The church of the Holy Cross started out in 1770 as a chapel of ease. These are chapels built to save people from having to travel to the main church often located far away, in this case St Mark’s church in Pinewood. The sign on the grounds states that the church was granted a charter in 1778 as the episcopal church of Claremont.
It was rebuilt in 1850 on the site of the old one and was renamed to the Church of the Holy Cross. It showcases a Gothic Revival design. One of its unique characteristics is that its walls are made of pise de terre (rammed earth) making it resistant to earthquakes. It was architected by the renowned Edward C. Jones of Charleston, SC.
The church was added to the National Register of Historic places on November 7th, 1973.
It is located in Stateburg near Sumter, SC. A large and old cemetery is located on the grounds. I wandered around the markers reading the names of people who lived hundreds of years ago. Joel R. Poinsett is buried there. He was “a U.S. Congressman, Minister to Mexico, Secretary of War, and first president of the forerunner of the Smithsonian Institution, who is best remembered for bringing the poinsettia flower to this country from Mexico”. Poinsett State park is named after him. The church is still in use today.