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As It Was: Missionary Establishes Southern Oregon Presbyterian Churches

A missionary, the Rev. Moses Allen Williams, came to the gold-mining town of Jacksonville, Ore., in 1857 to establish the first Jackson County Presbyterian Church.  He also served as the Jackson County school superintendent from 1862 to 1866. 
A few years later, five Presbyterian members in nearby Ashland solicited pledges from people for building a church in their town. They raised $45, enough to buy an acre of land from Abel Helman on Church Street.  By 1877, the Ashland Presbyterians had enough people and money to build the church after selling the Helman land and purchasing a lot at North Main and Helman streets.  It opened the following year and was dedicated on Christmas day 1881.

The congregation moved to Walker and Siskiyou streets in 1962.  Twenty years later it had the stained-glass windows from the old church installed in a new hall, along with the old church bell and cornerstone materials.

Williams also helped establish Presbyterian churches in Phoenix, Eagle Point, Medford, and Klamath Falls. 

His parishioners assisted in the building of his home on 150 acres alongside Bear Creek, present-day location of the Medford National Guard Armory.

Source: newspaper article (paper and date unknown) found in the Pioneer Society Scrapbook, SOHS MS 517, Box 3, p.36.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.