Johns Island Presbyterian Church

1719 –

The present church was built in 1822–1823 under the leadership of Pastor Elipha White. It bears many similarities to Episcopal churches, including clear glass windows with semicircular windows above.

The Johns Island Presbyterian Church is one of the oldest Presbyterian congregations in South Carolina. Scots minister Archibald Stobo founded the congregation in 1710 and the Charles Towne Presbytery in 1722. The building is a fine example of wood churches of the Federal period.

The congregation erected the first church around 1719. It was thirty-eight feet long and thirty-five feet wide, with cypress siding and shingles and a plaster ceiling with a six-foot ornamental sunflower at the center. The church was remodeled in 1792, and Moses Waddell preached at the church in 1793 and 1796.

The present church was built in 1822–1823 under the leadership of Pastor Elipha White. It bears many similarities to Episcopal churches, including clear glass windows with semicircular windows above. Presbyterian features include the double entry doors and small rectangular windows at the upper level to light the slave gallery. The risers of the side steps are made of Italian marble. Although the original nine-foot-high pulpit has been lowered, the church still retains high-sided box pews.

The old church survived until it was pulled down in the early 1840s. The new church survived the Civil War and the earthquake of 1886. A later Sunday School addition at the back of the church obscures the simplicity of the meetinghouse form. The congregation has met continuously since the first church was built.

Isely, N. Jane, William P. Baldwin, and Agnes L. Baldwin. Plantations of the Low Country: South Carolina 1697–1865. Greensboro, N.C.: Legacy Publications, 1985.

Jacoby, Mary Moore, ed. The Churches of Charleston and the Lowcountry. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1993.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Johns Island Presbyterian Church
  • Coverage 1719 –
  • Author
  • Keywords one of the oldest Presbyterian congregations in South Carolina, Scots minister Archibald Stobo founded the congregation in 1710, Moses Waddell,
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date October 31, 2020
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update July 2, 2019
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