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The Evangelical Church in Multnomah County

from  History of the Evangelical Church in Oregon and Washington 1864-1938


Josiah Bowersox

Noah Shupp

Dr. P. Bittner

A. E. Hornschuch

C. Lucas

J. A. Schlenk

J. E. Smith






Mt. Scott

Portland Eastside

Portland, Willamette Blvd.

Portland, Wichita

Portland, Lents

Portland First

St. Johns

West Portland Church.




The early part of the biography of J. Bowersox is recorded in the early history of the Mission in Oregon. What his work in Oregon has meant to the many who felt the touch of his personal influence cannot be told. He was true to the Gospel Message, earnest in its delivery and untiring in his devotion to the spiritual welfare of the people to whom he ministered,. Few men can look back over as long a period of service in the ministry as did this aged veteran of the cross. He did not retire until he was eighty-five years old. He was in the regular service of the ministry for forty-eight years. He held the following offices in the church: Presiding Elder, President of the Conference Missionary Society, Conference Treasurer, Trustee of the Conference, Trustee of Lafayette Seminary and later of Dallas College. He was a delegate of General Conference in 1891. He was married to Mary Orwig, daughter of Bishop W. Orwig in 1862. To this union there were born four sons and one daughter. The mother of his children died in 1896. Her funeral services were conducted by the Presiding Elder C. C. Poling, assisted by M. J. Ballantyne.

In 1889 he married Miss M. E. Herner who was the faithful companion in his declining years. Brother Bowersox was a brother beloved, a good preacher faithful to the Word and to the Doctrines of the Book of God. but as a pastor he excelled--he had few peers, and the people, not only in the Evangelical Church were the object of his sympathy and care. Many were led to Christ by his ministry. He came to his coronation in 1922 at the ripe age of 85. The funeral services were held in the Willamette Blvd. Church conducted by his pastor, G. L. Lovell, and in Salem Church where many years of his ministry were spent, where W. C. Kantner, an associate with him in the early Missionary work in Oregon, spoke. C. C. Poling, who for forty years had been associated with him in the work of the Oregon Conference, spoke of his work and influence in the laying of the foundation of our work in Oregon. He also committed the body at the cemetery. His body awaits the Trump of God when the righteous dead shall arise and reign with the Lord.


Noah Shupp was born near Bucyrus, Ohio, January 27, 1844. He was converted when a lad, and at the age of seventeen he dedicated his life to God's service and finally he accepted his call to preach. The Ohio Conference of our church licensed and ordained him in due time as Deacon and finally as Elder. He served very acceptably for twenty-two years on the following fields in Ohio Conference: Lancaster, Columbus, Ashland, Tiffin, Belview and Fremont. In 1889 he was appointed by the Board of Bishops to the Oregon Conference. He was received in 1890 at the session in Albany. He labored with success thirty-two years as pastor and Presiding Elder. He served altogether in the active work fifty-four years. He was thorough in all his work. He was an able preacher and was loyal to God's Word, and was always ready to defend it. Like Paul he felt that he was God's Ambassador, and, "Set for the defense of the Gospel." He was a builder in more ways than one. He died on March 31, 1931, having reached the ripe age of eighty-seven years, two months and four days. Twenty-six of his associates in the Conference were present at the funeral. The pastor, C. C. Poling, had charge of the funeral services and read the obituary. Presiding Elder Culver delivered a Gospel Message. H. Schuknecht, an old associate in the Conference, spoke of him "As a man and preacher of the Gospel." His body rests in the Lone Fir cemetery in Portland, Oregon.

DR. P. BITTNER 1850-1922

Peter Bittner was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1850. He was converted at ten years of age, and united with the Evangelical Church. He chose the medical profession and graduated and practiced medicine for several years and then heeded the call of God to preach the Gospel. He was licensed by the Michigan Conference in 1876. He was very successful in his work which he continued for a number of years, serving prominent charges in the Michigan Conference. On account of failing health he took credentials and was received into the Oregon Conference session of 1887. He served the following charges: Reedville, German Mission in East Portland: failing health caused him to take a Supernumerary relation. He suffered much during the closing years of his life. His home going came October 28, 1922. His funeral was held in the Ladd church, Portland. Revs. C. P. Gates and J. A. Goode conducted the services. His body rests in the Riverview cemetery until the resurrection morning.


This brother was a young man of bright prospects. He was converted when a small boy, and united with the church. He was granted license to preach the gospel by the Oregon Conference in 1907. He was a probationer and supplied work under the Presiding Elder. His life was cut short suddenly while riding in an automobile with his family. They collided, with a Southern Pacific train in crossing the track near Beaverton. He lingered several hours and then passed to his reward. The accident occurred in 1918. Rev. H. H. Geil preached the funeral sermon. His body rests in Portland, Oregon.

C. LUCAS 1857-1922.

Rev. Lucas was born in Germany, December 16, 1 857. He was converted in Painsville, Minnesota in 1 883, and united with the church. He was licensed to preach by the Oregon Conference in 1902. He did not enter the Itinerancy of the Conference, but served as a supply at Oregon City and North Portland Mission. He was always willing to render such help as he could. After an illness of several months he died, April 20, 1922. His pastor Ezra Maurer preached the funeral sermon and H. Schuknecht assisted. His body rests in Mt. Scott cemetery in Portland, Oregon.

J. A. SCHLENK 1848-1925

J. A. Schlenk was born in Germany in 1848. Came to America in 1854 and located in New York State. He came under the preaching of the Evangelical Church, Rev. M. Launer being the pastor, who afterward became our publisher. He united with the Evangelical Church, his conversion taking place in 1868. The Illinois Conference licensed him to preach in 1870. He entered the active work in the New York Conference in 1873. He was ordained by Bishop Yeakle. He was appointed to the Oregon country as Missionary by the Board of Missions in 1883. He was assigned to Portland First Church. He was a charter member of the Oregon Conference. He served First Church until 1888, when on account of family affairs, he returned to the New York Conference, where he served until 1920. He retired having completed fifty years of active work. He died in the home of his son, Leroy, February 20, 1925. His body rests in the cemetery in New York. He rests from his labors and his work follows him.

J. E. SMITH 1858-1919.

J. E. Smith was born in Mercer County, Pennsylvania August 18, 1858. He was converted at the age of twelve and united with the church. He was called to preach. He attended Naperville College and Seminary. Licensed to preach by the Indiana Conference in 1881, he was ordained by Bishop R. Dubs. He served in the Indiana Conference until 1900 when he took credentials to the Oregon Conference. He was elected Presiding Elder and placed on the Portland District. He served three years on the Portland District and one on the Salem District. He served Milwaukie with the district. In 1 906 he took a Supernumerary relation. This relation he sustained until the Lord took him higher on December 30, 1919 "he was not for the Lord took him." The funeral was conducted in the East Side church, conducted by his pastor, E. D. Hornschuch. His body rests in the Rosewood cemetery.



In 1885 C. C. Poling, pastor of the East Portland Mission began services in a hall, and later organized a Sunday School. Each Sunday afternoon the service and Sunday School were held by the pastor. The class was organized as a result of evangelistic services held by the pastor. Later a lot was secured in lower Albina, and a church was built, under the pastorate of L. S. Fisher and was dedicated by Bishop R. Dubs, D. D., November 27, 1888, as the Trinity Church of the Evangelical Association. Some years later the church was moved up to Kerby and Fargo streets. In 1909 the society was dissolved and the members became affiliated with the East Side church, now Ladd Church and the Ockley Green church.


Located three miles east of Milwaukie. The pastor of Milwaukie began services there and finally they secured a church building from the United Brethern church and later it was rededicated by Bishop Horn in 1895. This class has continued to function and at present it is served with two other classes and the field is known as the Rural Mission of Portland. Rev. J. Rittermeyer is the pastor.


In 1 895, R. D. Streyfeller and the Presiding Elder, H. I. Bittner, held a meeting at Scholls Ferry which resulted in the organization of a class. Ground was given for a church building and parsonage. The church was built about two miles north of Scholls. The church has continued to function through the years.


This church overlooks Happy Valley east of Mt. Scott. H. Schuknecht, the pastor of the First Church, Portland, Oregon, began services in the school house, and organized the class April 18, 1891. The church was built in 1891 and H. I. Bittner, Presiding Elder, dedicated the church as the Zion church. The church was served by the pastors of the city churches for a number of years. And at the Conference of 1937, this church was included in the Rural Mission of the city, composed of Mt. Scott, Sunnyside Class and Harmony.



In 1 884 a Mission was located on the east side of the river. C. C. Poling was appointed the first Missionary. A number of our members had moved into the east side from Yamhill county and A. Schlenk, pastor of our First church, visited and preached for them. A special meeting was held and he called J. H. Hollenbach to assist him after which the class was organized. The following were some of the first class: J. Barger and wife, O. C. Yocum and wife, L. A. Farnsworth and family and, others--in all thirteen. When the pastor came he rented a hail where the services were held until the church building was erected. The church was built during the summer of 1884 and dedicated by J. Bowersox, November, 1884. The church prospered during the three first years. Over one hundred forty were received on profession of faith. Many moved away to various parts of the state, but not withstanding this, the work prospered. This church became a center of extension Mission work. The pastor preached at St. Johns, Lower Albina, Lacamas, Washington, and other points. Classes were organized at all these places, and churches were built at each place as a result of the influence of the East Side church. Two ministers were placed in the field the third year. Several locations were occupied by this society until finally the church was erected in the Ladd. tract where the churches are now united as one. A splendid church and parsonage were erected and the work continues its functioning.


This congregation was organized in 1906 at Fargo and Willamette Blvd. G. F. Phelps was the first Missionary. A small chapel was built and served the congregation for a couple of years, until in 1908 under the pastorate of J. Bowersox, the congregation erected a commodious church. It was dedicated by the Presiding Elder, H. L. Pratt. The congregation and Sunday School grew and it became necessary that a larger church must be provided. Under the pastorate of C. S. Bergstresser this was accomplished and the church is a growing institution.


This is a suburban district. A. W. Brickley, a minister from the Pittsbugh Conference, located in this neighborhood and soon was invited to preach in one of the neighbor's houses. Later he and C. C. Poling, pastor of Portland Second church, held a tabernacle meeting which resulted in some conversions and resulted in the organization of a class. A location was donated for a church building and A. W. Brickley as architect and fore- man carpenter, with the help of neighbors, built the first unit of the present church. The church was dedicated in 1910. A fine parsonage was purchased later. The church was enlarged and now it accommodates a fine congregation. It is a growing church.


The pastors of the city churches established a preaching place in Lents in school house No. 45 east of the city. This finally resulted in preaching in Lents proper in a rented hall. A frame building was erected and dedicated by Bishop Breyfogle in 1896. A parsonage was built by H. C. Henderson in 1904-5. Later under the pastorate of J. A. Goode, the church house became too small and the present commodious church was erected and the parsonage was remodeled, and the church was rededicated by Bishop Bowman May 21, 1911. The church continues to function to the present time.


The early history of the work in Portland is included in the first chapter of the Missionary work. In 1876 S. Heininger visited Portland and surveyed the city, and reported: Portland was the best field for Missionary operations in Oregon." A number of the families of the church from the east were located here, namely: F. Kruse and F. Berkemeyer and family and others. The first Pacific Conference held in Oregon established a Mission in Portland. For lack of Missionaries the work was looked after by S. Heininger from Yamhill Mission.

In 1878 H. W. Axthelm was appointed Missionary to Portland. In 1879 the first church was erected on Clay and. 10th streets. It was dedicated by J. Bowersox, November 16, 1879. Years later the present beautiful structure was erected with a commodious parsonage. The church has functioned since.


In 1884, C. C. Poling preached in a private home in St. Johns and as often thereafter as time would permit. in private homes and finally in the old M. E. chapel. Finally a lot was secured and a church was erected and dedicated by Bishop Dubs, September 1 6, 1888. This church was later moved to a more central location and remodeled and a parsonage was erected on the same lot. The church was originally erected when L. S. Fisher supplied the work. Later under the pastorate of F. E. Fisher the present church building was erected. A fine parsonage has been purchased for the pastor. The outlook for the work has been improved recently.


The brethren C. A. Manshart and L. M. Stroup held a tabernacle meeting in 1895. L. M. Stroup was the pastor who began to preach in the school house. The tabernacle resulted in an awakening and some conversions. A class was organized. The old church building

on Market and Sixth streets in Portland was torn down and the material used in erecting the church in West Portland. This church was served, with Portland churches for many years. At the present it is united to Colins View class, and is served as West Portland Mission.

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[source: C. C. Poling. History of the Evangelical Church in Oregon and Washington 1864-1938. Portland, Oregon: Loomis Printing Co., n.d. ]