Estill Area Landmarks

Estill Methodist Church
methodist churchIn 1901, new residents to Estill were distressed to find that their new home did not have a place of worship within the settlement of that time.  The congregations met together occasionally at a little school house which had once been the “Old St. Peter’s” Methodist church.  This building originally stood on a bluff near the Winthrop Place.  It had been moved into the new settlement in 1894, and placed on the present site of the Bailey and Walter Theus residences.  It was to this building that the people of the community went, upon occasion, to hear a sermon from some itinerant preacher, or an invited evangelist.  There was no church here, neither Methodist nor Presbyterian.  There was the Lawtonville Baptist Church in the country, and the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, out even further in the country, but neither of these was close enough to answer the combined needs of their congregation and these other groups who wanted to worship in their own manner.

In 1902, members of the community began gathering in the home of Janie Boyd Rhodes and her husband, Julian E. Rhodes on Sunday evenings for cottage prayer meetings.  At one of these meetings she asked, “Why can’t we build a little chapel to worship our God as we would like, in surroundings set aside for that sacred purpose?”  The Methodists who were present in the group would journey back and forth to Lebanon Methodist Church near Scotia once or twice a month to worship.  Since travel in those days meant a long, freezing ride in winter, or an equally long, hot, blistering ride in summer by horse and buggy, these Methodist were enthusiastic to have a Methodist church here.  Although there were those present that night who felt that this was surely a foolish and extravagant idea; that it would cost too much, that it would entail too much sacrifice, God was working in the hearts of the people.  There were enough Christians present that night to begin to plan to actually build a Methodist church for the Estill community.

Dr. W.M. O’Neal and his daughter, Mrs. W.C. Johnson, members from Lebanon Church near Scotia, gave the deeds and titles for the site of the present church and parsonage to the group for their new church home.  Finally after many hardships and discouragements, their faith received dividends when the little church began to go up in 1908.  After the building was completed, they found that they still owed a deficit of $1,800.  It took several years before this debt could be resolved and the church could be dedicated.  In 1909, the evangelist Mr. Yarboro came to Estill Methodist Church and was instrumental in getting a few ladies to join the congregation.  These fine ladies helped spear-head a plan to obtain a piano for the sanctuary to help out with the services.  Several years later, when the debt had been fully paid, the church was formally dedicated by Rev. Walter I. Herbert, the presiding Elder, during the pastorate of Rev. J.R. Copeland.

* Excerpts from History of the Estill Methodist Church

Estill Presbyterian Church

signSometime in 1898, nine members of the Estill and Lawtonville communities felt called by God to establish a Presbyterian Church in Estill, South Carolina.  

Founding Members
Jennie Pocahontas ,  Laffitte Clarke, Caroline Barnes Lawton, T.A. Mullryne, Ann Helen, Clarke Lawton, Edward Holbrook Wyman, Jr.,  Susan Frampton Solomons, DeLacy Evelyn Wyman, John Lawton Clarke, Winborn Asa,  Lawton Clarke    

These nine people approached the Committee on Ministry of Charleston Presbytery with the request for the establishment of Estill Presbyterian Church.  The minutes of Charleston Presbytery 1898 included the following: “The committee to organize a church in Estill, S.C. reported that it had been organized and it was directed that it be placed on the roll.” 

presbyAfter receiving sanction from the Charleston Presbytery, initial church services were held in a public school house which once stood at 162 Fourth Street East and on the corner lot of Lawton Avenue and Fourth Street.  The first church building was constructed in 1909 at 108 Clarke Avenue North on land given by Sumpter Mills Clarke, Sr.  This establishment date makes Estill Presbyterian Church the second oldest Presbyterian Church in Hampton County.  The total cost of the building was $3,000 and the church was dedicated on July 25, 1909.  The original church caught fire on March 18, 1934 during worship service.  In 1937, the shell of the present brick building, erected on the same spot as the first church, was ready for occupancy.  In 1997, the people of the church dedicated themselves to giving a ‘face-lift’ to the church building, not only in anticipation of the Centennial Celebration, but also in anticipation of another 100 years of Worship and service.

*Excerpts from “So Great a Cloud of Witnesses”, A Narrative History of Estill Presbyterian Church, 1898 – 1998, as Submitted by Lawton O’Cain, Elder

First Estill Baptist Church

1st baptistFirst Estill Baptist Church was organized in September 1890.  The Church was known as an offspring of Goodwill Baptist Church.

Deacon Alfred Smith,  Deacon Samuel Brown, Brother W.A. Washington,Brother W.M. Smith, Brother James Allen Smith, Sister Margaret Washington, Sister Lucinda Washington, Brother J.T. Smith, Sister Addie Smith    

These members chose as their pastor, Reverend Ben Hill

*Excerpts from History of First Estill Baptist Church, revised September 25, 2010

Lawtonville Baptist Church

babpist markerMarker Transcript:
"This Baptist Church, constituted in March 1775, was first situated on Pipe Creek in upper St. Peter's Parish near the Savannah River. Prior to 1836 it was moved to Lawtonville, where its building was as a hospital by Union Forces in 1865. Pipe Creek Church became Lawtonville in 1884. The church moved here in 1911 when the present building was erected."

Martin Temple C.M.E. Church

markerIn 1913, a small band of Christians gathered from time to time in the home of the late M.T. Fields, who lived inside the town limits of Estill.  They were joined by a few members from Macedonia and Sweet Bethel Churches in Allendale County.  Presiding Elder C.M. Blount and Rev. Johnson, who were serving the Hopewell Circuit, completed the organization.  Mr. M.H. O’Neal had a house for worship service which was made into a church room by Bro. Fields and Rev. J.W. Sease.  There were Sisters Lula Bess Smith, Euralee Fields Russell and Lucia Simpson Taylor.

signchurchAt the close of the 1914 Annual Conference, the Rev. W. Smith was assigned as Pastor of the Hopewell Circuit of which this church was a part.  Presiding Elder Blount, Bro. Fields, Sisters, Lilla Garvin, Mary Sease, Ellen Bryant, Anna Fields and Lula Smith purchased a lot in Estill facing what is now Estill Middle School.  The Annual Conference lent a helping hand in providing funds to erect the first building known as the Pleasant Grove C.M.E. Church.  Officers and members of Hopewell and Thompson Chapel helped to complete the building and bought the bell that hung in the tower for many years.

Another church structure was erected in 1948 under the Pastorate of Rev. A.O. Beechum.  During the year 1966, the church was repaired and decorated.  In 1976, the Church made a down payment on land for a new church.  On Sunday, August 16, 1987, after months of dedicated work of the Pastor, Rev. A.L. Scott, officers, members and friends held the Dedicatorial Services of Martin Temple C.M.E. Church.   On March 30, 2008, the Church held a mortgage burning ceremony to celebrate the retirement of the church mortgage.  The ceremony was presided over by the Bishop Right Reverend Thomas L. Hoyt and Presiding Elder Rev. Dr. Jimmy Gilbert.

*Excerpts from Martin Temple C.M.E. Church History

The Lawton House

The Lawton House was constructed in 1908 as the “in - Town” house for John Lawton, (1830 – 1908).  It was one of the first houses built in the new town of Estill, incorporated in 1905.  John Lawton was the owner of the Jericho Plantation in the Lawtonville Community; the predecessor of the Town of Estill.  In 1913, the Lawton House became a host for the Estill Book Club, a private literary club, that has met continuously since 1913 and became the impetus for the Estill Public Library.  The Classic Revival architecture structure was substantially renovated in 1947 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in July 2009.  John Lawton’s great granddaughter Lawton Clarke O’Cain has lived in the house many years and operated it as a Bed & Breakfast from 1984 – 2008.


The Estill Museum

Reconstructed 1st Estill Town Hall & Jail, dedicated April 22, 2010.

The War Memorial