Posted at 6:15 pm , on March 12, 2019
The old churchyard on the grounds of the parish church of St Helena is the final resting place for many prominent and notable residents of the parish. A notable tomb is pictured here.
We only know it to be the grave of Dr. Perry. His first name isn’t listed in church records and the official guide to the cemetery notes that Dr. Perry requested an above ground tomb because of a common fear in Beaufort around the mid 19th century. The fear that you could be buried alive.
Dr. Perry gave the following instructions to his relatives, “If I pass away, bury me with a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and a pickax. Should I wake up and find myself inside, I shall drink the wine, eat the bread and dig myself out.” We know that the Doctor passed away as a result of a yellow fever outbreak in town in 1845.
His family honored his request and placed all be asked for in his tomb. And just in case he had been buried alive, they sealed his tomb door in wood so he could break out. As time passed, his family knew he was really gone and they removed the wood and bricked up his exit.
***The story of the tomb of Dr. Perry is featured in St. Helena Parish Church visitor handout that tells the story of those interred in the churchyard.
Posted at 8:18 pm , on January 22, 2019
A reminder of why exploring and documenting what you see along the road helps keep the past alive. Just behind the ruins of the Chapel of Ease on St Helena Island in South Carolina, are headstones that are fading with the passage of time. This is the grave of Mary Emily Fripp d. Nov 2, 1841, Aged 15 yrs, 6 mos. The poem inscribed on her tomb is a beautiful tribute to her short life and the pain her family faced once she died. It’s a portion of a poem called The Fading Flower…”Ah! Thus it is that things on earth, The flowers on which we smile; Though rich and beauteous in their birth, can only bloom a while; And purest joys we love the best soon fade away and die, And leave us sighing for our rest, beneath a brighter sky”. This young woman was so loved. Her headstone is a testament to that and I’m so thankful for moments like I had the day I stooped down to try to read the words engraved here. In those moments I’m reminded of how important it is to recognize the past and those who were loved and lost before we ever entered the picture.
Posted at 4:23 pm , on April 2, 2018
The St. Helena Chapel of Ease was built around 1740 to serve planters in St. Helena Parish who lived at great distances from the parish church in Beaufort. During the Civil War, Federal troops occupied St. Helena and the church was used by several of the Northerners who had come to the island to educate and train the freedmen. It was also used as a sanctuary by Methodist freedmen as early as 1868. The chapel of ease was burned by a forest fire in February 1886 and was never repaired.