First Baptist Church
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There are a lot of places in South Carolina that can lay claim to being the cradle of secession. The first Ordinance of Secession was drawn up in Beaufort, while the first shots of the war were fired in Charleston.
But it was at the First Baptist Church (1306 Hampton St., 803/256-4251, www.fbccola.com) in Columbia where a state convention in December 1860 voted unanimously for South Carolina to leave the union. The 1856 Greek Revival structure was the only building in town large enough to hold the delegation at the time.
Confusingly even today, the first First Baptist Church was built in 1811 on Sumter Street. When the Yankees came to town looking for revenge, local lore has it that a quick-thinking African American deacon sent them down the street. So they mistakenly burned down the original edifice, leaving the actual site of the convention untouched.
Don’t look for any of this possibly embarrassing history on the church website. They’re too busy ministering and televising their very popular 10:30 a.m. Sunday service.
© Jim Morekis from Moon South Carolina, 4th Edition