Old Sheldon Church Ruins – Yemassee, South Carolina
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The Old Sheldon Church, formerly known as the Prince William Parish Church, has had a tumultuous and eventful history. From its first service in 1757 to its present peaceful setting, the church has followed the travails of our region’s history.
Originally organized and funded in the 1740s and 50s by William Bull, whose Newberry Plantation bordered the church grounds, the church was set on fire during the Revolutionary War. It was then rebuilt from the remaining walls in 1826.
Common knowledge states that on January 14, 1865, Sherman’s troops burned the church a second time, as part of the “March to the Sea” campaign. While the walls still refused to fall, it was never to be repaired again.
However, another possible fate has come to light. In a letter dated February 3, 1866, after the end of the Civil War, Milton Leverett wrote that “Sheldon Church not burn’t. Just torn up in the inside, but can be repaired.”
The inside of the church was apparently gutted by whites and blacks who needed the materials to rebuild their homes burned by Sherman’s army. This information comes from “The Leverett Letters,” published by the University of South Carolina Press and can be found on pages 403 and 405.
This tablet located at the Old Sheldon Church reads: “Church of Prince William’s Parish, known as Sheldon built between 1745-1755. Burned by the British Army 1779. Rebuilt 1826. Burned by the Federal Army 1865. Tablet placed by Columbia Committee South Carolina Society Colonial Dames of America 1937.”
Old Sheldon Church Ruins – Directions
Old Sheldon Church is located on Old Sheldon Church Road between Gardens Corner and Yemassee. Coming from Beaufort on US 21 North, as you approach the intersection of US 17 at Gardens Corner, bear left, continue through the stop sign and go about 1/4 mile. Turn right onto Sheldon Church Road, which is directly across from Bull Point Plantation. Go about two miles and you’ll see the ruins on the right side of the road.
Old Sheldon Church Ruins – Getting Married
The Parish Church of St. Helena in Beaufort now manages Old Sheldon Church and does permit weddings to be held at the site. See page 15 of the church’s wedding booklet (pdf) for details and contact information. The Parish Church manages the ruins at the old Chapel of Ease on St. Helena’s as well, where you can also get married.
Old Sheldon Church Ruins Info
Address: Old Sheldon Church Road, Yemassee, SC 29945
Old Sheldon Church Ruins Map
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