Thursday, February 6, 2014
George Dangerfield says he’s just playing. He sits on a Caterpillar excavator and removes cut down trees near the St. James Goose Creek Chapel of Ease.
Dangerfield is volunteering his time to cleaning up stumps and making burn piles. This will make room for a parking lot and trail leading to the graveyard and former chapel.
The St. James Chapel of Ease Historical Site committee bought the site in 2013 for about $104,000.
Goose Creek Mayor Michael Heitzler recently talked about the historical site with The Gazette.
The Chapel of Ease is located off Old Highway 52 between Goose Creek and Moncks Corner. The community is known as “22” because it is 22 miles from Charleston, Heitzler said.
The chapel served residents in the area because the St. James Goose Creek Church, located off Vestry Lane in Goose Creek, was six miles away and the parish was too big, Heitzler said.
Dangerfield said the trail he’s making will lead from the parking lot to the chapel foundation ruins, going behind a pond. This will cut down traffic on a driveway that currently leads to the foundation. It will also keep visitors away from nearby residences.
The parking lot should be able to accommodate tour buses, Dangerfield said. The clearing process is expected to take another seven to eight months.
“My ancestors are back there,” he said, referring to the graveyard.
His ancestors are the Lynes family, which goes back five or six generations.
“My dad brought me here in the 1960s,” Dangerfield said.
The cross-shaped Chapel of Ease was built in the 1700s. All that remains today is the brick foundation, covered in leaves, and numerous tombstones.
During a 1715 battle, settler George Chicken defeated Indians who attacked him. Chicken built a fort on the site, Heitzler said.
Heitzler said the non-profit committee hopes to open the site on June 13, 2015, which marks the 300th anniversary of the Indian attack.
The parish was 30 miles wide and seven miles long. This was too big for everyone to attend one church, Heitzler said. The minister would rotate between the main church and the Chapel of Ease.
It was a six-mile route from the main church to the Chapel of Ease. The route followed what is today St. James Avenue, to Old Moncks Corner Road and Old Highway 52.
There were no more Anglicans at the church during the Revolutionary War, around which time the original chapel was burned down. Bethlehem Baptist Church was built on the site in the 1880s but was moved four miles down the road.