Now abandoned, this church in the rural community of Ravenel was founded in St. Paul’s Parish on June 19, 1842. The first structure to house its congregation was likely similar to this one – a simple wood-frame building. The original church burned in 1878 and was replaced by this one in 1884.
The church’s congregation originally consisted of white Baptists from what was then Colleton District (now Colleton County, though Ravenel is currently in Charleston County). They brought their slaves with them, and in fact, the number of slave members was comparable to the number of white members. Of the founding members, 40 are listed as “white” and 41 as “colored.” Black members attended “by ticket,” or with written permission from their owners.
Stono Baptist was the parent church of Toogoodoo Baptist Church on Willtown Road, dedicated on July 3, 1859. Toogoodoo Baptist also appears to have closed, although we welcome info to the contrary.
From the church’s establishment in 1842 until 1910, rules dictating the congregation’s behavior were severe. Infractions such as hair pulling, tattling, and missing church for three consecutive Sundays were grounds for excommunication. Needless to say, drinking, dancing, and profanity also made the list of prohibited behaviors.
A church roster exists from 1941, so Stono Baptist Church was active at least until World War II. Today the church building sits vacant, though its graveyard continues to be maintained and used for burials.
An interesting story related to this church is that one of its earliest pastors requested to be buried at the foot of the church’s steps upon his death so that “all who went in and out of the church would be compelled to walk over his body.” It is said that his request was granted.
More Pictures of Stono Baptist Church