"Church of Prince William's Parish"

"Click on ALL other images to enlarge"

This beautiful church was built in 1745 as the church of Prince William Parish. It was burned by the British in May 1779. Rebuilt, it was burned again on January 14, 1865 by troops of General Oliver O. Howard, commanding Sherman's right wing coming out of Beaufort. The walls remain today and it is a spectacular place to visit. It truly is stepping back into the history books. 

History of the church By: Robert Latimer Hurst, is below after the Beautiful pictures.

"Blizzard snowfall in the Low Country of Beaufort, SC. ..............February 13, 2010 taken By: Jack Howison

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Good Morning 1-11-11 These photos were taken January 10, 2011 ice storm.....we don't even know how to say or spell words related to ICE & SNOW.......this just ain't NATURAL.....must be AG's "GLOBAL WARMING"!!?? Happy Tuesday (one...one-one...one-one)!!!  Jack Howison - Beaufort, SC.

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As Jack Howison was returning home 4/28/2010 he drove down one of the most scenic and most dangerous roads in SC. again to the "Old Sheldon Church Rd."...... between Yemassee and what used to be Garden's Corner, SC.

The day was clear, the sky brilliant blue with the Sun to the East and the Old Church ruins was just calling to be photographed.......so I stopped and shot a few!!

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There is always an eerie serenity (as in the ones taken at dusk below) in the ruins and the old graveyard out back with graves dating back to the 1700's

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Good Morning, November 04, 2011

Yesterday as I made my way home I saw thousands of yellow flowers in a lagoon on the East bank of the Combahee River near Yemassee, SC......very pretty!

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When I approached Old Sheldon Church I decided to take a look since the shadows are more pronounced in Fall and.......BOY was it pretty!! I couldn’t resist a couple dozen shots of the ruins of this magnificent structure.....WOW......if it could only talk!! Some of the graves in the Church Yard are over 250 years old!! If you are ever in the area you must visit the Old Sheldon Church ruins.......MAGNIFICENT!! 

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Happy Friday!! Jack Howison - Beaufort, SC. http://www.coosawjackphotography.com/

Osprey Babies.... Taken 2010 By: Jack Howison

While on a trip to Beaufort, SC. our son Richard Husk sent me some pictures he took of this wonderful old church nestled in the big old pine and oak trees forest in a beautiful area near Beaufort, SC between Charleston and Hilton Head. You can follow the signs off the road about 2 miles to the site of the old church.

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This is a National Register of Historic Places site.

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The tipped marker of Ephraim M. Mackey/Mackay. He was listing his residence as Beaufort, South Carolina in the 1830 Census.

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  History Records Show That This Church Was Burned During Both The
  Revolutionary And The Civil Wars

  English Emigrates Settled Here, Established Sheldon Church, Remained Here For Eternity
  By Robert Latimer Hurst

For Chaplain Joseph Furse, the great-grandfather of Pierce Countian Sam Owens, and other Confederates the local history around Pocotaligo did not seem to be the most important item in their lives in 1861. For the Englishman William Bull, born 1683, who had helped establish the Sheldon Church,  the Pocotaligo vicinity was now home. This location had become the core of his family's existence. Here entombed inside "his" church are the remains of a man who had been an honorable member of the Colonial House of Commons from 1706...1719, colonel of the Berkley County Regiment during the Tuscadora and Yemassee wars, Lord Proprietors Deputy and holder of many other leadership positions.

This place had been sacred to William Bull and his family, who had emigrated from Warwickshire, England. Happenings here, as the colonies became states, meant a great deal to him, but he was dead and buried beneath a slab in his church. He would not know that a renown military man, Robert E. Lee, would visit here or that a General William T. Sherman would burn it a second time in 1865. Neither would Sam Owen's Great-Grandfather Joseph J. Furse, whose letters had ended before either officers' campaigns. 

Today, the majestic outline of the old Sheldon Church still stands in the deep forest. These ruins, reported not to be on any map, was once Church of Prince William's Parish, built between 1745 and 1755, before the American Revolution. It followed the Greek temple imitation in America, with impressive Tuscan columns, towering walls and massive arches. The British army burned it in 1799 during the Revolutionary War. It was rebuilt in 1826 and renamed Sheldon Church of Prince William's Parish, only to face conflagration again at the hands of  Sherman's arsonists in 1865 during the Civil War.

Joseph, writing from the same area in 1861, speaks of getting items from home: "... I received the Carpet Bag - with articles sent. You can have no idea how dirty it gets in Camp. Standing (at) our lightwood knot fire, we are smoked almost black...." Then the serious note: "...the Yankees are in sight all of the time and often fire on the guards...." Pocotaligo, missed today if one blinks his eye while traveling the trail, stands tall now. It is pinpointed as a battlefield. It will be remembered in many places in years to come as the place where "21 men were killed and 37 wounded or captured by the Rebs in the Battle of Pocotaligo."  Lehigh County's Pennsylvania's Soldiers & Sailors Monument underscores it just as it does those lost at Antietam and Chancellorsville; however, many of the Yanks who were involved in this section of the world saw it as the Battle of Tullifinny, referring to the Tullifinny River that runs through the area.

But, now Joseph Furse, along with the others at Camp Martin in Pocotaligo, wondered where this coming conflict, which now seemed to be lengthening, would take them. Had he lived, this farmer-minister-soldier, like all his peers, would have witnessed the tragic ending of one way of life and the beginning of another, vastly different existence.

"I often get homesick. ...," the soldier confessed, adding that a friend says that it is evident because "...he says he can see it in my countenance very plainly. ... Our company will all be uniformed in a few days. We are not armed ... At night, some are enjoyed in reading the Bible or prayers - some playing on the violin - some singing all sorts of songs - and a great many other amusements, all going on at the same time." Then an abrupt change in the letter: "The cars are now passing --Good bye. We are just called off to attack the Yankees at Mackey's Point...."

On December 6, 1861, again from Camp Martin, Pocotaligo Station, South Carolina: "... I have been quite sick with influenza since I last wrote you, but I am happy to say that I am much better. ... I know not what moment I may be called into battle. Should I be killed, I know that I will die in a glorious cause and find that God will be with me through all trials and finally save me in His kingdom. I often dream and think of you all. Though absent in person, I am present in thought and feeling with you...."

Chaplain Furse's last letter, December 10, 1861, reveals that his "cold is much better" and that the weather is most changeable at Pocotaligo Station. "...There is a good deal of sickness in camp, mostly colds, nothing of a serious nature. Some sixty men from this regiment went down on Beaufort Island the other day. This Colonel, with several men, went on ahead scouting the Yankees and ran into an ambush. ... One man was shot several times, and it is reported that we killed him and wounded some others...." Victory was not achieved this day "for the Yankees ran." The Unionists, at this time, were stationed at Port Royal, near Beaufort, South Carolina.

As the fighting narrowed for the Rebs and Yanks, Colonel Martin, Furse's commanding officer, heard the Northern officer shout, "Stop! You damned rebels!" Furse writes for the last time: "We are in the midst of exciting times. Our country is in a prickly condition, and it becomes every man to come to its (care). ..."

Furse is dead of one of the many diseases that are a curse of camp life.  It is the late fall of 1862 when Colonel Robert E. Lee, on assignment  to establish defenses along the Southern coast, visits the home of Mrs. George C. Mackey, near Pocotaligo. This locale is again described as one ready for attack: "As fortification, the Coosawhatchie River was blocked with heavy timbers, and guns were mounted along Bees Creek and adjoining streams. Local action began in May, 1862. A Federal force came up Broad River from Port Royal Sound and landed at Mackey's Point. Then they proceeded along the road to Pocotaligo, hoping to destroy the then- new Charleston and Savannah railway track. A small force of 110 Confederates managed to stop them by encirclement at the Tullifinney River bridge...," records Grace Fox Perry.

Pocotaligo is no more the village it was during the Civil War years. In fact, very little is found to show where once- upon-a-time Camp Martin's fires  lit the darkness, and where, during one of America's saddest eras, a young chaplain, in that firelight, wrote to "My dearest wife."

This Soldier, 141 Years Ago, Recorded Life During A Divided America's Most Critical Period

PIERCE COUNTIAN SAM OWENS SHARES 1861 LETTERS FROM GREAT- GRANDFATHER JOSEPH J. FURSE Letters Written To Owen's Great- Grandmother Glimpses  Battle of Pocotaligo


Six- Year- Old Mary Elizabeth Watched As Neighbors' Farms Went Up In Blaze

By Robert Latimer Hurst

THANK YOU! Mr. Hurst for such a wonderful report.