Sunday, July 31, 2005

Charleston Universalists

Taken from the now gone SCUniversalist website, written and (c) by me

the majority of historic Universalism in South Carolina was in the rural northwest....... except Charleston! Like most of the other unwritten south Carolina history, much of the facts and documents of history were lost during the 1860s. We know that Richard Clarke, pastor of St. Phillips (an Anglican Church) preached universalism in the late 1750s. (this per Stephen Smith of NY in the 1840s). In 1824 a society of "Biblicial Universalists" was formed in 1827 the "Association of Universalists in Charleston" was founded with weekly meetings. In 1829 they became the "Primitive Apostolic Church of Trinitarian Universalists in the City of Charleston"In 1830, they changed the name to "the First Universalist Society"In 1832, they bought a building site in Charleston In 1838 the building was completed In 1856 the church building was sold. (this building no longer exists) In 1869 the remaining church funds were lent to the Unitarian Church (which was founded in the 1810s).Preachers included Paul Dean (winter of 1830-1831) leader of the Restorationists and last well known Trinitarian Universalist minister, L.F.W. Andrews c1835 THEOPHILUS FISK c1836. Albert Case (1839-1844), Maxey B. Newell (1853-), at this point, we know of only one member of the Church Dr. John L.E.W. Shecut (1770-1836) who founded the Association in 1827, and had the weekly meetings in his office. Dr. Shecut was born in Beaufort SC to French Heuginot parents. He studied medicine in Philadelphia between 1786-1791 under Dr. Benjamin Rush ( a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Universalist. Indeed it was at this time, that Rush and former SC resident and noted Universalist preacher Elhanan Winchester were corresponding frequently). Shecut moved to Charleston in 1791, where he practiced medicine until his death. He married Susanna Ballard of Georgetown in 1805. He founded in 1813 what became the Literary and philosophical Society of South Carolina. He founded in 1808 the South Carolina Homespun company - the first cotton mill in South Carolina (and one of the first in the south). He wrote several well known (at the time) books on medicine and botany.

(later I wrote in response to Neil C. ):

the dates come from Russell Miller's THE LARGER HOPE Volume 1. The typos and the list of ministers come from my research - and let me add that LFW Andrews was the pastor in 1835-1836. THEOPHILUS FISK was apparently there at least in June 1836 - when he develivered a speech there (which was printed in booklet form - as "bulwark of Freedom" and reprinted in 1860 as "the National Crisis"). He was also in Charleston in July 1837 lecturing on banking reform (and was the victim of an anti-reform mob violence).
J.F.L.W. Shecut was mentioned in Miller's book. Standard SC biographies give his history. Including the Rush connection. Knowledge of Universalist history gives me the Rush Universalist connection! Thomas Jefferson's letters includes one letter to Shecut; thanking him for an award - and giving him plant (and seeds?) to try out. a search for shecut)

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