“A S.C. landmark building of beautiful proportions and historic character.”
91 Church Street
City Directories and History: The oldest building in town is Old St. David’s Church, which was built in 1768 as the parish church for the newly established St. David’s Parish. The Parish was named in honor of the Patron Saint of Wales, David, who was Bishop of Wales in the 6th century, since many of the early settlers in this part of the Pee Dee were Welsh. The church was known as Old Saint David’s long before there was a new St. David’s, located on Market Street. It was also known as the Old Bell Church, being the only one in the area with a bell. The first commissioners for St. David’s Parish were Claudius Pegues, Alexander McIntosh, George Hicks, Thomas Lide, Phillip Pledger, Charles Bedingfield, James James, Robert Weaver, James Thompson, Thomas Cranford, Thomas Poste, and Benjamin Pegues. McIntosh, James, and Allison declined to serve. The Vestrymen for the church were Claudius Pegues, Phillip Pledger, Charles Bedingfield, William Godfrey, Thomas Lide, Thomas Ellerbee and Thomas Bingham. The Wardens were Alexander Gardner and Benjamin Rogers. The clerk of the vestry and Parish was Durham Hitts. While the name St. David’s appears in this area for obvious reasons, it also appears frequently in Texas. The Rev. Alexander Gregg was called from St. David’s Parish to be the first Bishop of Texas, and he frequently suggested the name St. David’s for churches in his new diocese. There are no gravestones in the parish churchyard with dates prior to 1820, at which time steamboats began running to Cheraw, but known graves there date back to the Revolution. The Old Cheraws Chapter of the DAR has compiled a map and listing of all the graves in the cemetery up until 1976.
Inhabitants residing on the Pee Dee River in the parishes of St. Mark’s, Prince Frederick, and Prince George in Craven County, were granted a parish in 1768, St. David’s Parish. The name honors the patron saint of Wales, since so many of the residents of the area were Welsh. “A neat church was built at Cheraw Hill, now called Chatham, on the southwest side of the Peedee River, upon land given for the purpose by Ely Kershaw,” wrote Dr. Dalcho in 1820. It is a frame building, on a brick foundation, with a cove ceiling, and arched windows. It is now the only remaining frame Colonial church building of the former Church of England, now Episcopal Church, left in the state. Although occupied in both the American Revolution by British soldiers and in the War Between the States, first by Confederate and later by Federal troops, the fact that in both wars it was used as a hospital, probably accounts for it not having been destroyed or burned.
(Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC)
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IMAGE GALLERY via photographer Bill Segars – 2007
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