How the Sabbath Came to the Cherokee Strip Part 3 of 3
(Oklahoma Territory Land Run 1893)
by Bryan Burrell
The doctrine of the seventh-day Sabbath, which had seemed so strange at first, now became very easily understood. In 1898 the Websters united with the Church of God and took their stand with the faithful little group that had brought this new light into the wilderness of the Indian Territory.
The next year, 1899, another Sabbath keeping minister came to the Strip. S. S. Davison filed claims a few miles northwest of Golden Valley School. Some Sabbathkeeping kin, the Sheffields, also filed at that time and later other sabbath keeping relatives and friends came to the Territory.
In the years that followed, the land became more settled, and the towns grew. In 1907 the Indian Territory became the State of Oklahoma and the group of Sabbathkeepers was growing and continued to meet in the Golden Valley School.
World War I broke out and the United States became involved. Out of this tragedy came a good thing for the Sabbathkeeping church in Fairview. The Germans in the community were discouraged from speaking their native language and their group quit meeting in their church building and it became available to the group of Sabbathkeepers who purchased the building in 1920 for $1,000.
Thus the Sabbath came to the Cherokee Strip. The building purchased during World War I is the Church of God at Fairview. It has been remodeled several times and progress has also greatly changed the land. Almost every section line is a road. Telephone lines have been stretched to every part of the region and rural electricity lights the countryside. The wheatfields that once were prepared and harvested by horses are now tilled and harvested by large tractors and combines. The old soddies and dugouts soon gave way to comfortable houses. Every Sabbath morning around the church where once stood horses and buggies, you will now see automobiles. But the gospel that the congregation studies on Sabbath morning is the word of the never changing God. Generations of Sabbathkeepers from the families who homesteaded in the Cherokee Strip now reside all over the country; grateful for the brave hard working and dedicated pioneers who lived and shared their Sabbath beliefs.
This story is part of an article printed several years ago in The Sabbath Sentinel.
Much of the early Fairview Church history was recorded by Roy Wells and Clayton Faubion around 1950. In 1994 the church hosted a centennial celebration.
The Fairview Church was the first Church of God, Seventh Day established in Oklahoma and in September 1905 they organized the Oklahoma Conference with C.C. Wells-Pres., Frank Miller-V Pres., Leah Davison Miller-Sec., and Eber Davison-Treas.
Bryan Burrell is a Board Member and Treasurer for the BSA.