St. Helenas Parish, South Carolina

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United States Gotoarrow.png South Carolina Gotoarrow.png St. Helena's Parish



For an excellent brief history, see the parish's History - St. Helenas 1712.

From about 1740 to 1886, St. Helena's Parish also had a chapel of ease on Lands End Road.[1]

Before the American Revolution, the state church of South Carolina was the Church of England (also called the Anglican Church, and later the Protestant Episcopal Church). Besides keeping parish registers, the church kept many records of a civil nature in their vestry books. The Vestry was as much a political body as a religious one. The wardens and commissioners were responsible for the roads, education, the poor and orphans, voting and collecting taxes in addition to their church duties.[2]


St. Helena's Parish (Beaufort, Beaufort, SC) was created in 1712 on islands at the eastern tip of Granville County.[3]


Borders: St. Bartholomew's, and since 1745 Prince William, from 1747 to 1767 St. Peter's, and since 1767 St. Luke's parishes.[3][4] For a map, see: Early parishes in South Carolina. An overlay of districts is available at

Areas Served: St. Helena's Parish served:

Modern equivalents: The original parish covered part of what is present-day Beaufort County.[3]



  • "Inscriptions from St. Helena Churchyard, Beaufort, South Carolina," The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr., 1931):131-147; Vol. 32, No. 3 (Jul. 1931):205-237. FHL Collection 975.7 B2s v. 32 (1931); digital version at JSTOR ($).

Hundreds of graves at St. Helena's are described at Find A Grave. Includes transcripts and select photographs.

Parish History

  • Baumhofer, Hermine Munz, "Economic Changes in St. Helena's Parish, 1860-1870," The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol. 50, No. 1 (Jan., 1949):1-13. Digital version at JSTOR ($).
  • History Committee, St. Helena's Episcopal Church. The History of the Parish Church of St. Helena, Beaufort, South Carolina. Beaufort, S.C.: The History Committee and the Vestry of St. Helena's Episcopal Church, 1990.

For an early history of the parish, see Chapter 22, St. Helena's Parish, Beaufort, pages 375-381, in:

  • Dalcho, Frederick. An Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina from the First Settlement of the Province, to the War of the Revolution; with Notices of the Present State of the Church in Each Parish and Some Account of the Early Civil History of Carolina, Never Before Published. Charleston: E. Thayer, 1820. FHL Film 22657; digital versions at Google Books; Internet Archive.

Parish Records

Parish Registers

"An explanation of the way in which this register was saved during the Confederate War, may be of interest. Capt. Edward Barnwell for many years warden of St. Helena's Parish had it in his possession when he died in 1860. When Beaufort was evacuated in November 1861, his widow, Mrs. Sarah Caroline Barnwell (born Richardson) took it with her, preserved it during the war, and after it was over sent it to Mr. Robert Barnwell Rhett, Editor of the Charleston Mercury at his request, to allow him to obtain certain information about his family. He kept it until he removed to Huntsville, Ala., and left it with the Charleston Library Society. Some years afterwards, at the request of the Vestry, it was returned to them."[7]

In 1951, FamilySearch microfilmed a typescript of the parish register: FHL Film 23296 Abstracts have been published:

  • Barnwell, Joseph W. and Mabel L. Webber. "St. Helena's Parish Register," [1752-year], The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Jan. 1922):8-25; Vol. 23, No. 2 (Apr. 1922):46-71; Vol. 23, No. 3 (Jul. 1922):102-151; Vol. 23, No. 4 (Oct. 1922):171-204. Digital version at JSTOR ($).

Barnwell and Webber's reading of the marriage register was also reprinted:

  • Holcomb, Brent H. and Thomas L. Hollowak. South Carolina Marriages, 1688-1799. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1980. FHL Book 975.7 V2hsc v. 1
  • Holcomb, Brent H. and Thomas L. Hollowak. South Carolina Marriages, 1800-1820. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981. FHL Book 975.7 V2hsc v. 2

The following registers have been indexed in the International Genealogical Index:[8]

Church Baptisms Batch Marriages Batch
St. Helena's Parish 1683-1822 C506581 1683-1822 M506581
Vestry Books

The vestry books have been published:



  1. Chapel of Ease, The Historical Marker Database, accessed 17 February 2011.
  2. "The Formation of Counties in South Carolina," at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History website, accessed 21 January 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "South Carolina Counties and Parishes - 1760" [map] in Carolana at (accessed 26 May 2011).
  4. 4.0 4.1 "South Carolina Districts and Parishes - 1770" [map] in Carolana at (accessed 26 May 2011).
  5. "South Carolina Districts and County - 1785" [map] in Carolana at (accessed 26 May 2011).
  6. "South Carolina Districts - 1800" [map] in Carolana at (accessed 26 May 2011).
  7. Joseph W. Barnwell and Mabel L. Webber, "St. Helena's Parish Register," The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol. 23, No. 4 (Oct. 1922):204.
  8. Hugh Wallis, IGI Batch Numbers for South Carolina, USA, accessed 14 September 2010.