Zack Fender Cemetery, Yancey Co., North Carolina

Zack Fender Cemetery of Bald Mountain

Bald Mountain Road, Yancey Co., North Carolina

Documented by Beth Bradford-Pytel

updated on 01/30/16


PHOTO:  Macro view of the entrance with the sign fabricated by Julian Fender, great grandson of Zack Fender and Mattie Massey, in Feb. 2014.

The Zack Fender Cemetery is named after James Zachariah Fender born July 27, 1882 - died June 13, 1950.  He was the son of farmer/horse trader Isom Fender (buried at Fender Cemetery in Bee Log) and 1st wife, Matilda "Tilda" Candler.  Zach was a farmer who owned 400+ acres near Bald Mountain.  A portion of his land was sectioned off to start the family cemetery when he died in 1950 (photo of his funeral).   Many locals refer to this part of Yancey as "Fendertown."  This is an active cemetery accessible by vehicle with parking and well taken care of.


Directions: Proceed on 19W east towards Burnsville.  At the stop sign at Bee Log Junction, make a right and cross the Cane River. Guys General Store/Gas Station is on the left.  Make a left onto Bald Mountain Road and proceed for 5.2 miles after which time, make left onto Green Leaf Road.  The Cemetery is on the left. 


NOTE: This project was in partnership with Julian Fender (pictured on right with the sign he crafted on Feb. 2014), great grandson of Zack Fender and Mattie Massey.  All photos are courtesy of Julian Fender (unless otherwise noted).  Feel free to email me your comments, photos and info.



1.  FENDER,  Clayton B.

b.  April 22, 1909 - d. January 3, 1959

"Asleep in Jesus"

[s/o Zack Fender and Mattie C. Massey;

married 1st Sinda "Cindy" Atkins on August 4, 1927; d/o Thomas E. Adkins and Rose; 3 children;  married 2nd to Etta Williams #2]

NOTE:  Clayton was a farmer and died age 49 from a heart attack.




b. 1913 - d. unknown

[w/o Clayton #1]

NOTE:  family records state she is buried in Tenn. next to 2nd husband


3.   FENDER, Rufus William

b. March 23, 1916 - d. February 20, 1981

"In Loving Memory"

[s/o Zack Fender and Mattie Massy]


4.  FENDER, Dessie BALL

b.  February 30, 1920 - d. April 10, 2014

[d/o James Ball and Ida Pate; married Rufus William Fender]

OBITUARY:  Dessie Fender, 94, passed away Thursday, April 10, 2014, at Elizabeth House-Four Seasons in Flat Rock. A native of Yancey County, she was the daughter of the late James and Ida Pate Ball. She was also preceded in death by two brothers: James Ball, Jr., and Robert Ball; and three sisters: Georgia Oakes, Jessie Elkins and Vessie Wright.   Funeral services held at 2 PM Sunday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. Rev. Ronnie Anglin  officiated.  Burial at the Fender Cemetery.


5.   FENDER, Doyle Paul

b. March 13, 1949 - d. February 18, 1953

"Our Darling"

[s/o Erskine Paul Fender and Leeila Thomas]


6.  FENDER, Erskine Paul

b. October 30, 1920 - d. September 8, 1965


[s/o Zack Fender and Mattie Massey;

married 1st Gladys Hensley (d/o Back Hensley and Althea Cooper); 2nd wife Leeila Thomas]

NOTE:   He was the proprietor of The Blue Room Tavern in Weaverville.  The rock building (now gone) was located on Old Weaverville Hwy between Asheville and Weaverville.  He died age 44 from complications post surgery to repair stomach ulcers. "Peritonitis" was the cause of death.



7.  FENDER, Leeila [THOMAS]

b. June 19, 1931 - d. ? 

[w/o Erskine Fender]


8.  FENDER, J. B.

b.  February 14, 1932 - d. February 4, 2015

"Precious Lord Take Thy Hand"

[s/o Clayton Fender and Cinda Atkins; married Ann Davis]

NOTE: J. B. "Pop” Fender formerly of Burnsville, passed away Wednesday, February 4, 2015, in Port Charlotte, Florida.   A native of Yancey County, he was a son of the late Clayton and Cindy Atkins Fender.  He was the husband of Annie Davis Fender who died in 2001.  He was also preceded in death by a sister, Hattie Fender Edwards.  He was a US Army Veteran and a member of Sgt. E. L. Randolph Chapter 57 DAV.   He owned and operated J & B Auto Sales for many years.  Funeral services were held at 2 PM Sunday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home and Rev. Junior Peterson officiated.  Burial was at the Zack Fender Cemetery with military grave rites conducted by Sgt. E. L. Randolph Chapter 57 DAV. 



b.  September 1, 1929 - d. February 7, 2001

[s/o Joseph Davis and Bess __]


10.  FENDER, Leonard

b. November 4, 1939 - d. April 26, 1991

[s/o Vernon B. Fender and Mary Williams]



b. March 21, 1912 - February 16, 1992

[w/o Vernon B. Fender]


12.  FENDER, Vernon Baxter

b.  August 6, 1907 - d. September 16, 1959

"Thy Kingdom Come"

[s/o Zack Fender and Mattie Massey; married Mary Williams]  

NOTE: He was a farmer and died age 52 from heart disease: his WWII registration states his date of birth was Aug. 7, 1906.



14.  FENDER, James Zachariah "Zack"

b. July 27, 1879* (1882) - d. June 13, 1950

[s/o Isom Fender (buried Fender Cem Bee Log) and Matilda "Tilda" Candler.

1st wife:  Elminor M. Briggs (b. Nov. 8, 1877 - d. May 11, 1940; d/o Ezekial L. Briggs and Malinda Jane Shelton of Flag Pond, TN) married May 30, 1898 in Unicoi Co.; no children.

2nd wife: Mattie C. Massey of Madison Co., married August 10, 1899 in Buncombe Co., NC.

NOTE: *According to his    DEATH RECORD     it was noted that he was born in "1879" which is different than tombstone.  The 1880 Yancey Co. Census shows his parents, Isom (age 18) and Tilda (age 15), were just married with no children and living with Wiley and Lydia Fender in Egypt Twp.  It's unknown how Zack became acquainted with Elminor Briggs of Flag Pond.  Her father, Ezekiel Briggs, was a farmer/horse breeder and was   mortally wounded on January 13, 1884  leaving Malinda Shelton (wife) and two daughters, Elminor and Celia to care for themselves.  Elminor was 4 years older than Zack (age 16 at the time) and was already divorced from Joseph W. Rice (md. Oct 20, 1896).

Zack and Elminor   married  May 30, 1898    in Unicoi Co., but their marriage was brief.  At age 18, Zack met Mattie Massey who was living in the Flat Creek area of Buncombe Co. with her parents and they married on August 10, 1899 in Buncombe Co.  In 1900, they moved to Cocke Co., TN, per the census, and both were noted age 18 with no children.  In 1910, Zack and Mattie were living in Egypt Twp in Yancey Co., NC, and the census showed he was a farmer, rented property, married for 12 years with 5 children/4 alive as follows: Gifford G., James R. Vernon B. and Clayton B.   Zack was a lifetime farmer and around 1920, he owned land as noted in the census.  Around age 20, he worked for David M. Buck (1878-1939),  co-owner of J. M. Lumber Co. (incorporated in Johnson City, TN) and owner of the Bald Mountain Lumber Co. and sawmill, general assemblyman and extensive landowner of 4500+ acres in the Bald Mountain area near McKinney Gap / Wolf Laurel.  Zack was farmhand for Buck and was paid 50 cents a day.  Over time, Zack learned savvy business skills from Buck, saved his money and starting acquiring land adjacent to the Buck property on Bald Mountain to the point 400+ acres.  He also owned rental properties to supplement his income.  His death record shows that he died from the onset of anemia and had chronic nephritis for 15 years and hypertension for 20.

       THE FUNERAL OF ZACK FENDER - circa 1950   


13.  FENDER, Mattie C. [MASSEY]

b. May 1, 1882 - d. July 27, 1956

"They are Not Dead"

[d/o William Thomas Massey (b. Oct. 15, 1851 - d. July 13, 1933 buried Cedar Hill Cem. Greene Co., TN) and Mary Katherine Hunter (buried Caney Branch Cem, Greene Co. TN); married Zack Fender on Aug 10, 1899; children:

1) Gifford G. (b. Oct. 1, 1901 - d. Feb. 19, 1977 Detroit area, Michigan)

2) Georgia Margaret - died bef. 1910

3) James Ragan (buried Ragan Cem Riddle Branch)

4) Vernon Baxter #12 (b. Aug 7, 1906) md. Mary Williams

5) Clayton B. #1,

6)  Bruce Lee (b. May 30, 1912 - d. July 21, 1981)

7)  Thomas Woodrow  (b. July 20, 1916 - died bef. 1920)

8)  Juanita "Neta" Kate #24

9)  Rufus William (b. March 23, 1917 - d. Feb. 20, 1981) md. Dessie Ball Fender on Nov. 13, 1939

10) Tilden Zack #15

11) Erskin Paul #6

12) Naomi E. #20

NOTE:  Mattie died in the home of daughter Naomi on Bald Mountain.  Photo of Zack and Mattie with their first born, Gifford circa abt. 1903 courtesy of Reba Hensley Pauley.


15.  FENDER, Tilden Zack

b. June 26, 1919 - d. December 8, 1987

"Eternal Rest Grant Unto Them O Lord and Let Light Perpetual Shine Upon Them"


16.  FENDER, Sarah Jane [BRADFORD]

b. June 9, 1920 - d. January 25, 2015

[d/o Milburn Bradford and Loretta McCurry buried Milburn Bradford Cem]

OBITUARY: "Sarah Jane Bradford Fender, 94, of the Bald Mountain Community of Yancey County, went to be with the Lord Sunday, January 25, 2015 at Brookside Rehabilitation and Care.  A native of Yancey County, she was a daughter of the late Milburn and Loretta McCurry Bradford.  She was the wife of Tilden Zack Fender who died in 1987.  She was also preceded in death by a son, Tilden Gerald Fender; a granddaughter, Loretta Jane Warrick; son-in-law, Jim Warrick; brothers, Hubert Bradford and Theodore “Alex” Bradford; a sister, Martha “Monee” Honeycutt.  She was a member of Bald Mountain Freewill Baptist Church.  Sara Jane was a loving wife, mother and grandmother.  Funeral services will be held at 7:30 PM Wednesday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. Rev. Joe Bennett will officiate. A graveside service will be held at 11 AM Thursday in the Zack Fender Cemetery at Bald Mountain."

NOTE:  photo of Sarah Jane taken Aug. 2007 courtesy of Dwight Edwards.


17.  FENDER, Tilden Gerald

"Our Beloved Son - In God's Care"

b. March 1, 1948 - d. July 16, 2007

[s/o  Tilden Zack Fender and Sarah Jane Bradford]

NOTE:  According to his obituary, Tilden Gerald Fender died age 58 and was a member of the Bald Mountain community.  He was a U.S. Army veteran formerly a heavy equipment operator and a former employee of OMC and Phania at Arden.  Later in life he was self employed landscaper with  Bald Mountain Development Corporation.


18.  HANEY, Mary Jane [GREGORY]

b.  March 31, 1895 - d. ___

[d/o James Logan Gregory and Geneva Robinson of Madison Co., NC]


19.  HENSLEY, James Jr.

b/d June 30, 1952

[s/o Noah Arvle Hensley and Naomi Fender]


20.  HENSLEY, Naomi [FENDER]

b.  April 22, 1922 - d. September 1, 2002

[d/o Zack Fender and Mattie Massey; married Noah A. Hensley on May 18, 1940 in Erwin, TN]


21.  HENSLEY, Noah Arvle

b.  February 1, 1914 - d. January 28, 1987

"In Thee, O Lord Have I Put My Trust"

[s/o Murphy Hensley and Bonnie Edwards]

NOTE: Photo of young Noah Hensley and Naomi.  "Arvle" was a lifetime farmer.


22.  HENSLEY, William Murphy

b/d July 14, 1954

"Infant Son"

[s/o Noah Arvle Hensley and Naomi Fender]


23.  PHILLIPS, Jack

b. September 20, 1932 - d. July 12, 2003

"Brother - In Loving Memory"

[s/o Rex Hobart Phillips buried Sampson-Wilson Cem. and Juanita Kate "Neta" Fender]

NOTE:  Photo (l-r) Jack Phillips with Mattie Massey-Fender and his younger brother Jimmy.


24.  PHILLIPS, [Juanita Kate] Neta FENDER

b. January 5, 1914 - d. December 27, 1986

[d/o Zack Fender and Mattie Massey;

married Rex Hobart Phillips on August 4, 1928 -buried Sampson-Wilson Cem]

PHOTOS:  left - Green Leaf Road which leads towards the cemetery; right - macro view of the gated cemetery.

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


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Updated 01/30/2016