The following is an edited story written by Jennie Jones Giles for the Hendersonville Times-News and other information written and compiled by Giles.
On the edge of the village of Flat Rock is one of the most historical cemeteries in Henderson County.
The cemetery and the church across the road are located on land owned by one of the first and largest land holders of today’s Flat Rock, Abraham Kuykendall. In later years, land was given to the church by the Mitchell King family and Charles Baring.
Within Mud Creek Baptist Church cemetery are the graves or monuments of numerous veterans, from Revolutionary War soldier Kuykendall to veterans of the Vietnam War.
“Kuykendall gave the land for the first church,” said Walter Satterfield, who grew up in the church and took care of the cemetery for many years. “The old log church stood where that bush is.”
The large, green boxwood was standing almost in the center of the cemetery today.
Colorful peonies and at least a 100-year-old arborvitae lend nature’s colors to field stones and tombstones, some 200 years old.
“There are lots of unmarked children’s graves,” said Sharon Saltz, church clerk.
Some of those unmarked graves were slaves, said George Jones, a founder and member of the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society.
“We do know early slaves came to church at Mud Creek,” Saltz said.
Early records indicate other slaves are also buried in the cemetery.
“The church gave an instruction to the summer people to stop burying their slaves in the graveyard without permission,” Jones said.
Remnants of the old wagon road, sometimes called the Old State Road or Buncombe Turnpike, can be seen behind the wooded borders of the cemetery.
“That’s a fragment of the old turnpike,” Jones said.
The turnpike, one of the earliest roads in the county, came through Saluda Gap in the Saluda Mountain Range of today’s Greenville, S.C., Watershed, near the old U.S. 25 (225) at the state line, followed closely the winding old U.S. 25 South, went behind St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church and near today’s Erkwood Drive.
Mud Creek Baptist Church began about 1804. Members of the French Broad Baptist Church started the church to serve pioneer Baptists at the southern end of what was later to become Henderson County, according to church history.
There has been four different buildings housing the church congregation since 1804, Saltz said.
The log structure was torn down and another church built across from the cemetery where a parking lot is located today on Erkwood Drive. This was another log building, Saltz said. This building was torn down in 1895 because it was considered unsafe, she said. A white frame building was erected about 1900.
In 1963, a brick church building was erected on the site where the present church now stands, fronting Rutledge Drive, Saltz said. The new sanctuary was completed in 1995.
A rock monument in a garden at the front of the church portrays the four buildings that housed the congregation. The sketches are etched into the granite stone.
“Inside is a time capsule for people to open in 100 years,” Saltz said.
Early land grants to Kuykendall in today’s Flat Rock area date back to the mid-1780s, when the land was first opened for settlement after the Cherokee treaty of 1785.
There is a record of a land grant in 1779, but this grant is not a legal document for land in today’s Flat Rock, since the Cherokee still legally possessed the land west of the Continental Divide. Only land east of the Continental Divide was open for settlement at that time.
Kuykendall’s land total more than 2,000 acres.
The land was along the “Saluda Path,” the old turnpike (U.S. 25 South), according to land records and geographical maps.
“In fact, Kuykendall owned all of that area that is considered Flat Rock today,” wrote the late Frank FitzSimons in his book “From the Banks of the Oklawaha.”
Kuykendall had a grist mill, saw mill and a tavern or inn.
Kuykendall, born in New York, migrated to North Carolina as a young man. He later moved into old Rutherford County, where he served in the N.C. Militia during the Revolutionary War. He was also a member of the Committee of Safety and served with Capt. Corbin during the war.
In Rutherford County, Kuykendall was appointed to the committee to select the site and supervise the building of the Rutherford County Courthouse. He also served as a justice of the peace, according to early records.
In 1794, he was one of several men on a committee “to mark and lay off a road, the nearest and best way from the ford of Cane Creek to the ‘flat rock’ near the blue ridge leading along a ridge that strikes mud creek a small distance above William Fletcher’s and report to the April session, 1794,” according to records of the old Buncombe County Court.
Drovers and travelers stopped at the tavern and inn he built on the early road. He made his whiskey from a “stillhouse” located on his property.
James D. Justice
Another important figure in the early history of Henderson County is buried in the historical cemetery.
James Dyer Justice was one of the first surveyors in 1841 to survey the land that was to become the city of Hendersonville, according to early county and city records. Justice Street in Hendersonville is named for James Dyer Justice.
He was the son of Thomas Edward Justice Sr. and Mary Dyar Justice.
World War II
The cemetery contains the grave sites of four men from Henderson County who died during World War II.
Charles William Anders, Army, 143rd Infantry, private first class, was killed in action Nov. 19, 1943, in Italy during the Volturno Line offensive in the invasion of Italy.
Edward Otho Capps, Army, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, staff sergeant, was killed in action Jan. 15, 1943, during battles at Guadalcanal.
Joseph Pinkney Hollingsworth Jr., Army Air Corps, private, died in a non-battle death Jan. 31, 1942, at a base within the United States.
George Elbert Jackson, Navy, sailor, died Feb. 25, 1945, in the Veterans Hospital in Swannanoa of injuries in a car accident that occurred Feb. 7, 1945, in Henderson County while he was on leave.
World War I
The grave site of one man from Henderson County who died in World War I is located within the cemetery.
Robert Roy Kuykendall died of influenza during training in 1918 at Camp Wadsworth, S.C.
Spanish-American War and Philippine-American War
The grave site of the only man who was killed in action in either of the Spanish-American War or Philippine-American War is found within the cemetery.
Thomas W. Hollingsworth (1883-1900) served with the 47th U.S. Volunteer Infantry, Co. L, during the Philippine-American War and was killed in action Nov. 11, 1900, in Bulusan, Philippine Islands.
Two other men who served in the Spanish-American War and/or the Philippine-American War have grave sites in the cemetery: Edward Leonard Drake and William Freeman Thomas.
Legislator and Town Marshal
The burial site of one of Henderson County’s representatives to the General Assembly is found in the cemetery. John P. Patton (1853-1921) served as a Democratic representative to the General Assembly from 1913 to 1915. He was a merchant and served as chairman of the Henderson County Board of Education for several years and was a postmaster in Flat Rock.
John Lafayette Orr served in 1887 as a Hendersonville Town Marshal. His grave site is located in the cemetery.
The grave sites of 11 men who served in the Confederate Army are located in this cemetery.
Lindsey Baker Anders enlisted in the 13th N.C. Infantry, Co. D, on 9-1863. He was wounded 5-5-1864 during the Wilderness Campaign and returned to the unit in late fall 1864. He was captured 4-2-1865 most likely at the Battle of Five Forks during the Appomattox Campaign and confined at Hart’s Island in New York Harbor, and released 6-17-1865.
Peter Anders enlisted in the 7th Battalion N.C. Cavalry on 7-15-1862. On 8-3-1863, this battalion was consolidated into the 65th Regiment N.C. Troops (6th Regiment N.C. Cavalry). He served through the war. He died in 1907
Merritt R. Capps enlisted in the 56th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. G, Henderson Blues, on 4-12-1862. He transferred to Co. A on 7-15-1862, was hospitalized acutely ill on 6-12-1864, furloughed from the hospital on an unspecified date, failed to return and listed as a deserter 9-15-1864. He died in 1923.
David B. Guice enlisted in the 60th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. D, Henderson Rangers, on 7-10-1862. He was wounded in July 1863. The place that he was wounded was not reported, but it was near Jackson, Miss., during the Jackson Expedition after the surrender of Vicksburg. He died in 1911.
Samuel N. Hardin enlisted in the 9th Regiment N.C. Troops (1st Regiment N.C. Cavalry), on 5-20-1861. He served through the war. He died in 1914.
Isaac Alexander Hollingsworth enlisted in the 25th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. H, Cane Creek Rifles, on 4-18-1864. He “deserted to the enemy” 2-16-1865, was confined by the Union in Washington, D.C., and released 2-21-1865. He died in 1930.
Thomas Coleman Hollingsworth enlisted in the 16th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. I, Henderson Guards, on 5-5-1861. He was wounded 5-31-1862 at the Battle of Seven Pines (Battle of Fair Oaks) during the Peninsula Campaign, wounded in the right leg between Aug. 28-30, 1862, at the Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas), absent wounded until discharged 3-28-1864 by reason of disability from his wounds. He died between 1880 and 1884.
John Allen Kuykendall enlisted in the 25th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. H, Cane Creek Rifles, on 7-15-1861. He was wounded 7-1-1862 at the Battle of Malvern Hill during the Seven Days Battles in Virginia. He served through the war. He died in 1874.
John D. Nelson enlisted in the 56th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. G, Henderson Blues, on 4-12-1862. He was captured 3-25-1865 at the Battle of Fort Stedman during the Siege of Petersburg, a prisoner at Point Lookout, Md., and released 7-6-1865. He died in 1920.
Minor Clinton Redden enlisted in the 16th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. I, Henderson Guards, on 5-5-1861. He was discharged 10-6-1861 as result of injury. N.C. pension records indicate that he suffered a groin injury at Huttonsville, Va. He died in 1909.
Alexander H. Tabor enlisted in the 56th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. G, Henderson Blues, on 4-12-1862. He was wounded in the mouth 6-17-1864 at Meade’s Assaults or the Second Battle of Petersburg during the Siege of Petersburg. He was transferred 6-20-1864 to a hospital in Farmville, Va. He was reported in December 1864 in the hospital at Greenville, S.C. There are no further military records. He died after 1900.