I’m back to tell you about another beautiful Beaufort-area historic site. This time we stopped at the St. Helena Parish Chapel of Ease Ruins on St. Helena Island. The history of this church is super interesting and illustrates the significance of this area during and after the Civil War.
The chapel-of-ease on St. Helena Island was built around 1740 for the families who owned plantations on St. Helena Island. The primary church was located in Beaufort but was too far away for them to regularly attend services thus the “chapel-of-ease” was built.
Union forces seized South Carolina’s islands early on during the Civil War forcing plantation owners to abandon their land and slaves.
According to the SC Picture Project:
Northern missionaries and teachers came south and with support from the federal government, established what came to be known as the Port Royal Experiment – the country’s earliest effort to educate and train former slaves to work outside of the institution of slavery.
During the Federal occupation of St. Helena, the church was used frequently by Northerners who had come to the island to educate and train the freedmen. After the Civil War, the church continued to be used as an outpost by a variety of freedmen’s groups.
A forest fire destroyed the building in 1886 and it was never repaired.
Like the Sheldon Church Ruins, the Chapel-of-Ease is surrounding by scattered graves.
This is a great stop if you’re in the Beaufort area or on your way to Hunting Island. Nearby is the Penn Center, which is the first school for freed slaves and I’ll definitely try to make it there before we have to head back north.
Thanks for stopping by <3
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