St. Anne Catholic Church in Sumter is the oldest Catholic congregation in Sumter County, dating to 1838. Originally located on Providence Plantation in nearby Dalzell, the first church building was sold within a few years so that the group could invest in a church in Sumter, then called Sumterville. In 1848 Catholics in Sumter purchased a Methodist church on West Liberty Street along with its surrounding property, which consisted of an entire block. They called their new home St. Lawrence.
As membership at St. Lawrence grew, the tiny, formerly Methodist sanctuary soon became too small for the congregation. By 1879 the older church building was sold and moved from the property, and a new church was built in its place. The new church served St. Lawrence well until the turn of the twentieth century; by then, a fourth sanctuary was needed.
The property on West Liberty Street was sold some time after 1906, while the congregation bought a lot on East Liberty Street. However, the sale of the lot on West Liberty posed a problem; the church had to relocate its graveyard. Land was purchased on West Oakland Avenue, and more than 50 graves were relocated to the new cemetery, which retains the name St. Lawrence today.
In 1909, the members of St. Lawrence began construction on their new church, located next to St. Joseph’s Academy, a Catholic school operated by Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy. (The sisters had come to Sumter from Charleston during the Civil War.) By 1911 the brick Gothic church was complete and christened St. Anne. In keeping with a tradition of education, St. Anne has operated its own school here since 1954, replacing St. Joseph’s. The congregation is also the mother church of St. Mary Catholic Church in Summerton.