Preserve the oldest existing
structure on Hilton Head Island


The History



Tour The Zion Cemetery and Baynard Mausoleum

March – November, Fridays at 10am. 

Learn about the Oldest Existing Structure on Hilton Head Island and The Heritage Library’s efforts to preserve and protect the site. 

Click here to register for the weekly tours. 


The Zion Chapel of Ease was built in 1788 under the direction of Captain John Stoney and Isaac Fripp. The Colonial Assembly of South Carolina had created St. Luke’s Parish in 1767, but the Revolutionary War delayed attempts at church construction until the 1780’s. This was the first formal church on Hilton Head Island, a wooden structure on a brick foundation, approximately 30’ X 40’. It served as the planter’s church and it was located at the center of island activities in the vicinity of a muster house and a Masonic lodge.

Initially, Sunday church services were alternated between the Zion Chapel of Ease on Hilton Head Island and the main parish church, Saint Luke’s, on present day Route 170 in Okatie. A chapel of ease provided for the ease and comfort of its parishioners who lived some distance from the main parish church. A preacher would visit the chapel, probably monthly, spend the night with one of his parishioners, and then conduct service that Sunday.

The first permanent minister was the Reverend Philip Mathews in the 1820’s. After his death in 1828, the church fell out of use. The church was consecrated in 1833 by the Rt. Rev. Nathaniel Bowen, an Episcopal Bishop, and services were then held regularly until the Civil War.

The church is no longer standing, but its cemetery contains the graves and memorials of four Revolutionary War Patriots: Captain John Stoney, Charles Davant, James Davant, and Isaac Baldwin. In 1846 William Eddings Baynard built his mausoleum, which is the oldest structure still standing on Hilton Head Island.

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The Challenge



Despite its obvious historical and architectural significance as the oldest surviving structure on Hilton Head Island, the Baynard Mausoleum, which dates to 1846 and is part of St. Luke’s Parish founded in 1767, is in serious, even urgent, need of significant repairs and restoration to the roof and supporting foundation.

The Heritage Library has undertaken a capital campaign to raise $440,000 for the purpose of completely restoring the mausoleum, beautifying the adjacent grounds and cemetery, and funding the creation of a permanent thematically linked Learning Center.


The Team


The Heritage Library, who owns this site, is among the most respected and efficient non-profit organizations on Hilton Head Island. It has established programs in ancestry research, a very well-received speaker series and numerous recent successes in partnering with other institutions in creative ways to bring local history alive. It is the hope of the current Board that the history component of the organization’s mission can be expanded and enhanced. Toward that end, the library believes the Zion restoration to be a signature project.

As an all-volunteer organization, it must seek support from the community to achieve this goal. We believe this project is imperative to the future of historic preservation in the Lowcountry.



Artist Rendering



The Heritage Library is the owner of this property and has undertaken a capital campaign to raise $440,000 to…

  • Create an Outdoor Learning Center for Children & Adults that will focus on the Antebellum Period on Hilton Head Island
  • Restore the Mausoleum
  • Beautify the Grounds
  • Improve the Site with Electricity
  • Improve and Secure Fencing
  • Build Benches
  • Create a Speakers Platform
  • Build an Endowment for the Future
  • Return the Property to Glory

How You Can Help


As a prospective donor you can help make this vision a reality. Numerous naming opportunities, a wide variety of recognition possibilities, and above all, the ability to make a long-term impact on the quality of life on Hilton Head Island are all part of this exciting project.

  • Recognition in The Observer Newsletter
  • Thank you Tax letter


  • Anonymous
  • Susan and Ivan Bennett
  • Barbara Borg
  • Barnes & Noble Booksellers
  • Mr. James Bradshaw
  • Teena and Charles Davant, III
  • Griffin Family Fund
  • Elizabeth Hanson
  • Madeleine McGee
  • Margaret McManus
  • Sansing and Terry McPherson
  • Dr. J. Brent Morris
  • Mr. and Mrs. George Paletta
  • Mr. and Mrs. Richard Patrick
  • Ken and Carole Pfeifle
  • Debra Sherrill
  • Andrea and Bruce Siebold
  • Kathryn Stewart
  • Mr and Mrs. Marshall Stone
  • Beverly Stoney Johnson
  • Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Sullivan
  • Grace and William Tiernay
  • Town of Hilton Head Island
  • Gail Wargo
  • Iva Roberts Welton
  • Barbara Wiles
  • William Hilton Chapter, NSDAR
  • Women’s Club of Sea Pines
  • Chuck Yahres


  • Recognition in The Observer Newsletter
  • Thank you Tax letter
  • Engraved paver


  • Martha and Paul Anthony
  • The Baer Family
  • Maggie and Larry Burke
  • Audrey and Ezra Callahan
  • Mary Ann and Atlee Compher
  • Allison Diercks
  • Dodi and Harry Eschenbach
  • Selena Evans
  • Honor Our Heros Foundation
  • Low Country Questers
  • National Society Sons & Daughters of the Pilgrims SC Branch
  • The Stokes Family
  • Gail and Hugh O’Kane
  • Takacs Family
  • Recognition in The Observer Newsletter
  • Thank you Tax letter
  • Engraved paver
  • Artist’s rendition


  • Beaufort County Council
  • The Bargain Box of Hilton Head Island
  • Lou Benfante and Laurette Doscher
  • Dr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Burke
  • Mr. and Mrs. Peter Cooper
  • Lisa and Don Drakeman
  • The Heritage Library
  • Gretchen and Thomas D. Johns
  • Annie and Kelly Kellenberger
  • MAJ Enterprises
  • Col. Dana Marsh
  • Tom and Peggy Martin
  • Linda and David Piekut
  • Jim and Carolyn Robinson
  • Mr. and Mrs. Richard Thomas
  • Recognition in The Observer Newsletter
  • Thank you Tax letter
  • Engraved paver
  • Artist’s rendition
  • Name on Bronze Plaque


  • Pam and David Schofield
  • VanLandingham Rotary Club
  • Recognition in The Observer Newsletter
  • Thank you Tax letter
  • Engraved paver
  • Artist’s rendition
  • Name on Bronze Plaque
  • Plaque on Podium


  • Dori M. Dixon
  • Carol and J Ward Mathis; Baynard Descendant
  • Recognition in The Observer Newsletter
  • Thank you Tax letter
  • Engraved paver
  • Artist’s rendition
  • Name on Bronze Plaque
  • Plaque on Podium
  • Naming Opportunities (Plaque on either mausoleum fence or perimeter fence, learning center)


  • Mr and Mrs Robert Smith

Donate today to restore this historic site through a fund at The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.



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1901 - The State Newspaper

1901 – The State Newspaper


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PowerPointZion Chapel of Ease Cemetery.pptx