Samuel Bradford and Samuel Edwards Cemeteries, Little Creek, Yancey Co., North Carolina

Sam Bradford Cemetery of Little Creek

Bradford Rd., Little Creek, Yancey Co., North Carolina

Surveyed and documented by Beth Bradford-Pytel

updated on 11/18/18



PHOTOS:  LEFT - In July 2012, I made a sign for the cemetery

RIGHT: Brothers Douglas (my dad) and Terry Bradford, late grandsons of Samuel L. Bradford and Ruhamia Hensley with their wives taken May 2003

The Cemetery is named after my great grandfather, Samuel L. Bradford, the former land owner upon which the graveyard sits.  He owned a farm and a general store which sat on the corner of Little Creek  and Bradford Roads selling farm provisions, food, ammo and sundries. Also suspected to be buried here are Sam's parents, Billy Bradford and Elizabeth Wilson which I have made commemorative markers and placed next to their field stones to honor their graves.  Sam never recovered from a gunshot wound to the abdomen sustained from a family feud shooting altercation that occurred at his store in April 1928.

    See  Newspaper Article of the Shooting   


DIRECTIONS:  Heading on Rt. 19W from Unicoi Co. towards Burnsville, NC, make a right at the Bee Log Junction onto Little Creek Road which crosses over the Cane River -see map below.  You will pass Guy's General Store/gas station on the left as well as Bald Mountain Road.  Continue straight on Little Creek Road bends sharply to the left.  Proceed for about a mile and make a left onto Bradford Road [there is an Old Barn on the corner].  Proceed up the hill for about 6/10 mile passing several houses on both sides.  Continue up the hill and on the left, you will see a metal gate entrance to a logging road in between a couple of houses that sit very close to the road.  There is no sign for the cemetery and easy to miss.  The logging road is not fortified and not recommended to drive on.  I parked my car at the base of the entrance and hiked up the logging trail which affords spectacular views.   First you will come across the  Samuel Edwards cemetery (see Part II below).  Proceed further up the hill to reach Sam Bradford cemetery.  All gates must be securely fasten to protect livestock.


PHOTOS: In May 2012, the cemetery was a complete mess overgrown with 3 year old saplings and extensive vegetation which overshadowed the tombstones and boxwoods.  On May 18, 2012, J. Fender cleared off the cemetery.   Unless otherwise noted, all photos taken by bbpytel.








ROW 1:

1.  BRADFORD, Samuel L.

b. April 6, 1858 - d. February 20, 1932

"Rest in Peace"

[s/o William "Billy" Bradford & Elizabeth "Betsy Wilson #8/9]

NOTE: Ruhamia ran the farm and Sam was the owner of a general store which sat on the corner of Little Creek and Bradford Roads.  Sam died from complications of a stomach wound from a stray bullet due to a shooting altercation between Carmen Cooper and Leroy Barnett Martin (see newspaper article) which occurred in his store.  Carmen Cooper was killed during that altercation and is buried at the Hampton-Phillips Cem. Leroy Martin, a former Deputy Sheriff of Yancey Co., was acquitted at trial and afterwards moved over to Rutherford Co., NC to live until his death on February 13, 1973 from gastrointestinal bleeding per his death record.

Tombstone taken 2003; photo of Ruhamia and Sam standing in front of their barn which still stands today; photo circa 1931.

      Will / Probate Transcription                     Original Documents of Will / Probate                     Newspaper Article of the Shooting    



b. March 5, 1872 - d. March 17, 1940

[d/o Barnett L. Hensley and Lucinda Van Hensley buried Hensley Cem. #3; w/o Sam - married December 27, 1889; children:

1)  Oscar md. Ida Mae Randolph buried Oscar Bradford Cem.

2)  Princia Lee md. Andrew J. McCourry buried Phillips-Hampton

3)  Sue Emma #4 md. Goldman Lewis

5)  Rexter md. Martha Hensley buried McCourry-Hensley-Tipton

6)  Arthur md. Milam Hensley buried Evergreen, Erwin

7)  Lyde B. md. Gladys Amy Brinkley buried Evergreen, Erwin

8)  Andy Roscoe md. Pearl Lee Hensley buried Bradford-Spivey

9)  Lucinda md. 1st Fred Parker / 2nd Mack Hensley buried Cane River Cem, Yancey

10) Woodrow (never married) buried Bradford-Spivey


3. LEWIS, Goldman Robert

b. January 8, 1891 - October 31, 1974

"Resting in Peace"

[s/o Robert Hiram Lewis buried Martins Creek Cem. #629. and 1st wife Sarah Jane Holloway; he married 1st Sue Emma Bradford on April 9, 1914; married 2nd Anna Tipton on May 14, 1956]

NOTE:    DEATH CERT #37533    states his middle name is "Rice"; he was a widower when he died in the Green Nursing home in Rutherford Co., NC from chronic heart disease.  As a young man he was a Teamster and Logger but throughout his life he was also a farmer. Tombstone photo taken 2003 -- bbpytel.


          WW1 Registration    


4.  LEWIS, Sue Emma [BRADFORD]

b. March 1896 - d. 1948

[d/o Sam L. Bradford and Ruhamia Hensley; w/o Goldman - married April 9, 1914; children:  Arvil and Milam]

PHOTO:  Sue Emma Bradford and Goldman R. Lewis abt. 1947 Easter Day, standing in front of their house in Little Creek, Yancey Co., NC.

     Goldman Lewis House Circa 1947  



b. 1837 - d. May 16, 1872

[d/o William "Billy" Bradford #7 and Mary "Polly" Cooper of Tennessee; married 1st John W. Wilson (s/o Thomas Wilson and Mary Ann Hensley) died in Atlanta, GA during the Civil War.

Married 2nd to William Issam Hensley buried Hensley Cem Little Creek; children: Edith, Belandrona "Ban" (buried Martins Creek  #630), William]

NOTE: *Hannah was probably named after her grandmother Hannah (Choate?).  She never assumed the Bradford surname as shown in the 1850 and 1860 censuses.  She was noted as Hannah "Cooper" using her mother's surname since William "Billy" Bradford never married her mother, Mary "Polly" Cooper from Tenn.   In the 1860 Yancey Co., Census,  Hannah (age 24) and John W. Wilson (age 20) were living in the same household with Billy Bradford and Polly Cooper which brought the two together.  It is unclear how Hannah.  died, but it is assumed from giving birth to William as both died in 1872 and also buried here.

   Affidavit of Samuel L. Bradford    attests to Hannah's burial and the name of her husband and her father for William Issam Hensley's war pension.  Also, according to the Affidavit, William Issam Hensley states that she was buried at the "Bradford Cemetery" and the following people were present at her funeral:  Thomas Honeycutt, Samuel Bradford, Andrew Bradford, Marcus Cooper, John Phillips, all of whom lived a couple of miles away.  During the 1870 Yancey Co., Census, Hannah's mother, Mary Polly Cooper was  living with Hannah and William Issam and noted as a "Hensley" age 50.  The photo of the fieldstone was taken on 5/30/2009 by bbpytel;  On February 17, 2014, I  fabricated a commemorative cross and placed next to her fieldstone.


6.  BRADFORD, Elizabeth "Betsy" [WILSON]  [field stone/ commemorative cross]

b.  abt. 1832 - d. bef. 1900

d/o Thomas Wilson and Mary Ann Hensley

1st  married Austin "Aught" Nathan Honeycutt (buried Honeycutt Cem.) who died from "dropsy" at his home while on furlough from the Civil War serving the CSA.


1) Mary Jane md. Mr. Peek, died of "dropsy" and buried in Gaston, NC (per NC death record)

2) Thomas J. md. 1st Melissa "Liss" Hensley; 2nd Analize Randolph buried Edwards Cem #3

3) Emily Cora md. Rev. Rexter Samuel Wilson


2nd married William "Billy" Bradford (#7); their children: 

1) Andrew buried unmarked grave; md. 1st Harriett Riddle; 2nd Nellie Jean Peek she is buried Bryant-Bradford Cem.

2) Samuel L. (#1)

3) Isom B. (#10)

4) Cordelia md. Hiram Lewis

NOTE:   Tombstone photo taken 5/30/2009 --bbpytel


PHOTO:  September 2013, I made a cross to commemorate the burial spots of my GG grandparents, Billy and Betsy Bradford and placed in between their fieldstones #6 and #7.


7.  BRADFORD, William E. "Billy"  [field stone/cross -suspected]

b.  abt. 1815 - d. 1892

[s/o John Bradford b. abt 1777 and Hannah (Choate?) who settled in Little Creek; suspected to be buried up the road at Honeycutt Cem. on their former property.

1st companion Mary "Polly" Cooper born in TN; children: Hannah #7, John, and Beladrona Ruth

2nd relationship: Mary Polly Watts; child: Amanda Jane Watts md. John Wesley Phillips

3nd - wife: Elizabeth "Betsy" Wilson #9]

NOTE:  William "Billy" was a farmer and served as a Freeholder in Yancey Co. in 1862.  After the death of his father John (bef. 1855), he was the Executor of his Estate.  Billy had complicated relationships.  His first companion was Mary "Polly" Cooper from TN and they had three children together born from 1837 - 1845.  with her. In 1866, the State of NC brought charges again them for unlawfully "bed, co-habit, commit fornication together without being married."  During the 1860 Yancey Co. Census noted William age 45, Polly (Mary) age 40, John age 16, Belinda R. age 14, Andrew age 9 mos. and John Wilson in the household.  John Wilson (brother to Billy's 2nd wife, Betsy Wilson) married Billy's daughter Hannah, but was killed in the Civil War.   Tombstone photo taken 5/30/2009 --bbpytel



ROW 2:

8.  BRADFORD, Jack - "Little Jack"

b. September 1929 - d. April 1936

[s/o Lyde Bradford and Gladys Amy Brinkley, buried Evergreen Cem. Erwin, TN]

NOTE:  Jack's father, Lyde of Little Creek, NC ran a gas station at their home on 19W on Spivey Mountain just beyond the NC state line. On April 18, 1936, a fire broke out destroying the entire home and filling station and tragically claimed little Jack’s life. The cause of the fire, which exploded the gas tanks, was never determined. The family rebuilt their house and business in the same location.  The April 1936 headline of the Erwin Record stated:

"Futile Effort to Save Son Brings Mother Grave Burns”

A mother is recovering from severe burns and bruises in a local hospital following an unsuccessful attempt to rescue her seven year old son early today when their Spivey mountain home was totally destroyed by fire. The boy, Jack Bradford, lost his life when a blaze of undetermined origin, wiped out the combination filling station-home situated on the Asheville highway about 12 miles from here (Erwin).  Lyde Bradford, his father, and two other children narrowly escaped being trapped.  The family of five awoke shortly after midnight to discover their roadside home in flames. The parents, clutching their two younger children, fought their way out of the burning structure, only to learn that Jack had succumbed to the dense smoke. Screaming, his mother rushed back into the house, but was forces back without her son only after she sustained burns about the face, hands, and back, and bruises from falling timbers. The boy’s charred body, hours later, was dragged from the embers. The father and two other children received treatment here (in Erwin) for burns and minor injuries. Hospital attaches said later today the woman would recover.  Bradford operated a filling station on the highway a few miles beyond the North Carolina line. He and his family lived in three rooms of a wooden building that connected with the business establishment.  The loss from the fire has not been estimated."    Tombstone photo taken 2003


Isom and Margaret Wilson-Bradford cross in the foreground; in the back are Billy and Betsy Bradford Cross left and Hannah Bradford-Hensley on right.  Taken July 2015.


9.  BRADFORD, Margaret WILSON [commemorative cross]

b.  January 1, 1872 - d. May 23, 1959

[d/o Edward "Ned" Amos Wilson and Leannah Edwards; married Isom B. Bradford on September 4, 1894; children: Anna, Nora, Delia E., Thomas, Shelton, Farris, Texie.

NOTE:  In 2003 the grave was marked with a rock and a faded funeral marker but now the marker is gone.  Per her death record filed with the NC Deaths 1931-1994, Family Search, she was noted as a widow, living on Rutherford Rd. Marion, NC, parents noted and buried at "Bradford" Cemetery in Yancey Co.  Photo of Margaret is courtesy of Alaina Foster-Maupin.




10.  BRADFORD, Isom B.  [commemorative cross]

b. May 3, 1870* - d. April 1, 1936

[s/o William "Billy" Bradford and Elizabeth "Betsy" Wilson; wife Margaret Wilson]

NOTE:  Isom was a lifetime farmer.  Per his death record filed with the NC Deaths 1931-1994, Family Search, he was noted as being born in 1868 which is incorrect since he was 2 mos. old during the 1870 Census and his older brother Sam was born in 1868.  The death record #164 shows he died of "Myocardial degeneration and Interstitial Nephritis (Kidney disorder in which the space in between the kidney tubules are swollen).  At the time of death, he was living in East Marion, NC, names of parents and buried at "Bradford" Cemetery in Yancey. Co.

          DEATH RECORD                      NC DEATH RECORD #164  


PHOTO:  Macro view of the SL Bradford entrance -bbpytel July 2012



This cemetery is down the hill from the Samuel Bradford Cemetery



NOTE:  In 2009, cemetery and fence are in excellent condition and well taken care of.   Photo is a macro view of Sam Edwards Cemetery taken 5/30/2009 --bbpytel


1.  EDWARDS, Samuel

b. October 8, 1904 - d. September 2, 1981

"Our Father Which Art in Heaven"


2.  EDWARDS, Gerta

b. February 1,3 1902 - d. June 26, 1999

[w/o Samuel Edwards]

NOTE:  Tombstone photo taken 5/30/2009 --bbpytel


3.  ADKINS, Larkin

b. May 1, 1928 - d. August 25, 1990

NOTE:  Tombstone photo taken 5/30/2009 --bbpytel


4.  BATTY, Kenneth

b. July 2, 1927 - d. January 20, 1998


5.  BATTY, Cleo [ADKINS]

b. May 16, 1926 - d. November 30, 1994

NOTE:  Tombstone photo taken 5/30/2009 --bbpytel


6.  TREADWAY, Robert Ernest

b.  1934 - d. June 1, 2012

[s/o Arthur Treadway and Mary Lee Bailey]

NOTE:  A native from Unicoi Co., TN, he was a skilled carpenter and a Veteran of the Korean conflict.  Rev. Bill Mitchell officiated the service at the Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home.

Photo courtesy of AJ Fender - 9-2013


Yancey Co. Map - location of cemetery -click to enlarge

View of the old Sam Bradford property taken from the cemetery,

Little Creek, Yancey Co., NC   photo taken in 2003 -bbpytel


More Info on Yancey Co. Genealogy

a contribution to the NCGenWeb Project

Other Yancey Co. Cemeteries - Tombstone Transcription Project




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Updated 11/18/2018