Jamestown was the first Huguenot settlement on the Santee River in what became Berkeley County, across the river from the Georgetown/Williamsburg county line.
Jamestown was the first Huguenot settlement on the Santee River in what became Berkeley County, across the river from the Georgetown/Williamsburg county line. Huguenots settled the Santee region soon after 1672 when the Lords Proprietors resolved to create a colony, or square, of twelve thousand acres at Jamestown. Similar tracts were simultaneously authorized at Charleston and Oyster Point.
The first French missionary in Carolina, the Reverend Pierre Robert, settled on the Santee in what would later become St. James Santee Parish in 1686. The first church of St. James Santee was built of wood with brick foundations before the village was laid out. By 1699 the church had 111 members, and was the largest church outside Charleston. The town was laid out from 1705 to 1706, with thirty-six lots centered on the church and cemetery located in a common area along the river. As with most early settlements, there were few permanent residents. The owners of outlying plantations built town houses in Jamestown in order to attend church and enjoy social interaction.
By 1714 the population had spread down the Santee River and a new Chapel of Ease was authorized at Echaw. Because Jamestown was so close to the river, it was subject to frequent and severe flooding. The community was abandoned in the mid-1700s, and no visible traces remain. The chapel at Echaw was replaced by a brick structure in 1748. In 1754 this new chapel was designated as the parish church of St. James Santee, and the church at Jamestown was abandoned. Anglican minister Charles Woodmason reported in 1765 that the church at Jamestown “fell to decay some Years ago, and has not been since rebuilt.” The modern community of Jamestown was established in the twentieth century on high ground well away from the Santee River, near the site of the original town.
Dalcho, Frederick. An Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina. 1820. Reprint, New York: Arno, 1972.
Hirsch, Arthur Henry. The Huguenots of Colonial South Carolina. 1928. Reprint, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1999.
Woodmason, Charles. The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution: The Journal and Other Writings of Charles Woodmason, Anglican Itinerant. Edited by Richard J. Hooker. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1953.