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Heritage Committee to place first historical marker in Lugoff at century-old church

Heritage Committee to place first historical marker in Lugoff at century-old church
Heritage Committee to place first historical marker in Lugoff at century-old church(Paul Smith)
Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 10:50 AM EDT
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LUGOFF, S.C. (WIS) - After a century-and-a-half as a beacon in Kershaw County, a small church in Lugoff soaked in Black history, is being recognized as a historical site.

On Saturday, April 30, at 3 p.m., a historical marker will be placed on the grounds where Ephesus Methodist Church was located until merging with Smyrna Methodist Church and becoming Unity United Church in 1998. The historical site is now home to Unity United Church’s Family Life Center.

Ephesus Methodist Church was located on Lachicotte Road and a small school was built behind it. After the Civil War, the school was used to teach both children and adults basic reading and writing skills which had been illegal previously, according to South Carolina Post Cards Volume VII: Kershaw County.

The South Carolina Heritage Committee will be recognizing the church as a historical site at the grounds located at 274 Lachicotte Road. This will be the first time a historical marker has been placed in Lugoff.

Organizers say the event will include a history of the church, recognition of surviving and former members and Pastors, and music from former members and descendants of the church.

Ephesus’s youth choir, The Echoes of Zion, traveled over the state and were popular during the 1940s. The choir was directed by Willie Peay.

Peay’s son Benjamin Franklin Peay, came to be known as Brook Benton, a famous singer and songwriter. Some of his most famous songs are “Endlessly” and “Rainy Night in Georgia”. Benton scored over 50 Billboard chart hits both performed by him and written for other artists.

The Echoes of Zion were a church choir group that was popular in the 1940s. Famous singer Brook...
The Echoes of Zion were a church choir group that was popular in the 1940s. Famous singer Brook Benton was a member (top row, second from left).(Unity United Church)

If there is inclement weather, the celebration will be held inside the Unity United Church Family Life Center also at 274 Lachicotte Road.

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