Dr. Simmons’ U.S. history class recently took a trip to Prince Frederick’s Episcopal Chapel, better known to Georgetown residents as “Old Gunn Church.” The ruins of this church represent the final structure to serve as the Episcopal church on the site, with the first church having built in 1721. Over the years the church was a house of worship for historic personages such as South Carolina delegate to the Continental Congress Thomas Lynch, South Carolina governor Joseph Alston, and South Carolina governor R.F.W. Allston. A new church was built on the site in 1835, and a third structure began construction in 1859. However, construction was delayed when the Civil War began, and by 1864 the project was stopped altogether due to the war. It was finally finished in 1876, though it was only occasionally used by residents to hold services. Eventually the church fell into a state of disrepair and ruin, and after it burned the church was demolished in 1966, leaving just the bell tower and front wall.
Many people today know it as “Old Gunn Church” because supposedly the contractor for the project, a Mr. Gunn, fell to his death while working on the roof. Since that time the church has been recognized as one of the area’s most haunted landmarks, and the ghost of Mr. Gunn is said to be seen walking around the belfry late on moonlit nights; visitors to the site have reportedly heard ghostly choirs singing and seen ethereal figures moving around the graveyard.
While TGS students didn’t see any ghosts, they did enjoy taking a closer look at a part of the rich history of Georgetown County!