In 1853, Henry Jackson had built a house of sawed lumber large enough to be an inn two miles west of present Castle Rock overlooking Delameter Road and Cline Road.
This first painted house in Cowlitz County served 20 years as a stop for stage coach patrons and other tired travelers including Ulysses S. Grant who stayed at the Jackson Inn while he did the survey work for a new military road from Vancouver to Olympia. (See footnote for historical problem.)
U. S. Grant's Chronology is online.
The church built nearby. Because the unincorporated community was called Jackson, the church was called the Jackson Christian Church. It dates from 1857 but passed from the scene as the community of Castle Rock developed a little to the east. It claimed 60 members in 1858.
There is a full-page map of the Jackson area.
The Jackson Cemetery is on the hill behind the old Jackson Inn. Those buried there include Henry Jackson, his first wife Elizabeth, daughter Sarah Emiline and William L. Huntington. The cemetery is not maintained or accessible, but there is discussion (2005) about correcting this.
Others coming to the Castle Rock area included William Huntington (Uncle Billy). He was married to Eliza Jane. There was also O. H. Shear, Martha Robins, and Ira and Melissa Conger.
William Huntington had made a trip to the west in 1849 and returned in 1852 accompanied by his brothers James, Benjamin, Jacob, their families and some friends. Eight horse teams made the journey from St. Joseph, Missouri. William Huntington took up a Donation Land Claim at the present Castle Rock.
Samuel Adams, a resident with a Restoration heritage, held to the teaching that believers can be "Christians only." He objected to the traditions of the denominations. He wrote to the Christian Record in January of 1874:
When I came to this place the Methodists had full sway. But I went to Oregon, some 60 miles, and got Bro. Bailes to come and preach for us, so that the people might know what we believe. And the consequence was that we organized a church, composed largely of those who came from the M. E. Church. We have to depend entirely upon preaching brethren from a distance. Bro. Bailes, though living 130 miles south of us, comes to preach for us as often as he can.
An 1877 a document shows the transfer of real property to the Trustees of the Church of Christ. Those signing for the church were William Pennington, Jasper Stone, Samuel Adams and William Huntington.
Preachers for the new congregation later included William Huntington, Henry Jackson, David Finley, Moses Warren and Keathley Bailes. It looks like the population was moving toward what has become Castle Rock and the church was moving with it.
There is a profile of Keathley Bailes.
Soon John Rigdon and Lewis Castell held a revival meeting and the church was organized. One early writer notes that "William Huntington was the preacher and Henry Jackson was one of the leaders and a good singer."
About 1889, Willam Huntington donated lots on the south side of C Street, just east of its intersection with 1st Street, and the church building was moved to this location about 1892. Names associated with this phase of development were Oliver Shearer, who helped finance the move, and George T. Wilson, the first vocational minister for the Castle Rock Christian Church.
The congregation here has called G. S. O. Humbert for their pastor, and he began his labors the first of November last. He is a young man full of enthusiasm, and Christian love. His companion is a grand and estimable Christian lady, who will be a great help to him in his labor of love.
Historian Orval Peterson comments that some Christians at the Castle Rock Church desired to purchase an organ in 1900 but there was considerable opposition. The congregation was obviously a capella in its earlier days, but the pro-organ people prevailed. In 1910 the organ was replaced by a piano.
Today, the Castle Rock Christian Church meets at 542 Huntington Avenue South, a fitting location for a congregation where the Huntington family made such an impact for the Lord and William Huntington was an elder for many years.
For further research, see the Cowlitz County Historical Quarterly, Vol. 1 No. 1. at the Cowlitz County Historical Museum in Kelso, WA.
The pioneer Kelso First Church of Christ was planted by workers from the Castle Rock Church about 1894. According to a report in the Christian Standard of that year, C. M. Farthing was just moving from Kelso to Illinois. He may have been the first preacher.
Future missionary Everard Roy Moon was an early member. In fact, G. S. O. Humbert (Godlove S. Orth) baptized Moon in Kelso in 1894. After that, he attended Eugene Bible College.
The minister in 1901 was William Allen Chipman Rowse, a native of Nova Scotia. He originally preached among Baptist churches including Pendleton, Oregon. He "united" with the Mt. Vernon Church of Christ in Mt. Vernon, Washington and became its minister in 1895.
In 1904 Everard Moon returned as the circuit-riding preacher for both Kelso and the Castle Rock Church. He married Bessie Huntington. Later, the Moons worked for the Lord in Bolenge, in the African Congo.