Billings History

Billings History

History 1882-1989

The origin of the Methodist Episcopal Church, May 1882, is the result of the dedication of seven charter members and their families. The name was later changed to Wesley Methodist, before finally becoming known as the Billings Methodist Church.

Charter members were:

George Keast Jno. Trewatha
Jas. Hildrith W.M. Tipper
George Kinloch Mr. Constantine
Mr. Barris

There are no records at the archives in Fayette, Missouri, for the years 1882-1890. It is presumed Billings could have been on a circuit with Republic, Missouri.

Quarterly Conference records, beginning with year 1891, show that Billings, Mt. Olive, and Chesapeake were on a circuit. Each church had a Board of Stewards and Trustees, but quarterly meetings were held together.

First listings of Stewards of Billings were Wm. Tipper. G. L. Keast, J.H. Keast, and A. G. Keast. Trustees: Jas. Hildrith, and P.M. Laney.

Licensed to preach from our church were J.H. Keast, A.G. Keast, and Luther Keast.

The sand for the building came from the roadsides and the rock was quarried. Uncle George Keast laid the foundation and Mr. Constantine was the head carpenter.

The first entrance to the building was in the middle, entering a vestibule with two doors, one entering the main auditorium from the left and the other from the right. The pulpit remains in the same position as it is today.

Under diligent labor and many hardships the building was completed and dedicated in November of the same year, with Samuel Warner as the first Pastor and Uncle George Keast as Sunday-School Superintendent.

After the completion of the Church a three-room parsonage was built. Later the roof was raised, porches added, making a story and half dwelling, as it now stands today.

The League Room was added in 1906, with the aid of an endowment fund of $500.00 left to the church by Mrs. Barris and finances from mite boxes of each member.

The steeple was in the center of the church when first built, and change to its present position when the league room was added.

The building was lighted by coal oil lamps for a number of years; later being replaced by a carbide lighting system. In 1912, the Empire District Electric Company furnished electricity.

In the year 1931 the St. Louis Conference became know as the Missouri Conference.

In the year of 1936, when Wesley Fenn was Pastor, the young married people’s class decided to put a basement under the church. The men folk started work immediately at night with lunch being served by the ladies. The hole was enlarged but never completed.

On September 12, 1940, Women’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) was organized with Pastor Rev. D. S. Frazier acting as chairman.

The following officers were elected:

President Mrs. Oliver Wampler
1st Vice President Mrs. Anna Dreier
2nd Vice President Mrs. Ralph Tiede
Corresponding Secretary Mrs. H.P. Raulston
Recording Secretary Mrs. Cleo Strothkamp
Treasurer Mrs. Henry Koenig

Charter Members (31):

Alice Garbee Addie Suttlemeyer
Alice tiede Hanna Stearns
Anna Drier Mrs. J.H. Hubbard
Bertha Smith Cleo Strothkamp
Ella Schaefer Ruth Cloud
Elsie Wampler Lula Raulston
Glapha Holcomb Anna Stegner
Hatie Cope Martha Shutter
Jessie Frazier Ethel Burkey
Louise Humble Maude Massey
Nancy Dippell Viola Wilson
Naomi Wampler Nelle Wagemann
Olive Garbee Mrs. G. D. Cronk
Pearl Thomas Nina Wampler
Stella Andre

In 1942, Billings and Hurley were put on a circuit together, Rev. J. W. Vertz, pastor.

On Oct. 1, 1950, remodeling of Church Parsonage was completed.

June 1951, Mrs. Bessie Owen gave a Crown Pedal Organ. Lee Butcher and Rev. Hunter attached motor. Mrs. Owen played it.

Oct. 10, 1951, remodeling and re-decorating of church interior was begun.

Nov. 7, 1951, venetian blinds were installed. Private donations made this project possible.

One Sunday in 1952, Mrs. Elsie Wampler’s class announced they were going to build a kitchen; then the men’s class informed them they were going to complete the basement. Work was again started by the church folks and basement completed.

March 1, 1952, Oliver Wampler presented the church with baptismal font and candelabra.

April 21, 1952, Bro. E. R. Puckett repainted the sign on the front of church.

May 30, 1952, basement and a rest room were completed. Dedication ceremonies were on Oct. 19, 1952 with a basket dinner, Harold Hunter, Pastor.

Jan. 5, 1943, garage was started, walls and roof completed. Floor and windows completed at a later date.

Dec. 12, 1953, parsonage rear porch was enclosed. During this year, Harry Kloppenburg made a replica of the church and presented it, which is placed on the right side of the altar and used for birthday offerings.

In 1957, Mt. Olive was added to our circuit and Hurley discontinued. We served with Mt. Olive until 1960, then we were on our own until 1962, when the conference united us with Mt. Olive, we are still on the same circuit as of this date, 1982 (1998).

The interior of the building was remodeled in 1957, during the pastorate of Harold L. Bassett. Rev. and Mrs. Bassett donated the present pulpit; communion table was donated by the Youth group; one chair by Charley and Logie Garoutte.

The public address system, was given by the Charles Skea family, quilting pals and friends, in memory of Anna Skea.

Their sister Mrs. Marie Frederickson gave the outside bulletin board in memory of W. F. Wagemann and A. N. Wagemann, in the year 1960.

Runners in the aisles were added Sept. 1973.

The Youth Group purchased the organ in 1975, with receipts from a ham and bean supper and individual’s donations.

A gift, of $1000.00, from Mrs. Ruth Massey, was given in memory of her mother, Mrs. Nora Hildrith, Dec. 1977.

Shrubs in front of the Church were purchased in fall of 1977.

The pews were re-finished and upholstered in March 1978, by various members.

The United Methodist Women (UMW) furnished the room dividers for the Hall; also lowered the ceiling in the Sunday-School room and papered the walls in Nov. 1979.

Harry Kloppenburg donated the lighted baptismal lamp at the left of the pulpit.

The Fellowship Hall was started in May 1978, and completed in November. The UMW decorated it, with proceeds from bazaar and bake sale. Rev. Arthur Daugherty was Pastor. The two sales netted $1650.00.

Dedication of the Hall was May 4, 1980 with Dr. Bill O’Quinn, District Superintendent, master of ceremonies, with basket dinner at noon hour, Rev. Clifford Sleeth, pastor.

Colored windows and storm sashes were installed March 1981. Family donations from the church members contributed to the financing of the windows.

The beautiful Tapestry of the “Lord’s Last Supper” in front of the church was given by the Alvin E Rusche family, Christmas 1981.

In the spring of 1984, a new parsonage was completed for approximately $50,000. It has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Bob McQueen was the first tenant.

In 1989, the new Methodist Hymnals were purchased by various donations from members of the church.