This clapboard church in the retreat village of Pinopolis was founded in 1851, 17 years after the community was established by planters Dr. Morton Waring and Frederick Porcher as a refuge from harsh plantation summers. Religious congregations formed within the hamlet as more people built homes here. The first sanctuary to house St. John’s Baptist was built a quarter of a mile from the church’s present location on land donated by William Cain of Somerset Plantation. The church began with eight members from neighboring Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Goose Creek. They were led by the Reverend D.M. Breaker.
The village grew over the subsequent years, including during the Civil War. Another local retreat community, Pineville, had been burned by Federal troops. Pinopolis was mercifully spared from the destruction of war, causing many former Pineville residents to relocate to Pinopolis. However, while the community was not burned in the war, at some point the home of St. John’s trustee Cuthbert Hare caught fire, which resulted in the loss of church records. Therefore, much of the church’s history from the Civil War’s end to its relocation in 1884 is unknown.
In 1884 St. John’s moved to its current site on land donated by Adam Davis Hare. Yet, by 1926, most members had joined Moncks Corner Baptist Church. The loss of parishioners throughout the twentieth century led to the eventual transferring of the St. John’s property to Moncks Corner Baptist Church in 1945. Occasional weddings and worship services are still held in the Pinopolis church, and its churchyard remains in use. In fact, the churchyard has even expanded by way of a 2.5-acre donation by Josiah Owens McCants. South Carolina statesman Rembert Dennis, namesake of the Rembert Dennis Building within the State House complex, is interred within the historic church grounds.
St. John’s Baptist Church: More Pictures