HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. Descendants of slaves and Confederate soldiers are working together in Henderson County, North Carolina to spruce up a cemetery where free blacks were buried before the Civil War.

The local Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter began visiting old family and church cemeteries to try to find Confederate veterans. They soon discovered many of the historic cemeteries were endangered by development and neglect. Some of the cemeteries had houses built on top of them and others were plowed under.

Louis Dunbar, who represents blacks on the county Cemetery Advisory Committee, also discovered that Mill Pond Cemetery was in bad shape and asked for some help.

Workers are facing seven-foot-tall pampas grass, small trees, stumps and fallen logs.

Norman Miller of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said the cleanup will take hours of work with many volunteers wielding machetes, bush axes and swing blades to clear out the grass.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press

On The Web: http://www.wavy.com/Global/story.asp?S=2860983

Organizations set to clean Fortune-Kuykendall Cemetery

Jennie Jones Giles Times-News Staff Writer

William Capps fought in the Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina, among other battles, during the Revolutionary War.

His military service records reflect that he served with the N.C. Militia attached to the command of Gen. Daniel Morgan in the battle of Cowpens where British forces were defeated Jan. 17, 1781.

His grave is now surrounded by thickets and briars in an abandoned cemetery in southern Henderson County.

On Saturday, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Walter Bryson Camp, Scouts and leaders with Boy Scout Troop 610 and other community volunteers will clear the Fortune-Kuykendall Cemetery of the growth and downed tree limbs covering the graves.

"William Capps Jr., Private N.C. Troops, Revolutionary War, 1761-1847, enlisted in the American Revolution Army 1780, in Johnson County, N.C., at age 19, came to this section in 1795," the inscription on his tombstone reads.

On the tombstone of his wife, Nancy, is inscribed the names of their 12 children, one of whom was Matthew Capps, who is also buried in the cemetery.

"Matthew Capps, 1800-1867, ordained to the Baptist ministry in 1834 by the Middle Fork Baptist Church, upper Greenville, S.C.," the inscription on the tombstone reads.

By 1799, William Capps had obtained grants for land along Green River in today’s Henderson County and, by 1810, he owned more than 1,000 acres of land.

"He and Nancy lived south of the Continental Divide in the present community of Zirconia," according to an article in the Henderson Heritage Book Volume I.

Two of his children married children of Abraham Kuykendall, one of the largest landowners in Henderson County, who owned in the early 1800s most of present-day Flat Rock from Little River Road to Kanuga Road.

Phillip A. Kuykendall, who served with Co. A 25th N.C., in the Civil War, is also thought to be buried in the cemetery, said Norman Miller with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The Fortune-Kuykendall Cemetery is not in danger of destruction from development or by the property owner. It is one of many historic cemeteries in the county that was simply neglected.

Some of the neglected cemeteries have not been maintained in decades, some in more than 100 years, and are in much worse condition than the Fortune-Kuykendall Cemetery.

"Many of the old cemeteries are endangered more from neglect than anything else," said George Jones, founder of the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society. "Families are knowingly neglecting them."

Boy Scout Troop 610 did the first cleanup of the cemetery more than 10 years ago, said assistant leader Sam Summey.

"We had to fill in sunken graves," Summey said. "Some sank when the boys stood on them to clean them. The first clean up took a couple of weekends. We hauled brush out and brought in fill dirt."

Since that initial clean up and some years of follow-up maintenance, the leadership of the troop changed and the cemetery was forgotten. "I knew we were maintaining a cemetery, but I didn’t know which one," said Scoutmaster Jason Tweed.

Tweed said after the initial help by the Sons of Confederate Veterans and volunteers, the Scouts plan to continue with maintenance of the cemetery. Scouts are not allowed to use power tools and need adult volunteers in major clean ups.

Miller said the Sons of Confederate Veterans plans to hold monthly cemetery cleanups. The first two cleanups were at the Edney Cemetery in Bat Cave and the Townsend Cemetery in Edneyville, which contains the gravesite of Asa Edney. The community of Edneyville is named for Asa and his brother, the Rev. Samuel Edney.

On The Web: http://www.hendersonvillenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?Date=20050114&Category=NEWS&ArtNo=501140332

Officials to investigate possible desecration

Jennie Jones Giles Times-News Staff Writer

CRAB CREEK — The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the possible desecration of an old family cemetery here.

Wanda Case of East Flat Rock discovered missing tombstones, a discarded satellite dish and numerous black planting pots in the McCrary Family Cemetery in the Crab Creek community.

"I went to take pictures of my family cemetery and family tombstones and they’re gone," Case said. "I got there too late."

On Monday, Case contacted the Sheriff’s Department. Deputy L.J. Pierson Jr. responded.

"We took a report and will have it investigated," Pierson said.

According to state statutes, it is a criminal offense to take away, disturb, destroy or tamper with any tombstone, headstone, monument or grave marker within any cemetery erected or placed to designate where a body is interred without authorization of law or next of kin. If the damage is over $1,000, it is a felony. If less than $1,000, it is a misdemeanor.

It is also a misdemeanor to willfully throw, place or put any refuse, garbage or trash on any cemetery, according to state statutes.

Case, who is self-employed, spends the majority of her free time as a genealogist. She maintains several genealogy Web sites and conducts research for others.

"I was trying to locate some of my ancestors," she said. "The tombstones I went to see, Boyd and Charity McCrary, are gone."

In 1985, when the cemetery survey group with the Henderson County Historical and Genealogical Society conducted the survey of the cemetery, the tombstones of Boyd and Charity McCrary were in the cemetery, along with about 28 other grave markers.

Boyd McCrary and his wife, Charity Merrell McCrary, were early settlers in Henderson County. Their families were among the first to settle in the area in the 1790s. Boyd McCrary was a farmer, school teacher, justice of the peace and helped to build the first jail in the county, according to the Henderson County Heritage, Volume I.

The cemetery, accessed off SR 1196 off Evans Road, was originally located near the original site of the old Crab Creek Baptist Church, according to George Jones, local historian and founder of the Henderson County Historical and Genealogical Society.

Since the plight of the county’s historic cemeteries came to the attention of residents, the Henderson County Board of Commissioners has formed a Cemetery Advisory Committee and the Sons of Confederate Veterans have sponsored two cemetery cleanups. Case was nominated to the county Cemetery Advisory Committee.

Norman Miller, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who has also been nominated to serve on the county committee, accompanied Case and others to the site Monday.

N.C. Rep. Carolyn Justus, R-Dana, has also expressed an interest in helping preserve cemeteries locally and statewide and is waiting on advice from the Cemetery Advisory Committee and the Henderson County Historical and Genealogical Society on what the state legislature can do to help.

"Current state laws need to be enforced, but who is responsible for the enforcement?" Justus said.

On The Web: http://www.hendersonvillenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?Date=20041228&Category=NEWS&ArtNo=412280324

Seeking graves of Civil War vets

To The Editor: The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) need your help!

As part of its ongoing historical and educational mission to preserve the history of the War Between the States and its veterans, Walter M. Bryson SCV Camp 70 is engaged in a project to locate and record the graves of all Confederate veterans buried in Henderson County. This information will be used by our camp to memorialize our local veterans, and will be made publicly available in a searchable format. We’ll also include information about Union veterans located during the project, and publicize that data as well.

Although much has been recorded, there’s no single source containing all these burial records, and the task is large. We appeal to the people of Henderson County for assistance filling in information on those gravesites we currently know, and directing us to additional cemeteries containing Confederate graves. These could be churches, family plots or individual graves. We also welcome any other family information that’ll help us make this record as complete as possible.

Please contact our SCV representatives at 674-6996, 891-5513, 890-4015 or 692-3680. Help us in our efforts to honor these brave veterans who fought for the Tarheel State!

Michael Arrowood


Michael Arrowood is public affairs officer for Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 70.

On The Web: http://hendersonvillenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040908/NEWS/409080324/1017/OPINION03