During our week in the Ithaca, New York area for my book tour, I was encouraged to continue transcribing my great-grandmother’s handwritten history of the Jacksonville M.E. Community Church. I was told that there are new people attending the church and they are interested in its history.
The hamlet of Jacksonville, New York had fallen on hard times about fifty years ago when the Mobile gas station at the center of the hamlet leaked huge amounts of gasoline into the groundwater destroying the town’s water supply. People left, and Mobile was forced to buy up the properties. Many houses were torn down.
Residents saved the old Methodist church from demolition. The building was moved in about 1897 from its location on Route 96 to 5020 Jacksonville Road. A graduate of Cornell’s School of Architecture recently purchased the old church building, and he plans to renovate it for living space and community use. To see the old church and the history surrounding it read the article here.
This is where I need help. When transcribing my great-grandmother’s church history I realized there is twenty-seven critical years missing from that document. It ends in 1888 and picks up again in 1915. There has to be documentation of discussions about moving the old church – a substantial building- off the site to its present location and then building the “new” church. So far the only information I’ve been able to find was on FultonHistory.com. An article in the Farmer Review December 3, 1898 tells of the dedication of the new church. In 1905 there are several articles in The Ithaca Daily News about the congregation suing David W. Lewis of Elmira for improper construction. The congregation won the case, and the new church was built without incurring any debt.
The Jacksonville M.E. Church has been and still is an important part of the hamlet. I believe the church’s history, transcribed and indexed, will also be important as the community is revitalized.
If any readers have information or know of anyone who had ancestors who attended this church and might have diaries, journals, or newspaper clippings, please let me know. I have more people and organizations to contact, but so far the history of Jacksonville, New York seems to be mostly non-existent.