Ripley's Believe It or Not

The Church as it appeared in Ripley's Believe It or Not

The History of Our Church

"One day (Rev.) Royal walked into the leading Jacksonville Saloon, where Ad Helms and Charley Williams were busy at faro (a card game). 'Boys, we must have some help in building our church and I want you fellows to give us a lift,' the preacher is quoted as saying. 'But,' remarked Helms, the dealer, 'you wouldn't use money got in this way for such a purpose.'
'Oh, yes,' replied Royal, 'and we would turn it to a better use.'"

Memoirs of Thomas Fletcher Royal

The first section, "A History of St. Andrew's Traditional Episcopal Church", was written by Father Paul Habliston in 1990 and covers the years from 1853 to 1937.

"A History of St. Andrew's Traditional Episcopal Church"

"What we now have at St. Andrew's is an inheritance from the past, for in the beginning it was the Methodist Church, who built the present building and carried on services of worship from the years 1853 until 1928. Here is their story: The spring of 1853 saw a large religious element arrive in Southern Oregon, largely from the Middle West. A section of this immigration came to be called the "Preachers Train" because of the large number of ministers it contained. In this immigration was the Reverend Joseph Smith, who became the first minister. Under his leadership erection of the Methodist Church began, but it was not finished until 1854, with Reverend Fletcher Royal as the pastor and guiding force. An interesting story is told that Fletcher Royal made a deal with the miners in a saloon located near the church to give their winnings to a building fund for the erection of the church. However, this is only a story and doubtless others also contributed. It is worth noting that James Cluggage, who took the first gold out of Jacksonville, donated the lot. In 1854, two years after the discovery of gold on Daisy Creek in Jacksonville, the Methodist Church was completed by James McDonough and Thomas Pyle, who had a successful carpenter shop in town. The church was the first religious edifice in Jacksonville and believed to be the first church in Southern Oregon. An 1852 map of Jacksonville located the Methodist Church on the southwest corner of California and Third Street. Apparently it was partially constructed on that site 1853; but was removed to the spot where it now stands finished by Reverend Fletcher Royal. It was recorded that Mrs. Royal and a Mrs. Ovserbeck raised money for the building by going from gold camp to gold camp.
In its earliest years the church was truly a community church, since it served the Presbyterians on alternate Sundays, the Baptists and Christians as well as various itinerant preachers and circuit riders. About 25 years later the Presbyterians built their own house of worship. The first musical instrument was a rosewood melodeon. It is presently exhibited as at the Jacksonville Museum. The Bible last used in the church was given by the young men of Jacksonville in 1877.
After 1928 the Methodist congregation disbanded. Records show that in 1937 the church building was sold to the City of Jacksonville for the sum of $350., following a Quit Claim Deed of $1.00. In the years following the building stood vacant, but frequently used by various denominations for revival meetings. During that period, the Diocese of Oregon made efforts to develop the church as a mission, served by St. Marks Episcopal Church of Medford."

By The Reverend Paul J. Habliston, Rector

The following, written by Father Bert Davies, is the history of the present congregation of St. Andrews, beginning in 1978.

"Some added history about St. Andrew's when the continuing congregation was started in 1978. I have condensed much in order to make a brief article on the present church body using the building.
In 1978, Bruce Butte, a well-known local artist organized a committee to repair the old Methodist Episcopal Church building for use as a traditional Episcopal Church. This required a great amount of labor and substantial funding to accomplish. The building required strengthening, new flooring, new front doors and an entry porch, proper electric wiring and lamps. Subsequently, a gas furnace replaced an old stove for heating. Then a small additional room was added on the back for storage and bathroom facilities. This work was done over a several year period, as was the development of the Old Rose Garden on the north side of the church building. Don Neilson was the main developer of the garden. The statue of St. Francis of Assisi was dedicated in Sept. 1988.
Several clergy served the congregation for short periods of time. The most dramatic of these was probably the Rev. Will Augsburger, a former military pilot who lived at Myrtle Point, Oregon and flew down here for morning services and then to other cities for evening services. In his plane he carried a motorbike and got from airports to the churches using that if there was no one to meet him. Father Will passed away in 1999.
Then in 1981, Rev. Paul Habliston, a retired Episcopal priest from Colorado became the Rector. Fr. Paul died in 1991 and his cremated remains were buried in the Rose Garden with permission from the City of Jacksonville. His wife's remains joined his at a later date.
At that time, Bertram Davies, who had attended McCormick Theological Seminary in the 1950's, was asked to lead the congregation as a lay reader. He was ordained an Anglican Priest in May of 1993 but had been Minister in charge from 1991 until his ordination when he became Rector, and so has completed 12 years with St. Andrew's. During all this time George Moore was Deacon and participated almost all the time in services. In addition to his duties as Deacon, he was very active in maintaining the building.
St. Andrew's is still in the process of restoring the church fabric and the grounds around the building. We are proud of the present appearance of our historic building and grounds."

By The Reverend Bertram L. Davies, Rector

Please contact us at St. Andrew's Anglican Church if you have any questions.