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The Oregon Colony - Methodist Migration
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Article: The Oregon Colony
Township: Mansfield Borough, Tioga County PA
Article by Chester P. Bailey 1984
Photographer - Postcard Mansfield Methodist Church
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The Oregon Colony

Written & Submitted by Chester P. Bailey

The First United Methodist Church of Mansfield, Pennsylvania and the First United Methodist Church of Ogden, Utah, have joined together in a Methodist Bicentennial project.

In researching information for the Mansfield Church and the 1984 Bicentennial of the Methodist Church in America, Mr. Chester Bailey began gathering information about a former pastor, H. S. Parkhurst.

Reverend Parkhurst was pastor of the Mansfield, Pennsylvania Methodist church during 1873 – 1874. He lived in the parsonage at the corner of Elmira and North Academy Streets.

Rev. Henry S. Parkhurst became the Pacific Colony representative and made a trip to the west coast area in Oregon in 1875. He returned to Mansfield and gathered a group together and they left from Corning, New York by train on Monday, October 25, 1875.

A circular letter No. 2 stated the whole expense of the railroad; steam boat, hotel fare and incidental expenses to Hood River, Oregon, would be about $100.00 for adult and $50.00 for children between five and twelve years of age. Each whole ticket was entitled to 100 pounds of baggage and half ticket to 50 pounds.

Rev. Parkhurst the leader of the colony, became sick at Ogden, Utah, with an attack of Typhoid fever and died. He was buried in the Mormon cemetery on November 13, 1875. The first Methodist minister ever buried there.

An Oregon paper stated that: "The Oregon Colony from the Atlantic States arrived in Oregon on the steamer Ajax, November 11, 1875. The colony consisted of 97 persons. Most of the members of the Colony came from the Keystone State, but some from New York and Wisconsin. After a safe trip from the west they proceeded up the Columbia River to Hood River, where they will become permanent settlers."

The Mansfield Colony consisted of the following:

Reverend H. S. Parkhurst, wife and children.

Mr. Allen, wife and child.

Mr. C. W. Phelps, wife and children, Vine, Fred, Lida, Gilbert and Thomas

Mr. Miles D. Potter, wife and children, Ida, William and Happy.

Mr. Lyman Smith, wife and children, Eleanor, William J. and Dorrence.

Mr. James W. Wallace, wife and children, Lettie, Albert and Charles.

Mr. Alfred Ingalls, wife and children, James, Gertrude and Maggie.

Mr. Ira Wright and wife.

Mr. Rumsey and wife.

Mr. Nickolas Bills and children.

Mr. Harding and son.

Mr. Tyler and wife.

Mr. Frank and wife.

Mr. Mackenzie and wife.

Naomi Wilcox, niece of H. S. Parkhurst.

Arthur Parkhurst, nephew of H. S. Parkhurst.

S. J. LaFrance.

Levi Pitts.

Mr. Dinsmore.

Mr. Forsythe.

The complete records compiled by Rev. Parkhurst were taken with the colony to Oregon. Recently the Oregon Historical Society has made a study of the Hood River Pacific Colony.

Local contacts have been made with the decendents of the Ingalls and Phelps families. It is believed that Mrs. Parkhurst moved onto Seattle, Washington, since a letter appeared in the local Advertiser paper in 1877. She was involved in the Temperence Movement through the Seattle Methodist Church, Sunday School. Ira Wright and wife returned to Mansfield. Parents of Mable Wright [who ran the Wright Shop in Mansfield for many years].

The Ogden, Utah, First Methodist Church became involved when asked by Mr. Bailey if someone there could locate the grave site. If it was marked the Mansfield Church would like to place a plaque on the stone. Miss Zelda Evans, membership secretary responded that considerable interest was expressed by their church.

They have been very cooperative. They found the area of the cemetery where Rev. Parkhurst was buried, November 13, 1875, and indicated the grave was not marked. In further research there, it was learned that the Reverend Mr. Marshall Howlson, who was pastor at the First Methodist at that time probably had the service for Rev. Parkhurst, as it was the only Methodist Church in that area in 1875.

The Ogden, Utah church offered to make a spot available in their building for a plaque in memory of Rev. Parkhurst. Ceremonies were held in the Mansfield Church and a plaque was sent to the Ogden church thus completing a Bicentennial project that reaches a distance of several hundred miles… The Ogden Church held a ceremony and placed flowers on the grave.

The inscription on the plaque is as follows:

Rev. H. S. Parkhurst

Leader Mansfield, PA Colony

To Hood River, Ore.

Died Ogden, Utah

November 13, 1875

Methodist Bicentennial - 1984
The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933   histcent83@gmail.com