The Huguenot Church
- Goose Creek
| The rich lands on Goose Creek
and Wassamassaw attracted both English and French settlers. Persons interested
in learning of individual settlers and the lands on which they lived will
find a wealth of information in an unfinished account by Judge H. A. M.
Smith in Vol. 29 of the South Carolina Historical Magazine. From his study
he concludes that there was a French congregation here at a very early-
period. Hirsch states that Huguenot grants at Goose Creek date to 1680
and that a number of French families lived there, at first to farm the
good earth and later for pleasant country homes.
| The first specific reference
to a French congregation at Goose Creek is the description.
"L'Eglise francoise qui s'assemble sur Gouscrick" (the French Church which
meets on Goose Creek), which is in the will of Anthoine Prudhomme, dated
July 20, 1695, in which he bequeaths a cow and two heifers to start a fund
for the relief of the poor of his church. As he died before the Ravenel
List was made we know little about him. He is mentioned in the will of
George Baudoin. Prudhomme names his wife Anne, and the will is witnessed
by Prioleau, De La Plaine, Boisseau, J. De Gue, J. Fleury, Elie Horry,
and Porcher. (See Transactions No. 11 pp.28-31, Huguenot Society of South
| In March, 1699 Peter Girard
reported that there were 31 Huguenots in this Church. The missionaries
sent out by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel appear to have
concentrated on the Huguenots, and the fact that many of their ministers
were former Huguenots gave them an easy approach to the Huguenot who might
not have a Calvinist minister available to his church. The letters to the
Society in London report on this activity. Hirsch quotes a 1702 letter
of the Rev. Mr.Thomas in which he stated that only five families at Goose
Creek "retained the Calvinistic belief." How long these stood by their
little church is not knowrn. The Goose Creek French Church was not directly
changed by the Act of Establishment of 1706 in that it was not conformed
to the Establishment as was the case with the three other known Huguenot
churches in our County, but the many factors involved in Establishment
and the coming of the Rev. LeJau, a conversion-minded Frenchman, as minister
of the Goose Creek Anglican congregation probably ended the Huguenot Church
as an organization.
| In Vol. 16 of the Transactions
ofThe Huguenot Socicety, Judge Smith listed many of the following as probably
members of the congregation: Abraham Fleury, Sieur de la Plaine,
a native of Tours in France, who is listed in the Ravenel List with his
daughter Marianne, widow of Jacques Dugue. In Nov.1683 a warrant was issued
to Fleury for 350 acres for transporting himself and four servants to the
Province in 1680. In addition to purchasing the land rights of James Phillips
and Henry Blanchart, he received a w arrant in the same year for bringing
in Lewis, Lacy, Sharto and Gabriel Tebou.
| The Ravenel List shows
that Louis Thibou was born at Orleans and lists his wife Charlotte. Also
listed in the household in 1696 are Louis and Charlotte Thibou, born in
Paris, Gabrielle Thibou, born in London, and Isaac Thibou, born in New
York, indicating the movement of the Huguenots between Carolina and "la
Nouvelle-Yorck." Fleury received other grants. At the time of his death
in 1721, he lived on an 830 acre plantation, the use of which was to go
to his brother Isaac then to his granddaughter Marianne, wha had married
Tobias Fitch, then to his great grandson Stephen Fitch, or if Stephen had
died then to Stephen's sister Mary-. There was an apparent effort on the
part of this family to keep the land from passing out of the family-. Could
this have been because of the fact that the early French Protestant Church
at Goose Creek was constructed by the imigrants in this particular part
of the settlement?
| The only old map showing
the location of this church is a survey by Joseph Purcell of the Fleury
land in July of 1785. On this the "Remains of a French Church" is located.
(See Book G-6, page 95, R. M. C. Office, Charleston.) It appears that no
title was ever recorded for the Church property when the congregation was
active. No record has been found of ministers of this church. It is assumed
that whoever was serving other Low-Country French congregations probably
preached at times to this congregation. Judge Smith and other writers have
assumed that James Gignilliat, "Clarke" (clerk) was probably the minister
of the Church. This was based on the fact that he called himself
a clerk. About April 1711, Gignilliat married Mary Boisseau, widow of Jean
(John) Boisseau, a member of the congregation and owner of 2700 acres of
land which appear to have come to Gignilliat with the widow. The earliest
Boisseau grant was dated 1696, and he was a witness to the Prudhomme will
| Isaac Fleury, brother of Abraham,
and who appears to have been known as Isaac de France, received a warrant
for 200 acres in 1699 under the second name short.ly after his brother
had received a grant under the name of Abraham De la Plane (Plaine).
| Benjamin Marion, ancestor of
General Francis Marion, had a warrant in March, 1693/4 for 350 acres for
bringing in seven persons including himself, his wife Judith, Andrew Dealeau,
Madeleon Bullwat, and Mary Nicliolas. The Ravenel List identifies Marion
as a native of Chaume in Poitou, names the children and states that they
were born in Carolina. The first grant of existing record, dated March
14, 1704, was on Yeamans Creek and bounded on lands he already owned.
| As early as 1697 Francis Guerin
received land bv purchase from Isaac Fleury and in 1703 from John Berringer
and lived near Abraham Fleury. Some of the Isaac Fleury land was also conveyed
to Philip Trouillard, who was selling it to Elias Horry in Dec., 1698.
Horry was a witness to the Prudhomme will and he and Horry are on the Ravenel
List. Horry died in Prince George's Parish in 1736.
| At some time before 1707, Gideon
Faucheraud seems to have moved from Santee to Goose Creek. At this time
he received a land grant in Berkeley County and also purchased land from
Susan (Susanne) Dasseex, widow of Peter Dassex, who acquired land here
in 1702 and whose will is dated in 1705. Faucheraud eventually acquired
a total of 3300 acres and is described as "Gunsmith" of Charles Tow n.
Some of the land acquired by Faucheraud had been granted to Joseph Griffen
in 1702. Considering common variations in spelling, Griffin may have been
French, but I find no proof.
| The Ravenel List states that
Mathurin Guerin was a native of St. Nazaire in Xaintonge and his wife was
Marie Niclzolas, who is said to have been brought into the Province by
Benjamin Marion, who was from her birthplace in France.
| According to Judge Smith, James
and John Postell were nephews of Mary Boisseau and received lands from
her. Her brother John Postell, the father of James and John, lived near
| Theodore Verdety (Verdity) made
his will in 1720, naming his family and the Blackberry and Whitehall tracts
of land, and appears to have died shortly thereafter. He calls Isaac Porcher
"brother." In 1705 he had a warrant for 1000 acres of land and the grant
in the same year. In 1709 he had another warrant in Berkeley County for
1000 acres and in 1711 one for 600 acres.
| Dr. Isaac Porcher's will, made
in 1726, states that he was born in Sainte Severre, Province of Berry in
France. Judge Smith credits him with a grant of 150 acres in 1696 joining
Fleury and Boiseau lands. In 1699 I find a warrant for 200 acres, and then
a number of later warrants including 3000 acres in 1709 to Isaac Porcher,
Sr., Vincent Gareing, Tho. Gareing and Danl. Courturiere on Wassamissau.
The 1729 will of Francis Garruny, (Guerin) mentions the poor of the French
Church, the "Protestant Church of which I am a member." It mentions his
nephews James and Francis, under 21 years and sons of Peter Garring, deceased,
and other relatives. .
| Abrahiam Dupont and his wife
Anne were settled here before a warrant dated in 1702. He received additional
grants, is not on the Ravenel List but is in the 1697 Act. In a land purchase
of 1702 he is called Abraham Dupont. "Brazier."
| Judge Smith lists in this congregation
Peter Bacot, son of the immigrant Pierre. Peter is credited with having
married Marianne Dugue and then Mary Peronneau. The latter was his wife
when he made his will 3 Feb. 1729/30, in which will he names sons, Samuel
and Peter, Mr. 'Charles Franthorne, sister-in-law Elizabeth Perroneau,
"under 18 vears and unmarried," Mr. Tobias Fitch and his wife Marrane,
and the poor of the French Church in Charles Town, which bequest states
by implication that the Goose Creek French Church was no longer active.
The Judge also lists Henry Bruneau, John Filbein, John Goble, Charles Franchehomme
and Benjamin Godin among the members. Henry Bruneau and a Jean Guibal are
in the Ravenel List. The Bulline (Bullein) family early lived in this section
and was connected with the Ashley River Baptist families.
| The tract of one acre identified
as the site of the old Huguenot Church at Goose Creek was acquired by Judge
H. A. M. Smith and conveyed by him to the Huguenot Society of South Carolina
by deed dated July· 8, 1909. This is recorded in the Office of the
Clerk of Court for Berkeley County- in Book A-30, page 222. A plat is published
opposite page 28, Transactnon No. 20 of the Huguenot Society of South Carolina.
A heavy· granite marker was placed on this spot in 1910 by the Society.
The spot is about 100 yards to the north of the old public road from Dorchester
to Moncks Corner. Proceeding west from the Baptist College on Hwy. No.
78, one travels about three miles. A dirt road turns north and the marker
is located about 475 ft. from the end of this road.
| These wills are readily accessible
in Abstracts of Wills of the State of South Carolina, Vol. I, 1670-1740
Moore and Simmons, The R. L. Bryan Co., Columbia, S. C., 1960
Information and Article from
"Historic Ramblin's Through
written by and used with permission
Mr. J. Russell Cross