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Nov. 18, 2000
by Charles Dailey
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Prineville Mapquest

This central Oregon community was named after its first merchant, Barney Prine.

Historian Swander gives 1888 as the beginning date for the congregation, but states that it was reorganized again about 1890 by Dillard Holman, a son-in-law of Dr. James McBride. (Holman was married to Mary Catharine.)

The date of beginning must be rolled back a few years, because a group of 20 disciples was meeting there in 1882 according to the Pacific Christian Messenger of that year. Even before that, a note in the a February 1879 issue of the Messenger under the heading of Church News reads:

-- Bro. Troy Shelley is preaching for the people at Prinesville; his wife frequently takes his place in the pulpit and preaches good sermons.

We have retained the spelling of the original.

Annie preached in other locations in eastern Oregon as well. This was several years before the Shelleys moved to Odell. Travel was probably by stage coach. Several stage lines had their hub in Prineville in those days.

The Prineville Stage
An actual photo of the Prineville Stage.

F. M. Vanderpool became the leader before 1882. He wrote this article from Prineville to the Christian Herald, also published at Monmouth:

May 31, 1882

The cause of Christ is still going on and the gospel is still spreading in this part of the country. In this month there have been 12 added to the church on Willow Creek, 10 by confession and immersion, 1 reclaimed from the M. E. church and a good feeling prevails.

The HERALD has reached all the subscribers. I will be out next Monday in the interest of the CHRISTIAN HERALD. The HERALD is doing good work here already.

We have a good attendance at meetings. . . . We have over 20 members at this place.

I remain your brother in Christ,
F. M. Vanderpool.

By February of 1885 a note in the Christian Standard, published in Cincinatti, Ohio, states that:

--- Bro. F. M. Vanderpool writes from Prineville, Or., that he is in much better health than for several years past. He preaches each Lord's day and his labors are bringing forth fruit in that portion of the country where such work is so much needed.

The spelling of the original has been maintained.

That same year, Jennie Bennett wrote to the Christian Standard with more details.
Prineville, Crook Co., Aug. 12 -- Last fall after the close of a six weeks' meeting, we organized a church on McKay Creek, three and a half miles from Prineville, from a remnant of the members of the old church, and 5 new ones by letter; during the meeting 3 were baptized and added to the church. The church Is wonderfully devoted and zealous.

Bro. F. M. Vanderpool, as an elder, carried on the work and has done a grand good work without advantages of an education, yet with commendable piety and perseverance he has studied the word and labored hard to spread the good news. God has blessed his labors. He continues to preach for us the best he can, working for his own and family's support; he is the only Christian minister I know of in Crook Co.; many another would have failed because of the difficulties of the field . . . .

The McKay Creek location is west of Prineville on Highway 26.

The Disciples Yearbook for 1888 lists 28 members at Prineville.

Church planter James A. Campbell (no relation to Alexander Campbell) was involved at one time with the Prineville Christian Church. Campbell and his wife Martha (Mattie) Stinson Campbell had been active in the northwest, planting churches at Gales Creek in Washington County and Lewiston in Idaho. He began preaching at age 18 in his home congregation is Farmington, Washington County, Oregon. Following this, he attended Christian College at Monmouth, Oregon.

James Campbell liked to write one-year contracts with churches, expecting them to be on their own by the end of the year. He may have remained a year and moved on, but too quickly for the church to take hold. Thus the work of Dillard Holman.

Also involved in launching the Prineville church was Joe Hunsaker, overland pioneer of 1873. He had settled in Crook County.

Prineville, Oregon

By 1913, the Christian Church building was located in the northeast corner of the intersection of 3rd (Highway 26) and N. Beaver Street.

In 1895, evangelist A. B. Wade settled in Prineville. He soon filed a report with the Christian Standard:

Prineville, Jan. 7.-- We are in a fine meeting at Willow Creek, some eighteen miles from here, with 9 accessions up to date; 12 accessions since I took charge of the work.
Willow Creek is in the Madras area.

Another pioneer congregation was once located at Post.

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