Along Old Sheldon Church Road stands the ruin of what was once known as Prince William’s Parish Church in Yemassee, South Carolina. Now it goes by the name of the Old Sheldon Church Ruins. Built between 1745 and 1753 it witnessed mundane family celebrations as well as history making events, so it is not surprising that it has a reputation for being haunted.
Colonel William Bull, owner of the Newberry Plantation adjacent to the grounds helped in its design and construction.
In 1778, Savannah fell to the British army and the fleeing colonists took refuge there.
In 1779, British soldiers or the colonists still loyal to the English king burned it down during the Revolutionary War. Over 30 years later in 1826 the parishioners rebuilt it, but it’s fate was tied to the vagaries of war and the army of Wiliam Tecumseh Sherman vandalized the interior. The nearby residents finished gutting it in order to rebuild their homes that were burned by Sherman’s army.
As was the custom, prominent citizens were buried on the grounds. A few of the tombstones still stand, but most have since disappeared under the years of leaves from the majestic oaks.
Spanish moss drapes down over what is left of the church and it has stories of different hauntings, especially one describing a woman in a simple, Pilgrim-style gown standing over an infant’s grave. She is accompanied by a feeling of sorrow.
Many believe this is the ghost of Ann Matilda Bull Maxcy Heyward (1813-1851). A member of the Heyward family signed the Declaration of Independence.
There are reports of heavy footsteps and lights flashing in the distance that cannot be explained. Another ghost is an apparition of girl in a white dress sighted outside the property.
The following are different encounters by those visiting the ruins.
In October 2005, I was on my way from Charleston to Savannah and turned off Route 17 to go see the graveyard and ruins. This was 10 a.m. and I was wearing dark clothes. It was an Indian summer, and I felt a chill in the air, but it was still a gorgeous day.
Following this article are some other stories of haunted sites in the Low Country
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by Marlene Pardo Pellicer