The Search for Nathaniel Greene Golden’s Grave, Yancey County, North Carolina

Golding / Golden / Goulding et al Family History on Facebook

My Search for NGG
— by Carole Alessi, July 2017

Carole Alessi
Carole Alessi, great g-g-granddaughter of Nathaniel Greene Golden

Back in the early 1980’s I began corresponding with Ruby Maye Johnson (1917-2000), my 1st cousin 2x removed, the oldest relative in my family with information about Nathaniel Greene Golden. I never had the opportunity to meet Ruby in person but we corresponded from time-to-time. She lived in NC making it hard for me to visit her since I lived in Georgia, working, with two small children. By the time my life was less complicated, she had passed away.

Ruby was the daughter of William Madison Johnson and Amanda Jane Golden (1877-1979). Amanda was one of the daughters of Nathaniel Greene Golden (1812-1882) and his second wife, Elizabeth Jane Sosebee (1848-1930). I felt certain the information Ruby passed on to me was valid because of her close ties to NGG’s wife with whom she lived.

Letter - Ruby Mae Johnson
Snippet of a 1984 letter from Ruby Mae Johnson

One piece of information that Ruby passed on to me was that NGG was buried in Indian Gap Cemetery, Yancey County, NC. She was not sure of when he died, although she knew that he lived at least until 1882, when his daughter Crela was born. I began searching for this cemetery to no avail.

Ruby Mae Johnson Letter
Memories are important hints but not necessarily accurate. Crela was born in December 1882 not in 1879, so NGG lived until at least 1882.
Ruby Mae Johnson Chart
Ruby’s chart of the Golden-Sosebee marriage and family included NGG’s full name: Nathaniel Greene Golden … most Golden family researchers were completely unaware of Nathaniel being part of his name until about 2012-2013.

In 2015, I posted a query on Facebook’s “Yancey Co. NC Genealogy Research” asking for any information on the Goldens and/or the cemetery. And, I received a reply from a former Paint Gap Presbyterian Church member as to where the cemetery was approximately located.  I sent her a photo of the area where she maintains the cemetery is located, asking for a more precise location of the cemetery, and have not heard back from her.

Indian Creek aka Indian Gap
Indian Creek is the name of one of three roads that intersect and that make up  “Paint Gap”. The other two are Prices Creek and Horton Creek Road. A number of the members that attended Indian Gap Presbyterian Church, which closed in late 2015, became members of the Indian Creek Baptist Church on Indian Creek Road.

Finally, on June 20, 2017, I made the trip to Burnsville, North Carolina. It is a beautiful area in the NC mountains. Upon driving to the little church in front of the supposed cemetery, I was met by the England family who reside next to the Paint Gap Presbyterian Church and whose property must be traversed to visit various gravesites.

Paint Gap Presbyterian Church
Although some of the locals know this as the Indian Creek Road Church, the official name listed with the Presbytery of Western North Carolina is ‘Paint Gap Presbyterian Church’. The church closed in late 2015 and a commission was established to protect and to maintain its records. (Photo: Tom Young)
Paint Gap Presbyterian Church - 2015 by Tom Young
Paint Gap Presbyterian Church, Paint Gap, Burnsville, NC. Photo: 2015 by Tom Young

Looking at Google Earth, it appears there are several cemeteries on the property, one of which fellow Golden family researcher Tom Young found on an earlier excursion just several years back.

One cemetery that is next to the England’s home is resting places of the Englands and the Higgins.

Cemetery - England and Higgins
England family cemetery.

Also just across the road is the Horton Hill Cemetery where I found graves with family names, to include the McIntoshes and Metcalfs, which are related to me.

Horton Cemetery, Paint Gap NC
There are at least 67 identified graves within the Horton Hill Cemetery.

It is easy to view this location by using Google Earth and the address, 9 Indian Creek Road, Burnsville, NC.

The property behind the little church was very dense with trees and brush. The Englands said they did not think there was another cemetery behind the church and I didn’t have the guts and equipment to search. I very much would like to return in the winter when all of the greenery is gone.

A former Paint Gap Presbyterian Church member emphatically maintains there is an old cemetery behind where the original church stood, about a quarter mile away (1320 ft).

Indian Gap Presbyterian Church

I came home disappointed as the question of NGG’s burial place had not been solved. But, I was happy to meet cousins that I didn’t know existed and they were right next door to the place I dreamed of visiting for many years.

If anyone reading this would like to have access to my “private” family tree on Ancestry, please send me your email address.

Carole Alessi
alessi216@charter dot net

Nathaniel Greene Golden is my second great grandfather.


Yancey County, NC, North Carolina

Nathaniel Greene Golden (NGG, 1812-c1882/3), is known best to family members primarily as “Green Golden“. Green can be spelled with or with an extra ‘e’ at the end: Greene.

In documents that exist, he is usually listed as “N. G. Golden“.

NGG’s last confirmed address was the 1880 census. He was in Cheoah, Graham County, NC, with his second wife, Elizabeth Jane Sosebee (1848–1930).

Their daughter Crela Golden (1882–1970) was born in December 1882. This is the last confirmable year of NGG’s life. Family lore passed down through Crela’s sister Amanda Jane Golden (1877–1979) is that NGG is buried in the “Indian Gap Cemetery”, Yancey County.

NGG was the son of Nathaniel Greene Goulden, Sr., and Rachel Isabella Morgan. “Goulden” is the spelling within the Morgan family bible extract and the 1800 census that lists his grandfather: William Goulden.

About the earlier Paint Gap Presbyterian Church, which existed before the one that stands now: We know nothing about it. It does not appear in any known photographs online or in any historical document that shows in Google search results.

A 1938 map does show that a church exists at the current location, so we know that much.

Paint Gap NC Map, 1938

You are welcome to add to or to correct this story by contacting: Bill Golden,

BTW – I look forward to sharing your stories, photos and in-search-of quests. Contact me at the email address above.