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Horn Creek Baptist Church — Edgefield, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Edgefield County  |  Horn Creek Baptist Church

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Horn Creek Baptist Church

Horn Creek Baptist Church in Edgefield was founded in 1790, shortly after a Revolutionary War skirmish took place on this site. The simple meeting house was built for the congregation in 1822. Horn Creek is one of the oldest Baptist churches in the upper part of South Carolina, and the church structure reflects the uncomplicated style of early Baptist settlers.

Horn Creek Baptist Church near Edgefield SC

Horn Creek Baptist Church in Edgefield was near ruin just a few shortyears ago.
Thanks to a small team of volunteers, the church has made a remarkable recovery.
(Bill Fitzpatrick of Taylors, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Despite its simplicity, the church bears a coupe of unusual features. First, the ceiling features a flourish of decorative painted designs, as well as a small angel painted in each of its four corners. Second, the ironwork surrounding the graveyard is more ornate than the typical fences of rural churches from this time.

Old Faithful at Horn Creek Baptist

Here, a dog peacefully watches over the church. When Bill Fitzpatrick first photographed Horn
Creek in 2012, he “didn’t give it much chance of surviving another decade.”
(Bill Fitzpatrick of Taylors, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

A single door behind the pulpit (seen below) leads to the church’s namesake creek, which was used for baptizing members. In 1781, during the American Revolution, a Patriot regiment led by Captain Thomas Kee defeated a group of Tories at Horn Creek, killing their leader, Captain Clark, and imprisoning his troops.

Horn Creek Baptist

At center left, you can see a door, now boarded, that once led from the sanctuary to Horn Creek.
Congregants were baptized there, and it is for this body of water that the church is named.
(Kent Rowell of Gaston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Today the church is owned by the Edgefield County Historical Society, which recently led an effort to restore the old building. A cottage was begun on the property in 2104 to house a caretaker to both work on the church and prevent future vandalism. The cottage was dedicated roughly a year later, on March 29, 2015.

Horn Creek Church Restored

Horn Creek Baptist, post-restoration. What a difference love and a little money make!
(Bill Fitzpatrick of Taylors, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

The Historical Society hired Mr. Barney Lamar, an experienced reservation expert, to serve as the caretaker. Under his watch, the church and its grounds have come full circle, and the church was again in use by 2018.

Mr. Lamar at Horn Creek Baptist

Mr. Barney Lamar was hired as Horn Creek’s caretaker by the Edgefield County Historical Society. It is rare for rural churches to have a dedicated caretaker. Mr. Lamar has worked on high-level restorations throughout his life, including chapels in Europe and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville.
(Bill Fitzpatrick of Taylors, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Horn Creek Baptist Church is listed in the National Register:

One of the oldest Baptist churches in the South Carolina Upcountry, Horn Creek was incorporated in 1790. Today it is one of the few remaining meeting house style churches in the area reflecting austere simplicity and manifesting frugality of early settlers. The one-roomed church is supported by fieldstone foundation piers and has wooden steps leading to two front doors that are hinged to fold in the center. A door behind the pulpit leads to a creek for baptizing.

The church’s adjoining cemetery has excellent iron work including a cast iron gate at the Bettis plot which has a design that incorporates a Palmetto tree flanked by lambs and roses. A wooden fence next to the Bettis plot surrounds fieldstone markers. Revolutionary War activity in the Horn Creek area included a 1781 skirmish in which patriot Captain Thomas Kee of Colonel Leroy Hammond’s regiment, attacked a Tory party under Captain Clark. Clark was killed and the entire company was made prisoners.

Horns Creek Baptist Church

Horn Creek Baptist has been fully restored, but what’s better than a church that’s safe?
A church that’s used! The group above gathered together in April 2018.
(Bill Fitzpatrick of Taylors, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Horn Creek Baptist Church – Additional Images

Horn Creek Edgefield

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2006 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Horn Creek Church

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2006 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Horne Creek Baprtist Church

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2006 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Horn Creek Baptist

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2006 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Horns Creek Baptist Church

Bill Fitzpatrick of Taylors, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Endangered SC Churches Need Our Help!

While Horn Creek Baptist Church is no longer in danger, many other rural churches in South Carolina are still in desperate need of care. Bill Fitzpatrick, a former member of the South Carolina Picture Project board, has partnered with Preservation South Carolina to help save endangered churches such as Lower Long Cane. Their beautiful book, South Carolina’s Sacred Spaces, highlights the challenges facing many of our state’s historic churches going forward.

South Carolina's Sacred Spaces 

This generously-sized volume, which features 254 pages of extraordinary images and Bill’s personal accounts of the churches and their histories, is a wonderful way for us, as ordinary citizens, to help save some of our state’s most cherished landmarks. 100% of the proceeds go to a building fund to help maintain and protect these churches. Please treat yourself to a copy today!

Horn Creek Baptist Church Info

Address: 443 Old Stage Road, Edgefield, SC 29824
GPS Coordinates: 33.721387,-81.936545
Website: http://www.historicedgefield.com/

Horn Creek Baptist Church Map

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14 Comments about Horn Creek Baptist Church

Hope Creasman says:
October 25th, 2019 at 1:37 am

Oh, yes, one of my relatives is buried there, Benjamin F. Mays. So I will be going to see his grave.

Hope Creasman says:
October 25th, 2019 at 1:27 am

I just visited the Edgefield History Society site and saw the page on “The Song” which brought up Miss Hortense Woodson who I had the pleasure of meeting. My sister and I had been at the Court House researching and Abney was one family names we were researching. The clerk told us we needed to go see Miss Hortense. We did and she welcomed us into her home. She was a very knowlegable and help us right off.

Then I looked down and saw the paragraph on Mrs. Tillman. I was so delighted. I told you below that I was kin to Middleton Graham, my GGGrandfather. Well, my objective for the past several years has been to do a book on his son and my great-grandfather, Col. George David Tillman Graham, an attorney who practiced in Columbia, Lexington, and Florida. But what makes it important is that he was one of the lawyers for Tillman and defended him for murdering Gonzales. If I had not come to your site I would not have seen the paragraph about his wife and the fact that she left her husband when the trial occurred. This gives me more details to add to the book. Thank you again. Hope O. Creasman

Hope Creasman says:
October 25th, 2019 at 1:04 am

Thank you for doing what you have done. This is a gift to those of us who get to visit them and study about the congregation and the history of the church. In the 1980s, Mr. Roger Crouch took my aunt and me to look at some sites that my ancestors lived at (Gen. Middleton Graham). Mr. Crouch was the Agriculture Agent in Saluda, SC. He had found an elderly black man whose father had been a slave on Middleton’s Plantation. He had written a booklet on the Black Grahams. In it was information on my family. (The Historical Society in Saluda have a copy and I have one.) Anyway during the visit with Mr. Crouch (he used his vehicle as he was used to driving in the mud), he took us to a very muddy four-way stop. We turned to the right and he showed us two old churches across from each other that were in very bad shape. One was a Dunker church and I can’t remember what the other one was. They were covered in briars, and their fences (iron railing) were falling down. This was in the 1980s and both my aunt and Mr. Crouch are deceased now. I do not know how to go there, and if I did I probably couldn’t walk in the area as I am 74 and have no cartilage in either knee. I remember wishing I could do something about those two churches. They needed to be restored, but I was a divorced woman with two children and could not do anything. I have no idea if either of them is still standing, but there is a graveyard for each of them that someone should see is taken care of. That and the graveyard at Chesnut Hill that is behind the left of the church deep into the woods on private property and not easily seen unless you have someone who knows the area to get permission to go on the property and show you. It was covered in full-grown trees. I know Saluda County is a poor county, but these places are so valuable for the history of the county.

Earlyne Bettis Woodward says:
October 13th, 2019 at 3:15 pm

John Bettis was a grandfather of mine. So glad the church is being restored . When I was there some time in the 1900s, it was in horrible condition.

SC Picture Project says:
May 28th, 2019 at 10:59 am

Hi Leslie! You will find a link to the Edgefield County Historical Society website above. The phone number is listed there.

Leslie Olejnik says:
May 24th, 2019 at 1:30 pm

How can we get in touch with caretaker?

Corrie Dickinson says:
May 26th, 2019 at 9:59 am

You can read many of them, but there are a good bit more graves that no longer have stones or the stones are badly damaged.

Leslie Betty Olejnik says:
May 24th, 2019 at 12:28 pm

Can you read the grave markers or are they too old? I am hoping some of my Cogburns are there.

Corrie Dickinson says:
March 22nd, 2019 at 2:59 pm

If you plan on visiting, you must get prior permission from either the caretaker or the Edgefield Historic Society. I had the chance to get a tour from the caretaker and was blown away by this landmark! A must-see if you’re in the back country.

Leslie Olejnik says:
May 24th, 2019 at 12:29 pm

He’s my 7th great-grandfather too! I entered DAR through his service in the Revolutionary War.

John Cogburn, Sr. says:
February 19th, 2019 at 10:33 pm

I just found out from my cousin that our great-great-great-great grandfather was one of the founders/builders of this beautiful church. I look forward to taking my daughter to see it one of these days.

Mark Barksdale says:
September 18th, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Great seeing the church restored. The angels were amazing and beautiful even as a teenager. Back in high school, 1983-1987, we’d go out at night to look for or hear ghosts as it was “said to have been haunted,” along with Cry Baby Bridge. Several classmates in ‘86 took pics of the graves and copied epitaphs to write book reports for Mrs. Jackson’s history class at Strom Thurmond. Later, in the late 1990s, myself and a few old buddies rode out one night and saw lots of vandalism from spray paint inside and out, broken grave markers, and more. That’s plain sick, dumb, and ignorant. I guess that was before the X-Box & video game era. Still remember we’d walk our girlfriends up to the pulpit with only the headlights from our trucks parked outside. Guess the Good Ol’ Days are gone. Thank you for keeping Edgefield history alive – MB.

SCIWAY says:
September 1st, 2015 at 6:21 am

Hi, Larry. We suggest contacting the Edgefield Historical Society. Here is a link to their website:http://www.historicedgefield.com Best of luck!

Larry Youngblood says:
August 31st, 2015 at 10:05 pm

I am researching the Youngbloods of Edgefield SC c. 1767-1840+. I have information that we were early members of this church. Might you know who I can talk to about the early records and view them if possible?


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