In 1808 John Ford moved from South Carolina to settle on the Pearl River in what would be Jackson, Mississippi. Four of Ford's sons would become Methodist preachers. His son, Thomas Ford, organized a Methodist society in Jackson in 1836 and built the first Methodist church in the city. The State Legislature had set aside a lot in town designated for religious purposes and divided the lot into four squares. In 1838 one of these lots was purchased for $50 and the First Methodist Church was erected on this site. Although most early records were lost in the Civil War, those remaining show that the first to join the church were "a gentleman and his wife Finucane; a noted slave character served as janitor for many years -'Uncle Jeff'." Thomas Ford served as first pastor.
The first church was constructed facing south, toward Smith Park. By the mid-1850's the black membership had outgrown the gallery which had been provided for them and a brick church was built next door for them, constituting the first Methodist church in the city built for blacks. A second main church building was constructed on the same site during the 1880's under the second pastoral term of Charles Betts Galloway. By 1896 the church purchased the neighboring Baptist church property which housed the church while a third building was built. The present church was constructed beginning in 1913-15 under pastor A.F. Smith and dedicated to the memory of Bishop Charles Betts Galloway in 1917. Major Reuben W. Millsaps, devoted friend and co-founder of Millsaps College, was the largest contributor to this building. In 1949 the Messina Culley home was purchased for the Galloway parsonage and in 1952 an education building was added. In the racially turbulent 1960's Galloway lost some members who were opposed to the United Methodist approval of integration and independent churches were begun in the area. Renewed growth came in the 1970's and the building was renovated in 1973. In 1988 Rev. Clay F. Lee became the fourth Galloway pastor to be selected for the episcopacy. Other Bishops associated with the church were Galloway, DuBoise, and Decell.
Source: Jenkins, William L. Mississippi United Methodist Churches: Two Hundred Years of Heritage and Hope. Franklin, Tennessee: Providence House. 1998. Supplemental information and photo of First Methodist: "Methodists of Mississippi - 1922" (souvenir pamphlet) ( Available at J. B. Cain Archives.)