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Livingston County History
Celebrating 150 Years, 1821-1981

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The Methodist Episcopal Church at Avalon was organized as an appointment of the Bedford Mission in the spring of 1871 by T. B. Hales, pastor. The Charter members were J. H. Pultz, Sarah Pultz, George Mills, Mary Mills, J. A. Crook, Emaline Crook, Susan Williams, J. E. Jackson, Eliza Jackson, H. H. Wilkinson, Nancy Wilkins and Joseph Wolf.

In 1873 Reverend J. T. Stone succeeded Reverend Hales, followed by Henry Hooper in 1875. S. Weston had charge of services for the year 1876 and was succeeded by the Reverend W. H. Bassett for the next year and a half.

J. M. Pate pastored for two years 1878-79 and the Reverend Bassett returned in 1880. Dr. D. B. Dorsey of Chillicothe served until February 26, 1882, after which the presiding elder of the District, James Kelso, supplied the charge. He remained one year being succeeded by S. W. Jones in 1884.

In 1884, the membership was 24 with a congregation of approximately 150 persons. The only property which was held by the Church was a parsonage in the southwest part of town and was worth around $500.00. Services at that time were held in the Presbyterian Church building.

In 1875, the Presbyterian Church built a new church at a cost of $2200.00 and in 1890 sold the church building to the Methodists.

This church building was used continuously until 1959 but because extensive repairs were needed and also needing more classrooms the Board of Trustees, with the approval of the pastor, Reverend Charles Carr, voted to build a new church. District Supt. Clinton Chasteen met with the Trustees, and granted permission to raze the old structure and replace it with the present building.

Both the work of tearing down the old church and building of the new structure was done entirely by volunteer workers with the exception of hiring one head carpenter to oversee the building project.

By late fall of 1959 the new building was completed and Christmas Services were held in the sanctuary.

The total cost of the new building was under $9,000.00 and was paid in full on November 17, 1961 less than two and a half years from starting construction. Dedication Services were held on March 22, 1964, with Rev. Chasteen delivering the sermon.

On Septerner 12, 197 1, the church celebrated 100 years of Christian Service to the community. The Reverend Robert Barnett was the minister at that time.

For many years there has been an active Women’s Organization. Also Bible School is held each summer with a large number of children from the area attending. Early in 1979 a Prayer-Bible Study group was started on Tuesday evenings which has been beneficial and inspiring to those attending. The leader is Mrs. Mae Willis the wife of our minister.

At present the Avalon United Methodist Church is a part of the Hale circuit and the minister is the Reverend Ray Willis who with his wife, Mae and two daughters reside in Hale.



On March 17, 1895, the following persons met for the purpose of organizing a Missionary Baptist Church in Chula: Isaac Baker and wife, J. W. Balman, wife and daughter, Anna, Hattie Holding, R. J. Green and wife, E. A. Exceen and sister Melissa, W. H. Moore and wife, Sarah Owen, Henry Johnson, J. H. Davis, Mr. and Mrs. Saunders Russell. These brethren were received as charter members by letters from different churches in the area: Union, Alpha, Browning, Galt, Liberty, Eversonville and Laredo.

The church council was organized, choosing J. K. Steen as moderator and E. L. Mulford, clerk. The sermon was preached by J. B. Harris. At this time, the council voted to recognize the church as a regular Missionary Baptist Church.

Another business meeting was held two days later, March 19, when it was voted to name the church ‘‘The Chula Baptist Church” and rules were formulated for church government. Plans were made to begin at once to erect a church building as soon as it was decided where to build. In the meantime, the congregation had services in the Chula Cumberland Presbyterian Church for 13 months with J. B. Harris as pastor for $75.00 a year, followed later by Rev. G. T. Hopson.

May 8, 1895, a warranty deed was made to the trustees of “The Missionary Baptist Church” for two lots on Main St. in Chula. August 8, 1896, dedication services were held at the new Chula Baptist Church with Rev. S. M. Brown preaching the sermon. The new building cost $1,065. with a debt of $312.98. In October a revival was held for two weeks with 13 additions. Sunday School was organized the first Sunday in April, 1897. By May, 1899, with Rev. J. P. Tolliver as pastor, his salary was increased to $100.00 a year.

In April, 1930, with E. M. Lands as pastor, remodeling of the church with basement was begun.

The first Vacation Bible School was held in May, 1947.

February 13, 1955, Rev. Cecil O. Hart was called as pastor but, February 15, fire broke out badly damaging the interior of the church. February 16, a business meeting of the church was held at the funeral home with Rev. Hart as moderator. Plans were made to go ahead with two weeks revival to be held at the Methodist Church. The Chula School Board gave the Baptists permission to meet in the school basement for Sunday School and Church services where they met for 25 Sundays. Work was begun immediately on the church building, and the congregation met for its first service there on the second Sunday in August. Dedication services were held June 24, 1956.

The church was incorporated in March, 1979.

Some of the past pastors have been: T. W. Medearis, C. E. Sharrah, E. M. Lands, Paul M. Walters, Harvey Rogers, Wilmer Calvin, George W. Hess, Deane Truitt, and Richard Singleton. Present pastor is Rev. Bruce Lundy.

Deacons are Richard Hargrave, Loyal Manning, and Taylor Hooker. Richard Hargrave has been Sunday School Superintendent for 30 years.



Bethel A.M.E. Church was organized in 1868 on the corner of Henry and Violet, Chillicothe, Missouri. The trustees at that time were Ben Bland, Thomas Scott, B. J. Williams and Oscar Black. Their names are on the corner stone and one charter member, Iva Williams now lives in Kansas City, Kansas.

The church was active some years ago. Sunday School, A.C.E. League and Mission. Some of the past pastors have been Reverends C. J. Skinner, Glen C. Nelson, Macon McMillian (12 years), John A. Barnes Rev. Dailey and A. G. Thurman who was presiding elder until he retired. Mr. and Mrs. Thurman are members of Bethel Church.

Mrs. C. V. Taylor is the clerk and treasurer of Missions and Mrs. Leroy White is secretary of Stewardship Board.



Northwest of Ludlow, at a crossroads, stands a small white church, known as Bethel Methodist South.

The families who settled this community were people of the Cumberland area of the states of Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. Doubtless their political, beliefs influenced their religious affiliations, hence Bethel was Methodist, South.

This building once stood at a former site near the Roath Cemetery and at that time was known as “Austin Chapel”. It was dismantled, but reconstructed in 1868 on the site where it now stands.

On July 10, 1871 William C. Austin and wife Ann Elizabeth, for the sum of $30 deeded to the trustees of Bethel Church, Methodist Church South, one acre of ground for a church.

This building, no longer in use since 1951, was the church home and source of comfort in times of bereavement for people of the Bethel Community. Revivals were held here in mid-summer often of two weeks duration. Any number of young people made their commitment to Christ in this building. Many mid-week prayer meetings were held and many worth while sermons were preached to this rural congregation.

This small white building, shaded by large hickory trees, setting at the foot of a rolling encircling hill, holds a favored spot in the memory of older residents 62 of this community. As children, they attended Sunday School, listened to sermons delivered by Brother Hunt and Brother Davis and learned lessons which have proven beneficial in their adult lives.

Adjacent to the churchyard is an acre of ground acquired from William C. Austin and wife Ann Elizabeth to be used as a burial ground. The names of Anderson, Austin, Bryan, Glaze, Lyday, Sidden and Truitt are among those most frequently found on the tombstones, a silent testimony to the families once living in this area. There also stands in Bethel Cemetery a 100 year old cedar tree marking the grave of Mattiel Austin, William C. Austin’s daughter.



In August of 1950, two ladies, who later became charter members of Calvary Baptist Church, were discussing the possibility of having a Wednesday night prayer meeting. It was decided to have the meeting in one of the ladies home.

In August of 1950, a prayer meeting was held with 22 members present. The first prayer meeting was led by Mrs. Jessie Alley with scripture taken from Psalm 121. The attendance from the first prayer meeting grew as they met in various homes to organize and conduct all organizations of the church.

In August of 1951, the group met in a home where the first prayer meeting was held and organized the Calvary Baptist Church, which was then incorporated in December of 1951, with 99 charter members.

The church then secured the Ritz Theater corner of Washington and Clay for a meeting place. The speakers were called from William Jewell College and the Baptist Seminary in Kansas City.

The property at Third and Locust streets, the site of the present church building was purchased in 1951. An army barracks was erected and served as a church until a basement was completed.

The present auditorium was dedicated on June 23, 1957. The present educational building was dedicated May 15, 1966.

Mrs. H. M. Grace (at her death) gave her home at 1201 Third Street to the church for a parsonage. It now is the home of the assistant pastor. A new parsonage was built in 1976 at 170 Crescent Drive.

Pastors who served Calvary are: Rev. Elmer Goss, Rev. A. W. Duncan, Rev. Harry Clifton, and Rev. Clifford Wrisinger. Rev. Ted Hubble was the first educational director.

The present pastor is Rev. Walter Cox. The assistant pastor is Rev. Elmer McCully. The present resident membership is 639. Our total membership is 878. Calvary Baptist Church – Scott Vorbeck



Centenary Church was located on the northwest corner at the crossroads, a mile and one half south of Sturges. A rather large rectangular building with a steep roof, double doors in the south and three windows on the east and west sides. Long wooden seats ran through the center with an aisle on each side, then shorter seats to the wall. A wood and coal stove stood mid-way on each side with long stove pipes that went up and joined together near a high ceiling. There was a raised platform and pulpit at the north end. In the southwest corner was a small room that served as a kitchen and for storage. The building, located near the south side of an acre of ground was painted white. A combination wood shed and outhouse was west of the church and some large hedge trees which served as hitching posts were on the east line.

The cornerstone in the foundation bore the inscription “1884 Centenary Church Set apart from all unhallowed ground to the glory of God.”

The church was on the Chillicothe circuit. The pastor lived in the parsonage in Chillicothe and served four rural churches. He conducted services morning and evening at each church once a month. He drove a horse and buggy until autos came into general use. Some of the pastors were Rev. Smart, Rev. Riggs, Rev. Hornback, Rev. Wilson, Rev. Mathis, Rev. Mangold, and Rev. Mrs. Olive Fay.

A Ladies Aid Society met on Wednesdays for quilting and sewing and other activites to raise money to pay the preacher. They served public sales, held ice cream socials and oyster suppers. On Thanksgiving they served a big dinner and held a bazaar.

In 1914 a cyclone damaged the north end of the church. It served the community until 1950 when the circuit was discontinued and memberships moved to other churches. The church building was sold and torn down in 1951.



The Presbyterian Church of Chula, Missouri was organized January 26, 1892. There were seventeen charter members with six more being added the next day. Rev. J. M. Ragan, who was responsible for the new organization was first on the list and also their first minister. Rev. J. H. Tharp gave the sermon at the dedication service.

Sunday School and worship services were held in the schoolhouse until a church building was erected in 1895. The land, Lots 17 and 18, Block 3 in the Village of Chula, located on the corner of Mansur and Broaddus, was bought from the Milwaukee Land Co. for the sum of $36.00.

The early session records from 1895 to 1902 were destroyed by fire. In 1906 when the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church North united, the Chula church went with the union.

One member, Dale Gorman, became a Presbyterian minister and was ordained in his home church. Rev. August Thalman was ordained during his ministry in the Chula Church.

Since 1902, the church has been served by twenty-four ministers, many student ministers, and a number of lay ministers. The present minister, Rev. Michael Lewton, is an ordained Presbyterian minister.

The present membership is 80, with about 50 active in Sunday School, and 20 in the missionary group.

The active members of the Session are: Norman Thierne, Jack Thierne, Leroy Arr, Ronald Haas, and Minor Gibson. The present Deacon-Trustees are: Lloyd Jones, Sharon Arr, Frances Haas, Lorraine Gibson, and Ann Meservey.

In the spring of 1977, the congregation purchased new pews and hymnals. The purchase was made possible through the generous gifts of members, past and present. The hymnal racks were removed from the old pews, refinished and used on the new pews as they had been made by C. E. Parks and Garnett Pryor from lumber donated by C. E. Parks.

On the first Sunday in 1979, a Homecoming-Rally day was held and it is planned to make it an annual event.



The Chillicothe Church of Christ had its beginning in 1910 with a few disciples meeting house to house. For one season they met in the office of Dr. T. G. Phelps. In July 1911, Floyd M. Edwards held a tent meeting at the corner of Commercial and Montgomery streets. In this meeting 22 members banded together: Floyd and Minnie Edwards, Charles L. and Sarah J. Phillips, George H., Melissia, Nellie, Lula, Lura, and Maud Carr, Dr. T. G. and Mrs. Stella, and Erma Phelps, Mrs. Frank Harrison and Roy Harrison, Mrs. Jennie Hossman, Gladys, and Edd Hossman, Golda Cramner, Brs. Ollie Meadoff, and Mr. Akers.

In December 1914, three trustees were appointed to purchase a lot on which to build. They were Floyd

Edwards, Ralph Acree and Frank Harrison. The wood frame building at the corner of Jackson and Commercial was begun in 1916 and finished in 1917.

In February 1922, Jess Knouse, F. O. Blunt, and A. A. Taylor were appointed elders. In January 1939, W. E. Ballinger of Hale, Mo. appointed Earl M. Sallee and Fern R. Bailey as elders, William F. Wigfield and Archie W. Bailey as deacons. In 1951, a new brick building was erected on the present site at 308 Elm street. The building site was a gift of Fern R. Bailey. In 1970 an addition was made to the building, and in 1980 the educational wing was extended. Russell Potter was ordained as elder in 1967. On August 15, 1967, Mr. and Mrs. James E. Maberry and family moved here from St. Louis to work with the church. John Emerson and Charles Fleener were installed as elders in 1968, and 1970 respectively.

At the time of this writing, there are 250 members with an average Sunday morning attendance of 325.



Due to the drought and depression in 1934, J. J. and Ollie Burner and daughter Alice and A. M. Harkins moved from South Dakota to Chillicothe, Mo., to live. They were new converts and members of the Church of God in Lemmons, South Dakota, looking for a Pentecostal Church to worship in, they attended service where H. E. Bunton was preaching in the Old Milwaukee Hotel, on Webster Street. He had a good crowd attending but no organization.

Brother Barker of St. Joseph, Mo. district overseer of the Church of God, was contacted and he came to Chillicothe and set a Church of God in order in 1935.

Homer and Claradene Howe were the first 64 pastors, with H. E. Bunton assisting. An old two room house was bought at Second and Ryan streets. Everybody went to work selling candy, pies, doughnuts and bricks to pay for the new church. Homer Howe owned a saw mill and sawed the lumber and was master carpenter and Joe Alnutt put on the stucco.

The charter members were three Howe brothers and their wives, Doc and Edith Howe, Archie and Babe Howe, Bill Howe and their families; John and Ethel Cobb, Jess and Lizzy Cobb, Fred and Minnie Cobb, Nathan and Alice Cobb and their families.

Many others have become members of the Church of God down through the years. The Church of God was the First Pentecostal Church in Chillicothe and is affiliated with the international Church of God with headquarters in Cleveland, Tenn., and is the oldest Pentecostal church in America being organized in 1896. The Church of God, Second and Ryan streets has had an influence on many lives over the years, and prayfully will continue to do so.

The Reverend and Mrs. A. A. Lynch came to Chillicothe as the pastors in 1978 and the church is growing under their leadership.



The Church of God in Christ was started in Chillicothe in 1926 when Elder and Sister Fisher came to town, and obtained ground back of the Bethel A.M.E. Methodist Church on the corner of Violet and Conn streets.

They had services every night under a brush arbor. Soon people were attracted and began to come every night, mostly out of curiosity, because this was a new way of worshipping God, talking about the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

After a period of time, the church moved to another corner, the corner of Liberia and Waples streets, where they erected another brush arbor. They attracted both black and white membership and it was the first integrated church in town. A small church was built. Fish fries and tag days were held to raise money. Following Elder Fisher’s ministry, Elder Cleveland of Kansas City came and held meetings in his home on Third street. He was followed by Elder Fred Boone who started a Thursday night Bible Class. Elder Jones of Kansas City was the next minister of the church, and he was followed by Elder and Sister Campbell, who was in charge of the church until his death.



Community Baptist Church of Utica came into being after many prayers, meetings and much planning by a group of Christian people who desired a church dedicated to God to fulfill the commission of Jesus Christ.

First Worship Service was held in the Utica firehouse on January 27, 1975 with 83 persons attending. On March 2, after a visit with persons at Central Baptist Seminary and talking with the Rev. Morris Dice, the congregation voted unanimously to affiliate with the American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region. Charter memberhip was signed April 6, 1975 numbering 101; including 11 by baptism. Rev. Merris Dice performed the first baptismal service on April 6, 1975 at the Calvary Baptist Church in Chillicothe, Mo. Those baptized were: Bill and Margaret Cramer, Jeff McDonnal, Pam McIntosh, Charles Kromeich, Pam Eller, Donna Goucher and Betty, Connie, Randy and Gayle Dawkins.

The Rev. Jack Lawrence accepted the call to the pastorate of the church and began his ministry on July 13, 1975. Rev. Lawrence was a graduate of William Jewell College at Liberty and attended Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary receiving his Master of Divinity in 1972.

Four acres were donated for the site of the church by Ralph B. McCain. A building committee was elected and much work was done by the contractor, Joe Weidmier, and lay persons.

The first service in the basement of the new building was held June 29, 1975. Vacation Bible School was held June 30 to July 11. The first service in the sanctuary was held December 14, 1975.

Members of the building committee were: Nolan Long, Bill Cramer, Ralph Ratliff, Melvin McDonnal, Bob Eller, Jerry Baldwin, Roy Seidt, Vencille Jones, Ralph McCain, Otis Ireland, and Otis Ireland, Jr.

Finance committee: Will Perkins, Mary Lee

Everett, Charles Hopkins, Mike Clark, Grace Stone, and Edgar Kohl.

Board of Deacons: Ralph McCain, Delvern “Mike” Clark, Edgar Kohl, Nolan Long, Melvin McDonnal and Vincelle Jones.

Board of Trustees: Otis Ireland, Robert J. Searcy, Paul McIntosh, Gordon Howerton and Bill Cramer.

First Church Officers were: Pastor, the Rev. Jack Lawrence; Treasurer, Mary Lee Everett; Clerk, Lois McCain; Music Director, Bob Eller; Organist, Marcia Cramer, Pianists, Dorothy Doosing and Mary Jane Everett.

Service of Dedication was held February 8, 1976 with Dr. Albert J. Gernenz, Executive Minister of the American Baptist, as guest speaker with the Rev. and Mrs. Merris Dice, as honored guests.

The second and present pastor, Rev. Roland P. Cooper, served as interim-pastor from December 1978 until the church called him as pastor on April 8, 1979. He received his B.A. degree from William Jewell College at Liberty majoring in history and political science. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He also has a B.S. degree in elementary education from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. He has served as pastor of Baptist churches in Missouri, Colorado, and Illinois. He is teaching sixth grade at Southwest Elementary School in Ludlow.



The Welsh Baptist Sunday School was organized by a group of Welsh people from Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Wales. In 1865, they met in the home of Thomas Lewis for Sunday School and prayer meeting. Rev. H. O. Rowland preached the first Welsh sermon in the home of Joseph Lewis in March, 1866.

Rev. William Rowland was the first pastor, many denominations worshiped together at first. The Baptists decided to organize the Welsh Baptist church on August 15, 1868, in the Thomas Lewis home by Rev. D. V. Thomas of Rulo, Nebraska, who became the second pastor. The church had 20 charter members and 22 more were added to their membership in 1870. Thomas D. Jones and daughter Margaret, were among those who joined in 1870 whose posterity still serve in and contribute to the church financially including Margaret’s grand children who live in Louisiana and Paul and Ellen Jones who live in the Dawn community and are great-grandchildren of Thomas D. Jones.

When the congregation outgrew the Lewis home they were given permission to meet in the Barry School house until 1876. The church was built across the road east from the school house, at a cost of $700.00 and was dedicated debt free. The foundation was laid by Thomas Lewis and sons. The church was plastered by Jonathan Sykes at a cost of $10.00. In 1888 a Cornish organ was purchased at a cost of $42.50. In 1895, the name was changed to “Cambrian”. It has always been a missionary church and was the mother church of Bethany and Mt. Carmel and later Bethel Baptist. All have since been abandoned. From these churches missionaries have gone, Miss Maggie Hughes and Mrs. Anna (Hughes) Jellum both to the state of Utah from Bethany. Rev. Everett Wilcox went from Mt. Carmel to Brazil and on October 2, 1912, Thomas M. Griffiths Jr. was ordained to the ministry and went to Monmouth, Maine, where he still resides as a preacher, teacher and writer.

Another young man also from Cambrian was ordained and went to Virginia, he was Oliver C. Perry, (now deceased).

On April 27, 1947, the church voted to move to the village of Dawn, ground was given by Mr. and Mrs. Albert Lowery. On June 29, 1947, the church celebrated the 80th anniversary. That fall the building was torn down, the Fairland church near Avalon was Dawn Baptist Church purchased and torn down and both moved to Dawn. Many cold hands and feet were felt that fall as worship services were in a tent. The Christmas program was held in the basement. On April 11, the name was changed once again to the “Dawn Baptist Church”. It was dedicated May 2, 1948, with an attendance of over 200.

The first Vacation Bible School was held during the pastorate of Tom Rehorn in 1950. Rev. Gerald Pitney the next pastor, was a great Bible student and an energetic person. His wife, Nadie, was a talented musician. Until 1954 the church had only had preaching every other Sunday. Brother Glenn Peters was called. He was a veteran who had lost an arm and leg in the service of his country. He asked that the congregation have full time preaching and it has continued to the present time. Following him was Rev. David Beal and his wife, Helen, who served the Church faithfully for three years. The church debt was paid off and the Avalon Chapel was started with some of the dedicated members leading there. The Beals are now serving in mission work in Atlanta, Georgia. Under Brother Alva Null Jr’s leadership new floor coverings and new pews were added and dedicated with Rev. David Beal bringing the message.

Brother Larry Johnson was pastor in 1968 when the 100th anniversary was celebrated. Two former pastors, Rev. G. D. Parrack and Rev. Tom M. Griffiths Jr. gave inspiring messages. Some other dedicated young men who came to the Dawn Baptist church as their first pastorate were Bro. John Hackworth with wife, Jeanie. They organized a youth prayer group that brought the young people together, with some talented speakers. Another was Bro. Randall Bunch and wife, Karan, who were pastoring in 1971-1973 when they felt the call for Home Mission work in North Dakota. They returned for a meeting in March 1980. Wayne Comes and wife, Carol, served for three years, and were led to Home mission work in West Virginia. During their pastorate a choir was formed. Brother Larry Hershberger is the present pastor. He and his wife, Joyce, do a great work. He preached from the roof of the church, March 23, 1980. In the 112 years of the church 30 pastors, 20 deacons and 5 clerks have served the church. The present clerk has served thirty-nine years.



In the early 1920’s, many of the churches in the Dawn area were finding it difficult to secure and support full-time ministers. Because of this an informal committee, representing the Congregational, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches, met in 1925 to discuss possible solutions. Following these discussions, the three groups decided to jointly hire one minister. The first minister hired was the Reverend S. G. Gutensohn, a Congregationalist and a person committed to this project. The real beginnings of the Federated Church took place with a formal organization in 1926, governed by a Board of Control. On Nov. 27, 1927 a committee of this Board proposed a set of By-Laws which established a Council and five committees made up equally from members of each congregation. Later all three churches began meeting as one congregation in the Methodist church building. (This building, still in use today, had originally been constructed as an opera house by Watson Fisher. It was purchased for use as a church building by community subscription, and converted to this use by the Methodists.)

The year 1927 also saw the formation of the church group with the longest life - the recently revived “T. M.’s” This women’s group chose the name “The More The Merrier” and has been active in church and community affairs ever since.

During the late 1930’s, the Federated Church joined with the Avalon and Chula Presbyterian Churches in being served by one minister. Then from 1945 until 1952 it was yoked with the Liberty Methodist Church.

The early 1950’s saw the beginning of the annual Lord’s Acre Sale or Harvest Festival. At this time the building underwent some major remodeling. A full basement was added, and a new furnace, pews, and pulpit furniture replaced the old equipment. The congregation also decided to hire a full-time pastor once again and this led to another construction project. The old Congregational parsonage was inadequate, so a new one was built, being finished in 1955.

In 1961 the church once again faced the difficulty of supporting a full-time minister. The Livingston County Larger Parish was organized, which included the Blue Mound and Ludlow Christian churches in addition to the Federated church. Within a few years the local Christians became a formal affiliate of the Federation. Over the years many changes took place in the Larger Parish: the Plymouth Methodist church joined and later left; the Blue Mound congregation left; the Mooresville Christian church joined; the Ludlow Christian church became the Community church through a union with the United Methodist congregation. The Parish dissolved in 1974 when all three remaining congregations decided to try it on their own again.

The Federated church is still loosely connected with the four constituent denominations and has been served by pastors from each of these. Membership has dwindled along with the population of the Dawn area, but it is still a strong congregation attempting to fulfill its ministry and standing as a witness for cooperation among churches.



In the early fall of 1844, the second courthouse of Livingston County located in the Public Square served as the meeting place for Baptists to have their first religious services. Here, perhaps not more than ten or a dozen Baptists, under the leadership of the Pioneer Baptist preacher, William W. Walden, organized the First Baptist church in Chillicothe and here the little church continued to meet until 1850, at which time they joined the Christian church people in worshipping in what was probably the first building used exclusively for church services in Chillicothe. It was located at the present site of the Masonic Temple. The two churches cooperated in holding their services until 1856 when the Baptists disposed of their interests to the Christian church. Soon after this, the Baptists began the erection of a splendid brick building at the corner of Elm and Webster streets. This church was formally dedicated in 1858.

The Civil War brought about a division in the church but the Baptists were able to overcome this Civil War dissension and in 1869 the two churches appointed committees to bring about a union of the two churches. The committee was composed of Rev. G. W. Rodgers, Deacon, J. M. Alnutt, Dr. E. S. Poindexter, Deacon J. C. Bernard, A. S. Stewart, and Z. N. Goldby. The committee devised a plan whereby the two churches were to reorganize under the name of First Baptist Church of Chillicothe, Mo.

This was a great day for the Baptists of Chillicothe for after the consolidation the church had a membership of almost one hundred. Two years later in 1871 under the leadership of their new pastor, Rev. L. M. Berry, the church held a revival with Elder Randall doing the preaching. There were 110 baptisms. The church actually doubled itself in membership.

June 17, 1903, under the leadership of Dr. Ray Palmer, a contract was let for a new and modern building to be erected at Vine and Clay streets. The building was completed in less than a year at a cost of $16,525. Members of the church instrumental in raising money for the completion of the church were J. P. Hunt, F. A. Davis, R. M. Bruce, J. W. Botts, J. M. Dunn, C. E. Cornue, and C. 0. Hatcher.

The First Baptist Church had a continuous growth and in 1943 purchased the D. G. Johnson property across the street from the church at a cost of $3500.

They also voted to remodel the home to accommodate the Sunday School growth, and to finish the basement of the church for educational purposes.

In 1951 a division arose among our members and the Calvary Baptist Church was formed. Since then, the wounds have been healed and two strong churches have resulted.

A church educational building was erected or annexed in 1952, consisting of a basement and one story. A second story was added later.

In May, 1967, the foundation was laid for a new church building complex at 1601 Bryan, the lot being purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Miquelon. The construction was completed and dedication services were held March 17, 1968 with over 800 people in attendance.

(The former church building located at Vine and Clay Street was torn down, leaving the educational building which was converted into apartments.)

The people of First Baptist Church of Chillicothe feel they have been blessed of the Lord both spiritually and financially in being able to have carried on so rich a heritage.



On May 3, 1875, the first services were held of the First Baptist Church, Wheeling, Missouri. The church had no building in which to meet at this time, so for a while they met at the Wheeling School house and later at the Wheeling Methodist Church.

During the year 1888, the church secured property in the northern part of the city of Wheeling where the present church stands today. The people erected a building and furnished it at a cost of $1860.00. Dedication services were held in January of 1889.

By 1890, they were having preaching services twice a month and were able to build a baptistry. In the early 1900’s, electrical wiring was installed in the church.

In 1923, the Baptist and the Methodist decided to call a pastor on the field to serve both churches.

The ladies of the church were very important in the early years as they would hold annual chrysanthemum shows in order to help support the church.

By 1929, the church was able to put a full basement under their building, to add three rooms to the north of the building, plus installation of a pipeless furnace.

In 1948, the Methodist church decided to hire their own full time pastor which led the Baptist to do likewise in 1954.

A parsonage for the church was acquired in 1953 when John Walkup presented the church with a gift of some property which presently, as through the years, serves as a home for the pastors of the church.

The church decided in 1959 to build an educational building at the north of the existing church and completion and dedication was in November of 1963.

Through the years a lot of beautification to the Lords House in Wheeling was done through gracious gifts left to the church by members and also through gifts given as memorials.

The church today is very active with a G. A. (organization for girls) which has been active since 1938; a W.M.U. (womens organization) which began in early 1924; and through the years they have had organizations for boys.

The present pastor of the church is Rev. Steve Pinnell. The deacons are Wayne Seifert and Winston Buckner. Trustees are Bob Kimmis, Clarence Arthaud, Cecil Buckner, and Hal Norwood.



The First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Chillicothe, Missouri was organized November 7, 1844, by Reverend J. S. Allen and the Reverend Thomas Thompson. The organization took place in the old brick court house, built in 1840, and located in the center of where the square is today. The church met there until 1856 when the first building was erected at the southwest corner of Clay and Washington streets. The first building cost $2,000.00.

In January 1864, David T. Wright became minister of the church here. Following a fire of a publishing house in Trenton, Missouri, Reverend Wright made arrangements to have the Christian Pioneer published in Chillicothe. The Christian Pioneer was the first state religious paper printed by the Christian Church in Missouri, and because of its publication Chillicothe became the central meeting point of the early Christian Church preachers in Missouri. On April 5, the second church building was erected by the congregation at the corner of Jackson and Cherry Streets (its present location) at a cost of $10,000. A few years later 1892 the first organ was provided for worship service.

During the years from 1892 to 1923 the church organized missionary circles, Bible Classes, various committees were formed to carry on the mission of the church.

On January 30, 1927, the third church building was dedicated” costing $90,912.15. The great depression of the 1930’s struck the church as it did our nation and because of heavy debt the bondholders foreclosed. For a time the church held its meetings in the Masonic Temple. By 1943 the indebtedness was paid and the members moved back into the building. The Alice Roe Chapel (now Memorial Chapel) was installed and dedicated on January 26, 1947. Dr. Kenneth Kuntz was minister during this period.

The congregation voted in, November 1966 to remodel the existing church, rather than purchase new land and construct a new building. A fund-raising campaign was held and over $73,000.00 was pledged.

On June 21, 1970 a re-dedication service was held with Dr. Lesster Rickman, General Minister and President of the Christian Church in Missouri as speaker. The cost of the remodeling was $183,457.19. A loan from the Board of Church Extension for $80,000.00 was secured to be paid in ten years. That debt was paid in five (5) years, with a mortgage burning service held June 29, 1975 to celebrate the event.



The First Presbyterian Church of Chillicothe, Missouri was organized November 27, 1858, by the Reverend Ralph Harris, after a year of work by a small group of Presbyterians. James Love of Liberty, Missouri donated a lot at the Northeast corner of Elm and Ann Streets. A small brick building was erected and the Reverend Mr. Singleton supplied the pulpit for the first two years.

During the Civil War, soldiers took possession of the building and used it to house negroes, until a Presbyterian minister obtained permission to use it for a school. In 1866, the church was again organized, with the Reverend John Pinkerton as pastor. There were 27 members, and a Sunday School was organized.

In 1892, the second brick building was constructed. It was a large square building, accommodating 300 persons. There were tall stained glass windows in the west and south walls. On the southwest corner was a tall, square bell-tower and entrances on the west and south - a style commonly used in that period. Dr. George Miller supplied the pulpit until 1897.

In 1951 this building was razed and the present structure erected. In this interim, services were held in the Ben Bolt Theatre, with the Reverend James A. McNeilly as pastor.

The present building, of Williamsburg brick, is built on simple Gothic lines. With the balcony, the seating capacity is about 275. It was dedicated on April 20, 1952. In 1959 an addition was completed, to the north of the church. This added 5,000 square feet of space. A new entrance was provided into a hall between the two sections. Downstairs is a large hall for gatherings, with a convenient kitchen. The upper level provides a large study, a secretary’s room, a comfortable lounge, a large nursery and two classrooms. A library is now in the planning stage. The Reverend William L. Lindblom has served as pastor since 1963, being the longest period to be served by one pastor. He has initiated many changes and improvements. The church enjoys an outstanding music program; Mrs. Oscar M. Cooke as organist and Mr. Jack Brookshire the current director of music. In 1966 a new pipe organ replaced the one used for over 50 years; a church lounge was decorated and furnished; and in 1974 a dedication was held for 7 new stained-glass windows, depicting the “Symbols of the key acts of God as recorded in the Testaments.”

At the same time an eight foot cross of ash was dedicated, to grace the east wall of the chancel. This was built by W. L. Shaffer, Jr. and presented to the church by Mr. and Mrs. Shaffer.



In 1892, a Primitive Methodist preacher from Ludlow, Missouri by the name of St. Clair came to Chillicothe and held a meeting in a schoolhouse near Cowgill and Green Street. A class was organized and the church was built on the Southwest corner of Williams and Green Street.

In 1895, the Methodist Primitive folks sold the church to the Congregationalist people who moved the church to 223 Graves Street in 1896. The bell was donated by Mr. Broadbick, foundation stones were hauled by team and wagon by J. W. Simmons.

In February 1899, a Free Methodist General Conference Evangelist, W. C. Hanmer came to Chillicothe and held a meeting in the church. A class was organized and the building purchased from the Congregationalists. T. B. France served as supply pastor until conference. Charter members were Walter Simmons, Mr. and Mrs. Junnes, Marion Hughes, Mandy Hughes, Mr. and Mrs. Hull, Mr. and Mrs. Turner, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wood, Mrs. A. E. Abbott, Wesley Rhinehart, Stella Sharp, and H. B. France. F. A. Reeves was the first appointed pastor at the 1899 conference.

J. B. France, local preacher and carpenter with Brother Simmons help built the parsonage rooms on the back of the church. Another addition was built by M. P. Andrews, a bath was put in by Eungene Layson. A basement was started during the pastorate of Forrest Hicks. In May of 1960 a re-location began. It climaxed with a new building at 1441 Jackson under the ministry of Joseph Humphrey. The cornerstone was laid August 7, 1966. Former pastors participating were: M. P. Andrews, Paul Willard, Truman Shepherd, Forrest Hicks, S. L. Gilkison and Alfred Kahlstorf. Dedication was held March 31, 1968, Dr. Stanley Walters of Greenville College was the speaker. In February 1969, property east of the church was purchased and in 1971 construction began on an educational unit. In June 1972, the building was first used for classes. In January 1976, property at 1426 Webster was purchased to provide space for future planning and expansion. The pastor, Donald E. Hoffman, and family moved there in July. The west wing addition to the church was begun in April 1979 and completed in April 1980, dedicated in May. About 90% of the work was done by the lay people of the church.



The church property was acquired in 1859 and the structure built in 1870. It is the oldest church building in use in Chillicothe. Many of the stained glass windows were installed long before the turn of the century and represent fine examples of 19th century church art. The church furnishings reflect the constant devotion and care of generations of Episcopalians who have worshiped there.

Founded during the great westward movement, Grace Church provides its people with the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church which is the American branch of the world wide Anglican Communion. Its worship is formed by the Book of Common Prayer, first printed in 1549, and modified by succeeding revisions. The Episcopal Church possesses the Catholic and Protestant traditions of the past as living realities of the Christian faith. Grace Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 17, 1980.



For other foundations can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ -- 1 Corinthians 3:11

On January 28, 1966 money was borrowed in the amount of $3500.00 to purchase property located at 711Milwaukee Street Chillicothe, Missouri. The property consisted of five lots and one four room frame house purchased for the purpose of having a Baptist Church. The partitions were removed and the interior of building was paneled.

On March 29, 1966 Rev. Jim Wells, Tina, Missouri, filled the pulpit at our first services. April 6, 1966 voted to call our church Highview Baptist Church and at the same meeting Rev. Jim Wells was called to be our pastor for full time; he served until August 14, 1966. Rev. Charles Turner, Kansas City, Missouri, was called August 21, 1966. On March 12, 1967 we were constituted as a Southern Baptist Church with 25 charter members. On November 8, 1967 we borrowed $4500.00 to build a basement; the cost of the basement was $5000.00. April, 1968, the basement was completed, services were held full time; the former building was used for Sunday School classes.

Rev. Charles Turner served until February 5, 1969 when Rev. Joe Turner, brother to Charles was called February 12, 1969; he served until February 12, 1971. Rev. Lawrence Hammond was called and served from March 7, 1971 to July 1972. Rev. Merlin Shively was called September, 1972. He is the present pastor. The note for indebtedness on the ground and building was paid and the note burned in 1974. On March 5, 1975 we voted to start on the present building as the money came in. The building was completed February 27, 1976.

Our present membership is 154 members.



The Leopolis community was among the first to be settled. Patrick Hogan, born in Ireland was the first to come with his family from Canada, in 1869. The place was first known as Hogan’s Settlement. Later the name was changed to Leopolis, in honor of Pope Leo XIII. Franklins, Halls, Regans and McKenzies came from Canada, and Feeneys, Martins, Kinsellas, Sheas, Lawlers and Fitzpatricks all had emigrated from Ireland except McKenzies, who came from Scotland.

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church was built and dedicated in 1884. Its three bells were given by Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Kinsella and their grandson, Lawrence Lawler, pulled the bell rope for the first service. Pat Hogan and Lee Pendergast were the first to be baptized in the new church. Before the church was built, services were held in private homes and members formerly belonged to St. Columban’s congregation, in Chillicothe.

The Franciscan Fathers were pastors for many years and after them Father Henry B. Tierney, a noted poet and one of the best known priests in North Missouri, was pastor.

In 1890, a parochial school was erected and opened by the Sisters of Mercy. The school was given up in 1898. The plot of ground for the church and cemetery was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hall.



The community now served by Liberty Church was settled in the 1830’s. A log cabin schoolhouse was built in 1838, one half mile south and a half mile west of the present church. In 1843 Cap Bowen organized a Sunday School here called Union Sunday Brethern School. The first minister was a United Brethern from Avalon, local preachers, Reverend Linthecum and Reverend Swain also preached. In the winter of 1873, Reverend Mosher, a Methodist Minister who lived in Dawn held a revival. A church was organized with Brother Mosher as minister. Charter member families were: Seiberlings, Mosers, McKerlie, Coe, Stone, and Bean.

During hard times the minister left, so two of the women of the community, Mrs. Coe and Mrs. McKerlie took turns reading sermons, when a new minister was appointed these two women were appointed stewards and they visited each family in the congregation with a team and wagon collecting grain, vegetables, meat and fruit for the minister’s family.

The Liberty Church became a part of the Ludlow Circuit and Reverend C.A.B. Watson was sent to build a church. In 1884 a tornado at Blue Mound blew down the log schoolhouse, and the church services were held at Swain School until a new Kincaid School could be built. In 1888 Professor Bates of Avalon conducted a singing school for the young people so they could learn to read music. Thomas L. Jones gave the lot for the new church and building was started in 1892. A Christian Endeavor was organized in 1895, between Reese Chapel, Liberty, and the U. B. Church in Avalon, it became an active organization and later a Junior Christian Endeavor was organized with Katie Seiberling as sponsor. The church started a missionary program in 1905. Later Reverend C. C. Hartzler, student pastor at Liberty in 1909, became a missionary to Africa.

In 1908, a Ladies Aid was organized to help with church finances. In 1917, the church formed an orchestra and the first piano was purchased for the church. The church was one of the first rural churches to sponsor a 4-H club, starting in 1920 with W. D. Steele as a leader, when 4-H club work was reactivated in the 1930’s the name Liberty 4-H Club was chosen. In 1922, an Epworth League was started. By 1920, the church had outgrown the building, and an annex and a basement was built. It was dedicated on August 12, 1923. Further renovation of the old building was done during the 1920’s.

In 1940, following Methodist Unification, a Methodist Youth Fellowship was started and later the Ladies Aid and the Missionary Society became the Women’s Society of Christian Service.

The youth of the church started a choir, under the direction of Mrs. Maurice Livingston, during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The youth fellowship of the church embarked on many different projects in late years. They have participated in nine work camps, in Missouri, Oklahoma, Kentucky, under the leadership of Mr. and Mrs. Dale Whiteside.

In 1960, a new church sanctuary was built of brick. Lee Wray Russell was the minister at the time. The old frame church continued to be used for Sunday School classes until 1968 when an educational wing was built, and the old frame building was torn down. The educational wing was built during Reverend John Gooding’s ministry.

The present minister is Reverend Gilbert Evans. The church membership is 150 members. Mrs. Lena Bowen is church lay leader, Raymond Hoyt is chairman of the Administrative Council, Mrs. Beverly Reeser is chairman of the Council on Ministries.

The church has an active Men’s Club with Dale Whiteside as president. The women of the church belong to United Methodist Women with Mrs. Latimer Jones as president, and the young people of the church belong to United Methodist Youth with Evonna George as president.

There are nine Church School classes. Mrs. Pat Shuler is chairman of Church School work. Margaret Wood serves as Church School secretary, Ben Wood Jones is Church treasurer, Mrs. Willa Vee George is financial secretary.



The Lilly Grove Church built in the years 1856-1858 by those residing in the area and who recognized the need of having a place where they could gather and be ministered to from the Holy Writ, and to give thanks to the great Creator God for their many blessings, still stands in northwest Livingston County, 14 miles northwest of Chillicothe, Missouri.

Built out of native lumber the floor is of rough sawed oak, the pews are native material; and the heat was from two large wood or coal stoves.

The ground was furnished by the Lilly family, therefore the name Lilly Grove.

Those who are believed to have helped in the building are the Lilly’s, George Washington Hobbs, Thomas Gann, Thomas Hutchison, John W. Boyle; and other names from the cemetery markers that may have helped in the building or in other ways are Phelps, Hosman, Lauderdale, Faulk, Moore, Shuler, Farrar, Caladine, Hand, Brown, Ott, Campbell, Lipke, Rose, Griffin, Gillilan, Tye, Wood, and others who were not buried in the Lilly Grove Cemetery. There are some of the markers so weatherworn the names cannot be seen.

During 1861 the Lilly Grove Area was a no-man’s land between the southern sympathizers and the Union forces.

The Illinois 50th Cavalry visited Lilly Grove Church on a Sunday morning and created excitement. About this time a bullet hole was made in the door of the Church.

Former pastors were: Thomas Thompson, I. S. Allen, George Flint, Wm. Harriman, W. B. Carter, M. Peterson, Whaley, Pardonner, J. Edwards, J. D. Wilnot, Ben Matchett, U. S. Thader, W. D. Gordon, Jacob Creath, R. M. Messick, B. Lockhart, E. J. Duncan, C. A. Hedrick, D. F. Bessett, Phelps and Hawkins.

Denver Richardson was the minister in the 1930’s and the services were attended by many in the area, when there was a large number of young people living near by and they made it a must to go to Lilly Grove. Names of some attending at that time; Lovell, Rose, Swaithes, Wilson, White, Persell, Laffey, Black, Dickerson, Davidson, Robbins, Young, Gillilan, Schuler, Hicklin, Hochs, Gann, Thompson, Sneeden, Tout, Prewitt, Caddell, Long, Stottlemyre, Hutchison, Marlow, Lamp, Cox, Miller and Bates.

In the late 1940’s and early 50’s, it was rather quiet at Lilly Grove, but Mr. and Mrs. Johnnie Gann and Dora Hutchison never forgot the old church that was dear to them, and attended occasionally. Johnnie mowed the part of the cemetery where his relatives were buried and Alpha wrote the items for the Chillicothe and Jamesport newspapers.

In the mid 1950’s Mr. and Mrs. William Wigfield and others from Chillicothe and Gallatin started a twice weekly Bible study; during this time the building was painted, a new roof job and the front steps and porch renewed. Mrs. C. 0. Berden, Red Cloud, Nebraska had made money available for the improvements. She, I believe, was the daughter of one of the Hutchisons. Roger Peery, Harold Godman and Dave Lovell did the porch work.

A large crowd gathered for the centennial meeting in the summer of 1958, attending from far and near. Ernest Harvey was the speaker in the morning and Paul Ketcherside in the afternoon.

In the early 1960’s Mr. and Mrs. George Walker, Kansas City, Missouri promoted a nightly meeting for two weeks.

In the 1960’s William Wilson and Johnnie Gann started the occasional Sunday afternoon singings which lasted until 1973. William Wilson generally was speaker at these events with an occasional guest speaker among whom was Ron Palarmo and Dan Schiel who is now being heard over 2 or 3 radio stations and recently on television in the Houston, Texas area. Many attended from far and near and took part in music and song. The Lilly Grove Church has been standing for 118 years, was painted again in the early 1970’s but of course is showing it’s age. It has been a lighthouse down through the years, loved by many and frequently visited by many who live in other states and different parts of the country when they are here on vacation.

Beulah Gay, now deceased, had made a sufficient amount of money available for a trust fund to be used for the care and upkeep of the cemetery by and in back of the church building. There are several of Miss Gay’s relatives buried there including her grandparents on the Gann side of her family. The grounds are kept mowed at regular times through the growing season, the markers have been straightened where needed, and the grounds have been well fenced. The work being directed by John Peery who was named trustee; Roy Hicklin, Beulah Dunn and Lowell Moore the board members.

Much of the early history of Lilly Grove has been collected by Mrs. Nelle Parker, Trenton, Mo., with a Mrs. Mays, Kansas City, Mo. Mildred Hutchison, Kansas City, who formerly lived near, and Mrs. Grace Cole who still lives in the area assisting from old diaries, notes that had been written in song books; etc.

In this bicentennial year of the independence of our great country, may we the people desire and search for the truth from God’s inspired word, realizing that from His word guided by the revealing of the Holy Spirit we can know the way, the truth and the life.

“Blessed is the nation whose Godis the Lord.” Psalms 33:12 

-- William Wilson



June 1972, the congregation of the former Ludlow Christian Church and Ludlow Methodist Church finalized the merger into the Ludlow Community Church. The new church was a partner in the Livingston County Larger Parish along with Dawn Federated Church and Mooresville Christian Church. Reverend Robert Barnett, former pastor of the Ludlow Circuit of the Ludlow Methodist Church was the pastor.

Officers were: Noah Gall, Mrs. Zeala Warner, John Busby, Carl Goll, Mrs. Helen Hughes, Mrs. Betty Wolcott, secretary, Mrs. Virginia James, treasurer and David James. The Larger Parish Committee: John Wolcott, Maurice Hatchitt and Mrs. Novella Robinson.

This organization remained until 1974 - 75. Then Reverend Barnett became pastor to the Ludlow Community Church, Mooresville Christian Church and Wheeling Christian Church of which he still serves (1980).



In 1853, the Ludlow Methodist Church was organized with nine charter members: Peter Rudolph, Ella Rudolph, Benjamin Toner, Abigail Toner, Samuel Rudolph, Mary Rudolph, Mathilda Mafee, Mrs. Ella Rudolph and one other person whose name is not now known.

Shortly after the organization was completed Rev. Buren was called as pastor. He held a revival meeting and many were added to this band of worshippers. They had no church building in which to hold their services but overcame this difficulty by holding services in various homes. Rev. Witten was the next pastor. At this time arrangements were made to hold services in a log school house. These hardy pioneers thought nothing of walking four or more miles to worship services.

Services were held at several locations before members took steps to erect a church in which to worship. Services were held for a time at Austin Chapel which was known as the Treat schoolhouse that stood where the Baptist Chapel now stands. (Formerly Ludlow Christian Church).

The congregation erected its first church in 1873 on the corner across the road from the Monroe Cemetery and was called Monroe Center M. E. Church. In 1874 the average attendance at Sunday School-was 66 and Abraham Culling was superintendent.

In 1888, the members bought a lot in the town of Ludlow and moved their building there. Then in 1906-1907 with increased membership it was found that the old building was no longer adequate to meet the requirements of the growing organization. To make way for the new building, the old church building was again moved to the rear of the church lot and was used in that location until the new building was completed in 1907-1908. The new church building was dedicated Sunday August 16, 1908. The dedicatory sermon was delivered by Rev. P. J. McVeety. Rev. C. S. Dayoff was pastor at the time.

In June 1972, Methodist authorization was given on behalf of the Missouri West Conference by Rev. Paul White, district superintendent for the merger with the Ludlow Christian Church into the Ludlow Community Church.



The church was organized December 15, 1887, and services were held in what was once a school house built on land owned by Peter Copple who was the main leader of the church at that time. Original book of records was accidentally burned, but from inquiries has been collected the following names of the charter members: the families of Peter Copple and Ward Anderson, Mrs. Rebecca Critchfield, Mrs. Emma Copple, Mr. & Mrs. Henry Reed, Al Bryan, Mrs. Lee Barton, Mr. & Mrs. George Lenhart.

Preaching was held in the school house church and in 1892, a Sunday School was started by Franklyn Hatchitt, Mrs. Al Bryan and Mrs. Lee Barton.

The Milwaukee Land Company purchased the land in 1891 and the land where the old school church building stood was deeded to the trustees of the church.

In 1892 the members decided to build a new church but the lot was too narrow, so Franklyn Copple granted the use of a few feet of land on the south side to widen the space for the church building.

The members of the Church are glad to record having seen one of their young members ordained as a minister, Reverend LaVerne Rudolph.

As the Ludlow community grew smaller in numbers, two churches in town, Ludlow Methodist church and the Ludlow Christian Church, organized the Ludlow Community Church in 1972.



The Mooresville Christian Church was organized about July, 1879, and first met in the one room school building located just south of old U. S. Hwy. 36 and west of Main Street, and later in the Presbyterian church. About 1889 a ladies’ aid society was organized, mainly for the purpose of raising money for a new church building. The church located on the corner of old U. S. Hwy 36 and Jackson Street, was erected at a cost of approximately $1,200.00. The land was a gift from Humphrey D. Hudgins. Most of the labor was contributed by different men of the community. Thomas J. Ireland, Chillicothe, Mo. was employed by the ladies aid society to superintend the construction of the building. A Bible and pulpit from the first building of the Chillicothe Christian church were presented as a gift. Fourteen pews were purchased about October, 1960, at a cost of approximately $1,022.00. These pews, as well as the pulpit, communion table, chairs and two additional pews which were purchased about June, 1962, are still in use.

Needing space for social events, the Christian church purchased a building on Main Street in July, 1961, from George Hightower for $500.00; the building became known as Fellowship Hall.

Ground breaking ceremonies were held June 9, 1977, for an addition to the Christian church, consisting of a social hall, 3 class rooms, restrooms and storage space. The addition was completed in the summer of 1978.

Rev. Robert Barnett is the present minister of the church, having served in this capacity for about 8 years.



The Mooresville Methodist Church South was organized the fall of 1867. There were 13 charter members. They were: Mr. and Mrs. Perry Stuckey, Mr. and Mrs. Mike Tomlin, Mr. and Mrs. L. Holden, Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Cunningham, Mrs. N. Cooper, Mrs. E. Rucker and Mrs. M. Hamblin.

The first minister was Reverend J. S. Shores. They held services in the Presbyterian Church (which was the only church building in town) until the Methodist Church was built. It was dedicated by Bishop McMurray in 1881. It was known as the Breckenridge Circuit at the time and Mooresville Zion and Bethel were on Circuit.

On September 18, 1886, trustees of the M. E. Church South and a committee appointed by the congregation, known as the Christian Congregation, Town of Mooresville, agreed to hold church in the M. E. Church and each church was to keep up their portion of bills in order to use the M. E. Church to worship in.

W. L. Moore, Jessie Moore’s grandfather gave the ground on which it was built and he also gave the bell. It was erected at the cost of $1400.00. Later the entrance and belfry was erected about 1896. The bell was so heavy it made the plastering fall, hence the belfry was reconstructed.

Mrs. Mary Cunningham was the last charter member and she died in 1929. She was the last charter member to be buried from the church. At present, 1980, the church has a membership of 59 members. The present minister is Reverend Leroy Allison and trustees are: Leland Bowyer, Vance Phares, Frank O’Brien and Wayne Rockhold.

In 1979 the church was remodeled, new ceiling was lowered, walls paneled and wood work painted. The church has church and Sunday school each Sunday.



On the 16th day of October, 1884, the Christians met at the Blue Mound School house and formed an organization by electing Bro. W. W. Campbell, M. W. Knox and G. H. Carr as elders, and Bro. S. M. Haynes, and John Sullivan, deacons, H. W. Marker, clerk. The name of the church proposed by sisters, Susie Knox and Leona Barkshire was Mount Hope, which was adopted.

On November 25, 1885, Charles M. and Margaret (Stagner) McAlear deeded 3/4 acre NE corner, NW NE 35-56-24 to B. F. Knox, H. N. Knox and John Burton, trustees, to build a church. The church was built in 1885 with donations of labor and materials. H. N. Knox was the first Sunday school supt., with a membership of 60. E. N. Ware was the first preacher.

The Church of Christ shared the church for their meetings before building their own building, also at Blue Mound.

Bro. Tinsley was hired as minister in 1922. He was from Chillicothe, MO. Bro. Floyd Edwards, Chillicothe, held several revivals. Rev. Lloyd Morgan, Wheeling, and later Bucklin, came twice each month for seven years as pastor.

Bill Hoyt is the present superintendent of the Sunday School.



Services were first held in an old log school house, known as the Walker School House, in 1865, by Joseph Delvin. The school house was southeast of the present church site. Mt. Olive was designated as part of the Springhill Circuit by the Missouri Annual Conference held in Richmond, Mo. in 1865.

In 1871, the meeting place was changed to the Brown School House, located northeast of the present church site.

In December, 1875, citizens promised to pay amounts specified at the time to the Leeper class, Mt. Olive, Jamesport Circuit, Missouri Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church South to be used in erecting a church for public worship on the land of W. J. Gibbens; said church to be built near the north line on the first ridge W of the corner of the NE of the NE of section 25 township 58 range 25 Livingston County, Missouri. “Mt. Olive Methodist Episcopal Church South 1876” was inscribed on the north gable of the church. Deed was recorded on July 8, 1876.

The charter members included the family names of Beal, Dryden, Brown, Hale, Dunn, Williams, Breeze, Gann, McWilliams, Allnutt, Simmons, Walker, Elrick, Frazier, Munsy, Wilson, Gibbens, Robinson, Dawkins, Sanson, Mathis, Cooper, Rider, England and Boyle.

In the year 1892, the members began making plans to buy two acres for Mt. Olive Cemetery from J. R. Brown for a cost of $104.00.

In 1901, the church burned one Sunday night following the night service, presumably from an overheated wood stove. Members again held services at the Brown Schoolhouse. Although plans for the present building began almost immediately, the church was not dedicated until 1904.

The woman’s organization in the church was first called “Ladies Aid” and then “Industrial Society”. Later the “Woman’s Society of Christian Service” and now the “United Methodist Women”.

The first homecoming at Mt. Olive was held July 29, 1928.

With the completion of the basement in 1959, it made possible the modern conveniences we now enjoy. The basement was dedicated in 1960.

During the week of Sept. 26 to Oct. 3, 1965, Mt. Olive celebrated its centennial. The pastors that have served Mt. Olive from first to last have been: Rev. S. W. Cope, Rev. G. Y. Blakely, Rev. J. A. Hyder, Rev. J. W. Perry, Rev. A. L. Gribble, Rev. Willis E. Dockery, Rev. Faux (Fox), Rev. Kindred, Rev. Shackelford, Rev. Rice, Rev. Whitworth, Rev. Campbell, Rev. Carl Davis, Rev. Trotter, Rev. Smith, Rev. Sam Hawkins, Rev. Barret, Rev. Wm. Rutherford, Rev. Stanger, Rev. F. G. Seyforth, Rev. P. W. Henry, Rev. W. H. Allen, Rev. H. E. Burton, Rev. Harry J. McGrew, Rev. Edward J. Spears, Rev. E. E. Mangold, Rev. D. R. Davis, Rev. A. J. Rehkop, Rev. Ruby McLeod, Rev. J. W. Nelson, Rev. Geo. Wheat, Rev. Lawrence Wheeler, Rev. Don Cook, Rev. Evelyn Ezell, Rev. Geo. Borgeson, Ron Barr, Jay Vetter, Rev. Harry Rigsby, Lon Lewis and several Lay Speakers.

The present pastor (1980) is Robert Casady and the church has 72 members. 

– Oakland Douglas



Mt. Pleasant Baptist church was organized July 23, 1852, at Frith School house (later known as Raulie School). Rev. James Turner and Elder Scott organized the church, land was donated by Benjamin Hargrave. James Turner first pastor, resigned April 1879 because of ill health. The first building erected in 1853, burned and was rebuilt in 1876, at a cost of $800.00. A committee appointed raised $368.50 by April1887, when debt was paid by assessing membership according to amount of taxes paid. Building burned again in 1889, was insured, and by June 1889, they met in new building which cost $654. A new addition was added in June 1917, and all debts paid before dedication January 15, 1919. Rev. T. L. Harris was pastor and also served as carpenter, members donated work and dug a cistern. In December 1946, a full basement was put under the building, a gas furnace installed in 1956, classrooms, kitchen and another heater. in the basement, white asbestor siding was put on and new chairs, tables, and paneling in the basement were added.

Some of first members were Henry Frith, Elisha Boucher, Benjamin Hargrave, John Hargrave, J. H. Street, James McCallister, J. M. Allnut, John Weaver, Sneed, Jennings, Cornelius, Sterling, Crews, and Brassfield families,50 members in all. Some descendents of these families are members today.

The church joined Livingston County Association in August 1874. The first Revival was held at the Frith

home for several weeks, and finally closed because Mr. Frith ran out of food and water. Families came by horse and wagon and stayed until revival ended. Another early revival was held at the Riley Brassfield home and Brassfield school in 1858. In 1868 several members were dismissed to form another church at Zion. Biggest revival held was in a tent Uncle Henry Boon bought and donated to the County Association. T. L. Harris was pastor at that time. Ten men have been licensed to preach or ordained by the church: Wm. H. Boon, Bro. William Hughes, Bro. Albert Gallatin, W. C. Morgan, Charles C. Hargrave, George W. Mast, Albert Mast, Earnie Sneden, Frank Schwab, and James Wood.

Mid-week prayer meeting started in January 1887. The first Sunday School, organized in May 1890, with William H. Boon as the superintendent, has been held continuously since that time with attendance varying from 30 to 100. Baptist Training Union started in 1922 with Albert Mast as president, and a Women’s Missionary Union was organized in 1926.

The church went from half time to full time during March 1947. Mt. Pleasant Cemetery was donated by John Grouse in 1874, one acre in size. The family later donated another half acre on the south side and one row of lots was taken off the south side of the church yard.

The church today has a membership of 114 resident members and 67 non-resident members. Church has full time work, usually with student pastors. The members hold revivals, prayer meetings, and vacation Bible School in the summer with an average of 80 children attending. The members participate in activities and meetings of the Linn-Livingston Baptist Association of which the church is a member.

Two window air conditioners have been installed and in November 1979 the Rural Water System was put into the basement with new kitchen equipment, refrigeration, metal cabinets, sink, new range and lighting. The ceiling was lowered and insulated and new florescent lighting was installed. A new addition has been added to the front of the church including two restrooms and large entry way that is carpeted and paneled and new front steps with a railing. The church is free from debt. The full time student pastor is Jesse Greever. The church has Bible School, Cooperative Program, Baptist Women, Special Mission work, Home for Aged and Orphans Home, Refugee family and sponsors visits to the nursing home. The Sunday School enrollment is 57. The church auditorium has been newly papered and new blinds installed. The Linn and Livingston Association meeting met at the church in August, 1980.

Ola M. Noah Historian

Larry Seale, Treasurer

Hazel Mast, Clerk



Mt. Zion Baptist of Chillicothe was organized by the Wood River Association of Wood River, Illinois in 1854. One of the organizers was a Reverend Dolin. The meeting places of the church in its early organization were in the homes, in the school and in an old tobacco factory on West Webster street. In September 1865, the North Missouri Association was organized by several ministers, since this is the oldest church north of the Missouri River, it is called the Mother Church of the Mt. Zion District.

In 1866 the present site was purchased from John Graves for $1.50. The first building was a crude one, 40 feet long and 20 feet wide. Later 20 more feet were added in length. The church was raised, a basement added, and a baptismal pool built during the pastorage of Reverend J. S. Swancy. Ministers preceding Reverend S. D. Saunder lived in rented houses. During Reverend Saunder’s ministry, the parsonage was purchased.

In the past 25 years, extensive remodeling and redecorating have been done, the women of the church have worked hard in every effort, dating back to pioneer women who helped to hew out logs that were used for sills in the church.

The church has had 35 pastors, the present pastor is Reverend John R. White. Jerome Botts is chairman of the Deacons, and other deacons are Benjamin Johnson, Jesse E. Dodd, Jr. Wymond Palmer is chairman of the Trustees and other trustees are Max Allen and Carl Kerr. Mary Johnson is clerk, and Darline Botts is treasurer.



In the year 1909, Rev. W. B. Alsbury, a Missionary came to the Linville School and held a revival meeting, which led to the organization of The Olive Branch Baptist Church. On April 11, 1909, they had their first meeting with Rev. Lee Hunt preaching. There was a business meeting following, with Rev. Alsbury as moderator and Earl Cox as clerk. The first deacons to be elected were J. C. Gallatin, F. M. Stein, C. E. Cox, W. L. Linville, Rev. F. P. Davidson gave the charge to the deacons.

On April 20, 1909, the deacons called a meeting, J. C. Gallatin acting as moderator. A motion was made and carried that Olive Branch Baptist Organization build a building on the Southwest corner of the Sam Thompson farm for a church. The lot cost $100.00, subscriptions $1726.78, Ladies Aid, $169.60, work, $200.00, a total of $2196.38.

Nine months later the first meeting was held in the completed building. There were 34 Charter members, 14 by letter and 20 by Baptism. By March, 1910 there were 45 members. The church was dedicated the fifth Sunday in January, 1910. The first pastor was Lee Hunt. In August of 1909, a letter was sent asking for admittance to the Southern Baptist Association.

The church continued to grow, having services through the years, with one-fourth or one half time preaching. In 1949, the Church voted to go to full time with Dudley Kern as the pastor. During this time rooms were added to make five Sunday School rooms, with a parsonage built one mile west of the church.

On December 8, 1955, the church building burned. A new building was erected on the same site as the old church. The first service in the new church was held in the basement in May of 1956. During the years improvements have been made, the most recent being the addition of stained glass windows. An interesting note, in March, 1910, the church voted to set out two evergreen trees, one of which is still standing today.

The following is a list of the pastors of Olive Branch Church: Lee Hunt, Davis, Turnage, Parker, Henry, Creekmore, Helb, McNelly, Sharrah, Patterson, Harris, Sharrah, Marrs, Barker, Lawson, Kern, Hatfield, Marrs, Earl Wood, Floyd George, Butterfield, David Cline, Greg McCune, Jim Engleman, Jimmy Whitlock.

The following is a list of the deacons of Olive Branch Church: 1914, Louis C. Smith, George Yeomans, E. B. Anderson; 1931, Robert Howe, William Christison; 1933, Charley Ishmael; 1941, George Darr, Georgie Ishmael, Reed Prewitt; 1953, Leonard Nibarger, Frank Little, Russell Bate.

The following are the present deacons of the Church: Doyle Whitmire, Carol Grimes, George Darr, C. S. Jones Jr., and Marion Still.

The following is a list of the clerks of Olive Branch Church: E. A. Cox, 1909-1912; C. B. Smith, 1912-1925, Ruben Linville, 1925-1930, C. B. Smith, 1930-1952, Helen Offield, 1952-1954; Russell Bate, 1954-1955, Mrs. Merle Street, 1955-1975, C. S. Jones Jr., 1975-1980.



The Pleasant Grove Methodist Church was organized in autumn of 1860 by Rev. Sam L. Alexander, assisted by Rev. W. G. Caples. The first meeting was held at the Wolfskill schoolhouse later known as Butler. Rev. John A. Mumpower preached in 1862. The first church building was built in 1872 with Rev. W. W. Jones as Pastor in charge and Rev. W. W. Jones as Presiding Elder. The building committee was composed of Joseph Wolfskill, Nathan Thompson, John Cleveland Jr, and David Mumpower.  The minister was Rev. M. G. Gregory. The original church building faced east. In 1924-1925 under the ministry of Rev. S. A. Smart the church was turned around to face south and a new basement was built. This building served the community for 103 years. For many years the church was included with Bedford, St. Paul and Centenary churches on what was known as the Chillicothe Circuit. In 1912 the circuit was divided and St. Paul and Centenary were put on the Humphries Circuit.

In 1952 a 92nd Anniversary and Home Coming was held at Pleasant Grove Church and James Stewart, Charley Stewart, Mrs. Fannie Price and Mrs. Carrie Jones were honored as 50-year members. There were eleven other members who had belonged for more than 40 years. Hugo Rolens was the pastor who planned this celebration.

A new church was built in 1963 at a cost of $35,000. Rev. John Gooding was the pastor. The one acre of ground was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Colton, and the church was dedicated December 4, 1965. In 1966, Pleasant Grove was chosen Church of the Year.

In 1977 and 1978 the church received from the estate of Frank and Anna Hill the sum of $52,656.11. New siding was put on the church and the front of the church was enclosed and the doors were changed from the front to the side entrance at a cost of $13,400. A water cooler was installed and two coat racks were added.

Rev. Gilbert Evans has been pastor of church since 1978. He and his wife Lucille live in the parsonage at 1201 Alexander.



The Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, known as a Missionary Baptist Church in the earliest records, is located one mile north of Sampsel, Missouri, on what was known as the Uncle Tom Boucher farm, Mr. Boucher donated the land for the church. The church was erected in 1877 at a cost of $900.00 and the building is still in use, having been remodeled twice. The church was organized May 10, 1873. It was active in the Livingston Baptist Association in September 1975. Original members came from these families: Gann, Boucher, Clark, Gibbons, Ewen, Hughs, Breeze, Hughes, and Yates. Two descendents are members today, Paul Boucher and Geraldine (Wilson) Reeter. The Boucher Cemetery joins the church yard and both are well kept.

Some of the early pastors were: Peter Booth , Barton Robinson, F. M. Wadley, W. W. Walden, David Scott, Tom Harris, J. B. Harris, G. W. Ostrander, B. D. Weeks, and C. E. Sharrah. In 1920 the church. became inactive and it was organized again early in the 1940’s for four or five years, during this time the church was wired for electricity, but by the time the line was built it was inactive. In 1953 the church was repaired so it could be used by the community. In late fall Brother Lawrence Hammond who resided in the community held the first service in the renovated building. He continued to preach half time thru the next year. In August 1954, a Homecoming was held with an overflow crowd.

In July 1954 a Sunday School was organized, and that fall a revival meeting was held which increased the membership from 6 to 54. In 1956 a basement was built, a new furnace installed, and new doors added under Brother Hammond’s leadership.

Today there is a membership of 26. Brother Richard Singleton, a licensed minister is pastoring the church full time with Sunday School and worship services being held each Sunday. Other recent pastors have been Ernest Akers, Ed Darner, Robert Lafever, Rye Paris, Paul Wood, Larry Reeter, Russell Abbott, James Engleman. There have been only two weddings in the church. Geraldine Wilson married Albert Reeter in 1956 and the wedding of Darlene Plowman and Roger Lee. -- Mrs. Clarissa Wilson, Clerk.



Father John Joseph Hogan left St. Louis in June, 1857, on a permanent assignment to Missouri missions. Arriving in Chillicothe he discovered one Catholic Family, Mrs. Eliza Bell and children. They arranged to have the first services held in. the Courthouse. John Graves, the oldest citizen in town, donated a lot for the church in the south part of town and a small frame structure was built in 1858.

Chillicothe became a mission center for Father Hogan, from which he traveled, at first on horseback and later by train, to towns within a hundred-mile radius. On May 17, 1860, the Reverend James Michael O’Gornan, D.D., Bishop- of Nebraska, administered Confirmation and dedicated St. Columban’s Church named after a patron saint of Ireland. Father Hogan was named Bishop of a new diocese on September 13, 1868, and was consecrated in St. Louis.

The Franciscan fathers came to Chillicothe in 1878, erected a church, a school, and built a monastery. Father Francis Moenning, the first Franciscan father to serve Chillicothe, purchased a block in the northeast part of town. Plans for the new brick church were made and the first part was built in 1879 at an approximate cost of $12,000. At that time there were one hundred-fifty Catholic families in the congregation.

By 1894, the parish had increased by two hundred-fifty families and the need for more space was evident. The transcept, sanctuary and sacristy were added at that time.

In 1895, Bishop M. F. Burke decided to divide the parish at Chillicothe into two congregations. Jackson Street was the dividing line, and St. Joseph’s Church was established for the south congregation. There were two Catholic cemeteries. St. Columban’s Cemetery, founded in 1873, was on Third Street, and in 1880, a new cemetery was acquired on Trenton Road.

The Sisters of St. Mary came to Chillicothe in July, 1888, and established a hospital. They had visited Chillicothe previously requesting donations for a hospital in St. Louis and Father Hugo, pastor of St. Columban’s, had convinced them there was a need for a hospital in this city. They purchased a lot at Eleventh and Broadway for $2,334. The first patient was admitted on May 17, 1889. In 1897, an operating room was added. It was established as a charity institution, a place where poor, unfortunates might be given the same attention that paying patients received.

St. Columban’s church was redecorated in 1913, and two murals were added. In 1916, men and boys of the church did necessary repair work on the building. Tie rods were installed in the choir loft, and the pilasters were built along the outside walls of the church, giving them added support, thus, the church was given the first necessary repairs to keep it structurally sound. The tall steeple on top of the bell was struck twice by lightning. In 1944 and 1945, the interior was redecorated. Father B. S. Owens was pastor of the church at that time. In 1957, the outside of the building received a “face lift” and major renovation and repairs were done in 1975 and 1976.

The church celebrated its Centennial in 1979, and published a book Saint Columban’s Church, 1879-1979. Further information on the history of the church may be found in it. Bishop Sullivan preached during the Centennial Mass. Other celebrants were Father A. Saathoff, O.S.B., Pastor; Father A. Luetkemeyer, O.S.B.; Abbott Jerome Hanus, O.S.B., of Conception Abbey; Father 1. Potts, O.S.B.; Father D. Saale; Msgr. R. Hogan; Fathers 0. North; L. Speichinger; J. Sheley, O.S.B.; C. Burbach, O.S.B. and J. Eldringhoff. Deacons of the Mass were Lawrence Schneider, Joseph Crookshanks, and Lou Falcon. Brother Blaise Bonderer, O.S.B., acted as master of ceremonies. Music was provided by the Monks of Conception Abbey.



(1877 - 1952) - 1959

The diamond anniversary of the St. Joseph Catholic Church was observed in 1952 with a jubilee celebration. The church was built in 1877. It was a mission church with Monsignor Mahoney as pastor from Hamilton. Priests from Hamilton took care of the sixteen families. The church was closed in June of 1959.

The parishioners were sent to St. Columbans in Chillicothe. Many descendents of the early families are still attending St. Columban’s. They are the following families: Anderson, Potts, Dietrick, Murphy, Ludwig, Braden, Culling, Sprague, Merriman, Bonderer and Umbarger. -- Mrs. Drury Bonderer



On September 12, 1840, a small group of five men and one woman came from Indian Creek Baptist Church north of Sampsel to help a group of four persons to form a church. The four were William Garwood, Thomas Williams, Nancy Williams, and Zerah Williams.

A Church was organized and it became the first Baptist Church in Livingston County. This event took place on the farm of Thomas Williams about five miles northeast of Chillicothe near the location where the Bethel Methodist Church used to stand.

Thomas Williams had entered this land from the Government in October 1839. The church was to be known as the Chillicothe United Baptist Church of Christ. The first members were Isiah Austin, Polly Austin, Frances Preston, James Pennington, Elizabeth Pennington, Elizabeth Moberly and Nancy Wilson.

Elijah Merrill was the first pastor. The church held regular meetings in private homes once a month until June, 1844. That same year a large hewn log house was erected about six miles north of Chillicothe known as the Macedonia meeting house. It had been built by the entire neighborhood as a meeting house for all denominations and for a school house. This was the first house of worship and the first meeting there was the second Saturday in June of 1844.

The first two deacons were ordained in March, 1845; a Mr. Botts and John May.

On the second Saturday August, 1859, the name of the church was changed from the Chillicothe United Baptist Church of Christ to the Union United Baptist Church and later dropped to Union Baptist Church.

Not long after the Civil War the church changed the meeting place to a school house about a half mile north of where it now stands. In 1874, a large frame house was built on the spot where this church now stands. The ground was donated by Jackson Perrin. In 1899, the present building was erected and dedicated in June, 1900.

The first clerk was Thomas Williams. The early treasurers included such names as - Steen – May - Hooker - and others.

In September, 1940, the church celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Six ministerial students have gone from Union Church to preach the Gospel.

The present pastor is David Cartwright and the following are officers: Sandy Hooker, clerk; Howard Meneely, treasurer; Lee Steen, Earl Benskin, Howard Meneely, deacons and Judy Eishler, Sunday School, superintendant.

Over the years the church has had many struggles to stay alive, but through the efforts of many faithful members it is still thriving.

Through its influence for good in the community many have been helped and many souls have been saved.

The effects of the spiritual ministry of Union Church can only be measured in eternity.



The Southern Methodist Episcopal Church was the first religious organization established in the city of Chillicothe, Missouri, Livingston County, in the year 1833. The first church built in the county was built in Chillicothe on North Locust Street, with Reverend William Penn as pastor in 1855, destroyed by fire in 1863.

Earliest records and traditions of 1833 give the first preachings in the home of John Graves, founder of the town and friend of Methodist ministers, and living in what is now called Gravesville.

The First Methodist Episcopal South, was organized in Chillicothe in 1846, by the Reverend Daniel Penney and their first Church was built on the west side of Locust Street about half way between Webster and Calhoun Streets in 1855. After the fire a second church was built on part of the Elm Street lot in 1866. In 1889 another part of this lot was purchased and The Last Elm Street Methodist Episcopal Church Cornerstone laid, April 5, 1901.

The First Methodist Episcopal Church in Chillicothe, Missouri was organized in 1862, with the first official board meeting on May 28, 1864, and Utica included in this charge. This church was located on the northeast corner of Locust and Ann Streets. The first quarterly conference for the Chillicothe First Methodist Episcopal Church alone was April 17, 1865.

In 1868 a new two story brick church was erected on the northeast corner of Webster and Cherry Streets, was torn down in 1903. The building is now owned by the Masons, and was dedicated on February 28, 1904,

The Fall of 1954, fact finding committees met for a possible merger of these two Methodist Churches.

After extensive efforts a combined Quarterly Conference was held September 12, 1955, with a Confirmed Merger, September 21, 1955.

On March 8, 1959, ground breaking ceremonies were conducted and services for The Laying of The Cornerstone, held September 20, 1959.

Sunday, June 26, 1960, the first service was conducted in the completed edifice by the pastor, Reverend Donald W. Cook, who later transferred to The Kansas Conference and Dr. Carl A. Bergsten and wife, came to serve as pastor until 1963, when Dr. and Mrs. Earl C. Griffith and their three young sons began serving this present church, at 1414 Walnut Street.

In 1968, the name of ALL METHODIST CHURCHES was changed to “The United Methodist Church”, and continues to be a “House of Prayer For All People”, where you may be a stranger only once, as the doors stand open wide for all to enter in and pray; to bring their needs, confess the sins, fresh courage take, then journey on their way.

The Methodist Church of Chillicothe, Missouri, Inc. became the United Methodist Church of Chillicothe, Missouri, Inc.



In May of 1868 a small group of Methodist families met in the home of Henry Nay, a pioneer from Wheeling, West Virginia. It was Mr. Nay who laid out the village of Wheeling, in 1865. He built the first frame dwelling and all denominations worshiped there. The Reverend Burr was the first pastor.

Mr. Nay gave ground for a building, the Methodists could call their own in 1874, the cost being $1600 and this was the first church in Wheeling.

In 1907, the building underwent remodeling, a room was added to the west side and new stained glass windows were installed. A few years later the Harmony Chapel Methodist Church building located six miles north of Wheeling was given to the members of Wheeling Methodist church and in 1921 annexed to the west side of the church.

John Goff willed his home to the church for a parsonage if needed, and if not the proceeds as rental property was to be used for the upkeep of the church.

The church has had a women’s organization since 1916.

Through the years many ministers have served the Wheeling church. The present minister is Rev. Rob Noland. -- Mrs. Elmer Lowe



During a meeting held at a school house in Jefferson School District about 2 1/2 miles west of Utica, the Utica Baptist Church was organized on August 27th, 1849. The organization was composed of eighteen charter members as follows: Asa and Mary Kirtley, Ellen Hinkle, Juliet Harper, George and Harriet Kirtley, Thomas Butts, Richard and Elizabeth Deering, Washington and Martha Bromel, John and Lavina Ogle, Agnes Bartlett, Kitty, a colored girl belonging to George A. Stone and Lovey, belonging to Spence Gregory. As the meeting continued the next day, six new members were received into the church. They continued to use this place of worship until the month of October at which time they moved to the school house in Utica. Brother Kemp Scott who conducted the meeting at this time of the organization, was then called as the pastor. At the close of the first year, the membership had increased to thirty-one. Brother Scott served as pastor for seven years. On March 16th, 1850, the first deacon, Brother Richard Deering was elected and was ordained in July. The church observed the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper for the first time in October 1850.

In the summer of 1854 the church brought up the subject of building a house of worship. They continued to hold services in the Utica School House until completion of their new house of worship in 1859.

A Baptist Sunday School was organized in 1861. Washington Bramel was its first superintendent.

The location of the church not being satisfactory, in October 1868 work was begun and a brick church at the cost of $2000.00 was built in 1872 at the site Where the present Baptist Church Recreation Room is located.

In 1875 the church severed connection with the Missouri Valley Association and united with the Livingston County Baptist Association, of which they have always been members as well as affiliated with the Southern Baptist, Convention.

In 1880 the belfry of the church was destroyed by a wind storm and in 1882 the roof was partially destroyed by wind.

The effects of the Civil War was felt in 1864 when several Negro members disassociated themselves and consequently were excluded from membership. The church observed its 100th anniversary on August 29th, 1949, with about three hundred in attendance. Sunday School and morning services were held followed by a basket dinner served under the trees on the church lawn. Afternoon services as well as evening services were held. Reverend Thomas Rehorn was pastor at this time.

On March 18, 1951, the church held dedication services for a new 30 x 40 tile addition to their church building which was used for Sunday School rooms and a fellowship hall. The construction of this building was done in the past year by volunteer labor except the hiring of one brick layer and the inside plastering.

In 1955 a new brick home was built near the church to be used as a parsonage. The first pastor to live in the parsonage was Reverend and Mrs. Harold Garrett. Approximately 160 persons attended the 110th anniversary of the church on August 30th, 1959. Reverend Charles Stigers was pastor at this time. February 4th, 1961, the church purchased the former Utica School by being the highest bidder of three bids. The cost was $7,500.00. The brick school building had been built in 1947 at a cost of $39,000-00 replacing a school destroyed by fire on June 25, 1944. School was terminated in the building following the school term of 1958-59 due to school reorganization of Livingston R-1 School District. The congregation did much redecorating to the school building and held the first church service in the building on July 30th, 1961. The old brick church was torn down leaving only the addition built in 1951 to be used as a recreation room and which is now used as a youth center. In March 1966 the construction of a new 93 by 40 brick sanctuary was begun. The exterior is of rugged face brick to match the existing building and there is a covered walkway to connect the former school building which is used as an educational building. Most work was done by volunteer labor and the cost of the building was $40,000.00

A cornerstone ceremony was held for the new sanctuary on July 17, 1966. Reverend Charles Pitchford was the pastor at this time. The first service was held in the new sanctuary on December 18th, 1966. This sanctuary is a very beautiful place of worship and with the educational building is most adequate for the needs of the congregation. The church observed its 125th anniversary on August 25, 1974, with regular services, a basket dinner and held a note burning ceremony during the afternoon program. The debt of the new sanctuary being paid. Evening services were also held.

During the past 131 years there have been 54 pastors serve the church. The present pastor is Reverend Timothy P. Akers. Deacons are James Ragan, Howard,M. Hawkins, William Stamper, Gene Wever, John Stamper and Merrill Nibarger. Sunday School Superintendent is Gene Wever; Church Training Director, John Stamper; Treasurer, Patricia Nibarger; Church Clerk, Madeline Hawkins; W.M.U. Director, Delpha Romeiser; and Brotherhood Director, Robert Talbert.

One of the first sermons preached was from 1st Corinthians, Chapter 15, Verse 58 which reads: Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Just as these words have been our guiding light the past 131 years, this message still applies today and they can be a light unto our feet and direct the pathway of the members of the Utica Baptist Church in the future.



On August 3, 1870, 23 Disciples of Christ met and formed an organization for the advancement of the cause of Christ and became known as the Wheeling Christian Church. Rev. H. C. Owen presided at this meeting and became the church’s first minister. Known charter members are: Mr. and Mrs. R. G. Arnold (present descendants are: Mrs. Elmo Guilford (Doris Dimitt), Robert Dimitt, Robert Dimitt Jr., and Lloyd Arnold Guilford), C. K. Warren, Mrs. Eliza Warren, Drury Wilson and Merideth Brown.

Preaching services were first held in the Wheeling School House, which was built two years before the church group was organized. Later they met for services in the Methodist Church. Revival meetings played an important part in the program of the church and a- membership increased, they were inspired to build the present church building, costing $2450.00. It was dedicated in 1890. On the same day of dedication the Bible School was organized.

The Christian Endeavor Society was organized in the early years of the church and is still functioning but with the name of Christian Women’s Fellowship. For a number of years there was a large, well-trained choir with Jim Ralston as director. Miss Emma Dimmitt, who later married A. D. Botts, was pianist and served in that capacity until her death in 1947.

In 1930 by means of contributions from members of the church, the church was raised and a full basement built, housing a well-equipped kitchen and dining room. Later, partitions were put in for Sunday School rooms.

The 50th Anniversary of the church was observed July 14, 1940. Invitations were sent to former members living miles away, and some were in attendance; however, only three members were present who had attended the dedicatory services: Miss Dora Hawker, J. E. Littrell, and Mrs. John Walkup. Records show an attendance of 173 on that day. One of the highlights of the afternoon program was the reading of the church history by Mrs. John (Jessie Dimitt) Walkup, which she had written. She also read this history 10 years later when the church observed its 60th anniversary.

Recognition suppers have been held honoring members for their church service. The first one held in 1957 honored Mrs. John Walkup, Mrs. Hattie Jones, and Marion (Doc) Butler for 60 years’ service. In 1958, the 35-year dinner recognized Leslie Dimitt, Mr. and Mrs. Herman Braun, Buel Littrell, Ernest Littrell, and Mrs. Chris Glamser. In 1960, the 25-year dinner recognized Mrs. Ollie Biggerstaff and Robert Dimitt. In 1979, Ollie Biggerstaff was honored at a fellowship supper for 20 years of publishing The Beacon (the church bulletin) which was started in October, 1953 and published by the Young Adult class. Also, in 1980 a supper recognized Mr. and Mrs. Buel Littrell and Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Littrell for their years of church service. In 1961, the church board voted to start a Memorial Fund in memory of deceased members. The first donation was by Mrs. Lonnie Beaird of Chillicothe. As the fund grew, it was voted in 1966 to buy a stained glass window for the front of the church.

On August 2, 1970, the church observed its 100th anniversary when Rev. M. J. Dick was pastor and over 100 were in attendance. Rev. Phil Aeschilman, whose parents were former members of the church, was the afternoon speaker. The church walls had recently been painted white. New red carpet installed in the sanctuary, and the basement carpet helped accent the day, as well as the stained glass memorial window dedicated in March, 1967; the new floors, pews, baptistery, communion table, chairs, pedestals, pulpit, and offering plates in 1954, and the electric organ in 1953.

Present Sunday School officers are: Superintendent, Austin Biggerstaff; Ass’t Superintendent, Melvin Littrell, Secretary-Treasurer, Gerald Littrell. Teachers are: Mrs. Robert (Edna F.) Littrell, David Biggerstaff, William L. Murry. Church officials are: Elders, Buel and Ernest Littrell (Elders Emeritus), David Biggerstaff, Robert S. Littrell, William L. Murry; Deacons, Gerald Littrell, Bob Maberry Henry Morgan, Austin Biggerstaff, Glenn Littrell: Chad Murry, Wiley Meneely, Tom Morgan, David Maberry; Trustees, Melvin Littrell, Ollie Biggerstaff, Robert S. Littrell; Organist, Mrs. William (Marjorie) Murry; Pianist, Mrs. Lenos (Wilma) Meneely.



Zion Baptist Church, Route 3, 10 miles northwest of Chillicothe, Missouri was originated in the Brassfield School House (later called Potter School), where services were held until their Church building was completed in February 1878. On November 6, 1955, fire destroyed the church, which was a staggering blow to the community. The members still had faith to carry on, and once again held services in the Potter School House. Members and nonmembers set out at once to rebuild.

The first services in the present building were held in the basement, the 3rd Sunday in June, 1956, by Reverend Cecil Hart. The first service, held in the auditorium, was April, 1956, by the Reverend Lawrence Hammond. The building was dedicated September 8, 1957.

On July 28, 1968, Zion Baptist had their 100th Anniversary at the Church. The Church was filled to capacity. The following pastors have served from 1868 to 1980. The Reverends; H. H. Turner, James Turner, P. G. Booth, John Harmon, F. M. Wadloy, N. M. Allen, E. R. Dowell, J. B. Harris, Clay Morris, E. L. Wendell, W. L. Housar, Homer Harris, W. B. Alsbury, C. E. Sharrah, G. A. Mitchell, Luther Rossin, F. A. Funk, LaVerne Wood, Avery Wooderson, Cecil Hart, Lawrence Hammond, Norton Feather, Charles Burrows, Ernest Akers and Sampson Long.

The Church doesn’t have a pastor at the present time, but Sunday School is held every Sunday.

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