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John Sutherland, Sr.
Pioneer Gospel Oregon Preacher

John Sutherland, Sr. at a Glance:
Born: 1846 at Newton, MO.
Married: Nancy Jane Bowring
Emigrated:The California Trail - 1872
Settled First: Vina, California
Family:See list
Preached: California, Idaho and Oregon
Died:Lorane, Oregon in 1918
Buried:McCulloch Cemetery

John Sutherland, Sr.
John Sutherland
John Sutherland was born two days after Christmas, 1846, in Newton County, Missouri. He was the eighth of the nine children of Samuel and Margaret Sutherland. At the age of 15, he was baptized into Christ in Spring Branch Creek near Fidelity, Missouri. Shortly after, he became the disciple of Nathan Buchanan, a relative. Nathan taught young John how to study and preach the Word.

Even at this tender age, John had the tobacco habit, but later renounced the practice. He had attended a school-for-pay during the winter months each year. Subjects included algebra, natural philosophy and astronomy as well as basic studies. Now he was embarking on the life of a carpenter and farmer and Bible student.

At about 17, life and learning were interrupted with a stint in the Union Army. He was wounded in battle and sent home for recuperation. On this trip, he met tiny, auburn-haired, Nancy Jane Bowring. After the war and John returned, Nancy was there to meet the returning troops especially one of them.

John was 19 when the vows were taken with his 16-year-old bride. (The age of marrying in the church was frequently 16 for girls. Outside of the church, the age was much less.) Soon, John and Nancy dreamed of a move to Vina, California. Others of their near kin were moving to Idaho and Oregon.

While John had often preached under the guidance of Uncle Nathan Buchanan, in California he would be able to lead a church on his own. John, like nearly all other preachers of his time, was an avocational preacher. He earned his living by some vocation and preached the Gospel without charge. He would not have it any other way.

Their covered wagon followed the old pioneer trail through Nebraska and into Idaho. Beyond Fort Hall, they veered south though Nevada and into Northern California. The summer was 1872, less than two years after the railroad had been completed to the coast. The pioneer trail sometimes followed the route of the rails.

John and Nancy and their children had a small covered wagon drawn by work horses. They crossed into California and turned north at Auburn and soon reached Vina in the Northern Sacramento Valley. His older brother William had settled here with his family. In and around Vina, John preached and pounded nails. Then he was invited to preach at Davis Creek in the far north of the state, and later New Pine Creek, positioned as it was at the California and Oregon line.

This link discusses Davis Creek and shows the town church building.

John and Nancy Sutherland - 15.0 K
John and Nancy Sutherland
John and Nancy, with their growing family, spent a year at New Pine Creek. John preached regularly, but there wasn't much employment in the area. When John received a job offer in Arizona, they decided to move there so John could work for a relative. As they passed through Vina on the way south, they were joined by William and his wife Arcinate. The trip took three months. They settled at Prescott. John held church in the schoolhouse for the time that he was there.

Our entry on New Pine Creek is related to this time in John's life.

Work then took John and Nancy on to Salt River Valley near Phoenix where he established another church. Then the call of the open road came again and they moved their growing family to the Palouse Country of Idaho. They settled for a while at Moscow near where John sisters had settled with their husbands.

John worked with the church there and helped build the emerging city. He had met up again with his old mentor, Uncle Nathan Buchanan, but soon John was to conduct the funeral of his 82-year-old friend.

That same year, Samuel and Nancy Geer moved from Cottage Grove to the Palouse. They settled at Joel. Their son Levi became fast friends with John a friendship that would continue over the decades. After four years, John became restless again and moved back toward New Pine Creek, along with Nancy and their seven children. They wintered at Applegate in southern Oregon. He was active in the church and records show that he conducted a number of weddings, though he may not have been the church leader.

In the spring of 1885 they pressed on to New Pine Creek, situated on the eastern shore of Goose Lake. It had been 11 years since they left. John, using his carpentry skills, built a church building across the street from the village store. Members of the church brought in the building materials. Baptisms were performed in the Lake.

John preached at other points near New Pine Creek such as Davis Creek, some twenty miles distant. By 1890, John wanted to join his old friend, Levi Geer and build a community south of Cottage Grove, Oregon. So the farm on Goose Lake was sold and the Sutherland clan began the trek to Lane County. They traveled north through Bend, then Sisters, Foster, Brownsville, and finally the Geer home at Cottage Grove.

They soon settled in a church that was out of town a ways, the Hebron congregation. But soon the question of instruments in the church assembly arose and John opt to begin another congregation that was clearly a capella.

John and Nancy Sutherland
John and Nancy
in their golden years

Courtesy of
Marguariete Overholser
He began services in a community hall. For income, John opened a post office and store at Amos. According to his daughter Emma, it was named after her brother, John Amos. Later, this was moved two miles and the new post office was named London. Again, John was the postmaster and storekeeper. A church building was built and John, W. T. Jones, Levi Geer and David Rice Harris were appointed as elders.

We cover the story of London on this link.
The London store was sold and John and Nancy moved west to Lorane about 1907. John built a fine home at Lorane and church services were held in the Hadleyville school. Frank and Sarah Hemenway donated a piece of land in the community positioned on Territorial Road.

With help from his sons-in-law and others, he built his final building near Hadleyville. It was called the Centralview Church of Christ. John lived past their 50th wedding anniversary and in 1918 was laid to rest at the McCulloch Cemetery near Hadleyville. Just 20 years later Nancy was buried beside John.

1846   -   1918
1850   -   1938
Mother      Father

The script on the base is no longer legible.

A photo of the Hadleyville building is shown with the story of Hadleyville. The listing of the McCulloch Cemetery is online.

Marguariete Overholser's book John Sutherland: His Life and Times is available from the author at 554 S. Pine Street, Canby, Oregon 97013.

Charles Dailey April, 2000
Northwest College of the Bible

Descendents of the John and Nancy Sutherland:
John Sutherland (1846-1918) & Nancy Jane Bowring (1850-1938)
|      Samuel Walter Sutherland (1867-1870)
|      Martha Alice Sutherland (1869-1907) & Johnny S. Henderson 
|      William Leroy Sutherland (1871-1932) & Katie Jackson 
|      Nancy Eleanor Sutherland (1873-1958) & L. J. Henderson 
|      George Francis Sutherland (1875-) & Lillie Shortridge 
|      John Amos Sutherland (1878-1936) & Elizabeth Elmore 
|      Maggie May Sutherland* (1880-1961) & John W. Doak 
|      Maggie May Sutherland* (1880-1961) & George Godfrey 
|      Rosa Dianna Sutherland (1883-1953) & Henry Benton (Burt) McBee 
|      Cloe Emma Sutherland (1885-1975) & George A. Powell 
|      Letta Elizabeth Sutherland (1886-1887)
|      Mary Mandy Evaline Sutherland (1888-1976) & Chester C. (Ted) Hayes 
|      James Glenworth Sutherland (1890-1956)
|      Horace Charles Sutherland* (1891-) & Gladys Davis 
|      Horace Charles Sutherland* (1891-) & Gertrude Younker 
|      Clara Bessie Sutherland (1893-1975) & Jesse J. Hooker 

A detailed list of descendants are on this link.

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