Sugar Fork Baptist Church in Macon County, NC

Photo to the left shows the Tombstone of Eve Huffman Higdon. Photo to the right shows Sugar Fork Baptist Church. Both images and text, below, used with permission, are from Jessie Higdon Wilkie’s book, Descendants of Joseph Huffman Higdon and Margaret Matlida Berry Higdon.

Jessie Higdon Wilkie writes about the cemetery at Sugar Fork Baptist Church in Higdonville, North Carolina.

... Sugar Fork Baptist Church was organized August 13, 1836, and was originally housed in a log building. It was located on land given by Felix Kilpatrick at the foot of the hill below the present building. It stood near the main road that goes along Sugar Fork (Cullasaja) River. For twenty-five years Thomas Ross Arnold was church clerk.

In the late 1800's a new brick building was erected above the first church, on top of the hill overlooking the river. The bricks were handmade and kiln-dried on Arnold Branch and hauled to the building site. Two of Joseph Huffman Higdon's sons, James Leonard and John Samuel, helped with the hauling and building.

... The dead were not forgotten but were held in reverent memory, and each year the surviving generations paid their respects with floral tributes on "Decoration Day." Usually on the last Sunday in May families gathered, bringing their home-grown flowers, as well as wild ones, to decorate the graves of their dear deceased ones.

One pleasant memory is that of walking with relatives the two miles to the church carrying armloads of flowers, usually gathered the night before and kept in cool water in the springhouse. The sweet-scented honeysuckles and roses would be beginning to droop in the warm spring sun by the time the carriers reached the foot of the hill and began the climb to the church.

After placing wreaths and bouquets on the mounded graves, the tired ones were glad to go into the high-ceilinged sanctuary and sit on the long wooden benches. There a cool breeze circulated from one side to the other through the large open windows. Cardboard fans placed conveniently on the benches helped cool hot faces. The fans had Bible story scenes, such as the Good Shepherd caring for the sheep, on one side; the other side bore advertising for Bryant's Funeral Home.

From the open windows one could look out over the graveyard where the mounds of earth were being covered with flowers of every hue. Many of the tombstones had the name HIGDON on them, marking the final resting places of ancestors and kinfolk. 

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