(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "A Brief history of the Presbyterian Church of Edisto Island"

PRESBYTERIAN COLLEGE LIBRARY 
JSC 285.175 71 B76 SBTA 

ief history of the Presbyter 




3 5197 00093124 9 



JSC 

35M5M 



{sjcj 



.ONES SOUTH CAHOL| N | AN 



A 



SOUTH 

OUT OF INTEREST 

THE HISTORY OF 
SOUTH CAROLINA 

PRESENTED 
AND 
FOSTERED 
BY 

DUDLEY JONES 

TO THE 

PRESBYTERIAN COLLEGE 
ST till 



\\ZZ2 



A Brief History 

of 

The Presbyterian Church 

of 

Edisto Island 



Edisto Island 

South Carolina 
1933 



L 



IS 

6 % 



THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 

of 

EDISTO ISLAND 

The earliest records of the Presbyterian Church of Edisto 
Island, South Carolina, are lost in antiquity. However, we know 
that this Church was founded very early in the eighteenth cen- 
tury, if not before. 

In 1911 she celebrated her bi-centennial anniversary, the au- 
thenticity of her 200th birthday resting upon the following facts: 

Dr. George Howe, in his History of the Presbyterian Church 
in S. C, says (p. 146): "A letter written from Charleston, June 
1, 1710, says there are (in the colony) five churches of British 
Presbyterians. The Church in Charleston being one, and Wilton 
one, the other three must be selected out of those of Cainhoy, 
James Island, John's Island, and Edisto." 

On page 170, Dr. Howe says: "Sometime during this period 
(1710-20), if not earlier, we may probably place the commencement 
of the Presbyterian Church in Edisto Island." Nevin, in his Pres- 
byterian Encyclopedia, expresses the same opinion. 

Also, in evidence, is the ancient and crumbling monument to 
the benefactors of the Church, which stands in God's acre, in front 
of the session house door. It records the consecrated gift of three 
hundred acres of land by Henry Bower, in 1717, "to this Church," 
or, as Howe has it, "to certain persons named, in trust for the bene- 
fit of a Presbyterian minister on Edisto Island". The tract had 
been his since its grant from the Lords-Proprietors in 1705 — twelve 
years. He would hardly have made so munificent a gift where 
there was no need, certainly not to a Church non-existent. Does 
not this noble benefaction imply that there was an organized Pres- 
byterian Church here to receive benefit from it; that difficulty had 
been experienced in securing a,nd supporting a pastor, and that 
this was Henry Bower's way of meeting and overcoming that diffi- 
culty? 

From "A Historical Sketch of the Baptist Church in South 
Carolina" we learn that a number of Baptist families from Lord 
Cardross' unfortunate colony at Port Royal settled on Edisto 
Island about 1686. Until 1722, they worshipped in a building in 
common with the Presbyterians. In that year the Baptists built 
their own Church, the Presbyterians laying exclusive claim upon 
the old Church under the leadership of Rev. Archibald Stobo. Was 
not the claim of the Presbyterians acknowledged to be superior 
most probably because of priority of possession? Then, Mr. Stobo 
had resigned his pastorate in Charleston in 1704 and devoted him- 

(3) 



self to evangelistic work, becoming the founder of many coast 
churches before 1710. Does not his connection with this event sug- 
gest that as the founder of this Church he became its natural guide 
and leader in that crisis? In that case, Edisto was one of the 
five maritime churches of 1710. 

A strong presumption that this Church was founded very 
early in the eighteenth century is based upon the antecedents 
and character of the settlers of our Island. It was occupied during 
the last years of the seventeenth and the first of the eighteenth 
century by immigrants from Scotland and Wales — wholly Presby- 
terian except for Lord Cardross' Baptists. These men had fled to 
these shores to escape religious persecution. Their love for their 
Church had been purged and tempered in the forge of adversity. 
The one great longing of their hearts was for freedom to worship 
God after the dictates of their own consciences. To satisfy that 
longing they had forsaken their native land and the graves of their 
fathers for the untried wilderness. Can it be believed that there 
was any long delay in accomplishing this great end of their pil- 
grimage when once they set their homes upon this soil ? It is 
only in simple keeping with human nature that, immediately after 
their settlement here, they should join themselves together and 
under this free sky erect an altar to their God. It is therefore 
most probable that this Church had its beginning almost with the 
settlement of the Island. History fixes that period as between 
1686 and 1710. The beginnings of this Church may have been as 
early as the first date; they were not later than the last. 

Special attention is merited by one fact, Edisto Island Church 
began its existence as a Presbyterian Church ; all through its life 
it has remained Presbyterian; it is Presbyterian. It was one of 
the four churches that formed the first Charleston Presbytery 
and was a member of that body until its dissolution by the death 
and removal of all its ministers during the troubled revolutionary 
period. Though unconnected with Presbytery for many decades 
after its re-organization, it maintained its strict Presbyterian 
character throughout the interval and finally returned to its con- 
nection. We therefore claim for the Presbyterian Church of Edisto 
Island: that it is probably the oldest Presbyterian Church exist- 
ing in its original location and of unbroken continuity in South 
Carolina. 

Though it is probable that the real centennary mile-post had 
been past some years before, it was thought best to be conserva- 
tive in our claims where authentic history is silent and therefore 
it was decided to celebrate, as the first of the third century of our 
beloved Church, the year of Grace 1911. 

For many years after its organization the Church was with- 

(4) 



out a pastor and dependent upon the irregular ministrations of 
visiting ministers. Its association with the Baptists, before men- 
tioned, was probably due to this fact. As Mr. Stobo spent the years 
between his resignation of his pastorate over the Circular Church, 
1704, and his installation at Wilton in 1728 in evangelistic labors, 
it is probable that he was a frequent supply at Edisto, an as- 
sumption confirmed by his leadership during the crisis of 1722. 

The difficulty of securing pastors for the young churches in 
the American colonies was great. There were few ministers among 
the immigrants and the supply had largely to be drawn from 
across the sea. To induce a pastor to leave a settled charge in his 
native land with its manse and glebe and secured income, it was 
necessary to offer something like an equivalent and, in addition, 
to provide for the expenses of his voyage. 

It is, therefore, no matter of surprise that we can find record- 
ed no name of a pastor of this Church for many of its early years. 

Yet careful provision was made for the support of a pastor. 
As we have seen, Mr. Bower had in 1717 deeded for that purpose 
three hundred acres of land. In 1732 certain negro slaves were 
conveyed by a deed of gift from Joseph Russell, W. Edings, Paul 
Hamilton, W. Bird, James Lardant, Timothy Hendrick, and W. 
Whippy to the congregation for that purpose. About the same 
time, a valuable donation of land was made by Mr. Waills. In 
1737 Mr. Paul Hamilton conveyed as an equivalent for this land 
£2,500 currency to certain trustees, the interest upon which was 
to be used for the support of the Pastor of this Church. In addi- 
tion, at dates unknown, other donations for the Church were made: 
"Paul Hamilton, £322, 10 s, and two silver tankards for sacra- 
mental purposes; James Lardant, £300; William Cummings, £94, 
12 s; James Clark, £100; Mrs. Mary Bu, £100; Mrs. Mary Russell, 
£100; of the then currency." 

There was danger of the intrusion into the colonial churches 
of unworthy ministers — men who because of unsoundness of doc- 
trine, laxity of conduct, or other cause of unfitness had been found 
unacceptable to the churches of the old countries. It is interesting to 
note how ca,reful the fathers of this Church were to guard against 
this peril. The preamble of the deed conveying slaves to the con- 
gregation in 1732 has this stipulation: "For the perpetual mainten- 
ance of their labor of a Presbyterian minister who owns the Holy 
Scriptures for his only rule of faith and practice, and who, agree- 
ably to the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, shall 
own the Westminster Confession of Faith, with the Larger and 
Shorter Catechisms, as a test of his orthodoxy, and that before the 
Session for the time being, before his settlement as the rightful 
minister of the aforesaid Church or congregation." 

(5) 



There must have been some strong motive back of the action 
of the Church in the year 1722 by which the Baptists withdrew 
from their house of worship. What more probable motive than pre- 
paration for the coming of a pastor? History is silent, but under 
date of 1733, in the Manuscript Records of the Circular Church, 
Charleston, we find noted the death of the "Rev. Mr. Moore, minis- 
ter of a congregation at Edistoe." We have no means of knowing 
how long had been the term of service thus cut short by death. 
Mr. Moore is the first minister of this Church of whom we find 
record. It is said to contemplate the fact that of this laborer in our 
beloved vineyard we know only his name and the year of his death; 
yet it was almost surely during his ministry that the largest con- 
tributions were made for the support and permanent endowment 
of this Church. 

We find no record of a successor until the settlement in 1741 of 
Rev. John McLeod. 

Mr. McLeod's first pastorate was at Darien, Ga. Picked men 
from the glen of Strathlean came to America in 1736 and founded 
a village to the north side of the Altamaha near its mouth. De- 
siring to have a Presbyterian minister who could preach to them in 
Gaelic and teach their children, they applied to the Scotch Society 
for Propagating Religious Knowledge and Mr. John McLeod of the 
Isle of Skye was sent out to them. The colony lost many of its in- 
habitants at the massacre of Fort Moosa and the survivors were left 
in a nearly defenseless condition. Discouraged by these conditions 
Mr. McLeod left the Colony of Georgia and in 1741 accepted a call 
to the pastorate of the Edisto Island Church. He served this 
Church probably for thirteen years, his ministry here apparently 
closing in 1754, although, as it appears hereafter, he continued to 
reside on the Island, at least for a season. A number of his des- 
cendants now live in McPhersonville. 

Rev. Archibald Simpson, who was licensed by Charleston 
Presbytery on May 15, 1754, and appointed to preach at Wilton, 
was also directed to give every fourth Sabbath at Edisto, then 
vacant. His diary relates that on his first visit to Edisto, Friday, 
June 7th, 1754, he was lost in the woods but got over the next 
day. On another occasion, his diary tells us that he was driven 
back by the winds and reached the Island late at night. Lord's Day, 
July 27th, 1755, he writes: "Prevented preaching by violent rain 
in the forenoon. At 12 o'clock preached to about thirty people. 
Spent the evening with Rev. McLeod." Thursday, March 11, 
1756, "Capt. Edings died suddenly. A great loss. Went by land 
to Edisto. The corpse sent by water. Crossed over and rode several 
miles to the place of interment." The entries in his diary relating 
to Edisto end with this. It is probable that he ceased to preach 

(6) 



here regularly after his settlement at Stoney Creek on June 16, 
1756. 

The sketch of the Church in the appendix to Ramsay's History 
of South Carolina says that a Rev. Mr. Henderson, a native of 
North Britain, succeeded Mr. John McLeod. We have seen that by 
appointment of Presbytery, Mr. Simpson, then a licentiate, filled 
the pulpit and continued to do so for a year after his ordination on 
April 2, 1755. Howe says Mr. Henderson did not become pastor be- 
fore 1770. Mr. Simpson's diary gives us an account of the re- 
ception of Rev. Thomas Henderson by Charleston Presbytery on 
May 17, 1770. It says: "Mr. Henderson, chaplain to the Royal Scots, 
stationed at present at St. Augustine, who has a call from Edisto 
and I believe will accept of it when he receives letters from the 
governor there (St. Augustine) Colonel Grant or the general-in- 
chief. His testimonies from a Presbytery and Synod in Scotland 
were very full and he was received very unanimously. He seems to 
be a young man of a very promising countenance, about thirty 
years old or better, and in the after business of the day appeared 
to be a very sensible and judicious person." We do not know 
how long Mr. Henderson remained as Pastor on Edisto, but find 
mention of him as Pastor of Wilton Church in 1777. He continued 
as Pastor of that Church during the War of the Revolution. He 
died there of bilious fever on January 18, 1786 — a true and faithful 
minister of Christ. 

The Revolutionary struggle had now begun. Time will not per- 
mit even the briefest review of the sufferings of the devoted people 
of the low country of South Carolina. Suffice it to say that it was 
the scene of sanguinary struggles and its people the victims of per- 
secution such as modern times have rarely seen visited upon non- 
combatants. We know little of events on Edisto Island during this 
period. The British army was in Charleston or near by from early 
in 1779 to its evacuation in December, 1782. These were years of 
distress and suffering to the State and necessarily also to the 
Church. So far as known, this congregation was without a pastor, 
though Mr. Henderson may have and probably did render occasional 
service in holy things to his former flock. 

On the 26th of March, 1784, an important event occurred: 
a charter was granted and the Church incorporated. Hitherto the 
property had been vested in eight trustees, but had so largely in- 
creased that it was deemed safer and more for the interest of the 
Church to put it under the control of all the male members of the 
congregation constituting a body henceforth a most important 
element of its life, known as the "Corporation". We do not know 
what was the amount of the property owned by the Church and now 
vested in the Corporation, but in 1807 it consisted of $23,370.30 

(7) 



in bonds bearing interest, and £84, 10 s annual rent of the lands 
exclusive of the forty acres attached to the parsonage for the use 
of the Pastor. There seems to have been no tax on the members 
of the Church for its support — the income from invested funds be- 
ing sufficient. 

Establishment of such endowments seems to have been the 
rule among our most ancient low country churches. The custom 
was probably due to the survival of ideas relating to church finance 
brought from England, where the support of religious and chari- 
table institutions was generally so provided. Undoubtedly this 
course tends to secure the permanence of such institutions in old 
and settled states of society but in this new country it has not prov- 
ed successful. Nearly all the old endowments of our churches have 
been dissipated and lost in the constant changes of society and 
especially in the confusion and disaster of two great Wars which 
have devastated these coasts. This Church has preserved of its 
inheritance a greater part than most of its sisters — about one-third 
of its lands and a little more than one-third of its invested funds. 
It speaks well for this people that the loss of this income has not 
diminished but rather increased their activity in all Christian be- 
nevolent work. 

We are so fortunate as to have the complete Minutes of the 
Corporation from "Wednesday, June the sixteenth, one thousand 
seven hundred and ninety." The first pages contain "The five 
constitutional articles" and fourteen by-laws of the Church. The 
second by-law reads strangely to Presbyterians of today, for it 
declared that Presbytery shall upon no pretense or occasion inter- 
meddle with the secular affairs of the Church, nor shall they have 
any cognizance of the ecclesiastical except in cases of reference 
or appeal, and the ordaining and installing of the minister." 
Another thing seems even more remarkable. The Corporation 
and not the congregation seems to have called the pastors. This 
is especially strange in that non-communicants were thus given 
a voice in choosing a pastor which was denied to communicants, 
if female. 

These Minutes give us history at last, at least so far as the ad- 
ministrative and financial life of the Church is concerned, a,nd we 
use the material found in them. For several years, probably since 
1784, Mr. T. Thomas Cooley had been Pastor of the Church. On 
the first page of the Minute Book stands this record: "A motion 
then made and seconded whether Mr. Cooley should continue as pas- 
tor or minister in said Church, when on balloting there was found 
a great majority against him; viz., seven to one. It was then 
agreed that Mr. Cooley should be informed by letter of the pro- 
ceedings of the meeting relative to his removel. Norman McLeod 

(8) 



and Duncan Littlejohn were appointed to wait on him and deliver 
the letter." Ephraim Mikell was president and John Aiken secre- 
tary of this meeting which was held June 16, 1790. 

May 1st, 1792, Rev. Wm. Speer was called to the pastorate 
and Ephraim Mikell, Norman McLeod, and Joseph Edings were ap- 
pointed to sign the call. The stipend was named at £200 sterling 
money of the state of South Carolina, with the use of the parson- 
age and other necessary buildings and forty acres of land. A very 
liberal provision was that Mr. Speer's salary should begin the first 
of the preceding January and that he should have leave of absence 
during the summer months. On the second of the following Jan- 
uary, Mr. Speer not having complied with his agreement to return, 
his call was declared null and void. At the same time Thomas 
Baynard, Wm. Edings, and Joseph J. Murray were given power to 
repair the old parsonage house and kitchen or to build new ones 
and to repair the Church. 

April 4, 1793, it was resolved that "Mr. Donald McLeod shall 
remain with us for six months on trial, and that he shall receive 
for the same the sum of £60, exclusive of his board which will be 
£20 for the time specified to any person that he stays with." Min- 
utes signed Danl. Townsend, President; John Aiken, Clerk. 

December 2, 1793, a call was extended Mr. McLeod on the same 
terms as mentioned in the call to Mr. Speer and to be signed by 
the same committee. Thus began a pastorate of twenty-eight 
years — terminated by death. 

For some years the seating of the Church was under discus- 
sion. It seems that it had been supplied with box pews and the 
replacing them with "seats", as our modern pews were called, was 
a theme of agitation — pro and con. The battle was waged for years 
until in 1800 it was resolved the meeting-house be put all in seats, 
retaining the parson's pew. A "shed" was also added to the build- 
ing and appropriated to the use of the negroes. 

March, 1803, the Pastor resigned his office, but a year later a 
new call was issued to him which led to a renewal of the relation. 
Perhaps an explanation of this strange course may be found in a 
memorandum on a loose sheet of paper found in the book. It is as 
follows: "Motion made by Wm. Seabrook and seconded by Ephraim 
Mikell, Senr.: Resolved, that a committee be appointed to retain 
counsel to cooperate with the public prosecutor in bringing to 
justice the perpetrator of an act of violence committed on the per- 
son of Rev. Donald McLeod, Minister of this Church, and to repel 
the attempts which we believe are made to affect his character and 
to destroy his usefulness, and that Isaac Auld, James Clark and 
Wm. Seabrook be that committee." Here we see how over a cen- 
tury ago this people stood loyally by their Pastor, held faster to him 

(9) 



in evil than perhaps in good report for we note that the stipend 
named in the second was one half greater than in the original call 
and the perquisites were also increased. For twenty years longer 
he served them and when he died they mourned him and honored his 
memory with a mural tablet of marble, on which tribute is paid 
to his piety and faithfulness. 

He tells us in the statistical account of Edisto Island prepared 
for Ramsay's history, that a parsonage was erected for him to re- 
place one destroyed by fire. There must have been a considerable 
interval between the destruction and reconstruction for on June 5, 
1800, £70 sterling was ordered paid Mr. McLeod to compensate 
him for the disadvantage he had labored under in the want of the 
parsonage buildings, and it is not until March 1807 that it was 
"resolved by the Corporation that the Parsonage House to be built 
shall be in length 34 feet and in width 18 feet." 

Mr. McLeod died January 30, 1821. This is recorded of him: 
"His friends were many, his enemies few, this Church will long- 
mourn his loss." 

On the 7th day of March, the same year, Rev. William States 
Lee was called to the pastorate of the Church, a relation which was 
to endure for fifty-one years and six months. 

The early years of this long pastorate were marked by great 
material advancement. In 1826, the monument to the benefactors 
of the Church was erected and the tablet in memory of Dr. Donald 
McLeod was affixed to the wall of the sanctuary. In 1830 the 
building of a new Church was resolved and on June 5, the contract 
for this venerable house was let to Mr. Pillans. By July of the 
next year, the contract was fully completed and the subscriptions 
having gone beyond the most sanguine expectations, a bonus of 
$300 was paid to the contractor. The building committee was: 
William Seabrook, Sr., John C. Mikell, William Seabrook, Jr., Ed- 
ward Whaley and Joseph Edings. In 1832, the old Church was 
razed and the material used in repairing and enlarging the par- 
sonage. The next year a parsonage was erected at Edingsville 
Beach, as a summer residence. 

In 1836 by the last will and testament of an elder, William 
Seabrook, whom the records of the Corporation show to have been 
zealous and active in every good work, the Church received a be- 
quest of $5,000.00. 

The same year, this building was very much improved and 
beautified. The smaller pillars, which supported the cupola, were 
replaced by the large fluted columns which give such dignity and 
beauty to the portico, and the interior was so changed as to present 
the present arched ceiling. The contractor was Mr. E. M. Curtis; 
the building committee: E. Whaley, D. Townsend, E. Mikell, Win. 

(10) 



Seabrook, Jr., W. G. Baynard, Wm. M. Murray, and G. W. Sea- 
brook. The beautiful memorial to William Seabrook was set in 
its present place, the inscription having: been prepared at the re- 
quest of the Corporation by Rev. William States Lee. In 1838, 
the present parsonage was erected, an appropriation of $3,000.00 
having- been made for that purpose. 

The invested funds of the Church, in spite of these large ex- 
penditures, were increased until as shown in the last report before 
the War between the States they amounted to $35,390.12. 

The oldest sessional records in our possession begin in 1837 
and close in June 1861. They show a steady growth. The most 
striking fact they reveal is the constant and solicitous care taken 
by the Session of the spiritual interests of the negroes. There is 
not a single recorded meeting in which in some way this was not a 
subject of discussion. During" Mr. Lee's first thirty-seven years 
449 colored members were received and 338 infants baptized. There 
is little doubt that the present material and moral character of 
our Island negroes is largely due to the fine influence exercised by 
this Church. 

The last meeting of the Session was held June 2, 1861. The 
Minute Book was left on the Island, when the members of the 
Church departed for battle and for places of refuge up the State. 
The negroes got possession of it when they organized themselves, 
into "The Edisto Union Church", and it was carried to the North. 
At the close of the War word came informing the Church that the 
old Session Book might be regained by writing for it. This was 
done. Since those troublous days it has reposed with other records 
in the old home Church. 

After the fall of Port Royal, South Carolina, November 13, 
1861, the inhabitants of the Sea Islands were ordered to the main- 
land. Edisto and the other Islands were deserted. 

"The Church was left a lonely sentinel, still keeping her silent 
vigil over the quiet sleepers of generations passed." 

In 1863 the Church was robbed of all her furniture. The pipe 
organ was taken down and packed to be carried away by the ene- 
my. (As testified to by Major Butts and other members of 47th 
N. Y. Regt., then stationed here.) 

The close of the War found the people penniless; their homes 
in possession of the U. S. Government. The Church in possession 
of former slaves. 

We quote the following from a paper read by Mr. Townsend 
Mikell, Elder, at the Bi-centennial Exercises in 1911: 

"After much trouble and anxiety we were re-possessed of our 
lands and returned in May 1866 to our homes, with our rights to 

(11) 



them disputed by the negroes, who had possession of them, as they 
were led to believe by the U. S. authorities. 

"Having secured restoration papers from Washington, D. C, 
and seeing the absolute necessity of getting immediate possession 
of the Church building and property, which were being used by 
the negroes, our Senior Elder wrote to our venerable old Pastor, 
Rev. Wm. S. Lee, who was still in Edgefield, S. C, where he had 
refugeed, to come down at once to open services, which he did. 

"Well do I remember the scene on one Sabbath morning in 
the last of May or first of June, when a little band of ten of us, 
with two or three children, assembled across the road opposite the 
old Church, that was packed with negroes, we holding a conference 
as to what was best to be done. The decision was to send for the 
Commandant of the U. S. military, located on the Island, and let 
the Government execute her own orders. 

"When the Commandant came we formed in line of twos, and 
marched in on the north side door. The Commandant and our vener- 
able Pastor, who had led this flock for half a century, taking the 
lead. As we entered the door we found the building packed. The old 
pulpit with its winding stairway on either side, contained four. 
The whole congregation was singing most lustily. Mr. Lee waited, 
thinking there would be a cessation after the singing, when he 
would tell them of our mission, but before it stopped their spokes- 
man arose and commenced praying. Before he stopped, another 
opened the Bible and commenced reading. Mr. Lee then held up 
the restoration papers and said, 'In the name of God and by authori- 
ty of the U. S. Government, we are here to claim our Church', and 
addressed them, asking those who were former members to retain 
their accustomed places. Their preacher, Rev. Hedges (colored) 
answered that for reasons best known to themselves, they had bet- 
ter stay to themselves, then told his congregation that as the U. S. 
Government had so ordered, they would have to leave, which they 
did in a body. We then had our quiet service, Mr. Lee preaching 
from the text, 'I determined not to know anything among you 
save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.' (I Cor. 2:2.) 

"Our fears and cares now were by no means at an end to pro- 
tect this old citadel 

"By the last report of the Trustees of the Corporation of 
this Church (1859) we find the endowment, in bonds and script, 
was $34,061.13, with cash in hand, after Pastor's salary and other 
indebtedness paid, $1,214.99. The Pastor received then $1,285.00, 
with manse and forty acres of land, which he planted. 

"Of course the funds of the Church shared the same fate 
as personal property during the War, and after strenuous efforts 
for two or three years we rescued $11,156.70 of it. We in no case 

(12) 



distrusted our debtors, and in one case our claim was the means of 
keeping the possession in the family, to whom it belonged for 
generations past. 

"Mr. Lee, our Pastor, received the first year (1868) only 
$339.00. In the next year (1869) $369.00. In 1870 he received 
$1,882.58. The meagre salary of the first two years was on account 
of the impoverished condition of our people, but there was not a 
murmur from any one of the family, though at times, when they 
arose from their scanty meal, they did not know where the next was 
to come from, but when the time for the meal came, the meal was 
there." 

The Church was not, then, connected with Presbytery. It had 
been one of the four that formed "The Presbytery of Charleston", 
but when that Presbytery was dissolved, it did not join Charleston 
Presbytery until 1870. (See Sessional Book, April 17, 1870, and 
Minutes of Corporation, 1871). 

The Church did not have Deacons until March 25, 1873 (see 
Session Book), when Dr. D. T. Pope and Mr. Townsend Mikell were 
chosen her first Deacons. 

Rev. William States Lee remained Pastor of the Church un- 
til October 2, 1872, serving in this capacity for six years after the 
close of the War. He had come to this pastorate from the Dorches- 
ter Church in 1821. 

Rev. John R. Dow commenced his pastorate in 1872, which 
ended October 1, 1876. 

Rev. J. E. Fogartie was Pastor of the Church from September 
1877 to December 1, 1881. 

Rev. R. A. Mickle accepted a call to the Church in 1882 and 
served in this capacity until 1887. 

Rev. Thomas P. Hay commenced to preach here in September 
1887, but did not accept the call as Pastor until 1890, the reason 
being on account of physical strength. His pastorate ended in 1898. 

Rev. Hugh R. Murchison was Pastor from February 1898 to 
April 21, 1901. 

Rev. Thomas B. Trenholm served the Church as Pastor from 
June 9, 1901, to December 31, 1906. 

Rev. S. C. Caldwell accepted the call on September 1, 1906 and 
remained as Pastor of the Church until 1918. 

During Mr. Caldwell's pastorate, the Church had a celebration 
commemorative of the first year of her third century of life. The 
exercises were of a varied and interesting nature and covered a 
space of three days, April 28, 29 and 30, 1911. On Friday morn- 
ing there were addresses of welcome made by the Pastor, Mr. 
Caldwell; by the President of the Corporation, Mr. E. Mitchell 
Seabrook; and by a member of the Session, Mr. William S. Edings, 

(13) 



whose tones and manner gave evidence of the sincerity of their 
greeting. Dr. H. B. Lee, a son of Dr. States Lee, who was for more 
than fifty years the beloved Pastor of the Church, gave an interest- 
ing and touching talk of childhood and boyhood days on Edisto. 
He spoke of those who had passed into the great beyond, but who, 
in passing, had left an impression of their noble characters on the 
place and the people, who would know them in the flesh no more. 

Rev. E. C. Murray, D.D., another son of the Church, of whom 
she is proud, spoke of boyhood days on Edisto forty years ago. 

On Saturday, Rev. S. C. Caldwell gave a most interesting and 
instructive History of the Church in Early Days, from its founding 
in 1710, or before, to 1861, the beginning of the War. Ruling 
Elder Townsend Mikell, then, gave the Post Bellum History of the 
Church. He gave a vivid picture of the terrible times during and 
just after the War, and showed the various records and books of 
the Church from early days, and one book that was "taken prisoner" 
as he expressed it, carried North and kept there several years. 

Mr. Hay, former Pastor, sent a paper on "Pastoral Remi- 
niscences", which, in his absence, was read by Mr. Caldwell. Dr. 
Fogartie and Mr. Trenholm, former Pastors, were prevented by 
illness from being present. 

Rev. H. R. Murchison, who was Pastor of the Church for three 
and a half years, previous to the time when Mr. Caldwell took 
charge, spoke feelingly of his experiences on Edisto, of the unfail- 
ing courtesy, kindness and hospitality with which he was treated. 
He spoke of the natural beauties of this place, the varied and al- 
most tropical flora and fauna, of the Island, and what a soothing, 
uplifting effect these signs of God's loving kindness, to His chil- 
dren, had on his nature. 

On Sunday, April 30, in the morning, Rev. Melton Clark preach- 
ed, and that afternoon Rev. P. S. McChesney, of Wadmalaw, preach- 
ed from Luke 23:22,23. Special music was furnished by Miss Kate 
Palmer and Mr. Parker E. Connor. 

Dinner was served under the beautiful trees near the Church. 
Altogether, the Bi-centennial Exercises of this historic Temple of 
Worship is an occasion long to be remembered by all who had the 
pleasure and honor of being present. 

In 1918 Rev. C. E. Robertson became Pastor of the Church 
and served until the fall of 1929. For the following year or more, 
Rev. E. C. Bailey, a son of the Church, supplied the pulpit twice 
a month. 

In April 1931 Rev. Daniel J. Currie, came from DeFuniak 
Springs, Fla., in acceptance of a call to the pastorate. 

Are we the same Presbyterian Church of Edisto Island, as 
two hundred years ago? 

(14) 



Of the names most frequently recurring in the records of the 
18th century: Bower, Lardant, McLeod, Russell, Hamilton, Waills, 
Bird, Whippy, Hendrick, Littlejohn, Clark, Edings — they no longer 
remain amongst us. The records of the 19th century read as if 
of today in that all the names are familiar: Mikell, Seabrook, Wha- 
ley, Murray, Townsend, Bailey, Pope, Hopkinson, Wilkinson, Bay- 
nard. It is remarkable that in the pews today sit the bearers of 
those who occupied them 150 years ago — a fact almost without 
a mate in this land of incessant changes and migrations. In a very 
special sense this congregation is the heritor of the generations 
gone before. 

What is going to be the record of this Church when another 
two hundred years have rolled around? The answer is with us. 
To us is this — the Church of our Fathers — a, sacred trust committed 
from generation to generation to be handed down to generation 
after generation, God granting, until the Bridegroom claims His 
Bride. 

(This account is based on "The Early History of the Church", 
a paper written by Rev. S. C. Caldwell, and on other records.) 



(15) 



PRESBYTERIAN COLLEGE LIBRARY 
JSC 285. 175 71 B76 SBTA 

A Brief history of the Presbyterian Chur 




3 5197 00093124 9 



285.17571 JSC 
B76_ 

AUTHOR 



11232 



Brief history_o£_^_ 



Tf^eTbytelTan~cHur^hof 
Edisto Island, 



Z8S. 17571 

67 L 



JJC 



\IZZZ 



■ 

■ 




I 

SK i