The Old Sheldon Church near Yemassee, South Carolina, has quite a tumultuous history. Known first as the Prince William Parish Church, it was built in a neoclassical style as indicated by its still standing columns.
Following its burning in 1779 by British troops during the Revolutionary War, the church was rebuilt between 1825 and 1826. Then, in 1865, it is said that it was burned the second time as part of Sherman’s March to the Sea near the end of the Civil War.
That may or may not be true as a letter written the following year and attributed to Milton Leverett indicated that the church was not burned but, in fact, had its insides torn up by whites and blacks who needed materials to rebuild homes that were destroyed by Sherman’s army.
Whatever the cause for its destruction, the remains of the Old Sheldon Church allow one to experience history among Spanish moss draped live oaks.
Often the limbs of these stately trees extend and stretch along the ground giving the trees the name angel oaks. Interestingly, in their historical settings the limbs cannot be trimmed.
In addition to the church ruins, there are the remains of a cemetery. I am always fascinated by tombstone markings which allow my imagination to create stories about life and times of the souls resting there.
As the Old Sheldon Church demonstrates, there is much value in visiting historical sites, and it is important they be preserved.