Located on the corner of Craven and Charles Street, Tabernacle Baptist Church was an annex of the Beaufort Baptist Church in the years prior to the Civil War. Its founders, Renty Fields, James Snipes, June Harris and Cornelius Singleton all point to a fantastic legacy the tiny church hides so very well today. Not only is Tabernacle the oldest African American church in Beaufort it was where Harriet Tubman and Colonel James Montgomery went to plan the Combahee Ferry Raid. It’s across the street from where Harriet Tubman was rumored to have had her wash house during the Civil War. A bust of Robert Smalls sits facing the Craven Street flanked by the graves of other church members and leaders and his loved ones . After the government took Beaufort during the Civil War, Tabernacle’s first pastor, the missionary Solomon Peck was the first missionary on the ground. He and the men and women that would follow him would be crucial to the success of America’s “Port Royal Experiment.”
Tabernacle’s Deacons would become some of the most influential African Americans in the state and the nation. Their work would shape the destinies, for good or bad, of freedmen for generations.
Source: Beaufort, South Carolina: A History by Alexia Jones Helsley (2005)