History of Greenleaf Friends Church

The foundation for Greenleaf Friends Church began when a young preacher named Anson Cox first visited the Boise Valley in 1900. The Lord placed a vision in his mind of a Quaker school where children could be educated with Christian principles.

It wasn't until 1903 that Greenleaf recieved its first homesteader, George Tish. Shortly thereafter, William Brown became the first Quaker settler in the Greenleaf area in September of 1904. He arrived with a vision of a Quaker settlement in the area. Surrounded by sagebrush and sandy, dry earth, he knelt near the present day location of the church and prayed to the Lord about his vision. William took a homestead on The Bench along Pipeline Gulch and built his home there. It wasn't long after this that the Christians in the Greenleaf area began holding prayer meetings in the Brown's home and the Lord began orchestrating the events that would eventually lead to the fulfillment of this vision.

Word travelled back to Anson Cox that a Quaker community was developing in Greenleaf. He moved his family here in 1905. Anson, who became the first pastor of Greenleaf Friends Church, held a series of public meetings in the  area on January 25, 1906. Fourteen adults and twelve children became believers. As the group of Greenleaf believers grew in number, they also outgrew the Brown's home as a meeting place. They met in several different places, one of which was under the trees in one of the new orchards during the summer months.

They continued to hold meetings wherever they could, but it soon became apparent that they needed a permanent structure. In 1907, the congregation began to make plans to purchase some land. They purchased a tract of land at the present site of the church today from the railroad promoters and permission for a townsite was included. The community was originally named Mountain View, but later it was decided to change the name to Greenleaf in honor of the Quaker poet, John Greenleaf Whittier.

The original church building, 32' by 50', was constructed on this tract of land for $1745.15 in 1908. One hundred twenty people attended the first service. Soon after this, a committee led by H. Edwin McGrew, helped to establish Greenleaf Friends Academy, eight years after Anson envisioned a Quaker school. The first class was held in the back of the church on February 8, 1908, with sixteen students. The school was later moved to the "Beatty Shack" north of Greenleaf.

As early as 1916, there was talk of building, but it didn't come about until 1943. Since World War II was raging, there were shortages of building materials and permission had to be granted by the government to purchase materials. Deciding to build the church walls out of stone quarried from the Owyhee mountains was a big help in acquiring permission, which was granted on August 30, 1943. The cornerstone of the current building was laid in 1944. The Christian Education Building was constructed in 1975 and the bell was placed on top of the church in 1985.

Our history has shown the faith and fortitude put forth by those who went before us. They struggled oftentimes against insurmountable odds, but our Lord was faithful. Today, we are faced with the challenges that are no less difficult. We also must offer ourselves to our Lord to be His willing vessels. We must be as daring and bold as those who have gone before us.