In the summer of 1904 Rev. Bramfton, an Adventist minister, held services in Mt. Vernon followed by
Rev. Black, a Baptist, from Burns, Oregon. Rev. Black held services every three months. In 1905 two
ministers of "The Church of God" held a week of services followed by Rev. Peak who preached regularly
every two weeks in the community hall until what is now known as the Mt. Vernon Community
Presbyterian Church which was built in 1909. This church is on main street and on the bank of Beech
Creek which runs through town and is usually a quiet little stream coming in from the north and joining the
John Day river southwest of town. the river runs through the southern part of town.
Sunday School was organized under Rev. Peak in 1904 with Mrs. Edith Cummings
as superintendent. The Sunday School took up in the building of the present church
in 1909. It was built by neighborhood labor and subscriptions, the later solicited
by the Misses Mabel McKern (Fenner) and Vera Belshaw Gay assisted by Arbie
Stockdale. Mabel and Vera were in their teens and traveled by horse and buggy to do
their soliciting. Mrs. Stockdale awarded them by having their pictures taken at H.
Putzines photography shop in Canyon City. On one of her calls Mrs. Arbie Stockdale
found on the door of a well known bachelor (who knew someone would call) a note,
"Any one collecting for the church must be.able to recite the lst, 3rd, 4th and 5th
Commandments and the 23rd Psalm." Arbie knocked and didn't even say, "How-do-you
do" just started reciting the Bible passages and wouldn't be interrupted until she
had met the demands of the note. She was invited in for coffee and given a generous
The cost of the church building was $800.00. All being free of debt as the land was donated by Mr. and
Mrs. McClellan Stockdale. The neighborhood elected trustees.
Some of the first ministers holding services in this building was Rev. Peak who in 1910 secured the
services of Rev. George Coopinder, a traveling evangelist. Together they held two weeks of meeting which
resulted in twenty converts and seven baptisms. The first Presbyterian man to visit the field was Rev. J. V.
Millegan D.D., State Superintendent of Sunday School work in the spring of 1910, followed by a Theological
Seminary student, Mr. Bernard Brasscamp who spent the 941mer of 1910 at the Murray ranch in Dayville
holding services in that community also. In later years Mr. Brasscamp became an ordained minister and served
fifteen years as Alin of the House of Representatives at Washington, D. C. He was still there at the time of
President Dwight D. Eisenhower's death.
On January 22, 1913 a meeting was held at the church with Rev. D. K. Laurie of Grande
Ronde, Presbytery as moderator and Rev. J. D. McLennan as secretary of the
meeting, purpose to the meeting to decide, whether or not the work at Mt. Vernon should
come under denominational care and if so under what denominations. Vote was by
ballot with Sidney Green and McClellan Stockdale as tellers to prepare, distribute
and count the votes, Fifteen adults were present, fourteen votes cast for
denominational care and one blank, on motion it was made unanimous. It was moved
and seconded that we organize as a Presbyterian church. Eleven voted for and four
blanks. This was also made unanimous. The following persons presented themselves as
Mr. Donald W. McLennan by letter
Mr. McClellan Stockdale by letter
Mrs. Maggie McLennan by letter
Mrs. Arbie Stockdale by letter
Mrs. Sidney Green by confession
Mr. Sidney Green by confession
Mr.Robert Stockdale by letter
Mr. Henry Covert by letter
Mrs. Robert Stockdale by letter
Mrs. Lizzie Burge by letter
By prevailing motion this church was known as The First Presbyterian Church of
Vernon. McClellan Stockdale and Sidney Green unanimously elected as Elders. Mrs. Arbie
Stockdale, Mrs. Ellen Stockdale, Mrs. Sidney Green and Mrs. Eva Belshaw, trustees of the
church property were made the committee on finance. Among their other duties they were
deal with the Home Missionary Comm. of Grand Ronde Presbytery regarding support from
Board of Home Missions.
The first communion services were conducted Sunday May 25, 1913 by Rev. D. K.
Laurie, and Rev. J. D. McLennan. Eighteen gathered around the Lord's table partaking
elements. Two members, Charles and Gladys Jenkins, man and wife, were received
examination this day.
In 1961, at Synod, Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Church was given an award for being
of the outstanding town and country Churches. An addition was built on the east side
the building in
1935 and another on the west side in 1958. The Sactuary was remodeled in
1968. In 1939 Rev. Bailey was hired as minister followed by Rev. James D. Mobery and
Thorndyke. On March 26, 1930 a session meeting was held at which time Rev. Arthur
discussed the matter of organizing a community church. On February 24, 1935 the name of
the church was changed to Mt. Vernon Community Church with Rev. Arthur Jones as
May 18, 1947 a special board meeting was called to order by Dr. LeRoy Walter
for th purpose of reactivating the Mt. Vernon Ccmmunity Church. Meeting held at the
church Rev. Swanson as moderator, Leslie Martin was appointed Clerk of the
commission and Josephine Holland appointed Clerk of the Session, Protem. A board of
trustees was elected; Mrs.
Grethel Butler and Mrs. Josephine Holland were elected unanimously. Elders carried over
were Harry Bailey and Mrs. Nora Gregg. Mrs. Ellen Stockdale was unanimously elected as
In 1962 the John Day Valley Parish was officially formed consisting of the Mt.
Vernon, Dayville and Monument Presbyterian Churches with Rev. Kenneth Tomas, pastor and
Vern Weiss assistant. A manse was built in 1960 in Mt. Vernon and a trailer house was
bought and used in Dayville for several years and is now being used in Monument for the
manse. This has served as a home to interns or student pastors for each served a year
in the Parish.
Our present minister Rev. Gerald Emerson and wife, Martha, make their home at the
manse in Mt. Vernon, but occupy the trailer house while in Monument. The Parish Council
rotate their meetings between the towns of Mt. Vernon, Dayville and Monument.
The Rev. Emerson came to the Parrish in August, 1967. They had previously
served at Creswell, Salem, and Newport and seven years as missionaries in
During throughout practically all the history of the Presbyterian Church we have
received financial aid from the Board of National Mission of the Presbyterian
Our present church officers are:
Irene Moore, Treasurer
Dick Lawton, Clerk of Session
Parish Council Members:
PRESBYTERIAN WOMENS ORGANIZATION
We have no early records of the Church Womens Organization althOUGH MENTION is made of
the "Ladies Aid" as far back as 1919 in the Church Session books. I'm sURE their work
farther back than that to the earlier days of the Church when there was one main room
lighted by kerosene lamps and heated by a wood heating stove, sitting moRe or less in the
center of the room. For social gatherings such as Pie Socials, Bazaars, Xmas parties ect.
in the winter food was brought all prepared & a big kettle or usualy a wash boiler of
coffee was started making on the wood heater early in the evening. Coffee was served in
tin cups and for those that didn't drink coffee there was a bucket of water with a CommunitY
drinking cup. In the summer ice cream socials were held on the lawn & we had lemonade.
Some of the early members of the Ladies Aid were- Arbie Stockdale, Ellen Stockdale Mrs.
J.D. Mc Lennan, Maude Morris, Minnie Yokom, Mayme Bailey, Florence Woods, Nellie Morris,
Mayme Timms, Leora & Edna Mc Kern, Hattie Beggs, Mrs. Eva Belshaw and many more.
By 1935 an addition was added to the east side of the building and the "Ladies Aid"
was belping out more and more as they had a kitchen then though it was small with a
wood cook, stove and the only water a pitcher pump out the back door, They were giving
dinners, holding bazaars and a remarkable lot of fancy work of all types was for sale.
other activities were carried on by willing hands and the sociability occassions made
work a pleasure.
In 1958 a second addition was added on the west side of the Church which includes social
room which serves for all sorts of gatherings, club meetings, Home Extension, Scouts, recep
tions, 4 H and meetings too numerous to mention. Two rest rooms were added, a kitchen with
hot & cold running water, a wood cook stove that has been replaced by a gas and electric
stoves, cupboards, work tables and many other conveniences.
We have had a few problems like the time the water pipes froze and broke and when
covered the social room and kitchen were flooded. A few men and women armed with mops brooms
and buckets soon took care of that but the floor warped so from the soaking that no amount
of sanding and work ever made it look the same. We covered it with linoleum and hoped for
In about 1955 or 56 the name of the organization was changed to United Presbyterian Womens
Organization. At that time two circles were functioning. Officers of the Association in 1959
were Chairman: Hazee Mc Krola, Vice Chairman: Janece Traughber, Secretary: Helen Jenkins,
Treasurer: Elsie Hehn, World Service: Lola Jacobs, Fellowship: Eva Post, Program: Irene
Caverhill. Others holding office at various times were Blanche Spriggle, Lorraine Meyers,
Syb Edwards, Myrtle Smith, Velda Williams, Bertha Saverhill, Phillis Henry, Lola Hinshaw.
In 1967 a Committee was appointed to try and solve the problem of the irrigation
ditch which runs in front of the Church. It caused a parking problem as well as being a
collector of litter. The Highway department was contacted but with no help there. The
ditch had been abandoned for irrigation purposes but the City wanted it kept open for
At last in 1972 after many more meetings, new committees and fund raising projects the City
agreed to help us with a 3 ft. culvert was laid and covered over, the ground was leveled and
graveled for parking and this year 1973 a cement walk was made across the front.
Through our Fellowship and Visitation Committees we have remembered the sick & bereaved,
welcomed new comers, & helped the needy. We have two prayer circles organized.
The women have had a part in furnishing the church. Bought six folding tables & 40 fold-
ing chairs, put carpeting in the sanctuary and the East room which was remodeled in 1971. This
made a nice room for meetings and the folding doors when open give more sitting room to the
main church room.
Generous donations by the Rehders Oil company and the Oregon Telephone Corporation enabled us to
install oil heat in 1968.
The United Presbyterian Women started sponsoring a kindergarten school in 1969 or 1970 which has been a
much needed thing in Mt. Vernon.
In 1971 we held a "Lords' Acre Fair," giving "First Fruits" to the Lord, working through
the year preparing for the big event which was held in September. The departments and their
Chairman for t e 1971 Fair were---general Chairman Velda Williams, Country Store Chairman: Elsa
Boyer, White Elephant department- Martha Emerson, Inez Lemons, Inez Simmons, Rummage depart-
ment: Hattie Cl ark and Irene Moore, Needle Tree department: Lola Jacobs and Janice Cork.
Book Shop: Ruthella Herburger, Marjorie Evans and Iris Brannon, Sweet Shop: Deanna Ogle,
Virginia Lowrey and Judy Schroder, Snack Bar: Myrtle Smith, Zena Eilerts, Lois Lynch, and
The 1971 and 1972 Fairs have been successful and we are planning to hold another one this
The U.P.W are a busy lot holding traditional Election day dinners and Easter Breakfasts,
cleaning,, painting and doing general repairs around the Church. Also quilting, sewing for hos-
pitals and nursing homes. This year they are in charge of the pot-luck dinner for the Churches
60th. Anniversary as a Presbyterian Church. The meat, rolls and drinks will be furnished,
regular meetings are the third Thursday of each month. Present officers are: President: Iris
Brannon, Vice President: Virginia Lowry, Secretary Treasurer: Velda Williams, World Service:
Irene Moore, Program Chairman: Martha Emerson, Fellowship Chairman: Inez Lemons. The new
officers for 1973-74 will be installed and take office in September. They will be-President:
Virginia Lowry, Vice President: Elsa Boyer, Secretary Treasurer: Velda Williams, World Service
Chairman: Ruthella Herburger, Fellowship Chairman: Inez Lemons, Program Chairman: Iris Brannon.
Sunday School has been held in the social room every year. Recently it has been held
Wednesday - that being a more convenient time for the children. Bible School is also held
every summer in the church.
Rev. Bramfton, Adventist 1904
Rev. Black, Baptist
Rev. George Coopinder
Rev. J.D. Milligan D.D., Presbyterian
Rev. Mary Groves, Adventist
Rev. J.D. McClennan, Presbyterian 1910-22
Rev. David Oaster, 1925-28
Rev. Arthur Jones
Rev. Herman Bailey
Rev. James Mobrey, 1941
Rev. W.S. Thorndike, 1943
Rev. J.E.S. Lahman, 1949
Rev. Paul Kemmel, Jr., 1955
Rev. Warren Henry, 1956
Dr. Kenneth Tomas, 1959-1963
Rev. Russel Burk
Rev. Vern Weiss, 1962
Dr. Earl Cochran, 1963
Gary Edison, 1964
Rev. Robert Duncan, 1964
Rev. Dick George, 1965
James Forbes, 1966
Charles Klandt, 1967
Rev. Gerald Emerson, 1967
TRUSTEES AND ELDERS 1910 to 1973
Mrs. Arbie Stockdale
Mr. Robert Stockdale
Mrs. Ellen Stockdale
Mr. Sidney Green
Mrs. Sidney Green
Mr. Charles Jenkins
Mrs. Clara Boyer
Mrs. Nora Gregg
Mrs. Hattie Begg
Mrs. Eva Belshaw
Mr. Frank Wertz
Mr. Mark Miller
Mr. E.H. Rehder
Mr. Wm. Bellamy
Mrs. Edna McKern
Mrs. Ida Mosier
Mr. J.M. Norton
Mrs. Grethel Clemmons
Mrs. Josephine Holland
Mr. Roscoe Cannon
Mr. Oris Edigar
Mrs. Velda Williams
Mrs. Helen Jenkins
Mrs. Lola Jacobs
Mrs. Irene Moore
Mr. Charles Hinshaw
Mr. Marvin Brannon
Mr. Harry Bailey
Mrs. Myrtle Smith
Mr. Dale Morris
Mrs. Hazel McKrola
Mr. Bruce Frank
Mr. Herbert Bauer
Mrs. Elsa Boyer
Mrs. Betty Elder
Mrs. Colleene Olp
Col. Alfred Saunders
Mr. Richard Lawton
Mr. John McCaige
Mrs. Janyce Traughber
Mr. Marvin Vancil
Mrs. Inez Lemons
Mrs. Sally Flemmings
©1998 Roxann Gess Smith
All Rights Reserved
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