In the year 1790 a Methodist family, Samuel Weyburn, wife and four children, settled at what was later known as Goodwin’s Point, now Taughannock. Four years later two brothers, also Methodists, named Richard and Benjamin Goodwin, settled at the same place.
In the year 1795, three Methodist preachers, Reverends Valentine Cook, Thornton and Fleming were preaching in this territory. It was a usual custom when two or more Methodist families settled near each other to form a class. Often these classes were permanent and a church organization thus started. These three preachers labored unceasingly and when a young preacher, William Colbert, who was sent on a tour of exploration through the then western wilds of New York on his return gave a most glowing report of the work, that Bishop Asbury formed a circuit from the immense tract. The circuit was from Wilkes Barre to Niagara. Valentine Cook was appointed presiding elder.
In 1801 David James of the Seneca Circuit was preaching at Jacksonville and Goodwin’s Point. In 1808 Sunday preaching was first commenced and a camp meeting was held the same year on the J.M. Stout farm. The original Stout farm included the F.A. Lueder farm and the land on both sides of the road extending to Jane Kraft’s. It is believed that the camp meeting grounds was in the woods on the Kraft Road.
In this year, 1808, Rev. Gideon Draper, who had charge of the Canaan Circuit, Susquehanna District, Philadelphia Conference, came through here and preached at Trumansburg. A descendant with the same name, Gideon Draper, is now in Japan (1934) and holds a relationship with this conference.
Up to 1810 all these circuit preachers belonged to the Philadelphia Conference, but this year the Genesee Conference was erected. Gideon Draper was chosen first presiding elder and held the position for many years. Anning Owen was another presiding elder who did noble work, lived a part of his life in this town, died here and was buried just outside of Ithaca. His grave was visited at the time of the Methodist pilgrimage (December 1934) and a tribute paid to his life and work. These men worked under the supervision of Bishop Francis Asbury, who was sent here by John Wesley.
The first class at Jacksonville was formed in 1803 with Richard Goodwin as leader and their meetings were held at Goodwin’s Point.
In 1804 another class was formed at Jacksonville with Benjamin Lanning as leader. After 1815 a class was formed at Mack Settlement with Elias Lanning as leader, and about 1825 a church was erected, 25 x 34 feet. This church stood on the corner in the field now owned by Charles Chadwick at Steven’s Corners. The membership at one time numbered 100. The building was sold and now is part of the barn on the David Colegrove farm on Taughannock Boulevard.
These classes were under the leadership of the class leaders, and local preachers with the circuit preachers coming sometimes once a month, sometimes once in three months.
There is on file in the office of the “Northern Christian Advocate” in Syracuse, an article dated 1860 written by the Rev. Gideon Lanning. He was the son of Benjamin Lanning and was born 23 March 1792. The Lannings came to Jacksonville in 1801 and settled on the Trumbull Farm. The Rev. Gideon Lanning is the author of a number of historic papers on the early life of this section of the state.
In this article he states that a class was formed by Richard Goodwin, Sr. in 1795 and that in 1805 the society dedicated its first church edifice in Jacksonville. These meetings were held at Goodwin’s Point.
[This information from the Jacksonville Church History written by Jessie Tucker Agard.]