Friday, April 27, 2012
A group of Georgetown residents will gather at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 28 to unveil a historic marker at the site of the former Dissenter Meeting House in western Georgetown County.
The former Dissenter Meeting House was located off Indian Hut Road on the Black River. When the Church Of England became the state church in 1702, other forms of worship were not allowed to be called churches.
The dissenting group made up of the Presbyterian, Baptist and Huguenots would meet in buildings called meeting houses.
Dissenter Meeting House
“The first House of Worship erected by a dissenting congregation between the Santee and the Cape Fear Rivers was the Dissenter Meeting House, located on Church Creek in the corner of the Georgetown-Williamsburg line,” said local historian Virginia Skinner, a member of First Baptist Church.
“This was an excellent brick structure, forty by sixty feet and was erected in 1726 for the use by the religious Dissenters in the Black Mingo community. The Reverend Elisha Screven, an Antipedo Baptist Minister, was the moving spirit in the building of this church, contributed the greater part of its cost and preached the first sermon from its pulpit.”
“Since there were few of the Baptist faith in the community, this ancient church was soon dominated by the Presbyterian element in the congregation. The Presbyterians moved from this site and built the Black MIngo Presbyterian Meeting House, seven miles north,” Skinner said.
“Upon the death of Elisha Screven in 1754, the remaining Baptists moved to Georgetown joining with a dissenter group. Rev. Elisha Screven, the founder of Georgetown, was the son of the Reverend William Screven who brought the Baptist Faith to the South having the first Baptist Church in Charleston located on Church Street in 1698.
“The public is invited to the event.”
People may tour the cemetery and bring a folding chair with a picnic lunch. The group will gather at the river.
Skinner has been instrumental in getting many historic markers placed in and around Georgetown County. She is a retired teacher and assists in numerous projects throughout the area.