By HEATHER RUPPE
One of Colleton County’s most historic structures was found vandalized on Monday, February 28.
The Pon Pon Chapel of the Facility in Jacksonboro is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The flimsy structure is the original site of a church established in 1725 that served the parish of Bartholomew after the Yemasee War of 1715.
When it was built, the church was along a busy road from Charleston to Savannah. The church is also considered historic due to a sermon preached there by Reverend John Wesley and the nearby cemetery.
Some parts of the structure are still standing but are fragile.
On Monday, an official and a volunteer from the County Historical and Preservation Society notified the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office of the damage to the site. Dozens of bricks from the Pon Pon base were found scattered on the ground and the actual property had been disturbed, with what appear to be tire marks visible on the ground near the actual structure and its base.
No suspect has yet been identified.
Comments from Colleton residents on social media about the damage represented anger and disgust, with some residents asking for a gate to be erected around the structure to help protect it.
A resident of Colleton even asks in his comments on social networks that the historic site and the land be handed over to the State for protection and repair.
According to Sarah Miller, president of the Colleton County Historical and Preservation Society, the suspects appear to have used a hammer to remove bricks from the back portion of the church and cemetery wall. A door lock was also broken.
“It is heartbreaking to see this beautiful chapel ruined and an important historic site desecrated and vandalized like this,” Miller said, in a written statement.
Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to contact the History and Preservation Society at 843-549-9633 or email Miller at [email protected]