The First Methodist Episcopal Church, of Oregon, is an outgrowth of the original organization instituted in the year 1841, and organized by Rev. Edwin Peary within the limits of what is now Forbes Township,as fully set forth in our report of that locality.
The structure of the M. E. Church, in Oregon, stands on Main Street, on the first corner south of the public square. It is a neat frame building, 55x35 feet in extent. The original edifice was erected in 1866. In the course of succeeding years, the superstructure appeared insecure; and, in 1879, it was deemed advisable to take down the building, which was accordingly done. The present neat and well appearing edifice was erected, in 1879, on the foundation of the old building, and completed in 1881.
It is the most elegant church in the town as well as the most spacious. Its cost was about $3,000. We have referred to the fact that the Rev. E. M. Marvin, afterwards Bishop of the M. E. Church, was the first minister of the Gospel to preach in Oregon. The church edifice of this denomination, however, was not the first house of worship erected in the county; that distinction belonging to the Hard-Shell Baptists, as set forth in the chapter entitled" Lewis Township." Prior to the year 1864 there exists no records of this body.
On the 9th of June of that year the church was reorganized in Oregon, by the Rev. Edward Rozell, with the following members: Benjamin Allen and wiie, Edgar Allen and wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Bunker, L. D. Barnes and wife, Jacob Cronk and wife, Dr. J. A. Callan and wife, Rev. Dr. A. J. Evans and wife. Dr. Evans was the first recording secretary of the quarterly conference at Oregon. The other members, some of whom, perhaps, did not join the organization till 1865, included Dr. Reuben King and wife, A. Hoblitzell and wife, Mrs. Nancy Jackson, for thirty years a resident of the town of Oregon; Mrs. Elizabeth Creek, Samuel Whitmer and wife, John Proud and wife; Joseph Martin and wife were members in 1865.
Mr. Martin still (1882) lives, at the advanced age of seventy-five years. His wife died some years since. George W. Lucas, originally from the State of Iowa, where he was at one time a member of the House of Representatives and afterwards of the State Senate, was a prominent member of the church in Oregon, and died at his residence near that place, January 2, 1882, at the advanced age of seventy-four years. In the funeral sermon preached on that occasion by the Rev. Samuel Caruthers, pastor of the church, he referred to the fact that Mr. Lucas had been an active member of the M. E. Church fifty-one years. Silas Pierce, one of the original settlers of Holt County, has been a prominent member of the church since the year 1868. Andrew Gemeker and wife, who united with the church here in 1869, have also long been regarded as representative members of the congregation in Oregon.
The ministers of the Oregon church since its organization have been: First, Rev. Edward Rozell, from 1864 to 1866; Rev. F. S. Biggs, 1866-67 J Rev Samuel Huffman, now (1882) Probate Judge of Andrew County, pastor from 1867 to 1868; Rev. J. L. Hatfield, 1868-69 ; Rev. J. F. Boyle, 1869-70; Rev. William Hanley, 1870-71; Rev. F. H. Graham, 1871-72; Rev. S. W. Thornton, 1872-74; Rev. Oscar Williams, 1874-75; Rev. W. L. Edmonds, 1875-77; Rev. S. H. Enyart, 1877-79; Rev. Isaac Chivington, 1879-80; Rev. James Showalter, 1880-81; Rev. Samuel Caruthers, April, 1881. This church has a Sunday school of one hundred and thirty scholars, superintended by J. W. Hasness, assisted by ten teachers.
Source: "History of Holt and Atchison County, 1882" transcribed by Karyn Techau, 2016.