Prince William Parish, South Carolina

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United States Gotoarrow.png South Carolina Gotoarrow.png Prince William Parish

Also known as Old Sheldon Church. It was burned in 1779 by British troops during the Revolutionary War,[1] was rebuilt in 1826, and then at the end in the Civil War the insides were plundered by Union troops and local citizens for building materials.[2]

Before the American Revolution, the state church of South Carolina was the Church of England (the Anglican Church, or Protestant Episcopal Church). Besides keeping parish registers, the church kept many records of a civil nature in their vestry books. The Vestry was as much a political body as a religious one. The wardens and commissioners were responsible for the roads, education, the poor and orphans, voting and collecting taxes in addition to their church duties.[3]


Founded[edit | edit source]

Prince William Parish (near Sheldon, Beaufort, SC) was created in 1745 from the northwest side of St. Helena's Parish, part of Granville (1708-1768) County.[4]

Boundary[edit | edit source]

Borders: St. Bartholomew's, St. Helena's, St. Peter's 1747-1767, St. Luke's starting 1767, and St. Matthew's starting 1768 parishes. For a map, see: Early parishes in South Carolina. An overlay of districts is available at

Areas Served: Prince William Parish served:[4]

Modern equivalents: The original parish covered parts of what are present-day Beaufort, Hampton, and a small slice of Jasper counties.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

Cemetery[edit | edit source]

Many of the old parish church's graves are described at Find A Grave.

Members of the DAR did a survey of Sheldon Church Cemetery:

  • National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution. Cemetery Records of South Carolina. Typescript. FHL Book 975.7 A1 no. 11. [Includes Sheldon Church Cemetery, Prince William's Parish, Beaufort County.]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

  • Bowers, Gloria Cook Jones. Southern Cousins: Cook, Fennell, and Related Families of Prince William's Parish, South Carolina. Varnville, S.C.: G. Bowers, 1991. FHL Collection 929.273 C771bg

Parish History[edit | edit source]

For an early history of the parish, see Chapter 23, Prince William's Parish, pages 382-384, in:

  • Dalcho, Frederick. An Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina from the First Settlement of the Province, to the War of the Revolution; with Notices of the Present State of the Church in Each Parish and Some Account of the Early Civil History of Carolina, Never Before Published. Charleston: E. Thayer, 1820. FHL Film 22657; digital versions at Google Books; Internet Archive.
  • Todd, John Reynard and Francis Marion Huston. Prince William's Parish and Plantations. Richmond, Va.: Garrett & Massie, 1935. FHL Book 975.79 H2t

Parish Records[edit | edit source]

Parish Registers[edit | edit source]

The original parish registers of Sheldon Church are kept at ... Abstracts:

  • 1826-1947 - deTreville, Marie and William L. Glover. "Registers of Sheldon Church, Prince William's Parish, 1826-1947," The South Carolina Historical Magazine, Vol. 56, No. 3 (Jul. 1955):151-156; Vol. 56, No. 4 (Oct. 1955):226-228; Vol. 57, No. 1 (Jan. 1956):51-53; Vol. 57, No. 2 (Apr. 1956):103-106; Vol. 57, No. 3 (Jul. 1956):179-181. Digital versions at JSTOR ($).
  • 1825-1873 - Sheldon Church, Prince Williams Parish, Beaufort, South Carolina Births or Christenings 1825-1873. Batch C506571 at FamilySearch - free.[5]
  • 1826-1876 - Sheldon Church, Prince Williams Parish, Beaufort, South Carolina Marriages 1826-1876. Batch M506571 at FamilySearch - free.

South Carolina Historical Society holdings: "Prince William (Episcopal) Parish Church. McPhersonville. Register, 1825-1876, 1907-1932. 1 vol."

"Baptisms, marriages, and burials (1823-76; 1907-32). Lists of communicants (1827, 1848, 1851, 1852, 1858, and 1876). Non-communicants (1839, 1848). Confirmations (1856-73, 1907-32). For the slaves, baptismal lists (1837-53); communicants (1842), with note of three suspensions of the fifty slaves named. Family names appearing in the records include Barnwell, Chaplin, Cuthbert, Deas, Elliott, Fraser, Fuller, Gregorie, Haskell, McPherson, Ravenel, Screven, and Wigg."[6]

Websites[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Old Sheldon Church Ruins

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Old Sheldon Church, (accessed 21 May 2011).
  2. 2.02.1 "Old Sheldon Church Ruins – Yemassee, South Carolina" in SCIWAY at (accessed 20 May 2011).
  3. "The Formation of Counties in South Carolina," at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History website, accessed 21 January 2011.
  4. 4.04.1 "South Carolina Counties and Parishes 1750" [map] in Carolana at (accessed 20 May 2011).
  5. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  6. Margaretta Childs, and Isabella G. Leland, "South Carolina Episcopal Church Records," South Carolina Historical Magazine 84 (October 1983): 262. Digital version at JSTOR ($). WorldCat entry. FHL Book 975.7 B2s v. 84.