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Churches of Christ & Christian Churches
in the Pacific Northwest


April 26, 2012
by Charles Dailey
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Juntura. . . . Vale

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We have a single entry for each county, so they have been combined. Harney County shares the western border of Malheur County.


This appeared in the August 1, 1889 edition of the East Oregon Herald:

Last Sunday about forty people assembled a half-mile above the Bowen ranch to witness the baptism in Poison Creek of C. Harris by Elder W.H. Culp of the Christian Church. They went down into the water, both the elder and the convert, not over beyond the water, nor close by, but down into, and was baptized.
Poison Creek is south of Jutura, so we conclude there must have been a Christian Church in town, especially with forty people getting into their buggies to make the trip to the creek. It was common in that time to call the preacher elder.

It also sounds like the newspaper writer was trying to make a point about the mode of baptism.

Vale Mapquest

This community on the Oregon Trail was not settled until the 1860s. It took two more decades before it became the county seat of the second largest county in Oregon.

Vale Christian Church in 1913.

A local historian wrote:

Literally tens of thousands made the future site of Vale a welcome overnight stop where they could rest, wash their clothes and bathe in the warm mineral water. By 1873 when the Old Stone House "Rhinehart Building" was completed the Oregon Trail was also the Main Street of Vale. When Oregon became a state in 1859 Vale was part of Baker County. When Malheur County was formed in 1888 Vale was chosen to be the County Seat at which time it began to grow at a very rapid rate.

Historian Swander gives 1908 as the date the Vale Christian Church first appeared in the records, but he said that it may have existed before that.

Swander was right. We can trace the group to 1896. It had been called together by N. E. Taggart, recently arrived from Indiana. A Sunday School was organized in the Oddfellow's Hall and the church was organized with 13 charter members.

Charter members included: Mrs. Felix Barkley, Della Bullock, The Glen family, "Gather" Griffin, Mrs. Griffin, Anna Hoople, Mr. Sweet, Ella Taggart, N. E. Taggart, Anna Wheeler, Dick Williams, and Billy Wilson.

By 1911, the congregation had built a sandstone building at West A Street and Cottage North. It was on the northeast corner of the intersection. The lumber shed of Home Lumber and Coal Company next door can be seen in the photo.

The building may not have had electricity at the time the photo was taken. The sandstone was quarried in the hills east of Vale.

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