This Booklet is a presentation of a collection of facts relating to the
history of Christ Church, Florence County, South Carolina, compiled and printed for the
information and pleasure of all those who are interested in the building and early life of
the Church; and the portrayal of the devotion of a few (in each generation) who by their
faithful services have kept it a living Church.
Mrs. Constance Ashby Gregg
A SKETCH OF CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
FLORENCE COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA
There is a picture in my mind of a Sunday morning in
May, 1859. It is the hour for service at Christ Church and the neighborhood carriages are
arriving. There are, perhaps, ten of them drawn by sleek well-kept horses and driven by no
less sleek and well-kept coachmen. Colored boys are now busy letting down the steps; the
gentlemen, in their frock coats and light trousers, are handing out the ladies in flowered
silks and quaint poke bonnets. The little miss wears a ruffled dress of flower-silk or
sprigged muslin with a straw bonnet trimmed in flowers and carries in her hand a
crewel-work basket in which she had her handkerchief; her brother is dressed in long
trousers with a short jacket and a ruffled cambric shirt. There are the Ashbys, Bacots,
Robert Rogers, John Rogers, Mandeville Rogers, Harllees, Porchers, Greggs, and McCalls.
The last are Presbyterians, but have given as generously of their substance and their
energy in building the Church as any of her own people. They are exchanging greetings and
saying among themselves with deserved pride how beautiful the Church looked as they drove
up, a gleaming white cross in a setting of virgin pines.
About the year 1842 the Episcopalians of Mars Bluff and Back Swamp
decided they could live no longer without their Church. So, Mrs. Edward Porcher, perhaps
because of her personal friendship with the family, wrote to Bishop Gadsden and begged him
to send someone to hold services for them. In response to this request Rev. Mr.
Tillinghast was asked to come over from Society Hill for an occasional service. Mr.
Tillinghast, already well known to some of these families, was most beloved by this group
and an inspiration to them to keep working.
Meantime Dr. Porcher proposed to the three other families who had
children that they unite in an effort to have a clergyman come to them who could teach the
children during the week and preach on Sunday. A school room was built near the road on
the Robert Rogers plantation and this plan put into
operation. Bishop Gadsden, having no clergyman available in his
diocese, wrote to Bishop Delaney who sent down Rev. Mr. Isaac Swartz who served us in 1844
and 1845. He was followed by Mr. Henry Ellwell, a delightful Englishman, who was with us
from 1845 to 1850.
At the time of Mr. Ellwell's resignation, Rev. Mr. Nexander Gregg was
rector of St. David's in Cheraw and a frequent visitor in the Christ Church neighborhood.
He was so interested in the work of this group and so anxious to build up the Episcopal
Church in the Pee Dee, that he arranged to give Christ Church a monthly service and was
with us from 1850 to 1854.
But the Christ Church people did not feel that their needs were being
fully met. What they wanted was a church building and a resident minister. Bishop Davis
was asked to give his consent to a parish being organized on the English living plan. Rev.
Mr. Augustus Moore, a cultured New Englander and a consecrated Christian, was the first
parish rector. He was never married, but with the aid of a relative, Miss Martin, and
Anne, a little German maid servant, maintained a home. He first lived in a cottage on the
Robert Rogers plantation which has always since been called "The Parsonage".
Later Miss Martin bought a plot of land from Mr. John Rogers and built
"Hickory Lodge" after the Cape Cod style. After Mr. Moore's death the Bacot
family lived at "Hickory Lodge", and it is still the home of Misses Mary Hart
and Emma Bacot. Much beloved Mr. Moore ministered to wherever needed till his death in
As soon as Mr. Moore was established here, a project for building a
Church was formulated. Dr. Porcher attended a Diocesan Convention soon after this time,
and meeting Rev. Mr. John McCollough, asked his advice as to plans, explaining that a
large Church would be needed to accommodate the community, the colored as well as the
white people, Mr. McCollough gave him the plans that were used in the building as it