Friday, October 21, 2005

Chapel of Ease, not the Alamo

Don't expect Davie Crockett to jump in the GT and charge Santa Ana. The GT is a good steed, but this ain't the Alamo and I have the keys.

This historic structure survives as a facade only. This was the Pon Pon Chapel of Ease located in what once was St. Bartholomew's Parish, organized in 1706. It had been attacked by Yemassee Indians in 1715, was rebuilt and later burned around 1796 and was thereafter known as the " Burnt Church ". Considering the fact that three walls and the roof are missing, it might be considered the Chapel of Breeze these days.

Not far from here is the small town of Jacksonboro once well known for rendering shad in many ways: fried, more often baked to dissolve their network of fine bones and perhaps even burnt at times when cooks imbibed themselves into a different state of ease.

Of course, the shad body was purely secondary to the prized part of that fish: the roe. In season, the more neatly dressed and less well initiated shad roe fans would encircle the Edisto Motel and Restaurant to wait longer than sane folks should to be fed this delicacy. Meanwhile, tuned in devotees just pulled in a few hundred feet down the road to Billy Morris's where the same shad roe was served in homey style and washed down with good booze if so desired. You ate with a purely local crowd which had little interest appearance and no interest in waiting in lines, but lived for and love to eat shad roe. Sadly both restaurants have closed, gone with the winds of change which have blown in franchise and chain store eateries and winnowed away so many colorful, independent and locally owned businesses.

I'll let others remember the Alamo and I'll remember those who rendered the shad roe.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What people don't know is that for a long time in the early 1970s, this site was used as a meeting place for the KKK. No joke. My dad was one of the leaders, and I've been there many nights. There is bad history there. The well itself, so stately and framed over now, wasn't framed then. It was a terrible place.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, how did you get past the locked gate that they put on there after they declared it a national site. I'd like to know.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Windviel said...

Thanks for that chilling bit of background information, my friend. I had no idea about that chapter in the history of that placid site. It is a stunning irony that such a place had once been a meeting place for the Klan. It makes sense, however, because the Klan often invoked Christian platitudes in their campaigns.

Much Southern history has been sanitized and made cute, but I'm old enough to remember when the Klan was serious business. Perhaps it still is. It is important that reality be preserved in our history even if it's not something we want to put in the tourists so I'm glad you've shared this with me.

As to access, there was no sign posted as I recall and the gate was open. The photo was taken about 5 months ago and things may have changed.

I'm always glad to know more about the places we've been. Thanks again.

10:16 PM  

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