City Directories and History: One of the oldest Baptist churches in the South Carolina Upcountry, Horn Creek was incorporated in 1790. Today it is one of the few remaining meeting house style churches in the area reflecting austere simplicity and manifesting frugality of early settlers. The one-roomed church is supported by fieldstone foundation piers and has wooden steps leading to two front doors that are hinged to fold in the center. A door behind the pulpit leads to a creek for baptizing. The church’s adjoining cemetery has excellent iron work including a cast iron gate at the Bettis plot which has a design that incorporates a Palmetto tree flanked by lambs and roses. A wooden fence next to the Bettis plot surrounds fieldstone markers. Revolutionary War activity in the Horn Creek area included a 1781 skirmish in which patriot Captain Thomas Kee of Colonel Leroy Hammond’s regiment, attacked a Tory party under Captain Clark. Clark was killed and the entire company was made prisoners. Listed in the National Register May 6, 1971.
(Courtesy of South Carolina Department of Archives and History)
The Great Awakening was sweeping into the American colonies in the 1730’s and 40’s. The evangelical revival was prevalent in the South, and is evidenced by places like Horns Creek Baptist Church in Edgefield. Horns Creek was constituted in 1768, and the church was built in 1790 that today is one of the oldest remaining Baptist churches in South Carolina.
The property itself is near the site of a 1781 Revolutionary War skirmish where a band of British-loyal “Tories” were defeated and captured. The church built soon after is a reflection of the rural backcountry, with a meeting-house styled one-room structure. The door directly behind the pulpit leads to a creek for baptizing, and the interior is uniquely (see photos) decorated by ceiling paintings. The cemetery flanks one side of the church, and boasts incredible iron work and the crumbling headstones of some of Edgefield’s first families.
Horns Creek’s interior is now all but collapsing, and the buildling is located down an isolated and rarely navigable clay road. It is not accessible to visitors, and patrolled regularly to prevent vandalism. Though in desperate need of repair, Horn’s Creek still stands testament to the faith and the turbulence experienced living in South Carolina before and after the Revolutionary War (at least for now). [Courtesy of the SCNHC Program]
Other historic sites to visit: Horn Creek Church
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