The First Presbyterian Church of Ulysses formed when a group of the faithful came once a month to David Atwater’s home in Trumansburg to hear the Rev. John Lindsley preach. The church was formally organized in January of 1803 through the work of the Rev. Jedediah Chapman, the first stated missionary of the Presbyterian Church. He was appointed “for four years on the Northwest Frontier” and was “authorized to employ catechists for the other persons unacquainted with the principles of our holy religion.” During the American Revolution, Chapman was such an ardent patriot a large price was offered on his head. He served a year as Chaplain in General George Washington’s army and General Lafayette was a frequent visitor in his home. Rev. Chapman organized other congregations, including one at Ithaca (originally known as the South or the Second Presbyterian Church of Ulysses).
The Trumansburg church hosted the organizing meeting of the Presbytery of Geneva in 1805. This congregation has been a member of the Geneva Presbytery, Elmira Presbytery, Steuben-Elmira Presbytery and presently the Presbytery of Geneva as boundaries have expanded and contracted.
The first church building, a log cabin 25 by 35 ft. in size, stood at the corner of Podunk and Perry City Roads. In 1817, to meet the needs of a growing congregation., a frame church was erected on the site of the present sanctuary. In 1848, that church was razed to make way for the present sanctuary and chapel, materials from the frame church being used in the construction of both the chapel and sanctuary.