A heart felt return to Old Sheldon Church

On my second visit to Beaufort and the “Palmetto Phoenix Church” I discovered touching stories of love, passion, freedom and despair.

Old Sheldon Church Ruins

Old Sheldon Church view as you come in the yard

The heart-breaking loss of a child…

“I’ll weep no tears upon the grave
Where lies my darling out of sight
God has but taken what He gave
And made my child a Seraph bright
He early tastes the promised bliss
And shall I, Can I, weep for this”

Front view

Old Sheldon Church Ruins - front view

The rite of passage at St. Helena Episcopal Church in Beaufort…

In 1734, Captain John Bull (brother of William Bull who helped built Old Sheldon Church) gave a silver Communion service in memory of his first wife who dissapeared during the 1715 Yemassee masacre. The chalice, paten and tankard, engraved “The gift of Captain John Bull to the Parish of St. Helena” are still used today on special occasions.

Both John and his second wife Mary are burried in the Sheldon Church graveyard.

1771 Mary Bull tombstone

1771 tombstone of Mary Bull, John Bull's second wife

The Stono Rebellion… (excerpts from PBS article “Africans in America” and Beginningsfrom USC Press)

In September 1739 a group of African slaves led by an Angolan named Jemmy, seized weapons near the Stono River south of Charleston and began to march towards Florida shouting “Liberty!” They burned and plundered plantations, taverns, and shops killing about 20 whites before stoping to rest for the night at Edisto River.

Entrance to the extended parking lot across the road

Entrance to the extended parking lot across the road

The carriage of Lieutenant Governor William Bull crossed paths with the rebels. Bull ordered his driver to get him back to Charleston where he called out all available white militia. The militia and the rebels fought a pitched battle near Jacksonborough.

The better armed and trained militia defeated the slaves and roughly 40 whites and 60 blacks died in the melee.

The response to the rebellion proved swift and brutal. Travelers on the Old Post Road (present day US Hwy 17) would have seen the heads of the rebels placed on pikes up and down the route.

The loyal devotion…

As you rest your body and spirit under the lush oak trees remember Biz and Bill Campbell, who for over 75 years cared with deep love for these sacred grounds.

Romantic picnic at Old Sheldon Church

Romantic picnic at Old Sheldon Church

The church is located on Old Sheldon Road between Beaufort and Yemassee, about 2 miles from the intersection of Hwy 17 and Hwy 21. A free public service is held each year on second Sunday after Easter. Call (843) 522-1712 to inquire about reserving the church yard for personal events or wedding celebrations.

Come as you are, leave as you wish!


4 Responses

  1. […] 5. There is space for only 2 two cars to park safely on the side of the road; however there is an event parking overflow across the gate. 2009 Update More pictures with the grounds I took on my return trip. […]

  2. An absolutely beautiful place. In the history of Old Sheldon Church, I do not see any mention of the Bellinger family. Old Sheldon Church was built on land donated from the original holdings of the first Landgrave, Edmund Bellinger.

    • I did not know this. Thank you for mentioning it and for visiting my blog.

      Happy travel in the Lowcountry!

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