The gravestone of Robert Sevier who is buried on the Unimin Property near Bright's Trace.

The gravestone of Robert Sevier who is buried on the Unimin Property near Bright’s Trace.

In September and October of 1780, Overmountain Patriots made their way through the Toe River Valley to quash a threat from British Major Patrick Ferguson. Hundreds of families had settled “over the mountains” in what is now Western North Carolina, East Tennessee, and Southwest Virginia. In 1763, the British had proclaimed that the American colonists should not move past “the watershed line”. Ferguson had warned, in 1780, these rebellious mountaineers should heed the British warnings and move back. The Overmountain people would have no part in obeying the hated British. In September 1780, hundreds of these men met on the Sycamore Shoals of the Watauga River. They would march across the mountains, following the Old Yellow Mountain Trail and Bright’s Trace, to put an end to the British threats. They made their way through what is now Spruce Pine on September 29, 1780 and camped near what is now the Grassy Creek Golf Course before heading east across the escarpment into the Piedmont region. In a battle that lasted a little over two hours, these Overmountain Men would defeat the British handily at Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780. Thomas Jefferson would later refer to this victory by the American Patriots as the battle that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War. After the battle was over, these men made their way back to their homes in and over the mountains. Robert Sevier, the brother of John Sevier (who would later become the first governor of the state of Tennessee), was shot in the kidney at the battle. Determined to come back home with his compatriots, Robert Sevier made it back to Bright’s Trace (the area presently on the property of the Unimin Schoolhouse Plant) where he unfortunately succumbed to the severity of his wound on October 16, 1780. Robert Sevier, along with Patriot Martin Davenport, rest peacefully there on a knoll just above the Toe River. These are not the only Revolutionary Soldiers buried in our valley. George Silver, who is buried at Kona, “enlisted in the Revolutionary War under Washington and served faithfully until its close.” Just above Sevier’s grave, just beside Highway 19E, lies William Wiseman. Family tradition says rheumatism prevented him from marching, but Wiseman was given a small, one-horse wagon for the tools of his trade as a cobbler, mending soldier’s shoes. William Davis’s grave also lies beside the Three-Mile Highway. He was in the Second Regiment North Carolina, where he served as a private in 1778, but was a corporal by 1779. Davis was also wounded at Kings Mountain, but made it back to Three Mile Creek where he lived out the remainder of his life. David Baker, for whom the Mitchell County seat is named, fought under the command of George Washington in the battles of White Plains, Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown. He was also at Valley Forge. Baker is buried in the Historic Bakersville Cemetery.

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