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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mystery Woman

This small thumb sized image was found inside a book with the inscription "Theron C. McGee".  A 1944 city directory indicates a "Theron and Donie McGee" lived at 1539 NW 24 in Oklahoma City.  He was listed as an instructor.  The book was a 1912 Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
In 1947 he was listed as Associate Professor of Religion at Oklahoma City University according to their yearbook. Since Wesley had many instructors and administrators from the university attending over the years, it may be assumed this is the same man and he donated the discipline to the library there.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Easter 1955

This image reflects an early dramatic effort by the youth of Wesley in 1955.  They produced several plays from 1948 to the early 1970's helped by the occasional adult thesbian, including, "A Man Called Peter" about the life of minister and senate chaplain, Peter Marshall and various Biblical plays.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Select Biography: Dr. Robert L. Allen

Allen was ordained as a Deacon in Oklahoma in 1971 and ordained as an Elder in 1973.  He came to Wesley in 1981 and under his tenure attendance at worship doubled, a television program was aired [1] over two local stations weekly and after the Murrah Building bombing in 1995, the Mayor of Oklahoma City tapped him to organize a chaplaincy team to work in the recovery process (the team numbered some 600). In 1983 he did Post Graduate Study at St. Mary's College of the University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland. He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew University (1983) and wrote his thesis on the television ministry he began at Wesley. 
He was an associate minister at First United Methodist Church in Blackwell, Oklahoma; minister at the Geary First United Methodist Church; minister at First United Methodist Church in Watonga and senior minister at Wesley for fourteen years (1981-1993).
While in Oklahoma he was chair of the Emerging Social Issues group of the Oklahoma Conference Board of Church and Society.  He served as chair of the Wesley Foundation Board and Building Committee at Tahlequah. He was a delegate to Impact Briefings with members of the U.S. House and Senate, he served on the Muskogee District Board of Ministry and was delegate to the Clergy Economic Conference. 

He authored several books while serving as pastor of Wesley.   He transferred out of the Oklahoma Conference and went to Wichita Falls, Texas  in 1996.[2]

[1] Perry White. "Church Reaches Out With TV." Oklahoman (Dec.8, 1984)pg.27.

Friday, March 21, 2014


For much of Wesley's history the spouses of the senior pastor were obscured in the customs of the day.  Through the 1970's it was customary for a married woman to be referred to only in light of her relationship as a wife.  Thus she was "Mrs. John Doe" and her first name often lost.

As customs changed the church now has also seen the addition of the clergy husband.  Some of the same issues may be found in attempting to adapt to this changing clergy spouse profile. 

Some records (conference, census newspaper, and church) simply cannot supply the names of the person who shared their live with the clergy of Wesley.  Here, however, are some of the names discovered.  They may be incorrect in spelling and other factors, but this is the best available at this time.  Please leave a comment if you have corrections or additions.

  1. 1910/11 - Frank A. Colwell (1860-1937); Mary
  2. 1911/12 - Dr. Harry Claude Case (1873-1921)
  3. 1912/13-  Samuel E. Betts - Emma C.
  4. 1913 - Thomas Pingry (1848 - 1916) ; Nancy
  5. 1914-  E.R. Houck ; Ruth, son Matthew
  6. 1915/17 - John W. Cater
  7. 1916/18- C.C. Smith (Charles Clark?)
  8. 1919/22 - Dean C. Dutton (1871-1954); Katherine Burg; children: Helen and Adena
  9. 1923- J.C. Waldron
  10. 1924- Glenn A. Baldwin (or J.A.)
  11. 1925/28- E.V. (Edgar V.) Dubois; Gertrude P.; children: Robert K.
  12. 1925/28- Dr. William Forney Hovis; Aimee A. Parry; children, Wm F. and Keith
  13. 1929/32 - George H. Zentz; Ethel G.; children: Nellie, Franklin, George
  14. 1933/34- A.G. (Aaron G.) Williamson; Denice Anna
  15. 1935/36- Matthew L. Simpson
  16. 1937/41- Hugh B. Fouke ; Ruth
  17. 1941/43 - James A. Leach
  18. 1943/56- Nuell Crain ( - 1997); Catherine
  19. 1956/58 - John R. Webb (1906-1974) ; Marguerite K.; children: Robert, Margaret
  20. 1958/63- Earl S. Walker ; Doris
  21. 1963/64- Dr. Jack S. Wilkes (1917-  ) ; Annette
  22. 1964/67 - Charles R.Thigpen (1913-1967); Mary E.
  23. 1967-  Fisher Blanton (  );  Mary Ellen Bell
  24. 1974/77- Lonzo Battles (1922-2009) ; Barbara Nell Amdall
  25. 1977/81- J.C. (James C.) Curry Jr. (1926-2009)
  26. 1981/95- Robert L. Allen (1946-2004); Madalyn
  27. 1996/02- John T. Ogden (1935-2004) ; Jane
  28. 2002/06- T. Scott Keneda ; Angie
  29. 2007 - Bishop Bennie Warner
  30. 2007/13 - Diana Cox-Crawford (First female senior pastor); Bob
  31. 2013 - Dr. Marvin J. Hudson ; Marilyn A.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Palm Sunday
I give thanks for that one day,
That one day that Jesus had--
For that shining Sabbath morn,
For that Triumph. I am glad
That the crowd acclaimed Him there
As 'Hosannas' filled the air
In that happy episode
(Ere betrayal saddened Him)
On that crowded entry-road
To Jerusalem.

I give thanks for those who went;
For the ones who waved the palms,
For the ones who spoke His praise,
For the ones who sang the psalms,
All along the thoroughfare,
On the flowers scattered there,
For the donkey that He rode
(Showing their concern for Him)
On that crowded entry-road
To Jerusalem.

On March 8, 1978 Billie Menifee of Oklahoma City wrote this poem and sent it to Wesley.  "Since Palm Sunday and Easter are almost here I wish to share this poem with you. I wrote it right after Easter last year. If it can be of any use to you (in the church paper, or any other capacity)please feel free to use it."
The notations on the copy indicate it was used for a church paper column in 1982 and then again in 1996.  Introductory material included reading Matt.21:1-11 and John 12:13).  A prayer was added as a conclusion: "O God, help us to see Him as The King of our lives. Amen."


#1- Hennepin County Library Special Collections (Minnesota)
#2 - WUMC Archives Collection
Used by Permission
In the church newspaper of November 22, 1946 was an announcement about the Wesleyan Classes' anniversary.  Significant events were shared including how brothers, Frank W. and Dr. Carl W. Skinner, donated a painting to the class and the church in honor of their late mother. "Mother Lucy Goble Skinner"  had been a long time member of the class.   The painting was donated shortly after the mother's death in 1940.  Frank W. Skinner died in 1942. His brother in the 1960's.
Her husband had been a Methodist minister in Iowa and they came to Oklahoma City in 1922.  When she died 14 June 1940, her obituary stated she was going to be buried in Earlsville, Iowa by her husband. She was survived by sons Frank of Beaver Bay, Minn., Carl who taught English at OCU in OKC, and a daughter Loraine Kleas of Mankato, Minn.. A granddaughter, Mrs. Joseph Wright, also lived in OKC. ("Memorial for Mrs. Skinner to Be Sunday", Oklahoman (June 15, 1940)14.
In the article it was noted simply that "son Frank, a commercial artist" painted in the North Woods and later built a lodge called "Studio Inn" above Duluth in Iowa.  Carl W. his brother had taught another class at Wesley for some 17 years.
An entry in the newsletter would describe the painting only in enough detail to know it was a landscape showing earth, trees and some water.  This was in a tribute written by Mrs. Byron White who had known Lucy Skinner.
An image has been unearthed of a painting shown hanging in the Parlor where the class met. It is a painting that in general style might be considered similar to other Skinner work.  No one knows what happened to the painting and in the ensuing decades two major renovations of the Parlor occurred and many decorating changes.  Images of his work appear to be hard to locate.
There is a story of a painting damaged from water leakage but no one remains able to identify the validity of the story or identify the image so damaged. Carl W. Skinner died in 1966.
Was the Skinner painting lost to water damage?  Was it unknowingly discarded in a face lifting of the space? Did it return to the Skinner family?  No one, apparently knows for certain. 
Shown above (#1) is an image of a Frank W. Skinner painting in a museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota, ARTISTS FRANK WING AND AUGUST KAISER LOOK AT PAINTING BY FRANK W. SKINNER AT AMERICAN SWEDISH INSTITUTE and (#2) is the possible image from ca. 1950 at Wesley.  Are they by the same artist? 

A mystery sure to tantalize for many years to come. 

Anyone with information please leave a comment....

Select Biography: Dr. Marvin J. Hudson (2013- )

Dr. Marvin J. Hudson was assigned to Wesley UMC in June 2013.  An ordained minister, an experienced pastor, and a New Testament scholar, he pastored in Kansas and Oklahoma. He  taught Biblical languages, theology, and leadership on the college level.

He has a Doctor of Ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Phillips Graduate Seminary, an M.A. from Southern Nazarene University, and a B.A. from Oklahoma City Southwestern College.
"For some twenty years I have served as a United Methodist pastor, including tenures at Drummond, Oklahoma; Nardin, Oklahoma; and for the Twelve year period from 1992-2006 served as senior clergy at Goodrich Memorial United Methodist in the Norman area (1993-2005).  During this time, a strategic action plan was developed to lead the congregation into a local and distance understanding of mission as ministry. Also during this period, a capital program for the erection of a new Family Life Center was successfully completed. A third worship service was launched with a dedicated emphasis upon contemporary worship music in a classic rock style."  Additional pastoral experiences included leading a church strategic goal setting process and plan at New Hope UMC (OKC), initiating mission programs at Wesley UMC (Shawnee), training lay leadership at First UMC (Okmulgee) and working with First UMC (Mooreland). 

His research while at Asbury Theological Seminary focused on leadership studies. His doctoral dissertation explored the facilitation of team leadership within local congregations. Subject matter included effective ministry and turn around strategies related to the various generational and cultural segments present within society. 

In 2011, he received training to become the first Intentional Interim Specialist in the Oklahoma Conference. As an IIP, he is made available to churches to assist them through a variety of transitional events or stages of their community life.
His teaching experiences include full  and adjunct faculty experiences at Southwestern College of Christian Ministries (Southwestern Christian University ), Southern Nazarene University (adjunct Biblical language instructor), Phillips Theological Seminary, and Southwestern Christian University Graduate School (adjunct instructor in hermeneutics, Theology, and leadership development).

He retains active membership in the Society of Biblical Literature, the Classics Association of the Middle South ,  and is an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Women of Wesley

In 1869 the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society (W.F.M.S.) was formed in the Northern M.E. and in the South in 1878. The work was officially recognized by the churches in 1890.  Ladies Aid was first recognized in the 1903 Discipline.  In 1910, the Women's Home Missionary Society (W.H.M.S.)and the W.F.M.S. theoretically merged but apparently some churches continued to hold the patterns established.  In 1921, the Wesleyan Service Guild (WSG) was created for women employed outside the home.  In 1939, all groups united to form the Woman's Society of Christian Service (W.S.C.S.) but the WSG remained separate and then in 1968 all united to form a united W.S.C.S. until 1972 when they came under the new title and structure of the new United Methodist Women (U.M.W.).
First Women’s Groups at Wesley
Ladies Aid was first recognized in the 1903 Discipline of the M.E. Church and had continued to grow.  The first women’s organization of Wesley was a Ladies Aid Society established in March of 1911 with Mrs. A.C. McCullough as first president (1911-1913). The next month saw the birth of the local Women’s Home Missionary Society and that September the Women’s Foreign Mission Society at the home of Mrs. Pritchard on NW 29th Street. In 1926 the Wesleyan Service Guild was established, in 1929 the original to Wesley group, “Sorrelle”, was established, then in 1939 the Woman’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) and in 1972 the United Methodist Women united all but the Sorelle Club under one umbrella. 
Snapshot of 1940 at Wesley
Proposed History of the Women
In 1940 a church yearbook and directory listed the “Ladies Aid Society” had an object “To promote the financial, social, and spiritual welfare of the church”.   Ladies were members of ten circles that met around the community on the third Tuesday of the month. Their calendar was from September to June and covered topics of loyalty (September), events such as the “70 and Over” Luncheon” (October), Thanksgiving and a Father-Son Banquet (November), Christmas (January) and Prayer and Lent taking up the first two months of the New Year. The Lent event would be an Organ Fund Concert. Easter (March) in April “The Women’s Work Old Fashioned Dinner”, while May saw a May Day Breakfast, Mother-Daughter Banquet and election of Officers. These were installed in a June program before the group took off the month of July.
 “Women’s Foreign Missionary Society”. In 1869 the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society was formed in the Northern M.E. and in the south in 1878. The work was officially recognized by the churches in 1890.  It formed in the spring of 1911 and the first president was Mrs. D.G. Murray (1912-1913).   In 1940, at Wesley, the group motto was “Saved for Service”, their theme “One Heart, One Way”, their guiding hum was “Brotherhood” (noted as 469 in the Hymnal).  Their study text was “Woman and the Way” and their aims were “Study-Service-Sacrifice”.  They met every second Tuesday of the month at 1-2 p.m.
The “Women’s Home Missionary Society” motto was “For the Love of Christ and in His Name” and their aim was to “Help Win America for Christ.”  The group had formed at Wesley in the spring of 1911 and the first president was Mrs. R.W. Sprigg (1911-1913).  They listed in 1940 that that their agencies included 940 Missionaries and Deaconesses serving in 180 institutions in 40 states, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Their official magazines were “Woman’s Home Missions” and “Junior Neighbors”.  The theme for the year was to be “With One Increasing Purpose” and their textbook was to be “Homeland Harvest” by Dr. Arthur Limouze and “Right Here at Home” by Frank Mead. The organization was organized into ten groups with Officers, Department Secretaries (Spiritual Life, Christian Citizenship, Thank Offering, Missionary Education, Mite Box, Lenten Offering), supplies, Chorister, Pianist, and Young People Work (College, High School, Intermediate Department, Junior Department, Primary Department, Mothers Jewels).
In 1940 were also listed the “Wesleyan Service Guild” whose motto was to “The World – To Serve”.  Its goals were “Enrichment of spiritual life, Practice in World brotherhood, Development of Christian Citizenship, Guidance in the Highest Use of Leisure”.  They had several service projects including a home mission through Leisenring Center, Dunbar, PA; migrant work; Navajo Mission School, Farmington, NM.
Their textbook for 1940 was “Through Tragedy to Triumph” by Basil Mathews.   The group met the second Tuesday in member homes and had officers covering various projects (President, Recording secretary, correspondence secretary, treasurer, spiritual department chair, world service chair, social and recreational chair, mite box secretary)
The WSG had formed in 1926 under the guidance of Maude Thomas Wolf and existed until the merger of women’s groups in 1973.
At Wesley there was also the “Sorelle Club”. It was organized in the church parlor in 1929 by Frances Wahl McAlister (Mrs. Wade), Mildred Robinett (Roscoe) and Sarah Paul Potts (Mrs. Ruhl).  Charter members were:  Deborah Heep Lower (Mrs. Paul), Iris Jenkins Miller (Mrs. Lewis), Hazel Ruedy Hornung (Mrs. Gerald ), Naomi Doty Matheney (Mrs. Jesse), Jessie Gowen Fuller (Mrs. Guy Edward), Thelma Varvel McCreight (Mrs. Warren), Mrs. Theresa Cranfield, Mrs. Cora Hayward, Thelma Carr (Mrs. Harold), Velda Marks (Mrs. karl), Betty Salmmon (Mrs. Herbert), Margaret Ireland (Mrs. “Brick”), Birdie Lasater (Mrs. Frenchie), Rilla Warner (Mrs. Judd), and Thelma Saxon Baker (Mrs. Marion).
It was organized by newlyweds and young mothers who wanted church activities and fellowship different than the Circles then offered at the church. The first presidents were: Frances McAlister. Mildred Robinett, Sarah Potts, and Thelma McCreight.
The name was submitted by a committee of organizers and means “sister.”  It was reorganized in 1938 by Mrs. Hugh B. Fouke, wife of the pastor, into a spiritual, educational, and social club with meetings held in the parsonage parlor. 
In 1940, they reflected that new threefold purpose “spiritual, educational and social.”  It was noted they used the “panel method” for their discussions and programs.  They met the third Thursday at 12:30 in the Wesley Church parlor.  The officers included a Counselor (the pastor’s wife in 1940), chairman, program committee, hostess chairman, secretary and treasurer, telephone chairman
The Woman’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) was formed in 1939 as a result of the merger between the M.E., North, the M.E., South and the Methodist Protestant churches to form the Methodist Church.   The first president at Wesley was Mrs. Joe Morgan (Ione) (1939-1940).

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wesley's "Mr. History" : Dr. N.L. George

Dr. Norvil L. GEORGE – Norvil L. George (N.L. George) was a “school man, a capable and experienced writer and a faithful and loyal member of Wesley Methodist Church.”[1]  George  was born in Manchester and moved to Oklahoma City in 1941 becoming Business Manager of Oklahoma City Schools and in 1948 he became Assistant Superintendent of the Oklahoma City Schools. He had previously served as superintendent for Geary and Duncan schools.   
He attended the University of Oklahoma, Peabody University and received his doctorate  from Columbia University in 1948.  He wrote numerous articles for school publications, became a nationally recognized expert in his specialized field of schools and grounds. A 43 year member of the Rotarians, he wrote a history of the Rotary Club in Oklahoma.
He retired from the Oklahoma City Schools in 1968 and died suddenly of a heart attack on February 14, 1979. Norvil, his wife Ida and daughter Elaine joined Wesley and became active in the affairs of the church.  George served as Sunday School teacher, chair of the Administrative Board, member of the Board of Trustees and the Perpetual Trust Fund Board, and chair of the History and Policy Committee.

In this latter role he spearheaded the 1976 history of the church contained in a 40 page book, "The Dynamic History of a Forceful Church."

[1] Dr. Norvil L. George. Obituaries and Memorials file. Wesley UMC Archives.  His obituary appeared in the Oklahoman on February 15, 1979.  Marion R. Baker described him in a eulogy of September 27, 1990 that may have been intended for a church history column of the church newsletter.  It was encapsulated in plastic with a copy of the newspaper obituary.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Rev. George Zentz

Rev. and Mrs. George H. Zentz (Ethel G.), Wesley Pastor 1929-1932

LtoR: Rev/Mrs Zentz, Myron/Grace Gibbens, Willa/Everette Gibbens

The Gibbens family, also of Wesley M.E. in OKC, went fishing each summer and on this occasion took the pastor and his wife along.  The Zentz' enjoyed going to Minnesota, according to text on the back of the photos, the Gibbens clan called him a "wonderful man."  He and his wife were killed a few years later in an auto accident.  They transferred to Kansas and died in Minnesota in 1937.

She entry on the Zentz family here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Baby Boom

This post-war photo of the nursery common area reveals the overcrowded conditions caused by the great growth experienced by Wesley and illustrates what was meant by the term "The Baby Boom" in American society.  This image was taken as the church moved into a building program to add an new educational wing to the church in the early 1950's.

Wesley Sports - 1952

1952 Baseball team of Wesley UMC
First row:  Don Smith, Allen Hamlin, Jim Lamb, Fred ?  , Tom McGee, John Woodson
Second Row: Bob Spears, Gary Goode, Jim Rice, Albert Crabtree, Earl Kitchen, Ronnie Goode

A Trio of Church Women: Paul, Rhodes, Hilborne

Wesley Women:   Left to Right: Charter Member, Mrs. A.G. Paul (Anna Belle) b. 1877. She was married to Albert George Paul (b.1871) who was a real estate salesman in Oklahoma City. ; Lydia Wilhelmina Wahl Rhoades (1889-1980), whose parents had been L.G. and Sophia Classen Wahl ; Mrs. Parker Hilborne or a Mrs. Wier

Dedication of Education Wing 1953

A rare photo showing the parsonage that became Hadduck Hall before being torn down.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Church Dinners

Two undated photos showing Wesley members enjoying a meal and fellowship:


Select Biographies: Gene Lorey, Music Director (1960-1969)

Gene M. LOREY was a native of Oklahoma City, Ok but a resident of Fort Worth, Tx., when he died Dec. 18, 1995.  He had attended OCU, sang baritone in their choir, was active in the music and arts world and had a recital at Wesley in August of 1963 with Pat Crigler serving as accompanist (Oklahoman, August 20, 1963:7).   In 1968, he was listed in a news article as the minister of music at Wesley ("2 Soloists Will Sing", Oklahoman (Nov.3, 1968:30). He and his wife entertained various community and church groups (i.e, the Sorelle Club) with their musical talents.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Very Early Photo of Women at Wesley (ca.1910-1918)

It is unclear when this photo was taken, the reserve shows it was intended to be used as a photo post card.  These were commonly used to mail friends a photo and could be added by the photographer and sometimes post sale by the person.

The location may be the 2nd sanctuary building, known as the "Sheep Shed" due to its more prosaic construction to house a growing congregation, at NW 25th and Douglas.  This is based on the 'lift up' windows seen in the wall behind the women.  The general dress of the women fits into styles seen from the date of the founding in 1910 until the first World War.

Identifies are unknown, so comments welcome.

Mrs. Ruhl Potts (Sarah Marie Paul)

It is believed this woman was Mrs. Ruhl Potts, an early dynamic force in the Women's groups of Wesley and in church life in general.  In 1928 the church built a new sanctuary at a cost of about $120,000.  At the 1947 mortgage burning, she was part of the official picture as Wallace Wood , building committee chair, C.S. McReight, charter member, Mrs. S.D. Benell, representing older members of the church and Mrs. R.J. Potts, representing the women of the church, burned the papers of the remaining $90,000 building debt. 

Based on comparisons of church records and local history records, Sara Paul's father was Albert George Paul (b.1871) who was a real estate salesman in Oklahoma City. He and his wife, Anna Belle (b.1877) had children Ruth (1902), Clyde (1904) and Sarah (1907).  Her parents were then the charter member "Paul" family listed in many documents.

She married Ruhl J. Potts on 3 September 1927 in Oklahoma City.  Ruhl was the son of Robert and Minnie Potts of Oklahoma City.


It is believed this list was put together by Mrs. Ruhl Potts around 1947 and is the most complete and detailed of any early lists found.

M. Smith, Trustee
Mr. H.B. Turner, Sunday Supt., Trustee , Nov. 10, 1910 (Nov. 12 - It is not clear which date as both are used with the 10 and the 12 overlapping, the 1947 program has a history by C.S. McCreight and identifies the date as Nov.12,1910)
Mrs.. H.B. Turner, Steward, Nov. 10, 1910 (Nov. 12 - It is not clear which date)
Edwin Stephenson, Trustee,  " "
Mr.. R.E. Bradshaw, Steward, Trustee, ""
Dr. L.B. Boggs, Class Leader, ""
A.H. Tyler, Trustee, ""
A.G. Paul, Trustee, ""
A.C. McCullough, Steward, ""
Mrs.. A. H. Tyler, Steward, Feb. 1911
Thomas Mylrea, Trustee, March 1911
Olin E. Doty, Steward, April 1911
Joseph B. Thoburn, Trustee, Aug.8, 1911
Noah B. Wickham, Trustee, Aug.9, 1911
Clifford M. Prichard, Steward, Aug. 8, 1911
Genevive Spriggs, Steward, Aug.8, 1911
L.D. Mitchell, Trustee (Pres. Epworth League), Aug. 8, 1911
H.H. Martz, Trustee, Aug.8, 1911
R.A. Lyle, Trustee, 1913
Charles Haggart, Trustee, 1913
John Embry, Trustee, 1913
L.T. Huffman, Trustee, 1913
B.F. Nihart, Trustee, 1913
John McCullough, Steward, 1913
Eugene Nida, Steward and District Steward, 1913
Mrs. R.A. Lyle, Steward,1913
A.P. Mossman, Steward, 1913
Mrs. C.F. Crane, Steward, 1913

In June of 1911, Epworth University disbanded and the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church were transferred to Wesley while members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South organized into Epworth Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1911.

This infused Wesley with many new members, stretching the limits of their temporary and rented location on NW 32 and Military. The new group sought and found new and permanent property at NW 25 and Douglas, just west of Classen Blvd. quickly becoming a major thoroughfare in the city.

In 1915 membership was 200 and Sunday School was 150.  In 1947, the membership had grown to more than 2,500 members.

The Ladies Have It!

A file containing the worship program for the Dec. 28, 1947 church mortgage burning, clippings with photos from local newspapers and handwritten notes on the history of the church were found - in the papers of the "Women's Society of Christian Service". These latter included "Official Charter Members" and "1953 List of Wesley Members of Golden Years of Service " (with a list of their "Circle" and phone number.)
Also found was a program of the 25th Anniversary of the W.S.C.S. and the Wesleyan Service Guilds, dated January 19, 1964. There was a "Constitution and By-Laws of the W.S.C.S. in the Local Church" as well.
Also, a dedication of the Edward Hadduck Memorial Hall program from August 27, 1948.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Bowknots Class (1947 - ?)

This class led a lively life over time - lots of skits, theatrics, fundraisers and fun!  This photo - dated 1950 - is identified as having been taken in the home of a church member. 

Back row: (LtoR): Gladys Longstretch; Roy Crook (from Chiago); Dick Brook (from Chicago); Mary Belle (Shikes) Ashmonahs (?).

Front row (L to R): Billy Assmonks; ----Hiller ; Jeanne Arnold; Bill Arnold ; Rosemary Hiller; Glen Longstreth.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

WESLEY AUTHORS : a Work in Process

The Authors of Wesley

While not all of the writers of Wesley wrote in religious or inspiration fields they all reflect the openness and understanding that people are gifted in many ways to enhance and enrich life.   As a result, the authors of Wesley range from arcane academic subjects to practical science and fiction. They include works by members and by pastors associated with Wesley.  A list of some of these individuals include:

Thomas F. Piece (poet), a member of the 2-in1 Class; several poems in their class history files.

Dr. James W. Baker, retired Minister and Church administrator, wrote Jesus the Living Way to a Living God (OCU Press, 1938).

Judge John Embry, at age 80 wrote a book published The Namic Philosophy: A Philosophy of Reality and Religion (Philosophical Library, 1952) .

Dr. N.L. George, authored five textbooks and more than 60 magazine articles in the field of educational administration.

 Mrs. W.J. Cowgill, was best known for her history stories with her poetry. A Member of several writing groups and the Oklahoma History Society.

 Dr. C. O. Epley, wrote My Life as a Physician.

 Dr. Earl McBride, wrote The History of the Crippled Children’s’ Society of Oklahoma.

 Dr. Joseph B. Thoburn, with I.M. Holcomb, wrote the first major history of Oklahoma ( a 6 volume work) A Standard History of OKLAHOMA. An Authentic Narrative of its Developments from the Date of the First European Exploration down to the Present Time, including Accounts of the Indian Tribes, both Civilized and Wild, of the Cattle Range, of the Land Openings and the Achievements of the most Recent Period. (The American Historical Society, Chicago and New York, 1916).

 Marion Knapp Hurst (Mrs. Irvin Hurst) wrote The 1-2-3 of Homemaking (Prentice Hall, 1946), Household Employment Handbook (Dewey, 1939).

Dr. Dean C. Dutton, authored several books including  The Beautiful Ministry of Womanhood: A Survey of Opportunities for Ministries of Kindness for Christian Womanhood, Including Social Service Circle Programs (shows him as author of "The Great Life" Library).  The booklet was published by The Great Life Publishing Company, 321 N. Chelsea, Kansas City, Missouri. In 1931 he published Quests and Conquests ( (The Life Service Publishing Company).

Dr. William Forney Hovis, Quality Folks: Practical Meditations (Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1908).

My Words: As Reported by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul. (Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1911).

Heart Sonnets. (Boston: R.G. Badger, The Gorham Press, 1913).  Poetic Sermons. (NY: Revell, 1932). Consolation. (Indianapolis: Cornelius, 1935).  Sin and Salvation: A Study in Origins. (Nashville: Tidings, 1954).  A periodical in the 1930's called, The Reveille.
Dr. Robert L. Allen, The Use of Television in Wesley United Methodist Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, as an alternative to Current Religious Programming. Dissertation. (Drew University, 1983); The Greatest Passages of the Bible: 20 sermons on God’s Most Important messages. (CSS, 1990);  All About Eve (CSS, 2001)

David R. McKown, wrote David Ross McKown in Restrospect and The Dean (life story of Julian C. Monnet).

Rev. Willis H. German, wrote a book of poems called Reflections (1982).

Note: Additional information as to printed titles, publishers, etc. welcome.  Also, copies of these books are sought for the archive collection of historic books related to Wesley.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Interim Pastor Bishop Bennie D. Warner

In 2007, after the departure of Wesley pastor T.Scott Kenada and before the appointment of Diana Cox Crawford, Bishop Bennie D. Warner served as interim pastor at Wesley.

From the Embassy of Liberia  come this information:

Bishop Bennie D. Warner
His Excellency Bennie D. Warner was the Bishop of the United Methodist Church of Liberia before he was chosen to become Vice President to President William R. Tolbert. He served as Vice President of the Republic of Liberia from 1977-1980.

Among other responsibilities after he settled in the United States, Bishop Warner taught at the United Methodist Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, before being appointed District Superintendent of the Camden District of the United Methodist Church in Arkansas.

He has spoken in numerous venues and also promotes the construction of a school in his native country.

A documentary covers his personal journey, Black Marks on White Paper. It is a 2013 film directed by Bob Hager and can be found here at Tiny Seeds.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Adult Sunday School Class ca 1955

This class may be either the BUILDERS or the WESLEYAN class.  The drapes and some people seem to match people in another image showing a teacher and the known motto of the Builder's Class; but the drapes may have been used in several classes.

People identified in this image are (left to right):

1st row: Jerry Auxier, Marge Jeffries , M/M Dewey Neal (he was known to be a teacher of the Builders).
2nd row: Roger and Jo Rickey. Maxine and Brannen Melton, David Vance
3rd row:
M/M Verdi Miles, John and Rita Bennett, Roy and Loydean Owens, M/M Keith Hefley
4th row: Walter and Betty Step, The Phinneys, Valla White, James and Ann White, Stubby Daniels, Bick Auxier

Pastor John Webb (1956-1958)

After leaving Wesley he went on to become District Superintendent of Enid District of the Oklahoma Methodist Conference.

Thursday, January 23, 2014



 According to a story uncovered, while Dr. Dean C. Dutton was pastor of Wesley (1919-1924) he learned that Al J. Palmer was living in Oklahoma City and called on him to see if he could come into Wesley Methodist Church and help with the "Epworth League" (youth organization of the M.E. Church).
 Mr. Palmer was a composer and, according to the story of this source, had written several of the songs that Al Jolsen sang during his career.  Records do indicate Jolsen worked for a time with two Palmer brothers (Al and Joe) but they parted company around 1905. 
 The first available program of a Band concert found by researchers in 1975 (for the history book written then), was dated June 19, 1923 under the direction of Al J. Palmer.
 The boys band created had 38 pieces  and costumes in deep red with black trim and Mr. Palmer wore an all white suit.  They had stunts and band rehearsals and gathered on Sunday evenings for concerts.  People who belonged to other churches came to hear the band on Sunday nights.  They youth enjoyed this and had a lot of fun.
The band was composed of youth of the church and at that time it was one of the few bands ever organized by a church group.  This was the time of the roaring 20's, one of the "happiest times in the history of the United States".  The war to end all wars had been fought.  A person could make a million on Wall Street and keep it.  It was during this period that much was done to further the interest in church activities at Wesley.
Palmer also directed an orchestra at Wesley.
Some identified with the band includes: Ed Fuller, Bob Sherman, Ruhl Potts, Harold Klein, Harold Hamlin, Warren McCreight, Everett Bradshaw, ....
 In 1927, as Wesley turned ground to build their new sanctuary, the band was there under the direction of Palmer.   An ad from the time period is for "Prof. Al J. Palmer, Instructor of Band Instruments".  He listed he was Director of Wesley Senior and Junior Bands and was available for "special songs written to order...expression in dramatic art...words written to music and music written to words...entertaining material furnished for amateurs."
Interestingly enough, several of the band members could be heard over a local radio station WKY every Sunday evening in 1931 as members of the Oklahoma City Concert Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Weitz ("On WKY Every Sunday Night", Oklahoman (Aug.30,1930):40.
Sheet music has been found indicating Al J. Palmer did indeed write music.  One recently listed on E-Bay was  "Back toAlabama in the Spring", words by Al. J. Palmer and Lew Denney (1916). "Originally introduced by Joe Coffman with Al.G. Field Greater Minstrels."

Original Trustees and Stewards (1910)

Representative Family Group ca 1910 ©2000 Denise Van Patten -  
Used with Permission
The fall of 1910 saw a group of people gathering on October and November to form a church in the northwest part of the city. Granted authority to plant a church in the October 1910 conference of the Oklahoma Methodist Episcopal Church, Bishop William Quayle presiding, the Rev. Frank Colwell set to work connecting with the community.

The organizational meeting was held Nov. 10, 1910 in the home of city lawyer A.H. (Albert H.) Tyler (58) at 1220 NW 29th Street.  His wife was Mary A. Tyler (48) and he had a, Marion (23) living in the home.

How many attended the meeting is unclear but a number can be inferred from the number of people who were elected to office as either a Trustee (those who had the official authority to buy and sell related to the church, make decisions concerning development and building, etc.) and Stewards (those who oversaw various ministries within the church and the community).

Trustees were listed in written documents and histories as : A.H. Tyler; R.E. Bradshaw; H.B. Turner; a Mr. Smith ; Edwin Stephenson ; and A.C. McCollough.  Stewards were : "Mrs. A.H. Tyler, Mrs. A.G. Paul, and Mrs. H.B. Turner."

For many decades the initials were the only thing known and the names of the women virtually lost. Now, through a survey of federal census records for 1910 in the City, first names have been identified.

The Bradshaw Family, lived at 1222 NW 29th (virtually next door to the Tyler's) and the family members were: Ralph E. Bradshaw (37), selling real estate; his wife Julia A. (37); and sons Lawrence (8) and Ralph E. Jr. (3).

The McCullough Family, lived at 1209 NW 29th and members were: Albert (53), he identified his employment as a census enumerator; Nettie (52); Hubert (22) and Clarence (18).

Edwin Stevenson, was real estate agent, resided in the 7th ward at 1314 NW 23rd, he was 51 and born in England ; his wife was Helen and his children were Clyde, Ettie, Dwight, Harry and Grace.  His neighbor was the pioneer M.E., North minister, H.A. Doty (another family with strong Wesley connections).

H.B. (H. Ben?) Turner (34) lived at 1225 NW 29th with his wife Dena or Trina (32) and son B. Norton Turner.

A.G. (Albert G. ) Paul (48) and his wife Anna A. are shown living in the downtown area of Oklahoma. Paul was a baggage handler for the railroad. Their children were: Ruth C., Clyde, and Sarah M.

Thus - A more precise list of the Trustees : Albert H. Tyler; Ralph E. Bradshaw; H.Ben Turner; a Mr. Smith ; Edwin Stephenson ; and Albert C. McCollough. 

Stewards were : "Mrs. Julia A (A.H.) Tyler, Mrs. Anna A. (Albert G.) Paul, and Mrs. Dena or Trina (H.B.) Turner."

Of further note is that the daughter of the PAUL family, Sarah Marie married Ruhl J. POTTS on 3 Sept. 1927 (Oklahoma County Marriage Records 1889-1951 Book 58, Pg. 450 (Microfilm)) and would be a leading family in their generation at Wesley.  There are several instances of families marrying into other church families, or married children also joining,  in the first five decades of the church.

Others attending that meeting and who became charter members were:
Dr. and Mrs. L.B. Boggs
L.W. Boggs
Mrs. F.A. Colwell and children Luke, Isa
Eva Doty
Hattie Doty
Laverne Doty
Mildred Doty
Raymond Doty
Clarence McCullough
Kate Murray
Edna Mabel Murray
Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Smith
Maude Shaw
Mary Elizabeth Thompson
Marie Tyler
Marguerite Tyler

By Dec. 22, 1910 Mr. and Mrs. Olin Doty had joined.  A year later on August 13, 1911 new members included Mrs. Lydia Wahl Rhodes, her sister Mrs. Pauline Wahl McBride and their father L.G. Wahl (There mother was Anna Classen Wahl) and a C.F. Crane.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Church and Literacy

In a local newspaper of 1922 reported on the message of a local church's Sunday evening sermon. In that sermon, the pastor Dr. Dean C. Dutton, expressed his belief  that "we are just as big as our hunger for knowledge."

"Books make us powerful in our service to humanity."

"A great church must be a reading church."

"Cut out the 'cokes' and put in the money saved on good literature..."

"Through books, lasting friendships with the greatest men of the ages are formed..."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


In August of 1948 the former parsonage of Wesley (2706 N. Douglas) was dedicated and renamed the 'EDWARD HADDUCK MEMORIAL HALL'.  It was to serve the needs of the community and Wesley as a youth center for social activities, work projects and devotional gatherings by young people of the church.
The previous November a young associate pastor, Edward Hadduck had worked with the youth program at Wesley and had been killed in an auto accident.  Rev. Nuell C. Crain conducted the memorial service featuring a shadow play, "Youth At Worship." Over 350 people attended a picnic supper as part of the dedication ceremony.  The parents of the deceased youth pastor, Mr. and Mrs. George Hadduck of Russell, Kansas among them.
The parsonage seen on the right.

Hadduck Hall - perhaps the 1948 dedication?

Youth in front of Hadduck Hall in 1951

Select Biographies: Rev. Hugh B. Fouke

1937-1940, Senior Pastor
Fouke came to Oklahoma City  from Boise, Idaho on Jan.15, 1937. He had previously filled the pastorate at Salem, Oregon before going to Idaho. He was accompanied by his wife and sons James and Myron and a daughter Betty.
While in Oklahoma City he was the president of the Oklahoma City Peace Council, was active in the Oklahoma Federation for Constitutional Rights, a member of good standing of the board of Goodwill Industries, helped organize the Oklahoma City Council of Churches, was a leader in the Ministerial Alliance and chair of the committee sponsoring union church services each summer in the City.
He left Oklahoma City to take the church in Emporia, Kansas and died in Indiana in 1979.


In 1934 the "Wesley News" was a weekly production of the High School Epworth League (the early youth group of Methodist churches).
In those early days there were terms used that are unfamiliar for many modern Methodists and church people in general.
"Subscription" -
"Square Up Day" -
"Pay Up Sunday" -
These terms reflect very pragmatic and real aspects of church growth and ministry.  Church buildings, ministry, outreach, evangelism, music, activities, and growth come with price tags.
Other religious traditions may use terms such as "Tithing", "Offerings" to convey the same subject. The dependence on inconsistent 'freewill' offerings translated into feast or famine ministry in a community or region.  Pioneer or circuit pastors were familiar with these privations and seldom had families.  If they starved, as one old minister said, they just called it a "fast."  If a family suffered, that was a different matter.
People were encouraged to "subscribe" or pledge annual support to the church. This kept the electricity paid, the heat on, the Sunday School materials ordered, ministry supported and paint on the church.  Every family and person was encouraged to subscribe to the support of the church.  The ending months of the year were then seen as 'catch up' days to fulfill the promise made. 
Until WW2 the custom was to have quarterly conferences and part of that process was to 'keep the books straight'.  Monthly a day was marked as a day to bring into the modern 'tabernacle' the offerings, the pledges, the subscription and make good on the promise made to support the church.  Other offerings, above and beyond the pledge, were often used to expand ministry into new areas or give to special causes in the church (local, national, or global).
Methodism was born from a movement of personal intentionality in areas of spiritual development, Christian action, and evangelistic effort.  It was aware of the raw truth of Paul's New Testament comment that the "spirit was willing but the flesh weak".  Good intentions, with out accountability, often died an early death.
Methodism was inspired and motivated in its halcyon days by the Wesleyan adage that basically said, "Make all the money you can so that you can give all the money you can."  Great blessing translated into great giving and advancement of the Gospel of Christ.  In our modern church world, finances are often matters of great secrecy leading to an old joke that the greatest church complainer is often the worst church giver! 
In Methodism the membership has always, in one form another, been called to not just give their money but to be whole-hearted in their commitment.  In doing so, it is expected the Methodist will support the local work of the Gospel (the church) with their regular presence, their monetary gifts, their acts of service (mission, witness), and the ongoing and personal witness to the work of God at work in them and in their world.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Wesley Star: Member Profile of Helen C. Hicks (1904-1974)

Helen C. Hicks was born in 1904 and reared in El Reno, Oklahoma.  From 1926 until her resignation on June 30, 1967, Miss Hicks was employed by the Oklahoma City Schools as an elementary teacher, an elementary principal, and a consultant for the textbook division and the audio-visual center. 
She was an avid traveler and while on a world tour she became ill in Nepal in November 1974, and died at Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 30, 1974.  At that time, Nepal would not permit embalming, and Miss Hicks’ body was cremated and the ashes were shipped to Oklahoma City in a beautiful metal urn. 
A memorial service was held for Miss Hicks at Wesley and her ashes in the urn were buried next to her father in the familyplot in El Reno.
Miss Hicks was an active member of Wesley, serving on the administrative board at the time of her death; and was an alumnus of Oklahoma City University.
[Source: A "Did You Know" article for the Wesley UMC Newsletter, in 1989 written by Marion R. Baker]


Friday, January 17, 2014

Ministers From Wesley

The names here are from the 1976 history, The Dynamic History of a Forceful Church, and reflect people who entered the ministry from Wesley Church. No attempt was made to keep the dates of connection so they may be from 1910 - 1976.
 Anyone with information on any of these people, feel free to leave a comment or email researcher

J.E. Burt

Charles Catican

Richard E. Cies

Bill Collins

John R. Diller

Cliff Elliott Jr.

Steve English

G. Lemuel Fenn

Richard Gibbens

A.E. Gilbert

Joe Hathaway

Melbourne Headrick

Carolyn Hoffman (Only woman listed)

Frederick Hunter

Robert Ives

Robert L. Jones

Larry Jones

Ollie C. Jones

Paul John Jones

John Kapp

Wight Kessler

Owen Langseth

Eddie Light

Fred Lyon

Glenn Miller

Robert Montgomery

Charles Mowery

James Neely

William A. Nighswonger

Carl A. Nighswonger

Jerry Perryman

Richard Proctor

W.T. Pugh

J. Glore Reneau

John Russel

Golden Shook, Jr.

Lewis Stockwell

John C. Stowe

Leslie Thompson

James Whaley
Leonard Williams



Become a Friend of Wesley

A special "Friends of Wesley" group is made of individuals, organizations, and businesses who wish to support the historic preservation of the century old and historically significant Wesley Methodist Church (Wesley United Methodist Church) founded in 1910.

The inspiring windows dating to 1928 honored people significant to local Oklahoma City history but also to the history of Oklahoma Methodism.

The church founding and development was guided by lay people who were leaders in Oklahoma City development in real estate, banking, business, and education.

It stands as a rare remaining example of Methodist Churches in the English Gothic style and as work by a significant early architectural firm.

Donations may be sent to:

Church Treasurer
Wesley United Methodist Church
1401 NW 25th
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma