Huguenot of St. Stephen's - Steven J. Coker
Subject: Huguenot of St. Stephen's
From: Steven J. Coker
Date: September 15, 1998

The Huguenots of Colonial South Carolina 
By Arthur Henry Hirsch, Ph.D.
1928, Duke University Press
reprinted 1962 by Archon Books
(pp 26-27)

St. Stephen's

   St. Stephen's parish was created by emigration from the parish of St. James
Santee. As a parish it was established in 1754, though it was recognized to be
the residence of numerous French families long before. Twenty years prior to the
emigration from St. James Santee, St. Stephen's was a garden spot of South
Carolina. The land was not liable to the sudden and frequent freshets so common
along the Santee. Dubose wrote of the region:

"The exceeding fertility of the soil rendered labor scarcely necessary to make a
wilderness of vegetable luxuriance; the quantity of decomposing matter and the
myriad of insects incident thereto with the abundant yield of seeds furnished by
the rank weeds and grass caused the poultry yard to teem with a well-fed
population and the pastures of crab-grass and cane poured into the dairies
streams of the richest milk. Nor were swine in abundance and countless fish of
the finest quality wanting to fill up the measure of the peoples' comforts.... I
have never listened to representations of comfort more perfect and exhuberant
than those often given me of the scenes which I am attempting to describe, by
those who had known them and loved them."[64]

   Such was the country that attracted the French of St. James Santee and
induced them to abandon their homes to seek a place more congenial to the growth
of indigo, then the chief source of their increasing wealth.[65] In a few years
it became the most thickly populated country area in the province. Milford
plantation, a tract of between 300 and 400 acres of swamp land and 100 acres of
high land, is an example indicative of the wealth of this section of the
province.[66] It was purchased before the American Revolution for 6,000 guineas
sterling by Samuel Cordes.
   Here lived the Porchers on plantation Mexico. The Marions lived at Belle
Isle. Between Belle Isle and the river road was the residence of Peter
Couturier. The Duboses, the Richebourgs, the Sinklers, the families of Porcher
and Cordes, the Peyres, the Dutarques, the Besseaus, and others, all of Huguenot
stock, made this their home.
   No Huguenot church was maintained there after 1706, but the vestry book of
St. Stephen's Parish, (1754 et seq.) and the South Carolina Gazettes indicate
that the French Protestants lived there and were affiliated as members and
officers of the Established Church.[67]

64 Dubose, Reminiscences of St. Stephen's Parish, 38.

65 Ibid., 40.

66 Ibid., 67.

67 MS St. Stephen's Vestry Bk., entry Apr. 20, 1767; Apr. 4, 1768; March 27,
1769; Apr. 23, 1764; May 19, 1767; May 31, 1754; Apr. 16, 1759; Apr. 8, 1765; S.
C. Gaz. Feb. 17, 1757; May 7, 1764; July 20, 1765. The following families were
well known: Villepontoux, Sinkler, Dubose, Richebourg, Gaillard, Peyre, Porcher,
Bonneau, Gignilliat, Simouét, Mouzon, Bochét, LeQuex, Boisseau, Couturier,
Cordes, and Marion.

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