A History of Williams Memorial United Methodist Church
In 1946 the Methodist Church sent a young chaplain and his wife, BIll and Nena Hattaway, to Texarkana to start a new church in the Beverly area. Judge and Mrs I.N. Williams gave the land in memory of their son, Bill J. WIlliams, a marine killed on Saipan in World War II. The original church was built at 220 Reading Avenue and named WIlliams Memorial United Methodist Church. The Hattaway’s daughter, Sandra H. Melville, was the first member. She came on July 14, 1946 by vows. Among are charter members are Blanche Blankenship and Calvin Russell.
The first services were held in a tent. The tent leaked badly when the rain came so a small building was built and ready for services by the very next Sunday. Later, this first “real” building housed the first women’s Sunday school class. The men met on the corner of New Boston Rd. and Reading in the R.B. Riley Candy Kitchen.
Gradually, permanent buildings appeared. They were built by professionals and volunteers who actually helped dig trenches for the foundation. The first sanctuary was topped with a tall steeple and lighted cross, which now rests near our Moores Lane sanctuary.
Under the leadership of Rev. Jim Garrett and Josh Morriss, Jr., a second sanctuary and facilities were dedicated in 1966. Later the Texas Conference asked Williams Memorial to move and start a new plant in north Texarkana. After much deliberation and work, the new sanctuary was built and the move was made to 4000 Moores Lane in July 1985. Under the leadership of Bob Bunch our education building was completed in 1989.
Louise and Jim Dillingham were the first couple married in the first brick sanctuary. The first MYF group was started by a young 21 year old Martha Williams (Morriss), with Louise Veal (Dillingham) and Raymond Reynolds as the backbone of the new organization.
In 2006 Williams Memorial celebrated its 60th anniversary. A service was held, like the first service, in a tent on the grounds of 4000 Moores lane. In the fall of 2006 and spring of 2007 the church renovated the sanctuary and the youth center.
Williams Memorial is a church with a great tradition and is ready for the ministry that is to come.