The Edgefield County Historical Society announced today that the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor has awarded a $50,000 grant for the restoration of Horn’s Creek Church. This grant, which has to be matched dollar-for-dollar, will enable the Society to rebuild the foundation pillars, install a new roof, replace the windows and doors, and paint the exterior and interior. Additional work will also be undertaken. It is anticipated that work will begin in the coming weeks and will be completed by early next year.
The Society, which acquired the church from the Edgefield Baptist Association in 2002, will begin in earnest to solicit contributions to assist with this project. All contributions are welcome and should be made payable to the Edgefield County Historical Society and mailed to P.O. Box 174, Edgefield, SC 29824. For additional information call the Society’s office at 803-637-2233.
This Church is one of the oldest – if not the oldest – structure in Edgefield County. It was organized in 1768 and the best estimate, based upon architectural and documentary evidence, is that the current building was constructed at least as early as 1784 when the property was platted and conveyed to the original Trustees. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
This building is historically significant because it is a monument to the beginning of the religious fervor in the South Carolina and Georgia backcountries in the 18th century. Almost all of the Baptist Churches in this region, including Stevens Creek Baptist Church in Edgefield County, Kiokee Baptist Church in Columbia County, Georgia and almost all other Baptist churches in this region, trace their roots to the ministry of the renowned Baptist Devine, Daniel Marshall (1707-1784) who founded Horn’s Creek Church in 1768. The Society was so keenly aware of the importance of this church that it undertook to have a comprehensive history of the early years of the Church written and published several years ago.
Horn’s Creek Church is also significant because one of Edgefield County’s most important pottery entrepreneurs, Reverend John Landrum, was the pastor there for nearly forty years. As Reverend Landrum owned the Slave Potter Dave, it is likely that Dave attended Horn’s Creek Church from time to time. Horn’s Creek Church is therefore one of only two extant structures which can claim a close association with Edgefield’s renowned pottery heritage.
The long-term vision for the church is that it will become a museum for the rich colonial, Revolutionary and early national history of Edgefield County, as well as an event center for meetings, revivals, concerts, weddings and other gatherings. It is anticipated that the rental revenue derived from the events held there will provide the income to maintain the property.
Over the last several decades, efforts at restoration of Horn’s Creek Church were frustrated by the destructive vandalism which continued unabated while the property was remote and uninhabited. However, beginning in 2014, the Society constructed caretaker’s cottage and secured a caretaker, Barney Lamar, who has now lived at the site for more than two years. With his presence, a security fence and security alarms, the vandalism has now stopped. It is hoped that with the full restoration of the church, Horn’s Creek Church will soon become an important and fully-utilized historic tourism site for Edgefield County.
Historical Society Board Member Beth Francis stands before Horn’s Creek Church. Mrs. Francis, a descendant of the Hammond and Bryan families of Edgefield County, has been actively involved in the restoration efforts at the Church.