St. Mark's Parish

May 21, 1767–1785

South Carolina’s first backcountry parish and by far its largest in land area, St. Mark’s was established on May 21, 1757, and included the entire country between the Great Pee Dee and Santee Rivers from the modern Clarendon-Williamsburg county line northward to North Carolina and westward as far “as it shall be inhabited by his Majesty’s subjects.” The parish was originally a part of the even more vast and vaguely defined parish of Prince George Winyah, and coastal planters, mainly English and Huguenots, started moving into the eastern extent of what later became St. Mark’s in the 1730s. In 1734 they secured the organization of the expansive inland portion of Prince George as Prince Frederick’s Parish. Around 1750 a second, more substantial wave of settlers, mostly Scots-Irish from Virginia and Pennsylvania, began to pour into the back parts of the parish. The tide of western immigration was so great that within a few years the old planters of Prince Frederick’s found themselves being outvoted by the frontiersmen. Therefore, when St. Mark’s Parish was created in 1757 and was granted two representatives of its own, it was as much to protect established lowcountry interests as to promote those of the emerging backcountry.

St. Mark’s has been served by four churches. All of them, including the present edifice near Pinewood, which was completed in 1855, have been located in the extreme southeastern corner of the parish. St. Mark’s Parish lost its status as an election district in 1785 and was divided into eleven counties.

Burgess, James M. Chronicles of St. Mark’s Parish, Santee Circuit and Williams- burg Township, South Carolina, 1731–1885. 1888. Reprint, Greenville, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1991.

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

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.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title St. Mark's Parish
  • Coverage May 21, 1767–1785
  • Author
  • Keywords South Carolina’s first backcountry parish and by far its largest in land area, been served by four churches, divided into eleven counties
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date March 4, 2024
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update August 25, 2022
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