First United Methodist Church of Jacksonville. This congregation traces its history to 1845, when it was organized in the small rural settlement of Gum Creek. The Rev. Henderson D. Palmer, a circuit riding Methodist minister, served as the first pastor of the congregation. Earlier, worship services were held in the homes of various Methodists. In 1847 the town of Jacksonville was created by Jackson Smith. As homes, businesses and the post office were transferred to the new town, Gum Creek gradually declined in favor of Jacksonville. The Methodist congregation moved to the new town in 1853 and built a structure used as a union church on Sundays and for a school during the week. A two-story structure replaced the 1853 building in 1856. In 1872 present Jacksonville was laid out along the rail line. The Methodist Church moved to the new Jacksonville town site in 1874 and built a one-room sanctuary. In 1882 the growing congregation relocated to this site. It was designated a full charge by the denomination in 1888, and the Rev. W.W. Hopper became the first full-time pastor. The First United Methodist Church continues to be an integral part of the Jacksonville community. (1989) #6840