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History of Plymouth Church

The history of Plymouth Church began with fellowship of Circular Church in downtown Charleston SC.Because of the tenor of the Civil War and the new-found freedom from slavery. The “colored” members of
Circular Church began to question whether to continue fellowship with Circular Church. In 1867, the “colored”members decided to leave and form their own church.

On January 20, 1867, a letter containing the names of one hundred and eight “colored” members requesting dismissal from Circular Church. On March 25, 1867, a resolution signed by the pastor and clerk of Circular Church was signed granting the severance of the 108 members.

The service of organization and recognition was held in the Military Hall on April 14, 1867. The business of getting a house of worship began and the church purchased a corner lot on Pitt and Bull Street in downtown Charleston. A church was built and dedicated on March 10, 1872.

In 1884, the church voted to remove the old frame church and build a parsonage and erect a modern parsonage. In 1886, a three-story building with modern conveniences of the day. Plymouth Church established the Tradd Street Mission which later became Battery Congregational Church. The church continued to work in the faith and be a leader in Charleston Negro community.

An organ was installed on May 3, 1922, the first hymn played was “Art Thou Weary?”; also, in 1922 the Plymouth Brotherhood wired the parsonage.

Plymouth Church has been e very since its inception been a part of the Civil Rights and Education of the Black citizens of Charleston SC., This is illustrated in a little know piece of Charleston history: After the death of Rev. Ledbetter in 1946 after months of discernment and hope a called was given to Rev. Jacob Dyer. Rev Dyer had a passion for the growth of labor unions and the progressive movement of the times. In 1948 during the candidacy of Henry Wallace for President; Rev. Dyer signed on to help. Among Candidate Wallace’s most high profile supporters was noted actor, singer, and athlete Paul Robeson. Mr. Robeson came to Charleston to campaign for Mr. Wallace; Mr. Robeson could not find accommodations in Charleston so he stayed with Rev. Dyer and family in the church’s parsonage at 32 Bull Street. Rev. Dyer was harassed by those who opposed Mr. Robeson’s views and that Rev, Dyer was a supporter of labor unions and progressive thought. What provoked Rev. Dyer’s departure from Charleston was an incident where; Rev. Dyer was walking in downtown Charleston with a labor organizer. As they strolled down the city street a car pulled up a man jumped out the car and without a word to either man shot the union organizer in front of Rev. Dyer. At that point Rev. Dyer fearing for the life of his family decided to leave Charleston.


Shepherds of Plymouth Church

Rev. F. L Cardoza (1861 – 1866)

Rev. E.W. Merritt ( May – Sept. 1867)

Rev. Benjamin F. Jackson (1867-1868)

Rev Giles Peace (1868 – 1869)

Rev J.T. Ford (1869 – 1874)

Rev S, M. Cole (1875 – 1876)

Rev W. G. Marts (1877- 1878)

Rev. Temple Cutler (1879 – 1880)

Rev. Edward T. Hooker (1881 – 1885)

Rev. George C. Rowe (1885 – 1887)

Rev. George Clark (1888 – 1904)

Rev. James P. Sims (1904 – 1910)

Rev. A. L. DeMond (1911 – 1920)

Rev. C. S. Ledbetter (1921- 1946)

Rev. Jacob Dyer (1947 – 1948)

Rev. John T. Enright (1950 – 1977)

Rev. James R. Fields (1977 – 2003)

Rev. Kathy Robinson- Nelson (2003 – 2010)

Pastor Ramon L. Washington (2011 – Present)