St. Peter’s AME Church was founded just after the Civil War in 1867 by the Reverend James Nesbitt. It is the oldest black church in Colleton County. The sanctuary was built on the site of a Baptist church that was destroyed in a devastating tornado in 1879.
The storm flattened at least three other churches in Walterboro, including historic St. Jude’s, as well as several homes and buildings. Where the congregation met prior to the construction of this sanctuary is presently unknown. The Gothic Revival building was constructed in four sections and features a pyramidal steeple. It was remodeled in 1952.
The AME denomination was established to counter racism practiced in the Methodist church towards slaves and freed blacks before Emancipation. During the Reconstruction, Allen and others brought the AME denomination to the South, where it flourished.
St. Peter’s is listed in the National Register as part of the Walterboro Historic District:
The Walterboro Historic District is a significant collection of properties located near the center of the town of Walterboro. The majority of the properties in the district were constructed between ca.1800 and ca.1945 and represent a wide range of nineteenth and early twentieth century vernacular design. The district is primarily residential in character, but also includes religious, educational, and public buildings. The visual appearance of the district reflects the historical development of the town, which was one of several South Carolina pineland villages settled during the early nineteenth century by planters in search of a healthful climate.
More Pictures of St. Peter’s AME Church