South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

Bethia Presbyterian Church — Abbeville, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Abbeville County  |  Bethia Presbyterian Church

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Bethia Presbyterian Church

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.

Bethia Presbyterian

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

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.

Bethia Presbyterian Marker

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

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.

Bethia Presbyterian Abbeville

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

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 Interior Front

Tom Taylor of Greenville, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Though the congregation may no longer be active, the nearby Bethia Presbyterian cemetery remains in use and is maintained by the Bethia Presbyterian Church Cemetery Association, another nonprofit.

Bethia Presbyterian Interior

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Bethia Presbyterian Church Info

Address: 118 Troy Road, Abbeville, SC 29620
GPS Coordinates: 34.059678,-82.375040

Bethia Presbyterian Church Map

Take Me There

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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6 Comments about Bethia Presbyterian Church

Nancy W Reece says:
April 15th, 2018 at 7:49 am

I grew up just below Bethia Church, at the crossroads. When I was very young, I too played piano some Sundays. Such a treasure to see these photos. I remember dinner on the grounds, the tables were over in the woods, such precious memories. Do not know what happened to the pews on the other side.

Carolyn Beaudrot says:
January 14th, 2017 at 3:53 am

While my husband was a student at Erskine Seminary, he often preached at Bethia. Usually there were 6 or 7 people who came for services. I learned early on to never play that piano in the summer. You could play it in the winter only until the heaters began to take the chill off the building. You see, there were wasp nests inside that piano!! I am saddened to see that all the pews on one side are no longer there. What became of them?

We always enjoyed going there because most, if not all, of the elderly members remembered by grandparents (who were from Troy) who had died in the 1960s, when I was a little girl. I’ll always have good memories of Bethia.

SCIWAY says:
November 3rd, 2016 at 6:36 am

Try the website Find A Grave: Good luck!

Regina manley says:
November 2nd, 2016 at 8:05 pm

I live in Piedmont, SC but go to Abbeville a lot and I enjoy finding the old things there. Mostly the graves, though. I Sure wish there was a place to look up the graves. Thanks for the information.

SCIWAY says:
February 20th, 2015 at 10:42 am

Thank you for sharing this story with us, Linda!

Linda McComb Floyd says:
February 20th, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Thanks so much….I was baptized at Bethia. My family is burried in the cemetery.


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