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In January 1894 representatives from the American Baptist Church and the Kiowa Tribe organized the Immanuel Mission near Rainy Mountain, south of the town of Gotebo on a 160-acre tract donated by the tribe. Missionaries G. W. Hicks, Lauretta Ballew, and Henrietta Reeside ran the station in its first years, assisted by a small but devoted congregation of Kiowas including Big Tree and Gotebo, prominent Kiowa headsmen and generous supporters of the Baptists. In November 1894 the congregation moved into a chapel (built with funds collected by Sunday school classes in Illinois) and in March 1895 elected its first four deacons, including Big Tree. Immanuel Mission was shortly renamed Rainy Mountain.

In March 1896 Rev. Howard Clouse arrived with his wife Mary and began a twenty-seven-year ministry at the mission. Much loved by the Kiowas, Reverend Clouse helped to establish mission stations at Red Stone in 1896, Saddle Mountain in 1896, and Cache Creek in 1906. Mary Clouse worked as a government field matron. Working closely with the Kiowas, the Clouses ensured the survival of the Rainy Mountain mission. Like many other missions, Rainy Mountain helped to foster a Christian identity that incorporated Kiowa culture. Most notably, Rainy Mountain was where Gotebo composed the first Kiowa hymn. The congregation celebrated its centennial in 1994, and it remains an active and important church in Kiowa country.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Mary G. Burdette, ed., Young Women Among Blanket Indians: The Trio at Rainy Mountain (Chicago: R. R. Donnelley and Sons, 1898). Hugh Corwin, "Protestant Missionary Work Among the Comanches and Kiowas," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 46 (Spring 1968). John Preston Dane, "A History of Baptist Missions Among the Plains Indians of Oklahoma" (Ph.D. diss., Central Baptist Theological Seminary, 1955). Coe Hayne, Kiowa Turning (New York: Council on Finance and Promotion of the Northern Baptist Convention, 1944). Luke Eric Lassiter, Clyde Ellis, and Ralph Kotay, The Jesus Road: Kiowas, Christianity, and Indian Hymns (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002).

Clyde Ellis

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