The first to preach the gospel within the limits of what is now Holt County, was the Rev. William Thorp, a Hardshell Baptist minister from Clay County. It is believed that, inasmuch as the bulk of the population were at that time residing within what is now included within the limits of Forbes Township, that it was, in that locality, that the reverend pioneer preached his first sermon.

It is a circumstance worthy of notice that, notwithstanding the subsequent general development, and comparative wealth existing in Forbes Township, there is not, nor has there ever been erected within its present limits, a building exclusively devoted to the purposes of public worship.

First Church Organized

The first church or class of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Holt County was organized by Rev. Edwin Peary, at the residence of Elias Davidson, two miles north of the present town of Forbes and five or six miles southeast of Oregon. This was in the winter or spring of 1841. Besides the minister and his wife, the members of this organization were Benjamin Davidson and wife, John Robison, George Scott and wife, William Robison and wife, Josiah Pierce and wife, Chloe Pierce and Frances A. Pierce, a daughter of the two last mentioned, and perhaps a few others.

The first Sunday School in the county was organized in 1841 by Rev. William Hamilton, of the Iowa and Sac Mission, in an old log cabin school house on the land now owned by John Stephenson. This was the first school house built in the county.

Source: "History of Holt and Atchison County, 1882" transcribed by Karyn Techau, 2016.