Sycamore Shoals State Park prepares for annual Muster of Overmountain Men

Published 11:23 am Friday, September 8, 2023

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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. 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 is now known as the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. The public is invited to celebrate as modern day Overmountain Men re-live the muster, which occurred at Sycamore Shoals nearly 250 years ago.
The public is invited to attend a re-enactment of the Muster of the Overmountain Men at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park the weekend of September 23 & 24 for the Overmountain Militia Muster. This weekend will be full of events centered around the story of the Overmountain Men and their historic gathering at Sycamore Shoals. From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day the Washington County, N.C. Militia and the Overmountain Victory Trail Association 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 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 25, 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 48 years (since 1975) members of the OVTA have recreated this historic occurrence, following the same route and timetable as their legendary forebears from Abingdon, Va., to Kings Mountain, S.C.
The public is also invited 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.
Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park is located at 1651 West Elk Ave., Elizabethton.

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