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THERE’S MORE TO THE STORY.
Located between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, Daufuskie
Island is the southernmost Sea Island in South Carolina. It is five miles long
by almost three miles wide – approximately 5,000 acres. With over three miles
of pristine beachfront, Daufuskie is surrounded by the waters of Calibogue
Sound, Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean. Haig Point is located at the
northern tip of the island.
Daufuskie Island offers a quiet, secure environment, yet
also a rich cultural experience, with its environmental preserves, quaint
Gullah houses, diverse art galleries and history dating back to the “Daufuskie
Fight” during the Yamassee War of 1715–1717. The island is also the setting of
Pat Conroy’s novel “The Water Is Wide,” recounting Conroy’s experiences
teaching on Daufuskie in the 1960s.
The residents of Haig Point have long declared their
commitment to preserving a way of life unique to Haig Point and Daufuskie
Island. The archaeological restoration of historic properties and passing along
of folklore surrounding the history of the island proves this spirit is alive
Archaeologists have traced the inhabited history of the
island back 9,000 years and have discovered pottery remnants dating to 7,000
BC. The first inhabitants were the peaceful Cusabo Indians.
In 1664, English sea captain William Hilton first sailed the
waters of the South Carolina coast, writing in his log, “The air is clear and
sweet, the country very pleasant and delightful; and we would wish all that
want a happy settlement of our English Nation, were well transported hither.”
English traders soon followed and settled in the area.
Of course, there are many facts and legends that surround
our mysterious and magical island. It’s worth a visit to the Billie Burn Museum
to travel through time. Established in 2003 by the Daufuskie Island Historical
Foundation, the museum is staffed by volunteer island residents.
What’s in a Name?
There is an old wives’ tale suggesting the island was named
by the Gullah people as being “da fus cay” out of Savannah. More likely,
Daufuskie was named by its earliest inhabitants – the Cusabo Indians. Their
native tongue can be translated to “pointed feather” or “land with a point.”
First Union African Baptist Church
The development of the First Union African Baptist Church,
now listed as an historical landmark, began in 1879 when John I. Stoddard
divided the Mary Field plantation into lots and sold 12 acres to former slaves
for the purpose of building a church and developing a cemetery. The land was
purchased in 1881 for $82 and the first church was built. The original church
building burned in 1884 and was rebuilt in 1885.
From the early 1900s through the 1930s, the church building
supported worship service as well as a schoolhouse for the island’s children. With
islanders seeking employment on the mainland, the island population decreased
substantially in the 1950s. During that period the church was closed. In 1968,
under the leadership of Rev. C. L. Hanshew, services resumed in the church.