Pon-Pon Chapel of Ease – Adams Run, South Carolina
South Carolina | SC Picture Project | Colleton County Photos | Pon-Pon Chapel of Ease
Two walls, part of the cistern, and the churchyard are all that remain of the Pon-Pon Chapel of Ease in Colleton County. Serving St. Bartholomew’s Parish, the chapel was located on the stagecoach road between Charleston and Savannah.
A brick chapel was built here in 1754 to replace the first small wooden church. The nickname “Pon-Pon” was the Indian phrase for “settlement.”
After a fire around 1801, it took nearly 20 years to rebuild the chapel. Fire again destroyed the church in 1832, and this time, it was not rebuilt. Today, some maps label the location of the Pon-Pon ruins as “Burnt Church Crossroads.” Despite the fact that the church was reduced to charred ruins, families continued using its churchyard for family burials.
Legend has it that colonial ammunition was hidden inside one of the tombs in the churchyard while British troops passed through the area during the Revolution.
A 1959 hurricane toppled much of the remaining ruins of the church, further eroding the structure. However, the two standing walls allow viewers to imagine how the chapel of ease appeared in its glory.
To learn of the legislators buried at Pon Pon, the Political Graveyard website has an entry under Burnt Church Burial Ground. The church and cemetery can be found at a place called “Burnt Church Crossroads,” which is off SC 64, just outside of Jacksonboro.
Reflections on Pon-Pon Chapel of Ease
Photographer Tommy Matthews writes,”This photo was taken on February 2, 2007, while I was making a photographic jaunt through Colleton County into Walterboro and beyond. It has been my goal to take shots of all of the towns in the Lowcountry and the rest of the state as I get the opportunity. As it happens, the day was pleasantly cool and overcast, so shadows were not a problem. Burnt Church is near Jacksonboro, but it is off the beaten path just far enough that it is not overrun by people or plagued by litter. Not long after this the General Assembly held a session there to commemorate the same held during the Revolution after the fall of Charles Town. Several graves of early legislators are on the grounds. All in all, it is a lovely site.”
Frequent contributor Mike Stroud tells us, “Pon Pon Chapel is one of my favorite spots in the Lowcountry. Interestingly, in another cemetery nearby is the the grave of a former Captain of the USS Constitution … just another gem uncovered in South Carolina!”
Darrell Parker, who hails form North Charleston, says, “I come here about every year, it’s just so quite and peaceful. This place is a little hard to find, maybe that’s why no one has been here to destroy this beautiful historic spot.”
The Pon-Pon Chapel of Ease is listed in the National Register, which adds the following information:
Established in 1725 by an Act of the General Assembly, Pon Pon Chapel of Ease was one of two churches serving St. Bartholomew’s Parish after the Yemassee War (1715) aborted plans for a parish church. The chapel site was located on Parker’s Ferry Road, the busy stagecoach thoroughfare that connected Charleston and Savannah. In 1754, a brick chapel was erected to replace the earlier wooden structure. This brick chapel burned in ca.1801, causing Pon Pon Chapel to become subsequently known as the Burnt Church. The chapel was rebuilt between 1819 and 1822, and was in use until 1832 when it was again reduced to ruins.
The façade of Pon Pon Chapel had a central, rounded arched entrance flanked by rounded arched windows on either side, all constructed in a brickwork pattern of one stretcher alternating with two headers. The two round windows in the façade’s upper level utilized the same brickwork pattern. The walls were constructed in Flemish bond. The chapel’s historical significance is due in part to Rev. John Wesley preaching two sermons here on April 24, 1737 and for its burial ground that contains the remains of Congressmen Aedanus Burke and O’Brien Smith, in addition to numerous local leaders.
Pon-Pon Chapel of Ease Info
Address: Parkers Ferry Road near intersection of Jacksonboro Road, Adams Run, SC 29428
Pon-Pon Chapel of Ease Map
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