HELP and HELLO ALL Edney Researchers!!
I am posting this article in hopes that the descendants of those buried in these cemeteries will show some interest and help with the maintainance and upkeep of these NON RENEWABLE CULTURAL RESOURCES!!
These cemeteries are our link to our heritage and our ancestors!! Gather together with others and lets start keeping them clean!
Developers are having NO problems cleaning them off, FOR GOOD!!
The Edney cemetery contains the graves of William Mills Edney and Patricia Nix Edney. They are the parents of Amanda Delola Edney, the mother of Annie Edney Clark. The cemetery also contains the graves of Ambrose Jones Edney and his wife Catherine Merrell, the father and mother of William Mills Edney. So it is loaded with our direct ancestors.
The Asa Edney (Townsend) Cemetery contains, of course, the grave of Asa Edney, the father of Ambrose Jones Edney, and his wife, Sarah Mills Edney. Asa is the father of Ambrose Jones Edney. So this is also our direct ancestor.
The Times News - Hendersonville, NC
Article published Apr 29, 2005
Buried in neglect
Maintenance needed to preserve history
Editor's Note: This is the first in a series on old cemeteries in Henderson County. Information for the stories was obtained from the Henderson County GIS System, Henderson County North Carolina Cemeteries book, the Heritage Book of Henderson County Volumes I and II, other local history books, Register of Deeds office, archivists, preservationists, historians and genealogists.
By Jennie Jones Giles
Times-News Staff Writer
An 8-foot marble stone describing the life of Marvel F. Edney was found at one cemetery clean up. More than 25 previously uncounted headstones were discovered at the Hill Cemetery at Reedy Patch.
Buried beneath inches of dirt and leaves are fieldstones, footstones and headstones in the old, historic cemeteries in Henderson County.
From the condition of many of the cemeteries, it appears no one has cleaned or maintained them in 100 years or more.
May is Cemetery Awareness Month in Henderson County. The county commissioners and members of the Cemetery Advisory Committee are asking family members, churches, private property owners, neighborhoods, clubs, schools, civic groups and youth groups to join together to clean up and maintain the county's cemeteries.
"If these cemeteries are not cleaned up, they'll disappear," said Norman Miller, who heads up the cemetery project for the Sons of Confederate Veterans and serves on the Henderson County Cemetery Advisory Committee. "Many are already lost and others are hidden from view, just waiting for destruction."
Some cemeteries in the county have been destroyed by man and replaced with subdivisions, houses and mobile home parks. Others have suffered from vandalism and desecration.
"If the cemeteries are not destroyed by man, nature is reclaiming them," Miller said.
The plight of the county's old, historic cemeteries became a concern of residents after several were destroyed in the past few years. The county commissioners passed an ordinance restricting the removal of graves or destruction of cemeteries and appointed a committee to advise on ways to save and preserve the cemeteries for future generations of residents.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans began a monthy clean up of cemeteries, but cannot maintain them.
"We are cleaning them up one time, but other people now have to go in and maintain them," Miller said. "In spring and summer, someone should be maintaining them every few weeks."
For persons interested in family history or the history of Henderson County, cleaning and maintaining the cemeteries can provide clues and information.
For those interested in art, the designs and artistic and literary inscriptions are inspiring.
For students, they can provide local history lessons. And for many people, the old cemeteries are sacred places, a reflection of religious beliefs and family values.
Eight cemeteries in six months have been cleaned, seven by the Sons of Confederate Veterans and volunteers and one by family descendants and volunteers.
"Now people need to step up and maintain them before they are overgrown again," Miller said.
Townsend (Asa Edney)Cemetery
This cemetery off Mills Gap Road contains the grave of Asa Edney, who served on the committee to create Henderson County and was one of the leading men in the early government and history of the county. The community of Edneyville was named for Asa Edney and his brother, the Rev. Samuel Edney. Asa Edney married one of the daughters of William Mills, another of the first settlers in the county.
A monument to Asa Edney is within the cemetery.
The 8-foot, broken, marble stone of Marvel F. Edney was discovered at the cemetery clean up, along with numerous other headstones and fieldstones. Some could be legible with cleaning.
Marvel F. Edney was the grandson of Asa Edney and the son of Marvel Mills Edney, who may also be buried in the cemetery.
The marble stone is now in possession of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who are sponsoring its restoration and reinforcement. As soon as restoration is completed, it will be placed back in its proper location.
On the stone is the following inscription:
"In memory of Marvel F. Edney. Son of M.M. and Eliza Edney, who was born the 27th April 1842, and died of typhoid fever in the Marine Hospital, city of Charleston, S.C., on the 8th Dec. 1861. His benevolent and gentle Spirit was early touched by religious influences and it obeyed the call and he became an exemplary member of the M.E. (Methodist Episcopal) Church, when a boy of tender years, and on the 15th of May 1861 his country called for volunteers he as cheerfully obeyed that call and became a member of Co. A "Edney Greys" 25th Regt. N.C. Troops and continued an obedient and faithful Soldier both to God and his country to the hour when his generous Soul was summoned away from the ranks of the armies of this world to take its place in the ranks of the armies above. This noble Christian and Soldier Boy was a gem plucked from Earth. Peace to his ashes. Rest Soldier rest, thy warfare is o'er."
The cemetery was an impenetrable thicket of poison ivy, briars, thorns, brush and trees. Previous to the clean up, it was impossible to properly find the stones or map the cemetery.
"Weed-eaters with plastic string are needed to keep it maintained," Miller said. "People just need to keep thrashing at the twigs."
This cemetery is located on the old homeplace of Asa Edney, which was later sold to the Townsend family. No Townsend family members were found buried in the cemetery.
To get to the cemetery, turn left off U.S. 64 East onto Mills Gap Road. There is no good landmark to tell where the cemetery is located. There is also no access to the cemetery without crossing private property.
The Henderson County GIS System does not mark this cemetery on the cemetery layer. The dimensions of the cemetery are not shown on the map. The cemetery is not mentioned on the property record card, which lists Mark Splawn as the owner of the property at 1411 S. Mills Gap Road.
In a deed to Splawn, no mention was made of the cemetery. It is not conclusively known whether the cemetery is on the property of Splawn or of Carolyn and James Ferguson of Columbia, S.C. The Ferguson deed does give the following information, as do old deeds transferring the property from the late 1800s to 1992:
"includes the area of the old cemetery ... The above referenced old cemetery contains .11 acres more or less and is subject to the rights of others, if any, to the use of the old cemetery as shown on plat recorded at Slide 1360 of the Henderson County Registry."
There are 70 to 80 graves within the cemetery. Most stones contain the surnames Edney, Featherstone, Nix and Connor.
Hill Cemetery at Reedy Patch
The most recent clean up conducted by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, with about 10 family members helping, was at the Hill Cemetery on Hog Rock Road.
The cemetery survey in the early 1990s located 43 gravestones. After the cemetery was cleaned, 69 gravesites were counted. Some were marked with legible stones.
"More could be legible with cleaning," Miller said. "We found a perfectly legible child's headstone in the bottom right corner and two more that could be read."
Hill descendants, of which there are hundreds, need to rake, rake and rake some more. Many of the stones were found buried beneath more than 100 years of built up leaves and growth.
"We strongly suggest none of the large trees be moved," Miller said. "The trees are protecting this cemetery and removal would destroy graves and its historical integrity."
Many of those at the clean up suggested a split-rail fence would add to the beauty of the old cemetery, located in a wooded setting.
To get to the cemetery, take U.S. 64 East to Hog Rock Road and turn right. The cemetery is approximately 300 feet on the left, across a field and into the woods. (in Reedy Patch)
"The edge of the woods would be a perfect spot to place a carved, wooden sign that would blend in with the landscape," Miller said.
The cemetery contains the gravesite of Jonathan "John" Hill Sr., who died in 1875. Hill had 15 known children by his first wife, Sarah "Sally" Wheeler Hill, and at least five by his second wife, Nancy Ann Gilbert. The descendants number in the hundreds in Henderson County and they are scattered throughout the United States and Canada, according to family research.
On the Henderson County GIS cemetery layer, the property contains .5 acre and the contact address is the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society.
"We do not own this property and this is the first I've heard about this," said George Jones with the historical society.
Jones does not know why the address is listed on the GIS map.
In all deeds dating from the late 1800s to the present transferring property surrounding the cemetery, the following words are always used: "excepting the Hill Cemetery."
It appears that the hundreds and hundreds of descendants of John Hill Sr. retain ownership of the cemetery.