Washington-Northern Idaho Disciples

Washington-Northern Idaho Disciples

Orval D. Peterson
Online version copyright 1998 by Charles Dailey

Below are chapters four and 13 in Orval Peterson's book. They show the earliest congregations plus listing the names of many of the early preachers in Washington State. We have sought to provide pure "Peterson" here, but have taken some liberties, too. Where spellings varied from those in common use, we have shown the modern spelling in brackets so the researcher could locate the entry. Where we have discussed the item further in our Pioneer History of the Churches of Christ and Christian Churches, we have added a link, either to the correct chapter in the case of churches or to the individual's profile. BE SURE TO USE THE FLOATING MENU TO CHECK TO SEARCH ENGINE ON ANY NAME. Editorial comments are generally in red. - Charles Dailey

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First Churches and Leaders

THE first churches of the Restoration movement in the Northwest were at Dixie, Castle Rock, and Sumner. Early records are not complete, and there is some dispute as to which church was the first to be established. However, these churches came into being in the same general period. They were the result of the westward trend of population and the development of the Northwest Territory.


Sometime in the sixties, the Kershaw Brothers settled at the confluence of Mud and Dry creeks, about ten miles from Walla Walla. The Kershaws had sung their way across the plains , to the tune of "Dixie" and to this settlement they gave the name "Dixie Crossing," which later was shortened to "Dixie." Just when the church was established in this community is not exactly known since the church records were destroyed by fire several years ago. The pioneer members had passed away without leaving available accounts, but it is known that the first congregation was organized several miles from the present town of Dixie. A group of pioneer Disciples from the Midwest had settled there.

Roy C. Jacobs, former secretary of the Inland Empire Christian Missionary Society, believes that the Dixie church was Organized in 1856 or 1857. This organization continued for about twenty years. In 1876 the church was moved to Dixie and met for a time in the schoolhouse. The present church building was dedicated in 1883. The congregation was ministered to by Cornelius Cheetham from 1884 to 1886. He served this church while he was pastor at Waitsburg. Other pioneer pastors were S. Hamilton, J. B. Daisley, and a Mr. Crawford. [ Almost certainly Jasper Crawford. ]

Dixie is still a small community, and the membership of the church has been greatly reduced by removals and deaths. However, the church still carries on. Ministers of the church in Walla Walla and others have given supervision to this pioneer congregation. Fred Riehle, a student of Northwest Christian College, had a short pastorate in 1943.

Castle Rock

The organization of the Castle Rock church is associated with the life and work of William Huntington, one of the first brethren in Cowlitz County. He was born in New York in 1816. When news of the gold discovery in California was received in 1849, Mr. Huntington was one of the first to become enthusiastic over the West and to start across the plains. He returned East in 1852 but came back to the coast of Washington Territory the same year, accompanied by his three brothers, James, Benjamin, and Jacob, and their families. He persuaded several of his friends to join his train, and as a result eight families with horse teams made the journey from St. Joseph, Missouri. They were on their way from May 21 to October 25. On that date they reached The Dalles on the Columbia, where the wagons and teams were left for the winter.

In the spring of 1854, Mr. Huntington took up a donation claim on the ground which is now the site of Castle Rock and began to clear the land around the log house which he had constructed for his wife and children. His only thoroughfare to and from his home for a distance of twelve miles was a rapid and dangerous river and a rough Indian trail.

Mr. Huntington had joined the Christian church early in life, and his faith was a matter of daily conduct. The first organization of the Christian church in Castle Rock came about as a result of an incident when Mr. Huntington was working on the road one day. The subject of Christianity was brought up. He explained what the Christian church stood for, and the men asked him why he did not preach. He thought the matter over seriously, decided to follow the suggestion, and one day he gave notice of the time and place where he would speak. Thereafter services were held in various homes until a schoolhouse was built at Arkansaw, just across the Cowlitz River from Castle Rock. This was the beginning of the present Christian church in this community. From Alice Stewart Miller we have the following account:

In 1853 Henry Jackson, his wife and two sons, Elisha and William Jackson, came and settled at Arkansaw, then William Whittle and family, and in 1868 Ira C. Conger and family.

Among the early preachers were John Rigdon and a Mr. Castell. They held revival meetings in the Arkansaw settlement and, it is said, established a church, their denomination being unknown now. Rev. T. F. Royal, a famous circuit rider of the Methodist church from Oregon, also came into the Cowlitz valley on his mission holding services in the Cagle home. Mrs. Cagle joined the Methodist church but insisted on being immersed. She was a large woman, and Rev. Royal was of small stature. He baptized her in the Arkansaw Creek near the home of Elisha Jackson, but was unable to raise her out of the water, and "Uncle Billy" Huntington was forced to wade into the creek and lift her out.

In 1873 services were held in the schoolhouse known as the Cagle place, formerly used as a fort, for back in 185556 the Yakima Indians had gone on the warpath and the Cagle house was used as a fort where men gathered with their families so that if the Indians came, they could all fight together. Services were held here one Sunday and the next Sunday at Hazel Dell , 'with "Uncle Billy" Huntington preaching. Each Sunday he would walk from his home at Castle Rock, hold services, and usually eat dinner in the Conger home, and then walk back.

Regular services were held in the spring of 1876 in the schoolhouse on the Bob Jackson place and in 1877 a Christian church was built on the Cagle place about 150 yards below where the W. M. Campbell house now stands. It was a good-sized building with a ceiling and good floor. As in most churches there was a church debt to worry the congregation. One day when the debt was being discussed, Ira Conger arose and said that he would assume and pay off the entire debt, and he did, although he wasn't a rich man and his family was living in a log house.

William Huntington, Keatley Bailes, David Finlay, and Moses Warren were early preachers of the church. Henry Jackson was one of the leaders and a good singer.

A Bible school was organized in the early Arkansaw church. The first superintendent was J. Kelsey Conger. Mr. and Mrs. Huntington donated the lots in Castle Rock to which the present church building was moved in August, 1889. Oliver Shear helped to finance and build the church. He sold lots in the southwestern part of town, for which he received $500, and this he gave for the erection of the building. In 1892 the congregation was organized under the, leadership of George T. Wilson, whose wife was a granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Huntington. The church parsonage was constructed by the ladies aid society in 1894-95. G. S. O. Humbert was the first minister and with his family was the first to live in the new parsonage. When the church desired to purchase an organ, there was considerable opposition. However, those who desired an organ won out, and in October, 1900, it was purchased. In 1910 the organ was replaced by a piano.

Ministers of the church have been G. S. O. Humbert, Mr. Moore, Mr. Rickes, David Trumble, E. R. Moon, Fred Jackson, C. E. Daugherty, Mr. Mulkey, David Norcross, Harry Bell, Lee Sadler, E. L. Wood, A. Ted Goodwin, Kenneth Arent, Hugh McCallum, Kenneth Husby, Walter Straub, W. W. Crabb, E. C. Chandler, C. B. Osgood, R. A. Pittman, L. P. Nebelung, and E. R. Rogers.

In 1933 the church celebrated its eightieth anniversary. C. B. Osgood was then pastor but passed away in June of that year.


This church was organized in 1858 by Stephen Guthrie on the prairie west of the city of Tacoma. The site was between Longview and Gravelly Lake in Pierce County. The organization took place in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Israel Wright. There were fifteen members in the new church. The first converts were Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Wright, who were baptized in Gravelly Lake. The members of this church moved to the Puyallup and Stuck valleys and continued to meet in a schoolhouse on the Ryan place, where the town of Sumner now stands. Worship was continued in this building until 1883, when the first section of the present building was constructed. There were eighty members in the church at that time. Since that date the building has been enlarged a number of times.

Through the years the church has continued to grow and now has about 200 members. Ministers who have served this pioneer congregation are S. C. Espy, A. M. Sweany, K. H. Sicafoose, W. W. Watson, T. O. Morgan, Bruce Wolverton, Thomas Sweeney, H. Cogswell, W. O. Hayes, F. M. Walden, Judge Gaus, Clark Braden, Alfred Brunk, Eugene Skyles, E. C. Sanderson*, C. M. Lane, Harry Watkins, H. T. Peck, Neal Cheetham, Mr. Glascock, Mr. McKnight, David Husband, Roy L. Dunn, Frederic Grimes, J. T. Eshelman, Mr. Miller, O. P. Burns, A. C. Corbin, O. J. Law, Thomas Plunkett, Claude H. Lorimer, J. Eric Carlson, J. Miller Ice, Albert Hartley, W. A. Moore, Lee Furgeson, A. Jackson Bailes, and Burton Brown.

Early Leaders

The work of Christ in the Northwest has been mediated through the lives of many faithful Disciples who were called into places of pioneer leadership. There are also many whose names and records are known only to God. Of the early ministers and evangelists who laid the foundations of the church in the Northwest we list the following:

J. M. Allen
K. Bailes
N. E. Beach
John Boggs
Judson Brown
J. T. Cannon
Neal Cheetham
W. F. Cowden
W. D. Craig
W. S. Crockett
W. R. Cunningham
J. B. Daisley
A. W. Dean
J. E. Denton
R. E. Dunlap
C. B. Edgar
Jacob T. Eshelman
Isaac Flint
Jason Fry
C. C. Gibson
W. A. Giffins
C. F. Goode
A. W. Green
Steven Guthrie
S. Hamilton
E. D. Holman
G. S. O. Humbert
William Huntington
J. S. Kincaid
E. A. La Dow
S. B. Letson
M. F. Luark
J. S. McCallum
W. L. McCullough
Charles McDonald
W. H. Maloney
R. Milne
T. M. Morgan
R. H. Moss
F. D. Muse
J. A. Pine
L. N. Richardson
Linus Rogers
Morton L. Rose*
E. C. Sanderson*
F. B. Sapp
Eben Sherwood
K. H. Sicafoose
A. D. Skaggs
C. E. Smith
J. N. Smith
Leroy F. Stephens
George F. Stivers
A. M. Sweany
F. E. Taylor
M. A. Thompson
B. E. Utz
A. C. Vernon
F. M. Walden
C. J. Wright


The story of the churches in the Pacific Northwest is one of evangelistic zeal, faith, sacrificial toil, and of a common passion for the Restoration plea and the gospel, leavened by the pioneering spirit and empowered by the love of Christ.

The five chapters of this section present brief historical sketches of most of the churches of Washington and Northern Idaho. A list of the churches about which no information was available will be found at the end of the last chapter of the section.

The churches whose histories are given in this chapter were all organized during the time that Washington and Idaho were territories. Washington was admitted to the Union as a state on November 11, 1889. Idaho followed on July 3, 1890.


In 1870 a group of Disciples organized this congregation at Ford's Prairie, with twenty-seven charter members. No minister participated in the organization of the church, which took the name, "The Church of Christ." Shortly after the formal beginning, Thomas Taylor was called to the ministerial leadership of the congregation. In 1871 the church erected a house of worship in Ford's Prairie. In 1876 a building was constructed on the corner of Pine and Gold streets, in Centralia, but later a site was purchased at Pine and Silver, where a third building was put up in 1889. The fourth building was erected on that site in 1910, during the ministry of Herbert E. Ryder, who acted as chairman of the building committee. The church now has a membership of over 600. Among the nineteen ministers who have served the church are the following Arthur C. Vail, W. S. Lemmon, Herbert E. Ryder, Ray E. Dew, Claude Lorimer, Marion A. McQuary, and Earl H. Van Doren. Mr. Van Doren has occupied the pulpit since October, 1935.


At the earnest solicitation of Mrs. J. A. C. Merriman, the American Christian Missionary Society sent A. W. Dean, of Colfax, Illinois, as evangelist to Spokane County, Washington Territory. He arrived on March 6, 1886, and began preaching immediately in the Cheney Congregational church on March 7, 1886. The following Friday evening he began an evangelistic campaign in the Baptist church, which resulted in the organization of the First Church of Christ in Spokane County. There were seventeen charter members.

In December, 1888, Linus Rogers, of Moscow, Idaho, took the pastorate, giving half time to Medical Lake. He walked the several miles each week to this appointment. During his pastorate of two years, the church house was built, and the membership was increased to seventy-five. In January, 1911, the American Christian Missionary Society sent James Egbert as pastor. He remained five years and built the present church building. Other ministers have been R. S. Armitage, W. O. Hayes, Perry Shuler, W. L. Mclllvaine, W. T. Walker, F. D. Muse, R. M. Messick, N. Zulch, Z. O. Doward, Ellis B. Harris, Charles Addleman, A. O. Adams, G. W. Bushell, Lynn Robbins, and John Stotsenberg.


This church was organized March 18, 1888, as the culmination of a ten-day evangelistic meeting held in the Congregational church by E. C. Sanderson*, pastor of the church at Palouse. There were fourteen charter members. The meeting went on for three weeks more in the Congregational building and then moved to the courtroom. Mr. Sanderson continued to minister, coming from Palouse City on alternate Sundays.

The first church building was erected and dedicated in October, 1888, with W. F. Cowden as officiating minister. Money was scarce, and it is known that two men gave two horses, each worth about $100, to the building project A loan was also received from the Board of Church Extension.

By 1889 the church had 101 members, but by 1903 the number had declined to seventy. The church was ready to unite with the Baptist church, and the arrangement would have been consummated but it was dropped when the Baptist brethren insisted that all the members of the Christian church be rebaptized. During these depressing days, Mrs. A. R. Metz, who was then a single girl of sixteen, came to the rescue of the Bible school, which had nearly gone out of existence due to lack of leadership. She said, "I am only sixteen years old, but will do the best I can." She superintended, taught, and helped in other ways, and the sick church was revived.

In 1909 there was a revival under the preaching of A. A. Doak, minister of the church. There were sixty-seven additions in six months. In 1919 the church was further strengthened during a union revival by E. J. Bulgin. In 1925 the present church building was constructed as a venture of faith. On March 7, 1926, it was dedicated, with Harry L. Bell, of Wenatchee, as dedicating minister.

During the early history of the church, the congregation was without a minister for an aggregate of fourteen years, one of these vacancies continuing for over four years. Ministers of this church have been E. C. Sanderson*, S. B. Letson, R. R. Cook, C. F. Goode, J. B. Daisley, Miss Flora Wilcox, D. Y. Donaldson, W. T. Matlock, E. M. Flinn, A. A. Doak, W. A. Diggins, J. F. Rice, B. F. Utz, H. P. Williams, W. D. Willoughby, T. M. White, W. F. B. Robb, C. L. Matlock, D. Errett, B. F. Shoemaker, O. D. Harris, David Nutting, Norris J. Reasoner, A. B. Kern, Lew Brown, and William E. Adams.

Some of those who have gone into the ministry from this congregation are Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Curtis, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Benton, Walter Callison, Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Baker. Miss Gertrude Shoemaker went from this church into the mission field in Africa.


When the pioneers began to settle in the Dayton section around the year 1870 [ 1865 ], there were those among them who believed in the Restoration plea. Although there is no definite record, it is believed that meetings of the brethren were held in schoolhouses and in the homes. Some of the early preachers at those services were Elder Elliott, W. F. Cowden, Dan Eldridge [ Probably Daniel W. Elledge ], and C. J. Wright*. In 1882 the first organization of these scattered Disciples was completed at Baileysburg, a point about three miles southeast of Dayton. The church was called together by T. O. Morgan [ Thomas McBride Morgan ], and the church building dedicated by G. W. Richardson.

In 1885 about a dozen Disciples rented an upper hall on Main Street and began holding Sunday services. Bruce Wolverton principal of the high school, became superintendent of the Bible school. S. Hamilton, who lived in Dixie, preached occasionally. A pioneer member wrote of these meetings as follows, There were some great prayer and praise services in that dingy little hall on Main Street."

In 1885 the congregation at Baileysburg united with the group at Dayton, and the church was completely organized under T. M. Morgan. In 1886 a building was erected, and J. B. Daisley preached for the church. In 1903 the membership was 275, and the building was inadequate. During the ministry of H. C. Morrison it was enlarged at a cost of $2000, and the membership increased twofold. In 1904, Mr. and Mrs. L. F. Stephens held a meeting resulting in 161 additions. During the ministry of J. A. Pine, in 1907, plans were made for a new building, which was completed during the following ministry of W. H. Harris. On January 26, 1908, the new structure was dedicated by Ellis B. Harris, son of W. H. Harris.

Ministers have been J. B. Daisley, Neal Cheetham, C. M. Barnes, George Barneby, P. D. Hollis, W. L. McCullough, W. W. Pugh, O. J. Gist, H. G Morrison, Peter Burnett, Neal McCallum, David Lyon, J. A. Pine, W. H. Harris, F. T. Porter, J. E. Slimp, H. L. Bell, W. G. Scates, R. E. Jope, D. J. Howe, l. E. Metcalf, S. L. Jackson, Leslie Zimmerman, Frank Van Doren, and H. J. Jones.


In the early part of 1877, Keithly Bailes settled in Ellensburg. Mr. Bailes, the first Christian minister in Kittitas County, preached in homes and log schoolhouses. This marked the beginning of the Disciples of Christ in and around the Ellensburg community. The Bible school was first organized in 1882, with E.G. Grindrod as superintendent.

On April 12, 1886, the church was organized by Mr. J. H. McCorkel, an evangelist from California, assisted by J. T. Eshelman. Mrs. W. H. Rader and four other women organized what is believed to be the first women's missionary society in the state.

J. E. Denton became the first pastor at a salary of $75 a month and held the services in an upstairs hall. The first church building was constructed in 1887. The lumber was made from logs brought from the mountains on bobsleds to the Ellensburg mill by men of the church. The building and the parsonage were constructed by volunteer labor. Neal Cheatham* held a meeting in the new church building, which was located on the corner of Fourth and Sampson streets. The converts were baptized in a creek in front of the building.

The first Washington state convention was held in Ellensburg, October 4-8, 1888. The present brick structure was erected during the ministry of F. E. Billington and was dedicated in 1919. Other ministers of this congregation have been J. E. Denton, E. C. Sanderson, G. M. Wiemer, B. F. Norris, F. M. Walden, Ernest Thornquist, W. M. Kenney, Neal McCallum, Elder Tritt, C. H. Hilton, Ralph Sargent, A. L. Crim, John Young, W. L. Straub, F. E. Billington, H. G. Bennett, Lee Sadler, A. M. Williams, K. E. Burke, Burton Davies, Harry Bell, J. M. Warner, Teddy Leavitt, and Paul Deane Hill.


The Garfield church was organized by C. F. Goode, evangelist for Washington Territory, and by S. W. P. Richardson, county evangelist of Whitman County, on January 18, 1889. There was a membership of twenty-two. The church had no meeting place except in halls and in a grove until the first building was dedicated on October 6, 1889. The building cost $1,825. George F. Stivers ministered to the church for fifteen years, during which time he was the regular pastor for ten years. On March 1, 1896, H. J. Thorn became the pastor but died after a few weeks , ministry. J. C. Dowling became pastor on July 1, 1897, and continued until February, 1898. Other ministers have been R. M. Messick, V. E. Hoven, A. C. Downing, Elijah V. Stivers, R. E. Jope, Walter Callison, Thomas Seaman, Glen Hutton, W. D. Willoughby, Mr. Olson, Hazel Waldron, Clyde Fleming, Charles Crawford, C. A. Boulton, and William P. Sutton.

Mr. and Mrs. Jope held two pastorates, the first from November 1, 1908, to January 15, 1912, and the second in 1916 and 1917. During Mr. Jope's first ministry, the present building, with a seating capacity of five hundred, was constructed at a cost of $11,700. It was dedicated on December 4, 1910.


In the spring of 1888, two members of the Missionary Baptist church, John D. Patterson and E. W. Townsend, came to Kingston, then known as Apple Tree Cove, in search of home sites. They found a large tract of land available. Through the Christian Oracle they invited others to help them settle this new country. Several Christian families joined them. After a year a Sunday school was organized, with John D. Patterson as superintendent. Others were Jacob Stoner, assistant superintendent, Belle Smith, secretary, and C. H. Gordon, junior chorister. Following the Sunday school, a prayer meeting was held, but no church organization was attempted.

A year later Elder W. F. Smith came from Quick, Iowa, and began to preach, and on April 7, 1889, the baptized believers were organized into a church, with fifty-five charter members. The first observance of the Lord's Supper was on April 14, 1889. For several weeks following the organization of the church, there was at least one confession of faith and baptism each Sunday. On June 2, 1889, Elder Smith was officially elected minister to give one-fourth of his time on the basis of freewill offering. In September of 1889 the Apple Tree Cove church elected John D. Patterson to represent them for the first time at the state convention held in Waitsburg. Other members of the church also attended this convention.

In July, 1917, the site of the present church building was secured. In May, 1925, building lots were donated by a Mr. Brooks, where the present parsonage has since been built. Ministers of the church have been W. F. Smith, Mr. Keenan, Mr. Moss, H. N. Allen, P. M. Walden, G. Wood, Mr. Denton, Ralph Ives, R. J. McKunen, Mrs. W. H. Gibbons, Frank E. Jones, Mrs. P. E. Russell, and Leon M. Briggs. The church now has sixty members.


The pioneer ministry of the Restoration movement in the Lewiston country and on Camas Prairie brought this church into existence. Before a permanent organization was established in Lewiston, the message had been preached on Camas and Nez Perce prairies, and beginnings had been made at Craigmont, Vollmer, Ilo, Grangeville, and Leland. The establishment of the church was associated with the early camp meetings, which began in Tammany Hollow. Here a church was organized by J. A. Campbell in 1886. There were eleven charter members.

In 1887, C. C. Gibson became the minister and he was followed by F. B. Laing. During this period F. M. Walden held a meeting for the church in Tammany and was succeeded in December, 1893, by Linus Rogers, of Moscow, who also held a meeting in the Tammany church. After two weeks Mr. Rogers was forced to cut short his meeting due to illness and on December 20, 1893, he passed away in the home of J. S. Mounce, an elder in the Tammany church. In the meantime, Mr. Walden, after his meeting at Tammany, began one in Lewiston, which is the first time a minister of the Disciples of Christ had proclaimed the New Testament message in that town. Meetings were held by R. E. Dunlap in 1896 and by C. F. Goode in 1897. As a result, the church was organized in February, 1897, in a private home. There were sixteen charter members. Meetings were held thereafter in the G.A.R. Hall.

In June, 1899, the church building on Second Avenue was dedicated. The lot had been donated by J. S. Mounce. This building was remodeled in 1903 and served until 1922, when the present building was constructed. The new building, which cost close to $65,000, was begun as the result of a meeting held by Evangelist Floyd A. Ross. Services were held in the basement until April 13, 1924, when the church was dedicated by George L. Snively. Ministers have been J. A. Campbell*, C. C. Gibson, F. B. Laing, Linus Rogers, J. O. Davis, J. A. Pine, G. G. Griffith, E. F. Beaudreau, H. H. Hubbell, C. E. Musselman, E. M. Flinn, F. D. Muse, W. G. Asher, I. H. Teel, F. A. Ross, H. Gordon Bennett, C. C. Roberts, C. H. Balch, C. A. Snyder, Orval D. Peterson, O. F. Mick, Theodore R. Leen, and Marvin E. Smith.


In the winter of 1891-92, A. C. Vernon, George F. Stivers, and Neal Cheetham held a series of meetings in the Cumberland Presbyterian church building. This was the earliest effort of the Disciples in this community. The Disciples, Baptists, and Christian Adventists met together for Sunday school and preaching services in a building on Steptoe Avenue, where the present church building is located. On June 25, 1899, members of the Christian church organized themselves into a separate congregation under the guidance of Dr. J. W. Allen, of Spokane. There were nineteen charter members. An evangelistic campaign was held in December, which brought the membership up to forty. In 1900 the church bought the property where they had been meeting with the Adventists and called Gentry Rushing as pastor. The present building was erected in 1903 and dedicated by B. E. Utz, of Spokane. Succeeding ministers have been J. B. Daisley, P. R. Burnett, E. F. Beaudreau, W. T. Walker, Neal Cheetham, F. C. Stephens, A. A. Doak, H. J. Seahan, E. A. Balthus, H. E. Mowe, F. A. Ware, Carl A. Johnson, W. D. Willoughby, F. A. Heilman, W. Harris, and G. B. Thomas. Since 1932 there has been no regular ministry in this church.


In 1886, Bruce Wolverton, then principal of the school at Dayton, Washington, came to Pomeroy and preached for one week. This was the first preaching on behalf of the Christian church in Pomeroy. In 1887, J. B. Daisley conducted a short revival meeting and organized a congregation of twenty-five members. This organization took place in the old Methodist church on the corner of First and High streets. When the church was incorporated, the articles were written in longhand and were subscribed and sworn to before S. G. Cosgrove, who later became governor of the State of Washington. A Bible school was started in the Jay Lynch store, and from this store building the place of worship was transferred to the old courthouse. Following the work of Mr. Daisley, a Mr. Umphrey preached a short time, and in 1888 he was succeeded by a Mr. Loy. In March, 1889, N. B. Alley directed the building of the church on the present site. The ground was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Dixon. The building was dedicated later in the year by Mr. Alley. F. M. Walden followed the dedication with an evangelistic meeting of one month and then supplied for four months. R. L. Lotz was called from Missouri to the pastorate in 1890. The next minister was James Patrick Lyons Young. Other ministers have been J. O. Davis, Charles A. Lockhart, Mr. Crawford, Harry Benton, Alexander Sanders , Henry S. Champie, W. A. Gressman, R. A. Moon, C. R. Allen, R. T. Maxey, W. W. Crabb, Austin A. Hull, Joyce Thomas, Mr. Law, L. E. Obert, J. F. Powers, and J. Raymond Fite. In 1908 the church building was enlarged, and the new structure was dedicated by Morton L. Rose*. The parsonage was purchased during the ministry of Mr. Obert. In 1937 the church celebrated its golden anniversary.


The first meetings of the church at Port Orchard were held in November, 1886, and the congregation was organized on October 27, 1888, with sixteen charter members. The elders were William Kline, and A. J. Parker. The deacons were H. C. Gilbert and James H. Kline. Port Orchard was then known as Sidney, and there was no church or school building in the community until the present church building was completed in January, 1889. H. O. Shuey was the first pastor. He was succeeded by W. F. Smith, who served in 1889-90. During this time one member was added to the church by baptism and five by letter and statement. Ministers of the church have been Judson Brown, Mr. Barnes, Francis Wilcox, J. B. Edwards, Mr. Wood, F. M. Walden, R. E. Dunlap, E. E. Francis, W. E. Pitcher, David Husband, D. A. Yantsy, Percy T. Carnes, Mr. Plunkett, Percy Furgeson, and E. D. Canady. In 1918 the present church building was erected, and in 1919 a furnace was installed. In 1926 the building was cleared of indebtedness, and the mortgage was burned. In 1929 the congregation considered uniting with the Methodists into a community church, but there was no decision. The church celebrated its fiftieth anniversary on January 1, 1939.


About the latter part of 1888 or 1889, E. C. Sanderson, state evangelist for Washington, was living in Puyallup. Mr. Sanderson and J. T. Eshelman held an all-day church meeting in a grove on the bank of the Puyallup River, near the place where the sawmill is now located. Mr. Sanderson preached in the forenoon, and Mr. Eshelman in the afternoon. Following Mr. Eshelman's sermon, these two leaders proceeded to organize the congregation. The church was not incorporated at this time. Meeting places were in private homes, vacant store buildings, in halls, and in clubrooms.

The first evangelistic meeting was held by Bruce Wolverton. Others who preached for this church in those early days were T. F. Campbell*, president of Monmouth, Oregon, University; Clark Braden; J. C. Johnston; J. T. Eshelman; Alfred Brunk; Neal Cheetham , F. M. Walden; a Mr. Richardson; and a Mr. Pierce. In June, 1905, L. F. Stephens, Washington state evangelist, came to Puyallup for the purpose of building the church. He asked for four carpenters to assist him and promised to have the building completed in four weeks. The only other requirements were a place to sleep and enough to eat. The four carpenters were obtained, and the church was built. J. T. Eshelman became the first pastor. Under his leadership the church was out of debt. In 1927, during the ministry of Lee Sadler, the church was enlarged at a cost of $5,000. On April 27, 1937, the church celebrated the payment of this debt with a victory banquet and a service for the burning of bonds. This was in the early part of the ministry of Clive Taylor, who has been the pastor of this congregation for about eight years.


On the fourth Sunday in July, 1887, two years before Washington Territory was admitted to statehood, fourteen men and women who believed in the Restoration plea organized under the following covenant:

We, whose names are hereunto attached, members of the Church of Christ, do agree as a body of Disciples of Christ to meet for the worship of Almighty God. The New Testament Scripture is our only rule of faith and practice.

W. E. Richardson, an evangelist and schoolteacher, was most responsible for organizing the church. Later Mr. Richardson practiced law in Spokane and became known as Judge Richardson.

The first meeting place was a schoolhouse. A frame building was erected by all the Christian people of the community, and although it was dedicated by the United Brethren church, our people were permitted to meet there. This proved unsatisfactory, and meetings were held in the old Alliance Hall until the United Brethren building was purchased in 1899. When J. P. Rice became pastor, the need for a larger building was evident, so a loan of $1,500 was obtained from the Board of Church Extension and the present brick structure was erected. The building was dedicated on May 20, 1911, with C. F. Stephens, of Central Church, Spokane, as dedicator.

For several years there was no resident pastor, but the pulpit was filled by visiting ministers, after the fashion of old-time circuit riders. Among those early ministers were W. E. Richardson, G. Rushing, and C. P. Goode. In 1897, Melford W. Smith came to the field. Ministers of this church since Mr. Smith have been L. C. Haulman, E. A. La Dow, A. J. Adams, J. F. Rice, O. G. Shanklin, Harry C. Munro, Alfred B. Cromwell, Alexander Aitkin, David W. Nutting, Eugene O. Farrow, Jerry Nelson, G. B. Thomas, L. M. Balfour, L. Merlin Norris, and Carroll Shawen.


First Christian Church. In September, 1882, a few members of the Christian church or the Disciples of Christ met at the home of Henry H. McDonald to consider organizing a church. The meeting resulted in the renting of a little schoolhouse on Spring Street, which was owned and used by the Episcopalians for a private school. Here a Bible school and Communion services were held regularly. On October 24, 1883, the church was organized with thirteen charter members. S. C. Espy preached once a month to the struggling congregation, which in time moved to the Y. M. C. A. Hall, then to a room on the second floor in a frame building on the southwest corner of First Avenue and Madison Street. A short time later Samuel Denney, a charter member, donated a lot on Seneca Street between Third and Fourth avenues, where the first church house was erected. Early ministers were Bruce Wolverton, H. D. Holman, Rufus Moss, J. S. McCallum, R. E. Dunlap, and J. N. Smith.

During this period a revival was held by S. M. Martin and a Mr. Eastman in a Sunday school room in the basement of the Plymouth Congregational Church. The little building on Seneca Street could not accommodate the crowd. There were 400 additions to the church, after which Ranke Hall on Pike Street was rented. This proved to be an unsatisfactory arrangement, and a few months later the congregation returned to the little church building on Seneca Street. However, the property on Seneca Street was sold to satisfy the debt to the United Building Society. When all debts had been paid, there remained $35 in the treasury. The church then met at the following places in the order given: The Unitarian church on Seventh, between Union and University streets, the Methodist Protestant church, and the Swedish Baptist on Eighth Avenue and Bell. These events took place during the ministry of Mr. Smith, who was succeeded by B. H. Lingenfelter in 1899.

A frame building on Broadway and East Olive was built and dedicated on October 26, 1902. By 1917 the church building became inadequate, and the cornerstone of a new building was laid on October 1, 1922. The congregation met in the Odd Fellows Hall on Pine Street during the erection of the new building. This edifice was dedicated on May 13, 1923, by George Snively. The total cost of the building was $175,000.

Ministers since Mr. Lingenfelter have been A. L. Chapman, Joseph L. Garvin, Russell F. Thrapp, Marvin O. Sansbury, E. C Nance, and Warner Muir. Dr. Royal J. Dye was the first living-link missionary of the church.

University Church. In 1888, R. E. Dunlap was called from Deer Lodge, Montana, to hold a brief meeting in Seattle. The city was in its youth, and Mr. Dunlap saw the possibilities of a church, so he suggested to H. C. Shuey and John James, elders of the church, that they secure lots in a new addition to the city for building purposes. Upon his suggestion they secured a lot at 902 Harrison Street from D. T. Denny and another on Latona Avenue at Forty-second Northeast. The First Christian Church used the 902 Harrison Street location and later built a parsonage at 912 Harrison Street. On Latona Avenue a chapel was built, and from the Latona Chapel, University Church developed.

R. E. Dunlap became the pastor of First Church, October 1, 1891, and lived in the Harrison Street parsonage. At that time there was a small Sunday school in the Latona Chapel. Later, Mr. Dunlap was invited to preach following the Sunday school hour. Professor Reeves, the acting president of the State University, served as superintendent of the Sunday school and elder of the church. The Latona Chapel was soon outgrown, and in 1901 a frame building was erected on Tenth Avenue Northeast, now called Roosevelt Way, and East Forty-second Street. The Tenth Avenue Church had two part-time pastors, A. C. Vail and R. L. Bussabarger. Thomas J. Shuey was called to become the first full-time pastor and began his work in December, 1906. The church had about fifty members, but during his ministry the membership increased to two hundred. He served until his death in February, 1911. During his ministry a loan of $2,000 was repaid to the American Christian Missionary Society.

In October, 1912, Cleveland Kleihauer came to the pastorate of the church from David City, Nebraska. The Tenth Avenue location was inadequate, and in 1913 a new building was begun on Fifteenth Avenue Northeast and East Fiftieth Street. The first unit, a brick structure, was used as a Sunday school and for preaching services but was soon outgrown. The present auditorium was begun in 1926 and dedicated in June, 1928. Dr. Kleihauer closed his ministry on July 15, 1933, and was followed by J. Warren Hastings, of Savannah, Georgia. Dr. Hastings came in March, 1934. During his ministry of eight and one-half years, more than one thousand members were added, and the church debt was reduced from $203,000 to approximately $67,000. Perry Epler Gesham was called to the pastorate in February, 1943, from Fort Worth, Texas. The membership of the church is now about twenty-seven hundred.


Central Church. A history of this church prepared by Mrs. J. A. C. Merriman and placed in the cornerstone of the present building reads:

In August of 1885 a correspondence was opened with R. Moffet, Secretary of the Home Missionary Society, which resulted in the arrival of A. W. Dean and family March 6, 1886, to serve Spokane County as an Evangelist. His second meeting was held in Spokane, when the Central Christian Church was organized April 1, 1886, with twenty-One members.

By January, 1888, the membership had increased to forty-four, and Samuel B. Letson was called as pastor. The first church building was on Third Avenue and Post Street and was dedicated in September, 1888, by F. M. Walden. The building and lot cost about $2,800. The next pastor was G. W. Ross, who was succeeded in June, 1892, by J. M. Allen. In 1899 the building was moved to the corner of Third and Stevens, the present site of the church. The present building was erected and dedicated in December, 1903. The dedicating minister was James S. Myers. B. E. Utz was pastor.

During the course of this congregation's history it has participated in and contributed to the forming of the Dean Avenue Church, which became, in turn, the Jefferson Street Church, Pacific Avenue, Kenwood, and Hillyard. Ministers of this church since J. M. Allen have been B E. Utz, C. F. Stephens, J. E. Davis, George W. Knepper, and Henry A. Van Winkle. Dr. Van Winkle has been the pastor since 1923.


First Church. In 1878 the first members of the Christian church began to arrive in Tacoma, but it was not until 1882 that the first preaching services were held. These were conducted in the Burns schoolhouse, and in 1883 Bruce Wolverton began preaching semimonthly. March 2, 1884, saw the formal organization of the church with twenty-four charter members. The first meeting place for the new church was in a dingy room over a shop owned by A. S. Black, but in 1886 a small church building was erected at 1305 South E Street. The building was dedicated on August l. In 1895 an addition was made to this building. On September 10, 1906, ground was broken for a new church building at South Sixth Avenue and K Street. The cornerstone was laid on February 2, 1907, and on July 7 of that year the first services were held in the basement. The building was completed and dedicated on June 21, 1908. Ministers who followed Mr. Wolverton have been A. M. Sweany, K. H. Sicafoose, M. F. Redlein, Professor T. F. Campbell*, J. T. Eshelman, Morton L. Rose, W. A. Moore, Hermon P. Williams, Harry C. Munro, William Paul Reagor, S. Grundy Fisher, Joseph D. Boyd, and Carl A. Johnson.

This congregation helped to establish the Lincoln Park, Pine Street, and McKinley Park churches. It also gave encouragement to the Roosevelt Heights Church. For many years the church also carried on Bible school work in the Adams Street Chapel. This congregation has ordained the following ministers and missionaries: Peter and Susie Reijnhart, Ray E. Dew, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh J. Williams, Kenneth S. Helm, and Mrs. Cloma Norton.


The first effort to assemble the scattered Disciples of this community was in June, 1867, when Elders Hamilton and Granville Goldstein called them together in a schoolhouse. In 1876, Mr. Hamilton organized a church at Spring Valley, a country district adjacent to Waitsburg. There were forty members here and thirty-five members at Bundy Hollow, north of Waitsburg. The Waitsburg congregation was organized temporarily in 1880 in the schoolhouse where the first meetings were held. They had occasional preaching services by visiting evangelists.

In 1883 a permanent organization was effected, and both the Spring Valley and Bundy Hollow organizations merged into the Waitsburg church. The church had a membership of sixty in 1884, and Cornelius Cheatham was called to be the first pastor at a salary of $700 a year. In the same year the first church building was erected at a cost of $3,000, but until it was finished, the church met in the Methodist building. The Sunday school had an enrollment of about eighty. James Nelson was superintendent. Mr. Cheatham gave three-fourths of his time to the church at Waitsburg and the remainder to the church at Dixie.

In 1905 the present building was constructed. It was dedicated on February 4, 1906, with D. C. Kellems as dedicating minister. A special train carrying about 150 people came from Walla Walla to help celebrate the event. The cost of the building was about $15,000. Ministers who have served the church were Cornelius Cheatham, L. C. Haulman, F. M. Walden, Peter Burnett*, O. J. Gist, J. B. Daisley, Barton Z. Riggs, L. C. Martin, A. A. Beery, W. T. Adams, M. A. Thompson, W. H. Harris, Ellis B. Harris, Ralph C. Harding, I. H. Teel, A. F. Van Slyke, R. Lee Bussabarger, Carroll Fairbanks, Oscar A. Cooper, C. N. Trout, R. C. Leonard, and Harry Anderson. Brethren Cheatham, Walden, and Van Slyke served two ministries each.


In the spring of 1879 a few persons who had been members of the church elsewhere met to organize the church at Walla Walla. Neal Cheetham preached for the infant church regularly in private homes and in such buildings as could be secured. In 1884, J. B. Daisley held a week's evangelistic meeting for the church in the Adventist church building, and an organization was formed with eleven charter members. The congregation began to hold regular services in Baumister Hall on Alder Street, but services were later held in the South Methodist church until the completion of the church building on South Third Street in 1892. Brethren Hollis, Foster, Johnson, and Lotz ministered to the church in these early days. During Mr. Lotz's ministry a lot on South Third Street was donated by Judge Lasater. The building was constructed at a cost of $4,500 and was dedicated in the spring of 1892 by W. F. Cowden. J. B. Daisley was called to be pastor in the new church home, where the congregation remained for four years. Others who ministered here were Brethren Smith, Sapp, Gist, Ghormley, L. O. Harold [ Herrold ], Morris Copple, and Morton Gregory. In 1904 a very successful evangelistic meeting was held by Victor Dorris, after which the pastor, Morton Gregory, led the people to see the importance of securing a larger and better equipped building in a more central location. A church site was purchased on the corner of Alder and Palouse streets, and the congregation was reincorporated under the name of Central Christian Church.

The cornerstone of the new edifice was laid in 1905, and during that year the building was completed at a cost of about $50,000. H. O. Breeden, of Des Moines, Iowa, led in the dedication. Since that time the church has been ministered to by S. G. Fisher, J. D. Armistead, W. W. Burks, A. R. Liverett, J. B. Hunley, Ward A. Rice, and Glen W. Mell.

The church now owns the lot to the north of the building, which was purchased in 1927 for $5,500. Here a modern educational building is to be constructed.


Prior to the year 1880, when the land now covered by the city of Yakima was a sagebrush plain, public meetings, including church services, were held in the upper story of a building known as the Centennial Building because it was built in 1876. It was located on the main street of the village of Yakima City, now Union Gap, and was the predecessor of the church. The old building, somewhat changed, is now on South Second Street in the present city of Yakima.

Purdy J. Flint, a pioneer member of the Christian church from the state of New York, had come to the Yakima Valley and had prospered in the cattle business. With his family and others he organized the church, October 16, 1880. There were twelve members. The entire town was solicited for funds for the erection of a building. The old subscription list showed contributions from sixty-two residents, including the leading saloonkeeper. The total amount received was $1,809.32, of which Purdy J. Flint contributed $600 in money, $73 worth of lumber, and $100 worth of "work by self and teams." The ladies put on a fair for the purchase of a bell. The church was dedicated On January 1, 1882. It was the first and only church in Yakima City.

In 1884 the Northern Pacific Railroad extended its rails into the valley, and the new town of North Yakima was started by the railroad company in the spring of 1885. The company offered owners of property in Yakima City their choice of property in the new townsite equal in size to that which they owned in Yakima City; they offered also to move the buildings free. Most of the residents accepted the offer. However, there was much bitterness toward the new project, and many remained in the old town. Isaac Flint, the minister of the church, refused to move, even though the church decided to do so. Mr. Flint conducted the last services on the last Sunday, and the next day the church began to move to the new site, an event which required three weeks. The building was placed on a lot in the middle of the block between Yakima Avenue and A Street, on the east side of Third Street. In 1886, J. T. Eshelman was called to the pastorate from Goldendale at a salary of $600 a year. During Mr. Eshelman's ministry, the Christian Endeavor, Christian Woman's Board of Missions, and Children's Mission Band were organized. The ladies aid had been organized in Yakima City before the building was moved. While Mr. Eshelman was away from the pulpit in 1891 and 1892, F. M. Walden served the church.

Mr. Eshelman resigned in 1893, and Morton L. Rose succeeded him, coming directly from Drake University to his first pastorate. Mr. Rose was succeeded in 1896 by B. E. Utz, of Des Moines, Iowa. A parsonage was built on the lot north of the church in 1902 at a cost of $2,069.61. In 1907 plans were laid for the construction of a new building, and on October 8, 1908, the cornerstone was placed, and in the fall the congregation moved into the new building on Third and B streets. A modern educational building was erected in 1927 at a cost of $120,000. It was dedicated in 1928.

Ministers who have served the church were Isaac A. Flint, J. T. Eshelman, F. M. Walden, Morton L. Rose, B. E. Utz, F. L. Stephens, Ira W. Kimmell, W. S. Crockett, A. C. Vail, O. W. Lawrence, W. F. Turner, S. G. Buckner, W. A. Moore, W. D. Ryan, Glen Hutton, and Orval D. Peterson. Both Mr. Rose and Mr. Vail served two ministries. Purdy J. Flint, at his passing, left the church trust funds and real estate at a par value of $54,700. The annual interest from this fund is used for purposes designated by Mr. Flint, which include the training of young people for the ministry. The congregation now has a membership of 2,551.

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