St. Paul Cemetery is a community cemetery located off St. Paul Road in Edneyville.
Persons with graves in the cemetery are descendants of Jacob Lyda and descendants of George Owens and Butler Owens.
The first mention of the cemetery in deed books at the Henderson County Courthouse is in 1917 when Richard Owens sells James Pinkney Littlejohn 34 acres of land, excepting 1 acre for a graveyard.
Then in January 1949, Pink Littlejohn set aside an additional ¼ acre for the graveyard. This is the first reference found where it is called St. Paul Cemetery.
Based on these 20th century deeds, the cemetery should be 1 and ¼ acre in size.
In 1917 when the property was officially set aside in county deed books by the Owens and Littlejohn families, the cemetery was bounded by land owned by the Owens family and other descendants of the Owens family (Littlejohn and Freeman), and land owned by Thomas W. Lyda and Whitesides.
Jacob Lyda, known as the “pioneer” and the ancestor of many persons buried at the cemetery, bought his land from William Mills, Marvel Mills Edney (son of Asa Edney, grandson of William Mills), David Maxwell and the state of North Carolina. The first recorded deed for Jacob Lyda in this section was in 1801, and the last one located was in 1841. In 1854, he began selling and/or transferring this land to his children.
Lyda was born in 1778 and died in 1860. Stories relate that he was a Tory in the Revolutionary War. This is impossible. The Revolutionary War occurred from 1776 (before his birth) to about 1882. He would only have been four years old at the end of the war. He married Sarah Ann Wilkerson. The couple had 11 children, seven sons and four daughters. Daughters married into the Owenby, Jones, McKillop and Ledbetter families. Other descendants married into the Whitesides, Freeman, Flack, Laughter and many other families.
George Owens and Butler Owens were brothers. They were free blacks, not slaves. Prior to the Civil War, last deed in 1859, these two brothers obtained hundreds of acres of land from Tench Coxe and other investors of a New York-based Speculation Co. They also bought land from the state of North Carolina.
George Owens died in 1889. He had at least eight children, only one was a son, Richard Owens. His hundreds of acres of land were divided among his children. He and his descendants owned the land surrounding the cemetery. He is the ancestor of many of the persons buried in the cemetery. He was a free black, a son of James Owens and Esther or Easter Jackson, also free blacks. He married Mary “Polly” Freeman.
Butler Owens died in 1930. He had 12 children. Some of these may have died young, with no records found of them past childhood. At least seven, possibly more, were alive when he died, along with grandchildren from one of his sons who died when the children were very young. These children and grandchildren also inherited his hundreds of acres of land.
Daughters and granddaughters of the Owens brothers married into the Littlejohn, Freeman, Laus (Laws), Powell, Russell, Waters, Holland, Hayden, Logan, Payne and other families.
The ancestry of the Owens brothers, Butler and George, and their parents, James Owens and Esther or Easter Jackson, traces back to the Rutherford-Polk-McDowell section. One of their ancestors was a Cherokee Indian. Her grave site is near the Case family cemetery.
The oldest marked grave in the cemetery is 1845, Mary Lyda. The next is John G. Lyda and Martha, wife of John Lyda, in 1854. Elo Mary Lyda died in 1858, then Jacob Lyda in 1860.
Other persons with grave sites at the cemetery include:
Thomas Andrew Washington Lyda who owned the land bordering the Owens land in the early 1900s when the first mention of the cemetery occurs in Henderson County land deeds. He was also a postmaster of a small post office in the community, the Roosevelt Post Office, from 1900 to 1907. He died in 1926. His father, Andrew Washington Lyda, served in the Civil War. He was captured by Union troops and confined to a Union POW camp. He died at the POW camp on Rock Island, Ill. His grave site is at Rock Island, Ill.
Andrew “Andy” Monroe Lyda was one of Henderson County’s first apple growers. He worked with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service to encourage the planting of apple trees in the county in the 1920s and 1930s. He also constructed the Bee Hive Inn. The Bee Hive Inn was built in 1907 and was one of the county’s early hotels. The early cottages on the property are still standing.
John Andrew Flack built the Flack Hotel on St. Paul Road. The hotel was a four-story, 50-room structure, built in 1915. It became known as the “home of square dancing” in the county. Famous country singers performed and stayed at the Flack Hotel. The hotel closed in 1958 and burned in 1971. After his death, his son, John Hoke Flack, ran the hotel. John Hoke Flack was also a school teacher and early letter carrier for the Postal Service.
World War II
Charles “Charlie” Osteen was a private first class with the Army’s 325th Glider Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division, during World War II. He was killed in action Jan. 30, 1945, in combat following the Battle of the Bulge.
Civil War Graves
Bird Anderson Laughter enlisted in the 16th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. I, Henderson Guards. He was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines (Battle of Fair Oaks) during the Peninsula Campaign, captured on an unspecified date and place, confined at Fort Monroe, Va., and exchanged at Aiken’s Landing, Va. He was discharged in 1862. The reason for the discharge was not reported. He then enlisted in the 25th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. A, Edney’s Greys. He deserted 2-5-1864, but he may have returned because his widow did receive a Confederate pension.
Thomas Ledbetter’s service is based completely on pension records. The pension records state he enlisted in the 25th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. A, Edney’s Greys, in 1864. He was born 1852 according to his death certificate and all census records. He was only 13 years old when the war ended.
Isaac Monroe Lyda Sr. was one of the first enlistees in the 25th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Edney’s Greys in May of 1861. He was discharged two months later for being over age. He died in 1880. One of his sons, Isaac Monroe Lyda Jr., moved to Idaho in the early 20th century. Isaac Monroe Lyda Jr. was known as a famous bear hunter. A story concerning him is in the book “From the Banks of the Oklawaha” by Frank Fitzsimons. He and his sons became famous in Idaho as bear hunters. He died in 1931 and is buried in Canyon County, Idaho.
James Wilkerson Lyda enlisted in the 25th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Edney’s Greys, in May 1861. He was discharged two months later for being under age. He was the son of Isaac Monroe Lyda Sr. and Mary Almyra Stepp. He married Sarah Ann Lyda. He was the father of Andrew Monroe Lyda. He died in 1903. The tombstone has Jr. on it, James Wilkerson Lyda Jr. He was not a junior. The military used the terms junior and senior to distinguish between persons of the same name.
James Wilkerson Lyda enlisted in the 25th N.C. Infantry Co., Edney’s Greys, in May 1861. He was discharged one month later for being over age. He was the son of Jacob Lyda and Sarah Ann Wilkerson. He never married. The tombstone states James Wilkerson Lyda Sr. He was not a “senior.” The military used the terms junior and senior to distinguish between persons of the same name. He died before 1870.
Leander Lyda is most likely buried at one of the unmarked field stones in the cemetery. His wife, Adeline Mills Lyda, is buried at St. Paul Cemetery, along with some of his children. He enlisted in the 25th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Edney’s Greys, in 1861. He was discharged two months later for being over age. He later enlisted in McRae’s Battalion and served from 1863 to 1864. He died prior to 1870.
William Pinkney Lyda (W.P.) enlisted in January 1864 in Edney’s Greys of the 25th N.C. Infantry Regiment. He served from January 1864 until the end of the war. He died in 1929.
J. Butler Owens enlisted in the 25th N.C. Infantry Regiment, Co. A, Edney’s Greys, in September 1861 and served until the end of the war. He surrendered with the rest of Edney’s Greys at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. In military records, Butler Owens is listed as a “free man of color.” Owens joined the Confederate Army before the Confederacy began conscription. When he applied for a Confederate pension he stated that he was a landowner in Edneyville and spent the last year of the war at Fort Caswell. He said he served as the camp cook and also helped to build forts, trenches and breastworks. He died in 1930.
Charles Washington Freeman served with the 79th Coast Artillery during the Philippine-American War. He enlisted in September 1901. He arrived January 1904 at Walter Reed Hospital, Washington Barracks, District of Columbia. On April 12, 1904, he was returned to duty to Fort Adams, Rhode Island. He was also known as Dr. Freeman in the Edneyville community. He was the veterinarian in the community treating farm animals. He died in 1971.
Gus Lyda served with the 6th U.S. Volunteer Infantry during the Philippine-American War. He enlisted in 1910 and was discharged in 1913 at the hospital at the Presidio in San Francisco, Calif., with disability. This most likely means that he was wounded during the war or became sick. After returning from the war, he had a job with the local electric company. He died in 1917 from electrocution from a live electrical wire.