Malheur and Harney Counties
In Malheur County are three church buildings, one of which is Congregational, and the other two are Methodist. One of the Methodist churches, though in a thickly settled, rich stock region, is almost entirely deserted; the other has preaching every Sunday evening. The Congregational church has been pastorless for about a year. The Methodists are working to build a house at Vale, the county seat. The Baptists are talking of building at Owyhee. This is a choice portion of the entire county and the Baptists are hopefully in the lead. Ontario is the largest town in the county, the main distributing point for several thousand square miles of territory in Southeast Oregon. The churches in this county belong to the South Idaho Association, and it is being worked by the missionary colporter of the American Baptist Publication Society and Rev. T. S. Dulin. The people are progressive, and it will someday be a great country. As a rule, they are wide-awake and energetic. Their great need is the Gospel.
"In Harney County are three churches--two Presbyterians and one Baptist, at Burns, the county seat. Rev. G. W. Black is pastor. A Catholic church is building.
"It is refreshing to find earnest, cultivated Christian people away up on the head-waters of these mountain streams. They treat a missionary in a pleasant way that is surprising. After a Sunday morning service in one of these remote settlements, a good brother started around with a hat and received a collection of $8.85. Three or four missionaries could find plenty to do here. Union county has four people to the square mile. Compared with Malheur and Harney counties, it is 16 to 1. Outside of LaGrande, the great Grand Ronde Valley and adjacent valleys teem with people, having but few Gospel privileges and seldom hearing a sermon from a Baptist minister. The field is ripe. Mormonism is here, aggressive, seizing the industries, buying up farms, settling families, and investing the country with its missionaries. Northward 50 miles beyond the railroad lines lies Wallowa County, rich in stock raising, good farms, church-going people (when they have an opportunity), rapidly growing in population, a dozen towns and no Baptist missionary on the field. In nearly all these places, the missionary is gladly welcomed and has a crowded house to preach to. One is astonished at the absence of denominational feeling in these neglected places. People generally say: "We do not care what denomination comes along, we want the gospel." Yet sprinkling of babies and grown people is very unpopular. Whatever church they join, the great majority insist on being baptized. Pedobaptist ministers have to immerse a great majority of those they receive. And this is what we miss by not having more missionaries on this great field. We need a man for Malheur county, a man for mining camps and untouched towns in Baker County, a missionary for Grand Ronde Valley and vicinity, besides the pastor at LaGrande, and a man for Wallowa County. They need to be men of energy, grace and skill. Good men can be had, but who will furnish the money to support these men while they go forth to battle for the Lord? These fields are largely dependent upon the State Convention and the Home Mission Society, and these in turn on the people who love God and believe in planting Baptist churches."
This covers Eastern Oregon, the Grand Ronde .Association being included in the above presentations of the field. Along the lines of the railroad and its branches, the destitution is partially relieved. but the relief is very scanty. after reaching a few miles distant. How can this condition of things be improved upon? (1) Bring out more of our own talent; import less from abroad. Boys raised here are more in accord with their surroundings; they are one with us; their wishes, their hopes, their aspirations are more in harmony with those they come into contact with, than are those of men from abroad. (2) Have more associational missionaries, and allow the associations to direct their work, and choose their own men. This brings everything in closer touch with the churches, and an increase of interest.
"The General Missionary visited a part of the state never before visited by a General Missionary. Klamath Falls, Silver Lake, Burns, Harney City, Vale, Ontario. and other places along the way. He reports the wickedness and destitution appalling. Saloons, gambling dens, houses of ill fame, and other abominations have taken root in this fertile soil, and are bringing forth a dire harvest of corruption and death. In some of these towns there is no religious work of any kind. If we are to be true to our trust in any real sense, we must send forth more men to sow the Word of God and gather the harvest that the divine husbandman has promised shall follow the seed-time. The least we can do is to relieve the pastor at Burns of the care of the John Day Valley by sending a missionary there, in order that he may give needed time to Burns and other nearer and none the less needy fields; and to put a missionary into Malheur county for full time, thus releasing T. S. Dulin to give all his time to his Idaho field."
In the extreme part of Eastern Oregon some aggressive work was done, though mostly by individual brethren in passing occasionally, or possibly at long intervals by an associational missionary. Among these interests was the Silver Lake Baptist church in Lake County, organized with seven members by Rev. W. E. Adams in April, 1887. He reported it to the Eastern Association of California and Oregon, 200 miles distant, but it did not represent, and Brother Adams did not return. In 1889, at a Christmas party in a burning building, 47 persons perished, which ever since has cast a gloom of sadness over the valley. In 1896 the church had a revival under Rev. C. P. Bailey with 18 additions, 17 by baptism, and $35 was raised for Convention work. About this time Rev. T. H. Hunsaker moved to the place to follow his blacksmith work, and was chosen pastor. The church had 25 members. They offered $300 a year for a preacher, and an intelligent, wide-awake class of people to sustain him if he could give them reasonable satisfaction. Brother Hunsaker was the pastor in 1900, and doing a good work at that place and vicinity.
In 1887 Revs. S. W. Applegate and T. H. Lydson, general missionary of the Idaho Association, organized two churches in Malheur County, named Bully Creek and Upper Willow, and Brother Applegate preached for them a while. Then Mrs. Desdemona Smith, from Idaho, served these churches for three or four years.
Of her first church, she thus speaks in her report: "I find this a very destitute field. In all this country, from Baker City to the state line, there was not a single preacher until we came (except Brethren Applegate and Lydson). There are valleys and hamlets where there has never been a sermon preached. We preached in Vale, the county seat, when we came over, which was the first sermon that had been preached in that town. Malheur is quite an old place. and when we were there we found a young lady 17 years old who had never heard a sermon before, and one girl 14 years old who had never seen a Bible. We have succeeded in organizing a Sunday school at this place, and also one five miles above Vale. There are two Baptist churches organized in this part, and we have one in this and Malheur City." In 1888 the church was prosperous, reporting much to be thankful for. Monthly meetings had been maintained during the year, and the church was ready to work for the Master. It expected large results for the future. It had ordained Brother J. C. Smith to the ministry. But Brother and Sister Smith left, and the church had neither pastor nor reports until 1893, when Rev. J. H. Harris was preaching for it, and the prospects brightened. He left and Brother and Sister Smith returned for a short time. but the reports since 1895 are very meager.
Of Mrs. Smith's other field (Upper Willow church) she thus speaks: "From Bully to Upper Willow is 30 miles, and over high and rough roads; the houses are few and far between. It is dangerous to travel in winter; the snow falls deep, and drifts badly. From our last appointment, we were four days making the trip, and it was very perilous. Oh, how I wish we had some strong man for this field. I am not able for these things. This is the rich country. The men are mostly engaged in stock raising. On Upper Willow there is a great deal of wealth represented. People live in nice houses; they have money, and could do much toward building up a church with their means. They begin to feel the need of a church edifice, and I think if, we had some good man here there could be much done in that line now."
This church, as well as Bully Creek, united with the First Baptist Association of Idaho, that association being the most convenient to attend. After Brother and Sister Smith left, it had no pastor until Rev. J. M. Harris came in 1893, but the regular meetings were kept up, the brethren were in earnest, and there were some additions. In 1895 Rev. J. L. McConigill was pastor, and the church was longing and praying for a revival. There is no data at hand since 1895, except that in 1900, Rev. T. S. Dulin, passing through this section, found the little church still alive. He held a meeting of eight days, baptized and received two by letter. On his way out (45 miles to Baker City), he broke his bicycle and had to walk twenty miles for help. Brother Dulin labored in this field about nine months.
"While much of the world has heard the gospel, the destitution is appalling. In Eastern Oregon. with thirteen counties, is a population of 125,000, rapidly increasing. The Baptists have twelve ministers, four of them confined to local churches, leaving the evangelization of the great field to eight men, and some of them hampered. Now is the time to enter these desolate places. The Mormons are sending missionaries by twos, sharp, shrewd men. This great evil must be headed off. What has been said of Eastern Oregon applies to Western Oregon. The convention expends in cooperation with the Home Mission Society $8,000 in Oregon, $2,260 of it in Eastern Oregon, $800 within the bounds of this association."
Rev. L. J. Trumbull also thus speaks of the Eastern Oregon field in 1892: "In all that region between the Cascade Mountains and the Snake River, a tract of country some 300 miles by 200 miles wide, there are 36 Baptist churches and eight settled pastors who give all their time to the work, and one district missionary. Nine men to 60,000 square miles of territory, and more thousands of people! Surely the field, if not the harvest, is great, and the laborers are few. Two things make church and missionary work unusually difficult here. First, the great distances between the churches. On the main line of the Union Pacific railroad (O.R.& N. and Oregon Short Line) from The Dalles to Pendleton, 153 miles, there is no Baptist church; from there not one to LaGrande, 75 miles; from there to Huntington, 100 miles, there are four. Five others are on branch roads, and the remainder scattered through the mountains, canyons, and plains. Often it is two days' travel from the nearest neighbor, making it a matter of time and money to get from one church to another. The second difficulty is that the members are from nearly all parts of the world, and represent every cranky notion of the earth; consequently there is a lack of unity of spirit and labor that is essential to success. Nevertheless God is giving us some tokens of His favor. Our great need under God, is men, --consecrated men, --and more money, --consecrated money, --to sustain them."
In the Home Mission Monthly for May, 1891, Rev. C. M. Hill touches this same question of supplying destitute districts. He says: "We have in our state hundreds of small sections, ranging in population from 100 to 1,000, that are without Baptist preaching. Perhaps in every one of these towns there are people who have been members of Baptist churches. Besides these towns, there are scores and scores of country districts where there are Baptists and those who would be Baptists under proper influences. Yet in many of these neighborhoods a Baptist minister is never heard, and in most of the others a Baptist sermon is heard only occasionally. In many of these places there are feeble churches, that are feeble mainly because they have been unable to support suitable pastors--men that are qualified to cultivate the fields that naturally belong to these churches. . . . These facts convey only a faint idea of the needs of many sections. The country is new, settlements are widely separated, the people are comparatively poor. Not one of numerous pastorless churches could support a pastor without from $400 to $600 from the Home Mission Society. The long distance between churches makes it impossible to link churches together in the support of pastors. . . . Sometimes with us associational missionaries have been employed, the association and the Convention cooperate in their support. A serious objection to this is that the money that naturally flows into the State Convention treasury goes into that of the association. In proportion as this is the case, the convention becomes unable to appropriate for missionary support. If the associations have their missionaries independent of the Convention and the Home Society, the work is divided. and, besides, is not so likely to be successful. For want of proper organization and attention, with us it has been true, such missionaries were rarely supported for a year at a time. And we think we have solved the problem approximately, at least, by the appointment of the district missionary."
It is true that the district missionary helps matters somewhat by curtailing his field of work, but aside from this, among Oregon Baptists, the brethren are neither few nor scattering who regard this idea of "solving the problem" as a mistake, for several very important reasons: (1) Both the appointing power and the directing power are too far remote from the churches, since those on or near the field should know more of its needs and requirements than those at a distance. That the money is diverted from the Convention to the association, even if true, they would reply that there is where it ought to go, as every church or association should direct its own work on its own field. (3) As to the statements that it would lessen the funds of the Convention, and that if the association worked independently it would be hostile to the Convention, neither of these conclusions necessarily follows if the churches are thoroughly instructed as to the duty and importance of missions, and no missionary should be appointed who would not so instruct and urge this duty. Let the Convention aid the association a little, and encourage this work, and also encourage the home talent to do what they can, and it would be cooperation, and it would undoubtedly, when fully understood, make as large a percentage of returns as some of the "strategic points." A little help and encouragement would accomplish much.
Mount Pleasant and Eastern Oregon Associations
Because of internal troubles in Baptist forces of Eastern Oregon, there was a division in 1893. The Mount Pleasant Association, organized in 1868, was the first Baptist association east of the Cascade Mountains. It had some churches in Washington, and, except the church at The Dalles and one or two others a few miles from there, contained at first, in Oregon, all the Baptist churches north of Prineville. A new association of Oregon churches broke off and in October, 1893, organized The Eastern Oregon Baptist Association, thus throwing all the Mount Pleasant Association into Washington.
The Mount Pleasant Association in 1888 recommended systematic giving and large contributions; that the churches allow their pastors to devote a part of their time to the needy and promising fields adjacent and that every church without regular preaching appoint one of its members to see that services be conducted every Sabbath by Bible readings or otherwise. In 1890 the committee had employed an associational missionary for about four months; he had done good work. The minutes say that "it was inspiring to witness the development of the missionary spirit among the people as contrasted with that of a few previous years." In 1892 the associational board regretted to report that few members of the churches responded to its call, but a missionary had been employed 29 weeks, who gave a statistical report of his labors, in which is found, "Collections, $288.45; unpaid pledges, $23; traveling expenses, $103.31. The board recommended that the association either provide some means of paying the missionary, or cease the associational work entirely." But in 1893 the board employed a missionary at $50 a month, who labored 10 weeks, and the board reported an indebtedness of $86.32. Then the association passed a resolution that "no missionary be employed unless the money is in the treasury." (Since 1893 no churches of the association are in Oregon.)
With the data at hand there is some doubt as to the exact date of the organization of the First Baptist Church at Burns. A writer in The Pacific Baptist of July 21, 1892, claims its organization, but nothing more is heard of it until July, 1894, when another writer claims it, and Rev. C. P. Bailey claims its organization in August, 1894. The place is 150 miles west of Ontario; this latter place on Snake River, and the nearest railroad station, and on the Oregon Short Line. Burns is in Harney County, and about 4,000 feet above sea level. The church, organized with half a dozen members, had reached 21 by January, and in May, 1895, reached 58, and "more a coming."
In December, 1894, Rev. W. H. Gibson of Summerville, Oregon, made a hard and tedious journey to Burns, and is enthusiastic over the kind reception he received. Of course he found traces of our faithful pioneer, Rev. C. P. Bailey, and he also found a faithful little band, every member of which had on the armor and was in active service. Everyone led in prayer, and they appeared to enjoy their religion. Brother Gibson was called to the pastorate and sent for his family, which soon arrived, and he says the people apparently vied with each other in showing the most unalloyed kindness, even those who made no pretensions to religion. He could hardly go out without returning ladened with some of the substantials of life. And to add to his pleasure, he found almost the entire community rather predisposed toward the Baptist faith, and evidently waiting to be gathered into the fold. Because of this he hoped to make Burns a focal point from which the word might go out to the entire country. But as Brother Gibson is rather a small man, and the field covers about 20,000 square miles, he thought he would have to spread very thin to reach its limits. Hence he appealed heartily for help, but was determined to press on and do what he could. Especially in those sections which are first settled by irreligious people, there is not much respect paid to the observance of the Sabbath, and Burns was no exception to the rule. Brother Gibson to test this question in the Sunday school, called for a vote. There were many of several or of no Christian denominations, but every adult stood up in favor of a strict observance of the Sabbath. The fourth Sunday in March, 1895, Brother Gibson baptized 27 candidates after a series of meetings held by him and Rev. C. P. Bailey, and one sister came 28 miles to be baptized. About the last of May he got "pounded" terribly, so much so that his pantry was full and running over. In June the church came into the Grande Ronde Association, which required a rough drive of 175 miles over very bad roads to reach the place.
In May, 1896, Brother Gibson resigned, and was succeeded soon after by Rev. Arthur Royse. He thus gives a statement of his services: Three Sundays of the month to the church at Burns, but one of these the church gives to Narrows, 30 miles south, each two weeks a night service at Harney, 14 miles away; the fourth Sunday, he gives to Silver Creek, 30 miles distant; means of travel, horseback. Brother Royse and a Presbyterian preacher are the only ministers in the county, and as this is the largest county in the state, and somewhat difficult to get into and fully as hard to get out of, they do not crowd each other at all. There was but one meeting house in the place--a "union house." The Presbyterians bought this, and the Baptists got the use of the courthouse for a while. They also bought an old house for a parsonage.
One very promising field was Drewsey, some 50 miles distant. In 1897 Rev. C. P. Bailey held a ten days meeting at this place, preaching every night and baptizing 13 converts into the Burns church. Quite a number belonging to different churches were reclaimed, several were under conviction, and about 30 converts were claimed in all. But Brother Bailey had to leave. Afterwards Rev. G. W. Black held a meeting and baptized three persons, and a Presbyterian minister and a Methodist minister came and preached one sermon each; otherwise the locality had no preaching. The brethren tried to keep up some kind of meetings, though with great difficulty. From lack of leaders and encouragement, some grew cold or lukewarm; some moved away. Piteous appeals for help brought no response. Yet they prospered as well as could be expected under the circumstances, with no under-shepherd. The young people were holding together, keeping up a Sunday school, prayer meeting and a young people's meeting with a most tenacious faith holding the fort, with a determination that older and more experienced Christians need not have been ashamed of.
Another station of the Burns church was at Harney, 14 miles distant, where Brother Dulin held some meetings in 1899, baptized some converts and aroused much interest. The same year Rev. G. W. Black went to Burns and stirred the church up to build a meeting house and now it has one of the best locations in the town, and one of the neatest and most comfortable meeting-houses in the county. Brother Black was also pastor in 1900, the last three months in the employ of the Home Mission Society and from the tenor of his letters the work appears to be in a prosperous condition. He thus describes the destitution in all that section: "This is a great destitute field. Harney County, containing over 9,000 square miles, with a population of perhaps 6,000 people and settling up rapidly, has but two evangelical ministers, myself and a Presbyterian. In many sections you can find young men, women from 16 to 20 years of age who never heard a sermon in their lives, or attended Sunday school. I am now in a community of farmers to hold a few days' meetings. I am 90 miles from Burns, yet between here and Burns there is but one minister of any kind (Methodist Episcopal) giving his whole time to preaching. He is located in Canyon City, the county-seat of Grant County. Going east from Burns it is 150 miles to a meeting house, or a minister of any kind; going west, it is 100 miles to a church, house or minister; and going south you would enter Nevada and go perhaps 20 miles before you would clasp hands with a minister of any kind, or see a meeting house. Yet these valleys and plains are settling up with a wide-awake, progressive people, many of them from good homes in the East. If they are to be saved from lives of heedlessness touching the things of God, and often wild dissipations, they must be saved by the gospel of His grace carried by His ambassadors. There are many mothers and fathers in the East who have sons on these plains, in these mountain homes, villages and towns, who need the gospel. The Home Mission Society is doing noble work over these fields of destitution. Our church house in Burns (and without aid from the Home Mission Society it could never have been built) is the nearest in this section. The little church is justly proud of it. We have raised money to buy a bell, hymn books, and plank the sidewalk in front of the church. We have the church neatly painted on the outside. It needs painting on the inside."
Grande Ronde Association
The Grande Ronde Association includes the churches in Oregon east of the Blue Mountains (except LaGrande and Baker City), comprising Baker, Union, and Wallowa Counties. It has some three or four available ministers for a part of their time, to supply a destitute field large enough for three times that number of active rustling workmen, and the demands are imperative. The association tried hard and made large sacrifices for the cause, but it could do little for lack of means. Getting little or no help outside of itself, the churches struggled along with once a month preaching; some have not even that. From Baker City to the California line are large settlements, with but one or two Baptist preachers, and these mostly have to give much of their time to secular pursuits to provide for their families.
Of the young people's work they thus speak in 1897: "This world is being shaken as never before by the young people's movement. They are taking the lead in all branches of life,--commercial, political and moral. It cannot be disputed that those churches which have vigorous young people's societies are strongest in other lines of work. No question that there is an appalling dearth of these organizations in our association and we feel that immediate action must be taken to induce the youths of our churches to organize for systematic work. Therefore we recommend that a committee of three, each of whom is a member of some church within the association, be appointed. whose term of office shall be for one year, and whose duty it shall be to confer with our churches with a view of awakening an interest in our young people's societies, said committee to assist in the organization and carrying forward of such societies as far as possible."
Early in 1873 the church commenced having services every Sunday, and all departments of the church were prosperous. In 1888 special meetings were commenced, continued for several weeks, and deep interest prevailed. There were several converts, and the new converts took hold of the work. The crowd was so large that sometimes it was difficult to secure even standing room. After the special meetings had closed, the church kept up two prayer meetings a week with a crowded house; every week there were baptisms. About 40 were baptized, and the church more than doubled its membership, the total additions being about 50. Rev. G. J. Bramblett and Rev. I. T. Moore assisted several days in the meetings. With such growth the church concluded not to ask further aid from the Home Mission Board, but said it would support itself and also help weaker churches. In the spring of 1889 brethren B. H. Moore and J. C. Newton were licensed. Brother G. T. Ellis was pastor until 1890, and was succeeded by Rev. A. LeRoy. The Sunday school was large, the prayer meetings well attended, and the church active in gospel work. Brother LeRoy's pastorate commenced in September 1890. He held a five week's meeting, with few additions but good interest. It was thought, however, that the assuming self-support was premature because of the small proportion of contributing members. In 1892 the church claimed the largest membership in the association. Brother LeRoy gave it three-fourths of his time. In April a special meeting of seven weeks' duration was closed; 39 additions, 28 baptisms, 115 present at the convention meeting.
Brother LeRoy resigned in November, 1892, but the church was partially supplied with preaching in 1893 by Rev. L. J. Trumbull. It had some severe trials, but was hoping for the best. In 1894 it helped the East Oregon Baptist Association, refusing to go with the East Oregon Convention, but remained with the State Convention. Rev. Charles A. Rice, from Prescott, Arizona, was the pastor, for about two years. In the fall of 1894 he reported the outlook promising, with a number of baptisms. At that time the church numbered 106, but several were non-residents or lived at a distance, and half its financial strength had removed in two years. The work of the previous year had been largely dismissals and exclusions and getting ready for business. But if old members had gone, new ones had come in or were being trained. The societies were waking up and the outlook improving, though Brother Rice was laboring under the discouragement of a badly located house of worship. The main town, located on the railroad is two miles from the building and not much could be accomplished without a new house built near the center of population. Desiring to leave, Brother Rice resigned the last of August, 1895. Rev. E. A. Leonard was pastor in 1896. He received 22 members into the church, 14 by baptism. He had large congregations, the young people's work well organized, the Sunday school flourishing and a strong trend given to the Baptist cause in the City. In the fall the church moved their house from the old town to the new. Brother Salyer, who succeeded Brother Leonard, stayed only eleven months. He was a very bright young man, whom the Lord called from the law in Seattle to preach the gospel, and after doing good work in Washington, he came to Oregon. The cause of his leaving LaGrande is thus told in The Pacific Baptist: "He is a temperance lecturer of no mean order. In fact he is the kind of man we need on this coast. and just such a man as will be appreciated in his native Michigan. He would doubtless have remained on the coast had not things turned out as they have in LaGrande. It has been tacitly understood for five years that whoever attempted to move that meeting-house would have to follow Elijah's example after slaying the prophets of Baal, to-wit: to take to the woods. Thus Brother Salyer, after getting the house on rollers, I believe took to the Michigan woods. Yet the old town members seemed quite unanimous this time in having the house go three-quarters of a mile away."
The moving, lots, repairing, painting, etc., cost about $600, and it was all provided for in a few minutes after the close of the morning service on the day the house was re-dedicated, December 5, 1896. It stands in the center of population in the new town. It is on a good stone foundation, and has been fully re-fitted on the inside, and all is in perfect harmony in the church's working membership. Rev. T. S. Dulin was called to the pastorate in January, 1898. In February Rev. Gilman Parker, with some other ministers, assisted Brother Dulin in a series of meetings resulting in several additions, a number by baptism. In the fall of 1898 Pastor Dulin was troubled somewhat by Mormon proselyters and their work among the brethren. Several active members died. In February, 1898, Rev. C. P. Bailey held special meetings with the church with good results. Brother Dulin closed his work in October, 1899, to go to Harney and Malheur Counties as district missionary. He had worked hard and done excellent work at LaGrande, but other places called him and he felt it his duty to go.
Brother Dulin thus gives his account of the field a few graphic touches, calling them "hard facts" and "difficulties" which attend his labors: "There is no hiding the fact that the usefulness of the missionaries is greatly hindered by the pinching poverty of the pastorate. Yet the size of the salary has but little influence with them in accepting their places of divine trust." He says the Presbyterian missionaries usually get $1,000 each, which is perhaps twice the average salaries of the Baptist missionaries. When the doctor's bill of the latter runs up to $50 with no visible means for its payment; when the missionary must be harassed by bills which must be made to live and must run too long; do without much he needs in the way of books, when his wife must wear herself out in household duties, unable to hire help or take rest or vacation; when these and other similar conditions prevail, and the missionary lies awake all night in prayer and anxiety that he may "provide things honest in the sight of all men" and "have a good report of them that are without," it necessarily follows that the gospel horse would be better able to "draw" if he were better fed and cared for. That "money makes the mare go is as true in missions as in the livery stable." "The saloon, gambling and lawlessness are the Goliaths defying God in Oregon and with them are the theater, the social evil and a dwarfed public opinion, surrounded by a corrupt, vicious, and degenerate childhood. The small towns are all, or nearly all cursed by saloons. Sunday is unknown. Business houses and gambling dens are wide open. These things are an incarnation of that infernal trinity, the world, the flesh, and the devil. The only hope for these places of wickedness is in Christ and the Church; and the mission churches and Christ are depending largely upon the loyal liberality of God's people in the larger churches for the establishment of righteousness in the West." He also speaks of difficulties because of the, floating population, "who make an exodus without a Moses before them, or a Pharaoh behind them;" also of the difficulty of assimilating the heterogeneous elements of the church into a harmonious whole, dividing these into different classes, such as "the extremely loose, doing anything for popularity; the liberal, willing for harmony and charity to yield everything for principle; the conservatives, pious and charitable, holding firmly to the more restricted and conservative views among Baptists as a sacred and divine trust committed to them; and the extremely conservative, declining church fellowship with all Baptists who fellowship any or all of the other classes." How can these be reconciled?
Brother Dulin was followed by Rev. C. R. Lamar, but the interest lagged and in 1900 the church complained of a lack of spirituality and said they were not as united as they ought to be.
Baker City. 1874
In Sept. 1886, Rev. G. H. Brown of Malvern, Iowa, received an appointment from the Home Mission Society for Baker City, and in February reported that he had been holding some very successful meetings; 21 additions. In June he reported 42 additions. A young people's society of Christian Endeavor had been organized, the Sunday school was in a flourishing condition and the prospects were hopeful. Two or three pastors followed at short intervals and in 1890 began the pastorate of Rev. G. T. Ellis, who has been the pastor until now (1900). In 1890-91 the church built a parsonage costing $1,000 and all indications were favorable for continued prosperity. Brother Ellis held a series of meetings in 1891 assisted by Brother Trumbull, in which there was much interest and the church strengthened. He is regarded as a wise and judicious worker, and painstaking and able preacher, beloved by his people and holds high rank with the citizens; and has much improved the church property.
In July, 1892, the church declined to assist in the organization of the East Oregon Convention, "believing that our mission work could be more economically and successfully carried forward by continued cooperation with the State Convention than by organizing a new convention." Yet in October, 1893, the church helped organize the Eastern Oregon Association on largely the same ground. "The Landmark Question" was an element in leading to these results, one organization being for and the other against the question. In the spring of 1893 Brother Ellis was assisted by Rev. W. A. Lindsay in a protracted meeting of which he speaks as follows: "The church was crowded to its utmost capacity every night during the three weeks that the meetings continued. The church was revived, strengthened and 43 added to the membership, 34 by baptism; 20 were heads of families. We all feel that a brighter day has dawned for the Baptists here. All departments of the church work has been strengthened."
The interest continued after Brother Lindsay left, and Brother Ellis received several more members, and had hopes of a great harvest. In 1895 the church prospered both financially in meeting its obligations, and spiritually in its steady and healthy growth. The first half of 1896 nearly 40 members were added, of whom 20 or more were by baptism. Christians were awakened, prayer meetings were well attended. Spiritual life on a much higher plane than before and there was greater activity in church work. In June a China man was baptized, showing good evidence of a thorough conversion. The congregations filled the house and every department of the church was vigorous and prosperous. The prayer meetings numbered about 80 attendants; the B. Y. P. U. 55; the Juniors over 100, with all average attendance of from 60 to 75. In March, 1897 Rev. Gilman Parker assisted Brother Ellis in a protracted meeting of two weeks; 14 additions, 10 by baptism. The first Sunday in February, 1898, Rev. C. P. Bailey began a series of meetings with the church, resulting in 49 additions, mostly by baptism. A writer in The Pacific Baptist thus speaks of the further results of the meetings: "The plane of Christian life has been raised in Baker City. One excellent result is seen in the increased zeal of the church at large. Since the last association over 50 have united with the church. All the various societies of the church are planning something for the advancement of the interest of the church. Brother Ellis is very busy looking after those who need spiritual help, and striving to gather in the fruits of the meetings. At a collection taken for the purpose $60 was raised for mission work." In April, 1898 the attendance of the mid-week prayer meeting was over 100.
On request of the pastor. the church adopted the following plan for ministerial support: "The pastor released the church from all past dues, and also from all obligations to pay him a stated salary, he being willing to take the voluntary contributions of the church and congregation for his support. Envelopes in which to enclose the offering are furnished those who desire to contribute. With fervent hearts, both pastor and people offer prayers to God to care for his ministers as he careth for the sparrows. We have been acting on this plan for three weeks, and the average receipts exceed the former receipts. It brings the people near God and the apostolic practices. The church released all who had pledges from their obligations and no one is asked to pledge even a dollar for the support of the ministry." Further, Brother Ellis would not receive any money for his support that was raised by suppers, festivals, or concerts. Nor would he ask anyone for anything, and he requested the church to cease its efforts in soliciting aid for his maintenance, rather urging them to look to God for personal conviction and loving obedience on this question. He thinks this course will result in larger gifts from the church, will prove a spiritual uplift to the people, and will spur the denomination at large to return to the fundamental principles of apostolic giving.
The church was surely growing, and there were regular accessions at almost every meeting. Its membership had increased to 250. In the fall of 1898 the church enlarged its meeting house by setting the side wall out 16 feet and building in so that it was ready for use in January, 1899. In this work, as in all the other expenses of the church, the free-will offering plan was carried out, and there were to be no debts. A statement of the need and perhaps a suggestion or two were made; that was all. The Lord was trusted for it all; the work was commenced; and with the offerings of work, material and money the building was soon enlarged to a greater seating capacity by one-half than before, and the property increased in value $1,500. This also included a lecture room at the rear, 20 x 50 feet, built in 1899. The church is not wealthy, but this was the result of faithful prayer, and earnest effort. Enlarged contributions flowed into the treasury. More than double the usual amount of money being received. A new organ was purchased by the B. Y. P. U. Society. The Sunday school bought the pulpit furniture at a cost of $52, and when done there was money in the treasury to paint the building. Soon after Rev. C. P. Bailey held another series of meetings with the church; 22 additions. In 1900 the church said it was greatly exercised in soul over the destitution in the surrounding country, especially Sumpter and adjoining camps. Brother Ellis was hoping that they would have to build more meeting house to accommodate his congregation.
Here too we have a good church. A writer in The Pacific Baptist says, "No doubt it resembled the church at Philippi, which Paul evidently considered a model church." Perhaps it may in some respects. All its surroundings are cheerful and attractive. Its congregations and management are cordial and inviting. Its policy shows its faith and trust in God. Pastor Ellis says, "I think I have one of the best churches in the state." And his people think they have the best pastor in the state. When Brother Ellis entered upon this work in June, 1890, he found the church much discouraged, many of its members looking upon the cause here as a forlorn hope. But by patient and wise management, with great reliance upon God, and considerable self-sacrifice, he has built up the church from 89 to 250 members, and nearly all these active resident members and all devotedly attached to the pastor. He has largely improved the church property and increased its value, and raised the Baptist influence and standard in the community, until it ranks among the first religious influences of the city. These were years of steady growth, no sudden upheaval from unusual causes, or questionable devices. The finances of the church are in excellent condition. The voluntary offering plan is still followed. When it was first proposed, the church was both surprised and pleased, but some feared that the pastor was doing an unwise thing for himself. But it was finally adopted and for the two years he has received a better support than ever before. The money comes voluntarily as from the Lord and with remarkable regularity, though some months are better than others. All the departments of work have been persistently maintained. Large congregations attend the preaching. Accessions are frequent. Yet the pastor is no sensationalist. He preaches the old-fashioned truths of God's Word, enforced by argument and illustration from the Word itself. This is a loving and practical man. The great object in his preaching is to lift up the Lord Jesus as the Savior of man and the pattern of a Christian life. The church has been self-supporting since 1893. It contributes regularly to missions, and taken as a whole, it is one of the most efficient and aggressive churches in the state.
Brother Ellis was born in Vermont, and ordained in Michigan, where he was pastor for ten and a half years before he came to Oregon. His wife, though not in robust health for several years, has ever been a great help to him, while their only child, a young man, is an active member of the church and the young people's society.
North Powder. 1881. (Bethel)
Rev. E. P. Waltz continued as pastor until 1900. In February, 1888, assisted by Rev. J. T. Moore, of Elgin, he held a protracted meeting, with 29 baptisms and several other additions. The church established a mission about five miles distant, and built a meeting-house, completing it in 1889; seating 200. In 1890 the church felt heavily the loss of 20 members by removals. It had two Sunday schools. Brother F. O. Bryant licensed to preach. In 1891 a protracted meeting was held with six additions. In connection with the Haines Church, it was sustaining a pastor without help from the board. In 1893 it was reported as having the most prosperous year in its history. It had a gracious revival conducted by Rev. C. P. Bailey, with about 50 conversions. In 1894 the brethren were somewhat discouraged; had preaching half the time. In 1895 Brother Waltz reported: "Years of labor, 14; baptized, 92." No further reports until 1897, when the church was in a better spiritual condition than for several years before. No later reports.
Located at Enterprise, the county seat of Wallowa County; organized with 14 members by Rev. W. H. Black. July 29, 1888. The church voted at once to build at Enterprise and the house was dedicated September 29. 1889, with a heavy debt over it. The church came into the Grand Ronde Association in 1889 and the next winter Brother J. P. Thomas was licensed to preach. January 1, 1890, Brother Black resigned, and for the next year or two the church depended on supplies. Early in 1891 the church had "a grand revival" under Pastor J. T. Moore, assisted by Rev. L. J. Trumbull, but a big debt troubled it very seriously and Brother Moore resigned. Yet it bought a parsonage and adopted a systematic method of contributions and was making strong efforts to remove the difficulties. The membership then numbered over 70, but removals soon reduced it to about 60. The brethren felt encouraged from the fact that their membership had been largely increased during the spring meetings, some 45 having united with the church, 36 by baptism. After May 1, 1891, the church had no regular pastor. though the district missionary, Rev. L. J. Trumbull, supplied it once a month until the association met in 1892. The church was compelled to sell its house for $1,500, with the privilege of redeeming it in three years. The same year the church was invited to assist in the organization of what was first called "The East Oregon Convention," but declined, not considering two state conventions necessary in Oregon at this time. Besides, the project was by many looked upon with disfavor. In 1893 the church had a revival under the preaching of Rev. C. P. Bailey, with several additions. Rev. W. S. Cook was pastor, but he stayed only about a year. In 1894 the church was trying hard to redeem its house. In 1895 the church had no regular preaching much of the time, but kept up its regular covenant meetings, and had a flourishing Sunday school. Rev. R. Y. Blalock accepted the pastorate for one-half his time. In 1897 the ladies' aid society was prosperous and the covenant meetings good, but the church property was lost, as they could not redeem it. This is the last mention of the church in the minutes, and no reliable data concerning it is at hand. Enterprise is a stirring town, a County Seat and of sufficient importance to justify labor there, but at present (1900) our missionaries and boards do not look upon it with much favor. There has been no Baptist preaching there for a year.
A writer in one of our local papers tells why the church lost its house: "When the property was acquired, times in Wallowa County were prosperous and the future hopeful, and in view of that future, a house costing between $3,000 and $4,000 was built. At the time of dedication all indebtedness, except $300 from the Home Mission Society, and about $100 assumed by the trustees, was provided for by pledges. Two years of almost total failure of crops and consequent depression in business prevented these obligations being met. The boom went down, interest constantly accumulated at the rate of 12 and 15 per cent, per annum. One brother became involved to the extent of several hundred dollars through assisting Brother Black to build the parsonage; this was then bought by the church to save him and the high tide of debt reached $1,726 exclusive of the $300 owed to the Home Mission Society. To meet this desperate condition, the church was sold to the Presbyterians for $1,500 cash, of which $600 was returned to the Home Mission Society, to payoff their gift, bond and mortgage, of $300 each, and the remaining $900 was paid on the debt, leaving still due $82.5. There still remained the parsonage, three lots of land, and considerable unpaid subscriptions. It was hoped that the parsonage, which the builder claimed cost him $900, might be sold, and enough subscriptions collected to cancel all indebtedness, and the brethren, who had the joint use of the house for three years, might at the end of that time redeem the building. The favorable points of the sale were: it stopped interest on $1,200, it reserved the use of the house for every alternate Sunday, and it provided by a bond for the buying back, at the end of the time, for the original sale price of $1,500. The unfavorable points were: it deprived the Baptists of the use of the house for one-half of the time during that period, and shut them out forever unless redeemed at the end there of. No Solomon is needed to draw the moral.
In 1897 a protracted meeting of eight days was held with the Cove Church and one of the preachers says that "during that time we had snow and mud, two lodge meetings, two literary meetings, one candy pulling, one public dance; three young ladies surrounded the preacher on the street and tried to sell him a ticket to the dance; the Campbellite preacher residing at Cove boarded the train, ran off 30 miles and sent a challenge back proposing to meet the preacher in a public debate." All this took place at Cove within the eight days. It goes to show that either for some cause the leaders of the meeting were very unpopular with the general community, or that Cove is a rustling town for a small place. Brother Holloman was pastor in 1893 and 1899. In 1899 they said they had nothing to discourage them. There had been a few additions and the church bought a new organ. The outlook was hopeful. The name has since been changed to Calvary. The Grand Ronde Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys to be found anywhere, and the Cove is the garden spot of this valley.
Rev. E. P. Waltz was pastor of this church until 1891. The winter of 1886-7 the church had a good revival. The church had two good Sunday schools and preaching two Sundays in each month. The meetings were well attended, but they were in great need of a house of worship. There were eight baptisms in 1889 and three lots were secured for a meeting house. The prospects were encouraging, especially in their two Sunday schools. In 1891 the church completed a neat house of worship costing $2,248. Brother J. E. Horn was ordained on the day of dedication. Rev. C. P. Bailey assisted Pastor Waltz in a revival meeting; 42 baptisms. In 1892 the church went into the Eastern Oregon Convention. Brother Waltz resigned; Brother Horn was chosen for three-fourths of his time. The church continued to prosper for three years and a half, but owing to sickness, either of himself or in the family, in 1895 Brother Horn resigned. The same year Rev. E. P. Waltz and W. H. Shearman held protracted meetings; 27 baptisms. The meeting was continued by Rev. W. S. Cook, with 20 more conversions, The membership nearly doubled and the whole town was deeply moved. In July, 1896, Rev. C. W. Holloman, lately from Louisville, Kentucky, was secured and is the present pastor (1900). The church prospered under his care, and the outlook is encouraging. In a recent series of meetings, 17 conversions were reported.
Grand Ronde Association
The Grand Ronde Association showed much zeal in missionary work. In 1889 there were 88 baptisms. There was a steady increase and all the churches were healthy. In 1890 four young men had the ministry in view for their life work. A general missionary was recommended to enter and develop the large and promising fields; hearty cooperation with the American Baptist Home Mission Society and the Oregon Board was pledged; the state missionary was invited to visit the churches at his earliest convenience, and while helping in the work, to secure pledges also for the support and enlargement of the missionary work in the association. In 1892 the baptisms were more than the net increase, being 95; Unlike many of our associations, its growth was not largely from Baptists moving in from other localities, The same year, by a vote of 24 to 18, the association agreed to assist in organizing the East Oregon Baptist Convention. In 1893 it rejoiced over an increase of 126 baptisms. The same year the state board presented their "New Plan" for the association to consider. This was the same plan for a committee to advise, recommend, and collect funds, as has been noticed. The associational board "most respectfully reported, that we are in cooperation and hearty sympathy with the Convention of East Oregon; that we are not disposed to consider any proposition for cooperation with any other convention." And although that Eastern Oregon Convention has come to naught, yet at this time (1900) the Grand Ronde Association has not come back to the State Convention. But the change caused some irregularities in mission work, and although the churches contributed liberally as ever, there was much complaint that the results were not as expected. Sometimes it was difficult to tell where all the money went but in 1900 the home mission board says: "Our district work by conventions and associations had not been what we hoped for one year ago, yet we thank God for his mercy and blessings upon the work, notwithstanding the small efforts put forth by our people. We are pleased to note in the letters from a number of our churches, urgent requests for an associational missionary within the bounds of this association. We believe this to be the most important of all the work of our churches at present time." The great destitution of some of the fields is then urged, and the board adds: "We insist that associational missions be talked and agitated in all our churches, until ample means are contributed to keep one man, if possible two, good men in the field, preaching the gospel in these destitute places during the year."
In 1890 Rev. C. M. Hill thus speaks of this field: "There is a beautiful country, rapidly filling up and only two men in the whole association giving their entire time to the work. Here are four churches needing missionary pastors. Two of these churches have houses which the Home Mission Society helped to build. In both the other towns houses could be erected, if we had good men to take hold of the work. We need for this field at least three men."
In 1887 Rev. J. T. Moore was chosen pastor. and served until the summer of 1891, excepting 1890, when Rev. I. F. Weaver was a supply for a short time. Brother Moore was from Missouri, ordained in 1881, educated at William Jewell College, and came to Oregon in 1886, stopping a while near Baker City. The Home Mission Society aided him at Elgin and vicinity. A meeting house was built and dedicated September 11, 1887. In November a protracted meeting was held; 17 additions. The Sunday school was prosperous. In 1891 Brother Moore resigned. There were only occasional supplies until 1896, and the church was much discouraged. In 1896 Rev. I. F. Weaver died; this was a serious loss to the church. No pastor, but harmony and peace prevailed.
Rev. W. J. Haskell was pastor in 1897, and Rev. C. W. Holloman in 1899 and 1900; and the outlook was brighter.
- Eastern Oregon Baptist Association. 1894
- (Name changed to Umatilla Baptist Association.)
Eastern Oregon Association comprises the churches in Oregon, between the Middle Oregon Association at LaGrande and Baker City; also the churches at Burns and Owyhee, in Harney and Malheur Counties. If its field extends as it claims, it covers over 20,000 square miles and nearly all is destitute. In fact, there is plenty of room for ten active men, where there is not one. This country is rapidly settling up; large valleys with towns springing up are untouched; the churches are all in the towns or villages, and mostly anti-Landmark. They have all been helped by the Home Mission Society, but the association has never had an associational missionary. The Eastern Oregon Association approved and reports to the State Board and the American Baptist Home Mission Society. In 1899 the dangers from Mormonism were urgently presented. In 1900 all the churches in the association, except one, were aided by the State Board; 26 baptisms were reported.
The association, which was organized at Pendleton, was the result of sharp and bitter contention, in which the Landmark question was the chief element. The early Baptists of Eastern Oregon as a general thing were Landmarkers, but later, in the Mount Pleasant Association especially, new settlers, both ministers and laymen, had made a change in the membership and friction arose. Many of the newcomers were anti-Landmarkers. These wanted changes; the contention waxed fierce on both sides, and the result was the organization of the East Oregon convention.
The First Baptist Church of Weston was the first in Eastern Oregon, and was organized March 19, 1866, by Rev. J. Cummings, who preached for it irregularly twenty years or more. Then Rev. C. A. Wooddy was pastor of the church until July, 1887. In May Brother W. L. German was licensed. In October, 1887, Rev. J. A. Slover was called to the pastorate and one-half his salary asked of the Home Mission Society, but this was not secured; Brother Slover did not accept, and the church was eight months without a pastor. But Brother March served it as a supply. Rev. A J. Hunsaker was chosen pastor, and stayed a year. Rev. J. B. Foster succeeded him until late in 1891, when he resigned. In January 1890, a protracted meeting was held with good results. In 1891 the church says, "The burden of the work rests upon a few, but we are not discouraged, for the work is the Lord's and we are His servants for Jesus sake." In 1892 the church sustained a heavy loss in the death of Deacon James T. Downing. He was born in Canada in 1839, came to Illinois, then to Oregon in 1862. He lived awhile in the Willamette Valley, but finally settled near Weston. He left to his family the memory of a sainted life, to his church a legacy,--the interest to be perpetually used as needed,--and the memory of a brother ever faithful to his covenant obligations. Rev. E. Stillwell was pastor for a time, followed by Rev. E. A. Leonard. The congregations were good, the outlook encouraging. Rev. W. H. Pruett supplied the church the most of the time in 1894. Another strong pillar died that year, Deacon J. H. Morgan, earnest, steadfast, and reliable. When the association divided because of the Eastern Oregon Convention trouble, the Weston church went with the Eastern Oregon Association. In 1899 the church sold its property to buy a better location and for a better property. The Home Mission Society was aiding the church. Pastor Hargreaves, in a letter to the Home Mission Society, thus speaks of its aid: "The work of your society has become more familiar to the people and is correspondingly better appreciated. They now know you live to help the churches. This is a very poor church. Only one man has more than a bare living. He owns over 400 acres of good land, but is in debt $5,000. If you could see the efforts put forth by our people you would be touched. If you could know the blessings these self-denials bring them you would be made glad." The work at the close of 1900 was moving along nicely. Some new members were received, Sunday school growing, societies flourishing, and a half-dozen helpers were busy as bees and doing good work. "We face the new century hopefully," says Brother Hargreaves.
Failing health compelled Rev. W. H, Pruett to relinquish the Pleasant Valley field, but in 1892 the church at Adams made it a mission point, and their pastor preached for it one Sunday evening in each month. One or two valuable members moved in and joined by letter; others in the vicinity talked of uniting, and the prospects brightened so perceptibly, that on March 10, 1893, Revs. L. J. Trumbull and E. A. Leonard re-organized the church at Helix with five members, calling it the First Baptist Church of Helix. The members were spoken of as excellent material, and the opportunity good for future growth and usefulness. In October, 1893, the church helped to organize the Eastern Oregon Baptist Association. In 1895 Brother R. E. Storey, a licentiate, teaching at Adams, established an appointment at Helix; he was a very earnest, devout, and efficient worker. In December, W. T. Fellows held a series of meetings resulting in seven additions. In the winter of 1896 Rev. Gilman Parker held some special meetings in Helix, resulting in ten or twelve conversions, and a collection for the convention work of nearly $40. In 1897 and 1898, the church built a small meeting-house valued at $600 and seating 150 persons. Rev. C. H. McKee was pastor. The house was dedicated December 4, 1898, and all was paid for before dedicating. Contributions aggregating $140 were raised by the Adams, Athena and Pendleton churches, and two nice chandeliers were presented by the Baker City church. All the rest was raised by the Helix church, which numbered only eight resident members. They also raised for other benevolent work during the year nearly $100. The members joined with the Adams church in calling Rev. F. C. Stannard to the pastorate, and the churches prospered under his ministrations. In March 1900, he was assisted by Miss Millspaugh in a very profitable meeting. In the fall, Brother Stannard reported more baptisms than any other mission field in the Convention, and the outlook was very encouraging. Helix is a station on branch of the O. R. & N. R. R., about 18 miles from Pendleton, and 10 miles from Athena and Adams. It is an important shipping point, surrounded by a fine farming country, wheat the principal product. The religious sentiment is good, the congregations large and attentive. Although the church yet is weak and but few, it has large hopes and the best of material,--consecrated and willing to labor for God.
A brick meeting house, 40 x 28, With 15 foot walls, was built by this church and dedicated March 13, 1887, the Home Mission Society donating $300. Brother C. A. Wooddy served the church a year. In 1887 Rev. J. A. Slover was called to the pastorate, and aid was asked of the mission board, but not secured. The main support of the church was Brother J. M. Walker, who was always ready for any good work. Rev. A. J. Hunsaker was chosen pastor in 1888, and served the church a year, when he resigned and was followed by Rev. D. C. Ellis, he giving one-fourth of his time to Athena, and one-fourth to Helix. He resigned in the fall of 1891, and the church was about a year without a pastor. The fact that the majority of the members lived some distance from the church made it difficult to carry on all lines of work as thoroughly as was desired, but the members were faithful and united and did the best they could in the circumstances. Among the leading members was Brother J. F. Adams, who came to Oregon a young man, having been a member of a Baptist church in Maine. He taught school awhile in Southern Oregon and, being prudent and careful, prospered, locating on a farm in Umatilla County. In the summer of 1889 Rev. A. J. Hunsaker, pastor at Weston, held a protracted meeting in his neighborhood and the old spark, long dormant, revived and Brother Adams openly owned his Savior and united with the Baptist church. His wife was a Methodist and superintendent of the Methodist Sunday school, but after awhile she followed him into the Baptist church and became one of its strongest supporters, both locally and in the general work. Later, in order to educate their children, they moved to McMinnville, where in 1890 Brother Adams died; he was buried at Walla Walla, Wash., where his widow was still living in 1909.
In 1892 Rev. E. Stilwell was chosen pastor, followed by Rev, E. A. Fellows, a licentiate from McMinnville College, in the fall of 1894; on February 12, 1895, he was ordained. After his ordination he baptized 12 candidates. The good work continued through the summer with other additions, some 20 or more being baptized during the year. In August, 1895, Brother Fellows left to finish his education at Brown University, Rhode Island. Rev. C. H. McKee was the next pastor, and his work was encouraging. He also preached for Athena, Weston and Helix, as did Brother Fellows. Brother McKee thus speaks of his field, and also of a visit of Rev. Gallahorn, a traveling evangelist: "At Adams the ground is practically held by the Baptists. The Lord wonderfully blessed Brother Gallahorn in his labors. There were 22 conversions, and 15 added to the church, ranging in age from eight to 75 years. Adams now has the strongest working force of any Baptist church in Umatilla county. Some incidents of this meeting are named. The superintendent of the Methodist Sunday school (not a professed Christian), was converted and joined the Baptist church, was baptized, and is now the superintendent of the Baptist Sunday school. Two of her daughters also were converted and united with the Baptist church. A young man, about 21 years old, leader of the 'worldly wild,' and the dancing master of the town, were the only ones to stand for prayer on Sunday night, December 5. Monday night following, the young man attempted to 'beat a ride' to Walla Walla on the brakes of a passenger train. Two tramps were already on the brakes. In the darkness he could not see them, so attempting to swing himself on the brakes, he fell backward and was crushed by the train. So serious were his injuries that he lived only a few hours. Later in the week the dancing master was happily converted and baptized. One night fully 100 came forward and gave Brother Gallahorn their hand, thus expressing their interest in the meetings."
In April, 1898, Brother McKee moved to Idaho, and the church was pastorless for awhile. Late in the fall of 1899, Frank C. Stannard, also a McMinnville student, was called to the pastorate, and on February 9, 1900, was ordained. Brother Stannard's work began most encouragingly both at Adams and also at Helix. Several were baptized at Adams, and special meetings were begun at Helix.
Brother Stannard has gained the hearts of his people and being young, zealous, active, wide-awake, and wholly consecrated to his work, he bids fair for doing a glorious work at Adams and the surrounding country.
The brethren commenced preparing to build with encouraging prospects. Brother Ellis resigned, and on January 1, 1892, Rev. E. Stillwell was chosen pastor. On Jan. 17 the new house was dedicated. The cost was about $2,000; $250 was raised at the dedication. The pastor was a live man, a good preacher, a successful organizer, and held in high esteem by all the churches, with a noble band of brethren and sisters to sustain him. He resigned in the fall and was succeeded January 1, 1893. by Rev. E. A. Leonard, whose work was very promising. The house seats, with chairs, from 175 to 200; no debt, except $300 donated by the Home Mission Society; built and furnished by 13 poor members and their friends. In 1893 the church helped organize the Eastern Oregon Association. Rev. E. A. Leonard resigned December 31, 1893, and the church had no regular pastor for some time. The Campbellites numbered 275; Methodists 60; and the Baptists, aside from the pastor's family, 12 resident members. Of these, seven were sisters and five of the sisters had unconverted husbands. Besides, the citizens of Athena were not church-going people. They were largely given over to allurements of the world; last, but not least, is the saying of our Oregon preacher: "Where the Campbellites have such a run as here at Athena, it takes about five years of summer fallowing before anything can be accomplished." Rev. M. Bramblet was pastor in 1899, did a good work. although it was hindered for a time by the prevalence of diphtheria. Rev. R. Hargreaves succeeded him in 1900, and is now the pastor, with encouraging prospects.
Rev. L. S. Livermore remained only until April, 1887. The floating character of the population was a very discouraging feature with the Pendleton church. Some of the best helpers and families moved away as in many churches. The removals were more than the additions, hence arose the difficulty in supporting a pastor. In August, 1887, Rev. G. D. Downey of Miles City, Montana, accepted the pastorate and commenced his labors in November, 1887. The Sunday school and prayer meeting had been kept up and Brother Downey found a working church ready for him. He said the attendance and interest manifested were good, the prospects for efficient work bright. The plan of weekly offerings had been adopted and, while there was no general awakening, the indications of an ingathering of souls were encouraging. Brother Downey resigned in 1890, and was followed by Rev. W. A. C. Rowse until 1891. That year the church made a good showing for contributions, the total amount being over $700. In 1892 Rev. I. C. Douglas became pastor, serving until 1896. In 1894-5, owing to the removals, Brother Douglas said be preached almost to a new congregation ever year, but he was doing a good work in this important field. The beneficence of the church had been brought up to a high standard. He boasted of having the largest junior societies among our mission churches and in the fall had a very encouraging revival, Evangelist Appel assisting him in a series of meetings. He also made several visits to neighboring churches, preaching for them, and aiding them in obtaining pastors. All the prospects before the church for harmony and growth were bright. In October, 1896, Brother Douglas resigned. He was a faithful pastor, and identified himself fully and helpfully with all our work in that part of the state. During his pastorate 56 had united with the church, 28 by baptism, and with a shifting population the net gain was 25. The value of the property had been largely improved by additions, and the plane of Christian labor had been elevated by his exertions. He was well entrenched in the hearts of his people, and in the esteem of the community.
The next pastor was a disappointment. He threw down all Scriptural fences, denied the Baptist faith, and then publicly renounced all evangelical connection and went to the Unitarians. Rev. W. B. Pope from Washington followed him, but on account of poor health stayed but six months. The church was in a very low condition, but he put up the fences and gathered up the stones and made a highway for the people and built up large congregations. Pendleton was a county seat with about 4,000 inhabitants and the Baptists well and centrally located, but the town was considered one of the hardest fields in the state. It was said by some that there were only two main roads in Eastern Oregon--one to heaven and the other to Pendleton. Rev. T. M. Patterson, from Lakeport, Calif., is the present pastor (1900). In the fall, Rev. H. B. Turner of Walla Walla assisted him in a protracted meeting; 21 additions. The pastor speaks highly of Brother Turner. Rev. C. P. Bailey also assisted in a meeting with good results. Brother Patterson is well liked and gaining in influence, and in the affection of the church and people, because of his quiet and unassuming ways and earnest presentation of the truth. The year 1900 is called one of the best years in the history of the church and the outlook is very encouraging.
District Missionary Work in Eastern Oregon
Rev. C. P. Bailey in 1898 gave 52 weeks; traveled 3,576 miles; visited 27 churches and destitute fields; preached 345 sermons and addresses; made 390 religious visits; counseled with 12 churches; organized two churches and three Sunday schools; wrote 47 letters; conducted many revival meetings.; reported 75 conversions and 73 baptisms; raised $500 for the Convention and $2,000 for other purposes. In 1899, Brother Bailey as usual did an immense work. He was unceasing in his labor, and exceedingly successful. Through his faithful services he conserved the interests of the Convention, and furthered the progress of the Lord's kingdom. He gave 52 weeks, preached 327 sermons and addresses; attended and took part in our State Convention and two associational meetings; traveled 3,000 miles; wrote many letters; made 340 religious visits; received into churches 74 members; 34 by baptism, and raised $137.50 for the Convention and $212 for other objects. The Convention said that "the work of Brethren C. P. Bailey and John F. Day should be continued; and we believe that the appointment of other associational missionaries is desirable and would be most profitable to our work."
Middle Oregon Association
From the Eastern Association we turn to the Middle Oregon Association. "This is a large section, well settled and very destitute. There are five or six counties in this portion of the state that have not more than three men giving their entire time to the interests of our work in that vast region. Here are large towns and small ones, rich farming communities and scattered settlements, without any Baptist minister, and many without any preaching of any kind. We greatly need for this section a missionary evangelist and two missionary pastors. And the men can be found. Within one year scores of men have written saying they were willing to come and do mission work. We have not the money at our disposal to take up this important work. Our only hope for these fields or of holding our own with other denominations, of keeping pace with the material progress with this part of the state is that the Home Mission Society will generously increase its already liberal appropriation to Oregon. Ours is a Macedonian cry."
And Brother C. R. Lamar thus speaks of his labors on a part of this same field: "The last quarter has been a busy one for me. We have built a parsonage which cost, all told, about $600. Of course I had to give my time and attention to it. Fossil, having become county seat of the new county (Wheeler), it is building up quite fast; and rent being so high the parsonage was needed very badly. When we got our house completed we found we were in debt--$135. At church last night I raised $85 to be paid during the year. I have been on this field since the 1st of August, 1898, and just begin to realize what a great missionary field it is; south of me it is fifty miles to the nearest church, and that church without a pastor. In fact, I don't know of a Baptist minister in any direction within a hundred miles. Little towns are springing up all over this Eastern Oregon country without the gospel. I have been solicited to come and preach in neighborhoods for fifty miles, but cannot reach all the points. There are boys and girls in this section sixteen years old that never were in a church or heard a sermon. A mother, who had been raised a Christian, since coming to this western county had been deprived of church privileges. Her little boy of six years, hearing her speak of a minister, often asked what a minister looked like, and a short time ago, as a minister passing by dropped in and made himself known, the mother, with sobs, said to her boy, "This is a minister." The little fellow stared as though he could hardly believe it. The gospel cry comes from many quarters. Come over and help us."
The Middle Oregon Association includes all the churches between the Cascade Mountains and Heppner, and between the Columbia River and Prineville; a field about 200 miles square. Three or four churches are in towns, the others in the country. The great majority of the brethren are poor, have had little help, but have kept an associational missionary employed much of the time, being lately assisted some by the Home Mission Society. This association has as large a percentage of active workers as any in Oregon. It is decidedly Landmark. The Middle Oregon Academy is located in this association.
It is everywhere conceded that our state is just entering on a period of unexampled prosperity. This is a damp climate, and moss grows everywhere, and it has beep hinted that this is the original home of the now famous moss-back. It is certainly true that Oregon has made haste slowly. There have been booms to the north, booms to the south, and booms to the east, and at last there are premonitions that there are booms in our midst. Railroad and real estate movements are frequent, and important just now. Everything bids fair for a season of great material growth. And the condition of things here set forth can be paralleled in several parts of the state. What are we doing to keep up with the rush?
In 1888 the Middle Oregon Association had a missionary in the field for six and one-fourth months, with $50 aid from the State Board. The destitution was very great. The association helped organize the East Oregon Convention in 1893. But little or nothing was done for mission work from 1888 to 1895, the question of ministerial support taking the lead. In 1895 $200 was raised for an associational missionary, a mission board was chosen and steps taken to secure a missionary. Prior to this nearly all the work was the voluntary labor of two or three of the ministers, all poor. Hence ministerial support was really a serious question.
The report of the committee in 1895 is unique: "Paul commands Timothy, the pastor of the Baptist church at Ephesus, to give himself wholly to reading, study, meditation, and that the soldier does not entangle himself with the affairs of this life. But he must live; therefore he also tells the church at Corinth that the mouth of the ox must not be muzzled while he treads the corn. Then to open the way for the churches to support their pastors in the easiest and most complete way, he commands us to lay by in store, every first day of the week, according as God prospered us. For our own encouragement, the Lord promises to bless those who will contribute to the support of His own chosen ministers in financial things, and assures us if we seek first the Kingdom of God, all necessary things shall be added. This the Lord illustrates in the case of the woman who first gave Elijah a cake from her handful of meal and was fully cared for afterward. Then through the prophet Jeremiah, we are warned against building up our house by unpaid-for labor, lest a divine curse rest upon us. All of which is respectfully submitted."
In 1896 the following action was taken: "Resolved, that we recognize the independent right of churches to cooperate where they please." The association appointed a committee to raise $100 for Rev. T. J. Harper, who in the past years had given a large amount of unrenumerated labor to the Master's cause in these parts. The Home Mission report spoke of extreme destitution, and urged each church to contribute as God would have them, and that they prosecute the work along any lines satisfactory to the church and in accord with God's word. During the previous year the board had obtained $200 from the Home Mission Society to put Rev. C. P. Bailey in the field one-half of his time for six months. He reported 40 conversions; 33 baptisms, two reclaimed; miles traveled 1450; collections $84.95.
In 1898 the association chose a mission board, and a missionary for the ensuing year. Also the following action was taken: "Whereas, strife and confusion have existed in our bounds for several years, in consequence of the relations of this body to bodies external to itself, resulting in the long neglect and the very great injury of our proper Associational work; therefore be it resolved: (1), That all Conventional relationships of this association be, and hereby are, unconditionally dissolved; (2), That our churches be encouraged in the exercise of their scriptural independence to contribute of their means to such mission boards and represent themselves in such bodies as will, in their judgement, best promote the interests of the Redeemer's Kingdom in their respective localities; (3), That this association will give itself more undividedly to the cultivation and development of our own local missions and educational work, without any external entanglements whatever."
The home mission report recommended: "(1) That the missionary should be both able and willing to visit and preach the gospel in destitute places within the territory of this association. (2) That he should report, and, in a general way be responsible to the association board. (3) That the board have power to withdraw the support of the association from the missionary should he prove himself inefficient, and to appoint his successor." A strong report on ministerial support was adopted.
The report in 1899 showed that much good work had been done in some of the destitute and out-of-the-way places, but more men and money were needed to reach many valuable localities. The collections amounted to $271. The collection in 1900 was about $265, of which $76 was from the American Baptist Home Mission Society, and the mission cause was rather at a low ebb.
This church was forced to struggle along as best it could, sometimes with a pastor a short time, and sometimes without for a longer time, until 1893, when Rev. J. F. Day took charge of the church and began to infuse new life into it. He said that there were frequent baptisms, collections for benevolent work liberal, and the church growing. He, was followed by Rev. C. P. Bailey, who thus speaks of the field: "My church believes in the command 'go,' and believes it is doing more mission work than any other church in the Convention. I say this not boastingly, but because it is the truth, and I want people to know what the brethren are doing here, hoping it may encourage others. This church supports me and sends me into waste places half my time besides contributing to our associational and convention missionaries and our convention work. Then its benevolence at home! This church undertook this work a year ago last May. It assumed a fearful undertaking to try to support me and my large family, but with faith in God they do so and our God who cared for the widow of Zarepath that her barrel of meal wasted not, nor her cruse of oil failed, has cared for me and greatly blessed the church."
The church had helped organize the Eastern Oregon Convention in 1893, but later withdrew and being satisfied with its policy Brother Bailey still kept up his missionary work, helped some by the State Convention. While thus engaged, he and Rev. J. T. Moore held a protracted meeting at Prineville with 40 additions. After that one-half his time was given to out-stations. At a mission station on Bridge Creek, about 40 miles distant a church was organized by members dismissed from Prineville, and a house built at Mitchell, a village near by. Brother Bailey continued to preach for this church and the surrounding country until 1897. At one meeting of eight weeks 50 professed conversion and several were reclaimed. About this time he was appointed district missionary for Eastern Oregon and Rev. W. B. Clifton took charge of the Prineville Church for a year; then he left for The Dalles and in 1900 the Prineville church was without a pastor.
Rev. J. T. Moore settled in Mitchell, but called it a hard field,--two-thirds of the community infidels,--but thought the outlook encouraging. The Home Mission Society helped in some ways and gave $100 for the meeting-house. He baptized 31, received 34, into the church and collected $134 on his salary. He left in 1896 and was followed by Rev. I. D. Brown, who built a parsonage in 1898. He left and the church had no pastor in 1900, but was keeping its Sunday school up and other meetings regularly, though somewhat discouraged.
In January, 1887. C. P. Bailey held protracted meetings with the Mayville church; seven additions. In March, Brother J. H. Grant was licensed to preach. In May, Brother Bailey was chosen pastor for a year. When he left the church bought his dwelling house for a meeting-house. It was small but could easily he enlarged. Rev. T. J. Harper was pastor in 1888. Beginning in 1889 the church had short supplies for a year or two. In March, 1890, the church ordained Brother W. E. Thornton to the ministry. Brother Howerton was pastor in 1892. In 1892 Brother M. F. S. Henton preached for the church; then there was no regular pastor until 1896, when Rev. J. M. Lawson was called and served for about three years. In the summer of 1898 special meetings were led by Rev. C. P. Bailey; 26 additions; 19 baptisms, several others reported as converted; $45 collected for mission work. In its letter to the association the church says. "Our church is in a better spiritual condition than it has ever been before. We have a large Sunday school."
In 1899 Rev. C. R. Lamar, aided by the mission hoard, was preaching for Mayville and Fossil, and did much to remove the prejudice against the board, and to unite the Baptist forces in that part of the state. In 1900 Rev. J. Tonkins, lately ordained at Stayton, Oregon, followed as pastor. He also was under the employ of the board, Fossil and Condon being included in his field. The brethren at Mayville say their membership is two-fold: a working class and a resting class; the latter not much help. Still they are moving along slowly. The Sunday School flourishing. In September, 1900, the "resting class" waked up somewhat and concluded to go to work, as the following report shows: "Mayville is a banner church. We have splendid spiritual meetings and congregations have increased. We are in the unity of the Spirit and the bonds of peace. About five miles from here we had a most blessed meeting in a little school-house known as Beecher Flat. For 12 days a glorious wave of salvation visited us and we closed with twelve conversions; five presented themselves for membership, four were baptized, others expected to follow. Also, two wanderers from Mayville received the "joy of their salvation" and returned home. One week before the meeting, one of the present converts left here with his six horses for Arlington. In Condon he entered the saloon and got dead drunk. The sheriff took care of him for the night. He was a very wicked man. A week later, he was a converted man, praising God. I was coming through a field four days later and heard a man coming, singing 'My Heavenly Home is Bright and Fair.' I waited for him. He said, 'I am so happy, I have been singing all the way. My horses know I am happy, instead of swearing at them, I am kind to them. This is what salvation does for a man.'"
Located at Condon, the county seat of Gilliam County, was organized by Rev. C. P. Bailey in 1898. He writes of the work: "Two bright conversions the last night of the meeting and ten went forward for prayer. I let the contract to build a neat house of worship. Two lots had been donated and the little band of five had raised the money and purchased the lumber, nails, shingles and paid for the hauling of same. I let the contract for building at $175. The property will be worth $1,000 when completed. It is a splendid field and as soon as we have a house to worship in we can hold successful meetings. Condon is in the heart of a fine farming country."
Of the five constituent members, three were women and two men. One man moved away, the other left the church. But two or three other women joined. The Congregationalists owned the only house of worship in the place and refused the Baptists the use of it, and they had to pay $10 a week for the use of a hall. So a half-dozen women, without much means, but with strong faith in God. determined to build a meeting house. They appealed to outside brethren for help. The Home Mission Society loaned them $200 and finally in 1900 they completed and painted their house, costing $1,200. It is 36 x 48 feet, with tower and vestibule in front, furnished with lamps, stove, and rough benches; only $70 of debt. The house was dedicated in June, Rev. Gilman Parker preaching the sermon. Rev. John Tonkins preached for the church for nine months for nothing, feeling that it was worthy and it was indeed missionary ground. The church grew; baptisms occasionally; the outlook most encouraging. It came into the Middle Oregon Association in 1899.
Fox Valley. 1888
"The American Baptist" of St. Louis, Mo., published on July 31, 1890, an appeal for help in building a meeting-house for a Baptist church at Fox Valley, but the church is not named in the minutes of any association at that time. In 1892 it sent a letter, through messengers, to the Middle Oregon Association, but no action was taken then. Rev. C. H. Fredenburg was pastor. Nothing further was heard from it until 1896, when it came into the association with 13 members, and gives 1888 as the year of organization; it has been represented regularly since that time. in 1897 and 1898 it had no pastor, but Brethren Fredenburg and Lawson visited it occasionally, and peace and harmony prevailed. In 1899 Rev. H. Barnhart was pastor and the church tried to build a meeting-house. The brethren were poor and it was hard work, although a United Brethren brother offered to build it free of charge if they could furnish the material. The church appealed for help. It was very slow collecting. The effort was made and in 1900 the brethren expected to finish it, with only $100 debt. The church was in good working order, and all lines of church work were pushed.
First Fossil. 1896
After Rev. C. P. Bailey left for Washington, Brother J. H. Grant, a licentiate, supplied the Fossil church until June 24, 1888, when it reported a fair prospect of growth and the church in a healthy condition. Rev. C. A. McIlroy preached for it in 1889. In 1890 Rev. T. J. Simmons was pastor, and the church built a meeting-house. It went into the last Oregon Convention in 1892, but withdrew in 1898 and now belongs to the State Convention. Rev. J. Howerton was pastor in 1892, followed by Rev. M. Bramblet in 1894. He is a wide-awake man, and the church was much encouraged by his ministrations. Next came J. M. Lawson in 1896 and 1897. In 1898 Rev. C. R. Lamar accepted the pastorate. He had a large field; not a Baptist minister on the south less than 100 miles distant. The Fossil church had been without a pastor until it had lapsed into quite a backward state, but Brother Lamar got them aroused, organized a young people's society, had a large Sunday school and Rev. W. A. Lindsay came and held a series of meetings with the church, at which were 27 additions, making 47 in all since Brother Lamar's arrival. The Baptists and friends presented Brother Lindsay with a purse of $83.75. Brother Lamar was pastor until April, 1900. He did a splendid work. He received 57 members, baptized 51; built a parsonage costing $600, and raised several hundred dollars for other purposes. By all means the field should be held. The Mormon missionaries are giving special attention to these newer fields, and are getting a strong foothold in some of these localities in the eastern part of this state. Rev. J. Tonkins succeeded Brother Lamar in a month or two and is the present pastor (1900). The membership of the church is 58 and Brother Tonkins says "a great number of them are more Methodist than Baptist." Things did not always run smoothly, but are now becoming more settled, and the minutes of 1900 thus describe the situation: "Congregations good, even large; peace and harmony prevail; our young people are advancing in genuine service; our Sabbath school the best in our history; and souls have been saved."
In 1887 the meeting-house, blown down, was rebuilt, the church being aided $50 by the First Baptist Church of Portland. Rev. C. A. McIlroy was called to the pastorate and prospects brightened. In 1890 Brother McIlroy resigned, and was succeeded by Rev. M. T. Gage. He was followed by Rev. J. H. Grant, who was pastor for about four years, although at times he was a little irregular, sometimes preaching once a month and sometimes twice a month. In 1895 the church extended "an arm" to a point a few miles distant, and maintained an active Sunday school at that place. It also asked the association to organize a Baptist Sunday school convention within its bounds to aid in the furtherance of that work. Rev. C. H. Fredenburg was the next pastor, serving two years. In 1897 the church lost one of its most valued members in the death of Deacon Harrison Neece. His father was an active Baptist minister and revivalist in Missouri for over 40 years. The son, Harrison, was converted in early life and was a consistent member of the church for over 48 years, and a first-class deacon for over 30 years He was one of the constituent members of Friendship Church in 1881, and one of the organic members of the Middle Oregon Association in 1883; he helped organize the Eastern Oregon Convention, and always took a lively interest in its work. At the time of his death he was a member of the mission board of the Convention, and an active worker for all lines of our benevolent work. He was a most successful Sunday school superintendent and because of his superior executive abilities, was frequently elected moderator both of his church and of his association. In the Civil War he rose from the rank of private to that of captain. He was a faithful husband, an affectionate father, a good neighbor and a most zealous Christian brother. Brother Fredenburg gave one-half of his time to the church and one-half to general missionary work. From this time to 1900 there is nothing of importance recorded about the church aside from statistics and ordinary routine work. Moro is the county-seat of Sherman county, one of the leading counties of Middle Oregon; a center for great opportunities for mission work.
Grass Valley. 1894
At its organization in 1894, Rev. M. F. S. Henton was chosen pastor of the Baptist church at Grass Valley and it at once began to talk of building a meeting-house. Notwithstanding the hard times such encouragement was given that the work on the building was commenced Sept. 16, 1894. The new house, 26 x 40, was dedicated free from debt. Rev. Arthur Royse was pastor in 1895 and his work is very highly spoken of. He was also principal of the Grass Valley Academy, the only Baptist school in Eastern Oregon, and it was said that his success in this dual capacity as pastor and teacher exceeded the most extravagant expectations of his friends. On Sept. 26, 1896, Brother Richard Hargreaves was ordained. Brother Royse having resigned the pastorate and also as teacher, Brother Hargreaves was chosen to both positions, and entered his work with encouraging prospects. He served nine months and baptized nine persons. He was under appointment of the convention board in 1897 and 1898. Early in 1898 Rev. C. P. Bailey preached a series of doctrinal sermons that were a blessing to the entire community, and the church was growing in numbers, in grace and in fellowship. The Middle Oregon Association was held with this church in 1898, and 16 conversions were reported as the result of the meetings; Rev. G. W. Black succeeded Rev. R. Hargreaves in 1899. Rev. J. B. Spight was pastor in 1900 and all lines of work were flourishing.
Until 1896 the itinerant work was mostly reported by associational missionaries or the general missionary of the State Convention, but in 1896 Rev. E. A. Leonard is named as a Baptist missionary for Eastern Oregon. He served only two months, resuscitating the LaGrande church which had become very indifferent; Brother Leonard went into the pastorate. But if we include in Eastern Oregon all the territory between the Cascade Mountains and Snake River, Rev. C. P. Bailey was missionary ten months, mostly in the Middle Oregon Association. He was unceasing in his labors, and did a splendid work.
The church at Arlington was the result of a meeting by Rev. C. P. Bailey in February, 1896. A Sunday school was organized and Rev. M. Bramblet chosen pastor for half his time at $300. A few months before Brother Bramblet had organized a Baptist church at Pleasantville, a point where a Baptist had never before preached; and he was also pastor there. The church had a Sunday school and a prayer meeting. It was dropped from the minutes of the association in 1898, cause unknown. Brother Bramblet resigned at Arlington in 1897, to be followed by Rev. H. Barnhart, aided by the Home Mission Society. His field included the Pleasantville church and the entire country for perhaps 50 miles south. It was a very needy region, being almost entirely destitute of gospel privileges. In 1898 there was no pastor; but regular work, mostly by occasional visitors and passers-by. In 1898 Brother B. C. Miller was ordained and came to the pastorate. He started on this work with prospects for large usefulness. During the summer Rev. G. W. Black assisted him in a protracted meeting; 25 additions and the church built a meeting-house costing $2,015; the Home Mission Society gave $150 and loaned $350; the lots were donated. In 1899 Brother Miller resigned, but the church unanimously, rejected the resignation and pleaded with tears for him to stay. He had the confidence of everybody, and the church had more than trebled its membership under his ministrations. But he insisted and Rev. M. M. Bledsoe, recently from Tennessee, succeeded him, and the church took hold heartily in his support. He as well as Brother Miller was aided by the Home Mission Society and all the church indebtedness, except that to the Society, was paid off in 1900. The church called Brother Bledsoe for all his time and raised his salary accordingly. The church is in hearty sympathy with all the organized work of the denomination, especially missions and education, and is prospering under Brother Bledsoe's labors (1900). This is a very important section and a strong church is needed here.
Schutter's Flat. 1883
In 1887 the church licensed Brother W. L. McGonagill to preach. In 1888 Rev. T. J. Harper was pastor and the prospects were encouraging. Rev. James Howerton was pastor in 1890. After Brother Howerton left, the church disbanded to unite at Arlington.
What was called "Fifth Sunday" or "Workers' Meetings" were held in some of the associations. They usually lasted three or four days, and were thought very profitable. They were moved from place to place upon invitation. A meeting was composed of all Baptists in good standing in the association where held and the object was mainly mission work though subjects of benefit to the churches were often discussed.
In the Willamette Association in 1890 a memorial was prepared to send to "our honorable representatives in Congress," protesting against the appropriation of Federal funds for the maintenance of sectarian schools among the Indians; and earnestly petitioning them to oppose by all laudable methods the further appropriation of money belonging to the national treasury to such purposes. At the same time the association declared itself in hearty sympathy with the cause of education among the Indians; it affirmed that the churches had a perfect right to found and support schools for the benefit of Indian youth; but that such schools should be supported by the churches and societies which founded them and not by the government, state or nation.
Some efforts, by way of appointing committees, etc., were made by the Rogue River and the Grand Ronde Associations in 1891, looking to the establishment of an academy in their respective fields, but none resulted in anything tangible. A like failure was made in 1900 in the Rogue River Association. The Western Association and the East Oregon Convention also passed similar strong resolutions, but nothing resulted. The Middle Oregon Academy, which is noticed in another place, was at first little more than an individual enterprise, until it became the protege of the Middle Oregon Association. Ministerial education was most highly approved, and in 1898 the Corvallis Association rejoiced that the Bible was used as a text book at McMinnville College.
The young people and their societies were active workers and the increasing interest manifested in their labors was an inspiring factor in denominational life. Their courses of Bible study were almost universally approved. In collecting funds for the support of Rev. G. W. Hill, a missionary in China in 1895, the young people claimed an increase over the previous year, in churches contributing, of 50 per cent. and in the sum collected of over 100 per cent. This was in the Central Association. And the societies were doing an excellent work in training the young for the work of the church. Their plan for daily devotion and Bible study was highly commendable. In places where the churches had no regular service, the young people's work was invaluable.
The following extracts from the report of the societies of the Central Association for 1897 show their aims, and the general trend of their labor: "The value of the young people to the church is not often, if ever, overestimated. We as a denomination are coming more and more to see that the very life and sap of the church is in her young people. In fact, we are living in a young people's age and of necessity must acknowledge their worth. The young people's work in this association is scarcely begun. We have accomplished something to be sure, yet we are in the days of small things. We are laying foundations; let us see that they are properly laid, that we may not at some future time be compelled to undo the actions of the present. With proper care and wise management, we can double our efforts for good in the coming year. Our needs are many. (1) Our forces are too badly scattered for successful effort. We need to gather our forces. Our ranks must be more thoroughly consolidated. We need a stronger band of union between society and society. We need a more thorough organization. We must cooperate more fully with each other. We should learn this lesson. 'No man liveth unto himself.' Each society should report its work to the associational secretary at least once a quarter, giving in full its methods of work, and offering suggestions for the good of all. (2) We need some system of working our country districts. There are many localities within the bounds of this association which are perishing for the want of Baptist Young People's Union work. There are many bright young people capable of doing great work for the Master, who are not members of any young people's society. We must by some means enlist these young people in our work. We need four or five consecrated young men or women in every Society who are willing to visit country districts on Sunday afternoons and assist in B. Y. P. U. work. (3) We need a good evangelist to spend at least three months a year in special meetings with our societies and with the young people in districts where there are no societies. (4) We need a more general study of the Christian Culture Courses. Our young people need to know more of the Bible and Bible history. They also need instruction in Baptist principles. We would therefore recommend that the Baptist Union be placed in every home. But in spite of all our needs, our work is not discouraging. We have taken some steps forward, and can take others. The prospects before us are bright."
Sometimes the association took a revival aspect, and business was suspended, and the time almost wholly given to religious services of some kind. The interest would increase, and in some of the small villages especially the business houses would many of them close; so the men could attend the preaching at least. Anxious ones would rise; or come forward for prayers. Conversions and baptisms were not uncommon. Occasionally, on the request of some church, the association would resolve itself into a council and ordain some brother. Some of the associations made the pastors members of the body. Or matters might need inquiring into. Thus, a minister of one church having lapsed into Sabbatarianism, the church was advised to call a council, investigate the matter, and take such action as might be thought advisable. So, too, one church having received a member excluded from another church of the same association, a committee was appointed to visit the parties, and try to effect a reconciliation; this not being successful, the association "resolved" that it was irregular for any church to receive an excluded member without first investigating the trouble and deciding that the exclusion was unjust. Also, in another case, a church applying for admission into an association was accused of irregularities in an exclusion, and the association deferred action for a year, and advised the church to call a council and settle the trouble; circumstances afterwards rendered the council unnecessary, and the next year the church was received.
Some of the associations sent out a "circular letter" to the churches, expounding some doctrine or principle, or exhorting to some duty or labor; and a digest of the letters from the churches to the association was frequently published by several of the associations, thus informing all the churches of the state of religion in the other churches. A historian was appointed in several of the associations to keep track of events in which the Association was especially interested.
Possibly the following resolution was intended to hit someone: "Resolved, that it is needful to call the careful and prayerful attention of our churches to the great need of sending such delegates to the association as can remain during the sessions." And pastors were directed to read the resolution to their churches at the time of choosing messengers for the next association.
Some of the associations adopted a rule not to take any collections, except for minutes, or for the expenses of the association, or for some especially specified work. A history of some church in the association was sometimes published in the minutes. Some associations voted down resolutions, or their equivalent, advising churches to require a unanimous vote in the reception of members.
The reader has probably noticed occasional allusions to associational missionaries or district missionaries (used synonymously in this work). The aggregate work of such in Eastern Oregon was six years, and 44 weeks, covering the territory from the Cascade Mountains to Snake River at first, but when the Eastern Oregon Baptist Convention was organized in 1892, its field of operations was much curtailed. After that its labors were largely confined to the field between the Cascade and the Blue Mountains. Western Oregon took the territory between the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The time occupied was ten years and three weeks. All these were aided more or less by the Home Mission Society. The Society also aided some of the associational missionaries as follows: Rogue River, one year, twenty-two weeks; Corvallis, two years; Central, one year, fifty weeks; Middle Oregon, two years, thirty-six weeks; total eight years, four weeks. All other associational work done in this period was done without aid from abroad.
These missionaries have labored faithfully and made untold sacrifices for the cause. With difficult fields and small pay, they have toiled on. They have cooperated with the general missionary heartily. The missionary factors, together with general and district missionaries, raised four-fifths of the funds of the Convention. All honor to these men of God that have at a great sacrifice borne the burden and heat of the day.
From Lake County a vast "desert," about 100 miles across, intervenes before Prineville" is reached--the southern boundary of Eastern Oregon as considered in the missionary reports of the Baptist work in Oregon in 1900. This includes a territory of about 60,000 square miles and 150,000 inhabitants, and is divided between the Middle Oregon, Eastern and Grand Ronde Associations.
Rev. C. P. Bailey thus sets forth the situation in Middle Oregon: "The Middle Oregon Association embraces a great inland empire that stretches from the Cascade Mountains on the west to Harney County on the east, and from the Columbia River on the north to the center of Lake County on the south, an area equaling the combined associational territories of Western Oregon; or, by another comparison, equaling the states of New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Delaware. This large tract embraces seven counties, with a total population of not less than 40,000 souls. Yet in all this vast territory with its still vaster possibilities in population and resources, the Baptists have only 23 churches. Many of these are pastorless and hardly able to maintain their organization. Not one of them is self-supporting. These that have pastors are receiving aid from the board; hence they are poorly equipped for missionary efforts in adjacent fields. The religious destitution of this field is appalling. There are no less than 100 school districts where they have no Baptist services, and seldom any from any other denomination. It would not be casting too baleful a light upon it to say that at least 50 of these districts have no religious services at all. I can lead you into homes where the suffering and atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is as much the subject of ignorance as it is in any land in heathendom; and where boys and girls grow up to young manhood and womanhood having never heard the blessed tidings of salvation. I have preached sermons to audiences on this field in which there were young men and young women who there, for the first time in their lives, heard the story of the blessed Christ. Here are 36 points, with a total of more than 11,000 souls, now without the Gospel, where services might be held and churches organized.
"These points are out of reach of our missionary churches which now have pastors, if their regular work be done. If reached at all, it could be only through spasmodic efforts and great sacrifice on the part of the churches and pastors. Some of these fields are reached in this way, but at a loss to our denomination. If all the churches had pastors, it might then be possible to reach and care for some of these fields; but as it is, this vast territory is in almost absolute destitution. There ought to be an evangelist put on this field who would devote his whole time to these destitute places. Meetings could be held and churches organized in such places where they could be grouped together by twos or fours, that each group thus established might be pastored by one man. Then there should be money to put behind a man as soon as one church was organized to pastor the church, hold the field and foster the work, ready to assume the pastorate of the other churches as soon as they were organized in his district. Thus proceed until the whole field is covered. I am confident that this can be done and be made a success. If we had the money and the men to put behind this work, I feel safe in saying that the right kind of man could organize at least 25 churches on this field during the coming year.
"The points I have mentioned are yet in their infancy in population and undeveloped resources. A few years will witness great changes in its material progress--its finances, its population; its civilization. Its latent possibilities, its undeveloped resources are inviting fields for the constant westward tide of immigration that is yearly sending its thousands to our coast in search of homes and fortunes."
And from every Association in Oregon comes the call for help from feeble churches that perhaps struggled for years unable to employ a pastor, unless for very short intervals, so widely separated that combinations were impracticable; and calls for outside aid were unheeded. Much of the preaching of such communities was from passers-by and it its not unreasonable to suppose that it was largely unscriptural. But how can this be helped? The cause of home missions in Oregon was never more urgent than now, nor the opportunities for advancement more numerous, nor more inviting; but no one hears the call, nor heeds the invitation, even when echoed by the association. Take the following sample: "Resolved, That the board be requested to take immediate measures to secure, if possible, at least ten competent men for such locations on the Pacific Coast as they may deem most important."
And notwithstanding all this pleading and urging, Oregon got very little help outside of about a half dozen churches, and the mass of our Baptist people had to struggle along as best they would, although as yet scarcely any of us had gotten beyond the merest formative period of our existence.
Or take the statement of Dr. C. A. Wooddy, published years ago: "I can easily name scores of localities in Oregon where pastors have before them a wonderful opportunity in looking after these scattered communities adjacent to the churches which they serve. Some of them could be reached on a Sunday afternoon and others on a week night. The community may be small and not many people be gathered into one of these services, but there is the possibility of effectively reaching those who do attend, and this, after all, is the prime matter. Something more than preaching needs to be done in these communities, and that is the personal visitation of the families, ascertaining their personal religious condition and needs. All the time the pastor might well spend in this visitation, and in the evening he will have a message that is warm and vitally related to the people to whom he is preaching. A cordon of such outposts all about the church would greatly strengthen the church and its work. Many of the church members could be enlisted in these services and thus enlarge their sympathies, and they have less time to criticize the pastor or become discouraged with the narrowness of their own field and its small progress. Furthermore, from a number of these outlying fields would come a considerable support for the pastor and church, and both would more nearly approach the ideal condition, that of self-support. Such outside work would also so engross the time, heart and thoughts of the pastor that he would have no time for becoming involved in the many petty affairs that distract small communities. He would surely find in some of these outlying settlements a few choice Christian spirits who could instruct him much in some of the deeper mysteries of experimental religion; now and then he may also find one who has had unusual experiences, both religious and educational, for in this far Western region the unexpected is always at hand. I recall a man who obtained work on my father's farm one summer who could recite pages from the Latin and Greek poets, and I know not how many other tongues. But best of all, such a manner of work carried on by adjacent pastors, from end to end of the state, would reach the too greatly neglected country regions with the gospel and bring the Home Mission Society a greater blessing and a higher contribution for the enlargement of their work."
And till now, how few the replies to the piteous appeals!
Chinese Mission Work
The Chinese Mission of Portland was aided the first year from the Failing Fund; then it was turned over to the Baptist Missionary Union of Portland to superintend. In November, 1886, Fung Chak was again appointed by the American Baptist Home Mission Society to take charge of the mission. It had before prospered under his management and it was hoped that it would prosper again. In his letter accepting the appointment, he said he prayed that God would send His Spirit to fill his heart that he might have knowledge to do His work, and be a faithful worker for the Master in opening the door of faith to his countrymen. He spoke of baptizing 35 at Canton, and said that 250 had been converted and baptized in the city. Among others, he had baptized his mother. When he reached Portland he found 75 members; 45 non-resident, but went to work with a will and the mission put on renewed strength. It took a little time, but work told. The Society continued aid, and to prove that the labor and expense were not misdirected, nor wasted, as well as to show the energy and zeal of Brother. Fung Chak, some quotations are given:
'"I baptized four persons; among them the son of Brother Seid Back, who is the chairman of our mission. Seven have been received since by baptism. Herewith is a receipt of $12, which we offer as a little gift to the Lord. Our good brethren here were bestirred by God's Spirit and contributed $200 to send home to aid this work." (He then speaks of other Chinese brethren at other places having contributed $270.)--Fung Chak in Home Mission Monthly, February 1888.
"There is not much to report this season, but I thank God that He is still blessing our brethren, and that He is keeping them all firm by His grace. They love to labor for Christ. We have raised $50 to send home to assist the mission work there. We have just commenced the street preaching and have good congregations; over 100. Tracts were distributed. Several have joined our association to study God's word with us. I earnestly hope you will pray for them that they may be converted ,by the Spirit of Christ."-Fung Chak in Home Mission Monthly, June, 1888.
"Through His kindness we have 83 members, but not quite half are in town at present. All appear to lead a true Christian life, and are doing a good work for Christ. The school is prosperous in Lord's grace and the brethren are steadfast in good order, in the Holy Spirit, and everyone loves to work for Jesus faithfully. During the past year six persons have been baptized, and I baptized a young man last week. Some are seeking for Christ yet. I must tell you what joyful thing our brethren have done to assist the gospel. I received a letter from Rev. E. Z. Simmons of Canton, China, last month. He says he has begun to build another church and a boys' school at Canton City. He asks me to get the brethren of the United States to assist him. I thank God to bless us that I contributed $150 from our sincere brethren in Portland, and our cheerful giver, Mr. Seid Back, and his excellent wife gave $100 more, so both are $250. I send the money to Mr. Simmons last mail to aid in the glorious work. Although the incomes of the brethren are small, yet they are liberal, and glad to give for the cause of the gospel constantly and love to extend the gospel of Jesus to our home land. For to their power I bear them record, yes and beyond their power, they are willing of themselves; 'wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.' I testify that they have the true Christian spirit, which appears by their liberality. 'Seest thou how faith wrought with his work, and by work was faith made perfect?' I earnestly hope you will pray for us and our mission work here, that we may do more and more for Jesus, and bring many precious souls to Jesus through the almighty Spirit of God."--Fung Chak in The Pacific Baptist, October 8, 1888.
"I will inform you what some of our brethren are trying to do for the Lord that we may encourage those who are assisting in this mission. We are trying to do all we can to save our money to give to the cause of Christ. You know every time we have our heads shaved, we pay the barber twenty-five cents; and now some of our brethren are shaving each other so as to save the money to help God's gospel. They do their washing the same way and put the money into God's treasury. Brother Li Chak Soi, a Chinese physician who recently came from Canton, is a very faithful Christian. He is helping me to preach the truth every Sunday on the street. He is very successful in his profession. If any brethren or his friends come to him to be healed of his disease, no matter what the sum they give him, he puts it into the treasury. This is the way we try to save our expenses to assist the gospel, and intend to send the money to do some work in China. I went to Astoria week before last and held three meetings there. I had the largest and finest congregations I ever had there, and had a good opportunity to present the gospel of Christ, Rev. A. LeRuy helped me to hold the meetings. I distributed 150 tracts; they all received them with the greatest pleasure. Sam Dong, who is a very intelligent Chinese merchant, received the Gospel and rejected all idols at once which he had in his store when he heard God's truth, and now loves to read the Bible of Christ. Many more were stirred by the gospel and are very close to being Christians. We have about eight of our members in Astoria. It is over 1,000 Chinese in Astoria. If we should open a mission school there, I have no doubt that it will do much for the Lord, for they have no chance to learn the gospel."--Fung Chak in Home Mission Monthly, September, 1888.
At the Oregon Baptist State Convention in October, 1888, Brother Fung Chak stated that the mission was prosperous. They had contributed the preceding year $300 for foreign missions and $275 for home missions, besides the $250 above alluded to; total $825--from about 40 resident members. The following letter, received about that time from Deacon D. Williams of the First Church, confirms the general statement: "In regard to the Chinese Mission of Portland, we have not had regular reports so that I cannot give you the exact amount of each year. But the whole expense of sustaining the mission and carrying it on has been on an average from year to year about $1,000 since 1883. The Chinese brethren have sent to China for helping to build churches and to sustain missions there, I think for the past four or five years, an average amount of $500, this year, 1888, they sent $600. I cannot send you a statistical report of the yearly additions to the church from the mission, but altogether, I think 90 members have been received. The last two years I think 12 have been received. They are counted as part of the membership of the First Church. Quite a number have taken letters to China, Chicago and New York. I think about 35 have their membership with us now." The contributions for home missions alluded to were probably mostly for the Chinese of the North Pacific Coast; and the foreign mission collections have probably been sent direct to China; as the Eastern Societies have given the mission but very few credits. Probably some of the mission credits have been counted in the credits given to the First Baptist Church of Portland.
Under date of January 3, 1889, Rev. Fung Chak writes to The Home Mission Monthly giving in detail what he claims to know about a remarkable cure of a Chinese Christian who had been pronounced incurable by the physicians, but who was most wonderfully restored to health in answer to prayer. This had encouraged them very much.
Brother Yee Low Chow, writing February 5, 1889, says that he is preaching day by day on the street, and that every night he has a class of eight studying the Bible and expecting to become missionaries soon. One had been baptized January 31 and four more were expecting to be baptized. They had just contributed nearly $150 for expenses, and $144.70 to buy Chinese Bibles and tracts to send to China. His congregations frequently amounted to 250. In May, 1889, Rev. Fung Chak again sailed for China. The church and missions were very loath to give him up and gave him many substantial tokens of their esteem, among which were $40 in cash and some beautiful jewelry for his wife.
In 1890 the work was greatly hindered by their not having a pastor at any time during the year. But they kept well together and made some advancement, holding all regular services. In January, 1891, Miss May E. Thompson of Franklin, Indiana, was appointed by the Home Mission Society as a missionary to the Chinese of Portland. She had been for more than six years a missionary in China and in connection with Rev. Mr. and Mrs. McKibben opened the mission to the Hakkas near Swatow. Also, in 1890 the Society appointed Miss E. A. Byers of Astoria a missionary teacher there. Rev. Lum Chow, the pastor at Portland, was a very active man, enthusiastic in his work, often visiting the missions at Astoria and Albany, and encouraging them in their work. He resigned in September, 1891, to work in California. In April, 1891, the mission sent $100 to the Home Mission Society of New York.
There was another form of work among the Chinese which was carried on by Miss Alice Voss, representing the Woman's American Baptist Home Mission Society of Chicago. She was a graduate of the Training School in Chicago, and came to Oregon in 1891. For several years she conducted the boys' and girls' department in The Pacific Baptist. She had a gospel school for Chinese boys and girls, held five days in the week, besides a Sunday school. There were then perhaps nearly 100 Chinese women in the city, with half as many children, or more. Miss Voss called on them in their homes. No other denomination was engaged in this kind of work. Miss Voss was the general missionary and organizer of the Woman's Baptist Home Mission Society for Oregon until May, 1898. when she was placed in charge of the Chinese school in Portland, though giving occasional service in the general work.
In Tidings for April, 1892, Miss Voss writes: "A few days before the time appointed for a missionary meeting I called upon a wife of a Christian Chinaman. She too is a Christian, and seemed well pleased at receiving an invitation, and promised to attend. On the morning of the meeting I was disappointed at not seeing her, but we had not been in session long when her boy made his appearance, bearing her regret, and then asked if we would receive any offerings. Upon being assured that we would, he produced two envelopes, each containing $1 for the work, as her offering. She sent word for me to call and see her. Fearing she was in some trouble, I hastened there, but found her bright and cheerful. When I asked why she sent for me, she replied: 'You Christian, me Christian, you pray me, you help me very much. Me like you pray now.' We had an earnest session of prayer together, which helped me very much. Her hearty 'God bless you' at our parting was the sweetest benediction I had heard for many months. Her devotion has inspired me to speak very warmly in behalf of these poor neglected Chinese. I would so much like to work more with them."
Miss Thompson's management of the school was highly approved, and in 1892 and 1893 a conference advised with the Home Mission Society and the Portland Baptist Union with reference to improvements, and the matter was given over to the Society, who for awhile, upon recommendations, appointed the teachers and the school was entirely reorganized and on a better basis than ever before in the history of the mission. But on account of her own ill health, and of the sickness in her eastern home demanding her presence there, Miss Thompson was compelled to resign. She was a woman of sincere and earnest consecration and her departure was a severe loss to the mission. The Chinese Restriction Act also interposed obstacles in the way of the work, by preventing the securing of the preachers and Christian teachers imperatively demanded for the successful prosecution of the work. In vain was a Baptist United States Senator appealed to, to make an effort to insert a clause into the act exempting from its operation all duly certified ministers who might come to devote themselves wholly to Christian work. In the Home Mission Monthly for September, 1892, Rev. Dong Gong published a most able defense of the Chinese side of this question. It is too long to transcribe for this work, but it may be said the success of the missions was somewhat interfered with because of the rigid enforcement of the exclusion laws, the migratory character of these people, the disturbing influence of the hard times, and other causes. The Chinamen were few, the most of them men, many advanced in years; there was no increase from immigration, they were prohibited from becoming citizens, few had families, and the most of them apparently were expecting to return to their native land. All these causes made missionary work among them more precarious than with many other classes of foreigners, who come to be absorbed into our national life.
In Tidings of January, 1894, Miss Voss writes of visiting Mrs. Seid Back, a Christian Chinese woman of Portland who had been long sick, but was cheerfully and patiently enduring. She said, "'Me not strong, but me pray heap more.' She then produced two boxes, from which she gave the missionary $11--$6 for home and $5 for foreign missions, saying, 'You take to Christian sisters' meeting and tell I love Jesus; I pray Jesus, I very glad pretty soon everybody love Jesus.' She led in prayer, using the Chinese language; unintelligible to me, but I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and knew that she was very near and very dear to the Heavenly Father." This woman's death in 1894 was a severe loss to the mission. She was Quay Choy, wife of Seid Back, a Chinese merchant of the city. She and her husband had been 17 years members of the First Baptist Church, having been baptized by Rev. A. S. Coats. She was born in 1851 and was the first Chinese woman baptized in Portland. During all this time she had been a faithful member and deeply concerned for the salvation of her countrymen. The audience at her funeral numbered over 1000, for she was a woman highly esteemed and her loss was deeply deplored both because of her intrinsic goodness and also because of her liberal contributions to the work in the city, as well as to the support of native workers in China.
Seid Gain. He and his father have been heavy helps and supporters to the Chinese Baptist cause in Portland.
As to the pastorate, the Chinese had practically none in 1895 beyond an occasional supply for a short time and the mission was under the management of the general missionary and Convention Board, the Home Mission Society assuming the financial responsibility. Mrs. H. C. Chamberlain had the supervision of the work at Albany and Pastor L. J. Trumbull and his wife, mostly at their own expense, at Astoria; but in Portland it was carried through the year by F. L. Kneeland and Flora E. Russ. Many difficulties encompassed them and there was a lack of sympathy and encouragement from the churches in the city and elsewhere. Finally it was thought best to reorganize the work under the management of someone who could devote his whole time to it. Mrs. Laura P. Baker of Oakland, Calif., who had had much experience in this work, accepted the appointment and the work began to assume a prosperous condition and the outlook hopeful. The appropriations from the Home Mission Society in 1895 were: for the Chinese in Astoria, $200; Albany, $200; Portland, $500.
In regard to a Chinese school, a letter from Miss Voss in 1895 stated: "I thought If we could get six pupils to begin our school with, that would be doing exceedingly well. I was already teaching more than that number in their homes, but was doubtful whether they would be permitted to attend school elsewhere. I do wish that we might have another helper here that we might try. I have had a Chinese prayer meeting in a Chinese home every Monday afternoon at 3 o'clock. A Christian Chinese woman is acting as interpreter. We are studying the gospel of John. We began with two women, the number soon included a woman and six children, four of the six being under five years of age." The pressure of other duties prevented Miss Voss giving to this work the time and strength it demanded, and she pleaded earnestly and persistently for another missionary, who would give exclusive attention to this department of service. In response to this need and these appeals. Miss Alice Johnson of Iceland was appointed and began her work among the Chinese of Portland, October 13, 1895. She was a graduate of the Training School, quite a linguist, speaking four European languages and would likely take up the Chinese language readily. March 5, 1896, the Chinese school was started, with five children in attendance. The highest attendance during the month was fifteen.
Mrs. F. J. Watson, Vice President of the Woman's Home Mission Society for Oregon, thus speaks of this work in the Society's report for 1896: "Work among the Chinese women and children is well started, under the supervision of Miss Voss. The faithful and earnest work of this consecrated woman is surely telling for Christ in Oregon. Miss Alice Johnson, our new helper in the Chinese work. is doing what she can. She is learning the language very rapidly." The Editor of Tidings in the same report says: "We quote a brief paragraph in a letter from one of our officers in Oregon: 'In tact, wisdom, avoidance of peculiar national prejudices, and patient waiting for results, few can equal Miss Voss; but she finds it difficult to praise her own works. She is self sacrificing almost to a fault and scarcely admits even to herself how much she does and how needful she is to the work. Where Miss Voss has labored for a few years, she has won the love and respect of all who know her.'"
At the Willamette Association in 1896 the report was: "The past year has been one of steady and successful progress in our Chinese work. Mrs. L. P. Baker has had charge of the mission school in Portland. There has been need of evangelistic and pastoral work in connection with the school, but that want is now supplied. Elder To Lee is at work in the mission and is doing good work. His support is not all found yet. Mrs. Baker is however doing her utmost to secure the $300 needed. At Albany our work has also been successful with Mrs. H. C. Chamberlain in charge. Conversions have occurred in both missions and a number have been baptized. This work needs the prayer and the cooperation and financial support of the Baptists of the state. Miss Johnson writes that during the five months in Portland, she has spent most of her time in Chinese homes endeavoring to win the confidence of the mothers that they might be willing to trust their little ones to her care, and she has reason to believe that her effort has not been in vain. She reports 850 visits made and 707 private lessons.
"Miss Johnson soon became interested in Albina, and desiring a place to gather the children, so interested others that the close of the year sees a little mission chapel nearing completion and money in hand to pay for it. Much of the work on the building was donated by men with skilled hands and willing hearts, but out of employment and without money. Miss Johnson has visited some country settlements. In the town of Oswego she found but one Baptist family and they were Swedes, but she was warmly welcomed by both Swedes and Americans. Some fifteen have been added to the church in Portland by baptism and as many more by letter and experience, and the meetings are well attended."
In April, 1897, Miss Voss wrote of the destruction by fire of the building in which the school was held. Sixteen other buildings were burned and 21 poor Chinese families were rendered homeless. The tables and stove in the school room were uninjured, but charts and everything that could be damaged by water were rendered useless. In the report for 1898 she says: "The beginning of the year (1897) found us laboring under the same difficulties that hindered the work at the close of the preceding year; the Chinese families whose children attended our school being without permanent homes, and too scattered over the city to admit of our opening school. The work of rebuilding the houses destroyed by the fire was delayed. The little space in our city designated as Chinatown was too crowded to afford them homes, and they found it difficult to obtain foothold elsewhere in the city. It was not until June, 1897, that they secured houses out of Chinatown proper, but unfortunately they are situated in a disreputable part of the city and here our school is now located."
She then speaks of the aid received in obtaining, fitting up and furnishing the school room for use. Sentiment had changed somewhat and the friends she specially mentions are Mrs. James F. Failing, Miss Henrietta Failing, Mrs. Watson, Mrs. John Connor, Miss M. A. Merrill and Miss Clara Williams, the Portland Academy and the Sunday school of the First Baptist Church. Of the articles received she names 17 feet of blackboard, some tables and chairs, one of Mason & Hamblin's baby organs, one of "Whites manikins." etc. On Christmas eve the mission had a large tree decorated, and covered with boxes of candy and other presents. Many heathen women came, several of them for the first time, and it was gratifying to note the pleased surprise upon their faces. Most of them heard the Scriptures read for the first time.
The school closed January 16, 1898, and owing to poor health, Miss Voss took her vacation with Mrs. C. M. Hill of Oakland, Calif. But after a good rest and kind care, she returned in a few weeks feeling well and strong every way, and resumed her work with all her old zeal and enthusiasm. Miss Johnson having left, the responsibility of the school was again thrown upon Miss Voss and that she might give it proper attention, the board released her from the general work in the state. This gave her more time and she made good use of it. Early in October a larger room than the one previously occupied was secured, several ladies, one a Chinese woman, contributing towards the additional expense. Beginning with October 26, Lee To, the Chinese pastor, without remuneration, taught Chinese in the school from 11:30 A. M. until 1 P. M. Besides giving his time, Lee To furnished most of the books and writing material for the Chinese work.
In the spring of 1898 Fung Chak returned and was at once called to the pastorate. He found 21 resident members and started at once an evening school; also street preaching, with additions and baptisms. The state board appropriated $300 annually for the mission, and the Chinese brethren raised the balance. In 1898 good work was done, and it was reported that the Chinese had contributed an average of $2 per member for missions. This work continued through 1899 and 1900, Fung Chak still the pastor. Rev. Gilman Parker, the general missionary of the State Convention, thus speaks of Fung Chak: "We ought to have just such a man as Rev. Fung Chak in Albany and another in Astoria to work among the Chinese people, and we could have if our brethren would give us the means to do it with. In 1899 they paid their pastor $302.50; $30 for the Convention and $184.06 for other purposes."
In 1898 the Chinese work was not as promising as we could wish. The Home Mission Society was compelled to withdraw support partially, and we could do but little. But the schools at Portland and Albany went through the regular term prosperous, with Mrs. L. P. Baker of Portland, and Mrs. H. C. Chamberlain in Albany. We have been notified from New York that the Home Mission Society can assist in this work only on the same basis as the other missions. We cannot meet one-half the demands of the mission fields of the state. Shall we withdraw support from our missions and supply it to this work? The following expression was given: "The presence of our Chinese brethren within our midst, the unity of the race and of faith, impose obligations upon us that may not be ignored; we therefore recommend that our State Convention extend a fostering care over the Chinese work, already so well begun, both in Portland and Albany, to the best of their judgment and on the basis of cooperation as other mission work, according to the necessity and ability."
Miss Voss looks after the school. She reports an enrollment of 38 Chinese children during the year, 19 of whom were enrolled previous to April, 1899. "Of these 13 remain. The enrollment at the close of the year is 24, the largest it has ever been. The improvement among the children is gratifying; they are cleaner, neater and more orderly, more regular in their attendance and learning to be more punctual." Miss Voss then gives examples, and refers to the kindness of Dr. Emma Wetty in attending gratuitously her Chinese people when they are in need. And she also speaks of the happy Christmas time and the kindness of friends in Portland, whom she mentions by name, in providing the tree and presents. There were present 102 persons--31 women and 71 children. Of the women 14 were mothers of children in the school, seven others came to the Sunday school. Of the children 23 were pupils, to whom were given special gifts, but each one present received a pretty pink stocking filled with candy and popcorn. Miss Voss says, "I feel grateful each day for the privilege of working in this corner of the Lord's vineyard and putting a little sunshine into these young lives. I wish I had means to do more for them, I would like to have four or five rooms, and have a dispensary and a room where the women could come evenings for social and Bible meetings. And I would like a well-equipped room and teacher for a kindergarten; we could have many little ones, and then I would like a carryall and horse to gather the little ones and bring them to school during the rainy winter season. I am grateful for the extra help of Mrs. Fung Chak among the women."
Mrs. Wilson again says: "I wish to commend the work Miss Voss is doing among the Chinese. I have visited her school. I know many of them and have made calls with her in Chinese homes. She is active and consecrated and easily wins the hearts of the people. I believe it is in the years to come we shall see much fruit from her labors."
In 1898, 33 children were enrolled. Miss Voss speaks very highly of some of them and thinks great changes have been made in them. She adds: "The patient, persistent influence of talking about the necessity of sunshine and fresh air has resulted in getting some of the families having children to remove from rooms where it was necessary to have lamplight during all hours of the day. She then gives examples of her teachings, and adds: "The work has gone on smoothly for the most part. The First Baptist Sunday school has kept us in wood all winter, and the 'Gleaners,' a missionary society of young ladies of the same church, provided our Christmas entertainment, making it possible to give gifts to our children and to all the older and younger brothers and sisters of our pupils; 69 in all and to 46 women besides. Miss Etta Failing provided the tree, ready set up for use and the exercises were given in the Sunday school room of the First church. We had the assistance of a Christian Chinese woman until May, 1898. Since December 1, Rev. Fung Chak assisted, giving instruction in Chinese. There have been 223 school days during the year, there has been marked improvement, especially during the past seven months, in attendance and punctuality. Special days at the Joss house and free days at the theater have made but little and lately not any difference in the attendance."
Miss Voss thus reports the progress of her work in Portland: "In looking over records for the past year, I find we have had 33 different children enrolled. At present we have 19. Of the others, one has moved away, four others came but were too young to be retained, one went to the public school, two to work and six to Chinese school. Two of the latter had been with us a long time and we were sorry to lose them. One of them was the first pupil we enrolled and had been very regular in attendance and a good little student. Looking over the names I see that there has been a great change in every one. We have some difficult problems, but we are not discouraged."
Mrs. J. F. Weston, Vice-president (of Oregon) of Women's Baptist Home Mission Society says: "Our Chinese work in every way is encouraging. This is truly a mission field worthy of the Master's best workers; we have one in Miss Voss and although Miss Millspaugh must, of course, divide her time and effort impartially among the three societies she represents, she also is doing good work."
In Tidings for June, 1899, Miss Voss writes of the kindness of Professor Albert Green, who gave the Chinese children very helpful instruction in vocal music. Concerning the Sunday school she writes: "It has been hard to get the children out Sunday because we could not permit them to bring and study their school books. But we thought it best to make the day different from the other days. Another attempt was made in October, 1899, and the school opened in the chapel with 31 present. This was a day of great rejoicing because of the two objections overcome: First, that the Chinese permitted their children to come to a re-organized Sunday school held in a 'Preach Gospel House.' Secondly, that recently some of the Christian Chinese women have been prevailed upon to help, so that we now have a partially graded school. We have an infant class; a primary class studying the commandments; a class of older boys and one of girls. Some women now go into the girls' class. I hope to have a class for women with Mrs. Fung Chak as teacher, as soon as I can find another teacher for the girls." Early in 1900 a sad accident befell one of the brightest little girls. She was the daughter of Fung Chak. Some boiling water was upset on her, and she was burned so badly that she could not recover. She died in the triumphs of faith, but it cast a gloom over the school.
In the Home Mission Monthly for December, 1898, Fung Chak writes: "Our brethren are working for Christ very faithfully. Two brothers are assisting me to preach on the street every Sunday afternoon, and several are helping to sing continually. I am so thankful to our Heavenly Father to bless my dear wife that she was restored and able to carry on her work again for the Master, two weeks ago. She gives three days a week for Christ, and has a good opportunity to talk to the Chinese families from house to house. Mrs. Wu Ting, who is a member in our church, is helping her to do this work also. This is very needy and important work among our Chinese families, which I have been praying for years. There have been about a hundred Chinese families in this city without any one to tell them about Christ. One boy was baptized on last Sunday by our pastor, Dr. Blackburn. We raised $51.50 from our brethren for the Home Mission work. We presented $30 to the State Convention and $21.50 to the Home Mission Society. I hope you will accept them as a little offering for the Lord."
Miss Voss' report for 1900 says of her pupils: "Several are advancing rapidly in their studies. in familiarity with their Bible lessons and missionary information, and in sympathy shown for others who do not know about Jesus, the latter being shown by their willingness to save their pennies to help send teachers to them. These little ones are an ever-increasing source of delight and comfort. I am grateful to God and to the Woman's Home Mission Society for the privilege of being permitted to mold these little people and train them for his service here and his glory hereafter." She wrote this report from a sickbed in Santa Barbara. In California she was kindly cared for by Rev. and Mrs. J. O. Borroughs, and much sympathy was expressed for her by the mission circles of Portland and vicinity , as well as by friends throughout the state, and the wish expressed that she might soon return to her work. And the prayers were answered.
Of the Portland Chinese in 1900 Rev. Fung Chak says in The Home Mission Monthly, for May: "I am happy to inform you what the brethren are doing for the Master's work here. On the first Sunday evening of February, our pastor, Dr. Blackburn, came to our mission to lead the communion for us, and have a good talk with our brethren. He told us that the board have no money to do what they ought to do and asked our brethren if they would give $100 more to support their pastor. The board will give $200 a year to keep the pastor here. The brethren were much pleased with it, though they are poor; but they love their Savior, and their pastor; therefore they delight to do all they can to raise the extra $100. Included in what they have been giving are $250 a year, besides the other contributions. We raised $367.50 from our small flock during the past year. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Brother C. J. Yun Kong came up from Astoria March 22, and told me that the board of Washington had appointed him as a missionary to the Chinese in Seattle, Wash. It makes me very glad to learn this good news. I thank our good Lord for his blessing on our Chinese in Seattle. I knew our Brother C. J. Yun Kong very well in Canton, China. He is a good man and a faithful worker and a well educated man and has been preaching for a Canton Church for many years under Dr. Graves' care. I hope and pray that the work in Seattle may be blessed and prosperous."
In 1891 a Chinese class was started at LaGrande by Mrs. L. J . Trumbull and kept up by her and her daughters for about two years. An exciting incident occurred during the Chinese riots at that place, when Mrs. Trumbull bravely withstood the cowardly hoodlum Americans who in the absence of her husband surrounded her house and demanded of her Christian Chinese, who had fled there for refuge. But they did not get them.
Also in 1892 a Chinese class was started by Rev. C. A. Nutley at Roseburg. Mrs. G. N. Annes took the work when he left and kept it up in 1893. There are no reports from either of these schools, except two or three statistical tables which are here given. The teachers were all volunteers.
To sum up the Chinese work: in Portland: Portland ranks next to San Francisco in Chinese population, it being about 5,000. They occupy the heart of the city. The mission chapel is three blocks distant; on the corner of Alder and Fifth Streets. It is a part of the old First Church property, and now used by the Chinese through the kindness of the Failing family, who own the property. The Mission, established in 1874 has baptized over 100 converts, though it now has only about one-third of that number as resident members; the others being scattered widely. Some have become evangelists, and have established other missions. Some are preaching either in this country, or in China. The mission has also largely contributed to the buying of a lot in Canton, China, building a house on it, and supporting a pastor there. The mission is, strictly speaking, a mission of the First Baptist Church; all its members being received into, or dismissed from, that church. Yet it has its own pastor, holds its own services, and transacts its own business. It has sometimes, at quite long and irregular intervals, been without a settled pastor, which means as much to a Chinese, as to an American church, yet it has usually kept up its services, and pushed forward its work most remarkably well. They now have a pastor, Rev. Fung Chak. There are seven Christian families in the church; also seven Chinese merchants; giving it more financial stability than ever before, and rapidly bringing it on to self-support. Peace and harmony prevail, and the prospect of future usefulness is very bright.
Rev. Fung Chak was born in China, converted in Canton, baptized by Rev. R. H. Graves, D. D.. President of our Theological Seminary in that city. He studied three years at that Seminary, and then came to San Francisco, and under the guidance of Revs. John Francis and E. Z. Simmons was engaged for a while in missionary work among his own people. In 1872 he came to Portland, and was a valuable assistant in the missionary work there. Brother Dong Gong resigned Nov. 5, 1880, and Fung Chak was chosen as his successor, and ordained June 21, 1881. In 1882 he returned for his family, but engaged in missionary work in China and did not return to Portland until 1887. In about three years he again returned to China, where he remained eight years, pastor of the Shou Hing church. Returning again to the Pacific coast, he stopped nearly two years in Seattle, but in 1898 returned to Portland and took the pastorate of the church there.