Central Wesleyan College Warrenton, Missouri
Central Wesleyan College had its roots in the German and English College
of Quincy, Illinois, founded in 1854. This college endeavored to train
ministers for the German Methodist Episcopal Church and to educate young
people of German heritage in that language. The English portion of the
Quincy college ceased in 1863, and in the summer of 1864, a convention
of German Methodists decided to establish a new institution with two
to provide a home for orphans of the Civil War and
to supply a "higher educational institute for the youth of the
German Church in the West."
Nine hundred thirty-two acres were purchased on May 19, 1864, at
Warrenton, Missouri, for the institution, which was named the Western Orphan
Asylum and Educational Institute. It opened on October 3, 1864. In 1869,
the name was changed to Central Wesleyan College and Orphan Asylum to reflect a
broadening in the studies offered.
Central Wesleyan Orphan Home
The two parts of the institution were legally separated in 1884,
becoming Central Wesleyan College and Central Wesleyan Orphan Home.
(Central Wesleyan Orphan Home closed in 1939; the children were transferred to
the Methodist Children's Home in St. Louis. The
Epworth Children's Home
in Webster Groves, Missouri is the repository of the CWOH records).
The institution flourished and developed a campus with a number
of buildings. The theological seminary was an especially strong part of
the course of study. However, over the years the college endured many
hardships from fires, a tornado, the anti-German attitudes prevalent during
World War I, and financial problems.
In 1909 the German College of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, merged with
the Warrenton school under the name Central Wesleyan College and German
Theological Seminary. The college continued to operate under the auspices of the
German Methodist Conference until 1925, when the German conferences merged with
the English-speaking conferences. In 1932 Central Wesleyan "inherited" the
records of the defunct Ozark Wesleyan College of Carthage, Missouri.
The College Church
After offering a baccalaureate degree for much of its existence, Central
Wesleyan became a junior college in 1930. Increasing financial troubles and the
loss of membership in the Missouri College Union finally combined to overwhelm
the struggling college, and it failed to open in the fall of 1941.
The school remained closed thereafter, and the property,
buildings, and contents were sold to the highest bidder in 1946.
In 1947 Northeast Missouri State Teachers College (now Truman
State University) at Kirksville purchased the library of Central Wesleyan from
the new owner, who was liquidating the property. Northeast at the same
time agreed to take custody of and preserve the Archives and student records.
The former is housed in
Special Collections and the latter are under the care of the Registrar.
Scope of the Collection
The Central Wesleyan College Collection, 24 linear feet of
documents and ledgers, contains correspondence; business, legal, and financial
records; institutional histories of Central Wesleyan College and Orphan Asylum
and merging institutions, Mt. Pleasant German College and Ozark Wesleyan
College; student organizations' records; and college publications.
Some of the documents are in German. The arrangement of the collection is given
below in "Table of Contents." Early materials, before 1910, are sparse.
The collection contains few materials pertaining to the campus buildings and the
daily operations of the school. The collection does contain many
business and financial records of the school, publications of the school,
student organizations' records, and St. Louis German Conference, Methodist
Episcopal Church materials.