Central Wesleyan College
Warrenton, population 7,880, is located just off I-70, sixty miles west of St. Louis. I have been by the town a number of times, but never in it. But the Mid-Continent Genealogy Center at Independence, MO has a number of Central Wesleyan yearbooks and catalogs.
The German Methodist Episcopal Church founded Central Wesleyan College in 1864. On a 900-acre campus, it created the Western Orphan Asylum and Educational Institute, to meet two of its goals—to provide a home for orphans and to “make a liberal Christian education possible to every young man and woman.” In 1869 the name was changed to Central Wesleyan College and Orphan Asylum. In 1884 the two institutions were separated.
Walter Williams in The State of Missouri lists the 1904 enrollment as 335. He notes that the college had five buildings and 27 professorships and instructorships for its collegiate, business, normal, music, theology and military schools. In 1892 about a quarter of the classes were taught in German, and one of the literary societies was devoted to German language and literature. Some of the school catalogues and bulletins found at Mid-Continent were printed in German.
In 1909 German College at Mt. Pleasant, IA was merged with Central Wesleyan.
The 1928 Pulse, the school yearbook, shows 224 students, with 53 of these being academy students. Central Wesleyan was strong in music, with a band, an orchestra, and a glee club in addition to the Wild Rose Ramblers. The school had YMCA and YWCA chapters as well as the Theological Seminar. Most students belonged to one of four literary societies—Philomathia, Goethenia, Garfield or Socratas Classica.
In 1930 faced with financial difficulties brought on by the Great Depression, Central Wesleyan became a two-year school, losing membership in the Missouri College Athletic Union. In 1932 Ozark Wesleyan College of Carthage was merged with Central Wesleyan. At the onset of World War II, financial problems and anti-German sentiment caused the college to close.
Bricks and Mortar
The 1925 Pulse identifies the original structure as “Main College Building.” It dates from the 1874. Later buildings included the Jubilee Chapel, the Ladies' Home, and Kessler Hall which housed the Conservatory of Music.
After the College closed, the buildings were sold at public auction in 1946. In 1955 some of the buildings—including Main Building—were converted to a facility for the aged called Katie Jane Nursing Home. On February 16, 1957, 72 residents lost their lives in a fire that destroyed the buildings.
Team name: Cewescos (or Cewescoes)
Colors: Blue and White
Central Wesleyan College was a founding member of the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1912. In 1924 when the private colleges broke away, Central Wesleyan helped found the Missouri College Athletic Union.
College Football Data Warehouse shows that Central Wesleyan played football between 1921 and 1932 without enjoying a winning season. The 1928 Pulse notes that the 1927 football team faced “the stiffest schedule that a Central Wesleyan team has ever been called on to face.” The difficult schedule, plus key injuries, resulted in a 2-6 record, with the team being shut out four times. Victories were over conference rival Drury and Jefferson City Junior College. Losses were to MCAU rivals Westminster, Missouri Valley, Central Methodist, Missouri Wesleyan and Culver-Stockton and to Shurtleff College of Illinois. The Pulse stated that the season was a reminder “that we can not always have the best things for ourselves.”
Additionally, Central Wesleyan fielded a women’s basketball team. The 1927-28 team was undefeated and, for the fourth year in a row, were able to claim the state championship. The yearbook noted that “Girl’s Intercollegiate Athletics are becoming more and more a thing of the past.”
The undefeated 1927-28 Central Wesleyan women’s basketball team. (1928 Pulse) Courtesy of Mid-Continent Genealogy Center
Main College Building (<babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiuo.ark:/13960/t85h8s23m;view=1up;seq=26>) accessed 11-1-2017