The Western Association was organized at LaCreole Church, in Polk county. It was composed of five churches dismissed from the Central Association for that purpose, and two new churches, six ordained ministers, two licentiates, and 419 members. Officers were chosen by ballot, without nominations. In their views and practice the churches were Landmark; on that question, the association expressed itself in its constitution: "No church shall be received into this body, which shall persist in the practice of receiving into its membership persons upon what are usually denominated alien immersions."
Yet the Association voted to correspond with sister associations, and not a hint was given of a desire to secede or withdraw from the denomination. The methods and plans for mission work were substantially the same as in the other associations and there was no change whatever in the Articles of Faith or in the practice of any church which went into the new organization. But the association did its own work and did not cooperate with the State Convention. It also had what are called Fifth Sunday meetings. What reason is given for a half-dozen churches from Central Association thus breaking off from the other brethren to work by themselves?
The Pacific Baptist of March 22, 1894, says that "the reasons for this movement" were substantially "the Landmark issues." But as above stated, the churches made no changes as to faith or practice; so far as this question was concerned they continued to practice as they had before practiced. There was no contention in any of the churches, nor had there been for years, over an effort to bring in a member on an alien immersion. The question was not hinted at in the organization. But in The Baptist Sentinel of June 15, 1889, Rev. J. W. Osborn, who perhaps had as much to do with working up the new organization as anyone, hints at what was claimed as the true cause: "From all these things we concluded that if we are to have our destitution in the country places supplied, we must do it by some other agency than our state organization. We need, and I think will have, a new organization of our missionary work, but as our association (the Central) has accepted this other way as recommended last June, we will doubtless have to form a new one." This "other way" alluded to, was a system of grouping the churches and employing a pastor for each group; recommended by president Brownson of McMinnville, in 1888. Again, in his inaugural address, as moderator of the new association, in giving reasons for the organization, Brother Osborn says: "This association is not organized for the purpose of declaring any non-fellowship or of doing any injury to any man or set of men; or of doing harm to any of our Baptist institutions, but for the purpose of doing a missionary work that we cannot have done by and of our Baptist institutions in this country. The executive committee of our Board of Managers of the State Convention passed a rule that cut off associational missionary work. Also their rule states that they will give aid only to those settled as pastors of churches. Thus the country churches and destitute places are left to do for themselves as best they can. This rule, if carried out, will lead to the killing off of the country churches and home talent in general. In accordance with this rule the missionary work of the Central Association was taken up in 1888, and no work is being done by the Home Mission Society on the field except what has been done by some general missionary traveling through the country. No Home mission money is being expended in this part of the country. There have not been ten cents expended in Polk county; nor in Marion county, outside of Albany; none in Linn county; nor in Benton, nor in Lane counties except in Eugene. These counties contain 11,975 square miles, and 79,909 population. What is still more from the indications, their executive committee will not change their policy: as published in The Pacific Baptist of .July 11, 1889, the policy seems to be to antagonize the country churches and places. From all these things it is plain enough that if we have any missionary work in our small and weak churches and rural districts we will have to do it ourselves." And so late as 1900 a correspondent of the Pacific Baptist forcibly says: "We have grand preachers in the cities and towns who are able to preach the truth, and who simply preach for one church. The rest of their time should be made good use of by preaching to those people who do not have the gospel preached to them. The pastors in these cities get, as a rule, from $800 to $1,500 a year. The church membership in these churches runs from 125 to 600. Could not this number of people easily support one man? Certainly. On the other hand, in Eastern Oregon we find the church members, usually about ten or a dozen to 50, scattered all over the country, and no one or two churches able to keep a pastor. Look at the destitution in these parts--the people who never hear the gospel; children who never were in a Sunday school; preachers who travel from 1,200 to 1,800 miles a year preaching in schoolhouses and way places to weak churches, for seldom more than $300 or possibly $500 a year. Making long horseback trips, sacrificing their lives, giving up home and family for the cause of Christ; churches, dying for the want of pastors. Who needs help? Is it the large cities, or is it the destitute field where preachers are scarce?"
The Western Association was organized as a missionary body, for purely missionary purposes, and the Landmark question had nothing to do with it, unless incidentally. By making large sacrifices, it kept one or two missionaries much of the time, supplying the destitution partially. But aside from their statistics, the reports are scanty; hard work; small pay; feeble returns; almost despairing laborers. Some of the churches helped nobly; some were slack. Some active members died. About 40 or 50 messengers attended the association, a fair representation of the working force. They had about a dozen ordained ministers; two or three superannuated. Yet in seven years they doubled their membership, their meeting houses, their organizations, and were pushing ahead as if they meant business. I take some clippings from the report of their missionary, Rev. G. W. Pewtherer, in 1896: "The divine blessing has rested on our mission work. Our means have been limited, impediments many; but the blessings have been abundant. Some important facts have afforded strength and consolation. (1) The assurance that our plans harmonize with the Scriptures. The work has been placed substantially into the hands of the churches; even if some are a little short, the plan is right; and these churches will fall into line as it becomes better understood. (2) Ardent prayers of brethren and sisters followed the work of the missionary and availed much with God in behalf of the same. (3) The assurance that brethren and sisters in these times of financial depression were giving of their means prompted by love of God. During the year I have held protracted meetings at the following points: Beaver Creek, Yaquina City, Rock Creek, Lower Willamina and Highland, in all of which there were professions of faith in Christ, also several backsliders reclaimed, numbering in all 35 or 40 persons. I have personally baptized 21 during this time. I have for associational Missions $188.02."
But even in their straitened circumstances, home missions, foreign missions, denominational literature, and education all demanded earnest attention. The Western Association did its own work, not cooperating with any convention or society until 1893, when it went into the East Oregon Convention and generally sustained the most of the work of that body during its existence. Its missionaries were Revs. J. W. Osburn, G. W. Pewtherer, William Bailey, and William Short, and it has kept one or more of them in the field the most of the time since its organization. Its plan admits of no debts.
In 1891 the following report on home missions gives the first allusion to the Landmark question by this association as a cause for separate work:
"In view of the great need of missionary work being done in our country and as God has seen fit to bless our associational missionary work during the past year, and as there is no missionary organization that we know of that will give aid to associational missionaries, we feel that we must, under God, carry on this work alone. We would recommend that the work be continued in a similar manner during the incoming year, as it has been done during the past. Believing as we do that the missionary work being done by our Baptist State Convention of Oregon, is, to a great extent, that of supporting men or aiding churches that persist in receiving persons into their fellowship upon alien immersions, which course we fear would lead to apostatizing from the true faith of the Gospel, we would recommend the organization of a more general missionary work for this North Pacific coast, based upon the strict principles and practices of Baptists."
The reports of the missionaries show a good work done, but the field was large, the demands urgent, and the laborers few. Sometimes the brethren complained of apathy. In 1900 the work was largely given to Tillamook county. But Brother Pewtherer, aided by Rev. R. Y. Blalock, reported good results. The association is not now connected with any outside agency in its mission work. In foreign missions, it recommends sending contributions to Rev. J. B. Dalles, of Chinkiang, China, direct. On the State of Religion it makes the following report: "While the state of religion is never as high as it should be, or as high as we might make it, we believe we should not be discouraged, as the indications in spiritual life and progress seem to us far in advance of what they were one year ago. Our fifth Sunday meetings have been gloriously successful, and the attendance of messengers at the associational gatherings speaks much toward a moving onward. The hopeful progress of Brother Russell's coming to be with us and labor on our field is encouraging." The association was crowding its mission work within its bounds to the best of its ability up to 1901.
The Western Association has about a dozen and a half churches scattered all through what was formerly the field of the Central Association. from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific ocean. About one-half of its members are quite poor: the others are mostly well-to-do farmers. Except at Stayton and Monmouth, the churches are all in the county.
The Central Baptist Association. 1857
At first the Central Baptist Association included the Baptist churches in Yamhill, Polk, Benton, Marion and Linn Counties; the heart of the Willamette Valley and between the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, though two or three churches for some special reasons of their own occasionally shifted back and forth from the Willamette or the Corvallis Associations to the Central, or vice versa. But these changes were only temporary. McMinnville College was its special protege until comparatively lately.
First Baptist Church, Salem. 1859
For the first two or three years of this period the church had no regular pastor, though the meetings were kept up regularly. In 1889, Rev. Robert Whitaker was chosen pastor and the church prospered under his ministrations. Brother Whitaker was popular in the city, and beloved by the church. He was young, talented, scholarly, devoted, one of our best preachers, with clear analysis, and precise expression. His church was pure, harmonious, and actively zealous. Under these circumstances, it began to talk of building: a new $10,000 meeting house. It was delayed. The letter of the church to the Association in 1891 said: "Baptismal waters frequently troubled. Hand of fellowship given to new members at every communion service. Increased growth and efficiency characterized the Sunday school." In December, 1891, the Evangel Sunday School of New Park was organized by Rev. E. G. Wheeler of the chapel car, the officers being then from the First Church. The church grew in 1892 and 1893 also. Then Brother Whitaker resigned, and Rev. M. L. Rugg, of Victoria, B. C., succeeded him. Prosperity continued, and some work was done on the new house. Brother Rugg resigned to go to Oregon City, and was followed in May, 1895 by Rev. J. P. Farmer, from Cheyenne, Wyoming. A thorough architect and builder, he carefully supervised the work on the building and made the house a model of convenience. When completed it was the largest and handsomest church in the city, and the second-best Baptist meeting-house in the state. The audience room is 60 feet square, with octagonal ceiling, and a beautiful dome window in the center. The old church building is joined at the back to the main audience room by folding doors. By utilizing two class rooms still further back, 1,000 persons can be seated facing the pulpit. There are several memorial windows. The church has eleven rooms. The parsonage is just north, and is the gift of deacon R. C. Kinney. The cost of the church edifice was $10,500. It was dedicated on Sunday morning, October 6, 1895, the sermon being by Rev. Roland D. Grant, D. D., of Portland. A $3,500 debt was secured in about twenty minutes ($1,200 by a mortgage). At a meeting in the afternoon, congratulations were offered by the pastors of the city and others, and an eloquent sermon was preached by Dr. Grant in the evening. Brother Farmer had several baptisms, but no special in-gathering. The Sunday school sustained its interest, a boys' brigade was formed, the young people's society was active and enthusiastic in all departments of work.
The later rules, adopted in 1885, required an applicant for membership to subscribe to the following: "Having been led by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior, and accepting your covenant and articles of faith as an expression of Christian life and belief, I freely make application for membership with you by (baptism, experience, letter or restoration). If received into your fellowship, I shall endeavor to maintain a Christian life in the sight of God and man; to be faithful in my attendance upon the services of worship in connection with the church, so far as the providence of God will permit; to study to promote her peace; labor to advance her prosperity, and to contribute conscientiously according to my ability in the manner prescribed by the church, towards maintaining her financial interests, and the cause of Christ at large."
Shade and sunlight alternated, but God led the church. Deacon Berry, an old reliable standby, died. Brother Farmer was pastor for two years. Rev. A. W. Lindsey followed him in 1897, with Rev. C. B. Bacon in 1898. In the fall Brother Bacon resigned on account of poor health. Of the total membership in 1898 (343), 94, were nonresident. In December, 1898, Rev. Ronald McKillop was chosen pastor, and is still the pastor (1900). In 1899 the church had frequent accessions; among others, a Chinaman. A son of Pastor McKillop was instantly killed by a live wire. The loss of Deacon Kay was most severely felt. He was a strong pillar; faithful, liberal, prompt in his attendance, helpful in his testimonies. By him, perhaps, more than by any other single member, from the first of the building movement till he was laid away by sickness, was this splendid enterprise made possible.
The Home Mission Society gave $1,000 and the last day of 1900 the church had a "high day" in burning all the notes and mortgages held against it. A splendid program of addresses, instrumental and vocal music, and literary numbers was enjoyed, followed by the burning of the church mortgage. Pastor McKillop, Dr. S. R. Jessup, Deacons Kay and Gile, and in fact the entire church had worked hard for this consummation. In March, 1900, Mr. James Edmunds, the Sunday school missionary, held a Sunday school institute with the church. The same month, Rev. Ray Palmer of Portland held special services for two weeks. There were 25 additions. At the annual meetings, June 14, 1900, the total expenditures of the church for the year were shown to have been $4,678.85, exclusive of the woman's missions, the Sunday school, and the Young People's expenses. The church work was all prospering. Membership 379; non-residents, 129.
Leaving Salem, about three miles north from its first Baptist meeting-house, but really in the suburbs of the city, we reach the Haysville Church, built in 1888. This church has been active and prosperous by the loyalty and energies of the children of Deacon Adam Stephens, now gone to his rest. This house is but a fitting memorial of his love, and it is reported that the Salem brethren have always an eye to its welfare. In 1900 it was a live, active Baptist church.
Some Struggling Churches
But while much aggressive work was done by many of the abler churches, there remained a large percentage of churches which could barely hold their own; and some became extinct. Some prospered after hard struggling. One of the most serious and perplexing difficulties arose from the large accumulation of the non-resident membership. Different inducements called brethren away, and they are gone, no one knows where. The evil existed with our most prosperous churches. Providence at one time dropped 50 and the clerk declared that 50 more ought to be dropped. North Palestine for several years carried from 100 to 125. At last it wrote to all the members it could find to report in three months, or their names would be dropped; 15 reported and one of the deacons said "they then found out they could do something!" Nor were these exceptional cases. Of late, many of our churches have adopted a rule to drop all not reporting for a year. The evil has broken up many a feeble church and crippled many others. Again, many of our feeble churches have died from deaths or dismissals, especially so among the smaller country churches.
In 1886 the French Prairie Church was struggling for life. In 1887 Rev. J. T. Huff, aided by the Home Mission Society, took the charge of Waldo Hills, Stayton, Shiloh (Turner), and French Prairie (Gervais) churches, and preached for them some two or three years, laboring hard for their up building. The church built a meeting-house at Waconda, moved it a mile to Gervais, on the railroad, and then built a little parsonage for their minister. But afterwards the most of the old members died or left, and the younger ones lost interest. Brother Huff got old, feeble, and poor and was sent to the ministers' home near Philadelphia, Pa., and died there. But with a little help the church still struggled on, and in 1894 Rev. J. H. Hargreaves was preaching. His support was not large, but the pastor faithfully gave himself to his work. Gervais is a Roman Catholic community and the progress was slow, but that there was any at all is a cause for rejoicing. Brother Hargreaves went elsewhere after the first year and the church found it difficult to meet the bills. About 1900 the French Prairie Church disbanded, sold its meeting-house and turned its parsonage over to the Oregon Baptist State Convention in trust for any future church in that vicinity. It has since been sold.
In 1892, Rev. G. W. Donnell, the district missionary, said the Shiloh Church (organized 1850) was nearly paralyzed by the death of some of its most active members, and without a pastor; but it struggled along for three or four years. In January, 1898, they say: "Our Sunday school is in a prosperous condition. The pastor, Rev. D. C. Williams, is greeted with growing congregations. The church has 20 members; 11 of them non-resident; its property is worth $1,200; its Sunday school enrollment 62; collections--expenses $20.00, for American Baptist Publication Society $2.72; for pastor $30," In 1899 and 1900 there were no reports, Brother Williams having left, but the few brethren still left held on, and say they had no intention of giving up the struggle. They bravely contended far into the next period but some died, and some who were good helpers moved away, and finally their experience was similar to that of Gervais; only they did not sell their house, which has become the gathering place for any and all but Baptists. The church has all "gone home" or migrated.
Located at Enger, on HoweIl Prairie, in Marion County, about ten miles east of Salem, was organized with ten members by Rev. Gilman Parker, Brother Charles Short, and Miss Addie Williams, July 8, 1895. Strictly speaking we might say there were over 50 persons in the organization, as the church was the result of a meeting held by Sister Williams, a graduate of the Training School at Chicago, and Brother Short, a licentiate, at which between 50 and 60 persons were baptized. Brother Parker was called in to assist in putting things in order. This was probably one of the most remarkable meetings ever held in Oregon. Howell Prairie is one of the richest communities in the state, owned by thrifty farmers. Until Miss Williams came, no church of any denomination had ever been able to get any permanent foothold, but she and her aids appeared to sweep the entire community as by storm. Yet it was a quiet, orderly meeting; it was the simple presentation of the truth, backed by the Holy Spirit. Arrangements were at once made for building. Lots were donated and plans made. On the day the church was recognized 39 candidates were baptized, by Brother Parker. The church started out with 57 members and $400 subscribed for a meeting-house. Early in January, 1896, the house was dedicated. It is a plain, substantial building, 34 x 50 feet, and costing, between $800 and $1,000, the Home Mission Society donating $100. In May, 1896, Rev. J. M. Hood, a late arrival from Iowa, accepted the pastorate, also giving one-fourth of his time to each of the churches at Noble and Gervis, but he died in the fall. He was man of marked fidelity in the ministry. Many souls were born into the kingdom under his preaching. He was about 70 years old; over 40 years in the ministry. The church voted to ask admission into the Willamette Association, but went into the Central in 1897, with Mrs. Addie (Williams) Short as Pastor. After that year no report found concerning it. Cause unknown.
Noble Baptist Church. 1895
About ten miles east of Silverton, in Marion County, was organized with 12 members by Revs, J. H. Hargreaves and Gilman Parker, March 31, 1895. Brother Hargreaves continued the meeting and the church started out with encouraging prospects. Baptisms occasionally during the summer. Rev. A. L. Black was pastor in 1896 and some special meetings were held that year with 14 baptisms. Data since very scattering, though the church was trying to hold its own.
Counting the two or three Baptist churches last named in our closing period, we find in 1910, in Marion County, outside of foreign Baptists (considered further on) , only three American Baptist churches organized for regular work; to wit, Haysville, First Salem, and Stayton. So far as we know, no Baptists are making any effort whatever to engage in such work. So we will cross the Santiam River at Stayton and see what the Baptists of Linn County are trying to do.
Is a lively little village on a branch of the Santiam River. The Baptist church has been an energetic body. Rev. J. W. Osborn was pastor until 1889, when Rev. E. E. Sperry served the church until 1895. The church had a healthy growth, with nothing special occurring until 1893, when Sister Addie Williams held a protracted meeting at a mission station, about four miles distant. A revival followed. with 29 conversions, of whom 16 were adults. A Sunday school was started, and arrangements were made for prayer meetings weekly. In January, 1895, the church held cottage prayer meetings and soon after Rev. J. W. Osborn held a ten days' meeting, followed immediately after by a similar meeting under Rev. Gilman Parker, to the great benefit of the church. This also was followed up by Brother Sperry, baptizing seven persons. In 1897 Brother C. R. Lamar was chosen pastor, and the church prospered. It has a comfortable house, and a well-drilled people, ready to work.
In the spring of 1896 Rev. J. W. Osborn held a protracted meeting at Lacomb. resulting in a score or more of baptisms, and also drawing some backsliders. They were organized, Brother Osborn chosen pastor, and at once began to build a meeting-house, costing about $2,800 and seating 300. The church affiliated with the Western Association, until that came to naught. when it entered the Central Association. The distance being some 25 or 30 miles on horseback, and Brother Osborn broken much by age and infirmities, thought it better for him to resign the pastorate. The church employed a new man from the East, all parties are well satisfied and the church is growing rapidly.
Lebanon was a Methodist stronghold, the seat of one of their academies of high reputation; and the Baptists had rather avoided it, though a few Baptists lived there and in the vicinity. But in the fall of 1890, Rev. C. A. McIlroy went to Lebanon and held a protracted meeting, gathered about 20, called a council and organized a Baptist church in that place. But he left there and Rev. C. R. Lamar became pastor. the Home Mission Society aiding him in connection with the Shiloh and North Palestine churches. Then there were more additions, two Sunday schools were organized, and although the brethren were all poor, they were trying to build a meetinghouse. The house was completed, free from debt, in November, 1891; the Home Mission Society donating $400. The first year the church grew from 25 members to 100; the Sunday school had 100; a mission school four miles away had a large attendance. It had two lots, a good house well finished, seating 250; and in 1892 it built a snug little parsonage costing $700, all paid for. Soon after, Rev. W. A. Lindsey, a traveling evangelist, came and held a protracted meeting with the pastor, with 52 baptisms and additions by letter, and as many more within a month. It seemed that everything that the pastor or his people planned was a success. When Brother Lamar came to the church, in a year the membership was quadrupled. In 1893, the Home Mission Society aided Brother Lamar $250; the church $250. The membership was 125. Revivals and additions still continued. In 1896 Brother Lamar was the missionary pastor, and a small amount was spent on the field consisting of Lebanon, Scio, Oak Creek, and three out-stations. This was well expended. Lebanon paid its debt. and put some repairs on its house. There were 60 baptisms on the field and the church expected to be able to support itself after that year. In the summer Brother Lamar resigned and Rev. E. Estes was called to the pastorate, and commissioned as a missionary. Reports from the field were gratifying. In 1897 Rev. W. A. Lindsay held a protracted meeting; 22 baptisms. The same year the church licensed three brethren to preach--Eugene Beaven, S.O. Wallace, and J. Sherman Wallace. In 1898 Brother Lamar returned and gave nine months to the church, but with only little advancement because of the superficial efforts of a sensational evangelist a short time previous. Yet Brother Lamar baptized seven persons. In 1900 the clerk said "the church was somewhat discouraged, but had about 50 resident members, and was able, if it only thought so, to pay a pastor a good living." In 1900, J. Sherman Wallace, a licentiate, was the supply for preaching and the young people's and the other societies were all flourishing.
This church is simply the old Oak Creek church moved about three miles and with changed name to accommodate several of its members. Tallman is a railroad station with a little village growing up there and drawing custom. The brethren are united and cheerfully helped to build a meeting-house sufficient for their needs. There is little to record of them and that chiefly routine work, and local doings. They have a wide-awake Sunday school, and no troubles. They are poor and cannot support a pastor unless they divide time with some other church, but they try to help a little with the most of our benevolent enterprises.
First, Albany. 1867
In February, 1887, Rev. T. G. Brownson resigned at Albany to take the presidency of McMinnville College. In November Rev. L. J. Trumbull, from Harbor Springs, Michigan, was chosen, and served the Albany church until the fall of 1890, when he resigned to become the district missionary of Eastern Oregon. In 1888 the church canceled its debt. In February the young people organized their society, which in a year grew from 17 to 60, and contributed $42 to the church. In 1890 the church built a parsonage costing about $1,700, and the brethren were also busy establishing mission stations. Rev. G. W. Hill was the next pastor. Early in 1890 the first Chinaman from Mrs. Trumbull's class was baptized, and five more in 1891; the church assumed the charge of that work when Mrs. Trumbull left. Under Rev. G. W. Hill's pastorate the church became self-supporting (after six years' aid from the Home Mission Society), paying their pastor $1,200 a year. Early in 1891 special meetings were held by the pastor, assisted by Rev. G. R. Cairns; 48 baptisms, and 65 additions in all from November 1, 1890, to February 5, 1891. A new mission school was organized. The young people's society numbered 94, 80 on the active list, and they had decided to continue their assistance in support of the young people's missionary for Oregon, in cooperation with the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, and to assist the Convention in supporting Rev. L. J. Trumbull in Eastern Oregon. In June, 1891, the church had five Sunday schools, the total enrollment about 400. The Chinese school had 15 pupils. One of the members of this school was sent by the church and some other friends to study in Canton, China, to prepare himself for missionary work among his own people on this coast. The total collections for the year were $1,752. not counting the parsonage.
In the winter of 1891 and 1892 Rev. W. A. Lindsey held a meeting at Albany. Some 50 professed conversion or return from backsliding, and 25 or 30 were baptized. The additions were almost entirely from outsiders and half the number were heads of families, and others mostly adults. The Holy Spirit was present with power. The interest continued all summer, and all departments were active. In October, 1892, Brother Hill's second year closed. During that time 84 had been baptized, the total additions had been 125, and the net gain 97. On the first Sunday in 1893, Mrs. May C. Jones and her daughter began a month's series of meetings with large congregations and much encouragement; 30 additions. Then Rev. W. M. Upcraft, a missionary from Western China, gave a stirring address on foreign missions which awakened much enthusiasm; one result was Rev. G. W. Hill resigned his pastorate to enter the foreign field. The church was for a while without a pastor after Brother Hill's resignation, but Rev. C. H. McKee from South Dakota succeeded him in October, 1894. The pastor soon had the people engaged in aggressive work. The ladies furnished the parsonage in 1894, at a cost of $197, and to payoff a debt the church was mortgaged in 1895 for $1,100. The church was prospering. A mission was established in the country.
A trouble arose of sufficient importance to demand a council, and some of the principles enunciated being of a general character, are presented: "It is the mind of the council that members of a church absenting themselves from the service of the church merely from a dislike of a pastor, or from his inability to please them in his public ministrations, are guilty of a serious offense against the fellowship of the church, and properly subject themselves to corrective discipline. Covenant obligations to attend and support the service of the church lie far deeper, and upon a more permanent basis than personal feeling, or even personal profit. Members of a church who may seek in a private way, or for private purposes or gratification, to terminate a pastorate, should be admonished by the church that such a course is detrimental to its fellowship. The church and its interests are always paramount to the welfare or interests of any individual."
Brother McKee resigned in the fall to go to Eastern Oregon, and was succeeded October 1, 1896, by Rev. M. M. Lewis, from the Second Church of Portland. But he was pastor only three Sundays, dying of typhoid fever January 6, 1897. He was born in Indiana, in 1860. His father was a Baptist pastor for 31 years in Indiana and Kansas. The son came to Lewis County, Washington, in 1885, and preached in that county as a missionary most effectively, organizing nearly all the churches in that section of the country until he left. He went to Morgan Park Seminary in 1887, completed a course of study, and was pastor at different places until October, 1893, when he took the pastorate of the Second Baptist Church of Portland. He lacked one month of staying three years, and many regard this the most fruitful service the church ever had. The church at Albany and all who knew him mourned him as a brother.
Rev. R. McKillop, from Chehalis, Wash., was called to the pastorate in March, 1887. Rev. W. A. Lindsay held another meeting in the spring, which was helpful to the church in quickening the membership and the converting of several. All branches of work steadily advancing under the able leadership of Brother McKillop. There were frequent additions, several by baptism. In the fall the church paid off about $1,400 of debts. Rev. R. W. King of McMinnville helped the pastor in a series of meetings. In December. 1899, Brother McKillop resigned to go to Salem taking with him the good will of all. Soon after, Rev. A. J. Sturtevant, of Sacramento, Calif., was chosen. and is the present pastor (1900). After his arrival there was a steady growth in all lines of work. Congregations increased, and larger interest was manifested. On Christmas day, the Chinese brethren, only six or seven of them, put $100 in cash on the Christmas tree to paint the church house. November 20, 1899, the church lost a much valued member in the death of Sister Amelia Millard Fisher, widow of Rev. Ezra Fisher, one of the first two missionaries sent to Oregon by the Home Mission Society. Sister Fisher came in 1851, and was in her 98th year when she died. A sketch of her is given with that of her husband in Volume I.
The year 1900 was largely spent in hunting absentees. Several were dropped from the roll; others were added, and the interest manifested was such that the church said that it felt stronger and more willing to work than before. At the close of the year protracted meetings were held, the pastor being assisted by Mrs. Addie Short (formerly Williams) and Revs. Geo. R. Varney and C. C. Smoot. There were several baptisms. At the yearly report in December, 1900, the membership showed more systematic fellowship for each other, and also more consecration to the cause.
North Palestine. 1856
Across the Willamette river, about six miles distant from Albany, is the North Palestine Church, organized from members dismissed from the original Corvallis church in 1856. At this time it is the only organized Baptist church on the west side of the river belonging to the Central Association. It keeps up its meetings, but has little to do aside from the routine work. Its old pioneers are nearly all either dead, or have moved away; and the younger members have their attention now directed in different channels from the "old time ideas."
Is the growth of the work done by Rev. A. W. Snyder, missionary of the Willamette and Central Associations. It came into the Central Association in 1897. A Sunday school was organized. The church kept up regular meetings, and Brother Gilman Parker visited it occasionally, and usually had more or less of baptisms. Their Sunday school doubled in four months. Brother D. C. Williams, a licentiate, was called to the pastorate, and ordained in September. He received $125 and board; aid $100. The church bought and finished an old building for a meeting-house, large enough for present needs, but it departed from "Baptist usage" in building a long row of sheds to shelter teams in winter! In February, 1898, several members were excluded for denying the immortality of the soul, stirring up strife in the church by teaching the soul-sleeping doctrine, and also for not helping sustain the church work. One of them "thanked God that he had succeeded in breaking up the church!" In 1898 the outlook for the church was very encouraging. There were large congregations, and the church was spiritually alive. The pastor gave Sunday afternoons to outside mission work, with such blessed results that they could not supply the demands. The church maintained mission stations, and kept Brother Williams busy. But in 1899, he resigned, and went to Weiser, Idaho, taking with him as wife one of the members of the church. Rev. B. C. Cook followed him in 1900. The church had dismissed two and seven had died; but five had been baptized, leaving 15. These were hopeful and had a Sunday school, a young people's society, and a mission station.
Came into the Central Association, but the field was neglected, and soon lapsed, and was not again represented until 1897. Rev. W. P. Elmore commenced preaching at Holley in November, 1896, and on June 13, 1897, assisted by Rev. C. C. Sperry, the church was re-organized with nine members. In October following they commenced building a meeting-house, which was dedicated May 22, 1898. The house was built and paid for without a subscription; all the labor and money being voluntary. It seats 250, cost $850, and competent judges say the property is worth $1,000. Brother Parker continued the meeting several days, 13 members received. By December Brother Elmore had received 32 members, 13 by baptism. Brother Elmore is still the pastor (1900), and the church is prospering. It has a good Sunday school and contributes liberally for our beneficent work.
Up to 1887 the Brownsville church was Landmark; since then it has changed its policy. In April pastor Rev. C. C. Sperry, assisted by Rev. M. L. Rugg, held a protracted meeting, with 30 baptisms. In 1892 another revival meeting was held with 27 baptisms, and 50 rose for prayers at one time. In 1896, at another protracted meeting 100 converts were claimed, but this was a "union meeting" and the Baptists got 11. In 1897 Brother W. P. Elmore was ordained.
Was the first church organized on the Chapel Car Evangel, of which mention is made in another place. Rev. C. C. Sperry was pastor and served the church well until 1900. A number of Baptist Scandinavian families have moved into the neighborhood and helped build up the church. In 1898, 16 persons were baptized. Harrisburg is surrounded by a large agricultural country, filled with the best of material to make this one of our largest and most influential churches. The members are all united on their pastor.
Of the Withdrawing in 1889
The result was that no aid was rendered on this field by the state board for the next three years, except that given to the church at Albany. The system of grouping recommended not being acceptable to the churches, no application was made. Yet $100 was pledged if a missionary were put on the field. The exciting question in 1889 was the employment of an associational missionary. This was most strenuously opposed by all the advocates of the grouping system. But the measure carried, although five churches had withdrawn to go into a new association, and withheld their means for their own work. A committee was appointed to look after the work, a missionary employed at $600 a year; and $347.50 pledged for his support. It was recommended that an effort be made to raise at least $1 per member.
The home mission report for 1890 gives $759.59 as the total aggregate "from all sources as reported in the church letters." Of this, there was "paid for the support of the associational missionary . . . not to exceed $305.15," and $16 of this is credited to the Albany Church. McMinnville Church is credited with $144.40. It also says that this was "paid by nine churches, and ten churches paid nothing." On page 16 of the minutes, the Associational Board reports: "Collected from individuals and churches $355.40; on the field by the missionary, $84.70; total $440.10; paid missionary, $400; Balance on hand, $40.10. The statistical table collated from the church letters shows but 17 churches representing, instead of 19, and gives for home and associational missions, $810.44; and McMinnville Church is credited with $174.40. Of the 17 churches, all but three (and two of these were new churches just organized) contributed for some of the work of the association, and the total aggregate for all work, including pastors' salaries but not buildings, was $7,251.19. Albany was the only field receiving aid from the Society,--$300,--and $115 of this was returned. The associational committee advised the continuance of the work along substantially the same lines. In 1891 the Society aided three points,--Albany, Lebanon and North Palestine,--and recommended that each church have one or more mission stations in its vicinity. Also, the state board was asked to consider the advisability of sustaining a missionary evangelist in Western Oregon. In 1892 a district missionary had been appointed for the Willamette and Central Associations, some fields in the latter had been visited, and two churches were receiving aid, Lebanon and Harrisburg. The contributions to home and local missions aggregated $737; membership 1584; non-contributing churches, four. In 1893-4 the contributing churches had fallen away nearly one-half; in 1894-5 they fell away nearly two-thirds; but the Home Mission Society kept up the work at the same rate, $2 to $1, and a new plan was adopted--associational board to advise with and recommend matters to the state board. In 1897 a joint committee of the two associations, with similar privileges was appointed.
The Central Association in 1886 had a query from the Scio church with reference to the "alien immersion" question, but it was referred to the Association in 1887, when, after discussion, the following action was taken: "Whereas, there are certain questions before our denomination, such as alien immersions, church inter-communion, and like topics; and Whereas, our denomination has never passed upon said topics by rulings or articles of faith; and Whereas, we recognize Baptist church independence, and the need of church inter-dependence, therefore resolved (1) that the local churches are recommended to deal with these questions at home, in the spirit of Christ, and as they understand the New Testament church policy; (2), that we recognize the need of great caution being used in receiving members into any of our churches from any source."
To many of the brethren this answer was very unsatisfactory. They denied that inter-communion was a question among Oregon Baptists, and that, so far as Oregon Associations were concerned, the question had been more or less considered in all of them either directly or indirectly; that interdependence needed definition, and the recommendation for the churches to use their best judgment in the matter at home, and to be careful in the reception of members, was dodging the issue. Its tendency was only to increase discontent, instead of harmonizing our people. But the association approved of the substitution of Rev. G. J. Burchett as general missionary of the State Convention; the needs of the field were most earnestly presented; Rev. A. J. Hunsaker was appointed associational missionary, with the understanding that much of his time was to be the destitute portions of the field, regular contributions were recommended. A quilt presented by Mrs. Maria Davis was sold for about $40, the money to go to home missions, and the quilt to Miss Buzzell. The same plan of missions was continued--the association to pay part of the salary, the convention board the balance.
A summary of a report of Rev. A. W. Snyder, district missionary, is significant: Time employed, one year, nine months; miles traveled. 11,896; baptized 139; collected for State Convention, $493.94; for church debts and missions, $900; for other purposes $216; visited churches and destitute places, 175. He paid his own expenses, made more than 1,000 visits. preached almost as many sermons, strengthened churches, encouraged Sunday schools and young people's societies, and did a vast amount of work that cannot be reported. He also organized one church, and helped hold several revival meetings, with a number of converts reported. The Association in its appeal for help says: "In the bounds of the Central Association are important fields which should be looked after, and which call for enlargement of our work; $1,200 are needed, and our share is $350."
Among the rules adopted by the Association are the following: "A committee of one shall he appointed to present a report on and lead or secure a leader, in the discussion of the following themes, Christian Education, Foreign Missions, Home Missions and Destitution Within Our Bounds, Sunday Schools, Denominational Literature, Women's Work in Foreign Missions, Women's Work in Home Missions, Young People's Work. The leader in discussions to have thirty minutes, to be followed by five minute speeches. During the sessions of this Association no collection shall be taken except for minutes or for the expenses of the Association. On the second evening of the Association, a doctrinal sermon shall be preached."
In 1899 the Central Association had 21 ordained ministers. and three licentiates. The Home Mission Society aided the Associational missionary during this period one year and fifty weeks.
The Corvallis Association. 1856. Umpqua
The name is a misnomer, being merely the name of the place of organization. Its territory was all of western Oregon south and west of Corvallis to the Pacific ocean. In 1863 the Umpqua Association broke off on account of the slavery question, but this came to naught in 1876, and lately the Corvallis Association has changed its name to "The Umpqua Association." Now it has no churches north of the south half of Lane County, and this with Douglas and Coos Counties covers its territory. The Baptists were largely made up from Southern people; the Association very careful and conservative, and some of them fully as tenacious and dogmatic as their Northern brethren. But while the field is large and the laborers few, the brethren are trying to occupy it. Many of the churches are in the country, and the members are poor and few in numbers. The entire field is full of promise to laborers who are not afraid of hard work and small pay. The Convention put $1325 on the field in 1889.
Under the pastorate of Rev. J. C. Richardson the Palestine Baptist church (the most flourishing Baptist church between Corvallis and Eugene), prospered until its membership numbered 64, when it dismissed 30 members to organize the Elmira church. From that time, owing to deaths and removals, it dwindled and became extinct. But the church at Elmira was organized in the western part of Lane county with 21 members by Rev. J. H. Howard in 1896, and soon after established a mission station about four miles distant. At this station in 1899 a revival started, with 32 conversions reported; 25 baptisms. The same year it built a comfortable meeting-house costing about $1,200. It is a wide-awake church, with Brother Howard still the pastor in 1900. They have also built a parsonage.
Brother Howard was also pastor at Spencer's Butte, about 15 miles distant, nearer Eugene. This work prospered, and in a revival there 48 were added to the church; 40 by baptism. A new house of worship was being erected. Brother Howard was said to preach the word with power. There was paid $200 on the pastor's salary, $50 for convention work, and $245 on the house at this meeting.
First Springfield. 1865
First called the McKinzey's Fork church, was moved to Springfield, about four miles distant, in 1869. This church had to struggle from the first. Rev. G. W. Bond was pastor from 1874 until his death, January 6, 1880. Then Rev. J. C. Richardson was pastor for six years. After this the pastorates were short; usually about a year or so, with intervals frequently supplied by the Eugene pastor once a month. Brother T. C. Bushnell was the clerk for 35 years. The church dedicated its meeting-house in 1871. It has had several most encouraging revivals,--one in 1868 with 40 additions,--and has had a steady healthy growth from the first. It has ordained one minister, licensed two or three, dismissed 15 members in 1891 to organize at Creswell (which is now a prosperous church), and the parent church is still in a flourishing condition. It has excluded one minister for heresy, and two brethren who had been divorced and married again, and it is said that up to 1900 the church had never received a member on an "alien immersion."
In March 1887, Rev. S. I. Lee came to Oregon from Arkansas. and settling at Springfield, was soon after called to the pastorate of that church; he served it until 1888, when he lapsed into Sabbatarianism, and the church excluded him. Rev. J. C. Richardson was pastor in 1890, but resigned in 1891, and Rev. S. E. Milam, a licentiate from Texas, was ordained and pastor for three years, being aided in 1891 and 1892 by the Home Mission Society. Rev. J. F. Day was pastor in 1894 and 1895. In 1894 there was a revival with several additions, Rev. J. C. Richardson assisting the pastor. In 1896 Rev. E. C. M. Burnham was chosen. During this year the church lost one of its most valued members in the death of deacon M. H. Harlow. During a long life he had been a consistent Christian, full of good deeds. In 1897 Rev. M. H. Day was pastor; Rev. J. F. Day followed him in 1898 and 1899, aided in the later year by the Society. The church prospered under his ministrations, and there were several additions. Brother Day was converted in the very house in which he was then preaching, and could point out the seat in which he found the Savior. He was then 18 years old. Several of his relatives were members, and most of the people had known him from boyhood. He was about 30 years old, married, and had two children. He was first called to the pastorate in 1893, and served two years; then he was missionary of the Corvallis Association two years, and resumed the pastorate in 1897, giving half his time here, and the other half to Oakland. He is an earnest, evangelistic preacher, much beloved by this people. Brother Day resigned early in 1899. He was followed by Rev. B. C. Cook, the present pastor (1900). He speaks of great destitution in some of the regions around. The work was prospering in 1900.
Rev. John F. Day, as district missionary in the Corvallis Association, had, for example, this report for the first year: Labored excessively and successfully 52 weeks, visiting 44 churches, traveling 2732 miles on his horse; organized three churches, two Sunday schools, received 52 members, baptized 40 of them, besides converts gathered by the pastors, and raised $300 for the Convention.
First Eugene. 1852
In 1887, the pastor at Eugene, Rev. C. M. Hill, says: "When I came three years ago, the church was divided and doing nothing, not having had a pastor for over nine years. Now it is a unit in every important particular. Then, it was not in favor with the community; now, in canvassing for help to build a new house, we find the citizens kindly disposed towards us. A neat and tasteful building is being erected, costing about $35,000, and well located. The Home Mission Society donates $500. The work has been done by patient perseverance and much sacrifice by the membership and friends. Over 60 have united with the church; 40 by baptism. The weekly prayer meetings are well attended; the young people's meetings by far the best in the place, our people are taking courage and pressing on. This last year has been the best in the five of my pastorate in the number of members added, in the amount of money raised for self support and benevolence, and in spiritual interest in the church work. Our present condition is full of promise. There is no debt. There is a good Sunday school, flourishing society of Christian Endeavor, ladies aid, and foreign mission societies. One of the distinct aims of the church for the coming year is self-support. Much mission money has been expended on this field. The six students who have entered the Christian ministry while this has been a mission church, will make ample returns to the denomination for all the mission money expended here. After Brother Hill left in 1889, the church had quite frequent changes of pastors, yet was in a thriving condition. In 1890 the church became self-supporting. It paid its pastor $1000, and raised between $1,400 and $1,500 for all purposes. The Sunday school work, the young people's societies, and the members generally were willing to work. Their influence on the general community was good.
In 1892, Brother Cyrenius R. Marsh was ordained, expecting to go to the foreign field under appointment from the Missionary Union. He was the eighth member called to the ministry from this church. In 1893, all lines of church work were prospering. The Sunday School nearly doubled in membership. In the fall of 1893, Rev. H. L. Boardman was called to the pastorate, and in 1896 Rev. J. C. Richardson helped the pastor in several meetings at some of the outlying mission stations, where several heads of families and a number of children were converted. The foreign mission contribution on this year was $100,--for Miss Skinner from McMinnville to the Telugus,--besides several gifts to other benevolent work. In May. 1896, the meeting-house was damaged about $1,500 by fire; fully insured. Membership 220; 100 non-resident. Brother Boardman was proving himself a "master workman," and by many was regarded as the ablest preacher among the city pastors. He was offered the presidency of McMinnville College, President Brownson resigning to remove to California. So Brother Boardman resigned at Eugene, the church reluctantly releasing him. For a few months, the church had no pastor. Then Rev. Robert Leslie was called. and reached the field with his family from Iowa early in 1897. On July 1, 1897, the church celebrated its 46th anniversary. Of the seven constituent members, three were present--brethren William and Robert Tandy, and their sister, Mrs. McLure; three had died; and one, Sister M. H. Harlow, was unable to attend. In the summer of 1899, Brother Leslie resigned and Brother C. Calvert Smoot was called to the pastorate ordained in November, and was pastor in 1900.
Rev. Sterling Hill, a most valuable member of Eugene church, died in 1883. A notice of his death should have appeared in Volume I, but was overlooked. Hence it is put here. An editorial in the Baptist Beacon in May, 1883, describes his death-bed: "He turns his face to the wall to pray, when his eye falls upon the pictures of his sons, and his mind brings the third and oldest into the group, though thousands of miles away. Then he said: "My eldest son was recently ordained to the Baptist ministry in one of the Southern states, and is probably preaching the gospel today. My second son is a student in an eastern theological seminary, and is also preaching today as a supply in the neighborhood of the seminary. My third is supplying the pulpit of his pastor, who is absent preaching to another congregation." This man of God will soon pass away. But he will leave to the world a legacy in these three noble sons of inestimable value. The man was a native of Tennessee. He was converted at the age of 19; studied for a time in William Jewell College; began his ministry in Missouri in 1854; preached in California, Oregon, and Idaho; but the most of his work was in Oregon, where he is remembered as a faithful friend and brother beloved. In all the positions he occupied, whether as missionary, pastor, colporter, Bible agent, Sunday school worker, he was an honored servant for Jesus. He will not soon be forgotten or his personal work of 30 years on the Pacific coast. His name will be perpetuated by his scholarly and devoted sons, Rev. C. M. Hill, one of the growing men of the Pacific Coast, and Rev. George W. Hill, a successful missionary in Japan."
First Oakland. 1884
Brother Richardson was pastor until he resigned in the spring of 1888. Then the church had no pastor until 1890, when Rev. C. W. Donnell, lately from Kansas, was chosen. He preached for a year, when he resigned to enter the district missionary work of the Convention. In January, 1890, one of its most efficient workers, Deacon James Chenowith died. The blow fell upon all with crushing force. He could be relied on in every trial. He was from strong conviction a Christian, and he took God and the cause of Christ into all his business. Just before his death he said: "If God has given me the opportunity to make money, I want to use it to advance His cause." He loved the Baptist church of which he was a member for 18 years. He was a man of large charity, helping the poor with a liberal hand. He also loved the Gospel of God and was liberal with his money to support its missions, and our educational work lay close to his heart.
Rev. E. Estes, from Kansas, succeeded Brother Donnell, preaching for the church one-half the time, and for the Fair Oaks Church half the time. Rev. J. C. Richardson was the next pastor. In 1893 several members were dismissed to organize a church at Yoncalla. In July the church made a fraternal visit to the Fair Oaks Church, heard two grand sermons from the pastor, Rev. F. W. Leonard, and the two churches partook of a basket dinner together and had a most enjoyable time. In 1894 and 1895 Rev. T. S. Dulin was pastor, and labored with great zeal and success in special meetings. In January, 1894, assisted by Brother Estes, he held a series of meetings with 30 conversions; 20 were baptized; some went to other denominations. The outlook was said never to have been better. The Sunday school and young people were active, and the attendance at the prayer meetings was nearly as large as at the Sunday services. One Friday evening in each month a temperance meeting was held with marked enthusiasm. The interest continued for the entire year. At the annual roll call in 1893, the following statistics were given: Baptized 49 (eight of these went to the Fair Oaks Church); received by letter, ten; dismissed eight; the membership had doubled during the year. Contributions outside of church expenses, to McMinnville college $47.50; home missions, foreign missions, and Publication Society $26.66; and nearly the same in pledges. In July, 1895, Brother Dulin resigned. Rev. F. W. Leonard was pastor in 1896; Rev. T. J. Matlock in 1897, and Rev. J. F. Day in 1898 and 1899. Rev. E. G. O. Groat followed Brother Day for five months in 1899, when 15 were added to the membership, and all lines of church life strengthened. His hold on the community was manifestly increasing rapidly, when early in January, 1900, on account of his wife's feeble health, he was forced to go to California. He was succeeded by Rev. B. C. Miller. He and his wife were earnest and successful workers, and soon gained the affections and respect of his people and the community. He is now pastor (1900). In the fall of 1900, Rev. C. P. Bailey assisted him in a protracted meeting; conversions, six; reclaimed, two; church quickened; several under conviction.
Early in 1884, Rev. E. C. Hamilton went to Roseburg, and in August received an appointment from the Home Mission Society for that place. He worked with zeal and energy, and organized a Sunday school with an attendance of 45. Trustees were appointed to buy and hold property in trust for a future church. He reported good congregations at the preaching services, but progress was slow. In October his wife died, and soon after he left. The attempt to establish a Baptist church at Roseburg was abandoned until the effort of Brethren W. G. Miller and J. C. Richardson, who visited the place and organized a church of 17 members, on January 22, 1887. In 1886 and 1887 the church at Dillard was included with the Roseburg church in the aid from the Home Mission Society. This is practically the old Looking Glass church. It has a meeting-house seating 200; value $1,500. The outlook encouraging.
In June Brother Miller received a commission from the Home Mission Society for Roseburg and Looking Glass. July, 1887, the church had doubled its membership. The members at once built a meeting-house, which was dedicated March 18, 1888. It joined the Corvallis Association. Brother Miller was pastor until the fall of 1891. Then Rev. W. J. Crawford was chosen; but stayed only a few months, and resigned to take charge of the public schools of Albany, Oregon. During Brother Crawford's pastorate, the congregations were large, the membership growing, a young people's society organized; the church debt paid. The total debts were $122.50. Rev. Mark Noble, of Winlock, Wash., succeeded him, arriving in February, 1892. He was an earnest, practical speaker, and worker in both church and Sunday school. Aid was obtained for him of the Home Mission Society. Rev. G. N. Annes was the pastor in 1893-4, and of his pastorate it was said that "good work of a solid kind was done." There were conditions that made the work hard, yet the church prospered. He closed his labors with the year, and moved to Ashland. Rev. G. W. Black followed Brother Annes, and the first year reports 37 additions, 13 by baptism. He was pastor until the fall of 1896, and the church grew steadily under his ministrations. He held several special meetings; sometimes assisted by Brother Day; sometimes by Brother Gilman Parker. At one of these meetings 24 members were received into the church; more than half by baptism. In 1898 Rev. S. A. Douglas was chosen pastor. In 1899, although with much sickness in his family, he did full work; the meeting-house was rebuilt, the auditorium modernized, 31 members received, and $594.38 received for all purposes. In 1900 the church prospered. It paid its pastor and put more improvements on its property. The pastor held special meetings with encouraging prospects. He was from Illinois, and had had some ten years' experience in the pastorate. Both he and his wife were missionary in spirit, and did not know how to spare themselves from Christian work. The church was harmonious in pushing along the good work.
The first Baptist church organized in Umpqua Valley (Deer Creek, in 1852) is still trying to "hold the fort," with two or three little churches dismissed from it to organize in more convenient localities: South Deer Creek in 1894; Lone Rock (Clyde) in 1897. Deer Creek and Lone Rock have good houses of worship, and all kept in a healthy condition by the earnest labors of Revs. W. E. Thornton and F. W. Leonard. These churches are some ten miles or more from the main lines of travel, and seldom reached by our later brethren who are hunting for "strategic points." Brother Thornton's last message says: "I have worked twelve months, but have accomplished little. Four members received; one by baptism. Collected $80 for all purposes."
In 1887 Rev. J. Wichser came from Whatcom, Wash., to Canyonville, and finding the remnants of two or three extinct Baptist churches in the vicinity, gathered them together and organized a Baptist church of seven members at Canyonville, in September. He here did much hard work for very little pay. He established preaching stations at Riddles, seven miles west; at Day's Creek, nine miles east; at Galesville, twenty miles south; and for the fifth Sunday at Myrtle Creek, five miles north. His conveyance was a horse and saddle. He was the pastor until his death in 1891. The Baptists being too weak to build at Canyonville or Myrtle Creek, and other denominations already having houses of worship there, in the summer of 1889 Brother Wichser got the church to build at Riddles, a station on the Southern Pacific Railroad. The people responded liberally, and the new house was dedicated April 6, 1890. It cost about $1,230, and there was no debt. The Home Mission Society donated $400. Brother Wichser got the subscription, and collected every cent of it. A generous freewill offering was made for the benefit of the church and pastor. Brother Wichser and his wife had the respect and confidence of the entire community, and the affection of the Christian people of the valley. They had for three years been doing a noble work in that part of the state, at great personal sacrifice. The outlook for the future was hopeful because the foundations were well laid. The church was in a healthy condition, with Rev. L. H. Palmer as pastor at Riddles and Brother Wichser at Canyonville until his death. Then Brother Palmer's health being very poor, Rev, W. G. Miller was chosen pastor and served the church until 1900. It has prospered, its growth having been steady, but with no special incidents beyond the routine work. Rev. C. P. Bailey wrote that in December, 1900, the church was having some very interesting meetings, with conversions and baptisms. Since then the churches at Canyonville and Myrtle Creek have built meeting houses, and Rev. J. H. Miller is preaching for all three churches.
This is another section of the Umpqua (Corvallis) Association, separated from the rest by high mountains, much of the time by impassable roads. But Baptists were scattered all over the county, and feeble churches were calling for help. Marshfield and Gardiner were the principal towns, each with a weak church struggling for life. Rev. Thomas Irvine was one of the active workers, and he tells a graphic story of one of his missionary trips in the Siuslaw Valley in 1892. During that summer the missionary of the Association visited that section, held a four days' meeting at a place east of Florence, and organized a church of eight members, to which were added two by experience, and five by baptism, with a prospect for more. To show the difficulties of reaching this neighborhood, the missionary says he walked four miles over the hills and through the woods, then rowed six miles on a lake, then walked four miles further to a schoolhouse, and was made glad by the eagerness of the people for the preaching. He thus describes a later visit to this field: "I have just returned here from a 50-mile journey to Maple Creek, about six miles from Florence, 25 miles north of Gardiner, Douglas county. To reach it I had thirteen miles of mountain climbing, fifteen miles by small boats, not three feet wide. I had been paying it a monthly visit for the last three months. Result: three baptisms; five received by experience. I traveled during that time 375 miles from Marshfield to Gardiner and the country back of it, and back to Marshfield; 125 miles a month. There have been added to Gardiner's membership two by baptism, six by experience. Marshfield's additions by baptisms, two; by experience, two; total for the quarter, thirteen. I have been forced to take on this extra work in the County north of Gardiner because until three months ago the people were totally destitute of religious privileges. A Sunday school and Christian Endeavor Society were organized at Maple Creek, also one at Fiddle Creek; attendance, 25 at each place. There are about twenty Baptists there now, farmers, permanent residents. They have a mind to work, and intend during the winter to hold cottage prayer meetings. I have visited the people in their homes and influenced not a few avowed infidels, grossly immoral, to attend. At my last meeting, during preaching service, three were weeping, and two were converted, showing that the old-time gospel has still the power to convict and save. One of the converts came 25 miles to be baptized. On Oct. 1, I shall have been twenty-two months on the Marshfield and Gardiner fields. Their combined memberships were then 30, now 75; for which we give God the glory."
First Gardiner. 1883
Rev. W. M. Wells served the Gardiner Church until the summer of 1889; then until 1891 it had changes of pastors. It had fourteen members. The unoccupied land around was fast being taken by settlers, and the outlook was good for building a strong church if a good man could be stationed there. But from neglect or some other cause, but little attention was paid to Gardiner after 1892, and it seldom had a sermon from a Baptist minister until the fall of 1895, when Rev. J. T. Hoye was appointed as a district missionary for the Coos Bay country and visited the place. He described it as containing about 400 inhabitants and the houses all painted white, which gave it a neat appearance. He preached on Sunday and found nine Baptists left, "all women, and of a choice kind," but there were only two men in the town who professed to be Christians. He made arrangements to be with them every fourth Sunday. From that time on the church began slowly to improve. The membership, though small, was worthy and willing. They painted the building, and had a mind to work. In 1900 the prospects were quite favorable, although at that time the church had no pastor, but still kept up their organization.
Brother Wells had preaching stations from Gardiner at Scottsburg, at the head of tidewater; also at Elkton, eighteen miles beyond, and occasionally at Siuslaw, about twenty miles up the coast, at the mouth of the Siuslaw river. At both Siuslaw and Scottsburg they had had but two or three sermons in from four to six years until Brother Wells came and much interest was awakened. After his death in 1896, the prospect was discouraging. But in about two years the work was resumed. The church has the only meeting-house in the place, seating about 125, and the membership can pay about $200 for a minister, one-fourth of his time. The large number of non-resident members arising from the floating population is the most serious drawback. In 1900 Rev. Thomas Irvine was pastor and the church was prospering.
The following obituary, somewhat condensed, was written by Rev. G. N. Annes: "The family and friends were surprised and shocked to hear of the sudden death of Rev. William Wells at Coquille City, Oregon, March 19, 1896. He was our missionary pastor there, and we will all mourn his death. The cause we have not heard. Brother Wells was born in Wirt Co., West Virginia. in 1837, and educated at Alleghany College, West Virginia. He was married in 1866. He was in the ministry thirty years; first in his native state, and then in Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri, and Oregon. For the last few years he lived near Roseburg, Oreg., where the writer of these lines was his pastor for two years. He was a devoted husband, a loving father, a good preacher, and a true friend to the sorrowful and a good man in every sense of the word. He was very modest and unassuming, one of the Lord's gentlemen. He often expressed his desire to end his life in the gospel ministry. As a member of the church, he was true to its best interest, and always ready to help in every good work. He was highly respected as a citizen, and beloved by the church with which he labored. He left a wife and two daughters."
First Marshfield. 1879
Marshfield is a place of about 200 inhabitants. The first impression is not the best. With a dozen saloons in full blast, no wonder that many of the men are ruined by drink. Of its religious element, the Methodists, Baptists and Catholics may each have an average attendance of 40. When Brother Hoye first went there. he found but a half-dozen Baptists. They were discouraged, and their house in a wretched condition. It was said that at one time the sentiment of the place was decidedly with them, but later the Methodist Episcopal Church was in the advance. Yet, in canvassing the field, Brother Hoye found several more Baptists, and soon had things in better shape, and felt more encouraged. And this was only a sample of the religious situation all over Coos County at that time. The following account of this field and its difficulties and surroundings, with slight changes in some of its minor details, will find its counterpart in many other places in Oregon.
"I submit a few items on the Marshfield and Gardiner field. I have been seeking for the last six months to extend the work, until it now covers over 60 miles of country. I have been preaching in the country about twenty-five miles back of Gardiner, hitherto destitute of religious privileges. The work has been laborious and dangerous. I have had to walk fifteen miles, ride twenty-four miles, and row fifteen miles in going and coming. The ride is over a dangerous mountain path. We have been seeking to do the work ourselves and save outlay. Recently, while at work, about two miles from town, about 6 a. m., while yet dark, and rain pouring down upon us, one of the men stepped off the scow into twenty feet of water. He could not swim. I heard his cry for help three times repeated. In hastening to him, I got into the water also, but soon succeeded in rescuing him. Picking and shoveling stone day after day in pouring rain was not pleasant in itself, but enjoyable because of our interest in the work. Another strong pull this week and the 100 loads of burnt clay will have been placed on the road and the work completed. We have had two accessions this quarter: one baptized, 1 one by profession. We have expended $45 for street Improvement, $45 for carpeting the church, and for a new stove. We have had 200 per cent increase in membership in about two years. Have had two prayer meetings each week, largely attended. Last Sunday the day was desecrated by football playing and drunkenness. One of the players had a limb broken. In the evening the saloons were wide open and full of drunken men, shouting and swearing. Hell seemed to be holding high carnival. Surely if the gospel is anywhere needed to be proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit, it is here. Thomas Irvine."
After Brother Canterbury, Rev. F. E. Schofield received an appointment from the Home Mission Society, and thus speaks of his field: "I received notice of my appointment May 12. I had forty miles of mountains and very bad roads to move over. I started with my family on the 12th and reached this place on the15th of the same month. Found a church badly discouraged, without a Sunday school, without a prayer-meeting. I called together the church members, examined the church record, found 36 names in the book as members; the others had moved away, or their whereabouts not known. The church had been without a pastor for about two years. On May 20 at 11 o'clock, I preached to a congregation of six; at night, to about 50. I have preached every Sunday, two services. At the morning service, the average is now about 100; at night, the house is frequently crowded. The out-stations, Sumner and Dora, I reach during the week when I can. Previous to my coming here, that is during April and the fore part of May, my time was divided; Sumner, Dora, and two other churches besides Marshfield, making five in all. I feel my own weakness; have had only a little over three years experience in working for my Master. I have no strong church to lean upon, but my weakness and my loneliness have driven me to my knees, and I feel that God is going to give us a victory here."
The prospects of the church were hopeful, though the members were poor in purse and few in numbers. Brother Schofield continued as pastor until 1891. In November of that year, Rev. W. A. Lindsay, an evangelist, held a series of meetings with thirty-one additions; twenty-one by baptism. The members took hold of the work with zeal, the young people especially working as if they "meant business." Some improvements were added to the church, and it was in the best working condition in its history; the congregations good, and the prospects for more additions encouraging. All appeared to be alive. In 1892 Rev. G. J. Travis was pastor, and another effort was made; he preaching three Sundays at Marshfield, and one Sunday at Gardiner. Then until 1895 there were no available reports, when O. G. Quimby, a licentiate, is reported as pastor. In January, 1896, the cause was reported "badly gone down," and the church in debt; yet a few were willing to rally around the standard. Rev. J. F. Day, the district missionary for this section, says: "If this field, that is Marshfield, Gardiner and Sumner, had a man, with some help they could give him a good support." But no man was available; the board was overburdened, and could not undertake more; hence the field was neglected, and the cause languished. This state of affairs continued until late, in 1898,--when Rev. J. T. Hoye was sent as a district missionary to the "Coos Bay Country." He succeeded in reviving the cause at Marshfield, so that in a few months he had seven accessions to the church; he had the building put in a good condition, and bills paid when the work was done. He carried on a revival with fair prospects. In July, 1899, the church succeeded in paying a debt of $450 that had vexed it for sixteen years. The prospects were becoming more favorable. Through the influence of the religious community a free reading room as established, and a Y. M. C. A. started.
On July 27, Rev. T. J. Owen, of the United Brethren Church, left that body. united with the Baptist church at Marshfield, and on August 3, 1899, was ordained. Rev. J. T. Hoye thus speaks of him: "For nine years he has been connected with the radical branch of the United Brethren Church. His field of labor has been in this portion of the state. His leaving the United Brethren Church and coming to the Baptists was not caused by any sudden or radical change in his views. He comes of Baptist stock, having two uncles who are in the ministry, as well as a father and mother who belong to the Baptists. He is sound in the faith; he never allowed himself to practice sprinkling or pouring for baptism. He was baptized when first converted, but to prevent any question over which some might quibble, was baptized again when he came into the Baptist church. He is 42 years of age and has only a common school education, but is a man of God, being thorough in the Scriptures. He has more than ordinary preaching ability and has been a success in his work.
But probably the Baptist church at Coquille City had as many difficulties to contend against as any church in Oregon. First, a little Baptist church had been previously organized here or near here, but it had become extinct. A so-called. Baptist minister came and re-organized it. He proved a bad man. Rev. W. M. Wells tried to revive it; preached for it two years and died. His death was a serious loss, both to the church and also to the denomination. Rev. Floyd Farrar was the next pastor. He took hold of the work, preaching for Coquille City, and some half-dozen mission stations near by. Some pedobaptists became Baptists, and this caused hostility. He had been using a Presbyterian house, and it was now refused him unless he would agree not to preach anything that their church would not endorse--especially on the subject of baptism. He would not so agree. and this made trouble. Hence, he had to preach in private houses if at all. All were poor. The church had only seven members, all women but one, and he over sixty years old, and partially paralyzed. There were a few others near by who would unite with the church if it could be sustained; and if some good man with health, energy, and trust in God would take hold of the work at Coquille City, Sumner, Bandon, and Bear Creek, he would find a pleasant field of hard work, a responsive. appreciative people who could probably pay him about $600 a year. In 1893 Rev. J. T. Hoye, missionary of the state Board, called the field great, with large possibilities, but says that it will cost some money and many prayers and tears to cultivate it. In 1900 Rev. T. J. Owen, lately ordained at Marshfield, was pastor with some help from the board. The church was making very little progress. It needed a house badly, and had $100 in the bank to start with, and a desirable lot would cost $300. The church had only ten resident members; they were all poor, and had no place to meet.
The Mount Olivet Baptist church was kept alive and in a healthy condition by Deacon H. Black and wife. For a dozen years or so it had no regular pastor. Yet Brother Black and his wife looked after it closely, reporting regularly to the association.
Methods of Associational Work
It will be readily perceived that in some details the methods of work in the Umpqua (Corvallis) Association differed from those in the Willamette Valley. The reasons are from natural causes. The Willamette Valley between the Cascade and the Coast Mountains is substantially level; the hills being regarded as of minor importance, it was quite easy to group churches. Lane County is the only county in the Willamette Vallev that reaches from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, with a mountain range running through the middle of it. To get into Douglas County (Umpqua Valley) , a spur of the Coast range must be crossed; and from the Umpqua to Coos County another spur must be crossed, and three or four large rivers or bays must be ferried to go from the north line of Lane County to the south line of Coos County; and except in the north part of Lane County, or in a few selected spots in the Umpqua Valley, the feeble churches in the association are too scattered to group. Hence the association claimed their own mission board who understood their own field. Again, away from Eugene and its vicinity the association was almost wholly Landmark, and as a general thing looked with suspicion on the appointees of the Convention. They also claimed the privilege of choosing their own associational missionaries. Yet they would cordially make the required reports to the proper authorities when receiving aid from the Home Mission Society.
We will let the records tell the story. Remember we are now speaking of the work from 1887 to 1900--not later.
The methods of the different associations in conducting missionary work in Oregon are substantially the same, the only difference being in some minor details called for by local surroundings. Where the church or association does not cooperate with the Convention the work is wholly their own. But the general plan did not materially differ from the others, except in the cooperation part. When a church cooperated with the convention, the missionary pastor, together with his church, made an application for aid, either through the general missionary of the convention or to the Executive Board direct. If everything was satisfactory, the Oregon Board recommended the applicant to the Home Mission Society of New York. and if everything there was satisfactory the appointment was made, and the commission issued. The sum asked for, however, was liable to be cut down at any stage of the proceedings. After entering upon his labors, the appointee was required to give himself wholly to the work, and to make duplicate reports of his labors,--one to the State Board. and one to the Society,--each quarter; when, if all was satisfactory, he got his check for his salary due. If the appointee was an associational missionary, the course was the same, and the association also appointed a missionary board, to gather funds, fix salaries, and look after the work generally; with solicitors in each church to keep the brethren active in the matter.
This was the usual course, and, so far as its routine was concerned, was not especially objectionable, except in one feature, to-wit: Whether the appropriation should be for the man or for the field, as was claimed by some, and the local board hire the man, fix his salary and direct his work. This idea was quite prevalent in different sections of Oregon, and was thus presented in the report on Home Missions adopted by the Corvallis Association in 1889: "We recommend that this Association ask the Home Mission Society of New York, through our state missionary and Board of Managers, to pay the amount of money which the Society is able to expend upon this field into the treasury of this Association, and that said money be expended upon this field under the management and direction of a board of managers elected by this Association for that purpose."
In accordance with this, Brethren Henry Black, James Chenowith, and G. B. Day were chosen as the board of managers. And Rev. C. M. Hill, the general missionary for the Convention, thus speaks of a portion of this field in 1890: "In Coos county there is an open door and pressing need for more religious work. We have there only one Baptist pastor giving all his time to the work. There are five or six places of importance in the county where we ought to be laying foundations for the future, as well as doing greatly needed evangelistic work for today. There are perhaps six or eight small churches in this county entirely not cared for. There are two churches with good meeting-houses that have been without preaching for a whole year. The Home Mission Society helped to build these houses, and it is a great pity that they cannot be occupied by Baptists instead of other denominations. We greatly need in Coos county two new men."
In due time, Rev. J. C. Richardson, the moderator of the Association, made the application as above indicated to the Executive Committee of the Board of Managers of the Oregon Baptist State Convention, and "the secretary was instructed to reply that in view of the complications in which such a plan would involve the Convention, the Board does not deem the plan advisable." So the Association worked along as best it could with its old methods until 1893, when the following arrangement was agreed upon, and published in the Minutes of 1894:
"The Association Mission Board shall have the right to select and recommend for appointment their man for missionary; his appointment shall be ratified by the Oregon Board, and he shall be appointed by the Home Mission Society as the associational missionary. The Associational Mission Board shall have control and direction of the work on the field. Furthermore, in view of the beneficent work of the Home Mission Society in behalf of many churches of this Association in the past, and in view of the great needs of the present, we recommend cooperation on the part of the churches of the Association in the general work of the Home Mission Society, while recognizing the work of its agent within our bounds; provided always a spirit of fairness and impartiality shall characterize the Society in its appointments of missionaries and apportionment of funds on the field."
This plan was continued until 1897, the aid being $200 a year from the Society and $400 from the field. In 1896 this changed to $300 from the Society, and $300 from the field. Revs. F. W. Leonard, J. C. Richardson, and J. F. Day successively followed each other as missionaries, each doing good work. It was said of Brother Richardson that he "was having a constant rain of blessings wherever he went. His consecrated life and work called for it." They visited churches and destitute fields, strengthening and encouraging the churches, and preached to the destitute the word of life. The plan worked well, the churches, feeling that they had a direct voice in the direction of the work responded joyfully and liberally. Most prayerfully did both the Associational Board and the missionary endeavor to carry out the plan to the accomplishing of the greatest good, and God gave His Holy Spirit as well as His blessing of approval in strengthening His people and bringing salvation to many of the lost ones. The plan was found to answer the needs, and surely was of God, because his churches were recognized in it, and the State Board found it possible to aid the field in thus following along gospel lines. The reports and letters from the missionaries were uplifting and encouraging, and caused much rejoicing, and were powerful stimulus to increased activity and liberality for the work. Conversions and baptisms were frequent. Occasionally a new church was organized. From all over the field came urgent calls for help, far beyond the ability to furnish.
The work done by the new plan, as compared with that done by the old one, is forcibly illustrated by the following resolution in 1892: "Resolved, that we, the Corvallis Baptist Association assembled, ask the churches of our association to release their pastors for the month of November, or some other more suitable month, permitting them to work in needy fields while their salaries be continued." In speaking of the needs of the field in 1894, Brother Richardson says: "The destitution is appalling. Not a minister in all of Coos county, and only one on the west side of the coast range; only one, and he a young man: but thank God he is a good brother. As to the destitution on this field, no one can know it unless he goes all over it, and that would take much time and travel. I have traveled already over 1,000 miles, and still know more places open before me than I can fill during the next six months. If this people ever have the gospel preached to them, it will have to be carried to them, for they are so poor in this world's goods that they can do very little. It often looks like it was wrong to eat with them, and yet they would think hard of you if you did not."
In 1894 the Association pledged $135 to assist Brother J. F. Day to study for the ministry. In 1895 he was employed as the associational missionary, and did most acceptable work.
The Convention reports of 1894 and 1895 say: "This is a very needy field above that of any other association in the western part of the state, on account of the number of small churches and the impossibility, on account of distance, of combining them in the support of settled pastors, as is done in the field south of it. And the association has very earnestly pressed its desire for an associational missionary. The Board has seen its way clear to help this work in its burdens and recommended Rev. J. C. Richardson for appointment with the beginning of July for twelve months. The quarter's work already done, and the response from the fields visited are most gratifying."
In response to these appeals, Rev. W. M. Wells was appointed and followed Brother Richardson as a missionary for Coos County. But he died in the midst of his work. He was an excellent man, "enduring hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
The report of Executive Missionary Committee of Corvallis Association for associational year of '95 and '96 was as follows: " A year ago at the meeting at Riddle's, the standing committee on Associational Missions submitted a report recommending a continuation of the plan of the previous year in associational missionary work, viz: The appointment of an Executive Missionary Committee to superintend the work in the association and the securing of financial assistance from the A. B. H. M. Society on such terms as could be made. There were appointed on this Executive Committee: Deacon G. B. Daly, Creswell; J. E. Medley, Fair Oaks; Deacon F. B. Chase, Springfield; Elder F. W. Leonard, Wilbur; Elder T. S. Dulin, Oakland. Elder J. C. Richardson was the sixth member by virtue of his office as moderator.
"Pursuant to its instructions, the committee elected a missionary, Elder J. F. Day, pastor at Springfield, being chosen to be appointed by the A. B. H. M. Society, through the State Convention Board for assistance in his support. After some necessary delay, aid was secured at the rate of one dollar for one dollar raised on the field, to the amount of $300, and Bro. Day was appointed missionary by the Home Mission Society at $600 for one year from October 1, '95, $300 of this amount to be raised on the field. Bro. Day entered upon his work October 1 and has completed eight months' service on the field of the association. Following is a summarized report of the eight months' work:
"Weeks of labor performed, 35; sermons preached, 151; religious visits made, 181; baptisms, 33; received by letter and experience, 7; churches organized, 3, at Bear Creek and Bandon, in Coos county and at Elmira in Lane county. Letters and postals written, 157; miles traveled, 1000. Fields and churches visited as follows: Hale, Palestine, Deadwood, Wildcat, Yoncalla, Oakland, Spencer Creek, Riddle's, Elmira (2), Myrtle Creek, Wilbur, Sumner, Coquille, Bear Creek, Bandon, Marshfield, Bethel, Cottage Grove, Zion, Junction City, Dexter, Rattlesnake, Springfield, Creswell.
Your committee has held seven meetings during the year, two of which, however, transacted no business owing to a failure to secure a quorum. The churches have been kept informed as to the progress of the work by occasional circular letters sent to all the churches."
The report of Rev. W. M. Wells for Coos Bay region gave these figures: 28 weeks; 77 sermons; 6 churches supplied; 201 religious visits; $38 raised for benevolence; $75 from field on salary. The associational treasurer's report was as follows: Amount received from the churches, $193.71; collection at Association, $10.19; from Home Mission Society, $181.06; total, $384.96. Paid traveling expenses of Executive committee, $3.40; postage stamps and stationary, 50 cents; salary of Missionary $381.06; total $384.96.
In 1896 the Corvallis Association lost by death two valiant soldiers for Christ: 1. Elder William M. Wells. He fell whilst bravely fighting on the picket line of the frontier. The Association and the denomination suffered heavily in his death. 2. Deacon M. H. Harlow of the Springfield church died.
Report of standing committee of the Corvallis Association on associational missions, adopted in 1896: "Our Association embraces a great territory and one in which is religious destitution, in places almost disheartening. It includes Lane, Douglas, and Coos Counties; a number of small churches in it, that are unable to support the ministry, are in remote and isolated places; besides, there are many communities where the gospel has never been preached. How can we best meet this need? We believe the plan of the last two years the best yet tried--the associational missionary. So, a part of last year, Rev. J. C. Richardson served us successfully, and now Rev. J. F. Day, a young man of vigor and strength, has entered upon the work, and much is expected from him.
We recommend: (1) The appointment of an Executive Associational Committee of five brethren to superintend the work. (2) That this committee seek cooperation with the Home Mission Society in the support of our mission work on the best terms possible, the committee having in charge the raising of the association's pro rata on the field. (3) That the moderator and missionary shall both be members ex officio of the Executive Committee, in addition to the five above provided for. (4) Inasmuch as the Executive Committee for two years past has been so constituted as to centralize about Eugene and the northern part of our field, your committee recommends that the new committee be so placed as to centralize the work about Roseburg or some other point in the southern and more central part of the field. This recommendation is made to have at least a quorum of the committee so situated as to attend easily the committee's meetings.
"Elder John F. Day has labored excessively, having everywhere the approval of his brethren. In the Corvallis Association, the work was also crowned with success. He has visited 45 churches and points of interest on the field. He has labored 52 weeks, preached 226 sermons, traveled 2,732 miles, much of it on horseback; written 249 letters, organized three churches and two Sunday schools, received into churches 52 members, 40 of whom were by baptism, besides many other converts gathered in by pastors as the fruit of his labors. He has raised $300 for the Convention work." He closed his labors September 30, 1897 to take a pastorate.
The missionary board recommended in 1897 that the churches and the Associational Mission Board "take such steps as a clear conscience towards God and our fellowmen may suggest for the up building of the Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ among us." In 1896 the following action was taken: "That the Associational Board be instructed to appropriate all money raised on the field and all money appropriated by our State Board to the weak churches of the Association that are not able to support pastors."
The same year Rev. J. T. Hoye of Portland was by the State Board appointed a missionary for Coos county. He had had some experience as pastor of one of the Portland churches, and that destitute field needed a good man to bear the heavy burdens incident to that work. In his report to the state convention Brother Hoye gives quite an array of statistics which would indicate considerable activity, and it is claimed that his work was successful; but not even his name, nor his work, is mentioned in the minutes of the Corvallis Association; nor is anything found to indicate that he ever recognized the association or its missionary board or that the board had any voice in his work, either in 1896 or any other year. But the Convention said: "He gave 47 weeks of service; 216 sermons and addresses; made 850 religious visits; visited 15 churches and 13 other fields in evangelical service; took an active part in one convention; traveled 1320 miles; wrote 93 letters; organized one Sunday school; baptized 24; received by letter and experience 23; raised for Convention missions $120.50. This needy and fruitful field must have a good man at once to carry on the work begun. It would seem that if Brother Hoye could see his way clear to continue his work there, it might be for the glory of God for him to do so. This should be made a subject of earnest prayer for the Convention."
The Missionary Board of the Association, however, was continued. But in 1900 it reported that it had "been unable to render any service as a board to the association," except to recommend applications for two of the churches, which were granted. Hence, they asked that "this board be discontinued and the association take such action in the premises as to them may seem most proper for the best advancement of the Master's cause.
At the same Association the following action was also taken:
"In consideration of the great need of a missionary on this field in order that the weak churches may be supplied and helped in having services at places where they now have none under present management, we recommend that a missionary of this Association be appointed in such manner as the Board that may hereafter be created may direct, whose duty it shall be to put his full time in on this field, preaching to the waste places, and that there may be appointed an Associational Missionary Board consisting of five members of this association, to be chosen annually, who shall within 40 days organize by electing chairman and clerk, which board shall have full control of said missionary in directing his work and payment of his salary, which may be fixed by the board. Such missionary to report to the board quarterly; and the board to the association annually; and that said board be authorized to cooperate on behalf of this association with the State Convention in raising such salary in the manner as may seem to them best in the premises."
The board selected was as follows: S. C. Miller, Jas. E. Medley, S. A. Douglas, W. H. Morford, and J. C. Richardson. And it was voted that the chairman of said board be considered their member to the state board.
Such was the condition of the missionary question at the close of 1900.
Associational and District Missionaries
In these "Annals" these terms are often used as very nearly or quite synonymous. The difference is that the Convention appoints and directs the work of one district, and the association the other; also that the district missionary may, and often does, have more than one association in his territory. In that case, when two associations hold different views on some important question, and both are tenacious, trouble results, and possibly the appointing power is accused of improper motives in the appointment. And if the appointing power and the missionary are both persistent in holding the field, it makes a bad matter worse. This is not an imaginary matter; such cases actually have occurred. Just such conditions brought about the East Oregon Convention, and largely the Western Association. Other instances created, bitter friction, but did not quite divide. Still, much good was accomplished by the district missionary. Destitute places were reached. Whether the difficulties could have been adjusted better by a joint board of missions from the contending parties is a theoretical solution that was but little tried. But the marked success of the Corvallis Association in thus operating, as already shown, is a strong argument in its favor. The great distance and expense of getting together, it is firmly believed by many, was the main objection of the bulk of that association to going with the Eastern Oregon movement. If it is urged that the same evil might arise in an association, the reply is that it is reduced to a minimum, and usually easy to settle, because of the adhesive properties of the association itself. But in different associations the tendency is to divide members. This was painfully apparent in the division in Eastern Oregon. And if, in trying the experiment. the funds are insufficient for a missionary in every association. it would be sufficient for a trial of a joint board of two or more associations, if such a board were composed of wise brethren, and a missionary were employed who possessed the three G's,--Grace, sufficient to be wholly consecrated to his work; Grit, to meet and overcome difficulties that really belonged to his work; and Gumption, to conduct himself so as not to arouse hostility toward himself among the brethren,--it might be hoped that grand results would follow.
Rogue River Baptist Association. 1876
This association now comprises the churches of Jackson and Josephine counties. The churches are in towns and country, but the country churches have a hard struggle to live. The village churches are being helped by the Board. Its field is the country south of the Umpqua Valley, and between the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, some 200 miles square. It also includes Curry County, which has not a Baptist church nor a Baptist minister, so far as known. If any Baptist minister has ever ventured into the county on a missionary tour, the account of his labors has not been made public. On the rest of the field, about a half-dozen ministers comprise the strength of the Baptist force, and most of these are in part compelled to follow some secular business for a livelihood. The sentiment and practice are largely Anti-Landmark in the towns, and Landmark in the country. In 1899 it deplored retrenchment and urged enlargement of missionary work, and pledged more liberal aid, recommending associational missionaries.
First Ashland. 1877
Rev. A. M. Russell says: "My work is over a field too large to be effective, and calls are coming from other points that I cannot go to. Josephine County needs a man for all his time. Not a church house that I can hear of, save a Catholic, in the county. Our work is increasing in favor. Ashland ought to build at once; poverty forbids. They have done well this year. They have given beyond their strength." But the church lost a valued member in the death of Brother J. W. Satterfield. Wise in counsel, and ever ready to bear the burdens of the church to the extent of his ability, his loss was deeply felt. The death of Sister S. A. Farnham was another severe loss to church and community. She was a most earnest and devoted worker. especially in the woman's work. The church prospered four years under Brother Black. All harmonious, and the work steady and solid, and the pastor seemed to be warmly entrenched in the affections of the church, and community. His work closed in October, 1895. The membership had increased under his ministry from 20 to 70. His last year was the most prosperous of any; 31 members were received, improvements put on the building, and all departments of labor were in fine condition. During his pastorate he had received 81 members in four years. Rev. G. N. Annes was chosen as Brother Black's successor. He had a faithful, spiritual, harmonious little flock, of 64 members, but 16 were nonresident. And they were very grateful to the Home Mission Society for its help; they collected about $400 for benevolence and sundries. The pastor was humble, efficient and faithful; but he resigned in 1897 to go to Medford, and was followed in 1898 by Rev. A. J. Huguelet, who had just been ordained at McMinnville. A revival in March. in which the pastor was assisted by Rev. R. W. King, of McMinnville, resulted in 32 additions and restorations; three hard drinkers were among the converts. Miss Carrie O. Millspaugh held a very interesting meeting in the fall, in the interest of the women's work. In May, 1899, Brother Huguelet resigned to go to California, and was succeeded by Rev. A. M. Russell; the church was self-supporting after its long aid from the Home Mission Society. Every line of work was progressing finely, and although their peach crop failed them this year (an unusual thing), and many of the brethren depended largely on this for funds, yet they pushed bravely forward with strong determination and faith in God.
Wagner Creek Church (Talent)
The church at Wagner Creek had trouble about the close communion question, and it being brought before the association, a vague, ambiguous report was adopted, and the contention ceased. But the church's activity was not very marked in 1900. Thus, with Central Point, these churches struggled along, sometimes with little help from Rev. E. G. Wheeler with his chapel car.
First Medford. 1885
In the winter of 1886-7 Rev. J. C. Baker visited the church, and with Brother Black held a meeting of days, resulting in about 30 conversions. In speaking of this meeting, brother Black says: "The whole town is moved and the work is extending into the neighborhoods adjacent to the town." Soon after the church appointed brethren to organize Sunday schools in these destitute neighborhoods. On May 30, 1887, the corner-stone of a brick meeting-house was laid. The house was dedicated March 3. 1888, and the same evening the hand of fellowship was extended to 14 new members. In June, 1888, Rev. G. G. Thomas was chosen pastor. He was a new arrival, born and converted in Wales, and ordained February 1, 1881, at Judson University, Arkansas, but came to Southern Oregon from Long Island, Phillips County, Kansas. He was a young man full of zeal and of good ability, and entered upon his labors with bright prospects. He served a year and was followed by Rev. H. A. Barden in September, 1889. The church prospered both spiritually and numerically, the Sunday school being its pillar. In February, 1889, Brother Thomas, assisted by Rev. Mr. Adkins, of Indianapolis, held a series of meetings with several baptisms; among them was a blind girl who went singing into the water, and who also came out singing. The sisters were also supporting a Bible woman in China, and Rev. Fung Chak. of Portland, acknowledged the receipt from them for this purpose of $14 in 1888, and of $14.50 in March, 1889. Rev. H. A. Barden preached for the church until the fall of 1890, when he resigned to be followed by Rev. L. D. Goodwin, of Ellis, Kansas, for two years. In 1892 the church numbered 96 resident members representing 51 families, several filling prominent positions, and commanding great influence in the city. During the summer Rev. T. H. Stevens from California was pastor; 16 new members were received in 1892, and in 1893 the church expended $1,234. The pastor closed his labors in June, 1894, and for a while the preaching was by supplies.
The church has a good house and parsonage, and $300 debt. The work was hindered by the lack of a pastor, but they were aided some by one of their own members, Rev. J. A. Slover, who preached without fee. There seemed to be a general declension with the brethren. But a few brethren and sisters were still trying to "hold the fort." The only changes during the year were several exclusions. Until February 1, 1895, they were supplied alternately by Revs. E. Russ and Merley very acceptably. They repaired and papered the church building, and rejoiced because of spiritual and material blessings. Rev. L. L. Wood, beloved of the people, held a two weeks' meeting and was acting pastor for a while. Good prayer meetings, and hopeful of better progress the coming year. The church said, "There is an alarming state of indifference to the Lord's work, and this we believe to be the greatest danger which threatens our work. The one thing needful to increase the state of religion among us is Jesus Christ as the Supreme Good and the Supreme God for every home." The weakness of the work in Medford was the frequent changing of pastors. For about a year the church was without a pastor. In January, 1895, Rev. W. C. Jenkins was called to the pastorate and soon after commenced a series of revival meetings which restored harmony and resulted in between 50 and 60 additions to the church; 33 by baptism. The church was revived, and congregations increased; the house was repaired, and matters improved and the field nearly, if not quite, reached the point of self-support. The work was gratifying throughout the year. On account of continued illness, Brother Jenkins resigned June 30, 1896, and was followed by Rev. L. L. Wood. The association met with the church this year, at which there were three baptisms. One young brother was a student for the ministry at McMinnville. The prayer meetings were good, and the church hoped to make better progress the coming year. A deceased sister, Mary A. Hutchinson, bequeathed the church $500. In January, 1897, Rev. George N. Annes, having closed his pastorate at Ashland, accepted that at Medford. There were some 20 additions in 1897. His pastorate lasted about two years and a half, when he left for California. He held some good revival meetings in 1898, with a dozen or more baptisms. Also in March, 1889, a series of meetings was held with 20 baptisms, besides many other additions. After Brother Annes left there was no pastor until late in the fall of 1899, when Rev. T. L. Crandall of Salt Lake City, Utah, was chosen. But the work of the church was kept up by visiting brethren, and at the annual meeting in February, 1900, the previous year was reported as one of great prosperity. A correspondent says that "Brother Crandall, as a wise leader and a faithful preacher is getting the attention of a large congregation and we are looking, by the help of the Lord, for better things than before."
Several churches worked fairly well with preaching once a month, paying usually from $50 to $100 a year; they had an occasional revival, but did little or no aggressive work. Some of them built a meetinghouse, or ordained a minister. They sometimes had Sunday schools and prayer meetings, at least in the summer and fall. Sometimes a church dismissed enough of its members almost to kill itself. Prominent among such was the Table Rock (Central Point) Church, which dismissed nearly all its own members to organize at Medford, thus leaving it too weak to accomplish anything. But their old house becoming too dilapidated, they built another at Central Point. Two brethren met most of the expense, and they were in only moderate circumstances; they had no debt nor any help except a small loan from the Home Mission Society. In their letter they say they have "a lively hope for the future. Our heavenly Father has been very good to us in the past year. Our financial weakness has made it impossible for us to sustain a pastor, but Elder Russ has kindly preached for us often." The prospects however, were rather discouraging, though they had a few additions which helped a little. There were some indications that the church would grow into a flourishing and wide-awake body.
At the Association in 1894, Central Point says: "We have sustained Rev. S. B. Chastain here and at Macedonia, and the pastor has labored at some other points occasionally. An application is now before the Board for the three churches at Central Point, Table Rock and Talent, for the ensuing year." And the next year it says: "We have been ministered unto by Elder S. B. Chastain, who preaches once in two weeks for us; he is partly supported by the board of missions. There have been eight accessions to the church. We are moving on though our prospects do not look as bright as we would like. We were visited by General Missionary Gilman Parker, who preached to us very acceptably. We also enjoyed the service of Elders Merley and. Jenkins in a revival meeting and trust that much good has been done. Our Sunday school is not as flourishing as it should be on account of the irregularity of attendance."
And the other fields report as follows:
"This church is near Leland, Oreg.; was organized by Pastor Dulin, June 28, 1896; 16 members, 13 by baptism; under the watch-care of Pastor Dulin, and were admitted into the association, being represented by letter and by the above named pastor. It is remarkable and hopeful little band. A consecrated sister, C. A. Williams, has been the leading spirit in bringing about this interest."
"Another associational year has passed and we are grateful to the great Giver of all good, that we still live and enjoy fraternal peace among ourselves. Owing to our financial embarrassment, we have no pastor. Rev. J. A. Slover, whose membership is with our church, has been supplying us at our regular monthly meetings without fee or reward. We have had no revival and but little interest taken by the membership during the past year. There seems to be a general declension among our people just now. We are glad to know we have a few faithful brothers and sisters who still hold the fort. We have had no additions during the year, nor has death taken any of our members, but we had to exclude several."
"Another year added but with scant fruitage for the Master's cause. We have great cause to be thankful for what we have enjoyed the past year from a bountiful Father's hand, yet we have been very unprofitable as we have attempted to labor in his vineyard. We have had the services of Elder S. B. Chastain as pastor, whose services close the 30th of this month."
"We have had another year of trial, and hope we have been purged from some of the dross. We have nothing encouraging to report more than the promise of an Eternal God, 'Be thou faithful until death and I will give thee a crown of life.' Our pastor, who has served us this year, has declined to serve longer and we have called A. J. Wilcox as pastor and are praying for a brighter day and hope the day will come soon, and we shall enjoy a refreshing from the presence of the Lord."
Another illustration of desperate efforts on the part of a church to sustain itself is that of the church at Macedonia. In 1887, feeling his need of study, the pastor, Rev. B. F. Scott, told his church that he would preach for them once a month for a year, if they could obtain for him a Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, a Cruden's Concordance, and a Bible Dictionary; and they could not do it. Another brother in the Willamette Valley sent him Young's Analytical Concordance, and Brother Scott worked on as best he could, and the church slowly grew under his ministry. In 1890 he moved to the Willamette Valley, and the church had no pastor until 1893, when Rev. S. B. Chastain accepted the pastorate, and served the church two years. Since 1894 there is no report, and rumor says that the church is extinct.
First Grants Pass. 1886
The church was organized under the leadership of S. E. Stearns, July 17, 1886. Some cases of alien immersions disturbed the peace of the church in 1887, but the church agreed that the "majority should rule the church touching all questions of business, doctrine, or polity, and further, that this is to be made a standing rule of the church." But the peace was only temporary and finally the candidates were baptized. Rev. G. W. Black was pastor from 1888 to 1891. In 1889-90 the church built a meeting-house costing about $3,000, and seating 200, and the future of the church was very hopeful. [Since this was written, this house was burnt, but a new house has been built, costing $4,500, and seating 350. The property is now worth $5,000.] It had two or three mission stations with several conversions. All departments of the church work were being successfully prosecuted, though there were some losses from removals and dismissions. Among the mission stations was a very promising one at Merlin, on the railroad about nine miles north. Here regular appointments were kept up until 1892, when Rev. C. R. Corning, pastor at Grant's Pass, and Rev. E. G. Wheeler of the chapel car, organized a Baptist church, and 16 more members were added the same day. Rev. G. W. Donnell and Miss Alice Voss, of the Women's Mission Society, helped much to put the church in good working order. The church combined with Merlin for 1894 and 1895. The Home Mission Society aided both the first year, but not Merlin the second year. Harmony and success followed. In 1895 came trials and hard work. After three and a half years Brother Corning left, and the church was six months without a pastor; but the brethren took turns in having services until Rev. T. S. Dulin came. The audience grew and the working part of the church became more spiritually minded; more evangelical in purpose and determined in efforts, and to realize the need of more trained workers. The departments of church work which were pushed were Sunday school, the ladies aid society and mission band, young people's union, the prayer meeting, and the regular preaching services. All these services were spiritual and interesting.
Grant's Pass is surrounded by a vast expanse of country which is almost entirely destitute of the privileges of the gospel. Brother Dulin gives quite a graphic sketch of his labor in one of these localities. He says of these people: "Some of them were already converted, some were ready to be, and some were desperate in sin. Brother and Sister Williams of Eugene went there and began work by starting a Sunday school, and by talking to people personally about being Christians. A Methodist brother came and preached a few days, during which time some professed conversion, and said they were Baptists. After the close of the meeting, they sent for me. I was with them 21 days, the Methodist brother remaining the same time. After the preaching Sunday morning, June 28, 1896, each of the ten converts as they stood by the water's edge offered to God a brief prayer, whilst those who had been baptized were making their way out of the water, they fervently sang, 'What a friend we have in Jesus.' In the evening the church was organized. All promised to read their Bibles and pray in their homes daily. How the Methodist preacher enjoyed it! He lost two or three nights of sleep during the latter part of the meeting, and after we had organized Sunday evening he came before the church and told them that he had been converted during this meeting and asked to be received for baptism, and after that into the fellowship of the church. He was received, and his baptism set for July 8. This week ends my first year of work here."
In The Home Mission Monthly of August, 1896, Brother Dulin, wrote: "The state as a whole is by no means evangelized. There is not much work done except along the railroads. No one missionary can take care of his own church and also supply all the surrounding country with preaching. The problem will not be solved till we have country preachers who can make their own living and each take care of three or four of these small communities, organizing them into churches, and then do with but little or no salary. And in advance of these country pastors there must be the country missionary, visiting all these poor people who are unable to support a pastor. This is just one of the hundreds and hundreds of neglected places where precious souls are simply waiting for the gospel but are perishing for the want of it."
Rev. Thomas S. Dulin reported in 1895: 51 weeks; supplied one church and one out-station; preached 128 sermons; organized one church; received 34 members, of whom 31 were baptized; attended 60 prayer meetings; made 619 religious visits; conducted 23 religious meetings, besides those reported; distributed 2 Bibles, and 14,938 pages of tracts; collected $11.80 for the state convention; $65.48 for other benevolent objects; $73.75 for improvements; $45 for interest on debt; and $135.50 on salary from the field. In 1896 the church at Grant's Pass made a good healthy growth; 21 new members; 11 by baptism. The church had 44 resident members, 25 non-resident. The Home Mission Society paid two-thirds of the pastor's salary. At Merlin they had only 20 members and no house, and were somewhat discouraged, but one of their members was studying for the ministry and the church was struggling along.
In 1897 there were no reports, except that the brethren at Grant's Pass were discouraged, but Merlin, though small, was encouraged, and they sent messengers, money and home mission offerings to the association. One of the members was a student for the ministry at McMinnville College, Brother D. C. Williams. Rev. E. B. Pace followed Brother Dulin as pastor not only at Grant's Pass, but also at Merlin, and some two or three other mission stations in 1897 and 1898. Berlin had 30 members; the Sunday school attendance averaged 50. But the church suffered much from removals, and also from the need of a house. The chapel car visited Grant's Pass in 1898; the meetings resulted in 40 professions, and a general awakening among all classes. Brother Pace worked diligently, enduring hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. As an illustration of this, when the roads were too muddy for him to use his wheel, he would preach in the morning at Grant's Pass, and walk nearly ten miles to preach at Merlin in the afternoon. But his frame was delicate, and his strength feeble, and at last he was compelled to stop and recuperate, and by the advice of his physician he resigned and sought another climate.
Brother Pace thus describes his work: "Wherever I would go, if the appointment had been well advised, I would almost always be greeted with large congregations, better than could generally be secured in town. And the people were also more ready to receive the gospel than in the towns where they had so many privileges. After preaching in the morning for the Grant's Pass Church I would go out in the afternoon from four to fifteen miles from town and preach at some out-station, returning for the evening service in town. As often as strength and other duties permitted I would go out to points that were too far away to be reached on Sunday afternoons. With the assistance of a strong bicycle I was enabled to reach out over a great deal of territory and scatter the gospel seed in many directions. During the year my wheel carried me over many hundred miles of rough mountain roads, and gained not a little local celebrity as a missionary bicycle. While I could not but be grateful for the privilege of being able to reach out into as many of these settlements as I did, yet I was oft times heartsick at the destitution and my inability to respond to more than a small part of the many calls that would come from every hand for gospel preaching from the fields that were already white for the harvest. Three or four good, strong men could be more than kept busy on this field alone; and this is only one of a score or more of equally needy fields in Oregon. For, with the exception of some of the older and more thickly populated sections of the Willamette Valley, the whole state is in its religious needs, fairly represented by the conditions of the field described."
Again, Brother Pace shows the needs of Oregon by describing his own field. It is the rich gold-mining district of the extreme southwestern portion of the state, with Grant's Pass, a railroad town of 3000 inhabitants as the center. Eight leading denominations have churches in the town, besides the Salvation Army. The smaller settlements, besides the rural districts are almost wholly without religious privileges, except at rare intervals, and much of this of questionable benefit. For the greater part of the time he was the only Baptist pastor in a large district which extended north and south along the railroad for more than 100 miles, and from the Cascade Divide to the Pacific Ocean on the west, 150 miles. The country is rough and mountainous, with many fertile and thickly populated valleys, and numerous mining and lumbering camps scattered over the mountains. These outlying districts were almost wholly destitute of gospel privileges. From various camps and settlements, people would come for miles to town pleading for some minister to come out and preach to them. They were hungry for the gospel, being almost utterly deprived of true Christian privileges.
The next pastor was Rev. Robert Leslie, coming in 1899. The church made substantial growth under his ministrations. The mission stations are kept up, the women's aid society, the young people's society, and the Sunday school are all flourishing, and the outlook bright with hope (1900).
Rogue River Association
An associational missionary was on the field the most of 1887, 1888 and 1889. He was assisted by the State Board, through the district missionary. The great destitution of the field and the difficulties to be overcome were persistently urged. Much good was accomplished, and as one destitute section was helped a little, others came into view,--more than men or means could reach. The brethren lifted nobly, but the cry still was, "Come over and help us." In 1890 the report on home missions expressed thankfulness for assistance by the State Board in the support of three pastors on the field, for the dedication of two church edifices, costing $5,000, and for the conversion of some 70 souls during the year. The state missionary, Rev. C. M. Hill, was commended, and hearty support was pledged to him and the Board. Attention was called to the great destitution in Jackson, Josephine, and Klamath counties, and the Board was petitioned to appoint a district missionary for Southern Oregon alone.
In 1892 two items were urged on the churches: (1) That churches being aided strive for self-support; (2) That every church try to contribute a sum equal to $1 for each member. The appropriations had been $900 for a field of eight churches and 414 members, besides about $250 on the district missionary's work. The contributions were $92.56. The missionary evangelist for Western Oregon was expected to give about one-fourth of his time to this association. From this time to 1900 there is no mention of any aid either to associational of district missionaries, but each year from two to perhaps six or seven churches with their out-stations were aided. In 1895 the association reported a gain of 120, but in 1900 the total membership is given as 476. In 1900 the Association again urged the State Board to put a district missionary into the field. Among the deaths is noticed that of Sister Prudence Walker of Medford. She was the first adult woman on the Pacific Coast baptized by a Baptist minister, being baptized by Rev. Vincent Snelling into the Yamhill Baptist church in 1846.
In the Home Mission Monthly of March, 1888, Rev. G. W. Black graphically portrays the field comprising the Rogue River and the way to Klamath: "Embraced in the territory which I occupy are the counties of Josephine, Jackson, and Klamath. I am the only minister of our denomination actively engaged in the work, with the exception, probably, of Rev. W. E. Adams at Lakeview, in the extreme southeast portion of the state. Within this territory are the following county seats: Grant's Pass, Jacksonville, Linkville, and Lakeview, and the counties in the same order: Josephine, Jackson, Klamath, and Lake. Of important towns are Grant's Pass, Medford, Ashland. Their populations are from 1,000 to 2,000. Klamath County, fully 7,000 people with a territory as large as Rhode Island, has no minister of our church actively engaged in the work, and is almost entirely without religious influence of any kind. The Southern Pacific R. R. Co. contemplated running a line from Willows, Calif., to Lakeview, in Lake County. This road will run directly through Klamath County, and thus open for settlement a rich grazing and agricultural district, which will be rapidly settled. Linkville, the county seat, containing a population of 700 or 800, has but one church, a Presbyterian, and the only Sunday school which I discovered in the whole county. Josephine County is almost as destitute of the gospel as is Klamath county. The towns of Waldo and Kirbyville, each containing a population of 250, and surrounded by mining and grazing districts, know nothing save dancing, horse-racing, gambling, and drinking. They have no preaching of any kind. Many young people in these communities have heard no more than one or two sermons, probably, in there whole lives, and of Sunday schools they know nothing. In Josephine County there is but one church house, and that is owned by the Methodist Episcopal church, and located at Grant's Pass. In Klamath County there is but one church house, located at Linkville, owned by the Presbyterians. Now the question that comes to me is, How can you, in view of so much destitution, abandon this field? And yet, how can I hold this field, give my time to the work and go in debt, or let my family suffer? What must I do?"
Eastern Association of Oregon and California. 1881
Oregon churches only are considered here. The Eastern Association of Oregon and California extends some 300 or 350 miles from north to south, and spreads out some 150 or 200 miles from east to west. A large majority of the churches are in California. The Oregon churches are in Lake County and extend from the California line to Sumner Lake, about 120 miles north. Counting licentiates, Oregon has about a half-dozen ministers who are available, at least a part of the time. The association has kept a missionary in the field much of the time since its organization, depending altogether. on the churches for his support, and they have been very liberal in this matter. The Oregon churches are all over the country except one or two, and all are practically Landmark. Reports scattering and scanty.
About 100 miles west of Lakeview, near Bonanza, in Klamath County, are several Baptists, and two or three Baptist ministers, who have organized, and preached for three or four little Baptist churches. But the distances are so great on one side, and the mountains so difficult to cross on the other side, and the brethren so very poor, that they have not felt able to represent in any association.
Here is a large and rich field where good work could be accomplished if help could be extended; and most gladly would the brethren welcome some earnest, devoted laborers to this land of promise. More, they would make large sacrifices to assist him. This is indicated by the following action taken in 1900: "Resolved, That we as an association elect a missionary for the ensuing year, who shall take charge of the missionary work of this association, and organize it and carry it on as he sees fit in his own judgment for the salvation of souls, and that he report to the churches of the association each month where he is, what he has accomplished, and such other information as he may think profitable; and that we now say how much we will give as individuals to his support during the year; that we will find out how much our brethren will give who are not present at this association and report to our missionary. Elected as our missionary for the ensuing year, Rev. P. J. Spoon."
First Lakeview. 1881
In 1887 the work of building a meeting-house at Lakeview was pushed as fast as materials and funds could be secured, and the prospects for an early completion were good when the association met June 1, 1888. In 1887 the church pledged $60 for missionary work, "whether the missionary labored for that church or not." It has always been self-supporting, though sometimes having regular preaching only once or twice a month. And in employing missionaries, it says it "does not wish to be a party in choosing. and sending out a party who will not be supported." None of the members are wealthy. In 1887, the church had a prosperous Sunday school with about 100 pupils; had paid for a building lot and material, $600; for their pastor, $310.58; for missions $50; for other purposes, $46. In May, 1888, Brother W. E. Adams resigned, and the church was for a while without a pastor. But finally Rev. P. J. Spoon was chosen, and the prospects grew brighter. Among the promising members was Brother S. E. Milam, a young licentiate of marked ability, from Dripping Springs, Texas, in 1887. He was active and zealous. He afterwards moved to Springfield, Oregon, and there was ordained. But the Lakeview church at that time was blessed with workers--Brother Charlton, Brother LeBaron, a licentiate, the Snelling brothers, Sister Adelia Snelling, and others being full of life and interest. Brother Spoon was pastor until 1894, when he moved away. In 1895, Brother L. Myers was ordained, and since then the available records very scanty. In 1899 the church gave $200 for missions. There are no other items of information except a few general statistics. The other churches north are Paisley, Middle Lake, and Sumner Lake; no reports. There are two or three small churches near Lakeview, mission stations.
Eastern Association of California and Oregon
The field of this association is thus presented in the report of its Committee on Associational Work: "The Eastern Oregon Association covers a large and destitute field; 19,000 square miles being in Malheur and Harney Counties alone, in which there are centers of population such as Ontario, Burns, Harney, Malheur City and valley. . . . We call attention to these fields and want to emphasize the truth that Baptists are doing practically nothing in seeking to win this great field for Christ. We recommend unity of action between the two associations, namely, the Eastern Association and the Grand Ronde, concerning this great field, in giving the gospel to these destitute communities, villages, and towns." After discussion it was decided that a committee be appointed for the purpose of conferring with the Board of the Grand Ronde Association concerning a "Union of Forces;" that the committee consist of the officers of the association; and further, as to Malheur and Harney Counties, to use the condensed correspondence of Rev. T. S. Dulin and other brethren acquainted with the field.
Its constitution said: "Art X. The association shall annually elect by ballot a missionary, or missionaries, whose salaries shall be at the rate of $3 per day, paying their own expenses, and they shall labor at such times and places as the board shall direct; the missionary shall be paid for his time in traveling from one place to another, but shall not receive compensation for labors performed at his own instance. Art XI. At each annual meeting the missionary board, consisting of three brethren, the second named being secretary, shall be appointed, whose duty it shall be to take charge of missionary operations within the bounds of the association, supply all vacancies, designate to the missionaries their field of labor, receive quarterly reports from the same, see that funds are raised for their support, and report to the association their doings; also aid weak churches in securing pastoral services."
Under this arrangement associational missionaries had been kept in the field much of the time from the organization until 1887, at that time the "Committee would impress upon the association the urgent demand that exists for the continuance of missionary labors within our bounds, and for the increasing, as much as practicable, our missionary work." But they had "grave difficulties with which to grapple. The greater number of the churches had been organized within the preceding three years. Some of these, by zeal and earnest labor, had already become self-sustaining, but others were weak, and their story comes to our ears as that of children who are famishing for want of bread."
The extent of the territory to be covered presented another difficulty. The field was 300 x 150 miles in size; the average distance between the churches was nearly 30 miles. And these distances will be more seriously considered when the inclemency of the weather in the winter season, the season best adapted for holding revivals, has to be encountered. But the brethren were diligent, ardent, and zealous; though sometimes a little dilatory in meeting the obligations and the committee would have to call on the association to assure the missionary that the "association would pay all its pledges." In 1888 Rev. W. H. Latourette, representative of the California Baptist Convention and also of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, visited the association, and it voted to cooperate with the State Boards of California and Oregon in mission work. and repealed all parts of the constitution which conflicted with this action.
The association also appointed an Executive Mission Board to adjust the relations between said bodies, and to appoint all missionaries, fix salaries of the same, and to supervise their work. The report of this board in 1889 reads as follows: "That we have received pledges from the churches amounting in the aggregate to about $225. That immediately after the receipt of said pledges we wrote to Elder A. M. Johnson, of Willows, Calif., asking if he would accept the call of missionary pastor to supply the Alturas church and other neighboring points. At the same time we wrote Rev. W. H. Latourette, Secretary of the California Board, notifying him of our action. To our letter to Brother Johnson we received no reply, and supposed that it failed to reach him. But to our letter to Brother Latourette we received a reply stating in substance that Brother Johnson had been trying to get employment from the Board, and that he was not acceptable, but that he thought the Board could send us a man to do the work, but did not give his name or address. In view of the importance of the trust you had confided to us, we did not deem it advisable to pledge the support of this association to an unknown man. Nor do we think that we could take such action without in no small degree compromising the independence of the association, a thing not contemplated by you in appointing us to take charge of home missions within the bounds of this association. The season then being far spent, we saw no alternative but to seek for a missionary to commence work for us. On meeting with Elder W. E. Adams we succeeded in procuring his services as missionary, directing him to hold a meeting with the church at Lake City, and in the meantime to correspond with the brethren at Alturas and vicinity, and if desired by them to hold meetings with them, and if any churches were revived, or new ones organized to supply them with pastoral aid until the meeting in June. We then notified Elder Latourette of our action and the cause of our sending the missionary, together with his receipt for money received by him; we transmitted the same to Elder Latourette, all of which were promptly returned to us with his letter hereto attached. We have further to report that we wrote the Home Mission Board of Oregon asking aid in the mission work, also asking instructions as to how to proceed to obtain it. In answer we received a letter stating that they would gladly join us in the work and asking if we wished a man sent us, since which we have heard nothing from the Oregon Board. Hence it is our attempts at cooperation with the home boards of California and Oregon have proven a failure, and we believe ever will, unless the churches comprising this association become willing to subordinate themselves to the said home mission boards; at least to the extent that the boards will have the right to select the missionaries placed in the field. And recognizing the right and the ability of the churches through their messengers in an associational capacity to judge of the fitness and the ability of those whom they would send forth to preach the gospel of the Son of God to a lost people, we earnestly recommend that in the future this association make its own selection of its missionaries from among those known to be not only efficient instruments in winning souls to Christ, but who are sound in doctrine and do not shun to declare the whole counsel of God with boldness, leaving the result with Him." The Associational Board were A. F. Snelling, H. K. Funk, and R. R. Tandy.
This report was adopted. Also the report of the Home Mission Committee, which was as follows: "First, the former manner of missionary work in our association, which was to elect a general missionary and send him out among the churches or wherever he was thought to be needed, does not seem to be a satisfactory plan of operations at present, and the arrangement adopted at our last annual meeting, which was to cooperate with the Home Mission Society of New York, has not given satisfaction. Therefore, your committee would recommend, first, that we dissolve all connection with the Home Mission Society, and that in future we conduct our own missionary work; secondly, that, we do not call a general missionary for revival work among the churches, but that we employ a man as missionary pastor, and send him to Alturas and vicinity, and employ others for other places in like manner, if possible."
This plan, with some slight variations in detail, has since been followed, and found reasonably successful. The association has since done its own work, in its way, and under its own control, and has never received any aid in mission work from the Boards of California or Oregon, or from the Home Mission Society of New York (1900).