St. Helena’s Episcopal Church – 501 Church Street, Beaufort SC

Built in: 1724
Rebuilt in: 1817
Remodeled in: 1842

Founded 1712 as Parish Church of St. Helena, construction began in 1724. The early structure was rebuilt in 1769 and later extended to the west in 1817. In 1842, the church, except for west extension, was demolished down to ground level and new side walls extended the church to the north and south. During the Civil War, Federal troops dismantled the church and used it as a hospital, uprooting slabs from the graveyard for use as operating tables. The present altar was donated by the sailors of the U.S.S. New Hampshire, which was stationed here after the Civil War. The upper stages of the tower were added in 1942 and were designed by Albert Simons, AIA of Charleston, SC. One of the first persons to be buried in the churchyard was Colonel John Barnwell, better known as “Tuscarora Jack,” who died in 1724. His grave, along with others, lies beneath the church. Two British officers, killed in a skirmish near Port Royal during the Revolution, were buried by Captain John Barnwell on the right side of the brick walk on the west side. Barnwell sent his sergeant into the church for a prayer book, read the burial service, and then said, “We have shown the British we not only can best them in battle, but that we can also give them a Christian burial.” Also buried here are two Confederate Generals. Lt. General Richard H. Anderson and Brigadier General Stephen Elliott. Anderson was a West Pointer who resigned to serve the Confederacy and fought with the South Carolina Brigade at Williamsburg, Virginia. Elliott was Captain of the Beaufort Volunteer Artillery and the Charleston Battalion. He was sent to Virginia, made a Brigadier General and was wounded while defending Petersburg. In the parish house grounds, north side, are the graves of persons who, because of death from dueling or suicide, were not allowed burial in hallowed ground.

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