Soon after Sherman County settlers built their houses and barns, schools were a priority. Schools and homes were used for church services until churches were built. As early as 1860, Wasco and Klickitat counties were part of the Walla Walla District served by a Methodist circuit minister. The Methodist Episcopal Church built in Wasco under the charge of Rev. Frank R. Spaulding in 1883 was the first church built in the county. The present Methodist church on that site was erected in 1902. Wasco was platted in 1883 and the Wasco Church of Christ, Christian, was built in 1888, the same year the first school was built.
The Church of Christ, Christian, in Wasco was the second church in the county, and a Christian church served Rufus. The Baptists were established in Rufus, Moro, Grass Valley and Kent. United Brethren congregations met at Locust Grove and Moro. Catholics built churches in Wasco and Grass Valley. Presbyterian congregations met in Monkland and Moro, and Methodists at Spaulding Chapel, Wasco, Rutledge, Moro and Grass Valley. The town plat for Grant reserved a site for a Methodist church. A Full Gospel Assembly and Baptist congregations met in Rufus. From time to time, other congregations convened for short periods of time, Nazarene in Rufus, Episcopalian and Lutheran in Grass Valley, Four Square Gospel, and Christian Science in Moro. See: They Paved the Way by Bertha Belshe and Sherman County Place Names, Streets & Roads, 3rd edition, by Sherry Woods Kaseberg.
The United Methodist Church at Wasco kept the early Methodist circuit records in addition to records of members and marriages. My contribution to the 1977 church bazaar was a small booklet, Gleanings of the History of Sherman County Methodists, a general history with the members and marriages for the Spaulding Chapel, Moro and Wasco area Methodists.
St. Mary and St. John the Baptist Catholic
When first organized, the Catholic communities in what was then Wasco County were all missions of St. Peter’s in The Dalles, and were served by missionary circuit riders who celebrated Mass once or twice every month in each community many times celebrating Mass in the homes of parishioners.
DeMoss Springs Baptist Church
This was a pleasant little village consisting of a post office, store, blacksmith shop, two churches, Baptist and United Brethren.
DeMoss Springs United Brethren Church
This pleasant little village consisted of two churches, Baptist and United Brethren, two warehouses, a mill and telephone service.
Grass Valley First Baptist Church
Construction of the 26’ x 40’ church started September 16, 1894. Rev. Arthur Royse served in 1895 when he was principal of the Baptist Academy. Rev. C.P. Bailey preached a series of doctrinal sermons in 1898.
Middle Oregon Baptist Academy
The Middle Oregon Baptist Academy in Grass Valley began operating in October 1895. M.F.S. Henton, the first pastor of First Baptist Church, was instrumental in founding and operating the Academy. From 1895-1905 Middle Oregon Baptist Academy offered grades 1-12. The school offered three courses of study: classical, normal/teaching, or business.
Kent Christian Church & Kent Conservative Baptist Church
Existing records indicate that the church was first organized in November, 1913, as the Kent Christian Church.
Locust Grove United Brethren Church
Gilford and Rose (Benton) Woodworth of Locust Grove donated land for the United Brethren church in the Grove. Diaries kept by Milon Van Gilder and stories told by early residents indicate that the church was built between May 5 to June 5, 1895 of lumber hauled from Goldendale with Mr. Van Gilder leading a crew “barn raising” style, followed by evening “camp meetings” when the church was finished. ~Raymond Van Gilder, Milon Van Gilder’s diaries; Mark Fields; SC:FTR 23-2; Paulen Kaseberg; Belshe, They Paved the Way, 1976; Rod Johnson in Northwest Ruralite, undated.
Middle Oregon Baptist Association
An excerpt from the History of the Middle Oregon Baptist Academy: “The Middle Oregon Baptist Association was organized in 1883 at the home of Bro. Thomas Badger, near the present village of DeMoss Springs, in Sherman County, Oregon, October 31st. It had three churches, three ordained ministers and 58 members. Elder S. B. Phillips was Moderator; J. B. Wheat, Clerk.” It was believed that Friendship Baptist Church of Moro, Kingsley Baptist Church of Kingsley, and Shutler Flat Baptist Church were the three churches, all of which have long been extinct. ~History of the Middle Oregon Baptist Academy; Illustrated History of Central Oregon, 1905.
Monkland Presbyterian Church
Monkland Presbyterian Church was formed in 1892 with 13 members. Rev. J.M. Morrison and Moro Presbyterian Church’s second pastor, Silas Elder, preached mornings in Moro, rode their horses to Monkland for an afternoon service and were back in Moro for the Sunday evening service. In 1921, most of the Monkland congregation joined with the one at Moro. ~Heritage Homecoming Celebration, 110th Anniversary, Community Presbyterian Church, Moro, Oregon.
Elihu Bone Scott and Elihu Owen McCoy donated a city block for the Moro Community Presbyterian Church. The church was organized on July 10, 1887, and the first structure was built that year on the SW corner of the block at 4th and Scott.
Moro Friendship Baptist Church
In 1887 the Baptist meeting house in Moro was rebuilt, aided by $50 given by First Baptist Church of Portland. Rev. C.A. McIlroy was called to the pastorate and served until he was succeeded by Rev. M.T. Gage who was followed by Rev. J.H. Grant, pastor for about four years.
Moro Methodist Episcopal Church
In 1898 Rev. C.D. Nickelsen was pastor. ~Wasco and Sherman County Directory 1898.
Rufus Church of the Nazarene
Rev. Thayer of The Dalles served as pastor of the Rufus church in 1926.
Rufus Circuit Methodist Episcopal Church
In 1934 the Rufus Circuit Methodist Episcopal Church owned a quarter of section.
Rutledge Methodist Church
In 1913 the Methodist church and a small burial ground were located at the center of section 2, T3S, R17E.
Spaulding Chapel is at the center of section 30, T1S, R18E near the head of Hay Canyon. Methodist missionary Rev. Frank R. Spaulding established the church in Upper Hay Canyon. Rev. Wright and Rev. Morrison were among early preachers.
Wasco Church of Christ, Christian
Wasco was platted in 1883 and the Wasco Church of Christ, Christian was built in 1888, the same year the first school was built.
Wasco United Methodist Episcopal Church
As early as 1860 Wasco and Klickitat counties were part of the Walla Walla District served by a Methodist circuit minister, W.D. Nichols. The Methodist Episcopal Church built in Wasco under the charge of Rev. Frank R. Spaulding in 1883 was the first church built in the county.
The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people. – Walt Whitman