Revolutionary grave markers of St. Helena Churchyard

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Revolutionary grave markers of St. Helena Churchyard

By GERHARD SPIELER
Published Tuesday, July 10, 2001 in The Island Packet  |  914 Words  |  /BeaufortGazette/local_news

Readers of last week's column may have missed the last portion, which was devoted to Revolutionary War grave markers and memorials in St. Helena Churchyard. One such grave marker, inside a brick enclosure near the new parish house, is actually part of an old Presbyterian church burial ground. The column ended with mention of the marker to two British officers who were killed Feb. 3, 1779, at the battle of Grays Hill. '<b>Barnwell family graves</b> 'Stephen B. Barnwell, in his book <i>Story of an American Family</i>, stated about Gen. John Barnwell and his wife that "both were buried in St. Helena's Churchyard." A 1931 churchyard survey mentioned "broken stone - illegible" in the section next to his wife. The broken stone is no longer in evidence, but in 1931, it was most likely the last remaining vestige of Gen. John Barnwell's grave. 'The Barnwell family was so closely connected with the history of St. Helena's Church and so many of its sons and daughters were buried in its churchyard that one must look closer in connections with the American Revolution. 'Capt. John Barnwell (later general), together with a number of his brothers, were active in the struggle for independence. They participated in the battle of Port Royal, or Grays Hill, Feb. 3, 1779; they were members of the Beaufort Artillery which dated its origin back to 1775. John Barnwell was promoted to the rank of brigadier general of militia near the closing years of the war, causing a minor crisis in the ranks and at least one resignation by an officer who felt that he had been slighted. 'The end of the war found John Barnwell a general; Edward Barnwell promoted to lieutenant colonel and another brother, Robert, a captain in the artillery. In November 1781, he signed the articles with the British, providing for the surrender of Beaufort to American forces, ending an occupation which had lasted for two years. 'It is uncertain at this time how many of the Barnwells who participated in the War for Independence were buried in St. Helena's Churchyard. Even the 1931 listing of graveyard inscription does not furnish satisfactory answers. Two hundred years of storms, war and vandalism have destroyed many of the older grave markers. '<b>Capt. John Joyner</b> 'In the Joyner family plot, a large, rectangular stone marker, leaning against one tabby wall, has three inscriptions. One of them is that of Capt. John Joyner, of South Carolina's navy in the Revolution: "Here Rest/ in the Hope of a Blessed Immortality/ Capt. John Joyner,/ Obt. Mar. 7th 1796/ Aet 76/ Ann Wigg/ his wife/ Obt. 1814/ Aet 77." 'Capt. John Joyner served South Carolina at sea throughout most of the American Revolution. In 1775, he helped in the capture of a British ship off Tybee, Ga., loaded with badly needed gunpowder. Later, the powder was divided between Georgia and South Carolina and a portion was sent by South Carolina to Gen. George Washington's army besieging Boston. '<b>Maj. John LaBoularderie deTreville</b> 'At his death in 1791, Maj. John LaBoularderie deTreville was buried at his plantation (now part of the Marine Corps Air Station) north of Beaufort. A commemorative obelisk was erected in the deTreville plot of St. Helena's Churchyard with the following inscription: '"A memorial to Major John La LaBoularderie deTreville. Born 1742, Louisbourg, N.S. Died 1791 Beaufort, S.C. Lieut. of Grenadiers under Marquis de Granby, seven Years' War. Married 1778, Sarah Wilkinson, Beaufort, S.C. Wounded at Battle of Savannah. Member Society of the Cincinnati. He was truly a good husband, father and friend." '<b>Maj. William Hazzard Wigg</b> 'The memorial tablet, near the front of St. Helena's Episcopal Church reads in part: "In Memory...of the Wigg Family of St. Helena's Parish." It includes the name of "Major William Hazzard Wigg, Vestry 1773-1798." 'At the beginning of the American Revolution, William Hazzard Wigg was a captain in the S.C. Artillery. He saw action in the East Florida Campaign, also at Coosawhatchie and Stono River, followed by the sieges of Savannah and Charleston. 'A July 12, 1994, article in <i>The Beaufort Gazette</i> by this writer mentioned that "it is not known where Major William Hazzard Wigg was buried. The obituary in a newspaper of Dec. 24, 1818, in Charleston stated Died, on the 8th instant, in the town of Beaufort, in the 64th year of his age, Major William Hazzard Wigg ... only son of Capt. Hazzard Wigg, the descendant of one of the first settlers of Port Royal Island.' His military service was reviewed in a long eulogy." In view of his death in the town of Beaufort and his connection with St. Helena's Church, it is likely that he was buried in St. Helena's Churchyard. '<b>William Elliott II</b> 'The stone marker of William Elliott II (1761-1808) mentions "this country saw him in the field/ in early youth/ ...A Soldier." He was the eldest son of William Elliott and Mary Barnwell. In <i>The History of the Parish Church of St. Helena,</i> historian Larry Rowland relates: '"William Elliott II was a veteran of the American Revolution. He was captured by the British at the fall of Charleston and imprisoned. He was one of the Beaufort Militia who were involved in the Battle of John's Island, where he was wounded ...."