The village of Wallowa and the county surrounding it take their name from a local Indian word meaning fish trap. The post office was established in 1873.
In 1875 a band of Christians arrived in wagons and settled in to make a living and to worship God. William and Edith Boyd, Winn and Martha Dougherty and Lucean Cole were among the first to arrive. Later Winn's niece, Doll Dougherty Johnson, joined the others.
There are descendents of the Boyd's and Doll Johnson still attending the Wallowa Church of Christ. This congregation has moved from its original location on the Boyd farm, but has remained a capella to the present time.
While the Church of Christ did not use the instrument in singing, a church was formed that did. The Wallowa Christian Church began as informal meetings in a building owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jim Morelock. The formal organization was led by George C. and Arthur Ritchey in 1907.
Among the early members were: W. S. Alford,
H. W. Brown,
Mr. and Mrs. G. R. Evans,
J. J. Hawley,
H. E. Inlow,
T. K. Johnson,
A. O. LaDow,
Mr. and Mrs. Jim Morelock,
Mr. and Mrs. John Pace,
Mr. and Mrs. Bob Palmer,
Mr. and Mrs. William Sherod and
The group built its first building in 1911.
Historian Clarence Swander places the origin of the group in 1893. That may be the date they first appeared on the records that he used to compile his history, but there is evidence of believers after the New Testament order much earlier.
Pioneer preacher Joel M. Jones, formerly from Boise Valley, wrote a lengthy letter to the Pacific Christian Messenger in 1883 with evidence of an emerging church at yet-unnamed Enterprise.
Mr. Jones had traveled from the Indian Valley area near Elgin.
On Tuesday afternoon, we reached our destination, arriving at Mr. Beath's, in upper Willowa valley, warm, tired, dusty, thirsty and hungry. We quenched our thirst with the crystal water of Prairie creek that rushed down from the lofty mountains on the south, which yet wear some fragments of their white winter robe.
Prairie Creek describes the Enterprise region. The church group had started about 1879 based on this statement in the letter:
When I went there I found eleven Disciples who had been organized into a congregation over three years ago by Bro. Boly, who returned home and was soon called hence to rest from his labors, while his works do follow him. . . .
So now they have fifteen in number; all in harmony. I expect to visit them again this fall, at which time we expect to see a great ingathering.
There is a profile of Michael Boly.
Enterprise Christian Church
Four people had been added to the group of Disciples by the preaching of J. M. Jones.
The post office at Enterprise was established in 1887.
Other congregations that once flourished in this county include Evans, Flora, Joseph, Lostine and Promise. With the coming of the automobile, many smaller congregations merged with larger ones.
To DOCHS 8/02
Wasco County or back to Pioneer Menu