Surrounded by giant moss-draped oaks and steaming swamps are the ruins of the colonial Sheldon Church near Yemassee, South Carolina.
Three hundred years of American history the old trees have stood over.
The finest church of its kind in America at the time, it was built by rice planters led by Colonel William Bull on whose plantation it was built.
Bull's plantation comprised 3000 acres of prime rice-growing land worked by 250 slaves.
Rice planters were the wealthiest Americans of their time and the church was both expensive and classically elegant.
The first service was held there in 1757.
Bull is buried inside the church right before the altar. You can just see his tomb through the opening in the 3 1/2 foot thick walls.
Bull's wife, Mary, died at the age of 32 or 33 and is buried in the large tomb outside. People claim to see Mary in the evenings standing near the graves of her young children.
During the American Revolution, the church yard was a training ground for the American militia. Most of the interior and the roof was destroyed in 1779 when the British burned the church to destroy gunpowder stored there.
However, the clever Americans had other places to hide munitions, such as in these tombs, trusting that the British were unlikely to desecrate a grave.
The interior and the roof were repaired in 1826-7 and the church continued to serve 30-60 families on Sunday mornings. It is located in an area still so wild and lonely today it is hard to imagine how far away the families came from. Most must have traveled for hours by horse and buggy to arrive on Sunday mornings.
It spread generous shade over the backs of slaves who built the church
Muffled shuffling feet of young patriots drilling for the Colonial militia
Fanned the sparks and heat of British flames devouring the church,
Shook from blast and echo of muskets, bowed to stink of blackpowder,
Moaned with keening mothers and widows
When Union troops passed beneath, burning the South on Sherman's March to the Sea.
The Campbell Oak, majestic and tall through 300 years of American history,
Its youth and strength now succumbing