Oregon Pioneer Biographies


Rev. Joab Powell

Joab Powell was born July 16, 1799 in Claiborne Co., Tennessee, the fourth child of Joseph and Hannah Jewson Powell. Joseph was of Welsh descent, and was known as "The Fighting Quaker." The original name was Ap'howell, but it quickly was shortened to Powell. Joab began to preach at age 24 and moved to a homestead near Independence, MO in 1830. He preached in Missouri for 20 years, and worked a 640 acre farm at the same time. In 1852 he came to Oregon and settled a claim at the Forks of the Santiam in Linn County, between what later became the Providence Baptist Church, and Crabtree Creek.

Although he could barely read and write, Joab was a powerful preacher and had a keen mind which enabled him to memorize most of the bible and hymns he sang. He was a powerful man, weighing nearly 300 pounds, and had a strong voice. He preached to all who would listen and was famous for riding the circuit throughout Linn County. Joab was one of the originators of the Providence Baptist Church, located midway between Scio and Lacomb. This congregation decided to form on April 9, 1853, and Rev. J. G. Berkley was appointed as minister. He served for four years, after which Joab Powell preached for the next five years. The first church was built during 1856-57, and a second building was completed in 1898. Services are still held in this church, and a monument to Joab and nineteen charter members of the congregation is visible at the entrance to the church and cemetery grounds.

He married when 19 to a German girl who spoke only a few words of English; Anna Beeler. Anna was born 17 May, 1797 in Grainger County, Tennessee, and died 31 May 1872 near Providence Church, Linn County. Joab died January 25, 1873.

Children of Joab and Ann: