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Old Sheldon Church Sundown Oak
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The Old Sheldon Church Ruins is a historic site located in northern Beaufort County, South Carolina, approximately 17 miles (30 km) north of Beaufort in the Sheldon area. Known also as the Sheldon Church or Old Sheldon Church, the pre-existing building was originally known as Prince William's Parish Church. The church was built in the Greek Revival style between 1745 and 1753. Prince William's was burned by the British in 1779 during the Revolutionary War. In 1826 it was rebuilt. The following is from an article in the April 1969 Sandlapper Magazine by Charles E. Thomas, ”The Picturesque Ruins Of Old Sheldon Church”. “The official South Carolina report on the “Destruction of Churches and Church Property,” after the War Between the States, described Sheldons second burning: “All that was combustible was consumed..., its massive walls survive the last as they did the former conflagration,” Bishop Thomas wrote, “Exactly as it happened a hundred years before in 1779, when General Prevost, marching from Savannah into South Carolina burned the Church, so now in February 1865, General Sherman marching from Georgia into South Carolina, burned it a second time.”
An alternative view has more recently come to light, however. In a letter dated February 3, 1866, Miton Leverett wrote that "Sheldon Church not burnt. Just torn up in the inside, but can be repaired." The inside of the church was apparently gutted to reuse materials to rebuild homes burnt by Sherman's army.
The ruins lie amongst majestic oaks and scattered graves.
Inside the ruins of the church lies the remains of Colonel William Bull, who "greatly assisted General Oglethorpe in establishing the physical layout of Savannah, Georgia. Bull surveyed the land in 1733 to form the basic grid pattern of the streets and squares."
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May 15th, 2014
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