A long, narrow rectangle extending northwestward from the Cooper River through modern Charleston, Berkeley, and Orangeburg Counties, St. James Goose Creek was one of the ten original parishes created by the Church Act of 1706. Although few English Barbadians participated in the founding of Charleston in 1670, within two years new arrivals from the island had pushed their numbers to half of Carolina’s white population. The colonists at Charleston soon began to take up “the scent of better land,” and by 1672 a group of Barbadians had settled with their slaves on nearby Goose Creek, a meandering tributary of the Cooper River. The “Goose Creek Men” were experienced colonists and accomplished planters, and they quickly came to dominate the colony politically and economically. Among their allies were Huguenots who arrived in the area in the 1680s and were readily absorbed into the local Anglican establishment. As the “Neighbourhood” became more affluent, working plantations gave way to fashionable country seats, and the banks of Goose Creek became home to “many persons of considerable note,” including governors, members of the council and the assembly, and wealthy Charleston merchants.

Colonial Goose Creek was the most prosperous and populous community outside of Charleston, attributes that are reflected in its ornate parish church. St. James Episcopal Church was completed in 1719 and is located near the modern town of Goose Creek. With the abolition of the parish system in 1865, St. James Goose Creek Parish became part of Berkeley County.

Heitzler, Michael J. Historic Goose Creek, South Carolina, 1670–1980. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1983.

Klingberg, Frank, ed. The Carolina Chronicle of Dr. Francis Le Jau, 1706–1717. 1956. Reprint, Millwood, N.Y.: Kraus, 1980.

Linder, Suzanne Cameron. Anglican Churches in Colonial South Carolina: Their History and Architecture. Charleston, S.C.: Wyrick, 2000.

Share This SC Encyclopedia Content:

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title St. James Goose Creek Parish
  • Author Matthew A. Lockhart
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • URL http://www.scencyclopedia.org/sce/entries/st-james-goose-creek-parish/
  • Access Date January 23, 2020
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • Original Published Date August 1, 2016
  • Date of Last Update August 2, 2016