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Moving Finger of Jasper Co. - Churches

Euhaw Baptist, Black Swamp Baptist, St. Luke's, Holy Trinity Episcopal, Coosawhatchie Baptist, Gillisonville Baptist, Beaverdam Baptist, Great Swamp Baptist, Pine Level Baptist, Little Black Swamp Methodist, Tillman Methodist, Tillman Baptist, Hardeeville Methodist, Hardeeville Baptist, Red Dam Baptist, St. Anthony's Catholic, Ridgeland Presbyterian, St. Paul's Methodist, Ridgeland Baptist, Latter Day Saints, Ridgeland Advent Christian, Church of God of Prophecy, Independent Gospel Churches, Church of Christ



Copyright ©2001, GRACE Fox PERRY, her heirs and assigns, all rights reserved.  Used with permission by SCGenWeb, Jasper County web site.



Lives of county settlers long have been intertwined among records of their churches. The earliest of these churches is Euhaw Baptist, in Grahamville. Its 220-yearold organization antedates the establishment of St. Luke’s Parish.

In 1745, certain planters of the Euhaw or "Indian Lands," who had worshiped formerly on Edisto Island, organized a Baptist Church in "the neighborhood of Euhaw Creek." The location is some six miles east of the present village of Grahamville. An acre of ground for the initial building was donated by George Pelot. Recorded names of these organizing Baptists were Joseph Cook, Charles Bealer, John Rose, William Hogg, Joseph Hill, John Screven, William Cheyney and Josiah Hart. Other names of families associated with the church’s early history were Mills, Boyd, Pelot, Postell and Sealy.

Apparently, several years elapsed before that first structure was completed. Called by a writer "capacious but humble," it provided seating space for more than 1000 Negro slaves of these religious pioneers. And who should appear on this Baptist scene at the opportune moment but the celebrated Methodist evangelist, George Whitefield! A writer of the time tells it thus:

"As soon as the place of worship was finished Mr. Whitefield came this way and, as it were, consecrated it by celebrating divine service in it for the first time, March 5, 1751."

The activity and piety of this church roused influences which produced Baptist churches at Beaufort, Coosawhatchie, Hilton Head, May River, and St. Helena Island. Euhaw is mentioned by historians as one of the original four churches in the Charles Town Baptist Association, formed in 1751.

The Revolution caused widespread disruption of religious services, and for a time afterward nothing is recorded of the church’s history. Derry Gillison, shoe manufacturer of Coosawhatchie, and a William Wells are mentioned as trustees of Euhaw in 1787. Outstanding leadership was renewed in the person of the Rev. Henry Holcombe, who became pastor in 1791. It was at a time when Baptists endured much criticism for a lack of formal ritual. About the cultured Mr. Holcombe it was said: "His influence was immediately felt in removing the prejudices which had long existed against the denomination."

Long afterward, an author drew a vivid word-picture of a Baptist Association meeting held at the church in i 8 i 3, and of the entertainment furnished visiting brethren by neighboring plantation owners. At that time the Rev. James Sweat was pastor.

There were so many delegates that even the spacious spare rooms of the hosts were taxed. For the overflow divines, beds were improvised by spreading linens and counterpanes on mounds of soft white cotton in the enormous cotton storehouses. Pastoral attitudes of the time, uncompromising though they were, no doubt were inclined to a lesser rigidity as the visitors eyed these "flowery beds of ease."

At times, the church was used as a schoolhouse. The Rev. Dr. Sweat for a while boarded a youthful teacher, who was later to become the prominent Unionist, James L. Petigru.

Baptist families began to move to the summer resort of Grahamville, six miles away. Some remained the year around, and a smaller place of worship was erected in the village. Gradually, the original spacious building on "Euhaw Creek" fell into disuse, and Federal destruction in i 865 ended it. At the site today, near a present colored church, Zion, can be found a few bricks and the rubble of foundation pillars. One or two stones mark the remnant of a cemetery.

The daughter church in Grahamville was nearly ruined in the burning of the village. Some years after the War, descendants of the Euhaw families were able to repair their place of worship with materials salvaged here and there. Identified continuously with the church-life of the time, the name "Euhaw" was transferred to the building in the village. These names of Baptists associated with the work are given: Screven, Besselieu, Bell, Zealy (Sealy), Schirer, Wall, Fairis and Farr.

Fire destroyed this building completely in 1906, and the present structure was erected during the following year. The rebuilding program was sparked by the late J. B. Bostick, Kirby Smith, Tyler Smith, and the Fell and Garbade families.

In more recent years, extensive remodeling programs have been undertaken at various times, thereby adding educational rooms and improved facilities to the plant. Somewhat baroque, of a late-Victorian, pleasing style, the building stands today upon the same location occupied by its predecessor in the village’s earlier days. Much care is taken with its appearance by a small, yet devoted membership, who feel a pride in its historic past.

Church officials are Willouck E. Malphrus, chairman of deacons; Thaddeus Bailey, Jr., superintendent of the Sunday School; Mrs. Woodrow Hartley, president of the Woman’s Missionary Society; Woodrow Hartley, Training Union director.


Almost concealed from the nearby highway by the limbs of liveoaks pendanted with Spanish moss, the refurbished whiteness of old Black Swamp Baptist Church sparkles from a woodland setting. The colonial structure is one of Jasper County’s four ante-bellum churches. How it came to rest upon its present site is a part of its history. As if in contrast, an educational annex of new and modern construction nestles beside its ancient parent.

Pre-dating the older structure was a handsome building put up by Black Swamp Baptists, who established an organization in 1781. A Robertville writer of the 1870’s  included in his anals the physical appearance of this church, as it was described by him: "....it was very large, plastered, painted, high-steepled, had a gallery on three sides, the whole flooring neatly carpeted, and furnished with an organ.  It was  built fifty years before the War, and is said by those who knew to have been the best proportioned and the finest country church in the state."  This elaborate sanctuary went up in the Federal flames that razed the village of Robertville.

Not much time went by after the War, however, before these undaunted Baptists had another church.  They purchased a building from Gillsonville Episcopalians and transported it piece by piece, to its present site.  And so the edifice stands today as it was first built in 1845 in another village, its gracious lines a stately reminder of the past.

In the interior, repaired and repainted, are substantial seats contiguous to the walls, on either side of a center aisle. These are not the original pews. From the Church of the Ascension (for this is what it was in Gillisonville, as an Episcopal chapel), the original ones were bequeathed to the Gillisonville Baptist Church, where they are still in use.

The wealthy planters of rice and cotton who constituted. the first Black Swamp church were well-known for their piety, and for their interest in the religious well-being of lesser-privileged neighbors. Churches at Steep Bottom and Cypress Creek owe their existence to these cultured, devout masters of slaves; who gave their means and encouragement to a number of groups subsequently organized. It is reported in Baptist annals that some fifty white and more than 100 colored ministers went out from the Black Swamp Church’s membership in earlier years. Distinguished visitors were known to attend the services. And ofttimes visitant in the late 1700’s was the Rev. Richard Furman; in the 1800’s, the Revs. Richard Fuller, Thomas Rambaut and Charles Manly.

Wars have come and ended and many who sat within the church’s historic walls have made their contribution to the nation’s history and passed on to their reward. In the churchyard one discovers several Confederate markers, as one reads the many names of early families: Blount, Boyd, Jaudon, Bostick, Lawton, Joyner, Sweat, 1Kittles, McKenzie, Norton, Youmans, Tison, Richardson, Martin, and Solomons.

Through removal of families in this century, the church--life at various times became almost inactive. But veneration for an outstanding religious history accounts for the building’s freshened appearance, and for the modernity of Sunday School rooms. Success has crowned the efforts in recent years to reactivate the organization as a religious unit. Although strong Baptist churches exist in the nearby communities of Scotia, Furman and Estill, a few members would never withdraw their names from the Black Swamp rolls. These long-time members, with Mr. and Mrs. William J. Langford and Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Barker who live in Robertviile, formed the nucleus of the movement to revive the church.

The present pastor is the Rev. W. D. Gulledge; Sunday School superintendent is Barney Tuten; president of the Missionary Society is Mrs. Franklin Malphrus. For those whose work has restored the church-life into its usefulness and service, the old structure means more than fine tradition; it means steadfastness, and continuance of values that do not perish.


1Stella Kittles Sikes states: I have Kittles ancestors who lived in the Robertville area.  In the Robertville (Black Swamp) Baptist Church section, in the names of early families, I think Kitties should be Kittles. It is also listed that way in the Robertville town section.  Kitties should be Kittles. (FOC: I am not sure if this was an OCR error or an error on the original)


Near the village of Pritchardville is a little white church. It does not stand within the boundary of present Jasper County; and yet its history, being pertinent, cannot be omitted from this record.

For with establishment of this colonial congregation begins the real history of St. Luke’s Parish. In the records of the Carolina Assembly fQr 1767 are found these words: "That part of the parish of St. Helena, known by the name of the Euhaws part of said parish, in Granville County, should be laid out and established as a parish, to be called and known by the name of St. Luke’s Parish." Commissioners were appointed to secure a parsonage house, in a suitable location for the Anglican missionary who would be sent. However, the Revolution interfered with these plans.

In 1786, led by William Hort of the "Indian Lands," these men built the church: John Bull, James Garvey, George Hipp, Jason Guerard and Daniel Stevens. Mr. Bull donated four acres of land from the Bull barony for the church-site, "halfway between Fording Island Road and New River bridge." Daicho, the Episcopal historian, described the building as 40 feet long and 36 feet wide, with convenient pews and a handsome pulpit; windows arched and glazed. One or two graves mark this original site, known for many years as "Bull

By 1824, the first Parish church had fallen into a "ruinous condition," so a new building seemed in order. A second structure went up, about a half-mile north of the original one, on land given by John Guerard. This is the little white building existing today. Upon its completion in 1824, doors at either side of the chancel rostrum served as entrances for white worshipers; their slaves entered at the back and ascended to the gallery.

In that year Episcopal services were held at four places in St. Luke’s Parish: in the parish church; in the Coosawhatchie courthouse; on the island of Hilton Head; and. at a chapel called "Union" in Grahamville. A few years later, services were also being held in a chapel on May River, a forerunner of Bluifton’s Church of the Cross.

Growth of the daughter chapels, summer migration from plantations, and difficulty of travel caused a waning interest in St. Luke’s. War and emancipation finished the building’s use as a parish church. Finally, in 1875, a local congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was organized. Five trustees, acting as a board, purchased the building from the Episcopal vestry. Their names are given as John Porcher, Henry Crosby, Robert Crosby, Burrel Wiggins and Atticus Mulligan.

Today, nearly unchanged in physical appearance after 138 years, it has become St. Luke’s Methodist Church, a part of the Bluifton charge. Inside, its high-backed pews rest upon the original wide-planked flooring at a slight elevation. Repairs to the plastered walls have been made in recent years; carpeting has been laid, and modern facilities installed.

Pastor of the church is the Rev. Jack Ray.


In Grahamville, swaying patches of oak-filtered sunlight dapple the sturdy, gray-painted walls of an antebellum church. This hundred-year-old building is The Church of the Holy Trinity. It resulted from activity of a congregation that began before 1820.

As Grahamville became a populous resort village, Episcopal residents wearied of the inconvenience of traveling i 8 miles to the parish church at "Bull Hill." Divine services were instituted in the village, with a small chapel-of-ease called "Union." The number of communicants increased, and the chapel became insufficient.

A spacious plot of ground near the "cross road" of the hamlet was donated by William Heyward in 1829, as a location for a conformable chapel. A subscription list for the building of one soon showed the tidy sum of $1874 raised by the congregation. An additional sum of $150 was subscribed by "brethren of St. Helena’s, Beaufort." At once, the cornerstone was laid.

In April, 1830, a larger but still unpretentious place of worship was completed, of frame construction throughout. It was consecrated to the service of God by Bishop Nathaniel Bowen under the name "Chapel of the Holy Trinity." In December, 1834, it was incorporated as an independent parish unit by "The Vestry and Wardens of the Church of the Holy Trinity in St. Luke’s Parish."

Twenty years passed, and the simple clapboard chapel began to appear shabby to the well-to-do occupants of pews. Grahamville’s planters, blessed with prosperity, could not foresee the cataclysm of the 1860’s.

While the Rev. Arthur Wigfall was rector, and through the generosity of James Bolan, rice planter and communicant, there was finished the beautiful, stately edifice which stands today. Much care was taken with interior appointments and furnishings, and a substantial fence was placed about the property. Mr. Bolan died later in Barnwell, and is buried there. A plaque in the church was inscribed to his memory, some years afterward.

In late 1864 the church, being used as Federal headquarters, escaped the flames of war when nearly every building in Grahamville succumbed. But the church’s furnishings were desecrated and looted; even its Bible was carried away. The Holy Communion silver was saved by a young member who slipped into the church and brought it out, almost under the noses of the officers.

Peace came, and Reconstruction, during which the poverty-stricken parish was unable to pay for a rector’s services. The "Advancement Society" rallied to help, and Holy Trinity became a mission church. The Rev. Edward Edmund Bellinger, of Walterboro, traveled back and forth in faithful service for ten years. This tireless worker officiated at Holy Trinity and eight other churches and chapels, preaching as many as 342 times in one year! The Rt. Rev. Albert S. Thomas, church historian, pays this tribute to him: "Verily it was he who kept the church alive in this part of the diocese." The Rev. Mr. Bellinger, blind before he died, is buried in Colleton County.

Holy Trinity records bear names of families who furnished wardens and faithful women workers to the depleted church for the next thirty years. Listed names are Gregorie, Dupont, Lynah, Bell, Howard, Glover, Seabrook, Colcock, Horry, Jenkins, Wall and Tison. During this period, imported altar cloths and hangings were donated by the Daniel H. Walls, Joseph Glover, Jr., and William Glover. Mrs. J. C. Tison organized a Woman’s Auxiliary Branch in 1925, and served also as church school superintendent for many years. And one might mention the long, faithful services of Joe Ford, the colored sexton; whose father served in the same capacity, and with similar fidelity.

In 1928, the long-stolen Bible was discovered in the attic of a New York music publisher, Jean Paul Kursteiner. He returned it to the wardens, saying, "How it came into possession of my family I do not know." (A Southerner has no difficulty in guessing!) A Union officer’s scribbled name is legible on the flyleaf. The Bible is now a treasured keepsake of the church.

During recent decades, Holy Trinity’s membership has multiplied. In 1948, a new rectory became a reality in Grahamville, while the Rev. Robert F. Withers, Jr., had charge of the parish. A lovely, well-equipped parish house was erected. beside the church, and. was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. Thomas N. Carruthers in 1959. By clever architectural design, the elevation of the modern adjunct is harmonious with the appearance of the ante-bellum church. It seems symbolic of the way in which a gracious history translates into a challenge for advancement.

Holy Trinity’s rector is the Rev. Charles F. Duvall; church school superintendent is Mrs. E. E. Horry, Jr. Senior warden is Angus R. McTeer; junior warden, Henry E. Torres. Mrs. Horry also heads one of the chapters of the Women’s Branch; Mrs. Charles E. Perry directs the other.


The history of this church is unusual. It is a modern successor to one established long before the Revolution. Historians have sometimes confused the older church with a Baptist group organized. at "Beech Branch" on the upper reaches of the Coosawhatchie River. Although possibly constituted within a few months of each other, there is no connection between the two.

Organization of Coosawhatchie’s first church, an offspring of Euhaw, took place in 1759. Several Baptists from the Pee Dee area, five from North Carolina, and three newly-baptized converts were constituted a church by the Rev. Oliver Hart and Francis Pelot, with the Rev. James Smart as pastor. The unit was included in the Charles Town Baptist Association soon afterward, and the Rev. Mr. Smart remained as pastor until 1791.

The first building, 20 by 16 feet, was located in 1769 on the south side of the Coosawhatchie River, the plot fronting upon the stagecoach road from Charleston to Savannah. Some time after the Revolution, a larger and more elaborate building was constructed. The late Colonel

J. A. Moore of Gillisonville once described it thus: "It was a spacious building for the accommodation of both white and colored: a large front porch with three front doors for the whites, who had the lower portion of the church for themselves. There were galleries on three sides of the church for the colored people, and were reached by two back doors, one on either side of the pulpit." This was the church called a "blue cathedral" in an old poem.

In the early 1800’s, the members withdrew from the Charles Town Association to join the Savannah River Association. The Baptist State Convention, organized in Columbia in 1821, held its fourth annual session in the Coosawhatchie church, with the Rev. Richard Furman as president.

This church had been endowed with a sizable fund by Derry Gillison in 1816. But when the courthouse was removed to Gillisonville, a portion of the fund went toward construction of a new church edifice there. However, members continued to worship in the Coosawhatchie church in the winters, until 1861.

Directed to do so by Colonel Robert E. Lee, the Confederates destroyed the "blue cathedral," along with other strategic buildings situated near the railroad, to forestall their possible use by an invading Union enemy. In 1867, the land on which the church had stood was donated to the ex-slaves, who later erected their own building. The cemetery was reserved for the use of former members; a weed-grown remnant of it can be found behind the colored church. So ended the existence of the first Coosawhatchie Baptist Church.

Another mid-century decade brought new happenings. In 1941, Rev, and Mrs. Albert Dawson, two Pennsylvania representatives of "The Christian Mission to Churchless visited Coosawhatchie. They held a series of services in an available vacant building. As a result, local Baptist persons became interested, and expressed a desire to build a new church plant for the village which had been churchless for so many years.

Organization of the church was led by a committee consisting of the Rev. M. O. Owens, the Rev. B. Wallace Edwards and a layman, John B. Malphrus. Land for the building was donated by R. L. DeLoach, in memory of James F. Jackson, who formerly owned the property. Donations of money, labor and materials came from various individuals. Thomas J. Woods was elected superintendent of the first Sunday School, and the first deacons of the successor church were Mr. Woods, Arthur J. Mathis and J. Albert Vaughan. President of the first Woman’s Missionary Society was Mrs. J. I. Wells.

Directed to do so by Colonel Robert E. Lee, the Confederates destroyed the "blue cathedral," along with other strategic buildings situated near the railroad, to forestall their possible use by an invading Union enemy. In 1867, the land on which the church had stood was donated to the ex-slaves, who later erected their own building. The cemetery was reserved for the use of former members; a weed-grown remnant of it can be found behind the colored church. So ended the existence of the first Coosawchatchie Baptist Church.

Another mid-century decade brought new happenings. In 1941, Rev, and Mrs. Albert Dawson, two Pennsylvania representatives of "The Christian Mission to Churchless visited Coosawhatchie. They held a series of services in an available vacant building. As a result, local Baptist persons became interested, and expressed a desire to build a new church plant for the village which had been churchless for so many years.

Organization of the church was led by a committee consisting of the Rev. M. O. Owens, the Rev. B. Wallace Edwards and a layman, John B. Malphrus. Land for the building was donated by R. L. DeLoach, in memory of James F. Jackson, who formerly owned the property. Donations of money, labor and materials came from various individuals. Thomas J. Woods was elected superintendent of the first Sunday School, and the first deacons of the successor church were Mr. Woods, Arthur J. Mathis and J. Albert Vaughan. President of the first Woman’s Missionary Society was Mrs. J. I. Wells.

Coosawhatchie Church--Worshipping at Gillisonville-- by a member."

At the news of Sherman’s approach, all families had fled. But a Federal cannonball struck the church’s steeple, smashing through the bell tower and toppling the spire. And so the broken tower has remained through the years, a memento of the holocaust of 1865. The structure itself was spared destruction for the same reason as Holy Trinity in Grahamville--it was needed for quarters by Federal officers. The antique silver Communion service, cared for by a village member, bears these alien lines scratched upon the paten: "War of 1861-2-3-4. Feb. 1865. This is done by a Yankee soldier."

With the courthouse and buildings on the surrounding square wiped out, the church sanctuary served as a courtroom for a few sessions. This lasted only until 1868, when the seat of government went back to Beaufort.

Basically, the interior of the lofty sanctuary is unchanged; with doors eleven feet in height, and windows that must measure fifteen feet from sill to top. The pulpit once was a judge’s seat, used in the courthouse at Coosawhatchie. The high-walled pews were acquired from an Episcopal chapel, "Church of the Ascension," once just south of the village. The chapel was dismantled and sold to Robertville Baptists after the War, except for the pews, which the home-town Baptists were happy to accept.

The village’s day in the limelight was over, but the Gillison bequest enabled the church to function during the trying era of Reconstruction, and afterward. Over many difficult years it never fell completely into disuse. though a number of times it lacked a pastor. The Sunday School was operated by a small group of faithful leaders who refused to let religious activity wither away. One who should not be forgotten was Mrs. Jennie Langford.

In the churchyard are the tombs of General James W. Moore and Richard J. Davant, men of history. Other stones bear names of county families who helped to keep the church alive: Ulmer, Horton, Langford, Chaplin, Manuel, Wall, Peterman, Mole, Frohberg, Matthews, Sauls, Harvey, Cleland, Johnson and Roberts.

Interest fell to its lowest ebb during the depression. A part-time pastor came but seldom. By the 1940’s, the number of members had dwindled to eleven. What has happened since that time borders on the miraculous. But it can be attributed to many factors--unusual cooperation by village residents; utilization of materials at hand; the vision of a dedicated pastor; and financial assistance by generous individuals.

Sparked by the Rev. James F. Moseley’s efforts in 1948, the nearly-dormant church sprang into activity. In a brief time, the membership increased to 70, and now stands at 109. A new parsonage was constructed. The church was repaired and painted, both the exterior and the interior. The magnitude of the task is indicated by the number of windowpanes replaced--a total of 56.

After Sunday School rooms were completed at the rear of the church, the need arose for more educational space and for a fellowship building. Not far away was a vacant schoolhouse, formerly used. by colored children, which deacons managed to purchase from the county. It was rolled to the church grounds by volunteers, then remodeled and painted--and lo, an adequate fellowship annex complete with assembly hall was ready.

In the church sanctuary, an attractive registration desk for guests has been installed by the families and friends of Mrs. Hannah Dean, Mrs. Jennie Langford, and Mrs. Ruth L. Mears, as a memorial tribute. The pastor, Rev. Mr. Moseley, says that out-of-state visitors register at the desk nearly every week.

Sunday School superintendent is Harold Crapse; Training Union director is Mrs. James F. Moseley; Women’s Missionary Society president is Mrs. George Roberts.


The Beaverdam church between Gillisonville and Grays was founded in 1834 by pioneer Baptists of humble circumstances. Their mode of living was far more simple than that of the coastal planters and the Black Swamp landowners. The community was made up of small farmers, averaging two or three slaves to a family.

This church has the distinction of being the only church in the county with an existing written record from its beginning until the present day. Its first clerk, Jonathan Tuten, kept meticulous minutes of the sessions, serving until after the War Between the States. In an old Bible, his birth is given as I 790, and his marriage to Phoebe Smith was recorded in 1823. The writer had access to two old books containing the church’s annals when they were in the keeping of a grandson, T. W. Tuten, of Ridgeland and Charleston, who also served as clerk for nearly 30 years.

Names of charter members were not written down, but the records show these names of families active in the church’s early days: Smith, Rowell, Winn, Sanders, Robinson, Smart, Cubbedge, Horton, Long, Russell, Finley, Youmans, Rivers, Miller, Priester and Freeman. On nearly every page of the oldest book is proof that the church exercised a rigid supervision over the manners, morals, and deportment of its members. Censure or outright excommunication befell any person who did not express public repentance for his sin. Happily, forgiveness and restoration were also bestowed frequently by the brethren.

The recording clerks called a spade a spade, and chronicled names and incidents in careful, black pen storkes. Brother W--, haled before the church "for intoxication, not believing the Bible and for profane language," was put under censure of the church for six months. In the case of Sister C--, brought up "for killing her husband," a motion was carried that she "be put under censure." Breathlessly, one reads on to learn that Sister C-- apparently had provocation for committing the drastic deed, for in two months it was decided that she was to "remain in full fellowship of the church."

Brother B--’s wrongdoing was laid before the church "for a note he refused to pay." A committee looked into the matter and decided that Brother B-- should "pay his note." This the church informed him, in no uncertain terms. One experiences doubt at the effectiveness of such persuasion nowadays!

One would-be joiner failed miserably in his effort to get in. "Application for admission of F-- into the church was refused upon the grounds that he was living with another man’s wife." Refreshingly honest was one young member. "Sister W-- said that she was not sorry at the time she danced, but since that time she was sorry and asked the church to forgive her."

In the old record, scant mention is made of the War except that, during this period, slaves were called before the church several times for disobedience to their masters. And a certificate of baptism by an army chaplain of three young local men is recorded. Also, an all-day prayer service was held at the church in December, 1864; then the record is blank until the following July.

Beaverdam’s original frame building, perhaps too unpretentious to interest Sherman’s troops, was used until 1925. In that year it was replaced by the present neat structure. Within the last year, a new vestibule has been added, four educational rooms, and new electric fixtures throughout. A new baptistry is also planned. Rev. R. C. Johnson is pastor, Faye Woods is superintendent of the Sunday School, and Bobby Smith is leader of the Training Union.


About 1830, a Primitive Baptist Church called "Sardis" was established on the upper eastern reaches of the Great Swamp stream. The Biblical custom of "footwashing" was adhered to in ceremonial fashion by the membership of this pioneer church. Last-century evangelists who were known to visit the congregation were the Reverends James Sweat, John Youmans, John Brooker, Darling Peeples and W. B. Johnson.

Out of existence now, Sardis was mentioned several times in old records of other churches of the county, which the writer has studied. "Messengers" or delegates from Sardis were usually counted among those present at various conventions. An old cemetery at the site contains names of early settlers of the lands bordering the river: Robinson, Price, Vaigneur, Hodges, Rushing, Dean, Daley, Nettles and Johnson.

By 1845, because of non-agreement concerning points of doctrine, a number of members living on the western side of the stream had withdrawn from Sardis. In October of that year, this group was constituted a separate church called "Great Swamp Baptist," by a presbytery consisting of Reverends John Brooker, John N. Youmans and John W. Nix. Charter members were "Reuben H. Smart and wife; William Malphrus and wife; John Malphrus and wife; James Manker and wife; Seaborn Woods and wife; Dennis Woods and wife; Ulysses Woods and wife; Rebecca Berg, Amanda Forsyth and Ann Malphrus." A couple of years later, Edward Perry and his wife, Mary H. Jaudon Perry, became baptized members.

Not long before the War, William Malphrus and Edward Perry were licensed to preach as well. They officiated as they were needed, in this and other churches.

After the War, the Rev. Jonas Trowell, acting as a peacemaker, persuaded the two churches which once were one to overlook their slight difference in doctrine and to merge their membership. Sardis then became extinct, and the united congregations completed a "Great Swamp Baptist Church" house of worship. Besides names mentioned above, these surnames recur on records of the church at that time: Russell, Malphrus, Perry, Riley, Woods, Wall, Floyd, Smart, Popham, Hailford, Loper, Bennett and Buckner.

The Rev. W. H. Dowling was called by the congregation in 1881, and led the church for nearly twenty years. In his history of the church he wrote: "We had no musical instruments but the congregations all sang. . . . One of Brother ‘D.’ Johnson’s choruses is such a reality in my faith that I never think of heaven without this foregleam inspiring and cheering my soul."

Following him was the Rev. Tom W. Mallphrus, who served as the church’s pastor until shortly before his death. Great Swamp’s love and enthusiasm for the musical phases of worship has continued. John B. Malphrus, a deacon, headed the County Singing Convention for a number of years.

A second building, erected in 1909, has been remodeled and beautified from time to time. A Sunday School building was completed beside the church, while the Rev. John L. White was pastor in the 1940’s, but it has become inadequate for a growing membership. A much larger educational annex is in process of construction on the opposite side of the church, in this year of 1962.

Pastor of the church is the Rev. C. E. Schiable and chairman of the board of deacons is C. L. Daring. Superintendent of the Sunday School is E. L. Ambrose, and director of the Training Union is Marvin Vaigneur. President of the Woman’s Missionary Society is Mrs. Cordell Malphrus.


Two miles northwest of Grays is Pine Level Baptist Church, which was organized in 1872. Like many another church begun in Reconstruction days, this church’s members found it difficult to obtain a building. Worship was carried on under an arbor shelter fashioned with tree limbs and branches laid upon a rough frame of poles.

Finally, a small log structure was managed, upon a site presented to the church by Milton Smith. Names of the early worshipers were Smith, Phillips, Ginn, Crosby, Bowers, Grimes, Terry, Cope and Mixson.

A frame building, erected early in this century at the same location, has been remodeled twice. Also, the members have built educational rooms and added more modern facilities in recent years.

The Rev. Frank Fisher has served as the church’s pastor for a number of years. Sunday School superintendent is Robert Cope. President of the Woman’s Missionary Society is Mrs. Lorraine Ramsey; Training Union director is Olin Mixson.


The heritage of Methodism in this section was handed down from an earlier church near Brighton, just across the line in Hampton County.

In 1790, a minister from Purrysburg organized a group of Methodists in the Black Swamp community, the event resulting in construction of the "Little Black Swamp" Church. It was so designated to distinguish it from the larger Baptist house not far away.

The building, of moderate size and simple architecture, was left standing by Sherman’s army; with the distinction of having been used as an encampment spot by the general himself. The later-famous letters to his daughter were written by Sherman during his use of the structure as quarters.

The doors of "Little Black Swamp" church were closed some thirty years ago. But all the Methodist churches in the county share in its history, for the Black Swamp Circuit was progenitor of the later Methodist charges. The cemetery is surrounded by a sturdy fence of steel, the donation of a descendant in honor of his parents. Names which can be read upon the stones are King, Riley, Buckner, Martin, Causey, and of course Lawton and Maner.


The Tillman Methodist Church came into being during the trying days of Reconstruction. If there was a record of the exact date and the charter members, it has been lost. But for some time, in and near the settlement of Hennies Cross Roads, there was no church at all. Eastward, there had been St. John’s Methodist Episcopal Church, South, built by the Heape family on their plantation prior to the War. But after emancipation it was donated to the Negroes, the former slaves on the Heape lands. It is today St. John’s A. M. F. Church, at Wagon Branch.

On hewn-out benches gathered together under an arbor of tree branches, the Hennies Methodist worshipers listened to sermons. Usually, they were preached by minister-riders of the Black Swamp Circuit. As soon as possible, a congregation was organized and included officially in the Circuit.

In 1879, when Congressman George D. Tillman promised the citizens a post office, he also started a church building fund by contributing $ioo for this purpose. As soon as a little more money was raised, the names of purchasers of a suitable plot are given as Frank McKenzie, John Overstreet, Milligan Godley and Travis Hailford. In addition to these, the building committee consisted of John Ferebee, John Youmans and Rollin Davidson. The latter was a Baptist, but he gave generously of his time and ability to the construction.

Mr. Youmans, mentioned above, and D. O. Fleming served their church for many years as Sunday School superintendents. By 1912, the original building was inadequate, and the members replaced it with the well-proportioned white structure which stands today. During the last few years, the church was remodeled and enlarged and new furnishings purchased throughout. Needed educational space has been provided.

The Rev. Roy L. Pryor is pastor of the church. Sunday School superintendent is J. D. Rivers. President of the Woman’s Society of Christian Service is Mrs. Webb Floyd.


South of the present village of Tillman there was once a Baptist church known as "Savin Grove." In a small house of logs, the adherents worshipped in the early 1860’s. Union invaders burned this little place of worship, while they were encamped at the village of "Hennies."  Various efforts were later made to reactivate the church.

In 1883, a reorganization took place and a church was constituted officially by Reverends W. H. Dowling, Jonas Trowell and J. M. Bostick. On the yellowed pages with ink that is scarcely faded today, Clerk John S. Overstreet inscribed the articles of the covenant. One article stated that (‘no member shall address another in any other term or appellation but the title of brother or sister."

As was the custom in other churches of the time, no words are minced in informing members that they "shall be excluded" if they "get drunk, gamble, dance, or use profane language." Noted in the old book are the surnames Reid, Barnhill, Freeman, Heape, McKenzie, Hodges, Wilson, Davidson, Hailford, Mulligan, Mock and Fleming.

With the name changed to "Eden," a modest building was started in the village of Tillman in the I 890’s, upon property donated by Frank Hodges. Damaged by fire before it was completed, the framework was repaired so that it served for temporary use by the members. There was always hopefulness for the future! At that time, these additional names are noted on the old roster: Smith, Daring, Jaudon, Sauls, Goethe, Floyd, Douberly and Boyles.

In 1901, according to the record, the Eden Baptist Church building was "ceiled" by the members, and in 1908, they paid their pastor the huge annual salary of $50.  Of course, pastors of that day received additional remuneration in food supplies.

A building program in 1926 resulted in the purchase of additional land, and in the neat appearance of the structure today. With further reorganization in 1930, the name "Eden" was dropped, and since then it has been known simply as Tillman Baptist Church. Between the churches of different denominations in Tillman, there has always been a marked cooperation. Perhaps that is why the projects which they undertake are usually successful Pastor of Tillman Baptist Church is the Rev. J. D. Gulledge; Sunday School superintendent is J. W. Floyd. President of the Woman’s Missionary Society is Mrs. Manning Popham, and Training Union director is Mrs. J. D. Cook, Sr.


The Methodist Church in Hardeeville was organized some years prior to 1860. In June of that year, a lot for a building was surveyed and a plat was prepared by O. P. Law. The lot was "55 feet wide and 142 feet long, bounded on two sides by the Henry G. Hardee property; on one side by the R. W. Pelot property; and on the front by Church Road." The Pelots are said to have donated the land for the erection of a church.

Doubtless the church was built immediately; though actual records of its construction have been lost, along with other records that were valuable. It is known that the original structure contained a sizable gallery, provided for occupation by the slaves. It is also known that members adhered to the custom of the time: men worshipers entered and occupied the pews on the right side; the women took those on the left.

The history of the church’s bell has been told elsewhere; also the facts have been given of the building’s use as a hospital, while in its pristine condition and barely dedicated for worship. When the War ended, members in solemn conclave decided that the slave-boat bell should never be rung by a Yankee.

The earliest records of the church-life that have been preserved date from 1879, while the Rev. Edward B. Loyless was minister.

In 1884, when a Centennial date was observed throughout Methodism, a fund was raised for repair of the building. The unneeded slave gallery was removed, and the sanctuary was plastered and repaired by the trustees. Their names are given as O. G. Raymond, Hiram and Joshua Kieffer, Wm. J. Evans and Wm. Jaycocks.

Again in 1916, the ante-bellum church was remodeled and painted, while Dr. E. C. B. Mole and W. R. Hubbard were stewards. Families who were prominent in the church activities bore the names of Boyd, Raymond, Kieffer, Hubbard and Williams.

In 1947, more extensive work was completed on walls, roof and interior, bringing out the simple, Grecian appearance of the building. Of the church’s antique Communion service, only the tray is left. The tankard was lost, and the silver chalice was acquired by a museum in Charleston.

Additional land at the rear of the lot was purchased in 1953. Under the leadership of Lawrence Punzel, chairman of the building committee, an educational structure was completed three years later. The largest of its rooms is used as a recreational center for the young people, where various games and amusements are available.

Pastor of the church is the Rev. Jack Ray, of Bluifton. Sunday School superintendent is Wallace Hubbard, and president of the Woman’s Society of Christian Service is Mrs. Ruth H. Brannen.


The first recorded minutes of the Hardeeville Baptist Church are dated in the church book as ". . . the third Lord’s Day of January 1876." But tradition leaves us with the knowledge that about the year 1850 Mrs. Margaret Jones donated a tract of land in the Hardeeville community, to be used as the location of the Baptist Church.

During the War Between the States, when General Sherman made his infamous "March," the Baptist church was burned to the ground. Not until 1876 was restoration begun. Some 41 Christian men and women wrote and recorded the Church Charter. It reads as follows:

"On the 3rd Lord’s Day of January, 1876, a small company of Believers were organized as a church by the Brethren A. W. Lamar, C. A. Baynard and W. G. Rollins.

Few in number, yet trusting in Jesus the Great Head of the Church, and the support of each humble follower. They gladly cast in their lot together, pledging themselves by this uniting in one body to strive together for the Master’s Glory, to bear one another’s burdens and to adhere faithfully to the covenant which is herein transcribed."

The Rev. A. W. Rollins was called as pastor. In a short time he resigned to attend Theological Seminary, and the church experienced its first test, an extended period without the services of a minister. "Prayer meetings and Sabbath School were faithfully continued, and an occasional visit from a ministerial brother afforded the proper opportunities for the worship of the Lord."

There were more periods between pastors when the members continued worship through the help and guidance of supply pastors. In 1914, Dr. W. J. Langston, D.D., met with the membership and ". . . the following formation of fields were adopted . . . providing a parsonage for the pastor . . . usage of the Bible plan of finance as laid out in i Cor. providing for the support of the Gospel." The committee working with Dr. Langston on these directives consisted of R. J. Boyd, A. B. Coburn and C. M. McTeer.

In 1915, during service of Rev. C. L. Stoney, the Federal government paid the Hardeeville Baptist Church the sum of $1500 for the destruction wrought by Sherman’s men during the Civil War. This sum of money acted as a catalyst, because from monetary contributions by the members the church building was remodeled, a baptistry added and a parsonage constructed.

After 1931, five years passed before the church received a resident pastor. Rev. Walter Black, of Ruffin, came to the aid of the members when he was called upon. Some 24 ministers extended their time and services, and 27 new members were added to the church rolls. The obstacles were not insurmountable!

Through the 1940’s the church continued to grow spiritually and numerically. In September, 1950, a meeting for the annual election of church officers was held. . .

"It was at this time it was decided to build a new church." The building was 74 years old and badly in need of repairs. Attendance had dropped. The membership voted to undertake the task of building a new church as "Part of their work for the advancement of His Holy Work." Named on a building committee were Mrs. C. M. McTeer, G. O. Rentz and A. E. Dupuis. In March, 1951 . . . "the ground breaking was held. It was a very simple service."

In 1952, the board of deacons authorized the signing of a mortgage on the church property for the sum of $7000. This sum was to be used for immediate completion of the church auditorium.

The pastor, Rev. H. A. Phillips, conducted the first worship service in the new auditorium. The official dedication day services were held on Sunday, November, 1956, with dinner on the grounds.

The present pastor, Rev. J. W. Haskell, began his service in 1955. To the first "homecoming" congregation, the Rev. Mr. Haskell delivered a message in November, 1956, and members of the first finance committee burned the mortgage.

In 1958, a new addition to the church structure was completed. It consisted of a pastor’s study, kitchen facilities and an assembly area in the upstairs portion; ten class rooms, a nursery, and two storage rooms in the downstairs area. New pews and furniture, heating units, driveway paving are a few of the facilities added to the physical properties of the church.

Superintendent of the Sunday School is P. A. Sauls; president of the Woman’s Missionary Society is Mrs. J. C. Burns; and Training Union director is J. C. Burns. "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: But the Word of our God shall stand forever. . . ." (Isaiah 40:8).


Since the turn of the century, on the western side of New River near Hardeeville, a small building existed for the use of religious services. Pastors from May River officiated from time to time.

In 1907, Red Dam was officially constituted as a church, and a frame structure was built under the leadership of John Walls. The Rev. George W. Harris served the church as pastor for 23 years. During this time, additional land for a cemetery was donated by J. A. Coleman.

The membership, consisting of 100 persons, completed a modern building of concrete blocks, in the early 1950’s. The pastor is the Rev. C. E. Cone. Chairman of deacons is Charles Cooler, and Sunday School superintendent is Arthur Cooler.


(Data supplied by Rev. John A. Sirnonin, of Bluffton, pastor of the church.)

In 1922, a lot in Hardeeville was donated by Mrs. D. P. Patterson for the erection of a Catholic chapel. The Extension Society of the Church furnished the sum of $500; the Coburn and Phillips families made sizable donations, and the remaining funds were subscribed by friends of the Rev. Francis A. Murphy. Supervising the work of construction was Frank Coburn.

The chapel was dedicated by Rt. Rev. William T. Russell in 1925. Later, stained glass windows were installed and blessed by Bishop Russell. At that time, St. Anthony’s was attached to St. Peter’s Church, in Beaufort, as a mission.

In 1957, the interior of the church building was renovated; the super-structure of the Altar removed and replaced with a liturgical setting. These improvements enhanced greatly the loveliness of the little chapel. And since then, new pews and a heating system have been installed.

The Hardeeville church is now a mission of St. Andrew’s Church, Bluifton, and in charge of Rev. John A. Simonin. Franciscan Sisters from Savannah are brought to St. Anthony’s each week to give religious instructions to elementary children. Father Simonin meets with the groups of high school age for instructions.

President of the Church’s Altar Society is Mrs. Philura V. Langford; of the Holy Name Society, Robert R. O’Brien; and of the Youth Organization, George A. Shoemaker, Jr.


In June of 1959, an organizational structure for a Presbyterian chapel in Ridgeland was adopted. The chapel, first of its denomination in the county, is under control of the First Presbyterian Church of Hilton Head Island, Charleston Presbytery.

Ten charter members were received into the chapel, which meets for worship services in the Agriculture Building. The first minister was the Rev. Mills J. Peebles, who served until November, I 961. Eighteen members are now enrolled in the chapel, which is being served at present by supply ministers.

Raymond D. Day is superintendent of the church school; Mrs. B. J. Perry is president of the Chapel Women.


The oldest of Ridgeland’s churches is St. Paul’s. Its heritage of Methodism was received from several sources, thanks to the pioneer "circuit riders."

Prior to the War, there existed St. John’s church at Wagon Branch; afterward, there was the Methodist church organization in Tillman. There was also at one time a small Methodist chapel at Ferebeeville (Switzerland). And upon the road between Gillisonville and Robertville, "Ox Pond" church stood. All of these were begun as early missions of the Black Swamp Circuit.

By 1885, John Gunter and James D. Ellis, Methodist leaders, had removed the Ox Pond church, to rebuild in Gillisonville. This church, the Tillman church, Hardeeyule and St. Luke’s, were then included in a separate Hardeeville Circuit. The Switzerland chapel, damaged during Reconstruction, had been torn down.

Meantime, the few Methodist families living near the new railroad station of Ridgeland usually traveled to Tillman for their worship services. A few from Grahamville also were members of the Tillman church.

In 1890, Julius G. Sipple, of Grahamville, inspired the small band of Methodists to organize a separate church. The constitution of it took place under the leadership of the Rev. J. R. Buchanan. As a result of Mr. Sipple’s tireless solicitation of contributions, and the "giving of operettas" and the selling of "refreshments" by the women, a building program was launched. In 189 1, the structure was a reality. In the words of Miss Emma Sipple, a charter member, "It was a happy day for the faithful band when this unpretentious little structure was completed." Charter members were:

Julius G. Sipple, Mrs. Julius G. Sipple, Miss Emma Sipple (Mrs. W. P. Meadors), Miss Hallie Sipple (Mrs. A. C. Martin), H. H. Porter, Mrs. H. H. Porter, Mrs. Ella Sharpe, Mrs. Sarah A. Buckner, Mrs. Eva H. Buckner, Travis Haliford, Mrs. Travis Haliford, Miss Jessie Smith (Mrs. A. D. Zahler), Miss Maggie Smith, and Charlie E. Wiggins.

The church was dedicated in 1894 by the Rev. W. P. Meadors, presiding elder of Charleston District. Mr. Sipple was the first superintendent of the Sunday School, and Miss Emma Sipple was first president of the Missionary Society. Mrs. Eva Buckner, a faithful member until her death, served the church in the capacity of steward for many years. She was a granddaughter of the Heapes, who built the church at Wagon Branch.

In 1895, the "Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society" was organized. Their dues were 10 cents per month! In "Miss Emma’s" reminiscences, she said, "We were timid women and we wondered who would offer the prayers for us in our meetings." Until the members developed self-confidence enough to "pray in public," she reported that "we prevailed upon my father, superintendent of the Sunday School, to help us out in this difficult situation." Apparently, the ladies grew in ability and confidence for in 1901 they entertained the entire Society of the Charleston District! And later, Mrs. Buckner was elected to her office of steward.

St. Paul’s, Tillman, and Gillisonville became a separate charge in 1907. During the early years, it is interesting to note that the parsonage families have occupied homes in four communities: at Switzerland, Gillisonville, Grahamville, and at Ridgeland.

In 1927, the Gillisonville members voted to merge their number with St. Paul’s. Some 50 persons were thereby added to the church’s roll, families bearing these names: Horton, Langford, Roberts and Ellis.

World War II brought tragedy and loss, four of the church’s young men giving their lives in the service of their country. They were Hamilton Langford, Hudson Ingram, Herbert P. Hagins, Jr., and Grady Way. Neither did the Korean War spare St. Paul’s--during that action, James F. Exley sacrificed his life.

In 1948, the membership constructed a modern brick parsonage, which was occupied first by the Rev, and Mrs. T. M. Godbold. And in 1949, the congregation received a magnificent bestowal: a beautiful brick edifice complete with educational plant, recreation hail, carillon system and organ. The building, in its entirety, was a gift of two members, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Ellis. Dedication services were conducted by Bishop Costen J. Harrell.

Long service to the church has been given by several faithful members. Mrs. Buckner’s office has been mentioned; Mrs. J. R. Fox and Miss Cliff Langford taught beginners and primary children for many years; Mr. Ellis was treasurer for 30 years; Mrs. Ellis has long functioned as Communion steward; the late Mrs. C. C. Parker served the Woman’s Society in many capacities for nearly 40 years; and the late Dan Horton headed the church school for more than 25 years.

The church’s minister is the Rev. Roy L. Pryor; superintendent of the church school is E. G. Tate. President of the Woman’s Society of Christian Service is Mrs. Paul Brantley, and president of the Wesleyan Guild is Mrs. Virginia S. Hendricks. The Youth Fellowship is led by Mike Horton.


When Ridgeland was scarcely more than a brand-new name on a railroad depot, a Baptist church was organized. Upon the church’s first record book is inscribed the date of that humble beginning, February 28, 1892. Constituting members were:

William Preacher, Mrs. A. J. Preacher, Dr. W. A. Preacher, Miss Jane Polk, G. W. Gross, Mrs. Susan (G. W.) Gross, C. E. Perry, Mrs. Ella Porter, and Mrs. S. S. Wilson. Officiating as a presbytery were the Rev. W. H. Dowling, Rev. J. T. Morrison, and Deacon William Smart, of Great Swamp Baptist Church. Called as first pastor was the Rev. Mr. Dowling, and named as first clerk was C. E. Perry.

A few weeks later, the following members were received by letter: Rev. Jonas Trowell, Mrs. Keziah Trowell, Miss Eva Trowell, Miss Elizabeth Trowell, and Edward Perry. By permission, meetings were held in a new Masonic hail, until a church building could be constructed. Named on a building committee were G. W. Gross, William Preacher and C. F. Perry

The first building, of frame construction, was partially completed in 1894. For the first worship services, members sat upon stout planks placed across the foundation sills. At that time, the church was included in a pastoral field with Great Swamp and Euhaw. A Sunday School was organized in 1901

Here, one might interpose the story of the bell. With proceeds from an oyster supper and other contributions, the women of the church amassed the sum of $100. Proudly, they ordered a bell. When it came, alas, no money was available for construction of a belfry. But the ladies were determined to hear its sound. The men were pressed into service, and suspended the bell from a beam and posts outside, where it sounded forth its first inviting peals the following Sunday. Traveling from building to building with the membership, the bell has issued forth the same full tones for more than 60 years.

The first church building was "finished and painted" in 1907, with a vestibule and belfry tower being added. A frame "pastorium" was completed in 1914, on the corner of present Wilson Street and Highway Seventeen.

The first frame structure on Main Street lasted for use until 1925. While the Rev. N. Hoyt Adams was pastor, a second building of masonry elevation throughout and well appointed, was erected upon its present location. Members of this building committee in 1926 are recorded as C. F. Perry, W. J. Miller, C. J. Getsinger, S. B. Owens and E. V. Brogden. When C. F. Perry died, a memorial window was installed in front, in his memory.

The Rev. Gaines H. Mason served the church as pastor from 1943 until the mid-fifties. Full treatment of his pastorate would be a chronicle of steady growth and progress in Sunday School, Training Union and Missionary Union activities. Numerically, the church is by far the largest in the county.

In the year of 1950, the need for expansion culminated in a modern brick pastorium, and a beautiful church sanctuary of colonial architecture. The memorial window was renovated and transferred to this new edifice. The older building was remodeled to create additional Sunday School space. Serving on the building committees were Mrs. W. B. Wilson, J. L. Brantley, B. J. Perry, J. H. Lynes and H. Millard Jones.

Since 1950, further beautification of building and grounds has taken place, and air-conditioning has been installed. In a brief history, it would be impossible to list the names of all who have served their church in different capacities through many years. But one thinks of Charles P. Wilson, S. B. Owens, George H. Long, and Y. C. Weathersbee as typical of those who were "faithful unto death"; also of Mrs. Mamie C. Davidson, who organized the first Woman’s Missionary Society and served as president for nearly 20 years; of L. F. Brunson, leading the Sunday School for 17 years; of Mrs. J. Foster Smith, long in charge of the Primary department. In the present day, Mrs. B. D. Bedell for the Missionary Society, Mrs. J. H. Lynes and Miss Leah Jones for the Training Union, have rendered many years of incomparable service. The Korean war brought its portion of sorrow; William C. Preacher, Jr. (Billy) lost his life in that conflict.

The number of members today has reached a total of 615. Another building program in the making will see an outstanding educational plant, adequate for the needs of this large, still-growing church.

The Rev. L. Bert Joyner serves the church as pastor, and J. R. Rhodes is chairman of the deacons’ board. President of the Woman’s Missionary Society is Mrs. J. H. Lynes, and superintendent of the Sunday School is Douglas Nettles. L. D. Kleckley directs the Training Union.


In 1923, a Latter Day Saints group was organized in Ridgeland. At this time the late E. L. Smith was named as Branch president, with the late J. E. Woods as assistant. A modest frame building was completed in 1925.

For some time, growth of the membership has indicated the replacement of this building with a more substantial structure. At present, extra educational space is provided separately from the church. Plans for the new edifice are at the church’s general headquarters in Salt Lake City, awaiting official approval.

President of the local Branch is Eugene Lowther, and District president is J. Bruce Saxon. President of the Women’s Relief Society is Mrs. Daisy L. Cleland. The Mutual Improvement Association (for young people) is headed by Mrs. Jerry Tillotson.


Through constant efforts of the late V. E. McCormack and his sons, the Ridgeland Advent Christian Church was organized in 1937. There were 17 charter members, when a small building was erected in the western end of town that year. The Rev. R. C. Joyner served the church as its first supply pastor, for several years.

There has been a steady growth in membership, making necessary two more building programs during the years. Educational space was provided, when the first structure was remodeled and enlarged. In 1954, a modern parsonage was completed by the membership; since then, other assembly rooms have been constructed, and the church’s exterior beautified.

The Rev. Howard L. Brown is serving as full-time pastor of the church, and Rudolph L. McCormack, son of one of the founders, is clerk. Mrs. C. O. McCormack is president of the Woman’s Home and Foreign Missions Society.


Some 12 years ago, a Church of God of Prophecy whose headquarters office is in Cleveland, Tennessee, was established in Ridgeland. Members erected a substantial building in the western section of town. The Rev. Bobby L. Dean is the present pastor. Sunday School superintendent is Tommy Cooler, and president of the Women’s Missionary Band is Mrs. Arthur Cooler.


Independent Gospel Churches have been established at Tillman and at Hardeeville. There is a small Church of God of Prophecy at Grays. There is also a Church of Christ organization at Hardeeville.

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