11/19/13 Tuesday at Yemassee, SC (The Oaks at Point South-TT/MA)
Not so organized this morning; needed to figure out where we wanted to go since we’d decided to go to Savannah, GA on the weekend instead of today because it’s parking is free then. Thus once we got our plans made, we were leaving around 10:40 am.
We went on a self guided walking tour of Beaufort (BYEW-fert) first. In the course of our walk we saw the Carriage Tour (even had someone stop his car to recommend we take it!) and used different buttons to indicate we wanted to cross the street-it made a loud beep when you pressed the silver part.
Mr. Lucky found a free parking spot near the United Methodist Church (traced to 1737-when John Wesley visited the city), so we started there.
Beaufort Arsenal (1798, rebuilt 1852) housed the Volunteer Artillery through WW II and is now the Visitor Center
Beth Israel Synagogue (1905)
Robert Smalls (1839-1915) Home and Monument. He was a slave, then hired out, becoming a ship’s captain. With those skills he piloted the “Planter” with his family and 12 more slaves to the Union Navy who gave him a reward for the “contraband” he gave them. He used the money to purchase the house where he was born. Eventually he became a Major General in the Navy, then South Carolina’s Senator, then a Congressman.
Tabernacle Baptist Church-formed by black members of the Beaufort Baptist Church, buying this property on their own to build their church.
George Parsons Elliot House
John Mark Verdier House ($10/person for restoration tour-no photos). Since we’ve seen quite a few old houses and they wouldn’t let me take photos we decided to just enjoy the free exhibit of Beaufort (advertised as the Civil War). Beaufort would flourish because of its agricultural riches and long growing season, then fall into poverty due to various reasons. One reason was they were the first southern town to fall into Union hands because they included Port Royal, one of the deepest natural harbors on the east coast. Cotton and Rice made some in the town wealthy in the good times. The cotton wreath was an exhibit at the Frampton House we saw yesterday. The Sweet Grass baskets are made by the native Gullah peoples, currently only in Mt. Pleasant, SC.
Lunch time so we found Palm and Moon Bagel Company (221 Scott St). Wonderful deli food. We highly recommend them. Reasonable prices. This is where we learned what the symbol with the palmetto tree came from. In 1775 Colonel Moultrie designed the South Carolina flag with a blue field (for blue uniforms) and crescent moon (maybe to represent the gorget-a breastplate worn by officers at that time). In 1860, when SC seceded they kept Moultrie’s flag and added a palmetto tree to signify their defense of the palmetto log fort (cannon couldn’t penetrate it) on Sullivan’s Island just 6 days before the Declaration of Independence was signed. Nowdays these are felt as peaceful, romantic representations: strong, humble palm and majestic quiet moon.
Waterfront Park, accessed from Scott St. with markers telling the history of Beaufort and a view of the bridge leading from Beaufort to Lady’s Island, where we went to Mass yesterday.
After lunch what could be a better desert than chocolate? So we brought our coupon for a free sand dollar chocolate at “The Chocolate Tree”. Yum. Excellent. ($17.00/lb). After wandering all around the store munching on our free chocolate we finally decided what to get: around 5/8 lb of dark chocolate sand dollars! They are known for their “Stocky Rockies” which are like Rocky Road covered with chocolate. This is excellent chocolate.
St. Peter Catholic Church-This Greek Revival church (1846) is the oldest Catholic Church in Beaufort. They closed it in 2006, determining that the foundation piers were not good. It was restored (via special fund drives and generous donors) in 2012. How lucky were we to come here when it was finished! Michael O’Connor (1798-1850) a native of Ireland who came here in 1822, built it and deeded the church and lot to the bishop. He and his wife are buried in the cemetery on the church grounds. Brickwork in the church walls as well as the brick wall around the property were built by Franklin Talbird who is also buried here. The brick wall was originally solid brick, so they think it was rebuilt in this lattice form to allow the wind to pass through and be less likely to knock it down. The Gothic Trefoil window was added in 1899. Though the parish moved to Lady’s Island in 1987 (where we attended Mass Sunday) this church has been used for special events since it was restored. They also have Mass here every Tuesday, with tours after. Again, we were so lucky to happen here on a Tuesday, after our lunch, thus around 1:30 pm. Three wonderful docents treated us to all sorts of information. The bricks in the ground in front of the church are the original bricks, after cleaning and regrouting. The last photo is O’Connor and his wife’s grave
Beaufort US National Cemetery-established in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln as the final resting place for soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War. It is one of the few that contains both Confederate and Union dead. Veterans continue to be buried here. Interestingly, today, the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, John saw a plaque giving that address here. The second photo is a close up of the walkway where they used crushed shells as filler for the concrete.
We came home to enjoy the best cheese hamburgers ever and Sand Dollar chocolates for desert. Wonderful ending to the best of days.