pioneer logo - 2.3 K
Churches of Christ & Christian Churches
in the Pacific Northwest

map of Jefferson Co. - 1.2 K

Updated Oct. 18, 2009
by Charles Dailey
College index

Culver   Madras  ||  Next Chapter . . . Pioneer Menu . . . Search

Culver Mapquest

O. G. Collver was approached by his friends to establish a post office near present-day Culver. Mr. Collver chose the form Culver and it was accepted by the U. S. Post Office. This post office was about five miles east of the present town.

Much of the information about the Culver Christian Church has been supplied by its long-time former minister Tom Helmick. In its beginning in 1911, the congregation was closely aligned with the Disciples of Christ. More recently, it has become independent.

Samuel Gregg - 4.1 K
Samuel Gregg
The congregation came into being under the leadership of Elder Samuel Gregg, state evangelist for the Christian Church in Oregon. Gregg had come to Oregon from Elliott, Iowa.

Gregg was also involved with the new congregations at Lamonta, Madras, Post and Laidlaw as well as conducting a revival meeting at Prineville. Assisting preacher Gregg with a music ministry were Mr. and Mrs. Webb.

Local church historian Esther Harmon reports that Mr. Gregg was “a man of great force” and the Webbs of “exceptional musical ability.” Meetings were first held in a building provided by the Mennonites. The Sunday evening services were held in a Y.M.C.A. railroad car.

The Christian Standard of April 8, 1911 reported

“One of the promising new towns, Culver, offers a free site for a Christian Church, and the field will so be opened. Culver is started on the right basis: ‘No Saloon’ clause in its charter. It is the purpose of the town-site people to keep the moral atmosphere wholesome. The Christian Church will be the first to enter the field, and a new house [of worship] will be erected very soon. This only demonstrates what can be done in many other fruitful fields in that same territory.”

Culver Christian Church building
1911 Culver Christian Church. Samuel Gregg is at
the far right. Notice the "Ben Hur" sign.

A church building was begun on April 24, 1911 and completed the following Saturday in time for an evening meeting. This first permanent building was located at the northeast corner of the town-site on land donated by Mr. W. C. Barber.

On Sunday, May 28, 1911, the Culver Christian Church was dedicated with Mrs. Samuel Gregg as pastor (Elder Gregg holding evangelistic meetings and out of the community a great deal of time).

The next year the church was remodeled, papered and electric lights installed. In 1916 the building was moved to the present site at the SW corner of West Fourth Avenue and D Streets.

Esther Harmon writes,

The 1920’s and 1930’s were difficult years for both the church and the surrounding farming community. Some Sundays only 10 to 15 people would be present. Records indicate occasional messages by Reverend’s Sutton, Stanley, Jones, and D. L. Penhollow who was the pastor of the Powell Butte Community Christian Church. In the late 1940’s irrigation came to the area and people began to move in and give new life to the area and the church. Wayne Osborn was called to become the first full time pastor on August 19, 1947 and was followed by Dale Harter, Ase Rice, Bill Kanne, Olof Carpenter,and Harold Fowler. Our present pastor, Tom Helmick, was called and began his ministry here on October 1, 1969.

Link to the Powell Butte Christian Church web site.

Today the church has new facilities, but it has maintained an unbroken witness to the community since its founding. Active membership today numbers about 70 with plans being made for the construction of a new educational/fellowship facility. The leaders and members of the church look forward to many more years of continued witness within the community of Culver.

Madras Mapquest

The 75th Diamond Jubilee history of the Madras Church begins:

Charles Arba Sias
Charles Arba Sias

The roots of the First Christian Church of Madras are closely intertwined with those of the city of Madras and the surrounding country. At the beginning of the century a flood of settlers came into the area to take up homesteads in this land that had been passed over by earlier colonists for the greener Willamette Valley. Before many months almost every claim was taken up by settlers aware of the potential of the land and hopeful that water for irrigation might be brought from the mountains, a dream that was not to be realized for more than forty years . . . a dream that many of these pioneer settlers did not live to see materialized.

Early Ministers:
Charles A. Sias
B. W. Bass
R. A. Moon
B. F. W. Pitman
J. H. Barkley
S. W. Robinson
B. L. Hicks
Lee Sadler
1903 - 1905
The same source reports that the church was established by Charles Arba Sias, a graduate of Cotner University in Lincoln, Nebraska. He had spent much of 1902 and 1903 as minister of the Athena Christian Church and had now settled near Madras to farm along with his wife Grace. His circuit riding included Lamonta, Grizzly Butte, Hay Stack (old Culver) and Prineville. Some of the services were held in school houses. Baptisms were in Willow Creek.

Madras Christian Church building
1910 Madras Christian Church with addition.

Another early document from the church reads:

The Madras First Christian Church was organized May 8, 1909 after several years of meeting and planning. (Editor: Its legal name was "The Church of Christ.") The lumber was brought from a sawmill on Grizzly Mountain for the sanctuary as it now stands. The first preachers were circuit riders serving LaMonta, Grizzly, Old Culver and Madras. (Original spelling retained.)
Both Grizzly (Willow Creek) and Lamonta are southeast of Madras, known earlier as Palmain.

The Christian Church building was on the southeast corner of 7th and C. The original building was 30 by 50 feet. In the photo, the first phase of building can be seen behind the bell tower and extended front that were added later. The original building project was launched by R. A. Moon, brother of E. R. Moon.

An list of early members included: Charles Baker, Mrs. J. Baker, Mrs. D. W. Barnett, Mrs. Ellen Barnett, Dr. and Mrs. H. Clark, Mrs. Cook, Mrs. H. Cook, W. R. Cook, Mrs. J. Corwin, Miss Susan Cowherd, Mrs. H. Culp, Mrs. Fred Davis, Gweneth Davis, Nita Davis, Mrs. S. Edmundson, Miss Anna Falkenhagen, Mrs. L. Gerbling Mrs. S. E. Gray, Mr. and Mrs. I. J. Hatfield, Roy Huff, Mrs. Lulu Johnson, Mrs. Oma Locke, Miss Evelyn Maddron, Mrs. McCoy, Mrs. Pearl Osborn, Mrs. M. E. Percival, Mr. and Mrs. M. G. Pillette, Mr. Claude Ramsey, Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey, Mrs. Perry Read, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Robinson Mrs. W. Siler, Mrs. W. Smith, Mrs. H. W. Snook, Maurice Snook, Mrs. V. G. Stanton, Hazel Tucker, Mr. T. Tucker, Mrs. Tucker and Miss Bessie Williamson

Much of the Madras story is taken from the writings of Edna Van Noy.

Next Chapter: Josephine County or back to Pioneer Menu

To DOCHS 3/02