Search This Blog

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



Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Triangle Parking Lot: A Classen Gift

In the early days of the church, Anton Classen arranged for the triangle piece of land  between Classen Blvd. and Douglas Ave. (just in front of Wesley on its east side) to come to Wesley and later, when the sanctuary was built, Mrs. Classen had the area landscaped with rose bushes. Wife of Oklahoma City business leader, Anton H. Classen, Ella Classen and sister-in-law to early member, Anna Classen Wahl, this image was donated to Wesley by the Wahl family

Mrs. Anton Classen: A Friend of Wesley

Wesley Church Archives
 Wife of Oklahoma City business leader, Anton H. Classen, Ella Classen and sister-in-law to early member, Anna Classen Wahl.. This image was donated to Wesley by the Wahl family. 

A Classen File

These were among some donated images to Wesley by Anton H. Classen's sister Anna Sophia Classen Wahl and her daughters, Mrs. Pauline Wahl McBride, Mrs. Frances Wahl McAlister, and Mrs. Lydia Wahl Rhodes, all  members of Wesley. "Aunt Ella" was the former Ella Dell LAMB who married Classen in 1903.

"Uncle Anton H. Classen and Aunt Ella Classen"

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Symbols in Light

As a Gothic sanctuary, Wesley UMC was built to include various symbols of the Christian faith.  These include symbols such as the Greek letters the "Alpha and the Omega" signifying the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet or the beginning and the end of life.  There is the grapevine. There is the shield. Many other symbols, colors, and concepts are employed in the sanctuary in wood, stone, and in the stained glass.

Grapevine - Symbol of the teaching of Jesus that " I am the Vine; ye are the Branches."

Shield - recalls Ephesians 6: 16 " Take up the Shield of Faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked."
A combination of the Fleur-de-Lis ( a symbol of the Trinity) and the four lobed blossom (symbol of the four Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)

The Shield with Cross

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wesley in Print : A Short Bibliography

Information about Wesley Methodist Church and Wesley United Methodist Church can be found in the

       Brill, H.E.  The Story of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Oklahoma City, University Press,1939.

Brill, H.E.  The Story of Oklahoma City University and its Predecessors. Oklahoma City, University Press, 1938.

Clegg and Oden. Oklahoma Methodism in the Twentieth Century. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Conference of Methodism/Parthenon, 1968.

Edwards and Ottoway. The Vanished Splendor: Postcard View of Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City: Abalache Book Shop, 1982.

Stewart, Roy B. Born grown: an Oklahoma City History. Oklahoma City, Fidelity Bank National Association, 1974.

Wesley United Methodist Church. The Dynamic History of a Forceful Church. Oklahoma City, WUMC, 1975.

Wesley United Methodist Church. These Stones Will Shout. Oklahoma City, WUMC, 1988.




Sunday, January 5, 2014

Stained Glass At Wesley

From an upcoming history of the windows:
"The stained glass in the sanctuary of Wesley Methodist Church use a combination of methods and consists of four :
(4) large "story" windows (approximately 12 x16 feet) set high in the walls of the four cardinal points of the compass (East, North, West, South). 
Below two of these large windows are set four (4) smaller and narrower "story" windows (in the North and South Transept). 
Along each of the north and south sanctuary cloisters are two  (2) sets of three (one set on the south and one set on the south ) 
(6) above them sets of common stained glass (three on each side).
The total number of stained glass panels (story and common glass) is approximately thirty (30). There are four (4) large story windows, eight (8) tall narrow story windows. Six (6) cloister story windows. Eleven (11) common (without story) glass colored windows.
 The original contract price for the windows was nearly $4,112.00. They were donated by various families to honor family members, most who were connected with Wesley.  Some reflect individuals significant to both local and denominational history. They were acquired from the Kansas City Stained Glass Works, Inc.  (514-516 Wyandotte Street, Kansas City). Their work shop was at the St. Joseph Art Glass Co., (Paul H. Wolff, president) at 806-808 North 2nd Street in St. Joseph, Missouri.  This company had produced stained glass in several Kansas City churches, homes and businesses across the country." -- Used by Permission

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Select Biographies: Benjamin Franklin Nihart (1854-1945)

Benjamin Franklin (B.F.) Nihart received his B.S., A.B., and A.M., from Valparaiso University Litt.D. Oklahoma City University. He taught in the areas of Psychology  and education and served as Dean Emeritus in the 1930's.   At Wesley he served as chair of the Official church board 1922-23; Chair of the Trustees, 1923;  Nihart was born in Nov., 1854 in  Indiana and died in Oklahoma City in  1945.  He is buried in Fairlawn Cemetery.

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