Jones Family Cemetery at Upward

The oldest graves at the Jones Family Cemetery at Upward are those of the Tabor family. The grave of Elizabeth Tabor (1801-1845) is the oldest marked grave within the cemetery. Her grave site is located near the grave site of Rhoda Jones (1844-1845) and another Elizabeth Tabor (1780-1847).
It is likely that this cemetery began with graves of the Tabor family, and that Robert Jones later purchased this land and the surrounding land from the Tabor family.
It is known that Robert Jones established the Jones Cemetery at Upward on his land, not far from his home. His home was at the “crossroads” of Upward Road and Howard Gap Road.
Robert Jones (1794-1890) was appointed by the state legislature as an original commissioner when the county was created and was appointed one of the first school committeemen. He was captain of the Home Guard, or local militia, for 50 years. His wife, Elizabeth McGuffie or McGuffey (1795-1889), also has a grave site within the cemetery.
The majority of graves within this cemetery are descendants of Robert Jones.
The cemetery land is held in trust by family descendants and is well maintained.
A Revolutionary War monument is in the cemetery recognizing Joel Blackwell, 1755-1839. Blackwell was one of the first itinerant Baptist ministers in Western North Carolina. He served with the Continental Army during the Revolution and owned land in the Mill Spring community of Polk County near today’s Lake Adger. Blackwell’s grave is not within the cemetery. This is a monument only.
“He traveled by foot and horseback throughout Western North Carolina, preaching the gospel, and was widely known,” states information from a history of the Baptists in the area.
Many of Blackwell’s family members moved into the Big Hungry region of Henderson County and some married into the Jones family.
Children of Robert Jones married into families with the surnames Justus, Duncan, Tabor, Pace, Lamb, Jackson, Morrison, Guice, Clark, Case, McCraw, Bradley, Hollifield, Hoots, Hyder, Bishop, Smith, Davis, Moss, Young, Merrell, McGraw, Keisler, Holbert, Stewart, Lively, Thompson, Wilson, Parker and others.
Many of his descendants became educators, builders and carpenters. They built many of the old schoolhouses still standing in the county, such as the historically preserved East Flat Rock Elementary School. They also built many of the historical buildings and homes in East Flat Rock, such as the early bank that is still standing.
Another descendant was Ernest Justus (1900-1994), who served as a teacher, principal, administrator and school board member in the county for more than 50 years. The athletic field at East Henderson High School is named for him.
William Davenport Justus also has a grave site within the cemetery, as do many of his descendants. Several of his children married into the Jones family. Justus was sheriff in Henderson County during the last half of the Civil War and a state legislator.
Two other Henderson County sheriffs have grave sites within the cemetery.
Merida Sevier Justus (1846-1914) served as sheriff from 1882 to 1888.
Albert “Ab” Jackson (1917-2006) was the longest serving sheriff in Henderson County history, serving from 1970 to 1994.
There are five Confederate veterans with grave sites within the cemetery: George Washington Jones, James King Jones, Merida Sevier Justus, Robert J. Justus and Robert J. Tabor.
There are six Union veterans with grave sites within the cemetery: Hiram King Jones (1848-1909), James M. Jones, John Jones Jr. (1842-1907), John Jones Sr. (1815-1864), Robert T. Jones (1845-1905) and Govan Tabor (1825- 1897). Please note the following: The John Jones Sr. with a grave site within this cemetery is a son of Robert Jones and Elizabeth McGuffey Jones and John Jones Jr. is a son of this John Jones Sr. The Hiram King Jones and Robert T. Jones who joined the Union were sons of James M. Jones, who was another son of Robert Jones and Elizabeth McGuffey Jones.