History of the First Church of Christ - Stevens Point
The history of the congregation actually predates the start in Stevens
Wilson Mallory came from Canada to work with a congregation in Knowlton that had started in 1886.
About 1897, Mallory started the Church of Christ in the town of Linwood, making his home with Oscar Benedict and his wife, Amanda Nieman. He baptized them in Mill Creek, near their home. The church practices baptism by immersion, and the congregation used Mill Creek, the Wisconsin River and the Plover River for the initial baptisms in the area. Now, the denomination's churches have tanks with clean, heated water for baptisms.
That first congregation began meeting in the school in Linwood and members included Enoch Morgan, Edmond Frost, Fred Athorp and the Whitneys.
Later, Mallory held meetings at Crockers Landing in the town of Dewey, north of Stevens Point, baptizing the Caters, the Deans, the Barges, the Woods, Vet Andrews, Jessie Wood and his wife, Burns the banker and the Neals, according to a short history of the church written by Ethel Benedict.
Members of the Linwood congregation, as well as those in Stevens Point help buy a lot in 1902 and erected a building on a site on Ellis Street, where the Berea Baptist Church, 2216 Ellis St., is located today. Members of the Knowlton and Dancy congregations also joined as the numbers in their congregations dwindled.
The Stevens Point leaders at the time were William "Grandpa" Cater; his son, Jim Cater; Datus R. Dean; Robert Barge and his mother; and a Mrs. Whitney, who was one of the earliest members. Mallory, who was trained at Nashville Bible School, the forerunner of David Lipscomb College, later married one of the Crocker girls and moved to Granton, where he worked in a bank. Yet he kept his ties with Stevens Point. He returned to the city for services in the morning of every fourth Sunday and then went to the school in Linwood in the afternoon, Ethel Benedict wrote in her history.
She said Mallory baptized Oscar Benedict's four oldest children, Edmond Frost's children, Fred Athorp's children, the Nieman children and some of Jessie Wood's children.
Later meetings of the congregation in Linwood were held in the Edmond Frost home, with Jessie Wood teaching the men, Mrs. Frost teaching the older children and Myrtle Frost teaching the younger children.
After Amy Benedict started teaching and had a car, Ethel Benedict wrote that the Linwood members started to meet in Stevens Point, partly because the congregation was dwindling to just members of the Barge, Wood, Cater, Dean, Benedict, Frost and Athorp families.
The congregation continued to grow and in 1953 moved to the former Trinity Lutheran Church, now Turning Point Dance Academy, 1700 Strongs Ave.
The congregation moved into its new house in 1971 and has about 90 members.
Preachers at the church through the years included Mallory, Datus Dean, Harry Ficklin, Mr. Swanson, Leslie Diestalkamp, Charles Hill, Harry Lowry, Melvin Weldon, Carl Frazier, Merle King, Milton Landrum, Darrell O'Rourke, James Dillenges, Alfred Mielke, Robert Dreiling, Joe Mitchell, James Bellcock, Tim Huffman, H.K. Ballard, John Datum, Tim Thompson (great-grandson of Datus Dean), and George Browning.