The church takes its name from the Rev. Dr. Jethro Rumple, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Salisbury, a frequent missionary preacher in the mountains, a summer resident toward the end of his life, and one of the most remarkable North Carolinians of his generation. Blowing Rock’s spectacular setting, cool breezes, and natural wonders began attracting summer visitors after the Civil War. Presbyterians were the first to build a house of worship in town. Among the founders were Col. William J. Martin, Sr., and his son and namesake, both professors at Davidson College. Others included Mrs. Emma Stewart, who ran a boarding house in Davidson during the academic year and one in Blowing Rock during the summer. Local and summer people quickly joined in the effort. A small frame structure was built in 1886, and the church was organized with eight members the following year.