South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

Waxhaw Presbyterian Church — Lancaster, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Lancaster County  |  Waxhaw Presbyterian Church

Adopt A South Carolina Landmark
Waxhaw Presbyterian Church

Also known as Old Waxhaw Presbyterian, the congregation of this church in Lancaster was founded around 1755 by Scots-Irish Presbyterians who arrived in the mid-eighteenth century from Pennsylvania and Virginia. These Presbyterians settled in an area which stretched from South Carolina’s lower Piedmont to the North Carolina border.

Old Waxhaw Church

Trace Walters of Rock Hill, 2019 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Called the Waxhaws, this region takes its name from the extinct nation of Native Americans who originally lived here. The tribe was nearly annihilated during the 1715 Yemassee War. Remaining Waxhaws disbanded during a small pox epidemic in 1741; the few who survived relocated and joined other tribes. The area referred to as the Waxhaws has no official boundary but primarily encompasses land in Lancaster County, part of Chester County, and Anson County in North Carolina.

Old Waxhaw Church Marker

Trace Walters of Rock Hill, 2019 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Waxhaw Presbyterian Church was the center of Presbyterianism in this region when it was organized, and members first met in a frame meeting house on this site. The land for the church was given by the Reverend Robert Miller and officially deeded to the church in 1757. The Reverend Miller came to the Waxhaws as the church’s minster in 1756. The church also founded a prestigious school, Waxhaw Academy.

Old Waxhaw Church Cemetery Entrance

Trace Walters of Rock Hill, 2019 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The most well-known member of Waxhaw Presbyterian is Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, whose parents immigrated here from Ireland by way of Pennsylvania in 1765. Jackson’s father is interred in the churchyard, and there are memorial markers on the grounds for Andrew Jackson’s two brothers, Robert and Hugh, though they are buried elsewhere. Both Robert and Andrew were captured by the British during the Revolutionary War and contracted smallpox during their imprisonment. Robert died shortly after being released, while Andrew recovered. Hugh died in the Battle of Stono Ferry. Andrew Jackson is interred at The Hermitage, his plantation in Nashville, Tennessee.

Old Waxhaw Church Cemetery

Trace Walters of Rock Hill, 2019 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Waxhaw Presbyterian Church was used as a hospital during the Revolutionary War. Survivors of Buford’s Massacre, which took place nearby, were brought here for medical care. The grisly battle, which killed 113 Patriots, earned British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton the nickname, “Bloody Tarleton.” The wounded were brought to the church for care, and several who subsequently died are buried here. The remains of many Revolutionary War veterans rest within the sacred grounds, including General William Richardson Davie, who saw an illustrious post-war career in adjacent North Carolina as a lawyer and politician. He eventually served as Governor of North Carolina in 1798.

Old Waxhaw Church Graves

Trace Walters of Rock Hill, 2019 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The present Waxhaw Presbyterian Church is the third to serve the congregation. The originally meeting house burned in 1781 during the American Revolution and was replaced. The second church was succeeded by this edifice, built in 1896. Its exterior walls were covered in brick veneer in the 1940s.

The Waxhaw Presbyterian Cemetery is listed in the National Register:

(Old Waxhaw Cemetery) Scotch-Irish immigrants settled the historic Waxhaws community in the 1750s. These settlers established a Presbyterian meeting house (1755) and cemetery as the center of their community. The original meeting house has been replaced by another church structure but the cemetery remains as one of the oldest historic sites in present day Lancaster County and as a visual reminder of that pioneer settlement. The grounds were part of land that belonged to the Reverend Robert Miller, and the land was deeded to the Presbyterian Church in 1757. The Waxhaw Cemetery is probably the most significant site remaining related to the Revolutionary War Era figures Andrew Jackson, William Richardson Davie, and Andrew Pickens, who contributed to the early development of the state and nation. The cemetery also contains noteworthy examples of eighteenth and nineteenth century tombstones. Many of the eighteenth century tombstones are marked with bas-relief carvings illustrating the lives of the deceased. These stones are flat, vertical tombstones with rounded or scrolled tops. Much of the lettering is clearly carved and is still legible. The vertical eighteenth century stones are distinguishable from the flat, horizontal nineteenth century slabs and massive monuments.

Reflections on the Waxhaw Presbyterian Church

The below photo shows a memorial to Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, mother of Andrew Jackson. It was placed on the grounds of the church in 1949 by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Though she is buried near Charleston, this monument stands among the tombs of the Patriots she so strongly supported.

Elizabeth Jackson Memorial

Patrick Boland of Charlotte, North Carolina, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Contributor Patrick Boland says of his above photo: “This unique memorial resides on the property of Waxhaw Presbyterian Church. It was dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, a heroine of the American Revolutionary War. The memorial – though not often visited – and the adjacent cemetery and Waxhaw church were the locus for some extraordinary events in American history. The story of Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson’s life is etched into the base of the monument. Surrounding it are memorial markers for other Patriots who served in the Waxhaws and beyond with her. The memorial enshrines them together in our history in the most dignified manner.”

Waxhaw Presbyterian Church Info

Address: 2814 Old Hickory Road, Lancaster, SC 29720
GPS Coordinates: 34.788635,-80.832966

Waxhaw Presbyterian Church Map

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you enjoy this page? Do you have any information we should add? Send us your comments below — we can't wait to hear from you!

One Comment about Waxhaw Presbyterian Church

Martha B Macdonald says:
August 17th, 2019 at 7:40 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed touring the cemetery. I came here many years ago. There’s a feeling of serenity here. Thank you. Is there a book about the church? If so, I would like to buy it. My ancestors were members of Old Concord Presbyterian Church in Fairfield County.


Join Us on Facebook
Search for Landmarks


Abbeville ACE Basin Adams Run Aiken Alcolu Allendale Anderson Awendaw Bamberg Banks Barns & Farms Barnwell Batesburg-Leesville Beaches Beaufort Beech Island Belton Bennettsville Bishopville Blackville Bluffton Bridges Bygone Landmarks Camden Carnegie Libraries Cayce Cemeteries Charleston Charleston Navy Base Cheraw Chester Chesterfield Churches Clemson Clinton Clio Colleges Columbia Conway Cordesville Courthouses Darlington Daufuskie Island Denmark Dillon Donalds Easley Edgefield Edisto Elloree Erhardt Eutawville Fairfax Florence Folly Beach Forests and Nature Preserves Fort Mill Fountain Inn Gaffney Garden City Beach Georgetown Glenn Springs Graniteville Great Falls Greeleyville Greenville Greenwood Greer Hamburg Hampton Hardeeville Hartsville Hemingway Hilton Head Historical Photos Historic Houses Hodges Holly Hill Honea Path Hopkins Hotels & Inns Huger Hunting Island Isle of Palms Jails James Island Jamestown Johns Island Johnsonville Johnston Kiawah Island Kingstree Lake City Lake Marion Lakes Lancaster Landrum Latta Laurens Lexington Libraries Lighthouses Little River Lowndesville Manning Marion Mars Bluff McClellanville McCormick Military Mills Moncks Corner Mountains Mount Carmel Mount Pleasant Mullins Murrells Inlet Myrtle Beach National Register Newberry Ninety Six North Augusta North Charleston North Myrtle Beach Orangeburg Pacolet Parks Pawleys Island Pendleton Pickens Piers Pinewood Pinopolis Plantations Pomaria Port Royal Post Offices Prosperity Ravenel Restaurants Ridgeland Ridge Spring Ridgeway Rivers Roadside Oddities Robert Mills Rock Hill Rockville Rosenwald Schools Salters Saluda Santee Savannah River Site SC Artists SC Heroes of the Alamo Schools Seneca Shrimp Boats Society Hill Spartanburg Sports Springs St. George St. Helena Island St. Matthews Stateburg Stores Sullivan's Island Summerton Summerville Sumter Sunset Sunsets Synagogues Town Clocks Trains & Depots Trees Trenton Troy Turbeville Ulmer Union Wadmalaw Island Walhalla Walterboro Ware Shoals Waterfalls Water Towers Wedgefield West Columbia Westminster Winnsboro Woodruff Yemassee York