Muster of the Overmountain Men brings Revolutionary War to life at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park!

The year was 1780, and the tide of the American Revolution was turning against the patriot cause.  The British gained new allies in the divided South and won victory after victory in a bloody civil war.  Charleston had fallen to the British, American forces had crumbled at the battle of Camden, and things were looking very bleak for the cause of independence. Then the impossible occurred! Frontiersmen west of the blue ridge mountains began a long march, gathering an army along the way from the highlands of Virginia to the hills of South Carolina.  At a place called King’s Mountain, they destroyed British forces and opened the way for the final American victory at Yorktown.

The route they took from Virginia to South Carolina, we now know as the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail.  Come celebrate with us as we re-live the muster of the Overmountain Men, which occurred at Sycamore Shoals over two hundred years ago.

Join us at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, September 24th & 25th for the Overmountain Militia Muster. This weekend will be full of events centering around the story of the Overmountain Men and their historic gathering at Sycamore Shoals. From 10:00 am until 4:00 pm each day the Overmountain Victory Trail Association and the Washington County, NC Militia will present 18th century demonstrations and activities in and around Fort Watauga. Discover the vital role Sycamore Shoals played in the early frontier community, and how its significance would impact our nation’s history. Re-enactors in period clothing will be on hand throughout the weekend to share stories and demonstrations of that exciting and tumultuous time. 

At 2:00 pm on Sunday, September 25th the Overmountain Victory Trail Association will recreate the historic 1780 river crossing when Colonel William Campbell and 400 mounted militiamen from present day Abingdon, VA crossed the Watauga River at Sycamore Shoals to join Colonels Isaac Shelby and John Sevier in response to a threat from British Major Patrick Ferguson.  For the past 47 years Members of the OVTA have recreated this historic occurrence since 1975, following the same route and timetable as their legendary forebears from Abingdon, VA to Kings Mountain, SC.

While enjoying the activities of the weekend, be sure to visit the award-winning museum and interpretive center, and don’t miss the park’s interpretive film “Sycamore Shoals – Story of the American Spirit”. Also visit the Park’s Book and Gift Shop to take home a special souvenir or a gift for the history buff or avid reader in your family.  This fun filled and action-packed event is sure to entertain and educate all ages. The event is free of charge so bring the entire family and relive some of the most crucial days of the American Revolution.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24th

10:00 – Raising the Colors – Join the Overmountain Men inside Fort Watauga as they assemble for morning instructions, militia inspection and posting the flag.

12:00 – “Every Seventh Man” – Oral tradition states that the Overmountain Men left behind one in seven to guard the settlements as they went in search of the tory army. Witness the Watauga Home Guard drill and hone their skills as defenders of the frontier. Learn about the different firearms used in Colonial America.

1:00 – “Keep Your Powder Dry” – Join historic interpreter Lisa Bennett to hear the story of Mary Patton and learn about the making of gunpowder on the colonial frontier.

2:00 – Pension Court – See how veterans of the Revolution were compensated for their service to the new nation.

3:00 – Walking in Frontier Footsteps – Join Museum Curator Chad Bogart for a guided interpretive walk along the park trail as he recounts the story of the Overmountain Men and the campaign to Kings Mountain.

4:00 – Event Closed – Join us tomorrow for another exciting day of living history!

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25th

10:00 – Event Opens to the Public

11:00 – Frontier Worship Service – Join the families of the Watauga Settlement for Sunday morning service held in the courtyard of Fort Watauga.

12:00 – “Every Seventh Man” – Oral tradition states that the Overmountain Men left behind one in seven to guard the settlements as they went in search of the tory army. Witness the Watauga Home Guard drill and hone their skills as defenders of the frontier. Learn about the different firearms used in Colonial America.

1:00 – “Keep Your Powder Dry” – Join historic interpreter Lisa Bennett to hear the story of Mary Patton and learn about the making of gunpowder on the colonial frontier.

2:00 – Watauga River Crossing – TheOvermountain Victory Trail Association will recreate the historic 1780 river crossing when Colonel William Campbell and 400 militiamen from present day Abingdon, VA crossed the Watauga River at Sycamore Shoals to join Colonels Isaac Shelby and John Sevier in response to the threat from British Major Patrick Ferguson.

3:00 – The Story of the Overmountain Men – Hear the legendary story of the campaign to Kings Mountain and the patriot victory that turned the tide of the American Revolution. Presented by the Overmountain Victory Trail Association

4:00 – Retiring the Colors: Event Closed – Thank you for joining us for a great day of frontier living history. Join us next time!

For more information, contact

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park

1651 West Elk Ave

Elizabethton, TN 37643

(423) 543-5808

www.tnstateparks.com/parks/sycamore-shoals

www.sycamoreshoalstn.wordpress.com

Posted in Overmountain Victory Trail Celebration | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Death Comes to Sabine Hill” Early American funerary customs presented at Sabine Hill State Historic Site

During the last weekend in October Sabine Hill State Historic Site in Elizabethton, TN will present “Death Comes to Sabine Hill”, a unique event designed to resurrect many of the forgotten traditions associated with death and mourning in early America. Visitors can experience these arcane customs firsthand though several programs offered during the event including demonstrations of the jobs associated with death in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, special after-hours tours of the historic Taylor House, and a re-creation of an early American funeral service.

Our modern perception of death and mourning are quite different than that of our ancestors. Today we push through the funeral process getting it over with as quickly as possible. Those who came before us, however, took a much more intimate approach. Disease, war, infant mortality, and other causes meant that death was a persistent companion especially before the days of modern medical advancement. Prior to the advent of funeral homes, the process of preparing a deceased family member for burial was carried out at home, and all manner of traditions, superstitions, and ceremonies that had been practiced in the old world continued here in the new. These ancient funeral customs and mourning rituals, many of which may seem bizarre and macabre today, have been all but forgotten. At “Death Comes to Sabine Hill” visitors can learn more about these traditions and see just how differently death was viewed and accepted in the past.

There are three options to experience “Death Comes to Sabine Hill”. Daytime visitation to the event will be offered on Saturday, October 29th. Guests can register for a one-hour time slot to visit Sabine Hill State Historic Site and learn about funeral customs, superstitions, mourning attire, professions, funeral food, and other traditions of death & mourning in Early America. Demonstrations on the grounds will include a coffin maker, grave digger, sexton, professional mourner, burial society, & resurrectionist. Also, visitors can take a self-guided tour of the historic Taylor House as each room will be displayed with various death & mourning customs from the late 1700s through the mid-19th century. The daytime visitation times are 11:00 am, 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, & 2:00 pm. General admission is $10:00. Ages 12 & under are $5:00. Pre-registration is required. Tickets can be purchased at tnstateparks.com/parks/events/sycamore-shoals.

Those who have a curiosity for the more mysterious will be interested in the Twilight Tours & Wake. These candlelight evening tours will occur on Friday, October 28th and Saturday, October 29th, and offer a special after-hours guided visit to the historic Taylor house. Visitors will pay their respects to the deceased at the wake and meet historically dressed interpreters throughout the house who will talk about the funeral customs and mourning rituals of days gone by. As the tour progresses outdoors, guests will visit with the coffin maker, grave digger, professional mourner, and resurrectionist as they share the professions associated with death & funerals in Early America. These tours deal with subject matter that may be too sensitive for younger visitors. Parental discretion is advised. Tour times are 6:00, 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, & 8:30 pm each night. Admission is $12:00 per individual. Pre-registration is required. Tickets can be purchased at tnstateparks.com/parks/events/sycamore-shoals.
The final chance to experience the death and mourning customs of the late 1700s and early 1800s will take place at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park on Sunday, October 30th at 2:00 pm with the re-creation of an early American funeral. Visitors will have the opportunity to join the mourners in the funeral procession and attend the burial service of the “dearly departed”. 
Admission is free.

Please be advised that Sabine Hill State Historic Site only offers portable restroom facilities at this time. The historic house is only accessible by steps and an interior staircase. All programs are subject to cancellation in the event of significant inclement weather. Sabine Hill State Historic Site is located at 2328 West G St. Elizabethton, TN 37643. Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park is located at 1651 West Elk Ave. also in Elizabethton. For more information about this and other exciting events please contact Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park at 423-543-5808, http://www.sycamoreshoalstn.org, or tnstateparks.com/parks/sycamore-shoals.

Sabine Hill State Historic Site is operated through a partnership between the Tennessee Historical Commission and Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Siege of Fort Watauga

Saturday and Sunday, May 21 & 22

10 am – 4 pm each day

 On Saturday, May 21st and Sunday, May 22nd, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park will host nearly 150 living history re-enactors for the 27th annual Siege of Fort Watauga. Colonial, British, and Native re-enactors will converge at the re-created Fort Watauga at Sycamore Shoals to relive the days when America’s first frontier was the land beyond the blue ridge.

Join us from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm each day as Sycamore Shoals once again becomes the scene of war during the Siege of Fort Watauga. Step back in time as you visit the fort, militia camps, British encampment, and Native American camp. Be immersed in the 18th century as you witness daily aspects of colonial frontier life. See the clash of two cultures as the attack on fort Watauga is recreated both days at 1:30 pm.

During the event, take advantage of colonial merchants selling period wares in “Sutler’s Row”. There will be several vendors offering a myriad of 18th century reproduction items for the colonial enthusiast or the primitive decorator including clothing, weaponry, replica housewares and military accouterments. Vendors this year include Ft. Vause Outfitters specializing in finished leather goods, Walnut Hill Embellishments showcasing 18th century reproduction and historically inspired jewelry, Trader Bob offering a wide selection of hides and pelts, Charles Carter Knives featuring an array of reproduction blades and knifework, and Old Goat Trader offering vintage and repurposed items.

Several Revolutionary War living history units will be in attendance and will make the 18th century come to life during the weekend. Units include the 2nd Regt. SC Continental Line, the South Carolina Rangers, and Musgrove’s Mill Militia all based in South Carolina, and British units; the 71st Highland Regiment, the British Legion, and the Southern Indian Dept. The host unit is the Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia based at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area. Also, enjoy musical entertainment from the Watauga Valley Fife & Drum Corps. Numerous individuals also participate in the event portraying many 18th century walks of life including Cherokee Natives, Backcountry Hunters, Farmers, Housewives, Commoners and Gentry.

Returning this year will be the Auction of 18th century reproductions and colonial inspired goods at 3:00 on Saturday afternoon. The auction is always an entertaining event and has become quite popular with re-enactors and members of the public alike. It’s a great buying opportunity for those in the living history hobby, the home decorator, or the general history buff. All proceeds from the auction go directly to offset the cost of producing the Siege of Fort Watauga event.   

For more information on this and other exciting events at Sycamore Shoals please contact the park at 423-543-5808, log on to tnstateparks.com/parks/sycamore-shoals or visit us on Facebook. Admission to the event is free so bring the entire family and see how your ancestors played a crucial role in our region’s history and in the formation of our nation. Witness the 18th century come to life, hear the rattle of muskets, smell the campfire smoke, and “Share in the Glorious Cause of Liberty” at the Siege of Fort Watauga. This event is sponsored by The Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia and The Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park is located at 1651 W. Elk Avenue in Elizabethton, TN.

Siege of Fort Watauga – Schedule of Events

Saturday, May 21

10:00   Militia Muster & Posting of the Colors – (Fort Watauga)

10:30   Salute to the Women of Watauga – (Sons of the American Revolution ~ Amphitheater)

11:00   Chickamauga or Cherokee: Was it a Choice? – (Mark Ledford ~ Native Camp)

11:30   “Our Daily Bread” Baking in the Earthen Oven –

(David Simerly ~ Fort Watauga Bread Oven)

12:00   Cherokee Cooking – (Sherry Finchum ~ Native Camp)

12:30   A Warrior’s Preparations – (Malaciah Taylor ~ Southern Indian Department Camp)

1:30     Battle Reenactment: “Siege of Fort Watauga – Part 1” & Revolutionary War Tactical Demonstration (Please move to the spectator viewing area 15 minutes prior to battle)

2:30     Kids Militia Drill – (Talbot’s Meadow)

3:00     Auction – (Visitor Center Gathering Room)

4:00     Event Closed for the Day – Join us tomorrow for another exciting day of living history!

Sunday, May 22

10:00   Event Opens

10:30   Militia Muster and Inspection – (Fort Watauga)

11:00   18th Century Worship Service – (Fort Watauga)

11:30   Chickamauga or Cherokee: Was it a Choice? – (Mark Ledford ~ Native Camp)

12:00   Cherokee Cooking – (Sherry Finchum ~ Native Camp)

12:30   “Our Daily Bread” Baking in the Earthen Oven –

(David Simerly ~ Fort Watauga Bread Oven)

1:30     Battle Reenactment: “Siege of Fort Watauga – Part 2” & Revolutionary War Tactical Demonstration (Please move to the spectator viewing area 15 minutes prior to battle)

2:30     A Warrior’s Preparations – (Malaciah Taylor ~ Southern Indian Department Camp)

3:00     Kids Militia Drill – (Talbot’s Meadow)

3:30     Retiring the Colors – (Fort Watauga)

4:00     Event Closed

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Siege of Fort Watauga