Abandoned bottles, cans 'insult' to Parish Church of St. Helena

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Abandoned bottles, cans 'insult' to Parish Church of St. Helena

By ERIN MOODY
emoody@beaufortgazette.com
Published Thursday, November 3, 2011   |  404 Words  |  

Like clockwork, the bottle of King Cobra or can of Schlitz Malt Liquor appears almost every afternoon by the Parish Church of St. Helena Church in Beaufort.

"It's obviously directed at the church because it's always in the same place, and it's between the church and the cemetery," neighbor and church member Roy Flannagan said. "It's a calculated insult, not to me, but to the church."

Almost every weekday for the past year or so, someone has left a partially full beer can or bottle near the intersection of King and Church streets, just outside the church cemetery, grounds manager Frank Fagan said.

The bottle or can appears at about 2 or 3 p.m., always in the same space between a yellow plastic utility cable and a dogwood tree. It's usually upright and sometimes still cold, as if Fagan was just minutes behind the culprit.

"I've poured enough beer out here that I'm surprised there's any grass still growing," he said.

Fagan, Flannagan or resident George Trask, who frequently walks through the area, usually pick up the cans and bottles.

"I'm not really vengeful about prosecuting him, but I would like to try to explain to him he's creating work for someone else, and he's desecrating a place where people bury their dead," Flannagan said.

The church and cemetery have long, rich histories. According to the church website, it was established in 1712 and built in 1724, making it one of the oldest active churches in North America. In the churchyard and cemetery are notable Beaufort figures, including Beaufort founder and Indian fighter Col. John "Tuscarora Jack" Barnwell (1671-1724); Confederate generals Lieutenant General Richard Heron "Fightin' Dick" Anderson (1821-1879); and Brigadier Gen. Stephen Elliott Jr. (1830-1866).

Heron commanded divisions at Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and the Wilderness. Elliott was captain of the Beaufort Volunteer Artillery.

Someone briefly placed a sign in the area warning the litterbug to stop, but church employees said they removed the sign Thursday because of concerns it could attract more litter.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufort.

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