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Churches of Christ & Christian Churches
in the Pacific Northwest

Wasco Co. map - 1.2 K

Expanded March 22, 2001
by Charles Dailey
College index

A contemporary congregation with a Web Site in The Dalles.

Dufur  |  Mosier  |  The Dalles

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Dufur Christian Church Map

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.

Moving Freight with a Ten Horse-power 18 Wheeler

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.
We are struggling hard for the existence of the congregation here. . . . We begin to realize that Christianity is an individual matter, and not something for the preacher alone to do.

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.

1905 Dufur building - 5.0 K
1905 building

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.

In this 1913 photo, looking west, the Christian Church can
be seen left of center with the Methodist Church to its left.

The Dalles Christian Church Map

The Dalles Christian Church
Christian Church 1893
9th and Court
The Dalles is from a French word meaning flagstone. There are rumors of a congregation in this community in 1863, but there is little record. One source reports a James Valentine Pierce as a circuit-riding preacher based in The Dalles. He is credited with "setting up the Sunday School in the First Christian Church in the Canyon City area . . . ." Canyon City at that time was a gold mining center and was just becoming the county seat of Grant County.

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.
Enclosed you will find two dollars and a half for my paper. I can't say much for the church here. I believe that the members are getting waked up a little. Bro. Underwood preaches for us the 2nd and 4th Sunday in each month. We like him very much.

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.

Charter members were: Kizzie Arnold, George Arnold, George Hayes and Barbara Barnett, Mary Chrisman, Mercyetta Drew, Dr. G. C. Eshelman, David Graham, Laura Hendrison, John W. and Flora M. Jenkins, Ella Madron, William Madron, Sarah Miller, Jesie Orchard, Mary Presley, B. F. Robertson, Mary J. Robertson, Cynthia Rowland, Sister A. Schooling, Gertrude Scott, Julia A. Simmons, Anna Laura Trout and Elyah W. Trout.

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.

John W. Jenkins
J.W. Jenkins
Mr. Jenkins, the first minister, was an 1880 graduate of Bethany College and ministered in Paw Paw, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; Fargo, North Dakota and Jamaica, West Indies before coming to Eastern Oregon to plant this congregation. After leaving The Dalles, he also ministered in Hood River, Athena, Dallas, Klamath Falls, Corvallis, and McMinnville, all in Oregon. Following these ministries, he returned to his native Canada and continued his service to the Lord.

There is a profile of John W. Jenkins.
For background on the pioneer history of Wasco County from the Oregon State Archives, click here.

Mosier Map

1909 Mosier Christian Church Building
Christian Church - 1909
Disciple historian Clarence Swander shows the first congregation meeting here in 1899. Ten years later they built a building at 3rd and Washington that is still in use.

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.

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