Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/133

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Father Wilbur and His Work. 19 Roberts held the first religious services and preached the first sermon in what is now the city of Portland, and James H. Wilbur preached the first sermon in Taylor Street Church in the spring of 1850. Until the General Conference of 1848, Oregon had been considered a foreign mission, but during the session of that body in May of that year, in Pittsburg, Pa., the Board of Bishops were charged to organize during the quadrennium, what was to be called the "Oregon and California Mission Conference," and the territory to be embraced therein was to include all that portion of the United States west of the Rocky Mountains. California, as a result of the war with Mexico in 1846, had been added to the territorial possessions of the United States. The Oregon country, comprising now the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, the western half of Montana and a portion of Wyoming, had been acquired by the United States by right of prior discovery and occupation as well as by purchase, and its chief importance lay in the fact that the United States had claimed this vast section of country from the discovery of the Columbia River by Captain Gray, May 11, 1792, more than a half century prior to our acquisition of California, and its pioneer missions and settlers were chiefly from the United States. In the spring of 1849 Bishop Waugh, to whom the Board of Bishops entrusted the details of organization of the "Oregon and California Mission Conference," gave explicit instructions to William Roberts, then superintendent of the Oregon Mis- sion, directing its organization, and accordingly the first con- ference was held in the chapel of the Oregon Institute in Salem on September 5, 1849. There were present as partici- pants, William Roberts, of the New Jersey Conference ; David Leslie, of the Providence Conference; A. F. Waller, of the Tennessee Conference; James H. Wilbur, of the Black River Conference ; James Owen, of the Indiana Conference, and William Taylor, of the Baltimore Conference — six men, two

from California and four from Oregon, charged with founda-----