St. Johns Berkeley Parish, South Carolina
Also known as Biggin Church. It is now a ruin. The original Biggin Church was completed in 1712. It burned in a forest fire in 1775, but was restored. British troops burned it again during the Revolutionary War in 1781, and it was again restored. In 1886 another forest fire left this building in ruins, and since then the bricks have been scavenged from all but two walls.
A Huguenot congregation met at a building near Santee Circle, Berkeley, South Carolina, in St. John's Berkeley Parish before 1701. These Huguenots were the bulk of the earliest St. John's Berkeley parishioners.
Before the American Revolution, the state church of South Carolina was the Church of England (the Anglican Church, or 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.
St. John's Berkeley Parish (Moncks Corner, Berkeley, SC) was authorized in 1706, but had to wait until 1708 for its boundaries to be defined from the northern part of St. Thomas and St. Denis Parish in the northwest part of Berkeley (1682-1768) County.
Borders: St. Thomas and St. Denis, St. James Goose Creek, Prince Frederick 1734-1754, St. Stephen's since 1754, and St. Mark's since 1757 parishes. For a map, see: Early parishes in South Carolina. An overlay of districts is available at Carolana.com.
Areas Served: St. John's Berkeley Parish served:
- South Carolina Archives Summary Guide: St. John's, Berkeley, Parish, available online, courtesy: South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
- Weems, Mason Locke and Peter Horry. The Life of General Francis Marion, a Celebrated Partisan Officer, in the Revolutionary War, Against the British and Tories in South Carolina and Georgia. Philadelphia, Pa.: Joseph Allen, 1852. Digital version at Google Books. [Gen. Marion was born in 1732 in St. John's Parish, S.C.]
- Smith, Henry A.M. "Inscriptions on the Monuments in the Church-yard of the Parish Church of St. John's Berkeley," The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Jul. 1910):171-183. Digital version at JSTOR ($).
Cemetery records for Hanover Plantation, in St. John's Parish, Berkeley, have also been transcribed:
- Dwight, H.R. "Inscriptions from Tombstones in Graveyard at Hanover Plantation, St. John's Parish, Berkeley County, S.C.," The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Apr. 1940):74. Digital version at JSTOR ($).
Names of white householders and statistics on the numbers of white and slave tithes between the ages of 16 and 60 are listed in St. John's Berkeley Road Commissioners Minutes 1760-1798, a volume kept at SCDAH. Abstract:
- "Lists of Inhabitants of St. John's Berkeley Parish, 1762-1764," The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, Vol. 16, No. 3 (Summer 1988):122-125. FHL Book 975.7 B2sc v. 16
- "List of the Upper District of St. John's Parish: 31st Jan. 1756," The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Jul. 1922):92-93; digital version at JSTOR ($). Lists the names of many men of military age in the parish.
For a history of the parish, see Chapter 6, St. John's Parish, Berkley, pages 264-274, 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.
St. John's, Berkeley, has a rich archives of early records, including a list of members, accounts, minutes and fragmentary records of minutes, list of ministers, list of officers, pew holders, and pew plans. Copies: FHL 22742 Items 7-8, 22743 Item 1, 22659 Item 2
South Carolina Historical Society holdings: "St. Stephen’s and St. John’s Parishes. Berkeley County. Register, 1819-1884. 1 vol."
- "Chapels united by a shared minister and shared records were the Pineville Church, a chapel of ease for St. Stephen’s Parish Church; Black Oak, a chapel for the parish church St. John’s, Biggin; and the Rocks, chapel in upper St. John’s. Black Oak became a parish in 1855 as Trinity Church, Pinopolis. In 1870 it reverted to mission status as one of the united chapels. These records have been collected from plantation houses and summer residences at the pineland villages as well as the churches. These records include baptisms (1828-89); marriages (1828-42); burials (1828-43, 1877-90); confirmations (1877-84). Family names represented in the records include Bonneau, Cain, Couturier, De Veaux, Du Bose, Marion, Mazÿck, and Sinkler."
- Biggin Church, The Historical Marker Database. Includes photographs of the ruin and history.
- Site of Huguenot Church of Saint John's Berkeley, The Historical Marker Database
- "Biggin Church" in Historical Marker Database at http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=23453 (accessed 28 May 2011).
- Site of Huguenot Church of Saint John's Berkeley, The Historical Marker 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.
- Frederick Dalcho, 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), 264. FHL Film 22657; digital versions at Google Books; Internet Archive.
- "South Carolina Counties and Parishes - 1760" [map] in Carolana at http://www.carolana.com/SC/Royal_Colony/sc_royal_colony_counties_parishes_1760.html (accessed 28 May 2011).
- "South Carolina Districts and Parishes - 1770" [map] in Carolana at http://www.carolana.com/SC/Royal_Colony/sc_royal_colony_districts_parishes_1770.html (accessed 27 May 2011).
- "South Carolina Districts and County - 1785" [map] in Carolana at http://www.carolana.com/SC/Early_Statehood/sc_statehood_1800_districts_counties_1785.html (accessed 28 May 2011).
- "South Carolina Districts - 1800" [map] in Carolana at http://www.carolana.com/SC/Early_Statehood/sc_statehood_1800_districts_counties_1800.html (accessed 28 May 2011).
- "South Carolina Counties - 1890" [map] in Carolana at http://www.carolana.com/SC/1800s/sc_1800s_counties_1890.html (accessed 28 May 2011).
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- Margaretta Childs, and Isabella G. Leland, "South Carolina Episcopal Church Records," South Carolina Historical Magazine 84:260.