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The First Church in Castle Rock


William Huntington started the Castle Rock Christian Church in 1853. He was born in New York in 1816. He died in Castle Rock in 1894 at the age of 78 and was buried in the Jackson Cemetery.

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William Huntington, (seated, left) founder of Castle Rock, its first postmaster, its first preacher, U.S. marshal and member of the territorial legislature. First row, next to William is his wife, Eliza, daughter, Annette Huntington Fry and son, Benjamin Franklyn (Frank). Standing: Susan Huntington Shearer, Mary Emily Huntington Newman, Charles Alvin Huntington and George Huntington. Photo courtesy Alva J. Huntington, Portland, son of George.

Influencers that led the church from 1853 to 1900

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The first record of church services in the community was in 1857 when revival services were held in the Arkansas community by Reverend John Rigdon and a Reverend Castell. Reverend T. F. Royal, a circuit rider of the Methodist Church from Oregon also came into the Cowlitz Valley on his mission and held services in the Cagle home.”

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Henry Jackson established the Jackson Inn. Charles Dailey says, “When the Military Road was being surveyed it so happened that it came over a hill from Hazel Dell and near the foot of the north slope. It came right by the doorstep of the Henry Jackson home. Since Henry’s place was roughly a day’s travel from Monticello, he decided to build a wayside hotel that would meet the needs of the weary traveler.

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Keathley Bailes is listed as our second minister and first “resident” minister.  Jerry Rushford, in his book Christian on the Oregon Trail, says that, “Mr. Bailes may have moved into Washington State and then back to Oregon over a period of years. 

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J. Kelsey Conger, son of Ira Conger, organized the first Sunday school in the early Arkansas church, and was its first superintendent. One would have to assume that the new church building constructed in 1889 – 1892 on the east side of the river must have required the church to take on new debt, and financial difficulty became a great burden

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