In the past I have photographed most of the South Carolina small Chapels of Ease. However when new images come to the top I can’t resist the history and stories of the Lowcountry, especially when in the ACE Basin.
The chapel below was finally ruined in a large forest fire that swept this barrier island in 1886. Wars and time had already taken a toll though. It has managed to survive in this because it was built from ‘tabby’. This is an old Native American, and Spanish colonist method. When lime, sand and crushed sea shells are combined with water a substance as hard as todays concrete can be made.
The chapel was built in 1740 for the local plantation owners under the supervision of the St. Helena Anglican Church in Beaufort for parishioners that were far from the main church. There were many chapels across South Carolina. Two barrier islands, Fripp’s and St Helena were served here.
Above is the Fripp family mausoleum, damaged by Federal troops during the US Civil War. The Fripp family owned plantation across the region. Dating back to the mid 1700’s. John Fripp the first settler was a privateer attacking French and Spanish ships along the barrier islands.
The chapel and plantations were abandoned when the news was brought to a Sunday service here of the approaching Union Army.
The plantations enslaved West Africans were left behind. This was one of the first Gullah communities of African Americans.
Today Fripp’s Island and St Helena Island have taken very different directions.
Fripp’s is known for resorts, golf courses, beaches, and vacation homes.
St. Helena, across the salt marshes, is still rural and protected by a ‘Cultural Protection Overlay’, supported by local and federal governments. The Gullah Geechee community and lands remain intact.
Click here for additional information on the Gullah community.