Mt. Olive History

Mt. Olive History

History 1891-1991
100 Years of History

Mt. Olive began with Rev. James J. Turrentine. He moved his wife, five sons and one daughter to Lawrence County from Illinois. The Board of Trustees purchased one acre of land for $20 and the warranty deed stated it was “In trust that said premises shall be used, kept, and maintained as a place of divine worship.”


The building was completed in 1891 and the Rev. James J. Turrentine was appointed minister. The church was named Mt. Olive Methodist Episcopal Church. At this time the Christian Church at McKinley was holding services in a school house. The two churches decided that the Christian Church would hold services the 1st and 3rd Sundays, and the Methodist on the 2nd and 4th Sundays.

Ministry of the church

1910 E.F. Yeager was appointed minister and served two years.

1918 the congregation decided to buy a new Chute and Butler upright piano from L.E. Lyon Co. in Springfield, MO.

1920 the new minister, Rev. W.D. Peebles discovered that the building was leaning badly. He invited a traveling evangelist, the Rev. Voight to hold a revival under the brush arbor built on the church yard. Donations from this revival were used to repair the church.

1922, Rev. O.A. Fortune came to Mt. Olive on a full-time basis and in 1923 the Church shared Rev. Fortune with Hurley.

1929 Rev. J.H. Hubbard came to preach in a church lit by Coleman lanterns. Ladies Aid Society was an enterprising group. Quilting and mowing the cemetery for $5.00 a time. Ice cream and cake socials were an annual event. The ladies also served fried chicken dinners in the community building basement at Marionville, MO on election days as well as auctions to help pay expenses at the church. These activities lasted until the early 1940s.

1935 a young minister named Rev. Herbert Hillme was sent to the Mt. Olive/Strafford circuit. This is the only time there is any record of a single minister marrying a young lady from his congregation. Rev. Herbert Hillme and Mildred Pendleton were united in marriage on September 1, 1936. They stayed until 1937.

Name Change

A special meeting was held in Kansas City, MO, for the unification of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal South and the Methodist Protestant. After this meeting we were now known as “The Methodist Church”. Also, at this time the Ladies Aid Society became known as The Women’s Society of Christian Service.


During the early 1930s and in the late 1930s a lady evangelist, Rev. Eupha D. Beasley, held two stirring revivals and many were saved. The singing “Goodwill Family” and the “Gospel Singers” of radio station KWTO were frequent visitors to Mt. Olive and drew full crowds.

1942 or 1943 a convoy of army trucks loaded with soldiers and equipment camped across the road from Mt. Olive. Many of these boys worshipped at Mt. Olive while they were camped there. During the forties, the church had a hard time surviving due to the war.

1959 marked the first year for vacation bible school

1961 the conference that Mt. Olive was in changed from the Southwest Missouri Conference to the Missouri West Conference.

In 1957, Mt. Olive and Billings were joined as a circuit and severed together until 1960. In 1962 the two churches were again joined and continue to serve together as a circuit as of this date, 1982 (2006).