Prince Frederick Church – Plantersville, South Carolina


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Prince Frederick Parish – named for Prince Frederick of Wales, son of King George II – was created in 1734 and encompassed the land from the north end of the Santee River all the way down to what is now Georgetown County. The parish was divided from Prince George Winyah Parish, which was established in 1721 and included the Prince Frederick land, extending down to the Sampit – or Sampeet, as it was then called – River.

Old Gunn Church

Rightcoaster Photography of Myrtle Beach, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The wooden parish church erected on the Black River for residents of Prince George Parish fell within the new Prince Frederick Parish boundaries once the original parish was divided in two. The Black River Church, as it was commonly called, now belonged to the people of Prince Frederick Parish, and life in this new parish was good for these river settlers.

Karen Main of Rock Hill, 1959 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Indigo proved to be a lucrative crop for the planters of Prince Frederick Parish for many years until overseas competition and the end of British bounties brought the export to a halt following the Revolutionary War. Rice soon replaced indigo, and planters moved to the lower banks of the Pee Dee River where the conditions were ripe for cultivating the flourishing crop. As a result, the Black River Church was abandoned after 1810.

Prince Frederick Interior

Rightcoaster Photography of Myrtle Beach, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

A new church was built along the Pee Dee on land donated by the Reverend Hugh Fraser, former rector of the Black River Church, in 1837. Yet after just twenty years, the new chapel was deemed inadequate. Construction of a brick church (pictured above) to replace the chapel was approved in 1857 and begun in 1859, though it was halted during the Civil War and not completed until 1877.

BJ Thurman of Conway, 2009 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Financially devastated after the war, members of the church were unable to complete the new building until gifts arrived from local donors, including stalls from Hagley Plantation, pews contributed by All Saints Episcopal Church, and a monetary gift of $1,700 from John Earle Allston. The new church colloquially was called the “Gunn Church” for the contractors, Philip and Edward Gunn, one of whom is said to have fallen to his death during its construction.

Gunn Church

Mike Stroud of Bluffton, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Though the church finally was completed, the rice industry collapsed after the war; an absence of slave labor made the crop unprofitable, and few families were left to support the new church. Former planters moved away from agricultural areas and relocated in cities to recreate their lives, leaving many planting communities desolate. Prince Frederick Church was left unattended and, without regular maintenance, ultimately declared unsafe. Most of the building was dismantled in 1966. Its ruins can be found near Plantersville in Georgetown County.

The Prince Frederick Church is listed in the National Register, which says the following:

(Prince Frederick’s Episcopal Church) Begun in 1859 and completed in 1876, Prince Frederick’s Chapel played a vital role in the religious life of the Pee Dee settlers in the latter half of the 19th century. With the decline of the rice economy, parishioners migrated to the more densely populated urban areas and the church suffered from lack of maintenance. The ruins of the chapel are all that remain of what once was a striking example of Gothic Revival architecture in South Carolina. Although the buttresses and pinnacles place it in the mainstream of Gothic architecture, the rounded arches, purity of design, and understated decorative elements exhibit a feeling for classical forms. The body of the church, declared unsafe and destroyed in 1966, was originally rectangular in plan and had four narrow arched windows on the side elevations. The only portion which remains today is the west façade with the steeple tower. The tower is divided into three sections. Adjacent to the church grounds is a cemetery which includes numerous examples of 19th century grave markers.

Prince Frederick Church Info


Address: Plantersville Road at Jackson Village Road, Plantersville, SC 29440

Prince Frederick Church Map



Prince Frederick Church – Add Info and More Photos


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19 Comments about Prince Frederick Church

Gama XulNo Gravatar says:
November 22nd, 2014 at 12:02 pm

I have been to this towering edifice many times. We participated in some Halloween parties and broke a lot of laws there I’m sure. The way I figure it, Old Gunn belongs to us all. Sitting beneath the tower and sharing a moment at 2 a.m. is pretty creepy, but it’s a hell of an experience. It always feels cold there.

Elliott Mellichamp Jr. says:
October 31st, 2014 at 2:34 am

Please help me find the parents of Ann Blake, Abraham Staples, Sarah Monnalin, and Capt. Benjamin Stiles. Ann Blake b 1707 m 1727 d 1748, married Josias Garnier DuPre b9/17/ 1705 d 1801. They had a son, Josias Blake DuPre, b 1730 d3/2/ 1764. He married Anne Mouzon, b 1734 d 1805. They are one of my lines. I am also looking for the parents of Abraham Staples, m 1729, and his ,wife Sarah Monnalin. Their daughter, Sarah Staples, married Capt. Benjamin Stiles, a second line or branch. Much is recorded in the Church Register Book of PARISH PRINCE FREDERICK, WINYAW. I hope this link works. Thank you all. http://www.archive.org/stream/registerbookforp00prin/registerbookforp00prin_djvu.txt

Jennifer WilliamsNo Gravatar says:
June 19th, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Mary,

This church was not founded until 1859 so your ancestor likely helped found a different church. There is a cemetery next to the ruins, but the earliest grave-markers date to the mid 1800s and this would not be where your ancestor was buried. It is highly likely he was buried in a family plot that has long since been built over, paved over, or lost to us in other ways. I am a historian and if you have further questions you may reach me via email at thathistorychicksmail@gmail.com.

Best of luck!

Jennifer

Mary O'Pry MooneNo Gravatar says:
June 19th, 2014 at 2:21 pm

I am researching my dad’s family. My first grandad who came to this country arrived in the early 1700s and his name was Richard O’Pry. He was given 150 acres by King George II; this land was in the Parish of Prince Frederick in Craven County. I was wondering if anyone would have any information about the land grants or where I can look to find more information about families during this time? Thanks. I can be reached through my email: tmoone@centurylink.net

Mary WallaceNo Gravatar says:
June 19th, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Is there a cemetery associated with this church? Does anyone know where a John Turbeville, d. 1783 in SC, would be buried? The History of Williamsburg lists John and his wife as being in a group of organizers of this church. I’m thinking the original church was not so fancy.

VernardNo Gravatar says:
June 19th, 2014 at 2:07 pm

I grew up about 3 miles from this location and it’s still a mystery to me. I’ve been in TX for the past 29 years but get to visit at least 2-3 times a year. My mom is 85 and still lives in the area. She remembers playing on Arundel Plantation where her grandmother lived.

Janie Cooper RyanNo Gravatar says:
May 6th, 2014 at 7:18 pm

I think if anyone is interested in the records of Old Gunn Church, they might try Prince George Church in Georgetown.

MaryNo Gravatar says:
May 1st, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Do you know if this location is available to rent for a wedding ceremony venue? If so, who would I need to reach to get more information?

Langston DonkleNo Gravatar says:
April 30th, 2012 at 9:41 am

Yes, Chad. The Lachicotte family is connected to the Flagg family. The Lachicotte Company is on the corner of Hwy. 17 and the North Causeway to Pawleys Island.

RandyNo Gravatar says:
January 11th, 2012 at 12:38 am

Does anyone know how I can get permission to go inside the gates to get photos?

ChadNo Gravatar says:
November 28th, 2011 at 11:06 am

Does anybody know if any members of the Flagg family still live around Murrells-Inlet/Pawleys Island/Georgetown? There are a few Flaggs in the cemetery at Prince Frederick’s Chapel and All Saints Waccamaw.

Great, Great, Great Granddaughter of Henry FordNo Gravatar says:
October 27th, 2011 at 9:13 pm

My family is related to the descendant of the Ford family in the Fordtown. My mother and aunts were able to help me make the connections with the family tree.

ConnieNo Gravatar says:
September 18th, 2011 at 7:23 am

This is beautiful to see in person!

PVREPNo Gravatar says:
August 18th, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Henry Ford descendant … there are a lot of Fords and Guillards still residing in Plantersville. I dont know if they are related to you or not — there are also two sections in Plantersville named Fordtown and Guilliard village.

LaynieNo Gravatar says:
July 14th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

We live in Pawleys Island and would love to take some pictures of the church. Can you give us directions?

Great, Great, Great Granddaughter of Henry Ford of PlantersvilleNo Gravatar says:
May 11th, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Do you know the name of any of his brothers or their ages? The names of family members are repeated generation after generation. Brother and sisters kept naming their kids after each other.

Betty ReedNo Gravatar says:
December 5th, 2010 at 6:48 am

I am also interested in these records. My great, great grandfather and grandmother are burried on the site of the Old Gun Church. They were George Guillard Ford and Jane Edmonson Ford. They owned the Exchange Plantation situated next door to the church. Any information on this is greatly appreciated.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
October 7th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Hi Debra! We don’t know where the records for this church are kept, but a great place to start would be to look over our Georgetown Genealogy Resources. One this page you’ll find links to cemetery lists, vital records, and archives for Georgetown County which will hopefully steer you in the right direction. Good Luck!

Debra EdwardsNo Gravatar says:
October 7th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Would you have any idea where I may be able to look at a copy of membership records from this church? I am trying to build my husband’s family tree and his 6x Great-Grandfather Aaron Cooper, Sr. was from this area and we were told that he owned land around this church.






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