Pataha Church

There is not much know about the Pataha Church other than what is found in the church publications of the times and Gladys Muir's Book Settlement of the Brethren on the Pacific Slope pages 64-65.

The following is taken from Gladys Muir's book. 

 On of the most important of these tours made in 1876 (by David Brower) which  resulted in the formation of a new church, the Pataha church, the first Brethren nucleus in Washington, in a letter to the Primitive Christian, dated December 22, 1876, Brower relates the circumstances leading to the organization of this church:

  Dear Brethren: - I will inform you that I just returned home from Washington  territory. Last spring, Bro. Moses Hunter [Hunt] of Columbia Co. W. T., urged me, by correspondence, to make then a visit, and set things in running order with them…. After much thought I yielded, and on the morning of the 7th of November, I got on board the steam-boat at Salem, enroute for Walla Walla city, W. T. Arrived at Walla Walla city the 12th of Nov. ----
  On the 17th brother Ira Hopkins conveyed me over to brother Moses Hunt’s some 12 to 15 miles nearly northeast of brother Hopkins. Although strangers in the flesh, the brethren received me very kindly.

After describing the visits made to various points, he tell of the organization of the church:  
  Returned back to the neighborhood of brother Hunt’s the 27th, commenced holding meeting there….
  We had ten meetings and on council meeting, which was held on Saturday, the 2nd day of Dec. At said council we organized a church here according to the regular order of the Brethren, both in faith and practice. We also held a choice for a visiting brother, and the lot falls on our dear Bro. Eli Thornton. [1]
  The effects of this visit were soon to be seen in the letters coming to the Primitive Christian and Pilgrim from Brethren near Dayton, Washington. One correspondent wrote: “Elder David Brower of Salem, Oregon, was with us a little season, laboring for the salvation of souls. He preached the word with power. May God bless his labors. We organized a church. A brother by the name of Eli Thornton was also called to the deaconship.”[2] Another says: “Brother Brower left a lasting impression on the minds of the people. He organized a church about the center of this county, the first church of the Brethren I believe that was ever organized in this Territory.” [3]   The new deacon, Eli J. Thornton, wrote a letter adding further details: there we twelve members in the new organization; Moses Hunt was the speaker, Brower’s visit had done much good, but they were in need of help:
  …. We much desire some strong man, mighty in the Scriptures to come to our aid. There are many souls starving here for the bread of Life. I do not believe in paying preachers to preach, but I am willing to throw in my mite. We had a good country here, the best for the poor man I believe in the Unties States. We can raise from ten to sixty bushels of wheat per acre, and vegetables and fruits of all kinds. If any of the brother desire to move West, come and look at our country. [4]

  These letters were followed by other letters describing the attraction of Pataha Prairie.

  Two years later Brower made another tour into Washington and Idaho which resulted this time in the formation of a second church, the Palouse Valley church on the borderline Between Washington and Idaho. This was the predecessor of the Moscow church, the oldest existing church in Idaho. However Brower found that the Brethren of the Pataha Prairie, whom he had helped to organize on this firs tour, had not fared very well, and it was necessary to put an end to the work begun. The organization of the new church   and the disorganization of the old he recounts in a letter to the Brethren at Work, dated January, 6, 1879.

  He says:
  On the 28th of Nov., in company of brethren Thomas Steward and Nathan West, we started for the Pataha church, Columbia Co. WT., arrived at brother A. E. Troyer’s on the 29th. Remained here one week; had seven meetings and one council meeting. Found things in a pitiful condition with most of the members—so much so that it was necessary to disorganize this church

[1] Primitive Christian and Pilgrim January 16, 1877 page 44 David Brower
[2] Primitive Christian and Pilgrim February 6, 1877 page 91 H. Hunt
[3] Primitive Christian and Pilgrim February 6, 1877 page 94 F. N. Winder
[4] Primitive Christian and Pilgrim February 20, 1877 page 108 Eli J Thornton

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