St. George Dorchester Parish, South Carolina
Also known as St. George Parish.
First constructed in 1719, a tower and steeple were added in 1751. During the American Revolution British troops burned the church. In 1811 it was finally repaired, but was damaged again by fire in 1820. Shortly after scavengers carried the bricks away except from the tower.
Before the American Revolution, the state church of South Carolina was the Church of England (also called the Anglican Church, and later the Protestant Episcopal Church). Besides keeping parish registers, the church kept many records of a civil nature in their vestry books. The Vestry was as much a political body as a religious one. The wardens and commissioners were responsible for the roads, education, the poor and orphans, voting and collecting taxes in addition to their church duties.
Borders: St. Andrew's, St. James Goose Creek, St. Paul's, St. Bartholomew's, and since 1768 St. Matthew's parishes. For a map, see: Early parishes in South Carolina. An overlay of districts is available at Carolana.com.
Areas Served: St. George Dorchester Parish served:
Modern equivalents: The original parish covered what is present-day Dorchester County.
- South Carolina Archives Summary Guide: St. George Dorchester Parish, available online, courtesy: South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
McElligott made a professional reading of the tombstones at the ruins of this church:
- McElligott, Carroll Ainsworth. "St. George's Church Cemetery, Dorchester County," The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Spring 1985):87-90. FHL Book 975.7 B2sc v. 13
Select graves at St. George's Parish Church Cemetery are described in various Find A Grave databases:
- Old Saint Georges Anglican Church Cemetery (18 graves)
- Saint George's Parish Church Cemetery (10 graves)
- Saint George's Episcopal Church and Cemetery (1 grave)
Members of the DAR did a survey of St. George's Church Cemetery:
- National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution. Cemetery Records of South Carolina. Typescript. FHL Book 975.7 A1 no. 11. [Includes St. George's Church Cemetery in Dorchester.]
A 1726 Census for St. George Dorchester Parish survives. It was taken by Rev. Francis Varnod and is kept in the Archives of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in London (Letter dated 21 Jan 1726, Reference A19, 104). It lists the names of heads of household and statistics on white men, women, and children, as well as slaves. Abstract:
- Floyd, Randleson A. "Names and Number of the Inhabitants of St. George's Parish, South Carolina as Inclosed in Mr. Varnod's Letter of 21 January 1725/6 to The Society for the Propogation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts," The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, Vol. 33, No. 2 (Spring 2005):77-79. FHL Book 975.7 B2sc v. 33
1790 and 1800 censuses of the parish have been published:
- Jarrell, Lawrence E. Early Colleton, South Carolina Census. Complete Transcription of the Federal Census Records; 1790 Charleston District Census, St. Bartholomew's, St. George's-Dorchester; St. Paul's and St. John's-Colleton Parishes; 1800 Colleton District Census--St. Bartholomew's, St. George's-Dorchester and St. Paul's Parishes; 1810 Colleton District Census. High Point, N.C.: Alligator Creek Genealogy Publications, 1998. FHL Book 975.79 X2j
For an early history of the parish, see Chapter 18, St. George's Parish, Dorchester, pages 345-350, in:
- Dalcho, Frederick. An Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina from the First Settlement of the Province, to the War of the Revolution; with Notices of the Present State of the Church in Each Parish and Some Account of the Early Civil History of Carolina, Never Before Published. Charleston: E. Thayer, 1820. FHL Film 22657; digital versions at Google Books; Internet Archive.
- Parish Church of St. George, Dorchester, The Historical Marker Database
- The Bell Tower of St. George's Marker, The Historical Marker Database
- Parish Church of St. George, Dorchester, The Historical Marker's Database, accessed 17 February 2011.
- "The Formation of Counties in South Carolina," at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History website, accessed 21 January 2011.
- "Carolana in 1729" [map] in Carolana at http://www.carolana.com/Carolina/Settlement/carolana_1729_counties_precincts_parishes.html (accessed 25 May 2011).
- This source is discussed in Philip D. Morgan, "A Profile of a Mid-Eighteenth Century South Carolina Parish: The Tax Return of Saint James', Goose Creek," The South Carolina Historical Magazine, Vol. 81, No. 1 (Jan. 1980):51-52. See footnotes. Digital version at JSTOR ($).