On December 17, 1860 following the election of President Abraham Lincoln, South Carolina held an official convention in this church and voted unanimously secede from the United States. The state house at the time was not large enough to hold all of the delegates so the church was chosen because it had the largest room available in the state. The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and declared a National Landmark in 1973. A new church addition was built in 1992 and since then worship services have been held there; the original church building is used for weddings and offices. Also in 1992, the church was renamed as the James Petigru Boyce Chapel.
The congregation was organized in 1809 and built a church in 1811 at a different location. The First Church (now Boyce Chapel) was built in 1856 and designed in the Greek Revival style.