Saint Mark's Parish Church

Other names:

Anglican church burned by the British (who? when?) (JCP)

33.6371062 -80.4911967 Richardson Cemetery, probably very near St. Marks Parish Church in 1780.
33.747382 -80.510363 St. Marks Church, 4th location/building, 1853. Historical markers per SCHHMG, 3 mi. W of Pineland off SC-261 (approx. 9 mi. N of Richardson Cmty. and approximately 11 mi. S of the Church of the Holy Cross
33.9534880 -80.532029 Holy Cross Church, 1850-1852, chapel of ease from St. Marks Church, est. 1788 (approx. 21 mi. N of Richardson Cmty.)

Maps: [map notes]

  • 33.6371062 -80.4911967 Richardson Cemetery, probably very near St. Marks Parish Church in 1780.
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • GNIS record for Richardson Cemetery. Note mapping options.
  • Confidence: 5(cemetery), 3(St. Marks Parish Church in 1780)
    [Can you more accurately place the location of St. Marks Parish Church in 1780 ?
    paste into email.

  • 33.747382 -80.510363 St. Marks Church. 4th location/building, 1853. Historical markers per SCHHMG, 3 mi. W of Pineland off SC-261 (approx. 9 mi. N of Richardson Cmty. and approximately 11 mi. S of the Church of the Holy Cross
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • GNIS record for St. Marks Church. Note mapping options.
  • Confidence: 5(hist.mkrs, 0(St. Mark's Parish Church in 1780)

  • 33.9534880 -80.532029 Holy Cross Church, 1850-1852, chapel of ease from St. Marks Church, est. 1788 (approx. 21 mi. N of Richardson Cmty.)
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • GNIS record for Church of the Holy Cross. Note mapping options.
  • Confidence: 5(Holy Cross Church), 0(St. Marks Parish Church in 1780)


  • Historical marker 43-6: (courtesy of Jack Parker)
    [SCHHMG gives location as "About three mi. W of Pinewood, just off SC 261"]

    St Marks

  • County highway map of St. Mark's Episcopal Church near Pinewood:

    St Marks Ch

  • Historical marker at Church of the Holy Cross, Stateburg. Originally a chapel of ease for St. Marks Church built after the Rev. War. (courtesy of Jack Parker)

    Holy Cross

  • County highway map of Church of the Holy Cross, Stateburg. Note Sumter's tomb to the north.

    Holy Cross Ch

  • Sumter County Comprehensive Plan, 1999-2020, p.84.
    (e) Also west of Sumter on the Old Charleston Road are two unique and historically significant churches --- St. Mark's Episcopal Church, organized in 1757 and built in 1853, and The Church of the Holy Cross in Stateburg established in 1788, with the present building built in 1850-52 by slaves using "Pise de Terre" (rammed earth), an ancient method of construction developed in Mesopotamia around 3000 BC and introduced into Europe by conquering Romans. Both churches were raided by Federal troops during "Potter's Raid" in 1865.

  • SCHHMG, p.224: South Carolina Historical Highway Marker 43-15 About 3 miles W of Pinewood, just off SC 261 at St. Mark's Church.
    [This is the same location given in the SCHHMG for the "St Mark's Episcopal Church" historical marker, above]
    Richard Richardson
    An early plantation owner in this area, he was a Commissioner of St. Mark's Church who donated land for its construction. He was magistrate and delegate to the First and Second Provincial Congresses. In the Revolution he was colonel in the Snow Campaign and later brigadier general. Six governors of South Carolina are among his descendents.
    Erected by Sumter County Historical Society - 1969

  • Neuffer, Claude Henry and Irene Neuffer, Names in South Carolina, University of South Carolina, 1957-1977, XIV, Winter 1968, p.53-54
    Saint Mark's Parish. Begins with last line on page 53.
    Prince Frederick's Parish was divided in 1757 to form the Parish of St. Mark's. In 1767, a Chapel of Ease to Prince Frederick was built at Murray's Old Field, about thirty miles from the Parish Church. St. Mark's Parish consisted of "all the lands situate to the northward of Peedee and Santee Rivers." This included virtually all of what is now the Diocese of Upper South Carolina. A Church was built upon a Glebe, given by the father of the former Governor James B. Richardson, Esq. The First Rector, the re- nowned missionary, the Rev. Charles Woodmason, served from 1766 to 1770, when he left the Province. His Journal, published by the Institute of Early Ame- rican History and Culture at Williamsburg, Virginia, gives a most amazing account of the primitive life of the people of "the Carolina backcountry on the eve of the Revolution." (University of North Carolina Press, 1953). The Rev. Mr. Woodmason covered much of his vast parish on horseback. He preached in the High Hills of the Santee; and Pinetree (now Camden); at Graves Ford on Sawney's Creek; at Rocky Mount on Cedar Creek; crossing and recrossing the Wateree, and travelling as far west as the Broad River and the Congaree. He reached the North Carolina line on his preaching frontier. St. Mark's was burned by the British, and a new church built near the site of the old church soon after- wards. It was known as Upper St. Mark's. About 1809, Lower St. Mark's was built near the line that divides Sumter and Williamsburg districts, so that the congregation was split in different parishes.
    [Numerous references are provided on page 55-56. None are footnoted from the above text. ]

  • 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; ..., 1820 Published by E. Thayer, p.323-324

    St, Mark's Parish.
    This Parish was taken off from Prince Frederick's, by an act passed May 21, 1757. Its bounds were defined to be, " by continuing the North-Westernmost line of Williamsburgh township to Peedee and Santee Rivers; and all the lands situate to the Northward of the said line." Richard Richardson, Joseph Cantey, Matthew Neilson, Isaac Brunson, James M'Girt, William Cantey and John Cantey, were appointed Commissioners for receiving subscriptions, building the Church and Parsonage-House, and selling the Pews, &C. The Rector or Minister was to be elected, and to receive the same salary as Ministers in other Country Parishes. The Church was built of wood, upon a Glebe, given to the Parish, by the father of the former Governor, James B. Richardson, Esq. The Rev. Charles Woodmason, was Ordained in England, by Testimonials from this Parish; and on his return to Carolina, was elected its first Rector, in 1766. He continued in this Cure until 1770, when he left the Province. He was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas Walker, who left the Province in 1773. The Rev. Mr. Davis was then elected, and died the next year. The Church was burnt by the British during the Revolutionary War. A new edifice has just been finished
    [1820], near the site of the old Church, through the exertions and liberality of James B. Richardson, Charles Richardson, Matthew James, R. I. Manning, and J. Dyson, Esqrs. It is 30 feet square, and is neatly finished and pewed. This is now known as the Upper St. Mark's Church.

  • James M. Burgess, Chronicles of St. Mark's Parish, Santee Circuit, and Williamburg Township, South Carolina, 1731-1885 , originally published 1888, republished 1991, not accessible online, may provide additional information.

  • George Summers, Revolutionary History in Clarendon County, SC: "Richardson Cemetery and St Mark's Parish Church",
    Richardson Cemetery and St Mark's Parish Church *C-2SF #9 Map Directions: I-95 Exit 102 north on Historic US 301. At St. Paul turn west on SR 373, then left onto SR 76. Site is on the left just past Richardson Branch.

    In an effort to teach the Richardsons and other Patriots a lesson for helping General Marion, Colonel Tarleton had his troops dig up General Richardson who was buried six weeks earlier and forced his family to view the body. Two SC governors and the founder of the Citadel are also buried here at this historic site. St. Mark’s Parish Church was located here when the British burned it as they considered the church "a sedition shop".

    [This appears to be confused with the burning of the Indiantown Presbyterian church in (then) St. Mark's Parish as a "sedition shop". See McCrady, below. The direct distance between the two churches was 53.2 miles.]

  • The Clarendon County Archives and History Center:
    "St. Marks Parish Church"
    Take County Road 76 out of Summerton - near Rimini. St. Marks Parish was cut off of Prince Frederich's Parish May 21, 1757. The Colonial Assembly appropriated 700 pounds to build a church. the church was built of brick and stone on Half Way Swamp near the Santee River Road. The original church was burned in the spring of 1781 by Colonel Tarleton to intimidate the American settlers in the area. The Parish was a political ecclesiastical district and it reached from the north side of the Santee River to the North Carolina line. The commissioners were: Richard Richardson; Joseph Cantey; Matthew Nelson; Isaac Brunson; James McGrit; William Cantey; and John Cantey.
    [Note: Tarleton was defeated at Cowpens on 17 Jan 1781, participated in the "March to the Dan" immediately thereafter and never returned to SC.]

  • County highway map of Richardson Cemetery / St. Mark's Church locale:

    Richardson Cmty

  • South Carolina Department of Archives and History
    National Register Properties in South Carolina
    "St. Mark's Church, Sumter County (S.C. Sec. Rd. 51, Pinewood vicinity)" Shows 5 images of the church.
    (St. Mark’s Church) St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, built in 1855, is significant for its architectural style representative of the Gothic Revival Style prevalent in the mid-nineteenth century and for its association with individuals prominent in the history of South Carolina, including six governors of the State. Established by the South Carolina House of Commons in 1757, St. Mark’s Parish and its parish church were for many years significant in the settlement and development of this area. The present church is the fourth structure to serve as St. Mark’s Church. The original church was erected ca. 1767, but was destroyed by the British during the Revolution. The cornerstone of the present church was laid on February 25, 1854. It was designed by the well-known Charleston architects, Edward C. Jones and Francis D. Lee. Listed in the National Register January 20, 1978.

    [I have been unable to find any historical reference (who, when) for the burning of this St. Mark's Parish Church. If you have one please email it]

  • City of Sumter, South Carolina
    Heritage & History
    "St. Mark's Episcopal Church"
    The area's earliest Episcopal church, St. Mark's Parish near present-day Pinewood, was a difficult Sunday drive for worshippers from the other side of the King's Highway.

    St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Highway 261, Pinewood

    The first church organized in Sumter District, St. Mark's origins can be traced back to 1757 with the formation of St. Mark's Parish. The original building was constructed in 1765 and only served the congregation for a few years before being burned by Tarleton's troops. Various calamities continued to befall the church, with the result that the present building, completed in 1856, is the fourth. This beautiful sanctuary, located near Highway 261 in Manchester State Forest, has been a house of worship for six South Carolina governors. Regular services are no longer held, but the simple, elegant building stands as a reminder of an important time in South Carolina history.

    [In the various accounts of 7-8 November 1780, involving the Richardson plantation, no mention is made of burning the Anglican St. Mark's Parish church close to the Richardson cemetery.]

  • Jack Parker:
    ... I believe the first church was at or very near the Richardson Cemetery. Either would have been close enough to Halfway Swamp to have its name used in the historical records.

  • Edward McCrady, The History of South Carolina in the Revolution, 1775-1780, p.560, 1901, McMillan & Co.
    At the command of Major Wemyss, who used the torch as Tarleton did the sword, the church of Indiantown, in what was then St. Mark's Parish, was burnt because he regarded all Presbyterian churches as "sedition shops."
    [This is the only reference I could find in McCrady mentioning the burning of a church in St. Mark's Parish. In one of the earlier quotes, above, there was reference to burning this St. Mark's Parish Church as a "sedition shop". This appears confused.]

  • Joseph Johnson, Traditions and Reminiscences, Chiefly of the American Revolution in the ... , p.162, 1851, Walker & James.
    See Richardson Cemetery for Johnson's description of the disinterment of Gen. Richardson (itself historically problematical). He makes no mention of the burning of the nearby St. Mark's Parish Church.

  • NBBAS:Two p.353-354
    Revlist post Williamsburg Township, South Carolina, 7 – 8 November 1780. Mentions the disinterrment [see Richardson Cemetery] but provides no source. No mention of burning a church.

  • RevWar75 RevWar75  
  • Sep 1780 listing 9/15 - 20/1780 Wemyss' Raid (including Indiantown). Per O'Kelly.
  • Nov 1780 listing 11/7 - 8/1780 Tarleton's Raid. British victory. Per O'Kelley. No mention of a church burned.
  • Jan 1781 listing Not found.
  • Feb 1781 listing Not found.
  • Mar 1781 listing Not found.

Related locations:
Richardson Cemetery,   Halfway Swamp,   Indiantown,  

Confidence level:: See above.