Wilkes Heritage Museum


The Wilkes Heritage Museum occupies the historic 1902 courthouse for Wilkes County. Exhibits include a room dedicated to the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. The Tory Oak is commemorated adjacent to the courthouse. A certified section of the OVNHT runs along the north side of the Yadkin River.

Images Show

Wilkes Heritage Museum

Photo by Randell Jones

The history and heritage of Wilkes County is exhibited in the old 1902 Wilkes County Courthouse. [View Additional File Details]

Exhibits for the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

Photo by Randell Jones

One room in the museum is dedicated to sharing the story of the Battle of Kings Mountain and the campaign of the militia including the Wilkes County Militia under Colonel Benjamin Cleveland. [View Additional File Details]

Robert Cleveland Cabin

Photo by Randell Jones

The 18th century home of militiaman Robert Cleveland, brother to Colonel Benjamin Cleveland is adjacent to the museum and included in the tour. [View Additional File Details]

Tory Oak

Photo by Randell Jones

Benjamin Cleveland was notorious for hanging suspected Tories, The hanging tree, known as the Tory Oak, stood where now stands a smaller tree grown from the Tory Oak's acorns. The Tory Oak is a certified site on the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. [View Additional File Details]

Walking along the OVNHT and the Yadkin River Greenway

Photo by Randell Jones

The Yadkin River Greenway serves as a certified section of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail through North Wilkesboro. [View Additional File Details]

Colonel Benjamin Cleveland statue

Photo by Randell Jones

A concrete statue of Colonel Benjamin Cleveland is adjacent to the Wilkes Heritage Museum. It shows him holding the cow horn which tradition says he used to signal his men to muster. This artwork project from the 1960s has its own interesting history. [View Additional File Details]

Excerpt from "Before They Were Heroes at King's Mountain" by Randell Jones

pp 513-514 Knowing that the number of guards was much smaller, three Tories tried to escape one evening. Two got away, but a third "was shot through the body." The next day, at "five o'clock in the morning, the Rebels executed the man," Lieutenant Allaire wrote in his journal. The party then marched 18 miles along the Yadkin River to the mouth of Moravian Creek, where they halted. The next morning, Thursday, October 19, they forded the creek, passed the Wilkes County Courthouse, where, no doubt, Colonel Cleaveland pointed out to this weary and wary prisoners the fearsome Tory Oak. He had dispensed his own brand of justice there before and he would have wanted these prisoners to know he would use the tree again when necessary. They continued on, covering sixteen miles that day, and six miles more on Friday, where they halted at the plantation of a Tory named Sale. Copyright 2011, Randell Jones Available at www.danielboonefootsteps.com [View Additional File Details]

Cite this Page

Randell Jones, A Guide to the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, “Wilkes Heritage Museum,” Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, accessed January 20, 2020, http:/​/​bythewaywebf.​webfactional.​com/​omvt/​items/​show/​37.​
View a Random Story

Share this Story