Every story has a beginning. This is ours…
How it all began
Late in the summer of 1818, John Tompkins and his wife, Abigail, pioneers arrived in northeast Pennsylvania. The great trees standing about seemed a noble reception committee, and a brier bending under luscious blackberries close to where he was resting invited him to eat.
To his pious spirit, angels were there urging him to stay and establish his home. So he bargained for sufficient land, and his name has come down to us as the founder of Tompkinsville. John, his wife Abigail and three others are buried in the Tompkins Family Cemetery on the hill above Tompkinsville United Methodist Church.
About 1835, a Sunday School was organized in a barn owned by Welcome Collins about two and a half miles northeast of Tompkinsville. Gideon Palmer was the first superintendent. In 1841, Rev Benjamin Ellis began preaching at various schoolhouses in the area and in 1844, a class was formed at the home of Leonard Spencer. This class was later transferred to Tompkinsville.
In 1850, the necessity for a house of worship was deeply felt. Homer Davidson donated a site for the church, and a charter was granted on August 7, 1851 at Luzerne County. On August 2, 1852, the organization was incorporated as the Methodist Episcopal Church of Greenfield. The original trustees were Albert Graves, Joseph Hutchins, Homer Davison, Elisha Davison, and Joel Dann.
John Brizzy laid the foundation for the church. The timber was hewed by Benjamin Tripp and Edwin Graves and the 34’ X 50’ frame was raised for $255. Joel Dann, Pardon and Marvin Barber, and James Churchill finished the interior. The total cost came to about $1,000. The church was dedicated on September 29, 1852 with Rev. Nelson Rounds preaching the dedicatory sermon.
In 1939, the Methodist-Episcopal Church became the Methodist Church and the church’s name changed to Tompkinsville Methodist Church. Similarly, in 1968, the Methodist Church became the United Methodist Church and the church’s name changed to its current name, Tompkinsville United Methodist Church.