Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Beaufort, South Carolina
We continue our journey south and have stopped at a Motorcoach resort on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. One of the first items on the agenda was to visit Beaufort, South Carolina. This historic village that has a written history that dates back to a Spanish landing nearly five hundred years ago. It is celebrating its 300th anniversary in 2010. We visited the St Helena’s Episcopal Church, as our first stop. In early settlements the history was recorded largely within the church community first, and that is so here. St Helena’s was founded in 1712 and has experienced most of the history of the area. The first pastor was driven north by an Indian raid that killed all but a few hundred of the settlers. He failed to return. The church was used as a meeting place during the American revolution and as a hospital during the Civil War (as a noted by the Docent- by the northern invaders-during the unpleasantness-since there was nothing civil about the war), and when the Union Army left-the church had been stripped.
The grave yard is a history treasure in itself with revolutionary war generals buried near Civil War Confederate Generals, young confederate soldiers, plantation owners, a signer of the declaration of Independence, victims of Indian raids and on and on.
The town is still growing with retirees and weekend inhabitants, but the old town center still has that history feeling with plenty of historic homes and buildings.
We also traveled out to the next island to go thru the Penn Center exhibit. This documents the history of one of the first schools established to train and educate newly freed slaves. While there is really not much in the way of structures to see, the displays explains the history and importance of the effort clearly. While the Center is no longer directly involved in education, it remains a center to highlight the needs of the descendents of those first freed slaves.