourishing condition with Rev. William Short or Rev. C. H. Mattoon, preaching for it regularly. Brother Caldwell and his wife both died from cancer; his children married and are widely scattered, and the church has practically become extinct. Sometimes the Albany church makes the neighborhood a mission point.
Stayton, Waldo Hills, and Riverside, are all the churches east of the Willamette river which went with the division of the Central Association in 1889. The other churches all were on the opposite side of the river.
Lacreole and Its Missions
The Lacreole church in 1887 dismissed several members to organize a church at Zena (Spring Valley) about ten miles northeast, and about the same time it dismissed as many more to organize at Perrydale ( afterwards moved to Ballston), about ten miles northwest. But it was hopeful, and the prospects by no means discouraging; for Pastor J. W. Osborn was baptizing more or less at every meeting during the summer and the next spring he held a protracted meeting with 30 conversions. Though he entered the missionary work for the Western Association that summer, the church prospered and grew all this period.
In 1897 the Union Baptist Church ordained Brother M. F. S. Henton and called him to the pastorate. Of his field he says: "The membership is scattered nearly all over Oregon, which gives me a good chance to do mission work." In 1898 a mission station was established at Upper Willamina, which culminated into a church the next year. Brother Henton also had a mission station at Sheridan. His salary for once-a-month preaching was from $50 to $100 a year. The church takes two collections a year for both home missions and foreign missions. It has never been helped from abroad, nor has it ever knowingly received an "alien immersion." The chapel car evangelist came and held a series of meetings, baptized 11, and aroused considerable interest. The town also began to improve, some new Baptists came in, and the church had some growth. In 1900 it had no regular pastor, but it was a wide-awake church; it had a good house, costing $1,000, seating 250; a good Sunday school, and a good congregation. It had no debt.
Monmouth (Airlie). 1889
Rev. J. W. Osborn was pastor until 1892. The church went into the Western Association in the fall of 1889. In May, 1891, a revival meeting was held by Brother Pewtherer and help; 19 additions. In July 1891, seven members were dismissed to organize a new church in Benton County, and in December the place of meeting was changed to Monmouth, about ten miles distant. Soon after the name changed to suit. Although Brother Osborn had tendered his resignation as pastor early in 1892, he continued to preach for the church twice every Sunday until it could get a pastor. Early in the year the church concluded to build, and pushed the work with such vigor that in December the building was finished, with no debt. In January, 1893, Brother Arthur Royse, a licentiate, was elected, and ordained in April. A Sunday school and other lines of work were duly started, and regular services of some kind were held every Sunday. In November, 1894, Brother Royse resigned, Rev. W. H. Sherman was called, but as he was also the general missionary for the North Pacific Coast Convention, he could give only about one-fourth of his time to the church. In April, 1895, it was voted to take collections on the second Sunday in March, June, September, and December for The Baptist Sentinel, a paper published for the North Pacific Coast Convention. During 1897 Deacon C. LeMasters gave a series of lectures on church history, which were very edifying to the church. In July, 1899, it was resolved to put The Baptist Sentinel into every family in the church, not already a subscriber. Sherman left. No one mourned. Rev. William Short is now the pastor (1900). The church is in a fair condition.
The Alseya Baptist Church (organized in 1868) had become practically extinct, but was reorganized in 1890 by Rev. J. W. Osborn.--He and two or three other ministers preached for the church a year or two each, or held a protracted meeting with it occasionally. The Alseya Valley is surrounded by the Coast Mountains, and is twenty miles from any railroad. It has probably 250 families, but little interest, and the church is small. But the church has lately roused one able preacher to its rescue, Rev. W. W. Davis. He and his father were both members of the Evangelical Association. The son, by the Bible alone, became a Baptist and was preaching the true Bible faith for nearly a year before he knew it. He was ordained in 1897. He is winning and attractive in his manner, with intelligence to command attention and respect.
Leaving the Alseya valley, we come over the mountain to Phillomath, and to the railroad for the Yaquina, and in about 60 miles reach Toledo, the county seat of Lincoln County. About 1890, Rev. G. W. Pewtherer visited the place, and, finding a few Baptists, organized a little church. With Rev. L. E. Butler, a Baptist minister living here, in charge. But two or three years later Brother Butler moved away. The church at Toledo was poor; they had no buildings. From neglect it died and has never been looked after since. About the same time Brother Pewtherer went down the coast about 12 miles to a settlement on Beaver Creek, and finding a dozen or more Baptists organized a church there. The brethren appeared to be a zealous body, and was represented in the Western Association, as was Toledo, at much sacrifice. They were poor, and for a while traveled on foot from 60 to 70 miles (according to the locality) to meet the brethren. This was continued for several years. Occasionally one of our pioneer Baptist ministers would visit them, and joyous meetings would result.
Little by little the members faded away, no able man caring for them. If at this time there is a Baptist church in Lincoln county it has not been reported, and this is a well settled section of our country and with as inviting encouragement as any of our new settlements.
(Since this was written, we have read in the papers that a Baptist church has been organized at Newport, on the Yaquina Bay.)
Gopher Valley Tillamook
But Lincoln county is not the only place containing needy corners. South from Washington county are Yamhill, Polk and Benton counties, containing 1500 square miles and 35,000 population. They have 19 churches, 1 German; counting the students for the ministry at McMinnville College, they have about the same number of ministers. About half the churches are fairly living; the others struggle along as best they can. Some of them do not see the face of a Baptist minister more than once or twice a year, and some not even that. Next to the foothills and away from the railroads are sections with quite a number of scattered Baptists, which, since the old pioneer preachers have died or moved away, are never visited, unless by stray colporter once a year or two.
The field I here present is perhaps the most thickly settled with Baptists of any in the whole state, and yet in this territory that seems to be so well covered by our churches we have many places of actual destitution, so much so that in the beautiful valleys, of which there are many, leading up into the Coast range of mountains and in some of the more thickly settled portions of the land beyond, there is little or no preaching of the Gospel. In a number of instances they have been found those of the age of 14 to 20 who have never heard a sermon. Leaving out the great field of destitution on the west of the Coast range, here are no less than 30 points in as many valleys, with a population ranging from 100 to 300 people, where a preaching station could be maintained and with good results
Gopher Valley, with many encouraging features, and only about 8 to 10 miles from McMinnville, with its church of about 500 members, and a score of Baptist students in the College preparing for a Baptist ministry, has been allowed to become extinct.
So far as known, the first Baptist church in Tillamook County was organized at the Beaver Schoolhouse, with ten members, by Revs. William Bailey and H. C. Weaver, in April 1893. The brethren had a hard time in reaching the place and had to travel on foot the most of the ways. It took them two days to get through over the mountains, by trails muddy and dangerous, but they met such a cordial welcome that they were glad they had ventured through. A meeting was begun at once, and the organization of the Nestucca Baptist Church was the result. Two more were baptized before the meeting closed. Two deacons were chosen and ordained, and the church was left in a fair working condition. But the preachers left, and the church was never represented by messengers in any association because of the hard labor in getting over the mountains. Rev. C. A. Nutley, the colporter, visited the place in 1896, and says that owing to removals, the church had "suspended animation."
Mount Hebo. 1893
Immediately after organizing the First Nestucca Church, Revs. Wm. Bailey and H. C. Weaver started another meeting at the Knifong Schoolhouse, on the north side of the Big Nestucca river, and organized the Mount Hebo church. At the same meeting 12 were received for Baptism. A deacon was chosen and ordained; Bailey was chosen pastor; and a Sunday school organized. The church came into the Western Association. It had quite a revival in the spring of 1897; 15 additions, and several conversions. It sent its foreign mission collection direct to some chosen missionary. In 1898 it had no pastor, and in the winter of 1898-9 a terrible trouble arose, which broke up the church. Such members as chose united with the Nestucca Bay Church, lately organized. But this church was so far distant, and the difficulties in reaching the place so great, that it had very little preaching until 1898, when Rev. G. W. Pewtherer visited it and held a series of meetings, which encouraged the brethren very much. Bailey and Weaver had left. The same year Rev. R. Y. Blalock was called to the pastorate, and one of the first things he did was to call one of the lambs of the flock to help him. In 1899, the name of the church was changed to "Cloverdale" and then it built a meeting house and Brother James Dawson was licensed. Brother Blalock is the pastor, but the brethren are poor, and the church has many difficulties to contend with, and with little or no help.