pioneer logo - 2.3 K
Churches of Christ & Christian Churches
in the Pacific Northwest


January 14, 2006
by Charles Dailey
Main site index

Basin  |  Beckton  |  Buffalo  |  Burns  |  Cambria  |  Cheyenne

Dixon  |  Laramie  |  Manford  |  Newcastle  |  Osage  |  Sheridan

Ten Sleep  |  Wheatland  |  Wyncote

Pioneer Menu . . Search - - Oldest presented first.

Introduction to Wyoming State

Our Sources. The pioneer era churches in Wyoming have left very few records. Dr. Bryant D. Badger wrote about the later history of the Disciples in Wyoming and presented a few hints about the very early churches. Historian James DeForest Murch offers a few sentences about Wyoming churches and people. From there, the researcher must look to congregational histories, libraries and historical societies. Over time, families will write to us with information and photos, rounding out the saga of the past.

Burns Map

The church began in 1886.

Cheyenne Map

This congregation began in 1888, making it much earlier than the present First Christian Church that dates from about 1925. The earlier group, established by E. L. Allen, likely did not have its own building, but rented facilities. From May 1897 to June 1898 the minister was O. A Slapter.

The new church may not have lasted many years because F. E. Blanchard of Sheridan wrote in the Christian Evangelist of 1905 that Cheyenne did not have an active congregation.


At it beginning, this group had just three members. They are to commended for moving ahead with establishing the church.


Laramie Map

The Laramie Christian Church was established in 1888 by William Richards and his son Eli. There were nine members. By the following year, they had grown to thirty-four members. Charles O. Rowe recently of Nehema County, Nebraska came to minister to the church and finished his earthly sojourn in Laramie in 1893. There are interesting incidents in his life on this link.

Mr. Rowe wrote in 1889,

We had 3 confessions yesterday, one to baptize tonight, expect others. Our Sunday-School attendance yesterday was 85, and great interest by the children. Our hopes are bright just now.
-- The Christian-Evangelist, January 31, 1889.

Sometime early in the 1900, the group stopped meeting.

Beckton Map

James DeForest Murch reports that the church was established by L. I. Mercer.

A local observer wrote:

Beckton, Sheridan Co., July 24.—The last six months we have enjoyed the best of sermons. Bro. Mercer, a young minister from the Christian denomination, has been ministering to our spiritual needs, and we have been greatly blessed thereby. Last February he began a series of meetings in this neighborhood. Everybody was glad to come to meeting, and night after night the house was crowded and right in the coldest weather of the year. Fifteen sermons were delivered. As a result, 10 were baptized.

A church was organized by Bro. Mercer, being the first Christian Church in this county. Three came from the Baptists, and there were 8 that were already members of the Christian Church. There are at present twenty-four members. Our Sunday-school was closed when he came, but we began anew, and his influence was felt there, for soon the house was crowded. Where we formerly had little interest and no more than twenty-five or thirty in attendance, wo now have from forty to seventy-five all the time.

Although living forty miles from us in the next county, he has preached twice a month and two sermons each Sunday. The Christian Church has no minister now, and unless we have one sent here the interests of this church will not be as strong as though we had regular preaching. We hope that some good minister will feel that it is his duty as a servant of God to come and labor with us.— G. S.
-- Christian Standard, August 8, 1891.

In the nearly itinerant population, the gains did not hold. An evangelist wrote:
I have just returned home from Beckton, Wyo., where I conducted a two weeks' meeting. I found an old church of nine members, organized by Bro. Mercer, four years ago. At the conclusion of twelve nights' meeting we were able to reorganize with nineteen members, seven of which number being baptisms. Many others seemed deeply impressed.
Christian Standard, January 4, 1896

Buffalo Map

L I Mercer
L. I. Mercer
Historian James DeForest Murch reports that L. I. Mercer established the Buffalo church in 1890. Mr. Mercer was a graduate of Bethany College in West Virginia. By 1892, Mr. Mercer was preaching in Corvallis, Oregon.

Osage Map

A congregation was established in 1892.

Wheatland Map

Wheatland Christian Church
Wheatland Christian Church 1908
Church was "organized" by O. A. Slafter in 1895. The disciples may have been meeting even before that date. By 1907 the believers had plans for a brick building on the S.E. corner of 13th and Walnut. It was to be lighted with gas and heated with stoves and have windows on all sides.

The following year, the plans became reality. J. A. Banta was minister at the time. (One source says the building was dedicated in 1906.)

Cambria Map

This group was established in 1897 by Christians from Newcastle.

Newcastle Map

Two families, hotel keeper James E. Grant and William and Esther Kilpatrick, settled here and engaged M.F. Redlein to evangelize the community. This was about 1897. Within three weeks a church of forty members was organized. The first services were held in a tent. Mr. Redlein moved on to Tacoma, Washington by 1899.

Later, under the leadership of A. Sanders, the church rented the City Hall. They also reached out to the coal mining camp at Cambria, seven miles north.

By 1907, the little church had been able to build a building of its own at E. Warwick Street and N. Sumner Avenue. The building was on the SE corner of the intersection. It was 16 feet at the eaves, but the belfry reached to 40 feet, kerosene lamps were the source of light at night and stoves were used for heat.

Four years earlier, preacher J. S. Becknell had written,

We have completed our church building here. even to the painting, and aim to have our dedication services the fourth Sunday in September. Our Sunday School is doing well for this place, and other services as well.
-- Christian Standard, September 26, 1903.

Ten Sleep Map

A congregation was formed in this Big Horn Valley community in 1897, but disbanded in 1899 or 1900.

Dixon Map

This congregation dates from 1900.

Sheridan Map

Wyoming historian Bryant D. Badger writes about the beginning days of the church:

In 1902, James F. Ewers came to Sheridan from Missouri and went into the grocery business with his father. There was no Christian Church in Sheridan and, as he was out soliciting business for the store, he came in contact with a great many people in the area and found that there were a good many who had a Christian Church background. He saw the possibility of starting a church and began the work of assembling a congregation.

"The first public meeting was at the home of Mrs. Herman Johnson, 132 Coffeen Ave., in the early fall of 1902. There were just 13 present and in spite of the unlucky number a very successful organization resulted. Temporary leaders were chosen and the task of finding a minister and choosing a church site were the first challenge. In February 1903, a meeting was held with a guest evangelist, William Harris, conducting the meeting. At its close, a total charter membership roll of 106 formed the permanent organization of the First Christian Church. A church home was rented for $10 per month and located in the Y.M.C.A. Hall. Because it did not come equipped with a baptistry, one was carried up and down the stairs as needed. So the strength of the church was founded on a nucleus of believers who met regularly to pray together and study their Bibles.

The site at the corner of Works and Conners was chosen and the purchasing price was $370.19. Work began July 4, 1903 with John Caywood, T.J. Settle, Lyon Kerr and Charles Ewers turning the first dirt. The contract for the building was let to J. W. Austin. A good deal of the work was donated. The church building was dedicated November 8, 1903.
-- History of the Christian Church in Wyoming, Page 74.

Sheridan Christian Church
Sheridan Christian Church 1908
The building had electric lights rather than gas lights and a furnace, rather than stoves. The top of the belfry was 35 feet and the height at the eaves was 16 feet. It was located at the SW corner of E. Works and S. Connor. Google Earth shows the remodeled building at the same intersection.

The first minister was F. E. (or F. A.) Blanchard. Among the men sent into ministry from Sheridan was Errett Barber. In 1929 he baptized his nephew Burton W. Barber. Burton was born in Sheridan and lived there some years. He was best known for his years of teaching at Midwestern School of Evangelism in Ottumwa, Iowa. This is a link to B. W. Barber's memorial page.

Basin Map

Little is known about this church that began sometime prior to 1906. J. A. Banta wrote from Ten Sleep that he was beginning a meeting with the church soon (1906) and that E. W. Sewall of Thornton, Washington would be assisting. The plan was for Sewall to remain following the meeting. Banta was then to hold meetings in Thermopolis and Lost Cabin.

Back to Pioneer Menu