Events set to celebrate Overmountain Men
September is a month to remember past times and events and to honor the men who fought for America’s freedom. Travel back to the 18th century with the armies of the Revolutionary War and recall those moments. On Saturday, Sept. 14, the public is invited to share in a celebration of the crossing of the Blue Ridge Mountains by the Overmountain Men on their way to a battle with British forces at Kings Mountain.
The grounds of the Mineral Museum, at the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile marker 331 in Spruce Pine, will be turned into a patriot encampment with demonstrations featuring typical colonial-era activities, short performances, first-person presentations and militia exercises. Besides lectures about historical weaponry and colonial life, The Orchard at Altapass’ Bill Carson will provide a glimpse into the reasons for and details of the Battle of Kings Mountain. Guests are invited to stroll through the encampment, take part in various demonstrations and visit with the re-enactors of those who were thusly named because their settlements were “over” the Appalachians, the primary geographical boundary dividing the 13 colonies from the western frontier. This annual free celebration, open from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. follows two days of activities for local schoolchildren.
At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, the Orchard at Altapass, just up the Parkway from the Mineral Museum at mile marker 328.3, will host a small re-enactment of the actual battle of Kings Mountain. Men in red coats and those wearing Whig rags will engage with muskets blazing, voices booming, and hearts beating in a battle that “turned the tide on the war.”
Narrated by Carson, this event will enlighten and engage all who take experience the action.
The day’s event concludes with a return to the Mineral Museum at 7 p.m. for a candlelight tour of the encampment where visitors will listen to family members, and the Overmountain Men discuss preparations for the long march and battle ahead of them – a 330-mile trek through Virginia, Tennessee and into the Carolinas.
Then on Friday, Sept. 27, beginning at 9:30 a.m., school children and re-enactors will walk the one and a quarter-mile original “trail” at Sibelco Schoolhouse mine on 19E, north of Spruce Pine. Two of the troops, Col. John Sevier and Captain Martin Davenport were killed and are buried in the remote, tiny Bright’s Cemetery. The young marchers are taken groups to the burial site while the re-enactors shoot off their weapons and tell the story of the march through deep early snowfall, across rivers, in steady rain, hungry, and cold – to fight for their homes and families.
That evening, beginning at 6 p.m., the Orchard at Altapass will host a dinner in honor of the marchers, more than two centuries prior and re-enacted this month. Another description of the march and the ensuing battle will entertain all who attend. “Civilian” suggested donation is $15 at the door. Reservations are requested. Please call 828-765-9531 or email email@example.com.
It has been 239 years since the Battle of Kings Mountain. One can only imagine how the country would have turned had the battle not done so in America’s favor. For the past 28 years, the National Park Rangers on the Blue Ridge Parkway have celebrated the rout and honored the Overmountain Men’s contribution with a September full of family activities and lively historical discussions.