The Huguenot Church - Goose Creek
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 Carolina.) 
     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 of 1695
     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 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 Cypress Swamp. 
     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 Berkeley"
 written by and used with permission of
Mr. J. Russell Cross