It would be easy to overlook Bethia Presbyterian Church, which sits nearly hidden behind a stand of trees off a rural road in Abbeville. The church was formed in November of 1848 by nine white and four black charter members; their first minister was the Reverend Robert Henry Reid, who served until 1851.
This sanctuary is the second to house “Bethiah” Presbyterian, as its name was initially spelled; the first church was built about a mile from this location, adjacent to the cemetery that remains at that site. The original building was completed around 1853 and used for most of the remainder of the nineteenth century. In 1882 the roof was blown off by a violent gust of wind, and in 1896 the original church was completely destroyed by yet another storm.
From 1896 until 1898 the congregation worshiped beneath a brush arbor at the church’s current location while making plans for rebuilding. By 1898 this edifice was completed. It was consecrated in 1901, and the spelling of the name was changed at that time to Bethia.
Though the church was designed to accommodate up to 250 members, church records indicate that membership stayed just below 100 throughout the early twentieth century. The last service was held here on June 28, 1998, when members numbered fewer than 30. The building is now under the care of the nonprofit group Historic Long Cane. Bethia Presbyterian cemetery remains in use and is maintained by the Bethia Presbyterian Church Cemetery Association, another nonprofit.
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Bethia Presbyterian Church Info
Address: 118 Troy Road, Abbeville, SC 29620
GPS Coordinates: 34.059678,-82.375040
Bethia Presbyterian Church Map
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