St. Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church

March 20, 2018

St. Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church at the corner of D and North 5th streets in Jacksonville is one of a handful of churches claiming the title of “Oldest Protestant Church West of the Rockies.” Two pastors can be credited with its construction—Joseph Smith and Thomas Fletcher Royal (shown here). Both had arrived in Jacksonville in October 1853 as part of a “Preacher Wagon Train.” Smith is credited with beginning the church’s construction; Royal with completing it in 1854 as its pastor and guiding force. Royal’s wife, Mary Ann, was one of the women who visited various gold camps asking for donations toward its construction. Royal went a step farther. In his memoirs, he recorded walking into a Jacksonville saloon and asking gamblers for help in building the church. When they questioned his willingness to use gambling money to build a house of worship, Royal reported replying, “Oh, yes. And we would put it to a better use.”


St. Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church