1730 – Religion
Rev. Alexander Garden held the first convention of South Carolina clergy at Charlestown.
Garden was educated at the University of Aberdeen and in 1719 he went to South Carolina as the Bishop of London’s Commissary, and became rector of St. Philip’s Church. Garden became renowned for his efforts to censor the evangelist George Whitefield and prevent his “enthusiastic” type of religious meetings from being held in Charles Town, SC.
As well as supervising other clergymen in the area he took an interest in the Charleston Free School, and established the so-called “Negro School” which was supported by the Church of England’s Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. In the spring of 1754 he retired and went to live in England, but soon went back to the warmer climate of South Carolina and died there in 1756
The Rev. Garden wrote to Lord Ashley at least twice a year for 20+ years. Those letters are in the SCHS Library. They form a pattern. Each begins with a plea to be brought back to England because the climate here does not agree with him. He enumerates his illnesses and says he will not survive another winter/summer here. He then says that the ministers that are being sent here are the lowest of the low and not people of good character. He asks that efforts be made to improve the caliber of people sent. He then tattles on all of the sins committed by all of the Episcopal ministers in the colony. He includes all of the gossip and complaints of the parishioners. One of the ministers is accused of baptising a bear cub while enebriated. He says there is no use sending anyone to St. James Santee who does not speak French because he will not be supported. I found it funny that after he retired he finally got to go back to England and found that the climate there did not agree with him so he returned to Charleston.