Tualatin Plains Methodist Meeting Book
This page contains links to the minutes of meetings from the quarterly conferences of the Methodist Episocopal Church in the western half of Washington County, Oregon, from 1854 to 1884.
The Methodists were one of the oldest and largest denominations in Oregon. Although they were relatively large in number, their members were spread thinly across many farms and small towns. It was not possible to support a full-time minister for every community that wanted one. The solution was to organize "Circuits," where ministers could travel along a route providing services. Representatives from each Methodist Circuit would meet at a Circuit Conference on a quarterly basis to discuss church business such as finances, the state of the Sunday School program, construction of new church buildings, and other matters. This record book contains minutes from the Circuit Conferences that covered Forest Grove and other towns in what were once called the "Tualatin Plains."
This record book represents a series of Methodist Circuit Conferences that formed and then split off as the population rose in Washington County. The earliest records pertain to the "Oswego Circuit" and the "West Tualatin Plains Circuit," the latter of which covered what is now Hillsboro, Forest Grove, and smaller rural communities on the west side of the Tualatin Valley. Around 1866, this was renamed the Hillsboro Circuit. In 1875, the Hilsboro Circuit split in two. This record book travelled with the western half of the split, covering the new Forest Grove Circuit.
By the late 19th century, this record book was probably in the hands of one of the most prominent Methodist families near Forest Grove: the Gerrishes. It was found in 2021 in the building where one of their descendants, George Williams, practiced as a dentist. The Friends of Historic Forest Grove is glad to make images of this record book available to the public.