Southern Oregon settlers were fortunate when Moses Williams arrived in 1858 to become the area’s first full time Presbyterian minister. His parishioners helped build his home on 150 acres he bought on Bear Creek, where the National Guard Armory now stands in Medford, Ore.
The Rev.Williams preached sermons in Jacksonville, Ashland, near Willow Springs, Table Rock, and Little Butte Creek. He served as Jackson County School Superintendent from 1862 through 1866, and in his spare time taught music, appraised property, lent money, doctored wounds, repaired mowers and raised barns. Sometimes he helped his wife do the laundry, make soap and preserve fruit. He kept his 150-acre farm going, and found time to record parishioners’ marriages, births and deaths in his diary.
After his wife’s death in 1873, Williams kept even busier by preaching in remote Rogue Valley settlements. He married again in 1884, at the age of 72. His new wife, Sarah Livingstone Van Dyke, often traveled with him.
In October 1897, Williams’ friends gave him a surprise party to celebrate his 86th birthday and his 40 years in Jackson County. Williams died two months later.
Sources: Lewis, Raymond, “Moses Allen Williams, Father of Presbyterianism in Southern Oregon,” Table Rock Sentinel, v. 9, no. 2, p. 15-21.