STATUS: Still standing
The St. Simons Island Church was founded by ministers John and Charles Wesley, brothers. They came to Georgia from England in 1736 after John was named minister of the new parish of Savannah. Charles was appointed the Secretary of Indian Affairs and Chaplain for General James Oglethorpe. The Wesley brothers founded Frederica the same year.
Rev. George Whitefield and the Wesley brothers preached on the island, and they ministered to many of the early colonists at Fort Frederica. John went to become known as the father of the modern Methodist Church. However, Charles is remembered today for his Christmas hymns, particularly “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”.
In time, the settlement at Fort Frederica began to fade away around the 1770s. Settlers still had an interest in the island, and, by 1808, there were enough people living there for the state of Georgia to decide to establish Christ Church. It was built in 1820, but it was severely damaged later on by Union troops during the Civil War.
Anson Greene Phelps Dodge helped restore the Christ Church in 1884. His wife had recently passed away, and he built the church as a memorial for her. Dodge had her buried beneath the altar. The surrounding cemetery is among the oldest in Georgia, dating back to at least 1803.
Among the buried are early political leaders and settlers from the Georgia Coast, along with famous writer Eugenia Price. Nowadays, the Christ Church is open for public tours and evening prayer. Across the street from the church are the Wesley Gardens, a memorial to John and Charles Wesley.
The cemetery is also believed to be haunted. It has been the site of the apparition of a flickering candle, and it appears above the grave of a woman who was terrified of the dark, and never went anywhere in the dark without large burning candles with her. She died of blood poisoning after a wound got infected. Her husband put a candle atop her grave every night. Years later, when he met his death, he was buried next to his wife. Now, several hundreds of people have reported seeing a flame at night.
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