Beech Island in Aiken County began as one of South Carolina’s earliest settlements. Established in 1685 as Savanno Town – also spelled Savanna Town – the village sat atop a bluff overlooking the Savannah River and was named for its first occupants, the Savannah Indians. The community originally functioned as a trading post, and a fortification, Fort Moore, was built here following the Yemassee War of 1715. The settlement became known as Beech Island sometime in the 1700s, though the origins of this name remain a mystery.
Nearby Silver Bluff Baptist Church formed in the area during the mid-1700s. Other churches followed suit, and by the early nineteenth century the community boasted Capers Methodist Church and Beech Island Presbyterian Church, now named All Saints Episcopal.
This congregation, first called Beech Island Baptist, formed in 1832 in a school known as Beech Island Academy. Shortly afterwards, this church was built on land donated by James T. Gardner and Abner Whatley. It was dedicated in September of that same year. The two-story building included a slave gallery on the second floor, and about 40 to 50 slaves attended church with their owners prior to Emancipation. Today the second floor continues to be used as seating for worship.
When the church was founded, it had 22 charter members. 130 years later – in 1962 – the congregation changed its name to First Baptist Church of Beech Island. A modern brick building was added to the church campus in the twentieth century and sits adjacent to the original sanctuary.
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First Baptist Church of Beech Island Info
Address: 170 Church Road, Beech island, SC 29842
GPS Coordinates: 33.430282,-81.868515
First Baptist Church of Beech Island Map
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