Our History

1852

Soon after two prospectors found gold in Rich Gulch, a new mining camp emerged near the gold strike. On January 12, 1852, the Territorial Legislature set apart Jackson County from Lane and Umpqua Counties and named the camp—called Jacksonville— the county seat. Within a short time, the town was widely known as the most important community in the southern part of the territory.

As a vital business and political center, Jacksonville attracted many individuals who would figure prominently in the region’s development. Farmer, vintner, and photographer Peter Britt (1819-1905), for example, opened a photography studio in Jacksonville in 1852 and for the rest of the century photographed the area’s residents, buildings, and landscape. His photographs recorded the town’s development, and his portraits of southern Oregon residents reveal details of dress and cultural customs.

Beginning in 1860, C.C. Beekman—Wells Fargo & Company’s representative and the owner of southern Oregon’s only bank—transported gold shipments over the stage route that linked Jacksonville with Sacramento and Portland.

1853

William Hoffman, his wife Caroline, and their six daughters come to Oregon.

William Hoffman

The Hoffman family had been Presbyterians for years, and Hoffman had served his Covington, Indiana, congregation as a ruling Elder prior to migrating West. For part of the trip, the Hoffmans joined a “preacher wagon train” of ministers and their families. They rarely traveled on Sundays in order to “keep the sabbath.”

In the journal Hoffman kept of his family’s travels to Oregon, his happiest moments seemed to be those spent listening to preachers and preaching, attending prayer meetings, and giving thanks to his Heavenly Father.

1857-1881

November 22, 1857

Reverend Moses Williams organizes the First Presbyterian Church of Jackson County.

Rev. Moses Allen Williams

Moses Williams sails for Valparaiso, Chile. Listen below!

California St. 1857

Moses Williams moves to Oregon. Listen below!

February 1879

In the effort to build a church in Jacksonville, Oregon; land lots on California Street were purchased.

September 1879

Foundation excavation begins, but was delayed due to winter weather.  

April 2, 1880

Foundation laid by George W. Holt for the First Presbyterian Church of Jacksonville, Oregon along California Street.

Fund Raising Most of the funds raised for the construction of the church were proceeds from various Strawberry Festivals.  June 1880, Mrs. Jane McCully encourage the pupils of her private school to give a benefit to raise funds; Madame Holt, owner of the United States Hotel, orchestrated a strawberry festival giving the proceeds to the new church building fund.

Cost Estimate: $4,000. Contact awarded to David Linn ($2,400) for the basic construction of the church, frame on the edifice, roof, belfry, basement with lecture room and paint.  The final cost was closure to $6,000 due to the additional expense of the stained glass windows.

July 2, 1880

[Cupola] set in place and steeple raised.  Steeple ornaments made by A. H. Maegly of Kubli's Hardware.

Sept. 3, 1880

Mr. C. C. Beekman (banker); travels to San Francisco  to purchase bell.

One thousand pound bell chosen with a deeper than normal tone, so that it could be heard eight miles on a clear day.

Native Sugar Pine was used for the walls.

November 12, 1880

Stained glass windows arrived from Italy, having traveled around Cape Horn.

May 1881

Building plastered after work was delayed due to weather of the winter of 1880.

July 1881

White picket fence built and installed around the church.

September 1881

Building painted (inside and out) by J. L. Cater and Son.  

Best heating equipment of the day installed by Mr. Lauterman of Kubli's Hardware.

December 4, 1881

Church Dedication Day - 1st Sabbath of December.  Reverend W. Hill (Salem, OR) assisted Father Moses Williams.

The organ was made by J. Estey & Company of Brattleboro, Vermont - Bears patent date of 1857.  Mrs. Carrie Beekman played for the December 1881 Dedication Ceremonies.  It is believed that Mr. Beekman purchased this organ and donated it to the church.