Centenary Methodist Church was founded in 1839 as a mission congregation of Fourth Street Methodist Episcopal Church (later known as First Methodist Episcopal Church South). The name "Centenary" was adopted to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Methodism by John Wesley. The congregation worshipped in a rented chapel at 5th and Pine before building a church at the same intersection. Its present building at 16th and Pine (now 55 Plaza Square) dates from 1869 and was given landmark status in 1971.
When the Methodist Episcopal Church divided over the issue of slavery in 1844, the congregation became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The northern and southern branches of Methodism reunited and merged with the Methodist Protest Church in 1939 to become the Methodist Church. A merger with the Church of the United Brethren in 1968 led to the formation of the present-day United Methodist Church (UMC). Centenary is a member of the UMC Missouri Conference.
|1839||George C. Light & William M. Daily (from Fourth Street Church)|
|1842 – 1844||John H. Linn|
|1844 – 1846||Joseph Boyle|
|1846 – 1848||Thomas H. Capers|
|1848 – 1850||William H. Lewis|
|1850 – 1851||William M. Prottsman|
|1851 – 1852||Jerome C. Berryman|
|1852 – 1853||David R. McAnally & J.P. Nolan|
|1853 – 1854||James F. Truslow|
|1854 – 1855||Enoch M. Marvin|
|1855||James Sewell (served one month)|
|1855 – 1857||Enoch M. Marvin|
|1857 – 1858||Charles B. Parsons|
|1859||Evan Stevenson (served two months)|
|1859 – 1862||Enoch M. marvin|
|1862 – 1864||Joseph Boyle|
|1864 – 1866||Francis A. Morris|
|1866 – 1868||William A. Smith|
|1868 – 1870||C.D.N. Campbell|
|1870 – 1874||John H. Linn|
|1874 – 1878||William V. tudor|
|1886 – 1890||John Mathews|
|1890 – 1891||B. Carradine|
|1891 – 1893||S.H. Werlein|
|1893 – 1898||John Mathews|
|1897 – 1898||A.E. Nelson|
|1898 – 1902||J.H. Young|
|1902 – 1906||William F. Andrews|
|1909 – 1913||Luther E. Todd|
|1913 – 1917||Charles W. Tadlock|
|1917 – 1919||Alfred F. Smith|
|1937 – 1938||Dawson c. Bryan|
|1938 – 1946||Charles M. Crowe|
|1946 – 1954||Frank C. Tucker|
|1954 – 1957||Forrest L. Standard|
|1957 – 1964||John H. Crowe|
|1964 – 1976||J. Lester McGee|
|1976 – 1978||Nicholas K. Kiriakos|
|1978 – 1988||James Raber|
Centenary Methodist Church established Wesleyan Cemetery at the southwest and southeast corners of Grand and Laclede Avenues in 1847. The grounds comprised 12-3/4 acres and extended to Market Street on the east side of what is now Grand Avenue. The cemetery included more than 2400 African American burials. The Wesleyan Cemetery Association was formed in 1851.
Encroachment of the city led the Association to establish New Wesleyan Cemetery at the southeast corner of Olive Street Rd. and Hanley Ave. in 1874. Most graves were moved to this new location, although some were transferred to other burial grounds. New Wesleyan cemetery closed in 1952, and graves were moved to Memorial Park Cemetery and other locations.
Cemetery records are available for Wesleyan and New Wesleyan Cemeteries from 1847 through 1952 and include removal records from Wesleyan Cemetery to New Wesleyan Cemetery and from New Wesleyan Cemetery to Memorial Park Cemetery. Microfilm copies are available on film no. CMC-1 (FHL film no. 1405557) in the History and Genealogy Department.
Wesleyan Cemetery burials are included on Vol. 4 of "St. Louis Burials," a CD-ROM publication that can be used in the History and Genealogy Department. Indexes to African American burials, 1847-1869 and certificates to all burials, 1891-1899 are available on the library website.