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Christ Church : St. Simon's Island,Georgia Historical Site
Spanish Moss and English Influence
There are some historical sites which barely manage to interest the visitors long enough to appreciate their worth during America’s founding. But there are also those special places which seem to exude a sense of reverence for those who dared to settle in the New World. It is not often that the surroundings of the historical site lends credibility to the present landmark. But it does occasionally happen.
Nestled beneath the mossy live oaks on the north end of St. Simon’s Island, a most wonderful structure lends itself to the sense of serenity the scene invokes in those fortunate enough to visit this inspiring site. Christ Church has a long, and sometimes rocky, history. The Church of England formed the first congregation in 1736 as a mission to the King’s new colony of Georgia.
History and Harmony
The Church is Founded
The Reverend Charles Wesley preached the first sermon to the members at Ft. Frederica. Charles Wesley, also known as the founder of Methodism, was also James Oglethorpe’s clerk.
Along with his brother John, he attempted to exert religious influence upon the new settlements of Savannah and Fort Frederica. they seemed to be on their own personal mission for God
They were often not as successful as they would like, causing strife among the colonists on various occasions. John eventually was forced to leave Savannah under cover of darkness to avoid being detained in a lawsuit.
His "holier than thou" attitude did not gain him many friends in the rugged wilderness of Georgia and instead, became the catalyst for his quick escape to flee charges against him by some of his former parishioners.
But the church itself survived and thrived over the course of the next 200+ years. Even though the original structure did not survive, the present church still has lots of history to reveal to those interested.
Today, it sits as an example of the early colonists attempts to keep the faith, even though the times would prove difficult for them and their ancestors.
Its simplistic beauty gives a feeling of peace and serenity with the backdrop of ancient live oaks giving witness to its wonderful past.
Exploring the Grounds
A Place of History and Fame
Located within walking distance to Fort Frederica, Christ Church became a stalwart reminder of the sacrifices our early settlers made to begin a new life in this wilderness.
It was important to have something material to remind them the rest of the world was carrying on as usual, that they were doing their part in living a righteous life. It served this purpose well and still does today.
This quiet, almost mysterious, establishment lends itself to memories and thoughts of centuries past. The simple wood crafted structure and its contents seem to be full of the ghosts of former members.
Not in a haunting manner of course, but as if the former occupants had left some small part of their being permanently embedded into the very substance of the church itself. As no doubt, many managed to do.
This exquisite reminder of the beginnings of what would one day be called “the old south,” is also famous because of the wonderful books penned by Eugenia Price.
Her best selling novels--based on the lives of actual St. Simon's residents--chronicled the lives of many of Christ Church members and their offspring.
The story of St. Simons Island is revealed through the eyes of the most important families in the area. Love, war, death, history, everything possible happened on this beautiful mysterious island. Eugenia's books add life to the scenes you see here.
Ranging from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War, her tales about the most prominent island families have thrilled generations of southern readers.
I highly recommend her books for those who wish to get a real feel of the "Old South."
Christ Church Cemetary
Experience Christ Church At Its Best
Try to visit Christ Church during the week for the best experience, when the grounds are deserted and no voices spoil the effect of solitude. When the breeze whispers through the ancient oaks and the Spanish moss begins its eternal dance, history makes its presence known. Perhaps other spirits are there as well.
Walk among the graves and read the names of now famous characters who helped form the beginnings of our wonderful country. It is true, real history is stranger, and more wonderful, than fiction. But in rare cases, they are almost identical in meaning.
Other Nearby Historical Sites
Eugenia Price and St Simons Island
The history of St. Simons Island Georgia is brought to life by the best selling author of Beloved Invader, New Moon Rising, and Lighthouse. Eugenia Price's mixture of history and fiction brings the island back to life with the stories and lives of real people who settled this part of Georgia both before and after the Civil War.
Understanding the "Old South" and it's beginnings is made easier by reading her accounts of Georgia's earliest plantation families. Love, honor, valor, and tragedy, are skillfully accounted for in these wonderful books. Tales such as these are rare indeed!