Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Old Churches and Graveyards around Charleston

Nan and I, and her cousin David as guide, spent two days on and off the beaten path investigating some very old churches and graveyards in search of Nan's DuBose relatives. She is related to the DuBose family through her mother's side. The first immigrants were Huguenots who emigrated from France to escape religious persecution. 
Nan and I found these church ruins before we met up with David, not realizing they might be part of the story.
Ruins of the church building. The surrounding graveyard is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a young mother whose baby is buried here.
The old hand pump on the grounds still works.
David brought us to the Biggin Church ruins…and some early DuBose relatives.

This was the 4th church built on this site. It burned in a forest fire in 1899. The previous building was burned by the British in 1781, and the two prior also burned by forest fire.
We were lucky to arrive at Strawberry Chapel on the day the were holding services, and the church was open.
We arrived as a funeral was ending, and were permitted to tour the church before the Sunday Service. THe Rector dressed in colonial period clothing, complete with powdered wig.
The building has no electricity and is heated by a wood stove when needed.
A DuBose family plot.
The graveyard holds the graves of two centuries and is still being used for burials.
David and Nan looking at gravestones in an older section of the graveyard.
The rector stands in the doorway and rings a bell as a Call to Service.

Our next stop was literally out in the woods. A Huguenot Cross, placed to mark the site of a Huguenot Church built prior to 1701.
This red brick church was constructed in 1754.
A peek inside…you can see rods placed to stabilize the building after the earthquake of 1886.
David points out some of Nan's ancestors.
Graves of Samuel DuBose and his wife are in the foreground.
On to the tiny chapel of Pineville.

Past family members worshipped here too.
A peek inside the Pineville Chapel.
Francis Marion, southern hero of the American Revolution was born near here and is buried here. His reknown stretched into Florida, as Marion County as well as schools where I am from are named for him.
Entry road to the Belle Isle Plantation.

Rain did not deter us.
And yes, there is a DuBose connection to Francis Marion….I think he raised a nephew whose daughter married a DuBose, but not sure about that.
In the historic district of Charleston we walked to the Circular Congregational Church, founded 1681. This is the 4th building on this site, completed in 1891. There are DuBose relatives here, but many of the stones are so eroded, they cannot be read.
Behind the Circular church stands St. Philips Church.
One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and a signer of the U.S. Constitution are buried here, but there are no DuBose ghosts, so we didn't enter the graveyard. I like this sign. 
Saving the best for last, the only remaining Huguenot Church in America is on Church Street in Charleston.
The Huguenot Church survived the 1886 earthquake.
Entering the church.
Established 1681, rebuilt in 1845.
Absolutely beautiful inside.

Tablets on the walls bear the names of some of the first Huguenot immigrants to America or their descendants.
I recognized some names...

A DuBose connection.
Family pew boxes.
Looking toward the back choir loft and organ.
The pulpit and organ pipes above it.
Interesting how many U.S. Presidents were of Huguenot descent.
I really enjoyed this historical tour, even if it's not my family, it was interesting and fun.
There are a wealth of documents and data available which the DuBose family has done a great job compiling. Nan was also interested in learning more about her father's side of the family, the Warrens. We did not have much luck on that and found that many records in this area were burned during the Civil War when Sherman came through.

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