Patty’s Chapel Cemetery

Patty’s Chapel Cemetery was the site of an early Methodist church.
John and Mary Plumblee gave the land for a Methodist church in the Hooper’s Creek and Fletcher area in 1856. The church was named Patty’s Chapel Methodist Church after the first minister, Rev. Raphael Patty.
Later, G.W. and Elizabeth Fletcher gave more land for the cemetery and church.
Residents worshiped at this church until 1928, when the congregation moved to Fletcher.
Patty’s Chapel was the “mother” church of today’s Fletcher United Methodist Church.
When the congregation moved to Fletcher, members brought with them the organ and Bible used at Patty’s Chapel.
Only the cemetery remains at this site. Fletcher United Methodist Church maintains the cemetery.
The lower section of the cemetery contains the graves of slaves and their descendants.
Families with grave sites in the cemetery include the surnames of Baldwin, Bowman, Burge, Byers, Couch, Cunningham, Dunlap, Garren, Hutchison (Hutchinson), Lanning, Livingston, McMinn, Pinner, Plumblee, Reese, Russell, Sizemore, Souther, Taylor, Tow, Walker, Ward, Youngblood and others.
Surnames of families with graves in the black section include Collins, Dawkins, Featherstone, Hazel, Lynch, McMinn, Mills, Smith, Summey and others.
There are several field stones and marble markers with no names or indecipherable names. In the lower section there are 68 unmarked or indecipherable stones.
There are graves with death dates before the church was organized. It is likely that a family cemetery was at the location before the church or possibly this was a Methodist campground meeting site.
These three graves are B. Souther (1802-1849), unreadable Souther (age 49 years) (1803-1852), and William Washington Tow (1850-1852).
The grave site of Lola L. Owensby (Owenby) (1896-1918) who died in World War I is located at this cemetery.
There are 19 grave sites of men who were in the Confederate Army: J. Reuben Baldwin, McDowell Bowman, Joseph Byers, Solomon Cunningham, John Hutchison, Joseph Franklin Livingston, Hampton Wade Owenby, James Plumblee, Henry Reese, James Reese, John Reese, James Russell, Stephen Souther, Daniel Arnold Taylor, William R. Taylor, Reuben Taylor Tow, Samuel Vermillion, J.L. Ward and Joseph Youngblood.
The grave of George Cunningham (1855-1875) may or may not be within the cemetery. There is a marked grave stone for Cunningham. Cunningham is said to have murdered Daniel Sternberg in Buncombe County at a camp site when Cunningham was hauling farm products by wagon. At the trial, Cunningham claimed self-defense, but there were no witnesses to support his claim. He was convicted and sentenced to hang. The trial was held in Madison County, as expectations were that he would not receive a fair trial in Buncombe County.
The hanging took place in Marshall and the body was returned to Patty’s Chapel for burial.
But, rumors prevailed that his feet actually never left the ground at the hanging and he was quickly cut down from the noose. Folks say that the lid of the coffin was raised outside Marshall and Cunningham fled. An oak log was placed in the coffin.
In 1959, family members received legal permission to open the grave and coffin. Dr. David Pierce of Asheville examined the remains. He stated that there was no evidence of a body. The only items within the coffin were a bottle of cologne (used at funerals at that time in history) and a quantity of oak wood covered with thick bark that was still well preserved.