The Boiling Springs community of Barnwell is home to this simple wooden church in the pines. The church was organized in 1842 by Reverend James H. Thornwell, a well-known Presbyterian theologian from Marlboro County who also served as president of South Carolina College from 1851 until 1855, now the University of South Carolina.
Reverend Thornwell later taught at Columbia Theological Seminary, originally located at the Robert Mills House in Columbia and now located in Atlanta, Georgia. Reverend Thornwell is known for his pro-slavery stance, which was at times a topic of his sermons and religious writings. The Thornwell Home for Children in Clinton was named for him.
After serving the people of Boiling Springs for four years, Boiling Springs Presbyterian began holding services every other Sunday beginning in 1846. On the alternate Sundays its then-minister, Reverend Samuel H. Hay, would preach at a newer nearby church. Eventually, the two churches merged and became Barnwell Presbyterian Church. In 1896 Boiling Springs Presbyterian was once again recognized as a separate church from Barnwell Presbyterian, and the above building was constructed in 1897. The adjacent Sunday school building was added in 1955.