All posts by To Die for Images

Isle of Hope Union Baptist Church, Georgia

Savannah, Chatham County

Founded in 1872, this church is still active. It’s not the same congregation as the Isle of Hope Baptist Church. The current structure was built in the 1940s.

Pin Point Heritage Museum, Georgia

Savannah, Chatham County

Located in the A. S. Varn and Son Oyster and Crab Factory, the Pin Point Heritage Museum, the museum shares the story of the freed men and women who founded the Pin Point community in 1890. It showcases the Gullah/Geechee culture.

Residents of the community can trace their lineage to the men and women who were once held in bondage on the Sea Islands. According to the Heritage Museum website, “With the property continuing to be passed down generation to generation, it is now believed to be the largest African-American owned waterfront property on the East Coast.”

Pin Point Cemetery, Georgia

Pin Point, Chatham County
Edward Anderson

Pin Point Cemetery shares land with the Sweetfield of Eden Baptist Church. It’s a small cemetery in the heart of the fishing community founded by freedmen and women from the Sea Islands. I cannot discern if the Pin Point Cemetery and Sweetfield of Eden graveyard are the same or if there was a boundary line that was no longer apparent.

Reverend Peter Famble

Ella Garmon
Margaret Devoe
Clarence Fleming, 1994-2017

St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church and School, Georgia

Burroughs, Chatham County

Built in 1896, St. Bartholomew’s Church is the longest continuing Black Episcopal congregation in the state. The school, now the parish hall, was built in 1897.

The Victorian elements of the church make it a standout in rural church architecture. It was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

The church is still active with services offered twice a month. They are held in the afternoon, which is a long-standing tradition of the church.

Sunbury Missionary Baptist Church, Georgia

Liberty County

The Sunbury Missionary Baptist Church formed out of the Sunbury Baptist Chirch (c. 1806). During an 1846 census, the church had 161 men and women in bondage that enslaved by the white members of the church.

In June of 1866, this church was founded. they held services until 1918, the it was decided to relocate the church to the current site.

Houston Baptist Church, Georgia

Port Wentworth, Chatham County

Founded in 1886 by Reverend Ulysses S. Houston of the First Bryan Baptist Church in Savannah, the Houston Baptist Church was founded to provide for the spiritual needs of the men and women of Rice Hope Plantation. The church, and the adjoining cemetery, sit on part of the land that used to make up the plantation. When built, it took over the footprint of a praise house that existed there during slavery.

The church was active until the 1970s. Unfortunately, it fell into disrepair, and it almost collapsed after a storm in 2007. The community chose to rebuild the historic church. It presently is a museum that focuses on the Black history of the surrounding community.

For earlier photos before restoration and more history, please read The Houston Museum Project.

Bethel Presbyterian Church Cemetery, South Carolina

Jacksonboro, Colleton County

Tympanum marker of Eleutheros Dana, 1761-1788
The slate marker reflects a popular type of marker in New England. The Dana family moved from Connecticut to South Carolina.

Bethel Presbyterian Church was founded in 1728 outside of Walterboro, South Carolina. The church relocated to the town of Walterboro. The original church burned in 1886.

The gravestone markers reflect the style of markers most commonly seen in the 17th Century to mid-18th Century.

Dr. William Frederick Fraser, 1819-1859. The clasped hands reflect that the person was married when they passed.
Annie Neyle, 1859-1861. The weeping willow represents life after death.
Mary Lockwood, 1735-1811

St. Thomas Church, South Carolina

Cainhoy, Berkeley County

The parish of St. Thomas Church was founded 1706. This structure was built in 1819 after the original building burned. For more info and interior photos, visit the South Carolina Picture Project.

Taveau Church, South Carolina

Cordesville, Berkeley County

Built on the grounds of Clermont Plantation around 1946, this Classical Revival church is an unusual style for this time period because most churches around time period were much simpler structures.

It was named after Martha Carolina Swinton Taveau, the mother of Augustus Taveau who owned the plantation. Upon her death, the church was used by a Black Methodist congregation. In the 1930s, the land was given to the congregation, who still maintain the property now.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Palmer School, South Carolina

Centenary, Marion County

Built in the later part of the 19th Century, the Palmer School is the oldest schoolhouse remaining in Marion County. The school and the adjacent cemetery are named after David Palmer, an SC legislature.

It operated until the 1920s educating white school children from the area.

After years of neglect, the school is going under restoration. You can see older photos of the school on the South Carolina Picture Project website.

Mary Jenkins Praise House, South Carolina

St. Helena Island, Beaufort County

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, here is info from the application which gives a good history of this praise house and the overall purpose of praise houses.

The Mary Jenkins Community Praise House, built ca. 1900, is one of four known extant praise houses on St. Helena Island [one has since been removed – today there are only three praise houses on St. Helena Island]. Praise houses were first established on St. Helena plantations in the antebellum period, as slaves used small frame houses or other buildings as places to meet and worship. After they became freedmen, they built praise houses on or near the old plantation, in most instances calling their community by the name of the former plantation or plantation owner. Although the extant praise houses date from ca. 1900, their function has persisted since before emancipation and the basic architectural form has been retained. Since there were, and are, few formal church buildings on St. Helena, most islanders could only walk or ride to the main church on Sunday morning. For other community meetings or services, praise houses were built in each of the communities created by the former plantations, and services were held on Sunday, Tuesday, And Thursday nights, as well as the Watch Night Service each New Year’s. A typical service might consist of singing, prayer, perhaps a member’s testimony of a religious experience, and almost always ending with a “shout.” Kit Chaplin built this praise house ca. 1900; Paris Capers, born in 1863, was one of the early elders. Members of Ebenezer Baptist Church still attend services here today; a cow bell, which is still in the praise house, has been rung for many years to alert the members to a service or meeting.”

Coffin Point Community Praise House, South Carolina

St. Helena Island, Beaufort County

Coffin Point Community Praise House. The roots of praise or “prays” houses are tied to enslaved people building small places of worship on or near the plantation where they labored. They were kept small because enslavers feared large gatherings. (If you look at police response towards Black Lives Matter protests and the insurrectionists, then you know that fear continues today.) This praise house was built in 1900 and rebuilt in 1950. It is still used occasionally by the Coffin Point community.

A view through the front window

Talbird Cemetery, South Carolina

Hilton Head, Beaufort County
A view of Skull Creek

Talbird/Tabor/Talbot Cemetery is the largest Gullah cemetery on Hilton Head Island. On one side are condos and the other is Skull Creek. The cemetery’s founding is in the 1800s, but the exact date is not known. The Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church tends to the cemetery that experienced significant damage during Hurricane Matthew.

Katie Miller, 1854-1935. This is one of several crosses like this in the cemetery and other cemeteries on the island. This marker was damaged during Hurricane Matthew.
Corporal Worden White fought as part of the United States Colored Infantry in the Civil War.
Josephine Jones
Rosemary Greene, 1944-1948
Mary Jane Bryan, 1893-1936
Reverend I. S. Green, founder of Second Corinthian Baptist Church in New York City
Ida Jones, 1895-1921 “Softly and tenderly Jesus is colling.”

Drayton Cemetery, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County

Mitchelville was the first town built for newly freedmen and women in 1862 after Hilton Head fell to Union troops in 1861. The town was named for Union general, Ormsby Mitchel, who set up this town with roads, churches, and homes.

Drayton Cemetery is another Gullah Cemetery connects directly to those original freed men and women, as it is believed this cemetery started before the start of the Civil War.

It features several markers of members of the United States Colored Infantry.

It is cared for by the congregation at St. James Baptist Church.

Based on her age, Louisa Small experienced slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the retaliation against Reconstruction.
An interesting funeral wreath