Charles Fillmore (1854-1948) was born on an Indian reservation near St. Cloud, Minnesota. His father was a Chippewa trader there. Myrtle Fillmore was born in Pagetown, Ohio on October 6, 1845. They met in Texas. He was a railroad freight clerk. She was a school teacher, in fragile health, suffering from recurring tuberculosis. They married, had three sons, and they roamed the west seeking a cure for Myrtle’s illness.In 1884 the Fillmores came to Kansas City. They invested what little money they had in real estate. And they lost it. It was then they decided that spiritual work would be their future. Together they launched the Modern Thought Publishing Company in 1889, and the Unity School of Christianity in 1914.
Unity leaned heavily on their printed pieces. They sold them at cost for “love offerings.” They started a magazine called Modern Thought, and Unity Magazine was launched in 1889. By 1906 Unity had its own publishing plant. Their preaching, printing and broadcasting were combined with their Unity Inn’s vegetarian meals. It was also from here that Silent Unity was broadcast on their radio station, and the magazines Wee Wisdom for kiddies and Daily Word for adults were published.
In 1929 Unity moved to what eventually became over 1300 rolling acres at Lee’s Summit, Missouri. They named it Unity Village in the 1950s, and the name remains today. It became their world headquarters, with a landmark Unity Tower. A fountain, crossed by the Bridge of Faith, runs lengthwise of the manicured grounds.
Eighty-six year old Myrtle Fillmore died October 6, 1931. Charles Fillmore remained active at Unity until his death at age 93 on July 5, 1948. The ashes of both founders were reportedly scattered from the Bridge of Faith into the flowing waters below.
The Unity Church and Movement was founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore in the late 1880s. They were down and almost out when they conceived the idea that became Unity.