The town of Dufur was founded by Andrew J. Dufur, Jr., a successful raiser of stock. Mr. Dufur was from Hugenot descent.
While the town received its post office in 1878, the earliest records show saints meeting in 1862. Twelve people had organized themselves into a Christian congregation for:
"Divine worship, mutual edification, attend to the Ordinances and institutions of the House of the Lord, and pledge themselves to be governed by the Word of the Lord as our only rule of Faith and Practice."
The pioneer-era families included George Hays and Barbara Barnett (1853), and William R. and Nancy Jane Benefiel Menefee (1852). The Menefee family has first settled on a Donation Land Claim in Yamhill County, then in 1855 settled at Dufur where he farmed and was a Justice of the Peace. He also constructed the first water system for Dufur.
They met in a school house located at Boyd with George Barnett doing the preaching during the early years. A note in the Christian Messenger reported that "Sister Shelley" preached one time each month at Fifteen Mile. We guess that this is Mrs. Troy (Annie) Shelly. Her husband preached at the Odell Church of Christ in Hood River County. There were very few reports of women preaching during this era in Oregon's history.
G. H. Barnett wrote the following to the Pacific Christian Messenger in 1877:
Fifteen Mile Creek, OR.
The next year Preston P. Underwood came as the preacher. He and his wife Anne Eliza (Trout) had moved from Gilroy, California in late 1877 or 1878. Mr. Underwood says that he preached twice each month at Fifteen Mile. He taught school as well as preaching in the church and circuit riding to other congregations. (See the Yakima entry.)
Boyd is 3.5 miles north of Dufur, just off Highway 197 and is named for T.P. Boyd, operator of a flour mill. Baptisms were in Fifteen Mile Creek, a few steps from Boyd. This congregation was also known as the Fifteen Mile Church.
The excitement was building by 1880. T. J. Burford wrote to T. F. Campbell:
We have preaching twice a month by P. P. Underwood, and Sunday school every Lord's day. Regular attendance, forty. We organized four weeks ago, and I think we will reach fifty or sixty in four weeks more.
The group reported their presence in 1881, probably while they were still outside of town. Membership was 39; the elders were George H. Barnett, William R. Menefee and P. P. Underwood. They did not show any property ownership that year.
In 1891 the Dufur Christian Church was organized and in 1905 work began on a building (pictured). It was located at the southwest corner of 4th and Harrison.
The congregation has always put a great emphasis on world missions.
The Dalles Christian Church Map
A tiny entry in the Pacific Christian Messenger of May, 1878 provides a clue. An hopeful Mary A. Pratt writes:
Dalles City, Wasco Co. Or.
The present First Christian Church congregation in The Dalles was established in 1892 by John W. Jenkins. There were 24 charter members. According to a notice in the local newspaper The Chronicle, the actual legal organizing of the group was done by J. T. Eshelman.
The organizational meeting was held in the Court Room of the Old Court House. The emerging church borrowed facilities from several organizations in town while getting under way.
The group was able to build promptly and their building was dedicated to the service of the Lord September 2, 1893 by William F. Cowden. A. D. Skaggs was the minister from 1896 to 1897 followed by Gentry Rushing in 1899.
There is a panoramic view of The Dalles showing where First Christian Church was built.
There is a profile of John W. Jenkins.
They were busy teaching and adding to the body because Victor Hoven reports their membership in 1917 as 120. That would be about 1/3rd of today's population of Mosier.
Next Chapter: Washington County or back to Pioneer Menu
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