Troy and Annie Lewis Shelley were overland pioneers. He came with his parents, Michael and Sena Shelley, from Iowa in 1848. They were married while attending the "annual meeting" at Rickreall by Levi Lindsay Rowland and Glen Owen Burnett in 1871. He had started preaching two years before that. Troy's father and mother were charter members of the Pleasant Hill Church in Lane County.
In June of 1882 Troy and Annie packed their belongings in a big wagon and moved to Odell, where they spend the rest of their years. One early record says, "The family camped while the father built the house and lost his rheumatism."
Their first church services were held under a big fir tree. Rough boards were used for seats. Neighbors were friendly and helpful. Early land settler William Holman Odell from Tennessee, a pioneer of 1853, wanted Annie to teach school, so she taught and Troy used the school building to preach and hold Sunday School. (One early school record shows Annie teaching in 1880, so they may have come earlier than 1882.)
Troy also taught school at nearby Pine Grove and was later elected Superintendent of School for Wasco County. (A portion of this area later became Hood River County.) They had eight children.
In our photo of the two-room building built about 1880, it appears there was a start on a school band. (This photo dates from about 1902.) At about this time - 1902 - a new school house was built and the school trustees objected to having church in the school.
The church did not meet for a year, then was re-started in a building - probably across the street from the new school. Annie Shelley writes:
Then was begun the Union Church . . . . Our first seats were rough boards. April of 1902 saw the first service. It had taken a long time . . . . Mr. Shelley whose passion was union of all Christians, always preached the first Sunday in each month, and the Lord's Supper was held. At one communion, members of 11 sects took the Supper together.
Seemingly in the new facility, Troy Shelley's passion for union overcame his desire to restore the basic church of the New Testament and a truly union church resulted. The group diminished and finally ceased to meet.
Later, services were re-started and the group was distinctly an a capella Church of Christ. The Odell church still exists across from the school, but we have not been able to make contact with any members.
Hood River Valley
There is a profile of John W. Jenkins.The congregation reached out in its own vicinity and helped establish the Christian Church right in Hood River. For some years prior to 1905 Ashley Cash, a member at Hood River Valley Christian Church, rode into town and conducted Sunday School at the Carmichael Hall. This led to a tent meeting and a new congregation was established in 1905.
According to a 1909 map, the Christian Church was located at the northwest corner of the intersection of 9th Street and Eugene Street. There was a parsonage located closest to the corner.
To DOCHS 3/02