Overmountain Men Gathering

The Overmountain Man statue by Jon Mark Estep stands at the front entrance to the visitors center at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. Saturday will mark the 241st anniversary of the Gathering of the Overmountain Men to march across the Blue Ridge and fight the British force led by Major Patrick Ferguson.

ELIZABETHTON — The 241st anniversary of the Gathering of the Overmountain Men takes place Saturday at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, but several events have already begun the Overmountain Victory Trail Association’s region-wide observances of events leading up to the Battle of Kings Mountain.

That included a Sons of the American Revolution grave marking at the Tipton Haynes Historic Site in Johnson City on Sept. 10 and the Daughters of the American Revolution dedication of a marker at the point of the crossing of the Watauga River by the Overmountain Men.

The eastern leg of the trail also had a combined program for Wilkes County, North Carolina, and Surry School at the Elkin Muster Field on Tuesday.

The western leg gets started in earnest tonight in Abingdon, Virginia, where there a Night Before the Muster program will be held at the Muster Grounds at 7:30.

The Abingdon group will move out on Friday at the Muster Grounds. At 8:30 a.m., the group will receive the message from Col. Campbell.

There will be no crossing at Choate’s Ford this year because of high water. At 2 p.m., the group will be at the Martin Luther Roller gravesite in Roller Cemetery in Kingsport. The group will be at Rocky Mount State Historic Site at 7 p.m. for a public program.

On the eastern leg, there will be a public program at Elkin Park in Elkin, North Carolina, from 6-8 p.m. on Friday.

Saturday’s activities will center on Sycamore Shoals.

The day will begin at 10 a.m. with the Raising of the Colors. The public is invited to join the Overmountain Men inside Fort Watauga as they assemble for morning instructions, militia inspection and raising the 13-star flag.

At 11 a.m., the Overmountain Men will re-enact “Every Seventh Man.”

Oral tradition states that the Overmountain Men left behind one man out of every seven who had mustered. The mission of these men was to guard the settlements while the rest of the men went in search for Maj. Patrick Ferguson’s British Loyalist force. At this re-enactment they will drill and hone their skills as defenders of the settlements.

At noon, the Overmountain Men will re-enact “Keep Your Powder Dry.” Historic interpreter Lisa Bennett will tell the story of Mary Patton, who made the gunpowder the men took with them to fight the Battle of Kings Mountain. Bennett will tell the story in the Talbot House at Fort Watauga.

The climax of the day comes at 1 p.m., when the Overmountain Victory Trail Association recreates the 1780 crossing of the Watauga River by Col. William Campbell and 400 militiamen from present-day Abingdon, joining forces with other Overmountain Men led by Col. Isaac Shelby and Col. John Sevier, who were already gathered at Sycamore Shoals.

At 2 p.m., the re-enactors will tell the story of the campaign to Kings Mountain and their victory over Ferguson’s force.

On Sunday, the day once again gets started at 10 a.m. with the raising of the colors.

There will be a frontier worship service at 11 a.m., where the public is invited to join the families of the Watauga Settlement for Sunday morning service held in the courtyard of Fort Watauga.

As a part of the morning worship service, the Overmountain Men will be inspired by the fiery sermon and prayer of Presbyterian minister Samuel Doak as the men prepare to march over the Blue Ridge to meet the British force.

During the afternoon, two of the programs from Saturday will be repeated: “Every Seventh Man” will be presented at noon, and “Keep Your Powder Dry” will be presented at 1 p.m..

At 2 p.m. Irish Dancing on the Colonial Frontier will be held at Fort Watauga.

The event on both days will close at 3 p.m. with the retiring of the colors.

The Overmountain Victory Trail Association will be leaving Sycamore Shoals on Sunday morning and will meet at Roan Mountain Community Park for a Yellow Mountain walk.

At 2 p.m., there will be a Bogart Bowman program at Unicoi.

The Yellow Mountain van pickup will be at 3 p.m.

The Roan Mountain State Park program will be at 6 p.m.

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John Thompson covers Carter and Johnson counties for the Johnson City Press since 1998. He grew up in Washington County and graduated from University High and East Tennessee State University

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