Asa Edney (Townsend) Cemetery

This cemetery off South 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. The brothers settled in today’s Henderson County in 1792. Asa Edney married one of the daughters of William Mills, another of the first settlers in the county.
Asa Edney also had an early drover’s inn near his home place on South Mills Gap Road.
A monument to Asa Edney is within the cemetery. The monument was placed in the cemetery by descendant Kermit Edney and other descendants of Asa Edney.
The 8-foot, broken, marble stone of Marvel F. Edney was discovered underground at a cemetery clean up, along with numerous other headstones and field stones. 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. Marvel Mills Edney served on the first Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for Henderson County. This is similar to today’s Board of Commissioners.
The local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans restored and reinforced the large stone. It was 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.”
In addition to Marvel F. Edney, three other Confederate soldiers are known to be buried at the cemetery.
Isaac W. Conner (Connor) enlisted in the 25th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. H, Cane Creek Rifles. He was wounded in the left leg and captured at the Battle of Fort Stedman during the Siege of Petersburg, hospitalized at Washington, D.C., and released in August 1865. He died July 16, 1916, during the Flood of 1916. His body was found near Clear Creek and he was buried in an unmarked grave at this cemetery.

Calvin Edney enlisted in the 25th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. A, Edney’s Greys. He was discharged in June 1862 by reason of disability. He died within a couple of weeks after returning to Henderson County in June 1862. His grave site is most likely one of the illegible stones in the cemetery. He was a son of Asa Edney and had moved to Yancey County. He returned to Henderson County after the deaths of his parents and wife, and was living in Henderson County when the war began.
It is also known that the grave site of J.J. Nix is located in the cemetery. It is known that J.J. Nix served with a Confederate regiment. This is likely John Nix who enlisted in the 25th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. A, Edney’s Greys. He was wounded in the right leg at Petersburg during the Siege of Petersburg. His right leg was amputated. He was absent through February 1865. He died sometime after 1900.

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.
The cemetery is located on the old home place of Asa Edney, which was later sold to the Townsend family. No Townsend family members were found buried in the cemetery.
There is no landmark or sign to tell where the cemetery is located. There is also no access to the cemetery without crossing private property.
The Henderson County GIS System has the cemetery marked on the GIS map.
The cemetery is located between the property of Mark Splawn and 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 (Conner).
One of the unmarked field stones in the cemetery is that of Sarah Mills Edney, daughter of William Mills. Sarah Mills married Asa Edney.
Because the Asa Edney family was known to have slaves, it is likely their graves are also in or near the cemetery.
In addition to the above graves, another located grave is that of Buckanon Featherstone, son of Merrimon Featherstone, one of the early settlers into Henderson County.
The grave of Foot Conner (Connor), who also drowned in the 1916 flood, is also known to be in the cemetery.
In 1992, at least 50 graves were seen. That number rose to 70 to 80 after the cemetery clean up. Some family genealogists and local residents say ancestors of the Townsend and Clark families may also be buried in this cemetery.
The cemetery is not regularly maintained. Access for visitation and maintenance is not set on a regular schedule. The last visit to this cemetery found it once again overgrown with briars and poison ivy.