Churches of Holt County


Presbyterian Church
Lewis Township - Oregon

The structure of the Old School Presbyterian Church was the first ecclesiastical edifice erected in the town of Oregon. It is a brick building, on Main Street, opposite the court house square, and was completed in 1853, chiefly through the exertions of William Zook and Dr. H. W. Peter. Its cost was about $2,500.

The church was organized by the Rev. S. M. Irvin and the Rev. William Hamilton, of the Iowa and Sac Mission in the Indian Territory, and of the Presbytery of Nebraska, in the old court house building on the northwest corner of Nodaway and Washington Streets, the building now (1882) owned and occupied as a store by H. Sterritt. The original ten members were Samuel Dunn, Margaret Jane Dunn, Joseph Evens, Hila Evens, Dr. H. W. Peter, Jane Peter, R. G. Emmerson, Jane Emmerson, John Meyer and Sarah Meyer. After a sermon, John Meyer and H. W. Peter having been previously chosen by the members, were ordained Ruling Elders according to the form of government of the Presbyterian Church.

On the Sabbath following, the 2d, of January, 1853, the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered by Rev. William Hamilton, at which time Miss Sarah Cooper, upon examination, and after being baptized by the Rev. S. M. Irvin, was admitted to full membership in the church. The above proceedings are certified on the church book as correct, by Rev. S. M. Irvin, of the Presbytery of Nebraska. At the session of April 5, 1856, William Zook and Elizabeth Sterritt were received into the church by certificate. The first regular minister of this church was the Rev. William Fulton. He served from 1853 to i860.

During a considerable portion of the period of the civil war, the church was without a regular pastor. Services, however, were held from time to time, by Rev. William Hamilton, S. M. Irvin, McCane, Jennings Symington and others from the Mission and elsewhere. In 1864, Rev. Nathaniel H. Smith was called to the pulpit, and continued to preach in this church till the year of 1868, when he was succeeded by Rev. William Cummins. He served the church till 1871, when he was succeeded by Rev. James Lafferty. In 1873, Rev. James M. McClung was called. He continued to fill the pulpit till September 1875. From that period the church was without a regular pastor, till October 14, 1876, when Rev. George Miller having been called, entered upon his duties as pastor. He served till the fall of 1881, when he was called to the charge of the Second Presbyterian Church, in St. Joseph, Missouri. In December, 1881, Rev. W. E. Williamson accepted a call to the pulpit of the church.

The present (1882) membership is about two hundred, of whom about eighty are active members. The Sunday school superintended by Robert Montgomery, Esq., includes about seventy-five or eighty pupils and is in a prosperous condition.

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

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