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The Cherokee Strip was opened to settlement on Sept. 16, 1893 but the organization of the church for this community really dated back before that time. A group of old friends talked it over before the historical race and the strip was really opened for settlement and these folk decided they would try and get claims in the same neighborhood, so as to have a Christian Union Church where they could worship.

About the 26th of November in 1894, Rev. Dr Arnold and Rev. J. M. Bryan came to the home of Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Long for the purpose, they said “to see if the people who had belonged to Christian Union had backslid”. At this time there was no religious services being held in this part of the country. There were no school houses or places where services could be held and they found only three families who had been members of the Christian Union Church. These were the L. J. Dougherty, H. H. Meek and C. B. Long families. They had talked over the prospect of holding religious services and Mr. And Mrs. H. H. Meek who had the largest home, offered to remove everything from the house, that they might use it for preaching services.

It was decided to let all the neighbors know that there would be preaching service at the H. H. Meek home on Thanksgiving Day in the evening. L. J. Dougherty and his son Gus, a lad of 12 years, rode a mule and went to all the homes, giving the information. It was needless to say but they were all there. On the first meeting evening, Bro. Bryan preached, followed by Bro. Arnote, It was a wonderful meeting and from that time on we had preaching once a month - on Saturday evening, Sunday morning and evening. The Christian people were interested. D. Looman who belonged to the Methodist Church, Allen Haven, a Seventh Day Adventist, Joe Lewis of the Christian Church, with Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Meek and Mr. Long, of Christian Union faith, all offered their homes for services. That made six homes within that many miles, in which services could be held.

They took their turn and each knew when their turn came it meant work to prepare the home - the largest house was only 14 x 16 and smallest 12 x 14. Everything had to be removed to the out-doors, only the stove and chairs, and the one in whose home the services were held had to entertain the ministers - and two came at a time, it being Bro. Arnette, Bro. Bryan or Bro. Parker. About this time a minister moved into the neighborhood by the name of Robertson. He belonged to the Union Baptist. He preached some for us then for sometime until Brother J. B. Rogers moved about seven miles west of the community.

It was in the spring of 1896 a sod school house was built on the L. J. Dougherty farm and the first Sunday in May, 1896, the Church of Christ in Christian Union was organized by Bro. Rogrs, with twelve members. The Church officers were H. H. Meek, L. J. Dougherty, and C. B. Long, with Mrs. Mae Hoffman as Clerk. The charter members were L. J. Dougherty, H. H. Meek, Rev. G. R. Robertson, Louisa Dougherty, Mary Meek, Kate Robertson, C. B. Long, Nellie Venson, Hattie Cook, Emma Long, Mae Hoffman and James Walker.

The school house in which we worshiped was named Fairplay, therefore the church was named “The Church of Christ in Christian Union at Fairplay.” In the early organization of the church death took Mrs. Mary Meek and her daughter Mrs. Nellie Venson, the H. H. Meek family, Mrs. Mattie Cook and Rev. G. H. Robertson and Mrs. Robertson left by letter.

Bro. G. B. Robertson was called as the first pastor but Bro. J. B. Rogers continued to preach once each month. In 1897 the Church called Bro. Rogers as pastor and the old church officers were retained. The first Church Council was held that year. A shelter was made by sewing wagon sheets together and fastening them on poles and ropes attached to the front of the building, it was here the Lord wonderfully blest all in the Council.

In February 1898 Brothers Rogers, Parker and Kneisley held a revival meeting that lasted three weeks. The Church was revived and thirteen added to the membership rolls. In many ways this was one of the greatest meetings ever held in this place. The Reverend A. B. Parker made the most earnest and longest prayers we ever heard. The Church people did nothing while the meeting continued but attend church services both day and night.

An Aid Society was organized and all members were busy and through the efforts of zealous Christians in January, 1901, we were worshiping in the new Church building. It was a happy time and to the little band of workers it was wonderful. Brothers Rogers assisted by Brother Kneisley held a meeting. The weather was bad but the church was strengthened and one addition was had. The building was named Liberty Chapel. In Nov 1901 the Council convened in the Chapel and the building was dedicated by Rev. G. W. Mitchell from Missouri. The Board of Trustees were H. H. Meek, C. B. Long and J. L. Miller.

In the summer of 1902 a railroad was built, known then as D.E. and G. Co. And was constructed one half mile west of the Church, and a town given the name of Douglas was located. It was a thriving little village and the question was asked what will we do about the Church? The town people were anxious to have the Church moved into town and the Townsite Company offered to give the lots for the building and the town to pay all expenses of moving.

A cemetery had been plated by the Church and the members disliked to have the building moved. After due consideration and prayer, it was decided to meet on Thanksgiving Day, November 27th, 1902, for an all day meeting at the Church and to vote on the proposition of moving into town. None but members were allowed to vote, only nine voted, the rest of the membership did not want to vote. The vote was cast by ballot and resulted six for and three against the movement. A committee was appointed to select a location and attend to the moving, they were H. H. Meek, J. L. Miller and C. B. Long and in December 1902 the building was moved into town.

Mr. and Mrs. D. M. Diener who had worshiped in the Church for some time then placed their membership in 1903, Mr. And Mrs. A. S. Meek and Mr. and O. B. Whipple also became members. In October of that year Brother Jerry Clevenger of Missouri conducted a revival and the church was strengthened with many conversions. Bro. Rogers preached continuously until 1904, when Bro. P. F. Meek was called and pastored the church for two years. Bro. J. B. Rogers was again called for service for another year. Brother Rooker was called but failed to come, then Bro. Hostetter pastored one year followed by Bro. Meek who remained two years. Bro. Rogers was again called in October 1910 and moved into town two years later. He was permitted to live in our midst 29 years, leaving this world at the age of 93. He had been a minister for more than 75 years, serving this community and Church for more than 10 years. He was beloved by all who knew him.

Brother C. S. Fair of Iowa dedicated the Church at the time of the completion and was assisted by Bro. Rogers at that time in conducting a revival service which was long remembered as most inspiring and up-building and strengthening to the Christian Union Church in Douglas.

Brother Andy Dorrell and Sister Nettie Dorrell, were called twice to pastor the Church and served faithfully and well for six years. Other pastors called were Brother Stewart, for two years service, Brother Wallace Linton served 7 years, Rev. D. W. Donahue called twice and served 5 years total. Brother Bell served a short time. Bro. H. I. Jones, our present pastor is now in his fourth year of service and he also pastored our church a number of years ago.

Four different ministers from Phillips University have served the Church at different times with a record of about seven years of service, they were Bro. F. G. Davis, now deceased, Bro. C. A. Denny, Bro. Kenneth Smith and Bro. Ronald Orsborn.

The 50th Anniversary of the establishing of the Christian Union Church here was held May 5th, 1946 with Rev. H. I. Jones bringing the message. Rev. D. W. Donahue was then pastor.

On January 28th, 1951 the Church was destroyed by fire and immediately plans were made for rebuilding, work was commenced May 7th, 1951 and the first General Assembly was Feb. 1st, 1953.

The Church Board consists of Cloyce Helton, First Elder, Dora Baker, 2nd Elder and Horace Williams, 3rd Elder. Frank Lockridge and Herman Gragert, Deacon Elders. The Trustees are Horace Williams, Albert Krausse and Frank Lockridge.

Mrs. Emma Long, who is now 85 years old, is the only living Charter Member of the Douglas Christian Union Church. Rev. H. I. Jones is pastor.

Submitted by Mrs. Emma Long for Dedication, May 3, 1953.
(Document submitted by Phillip Moseley)

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