Methodist Church
Methodist Church – 1970

Lawson’s Methodist Church organization is the outgrowth of one that had its beginnings at the close of the Civil War. Lawson had been without church services of any kind for a long time because of the border troubles.

A band of peo­ple began gathering in the Jeff­erson Schoolhouse. At first, they sang and prayed for the end of hostilities and the return of the beloved family members. Then in 1865 they held a protracted meeting under the leadership of two local preachers, the Reverends George Huffaker and W. F. Wilson. More than eighty converts were received in that six weeks and immediately after, the Jefferson Class was organized. The group continued holding services in the Jefferson school house.

Soon after, a group of settlers three miles northeast of today’s Lawson began meeting in the Butler school house and organized them­selves as the Butler Class. Great crowds assembled at both places for the monthly, or less frequent, services held in those two schoolhouses.

In 1872 the Jefferson and Butler Classes consolidated their strength, organizing as the Lawson Methodist Church. Joining forces with the recently reorganized Pres­byterians of the new town, they put up a frame church building at Fourth and Ingles.

The two denominations used Lawson’s first church building, alter­nately, for preaching. The Presbyterians held their Sunday school in the morning, with J. A. Smith as superintendent, and the Methodists in the afternoon, with Dr. G. W. James as their leader. What speaks well for both groups is that any minister who came to town regardless of whether he belonged to either denomination, was cordially invited to fill the pulpit of the town’s only church.

In 1886, a powerful revival meeting was held in the building under Preacher Fisher, a Missionary Baptist. All three denominations gained great strength from it and soon after, the Methodists began plans for a building of their own providing they could sell out to the Presby­terians.

Second Methodist Church
Second Methodist Church built in 1887. Located at 6th & Ingles

An agreement was made by April of 1887. Their interest was sold, a lot at the southwest corner of Sixth and Ingles was purchased, and a church was built. That same year the build­ing was dedicated by Bishop E. R. Hendrix. It was L-shaped and the south part was used for Sunday School and prayer meetings. This body first appeared in the conference records of 1880 as Lawson. Earlier entries show it as listed on the Haynesville circuit, then as Lawson-Lathrop, next as Lawson-Excelsior Springs, and from 1892 to 1894 as the Lawson circuit.

Soon afterward the group bought  a house facing Doniphan which was directly in back of the church. It was refurbished and used as a parsonage. In 1904 a new parsonage was completed on the same site.

Methodist Church
Methodist Church completed in 1911

By 1909, the congregation was outgrowing the church building so a movement was started to build a new one. A new church located on the northeast corner of Fifth and Pennsylvania was completed by the middle of October 1911. On November 5, 1911, Dr. W. F. McMurray preached the dedicatory service. Following the sermon, those assem­bled walked across Pennsylvania and a half block south, climbed the steps to the James opera house, and enjoyed a bountiful dinner the ladies of the church had prepared. The minister during that time of building was J. A. Mumpower.

Rev. J. A. Mumpower
Rev. J. A. Mumpower, Methodist minister during the completion of the church in 1911


In 1917, due to a breakdown of their heating system, the Presbyterians finished out a current revival meeting in the Methodist build­ing. So powerful a speaker was evangelist A. M. Thomas, two hundred people were added to the rolls of the town’s various churches and the Methodists in particular took on new life.

In February of 1921, during a revival led by H. C. Hankins, about 100 new people were converted bringing the membership roll to 260. During a twelve day meeting in October of that year enthusiasm was aroused for a homecoming. Held November 6, 1921, the celebration marked the tenth anniversary of the new church’s dedication.

Methodist Missionary Society
Early members of the Methodist Missionary Society. Mrs. Anna Gant, Mrs. Kate Hunter, Mrs. Carrie Crowley, Mrs. Atterbury, Mrs. Tillery, Miss Lena Titus, The REv. Madison, Miss Sallie Crowley, Mrs. Sallie Helms, Mrs. Wealthy Young, Mrs. Fannie James.

A Sunday School was organized soon after that first church building was completed in 1872. The missionary society of the local Methodist church was organized in 1889 with fifteen members. Mrs. George Young was its first presi­dent. A children’s missionary group was formed in 1891, disbanded, and was reorganized in 1903. The very first organized missionary work was done by a young people society headed by Anna Young in 1895. The Women’s Parsonage and Home Mis­sion Society came into being in 1905 with Mrs. Carrie S. Crowley as president. In 1912, the two women’s groups combined as the Missionary Society. 

In 1955 a Hammond organ was purchased for the sanctuary. Nursery service for young mothers was added in 1963. On October 10, 1965, the church cele­brated the centennial of the original founding of the two rural classes. As part of that centennial celebration was the dedication of the new educational wing that had just been completed east of the main building.

Methodist Educational Building
Methodist Educational Building dedicated in 1965

In 1968, the Evangelican United Bethren and the Methodist church joined hands as the United Methodist Church. That same year, the Miss­ouri West conference allotted $540,000 for the development of a wilderness camp area just purchased northeast of Lawson. One of eight in this conference, the plans were for it to be fully ready by 1972 for both camping and for retreat conference purposes.

On October 21, 2015, Wilderness camp was purchased by the Wilderness Camping and Retreat Association (WCRA) and was officially granted 501(c)3 status. Wilderness provides summer camp opportunities for children and youth and is available to groups of all sizes for retreats, camping, and recreational activities.


Methodist Sunday School Class
Methodist Sunday School Class. Maurine Sharp, Winnie Hartman, May Teegarden, Eva Rock, Viola Minnick, Ruby Shelton, Hettie Borgmier, Flora Roberts, Maude Marrs, Blanche Titus, Earline Morrison, Gertrude Holman, Friend of Mrs. Minnick, Fern Hurt, Stella Burgess, Edie Crowley, Bob Morrison, Bill Hale, Nada Hale, Grover Borgmier, Monroe Teegarden, Faris Anderson
Rev. F. Austin Henry
Rev. F. Austin Henry
Rev. William Ezell
Rev. William Ezell
William R. Weakley
William R. Weakley, served as missionary to Japan for many years










1865 – 1866   George Huffaker

1866 – 1867   S. J. Huffaker (son of George Huffaker)

1867 – 1869   D. M. Proctor

1869 – 1870   W. P. Wilson

1870 – 1871   J. B. Jewell

1871 – 1872   W. P. Wilson

1872 – 1873   R. H. Jordan

1873 – 1874   Jesse Bird

1874 – 1875   W. C. Campbell

1875 – 1877   J. A. Hyder

1877 – 1878   Joseph Devlin

1878 – 1879   L. F. Linn

1879 – 1880   A. M. Kiergan

1880 – 1881   H. A. Davis

1881 – 1882   D. C. O’Howell

1882 – 1884   T. H. Swearengen

1884 – 1886   J. Y. Blakey

1886 – 1887   T. M. Rucker

1887 – 1888   A. V. Bayley

1888 – 1890   J. S. Smith

1890 – 1893   L. B. Madison

1893 – 1895   R. W. Howerton

1895 – 1898   H. C. Garrett

1898 – 1900   W. T. Whiteside

1900                 W. N. Giddens

1900                 J. M. Dempsey

1901                 G. F. Ray

1901 – 1902   G. E. Tanquary

1902 – 1903   B. P. Taylor

1903 – 1904   E. E. Botswick

1904 – 1906   J. R. McMurry

1906 – 1908   F. J. Mapel

1908 – 1912   J. A. Mumpower

1912 – 1916   F. E. Mosely

1916 – 1918   G. C. Aker

1918 – 1922   C. A. Bowles

1922 – 1924   E. W. Bartley

1924 –               J. J. Reed

1952 – 1957   Martin Olsen

1957 – 1958   Daniel K. Evans

1958 – 1962   Stuart E. Whitney

1962 – 1965   Robert A. Morrison

1965 – 1970   Gene Neas

Willis Dockery??

F. Austin Henry

William Ezell