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Episode 30 Transcript

In September, 1780, a ragtag group of backwoodsmen from what is today North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia assembled to begin a journey to defend their homes and belief in liberty. They met their destiny at Kings Mountain and this is their story. Welcome to our last episode of Footsteps for Freedom: The Road to Kings Mountain.

As we conclude our series on the Battle of Kings Mountain, we thought we would take some time to note a couple of veterans of the battle that ended up in the Toe River Valley, along with ones from other battles that are buried in our area.

Photo of WIlliam Davis' Gravestone

William Davis’ Gravestone

One of the soldiers who may have fought at Kings Mountain and is buried in the region is William Davis of Three Mile Creek in Avery County. During the battle, he was in the Charlotte area and could have been involved in the battle, but he doesn’t show up on any soldier rolls. However, Davis family tradition places him in the battle. After the Revolutionary War, Davis moved to Three Mile Creek where he lived to be 116 years old and is buried alongside Highway 194 just before it starts up Three Mile Mountain.

Photo of Martin Daveport's Tombstone

Martin Davenport is buried near Davenport Springs

Martin Davenport did not fight at Kings Mountain, but he is involved with the battle.as it was the incident between his son and John McFalls that eventually resulted in McFalls’ execution after the battle which we discussed earlier. Davenport also fought in the Cherokee wars and worked with other military units in Burke County. In 1785, he moved near Davenport Springs (which he owned) where he lived until his death in 1815. He is buried near Robert Sevier in Bright’s Cemetery.

Of course, Jonathan Tipton settled in the Toe River Valley after the war (with the Tipton Hill community being named for him), but he left after living in the area for nearly 30 years and is buried in Tennessee.

There is a large group of Revolutionary War soldiers associated with our region. We are putting a list of those we know about on our website at mitchellnchistory.org/ovm and are working on a map showing the locations of their graves. We also welcome information on any Revolutionary War veterans who are not on our list along with details about where they are buried.

Here is a list of Revolutionary War Veterans in the Toe River Valley:

  • John Allen
  • David Baker
  • Richard Baker
  • John Biddix [Bitticks]
  • John Blalock
  • William Barjonah Braswell
  • Samuel Bright
  • George W. Byrd
  • Isaac Cook
  • Martin Davenport
  • William Davis
  • John Edwards
  • William Guthridge Garland
  • William Gragg
  • John Green
  • Benjamin Hensley
  • Henry Hensley
  • Hickman Hensley
  • Ananias Higgins
  • Adam Hoppes
  • Zephaniah Horton
  • James Jennings
  • Joseph Jones
  • William Jones
  • Martin Maney
  • Richard Matlock
  • Malcolm McCourry
  • Arthur McFalls
  • Redmon McMahon
  • Jonathan McPeters
  • William Melson
  • James Morgan
  • Blake Piercy
  • Thomas Reed
  • Robert Sevier
  • George Silver
  • Jonathan Tipton
  • Edward Waldrope
  • Moses Washburn
  • William Wiseman
  • Thomas Wiseman

 

Have someone to add or information on any of these men? Please contact us.

As the American Revolution concluded and the battles turned into historical memories, the luster and importance of what happened at Kings Mountain began to fade. Soon, few knew the story of the backwoodsmen who had marched over the mountains and changed the course of the war.

Photo of Lyman DraperThen, in the 1830s, Lyman C. Draper, a librarian and historian in Madison, Wisconsin, became interested in the Revolutionary War-era history of the Appalachian Mountains. His original plan was to shed light on the era and to gain knowledge about the people, places, and events before it was completely forgotten. He began a series of correspondences, with his ultimate goal being to write a series of biographies and documentaries on the people and events that shaped the region. He amassed the first significant collection of personal, nonofficial materials in America, declaring that it was his work to “rescue from oblivion” the stories of this era. While he never completed his project, he recorded numerous interactions with individuals from that era and published ten volumes of historical notes for the Wisconsin Historical Society of which he was secretary for thirty-two years, along with a volume, Kings Mountain and Its Heroes, which intricately documented the battle and those involved, bringing it back to the forefront at its centennial in 1880. This rekindled interest in the battle and the story, and still serves as the definitive history of the Battle of Kings Mountain.

Photo of the Monument Atop Kings MOuntain

Monument Atop Kings Mountain

Draper’s book saw a resurgence in popularity in the 1920s and 1930s as work began to protect the Kings Mountain Battlefield, resulting in the establishment of Kings Mountain National Military Park on March 3, 1931. Work then continued for decades to honor the path the Overmountain Men took to Kings Mountain, with a speicial celebration coming on the 200th anniversary of the battle in 1980 featuring marchers who traveled the 170 mile route from Sycamore Shoals to the famous battlefield, an event that continues to this day. That year also marked the designation of the Overmountain Victory Historic Trail, the first such trail in the Eastern United States, by President Jimmy Carter. Work has continued to open sections of original trail for hikers to experience. As of 2019, fifty-seven miles of the OVHT have been developed for public use. A total of 214 miles will comprise the entire trail when it is completed. Several sections of the trail are open to the public in the Spruce Pine area and are free to walk. Draper’s work, combined with the efforts of the National Park Service, the Overmountain Victory Trail Association, and other groups has ensured that the Overmountain Men and their efforts will not mer forgotten.

And that brings to a conclusion Footsteps for Freedom: The Road to Kings Mountain, a production of the Mitchell County Historical Society.

We would like to thank some folks for their help with our show. First, thanks goes to the Village Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps whose song First of September opens and closes each episode. You can find their music at archive.org. Thanks also goes to Daniel Barron, Rhonda Gunter, and Chris Hollifield for their help with scripts and fact-checking. A huge thank you goes to Jonathan Bennett, whose knowledge of the battle and those involved in it still amazes me. We also thank Michael Ardell of WKYK and WTOE for providing this opportunity to air the program on the radio. And the biggest thanks goes to you for listening and sharing your thoughts with us through e-mail and social media.

We have one more program planned, a roundtable discussion of the battle, the figures, and our thoughts about the research that went into the episodes. It will be a podcast only, and you can download it using Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and other pod catching software, or listen to the program online. All the details you need about it can be found at mitchellnchistory.org/ovm, or stay subscribed to our feed to receive it when it is completed.

We welcome your comments on the series, along with suggestions on other topics you’d like to learn more about. Let us know through social media, on our website, mitchellnchistory.org, or by e-mail: mitchellnchistory@gmail.com.

I’m David Biddix, and for the Mitchell County Historical Society, I once again would like to thank you for joining us on the journey to Patrick Ferguson and the battle that turned the American Revolution to the Patriots atop Kings Mountain.

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