Church History



The Names of the Church

            In 1832, the Jacksonville Methodist Church was unofficially organized as a mission. The first officially recorded date was 1834.


            In 1845, the Jacksonville Methodist Episcopal Church became a part of the Alabama Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.


            In 1910, Asbury Methodist Church merged with the Jacksonville Methodist Church and used that name.


            In 1939, with the unification of the three main branches of the Methodist denomination, the church became the Methodist Church.


            In 1968, the United Brethren merged with the Methodist Church. The name was then changed to The United Methodist Church.


The Methodist Church in Jacksonville

            The first official record of a Methodist Church in Jacksonville is in connection with a Quarterly Conference held in Jacksonville on April 19, 1834, thus the celebration of our 175th year. The records of that conference suggest that the church may have been organized during 1834-1833 when settlers were coming into Jacksonville, which was first briefly called Madison, then Drayton, and finally in 1833, called Jacksonville after General Andrew Jackson. Jacksonville Episcopal Methodist Church was the first organized religious group in Calhoun County.

            According to Dr. West’s “History of Methodism in Alabama,” the Jacksonville church was originally listed as part of the Talladega Mission (organized in 1832) and remained a part of that charge until 1838, when Jacksonville Circuit was established. In the 1840s, Jacksonville again became an appointment on the Talladega circuit, but after 1848 the two towns were in separate circuits. In 1845 Jacksonville Methodist Episcopal Church became a part of the Alabama Conference of Methodist Episcopal Church South. Jacksonville was in the Talladega District until 1858 when it was placed in the Gadsden District where it remained through 1864. [At the close of the 1864 conference year, Jacksonville hosted the annual Alabama Conference, which indicated it was one of the larger and more progressive Methodist churches in Alabama at the time.] After 1864, Jacksonville was again placed in the Talladega District. Through the years 1864-69, there was a Montgomery Conference and Jacksonville fell within its bounds. In 1870 the North Alabama Conference was organized, and Jacksonville was included within its territory, where it has remained.

             A Quarterly Conference at Jacksonville on June 11, 1836 authorized the construction of a church building. This building, constructed in 1839, served as the Methodist Church until 1887-1888. The first floor of the building served as the Methodist Church and the second floor served as the Masonic Lodge. This building faced west at the corner of Pelham Road and East College Street, immediately north of the town square. [The old building remained in use as the Masonic Lodge until 1956, when it was torn down in order to construct a shopping center. The new lodge building and shopping center was constructed in 1957-58.]

            In 1883, the Methodists of Jacksonville began to raise money and plan for a new church building. The land on the corner of Gayle Avenue and College Street was purchased in 1887, and a new Gothic frame church was built. It was a one-story building with stained-glass lancet windows and a cruciform gable roof. A bell tower was built on the southeast corner and one set of double doors facing east was installed. A rose window was centered in the upper east wall. The interior was accentuated by beautiful woodwork and stained-glass windows. An alcove was located on the west side for the altar and choir area.

            Since there were no Sunday School rooms, the sanctuary area was divided by curtains for classes. The boys were in the “Amen” corner; the girls, in the choir section.

            In 1923-30, a two-storied annex was added to the north side of the sanctuary. The walls in this addition were sliding walls, closed for Sunday School classes and opened to enlarge the sanctuary. The basement room was used as a meeting place for a Sunday School class and also for the Epworth League, a forerunner of the Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF).

            In the early 1940s, the sanctuary had no pews, no carpet, and no organ loft. The choir sat to the right of the podium with seats that extended toward the congregation. Those attending church services were seated in old theater seats from the Princess Theater.

            During the years 1947-1951, the church was remodeled. The exterior was brick veneered, and the sanctuary was enlarged. Later in the remodeling, the theater seats were replaced with church pews. The choir was moved to the west end of the sanctuary.  After worshiping at the church during the summer months, an Atlanta businessman donated money so the church could be air conditioned.

            Various parsonages have provided housing for the ministers and their families and later as rooms for the Sunday School classes. The records indicate the first parsonage was built between 1836-1840. Presumably a number of parsonages were used between 1840 and 1906. In 1906, records state that the parsonage was located west of the sanctuary and later was used to house the Sunday School classes.

            In 1938, a new three-bedroom brick parsonage was built north of the church. This building later was used as Sunday School rooms and as the church office.

            In 1955, the old parsonage/educational building on the west side was torn down and a new educational building was constructed. A fire in 1993 destroyed much of the interior of this building. Reconstruction and alterations provided a much improved environment for the children and youth Sunday School classes.

            In 1973, the church purchased the property lying between the Educational Building and Spring Street. This area now provides parking and a play area for the children.

            In 1974, the church dedicated a new parsonage which was built on the corner of 12th Street and 7th Avenue. [This parsonage was later sold.}

            In December 1977, the church dedicated three stained-glass windows located on the west end of the sanctuary. All three scenes depict images of Christ – “Christ the Teacher,” “Christ and the Little Children,” and “Christ the Shepherd.”

            In 1978, the church purchased additional property north of the church on Gayle Avenue.

            The church went through a period of expansion during the years 1984-85. The sanctuary was enlarged by removing the sliding wall at the north side of the sanctuary and also the wall of the alcove on the south side. The choir loft was enlarged by removing the walls on each side of the existing loft and merging the small rooms into one large area. A new two-story building was constructed and connected to the north side of the church and to the north end of the educational building. This addition allowed more space for Sunday School rooms and a fellowship hall. The former brick parsonage on the northeast side was sold and moved, allowing more room for the expansion.

            In 1995, the church bought the property located between Gayle Avenue and Pelham Toad, on which the church constructed additional parking and erected a sign which indicates the name of the church, and is visible to all traffic flowing through Jacksonville.

            Growth in attendance led to additional construction. The McWhorter Activity Center, (MAC), a large recreation/worship area was constructed in 1997-1998. Soon after that, several Sunday School classrooms were added. 

            A need for a contemporary praise service led to the establishment of the New Community Service, which meets at 8:30 am in the MAC. Therefore, the church provides three services, two traditional services at 8:30 am and 10:50 am and one praise service at 8:30 am.

            During 2001-2002, the church erected a new steeple, much like the one on the building in the 1800s, and the church added a handicapped access ramp for entrance to the sanctuary.

            Most of this printed history reflects the growth of the physical church plant, which, in turn, reflects the growth in the size of the congregation. This abbreviated chart indicates the growth of the church’s membership:


48 white

28 black


68 white

60 black


268 members



250 members



516 members



682 members



863 members



[*In the antebellum period, slaves joined the church of their masters.]

                This growth in attendance and the physical facilities can also be the reflection of the spiritual growth of God’s people as they give of their time, talents, and money to God’s church.

                All of us at Jacksonville First United Methodist Church pray that God will continue to bless our congregation. We pray that God will provide competent spiritual leaders and that all of us will have the courage and willingness to demonstrate His love and be witnesses for our Lord Jesus Christ.


                In the years of its existence, the Jacksonville Methodist Church has had some eighty-six ministers who have provided leadership for the Methodists of Jacksonville. These are in order of their service in Jacksonville:

Jesse Ellis                                          1834-38

William Rhodes                             1839-40

James P. McGee                             1841—

N. P. Scales                                       1841—

Theophilus Moody                       1842—

George McClintock                       1842—

John Jones                                        1843—

Haman Bailey                                 1843-44

Clayton Gillespie                           1844-45

Acton Youngand                            1845—

Oliver R. Blue                                  1846—

Thos. H. P. Scales                           1847—

Edward J. Hammil                        1848—

J. B. F. Hill                                         1849—

John W. Ellis, Sr.                            1850—

Cornelius N. McLeod                   1851—

Joseph T. Curry                              1852—

W. E. Linfield                                  1852-53

M. W. Regan                                     1852-53

W. M. Lovelady                              1854—

L. M. Wilson                                     1855—

Malcom M. Graham                     1856—

Uriah Williams                               1857—

Neil Gillis                                          1858—

F. T. J. Brandon                               1859—

James M. Hood                               1860—

W. G. Perry                                      1861—

George W. Brown                         1862-63

W. A. Sampey                                  1864—

W. R. Kirk                                         1865—

T. G. Slaughter                                1867—

F. T. J.  Brandon                              1868-69

T. H. Davenport                             1870-71

J. A. Thompson                               1872—

M. B. Johnson                                  1873—

J. W. Whitten                                   1874—

H. D. Hill                                            1875—

J. C. Brown                                       1876-77

C. M. Livingston                             1878-79

W. H. Armstrong                           1880—

V. O Hawkins                                  1881-82

J. B. Stevenson                                1883—

C. L. Dobbs                                       1884-85

S. R. Emerson                                  1886-89

F. A. Rogers                                      1890-93

J. H. Leslie                                         1894—

W. N. Norris                                     1895—

V. O. Hawkins                                 1896-97

F. T. J. Brandon                               1898-99

I. Q. Melton                                      1900-01

G. E. Driskill                                     1902-05

A. J. Notesine                                   1906-07

H. W. Rickey                                    1908-09

F. L. Aldridge                                   1910-12

S. P. West                                          1913-15

O. L. Millican                                   1916-18

H. L. Aldridge                                  1919-21

W. O. Horton                                   1922-25

W. M. Tredaway                            1926-27

B. F.  Tingle                                      1928-29

J. C. persinger                                  1929-31

Henri M. Hurst                                1931-33

Doyce Mitchell                               1933-34

R. C. Wilson                                      1934-38

K. N. Matthews                               1938-40

C. T. Ferrell                                      1940-43

Elbert S. Butterly                          1943-47

Allen D. Montgomery                  1947-51

B. H. McCain                                    1951-53

T. F. Stevenson                               1953-58

Eugene Atkins                                1958-63

Charles H. Howard                       1963-67

Robert L. Archibald                      1967-69

Hoyt L. Logan                                 1969-72

Robert W. Gunn                             1972-76

Jesse Albert Kaylor                       1976-80

Stanley P. Clark                              1980-86

Brantley E. Motes                         1986-89

Woodfin Grove                              1989—

C. Rudell Guess                               1989-91

S. Jefferson Bayne                         1991-94

Michael Morgan Stewart           1994-97

Will Garrett/Tommy Ledbetter               1997-01

Jim Robertson/Amy Raser                         2001-03

Jim Robertson/Melissa Saccucci             2003-04

William Etheridge/Ted Anderson           2004-2008

John Simmons/Ted Anderson                                  2008-15

Lyle Holland/Andy Curtis         2015 - present