Crossroads Baptist Church and Cemetery

Crossroads Baptist Church near Lake Summit is the oldest church in what is considered today the community of Zirconia.
According to the book “Brief Baptist Biographies 1707-1982” by Robert P. Hamby, the Crossroads Baptist Church in Henderson County was constituted in 1845. In 1846 the church was a member of the Salem Baptist Association.
Other early records in Henderson County mention the church as an established church in 1857. Definitely, the church was organized prior to 1857. It is not known why the church sign at the entrance of the church states the organization as 1860.
Early church leaders in 1882 included M. Heatherly, W.S. Case, H.C. Ward, and Levi Jones.
The original church was located where Lake Summit is located today. When the lake was built in the early 1900s the church was re-located to its present site.
If there was a graveyard with the old church it does not appear as if the early graves were moved.
The oldest grave in the cemetery today is dated 1910 after the re-location of the church.
This is still an active church cemetery.
Families with the surnames of Bright, Coggins, Davis, Gosnell, Heatherly, Johnson, Jones, Kuykendall, Lindsey, Maybin, Morgan, Osteen, Owens, Pressley, Staton, Terry, Ward, Waters and more have grave sites within the cemetery.
The grave site of Levi Jones is located in the church cemetery. Levi Jones owned property under what is today Lake Summit. Not all of his land was covered by the lake. He was a self-sustaining farmer in the community. He never lists his occupation as doctor, was not a licensed medical doctor and never attended a medical school. It is not clear why many references to him place the title of doctor in front of his name. It is possible that he was skilled in treating the sick as many others, including “granny doctors,” were skilled in treating the sick.
Levi Jones discovered zircon on his property in the 1870s or 1880s. Mineralogist W.E. Hidden and inventor Thomas Edison bought the Levi Jones mine in Zirconia. Edison later made a visit to the county to view the zircon mines. Zircons were used in the first electric lights. Some of the zircon mines owned by Jones are now located under Lake Summit. Research indicates that at least one was not flooded by the building of the lake.
During the Civil War, Jones enlisted in the Union’s 2nd N.C. Mounted Infantry in December 1863 and served as an acting captain. A Confederate military record could not be found. He died in 1929. His grave site is located in the church cemetery.
A Spanish-American War veteran from Henderson County also has a grave site at the church cemetery.
Robert Lee Heatherly (1868-1956) served as a corporal with the 1st N.C. Volunteer Infantry, Co. H. He enlisted April 27, 1898; mustered into service May 5, 1898; and mustered out of service April 22, 1899, in Savannah, Ga. He also enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1891 and served with the 17th Infantry Division, Co. F, and was discharged in 1892.