Flax Creek In The Fog
Debra and Dave Vanderlaan
Photograph - Photography
This image shows the tall wooden crosses at the top of the hill at Flax Creek Cemetery on a foggy autumn morning. Captured in the mountains of Appalachia near the border of North Carolina and Tennessee............................................
Flax Creek Cemetery is located on Sunny Point Road about midway between Highways 64 and 294, the two end points of the road. The road was once called Taylorís Ferry Road as it was the route to the ferry crossing of the Hiawassee River. Travelers to the ferry would often camp at the site of the cemetery, giving it its early name of Campground. It seems certain that the name of Flax Creek came from the creek flowing nearby and the flax that was grown for making linen and "linsey-woolsey" fabric for clothing. Flax Creek flows into Persimmon Creek. Other names that have been used are Shoal Creek Cemetery and Suit Cemetery.
The cemetery land originally belonged to Lawson Jones and tradition has that it was begun as a burial place for blacks, probably slaves. There are no surviving markers for these people, though they likely account for some of the unmarked stones. The earliest marked stone is for Polly Clonts who died in 1864, and in 1871 the infant son of Dr. J. A. Cooper was buried here; both were from white families. In 1873 Lawson Jones deeded five acres to the Mount Zion Methodist Episcopal Church "in consideration of the love and affection he has for the church." The indenture was made to trustees J. C. Ellis, Richard Wallis and Lawson Jones in trust for the Methodist Episcopal Church. The trust stated in part that "the premises shall be used, kept, maintained and disposed as a place of Divine Worship for the use of the ministry and membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church."
The original church building stood atop the small hill directly across Sunny Point Road from the cemetery. In addition to serving as a Methodist church it was a gathering place for the community and was the site of singing schools, one of which is pictured on the cover. At a later time in its history, the building served as a Baptist church, known as Flax Creek Baptist Church.
In 1958 the successor trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church released a quitclaim deed to Ervin and Bobby Jones for the Flax Creek property. Then in 1962 Ervin Jones and wife Barbara Jones and Bobby Jones made a deed for the property to Ervin Jones, F. B. Johnson, and Charles Forrister as Trustees for Flax Creek Cemetery. During those years the church building was destroyed. Eventually the present dwelling replaced it.
The second Sunday in June each year is observed as Decoration Day for Flax Creek Cemetery.
October 18th, 2011
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