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"S" is for St. Helena’s Parish

South Carolina from A to Z logo

"S" is for St. Helena’s Parish. On June 7th, 1712, the Commons House of Assembly passed an act designating all of the land between the Combahee and Savannah rivers [most of modern Beaufort and Jasper counties] as the parish of St. Helena. British settlers Anglicized the name given to the area by early Spanish settlers, Santa Elena. The area, however, did not grow substantially until after the Yamassee War. In 1724, the beautiful parish church was built in Beaufort. By 1767, three other parishes were carved out of St. Helena’s—so that the parish consisted of only Port Royal, Lady’s, and St. Helena islands. Indigo was the major cash crop before the Revolution, but after 1790 sea island cotton replaced it. The parish system was abolished in 1865 and St. Helena's Parish became part of Beaufort District.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.