Founded in 1808, Christ Church did not build a permanent house of worship until 1820, due largely to economic troubles stemming from the War of 1812. The first structure stood until the Civil War, when Union troops damaged it so badly that members were forced to meet in their homes until the present structure was built in 1884.
The interior of Christ Church is breathtaking. Shipbuilders built the new cruciform church to resemble an inverted ship’s hull, symbolic of the ship of faith There are various stained glass windows throughout.
One of two windows in the vestibule of Christ Church dedicated to the rector of the present structure, this one features the original antebellum church, as well as the present structure. The other window is dedicated to Anson Greene Phelps Dodge, who established the Dodge Home for Boys (1895-1956) and endowed the All Saints Cathedral in Allahabad, India, 1884. Other windows, including one made by Tiffany Studios, feature typical but beautifully rendered Christian iconography.
Christ Church Cemetery, Frederica
The church and graveyard are among the most visited and beloved places on St. Simons. It’s the final resting place of many Georgia pioneers and veterans of nearly every war dating from the American Revolution onward. The following photos represent just a small sampling of the cemetery.
Lewellin Harris (1742? – 15 December 1808)
Ann Harris (1759? – 17 April 1815)
This stone is erected by Henry Allen & John Benjamin Harris, to the memory of their Father, Lewellin Harris, an Old & respectable Inhabitant of St. Simons Island, who departed this transitory life on said Island Dec. 15, 1808, Aged 66. Also Their Mother Ann Harris, wife of Lewellin Harris, who departed this life on the same Island, April 17, 1815, Aged 56.
The Hazzard family owned West Point and Pike’s Bluff plantations on St. Simons. This tabby mausoleum is one of the most interesting gravesites in Christ Church cemetery. The date A. D. 1813 is inscribed on a bronze marker at the foot of the mausoleum and is a bit mysterious. This history of the Hazzards was written by Carey C. Giudici: The Hazzard family was one of the Island’s most colorful families. Originally from South Carolina, Revolutionary War veteran Colonel William Hazzard moved to the area and purchased West Point in 1818. This plantation, just north of Frederica, became the home of Hazzard’s oldest son Colonel William Wigg Hazzard. Nine years later the younger son, Dr. Thomas Fuller Hazzard bought the Pike’s Bluff property that adjoined West Point to the north. The family now owned much of the north end of St. Simons Island. Very active in church activities, they also served as representatives to Georgia’s House of Representatives, enjoyed competing in their racing boats Shark and Comet, and frequently went hunting with their pack of deer hounds. Both were also noted writers; William Wigg Hazzard’s 1825 history of Glynn County is still in print. In 1838 a boundary dispute resulted in Dr. Thomas Hazzard shooting a young neighbor, John Armstrong Wylly. Tradition has it that although Dr. Hazzard was acquitted of any crime, the family was so ostracized by the other planter families that they built their own family chapel on West Point–which became known as “The Pink Chapel” because of the lichen-based discoloration on its tabby walls. Colonel Hazzard’s son, Captain William Miles Hazzard, commanded the local Confederate Army detachment during the Civil War. With nine troops and a slave named Henry, he burned the U.S. Navy headquarters on the occupied St. Simons.
Private Cyrus Dart (11 June 1764 – 29 June 1817)
Connecticut Continental Line, Revolutionary War. Drowned Off St. Simons Island.
Cyrus Dart was born in Haddon, Connecticut. In 1782, he enlisted as Private in the 1st Connecticut Regiment Continental Line and served for one year. After the Revolutionary War, he completed medical studies in Connecticut and in 1792 moved to Glynn County where he operated a medical practice in the town of Frederica. In 1796, Cyrus married Ann Harris and was appointed Surgeon in the U. S. Army, stationed at Coleraine in Camden County. In 1802 he resigned from the Army and was appointed Quarantine Officer for the Port of Brunswick and served in that position until his death. The untimely accident that took his life at age 53 was caused when his rowboat capsized as he and his son, Urbanus, were enroute to inspect an inccoming vessel. (Source: Marshes of Glynn Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution)
Sarah Frewin (1811? – 25 October 1824)
Daughter of James & Elizabeth Frewin, aged 13 years.
Oak & Acorn Garland, Headstone of John Couper, one of many Coupers who worshiped here. Couper’s Point, sight of St. Simons Light, was deeded to the U. S. by John Couper in 1804 for the construction of a lighthouse.
Major William Page (2 January 1764 – 12 January 1827)
William Page was born at Page’s Point, Prince William Parish, South Carolina. His father, Thomas Page, sided with the Loyalists in the American rebellion. When he died in 1780, his son joined Francis Marion to fight in the irregular combat in the South Carolina countryside. As a result, the Tories burned his house at Page’s Point. In 1781, he married Hannah Timmons. After the war, William Page moved to Georgia and in 1804 purchased land on St. Simons Sound, which he named “Retreat”. In total, the Retreat Plantation exceeded 2000 acres; and on it he grew prized long-staple cotton. In 1808, he became a major in the 7th Battalion of the Glynn County Militia, a position he held for the rest of his life. (Source: Marshes of Glynn Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution)
Captain Alexander Campbell Wylly (1759? – 31 May 1833)
A Georgia Historical Commission Marker regarding Captain Wylly Road on nearby Jekyll Island explains the two Captain Wyllys:
There were two Captain Wyllys in the history of Jekyll. It is believed the road was named for Charles Spalding Wylly (1836- 1923), Captain in the Confederate Army, 1st Georgia Regulars, a descendant of Clement Martin, who was granted, on April 5, 1768, Jekyll Island by the Crown. His grandfather, Captain William Campbell Wylly (born at Belfast, Ireland), remaining loyal to the British General Provost crossed the St. Marys and marched on Savannah. After the Revolution he moved to Nassau and was made Governor of New Providence. In 1807 he returned to Georgia, lived first on Jekyll, then St. Simons. Captain Alexander Campbell Wylly was born in Belfast in 1759, moving to Savannah from there.
Captain Charles Spalding Wylly
Henrietta Stevens (Mrs. John C.) Currie (28 February 1855 – 15 April 1937)
Eugenia Price (22 June 1916 – 28 May 1996)
World-famous for her historical novels set on the Georgia coast in the early days of white settlement, Eugenia Price was largely responsible for the national attention Christ Church has received in the ensuing years. My mother has always been a big fan of her writing. From the Lighthouse trilogy and the Georgia trilogy to the Florida trilogy and the Savannah quartet, most of her books are still in print or readily available on the coast, especially on St. Simons.