Monday, March 15, 2010

Old Stone Church

A few weeks ago we drove to Anderson, SC to visit my in-laws. I had mentioned to Michael that I had read some interesting stories about an old church and its standing cemetery that is located in Clemson and so we thought it would make a good stop while we were in the area.

Although I lived in the Clemson area for at least six years and drove by this old church on an almost daily basis, I never knew anything about it's historic background. Old Stone Church was built in 1802. The original structure burned down in 1796 and a new church was built beginning in 1797. This is the church structure that is still standing.

The church is open to the public and you can go in and see the simple church much like it was years ago. One interesting piece of history is that The Old Stone Church was the first church in South Carolina to allow slaves to be members. They were not only permitted to enjoy the church services, but were welcomed as members, sitting in the gallery at the rear of the church.

The Old Stone Church was not only used as a church. It served as a school, and in 1919, the first Sunday School in the Upstate was held at the Old Stone Church. The builders of the church knew that living this close to Indians was dangerous. The church could double as a fort if it were needed. Therefore, they built heavy wooden doors which could close over the glass windows to add protection.

The cemetery is home to many interesting people including General Robert Anderson who fought in the Revolutionary War, General Andrew Pickens who was responsible for treaties with the native Cherokee Indians that resulted in many settlers being able to acquire land on which they began their new lives, Osenappa, a Cherokee Indian who converted to Christianity and helped teach other Indians about his new found religion.

The gravestone pictured above belonged to Eliza Huger. As the story goes Eliza was a young, “loose” woman who had been buried there, but only on the condition that a high wall be erected around her resting place so she wouldn’t somehow contaminate other places of rest. Her gravestone has been struck by lightening so many times that it is hard to read any of the inscription.

I got a few pictures of each of the kids in front of Old Stone Church...Avery...


And Emma. I missed grabbing a picture of Eden since she was hanging out in the car.

We drove through the Clemson campus and through the downtown area that now looks so different to me. I can't get over how much more they have in town now but it is good to see some things never change - like this picture of Tillman Hall.

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