St. Philip's Episcopal Church

The first Episcopal congregation, in what was then Henderson County and, in 1861 would become Transylvania County, met in Mr. Francis W. Johnstone’s stable.  The first Episcopal church was located on a site – which Mr. Johnstone had sold to the fledgling congregation for a token ten cents – which fronted on the Greenville Road near Dunn’s Rock.  Construction of the church, known as “The White Church” and named St. Paul’s-in-the-Valley, had begun in 1857 – in 1859 Bishop Thomas Atkinson recorded in his annual report “I preached in the recently erected church of St. Paul’s-in-the-Valley.” The building had pews for 120 persons with balcony seating for slaves and servants.  There were twelve acres of land and it had a burial site.  Rev. James S. Hanckle was the first and only rector until “the little white church” was closed some time after 1864. St. Paul’s-in-the-Valley was not to be revived.  The wreckage of civil war had destroyed the economy that sustained the summer colony which was the mainstay of that little white church.
Excerpted from St. Philip’s Episcopal Church: A History, by Jack Reak. No known photographs exist. 
A footnote: Mary Jane McCrary, in her 1959 book, The Goodly Heritage, wrote“ In the meantime services were continued in the summer at St. Paul’s until , says the Rev. Mr. Sill, 1884 or 1885”.

The future belonged to Brevard, the county seat of the new Transylvania County, where the court sat, the taxes were allocated and paid, and where a thousand souls resided, including Robert and Jane Hume.  The Humes worked actively with the Rev. Daniel Hillhouse Buel to establish a church in Brevard. The Humes’ parlor and the courthouse became the Episcopal places to worship.  The cornerstone was laid for the new Episcopal church in August, 1883. The name St. Philip’s was chosen because many of the new church founders’ home parish was Charleston’s historic St. Philip’s Church which dated back to 1713. The new church was consecrated in 1891. On Christmas day, 1925, the church was destroyed by fire.
Excerpted from St. Philip’s Episcopal Church: A History, by Jack Reak.

The fire, which began in a banked furnace and had become overheated, was so thorough that little cleanup was needed. The cornerstone for a new church was laid in August, 1926. The little parish graveyard with recorded graves dating back to 1878 was encompassed by the new building.  Tall headstones were removed to accommodate the new floor and an entrance to the graves was provided through a ground floor door. Construction took two years to complete and in February, 1927, the bishop reported “…at St. Philip’s, Brevard, the opening service being held in the beautiful Norman Church.”
Excerpted from St. Philip’s Episcopal Church: A History, by Jack Reak.

An historical marker in the churchyard states the history of this parish in about one-hundred words:
“The first recorded Episcopal Service in what is now Transylvania County was June 5, 1856. St. Paul’s-in-the-Valley (2.5 miles south) was organized soon after and a church constructed. After the Civil War, the parish was reorganized in Brevard as St. Philip’s to honor the Charleston parish of many of its founders. A wooden church begun in 1883 and adjacent cemetery were located where the present building now stands. That building was destroyed by fire Christmas Day, 1925. The present Gothic structure, built over the old cemetery in 1926, was designed by architect Louis Humbert Asbury.”

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