The Story - Gillespie Gap

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Chapter 7 - Gillespie Gap
"After three days of crossing the Appalachian Mountains, the Overmountain men marched up Grassy Creek to the precipice of the Blue Ridge at Gillespie Gap. From there they could see the broad expanse of the Catawba River valley spreading out before them, and they had to make a choice. . . . "

Music: Crooked Moon

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Catawba River Valley from the Blue Ridge

image by Randell Jones

"After three days of crossing the Appalachian Mountains, the Overmountain men marched up Grassy Creek to the precipice of the Blue Ridge at Gillespie Gap. From there they could see the broad expanse of the Catawba River valley spreading out before them." - from the audio file "The Story - Gillespie Gap" [View Additional File Details]

Two paths descended the Blue Ridge

photograph by Randell Jones

"Two routes descended the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If they went down one and Ferguson by chance came up the other, he would then be behind them with no one to stop him marauding and plundering their homes as he had threatened to do. But the other choice was equally dangerous. To divide their numbers in the face of an equal enemy and to send smaller parties down the two paths was a classic military blunder. But that was the choice these brave men had to make." - from the audio file "The Story - Gillespie Gap." [View Additional File Details]

A View into North Cove from near Hefner Gap

photograph by Randell Jones

"Campbell and the Virginians descended by the steep, southern route to Turkey Cove. Shelby and Sevier backtracked along Grassy Creek and circled around through a northern route to reach Hefner Gap, descending then into the North Catawba River valley to camp at North Cove." - from the audio file "The Story - Gillespie Gap." [View Additional File Details]

Militiamen descending into the Catawba River valley

image by Randell Jones
OVTA marchers, Pisgah National Forest, 2004

"Good fortune smiled on them all as both groups descended the mountain trails with neither encountering Ferguson." - from the audio file "The Story - Gillespie Gap" [View Additional File Details]

Brothers Charles and Joseph McDowell lived at Quaker Meadows

image by Randell Jones
Elijah Clark State Park, GA

"The two parties camped apart that night, and then on September 30 reunited along the Catawba River. They marched together to Quaker Meadows at today‪s Morganton and to the homes of patriot militia leaders and brothers Colonel Charles McDowell and Major Joseph McDowell." - from the audio file "The Story - Gillespie Gap." [View Additional File Details]

All music from "Blooming", copyright 2010, The Forget-Me-Nots
Recordings used by permission

"Before They Were Heroes at King's Mountain" by Randell Jones, 2011

Before they were heroes at King's Mountain, the Overmountain Men of Carolina and Virginia frontiers were challenging the Shawnees and the Cherokees, developing the fighting skills that garnered them the fearsome appelation, "The yelling boys." Lord Dunmore's War in 1774 and the campaigns against the Cherokees in 1776 and against the Chickamaugas in 1779 developed their capacity for traversing mountainous terrain and fighting tree-to-tree in fierce, hand-to-hand battles. Renegade British Indian agents on the frontier conspired to incite the Cherokees to attack the rebel colonists to force the trespassers back across the Alleghenies, where "the Father," King Geroge III, wanted his subjects to stay. The Battle of Great Bridge in 1775 built the reputation of the "shirtmen" for their expert marksmanship. The backcountry Patriots helped best the Scots Tories at Moore's Creek Bridge and the Loyalists at Ramsour's Mill. Five years into the American Revolution, the partisan, upcountry militiamen of South Carolina harassed the advancing British Legion and set the stage for the conflict in the Carolina piedmont that would destroy one-third of Cornwallis's army and turn the tide of the American War for Independence. All these skirmishes, battles, and campaigns during the six years before the fall of 1780 prepared these backcountry frontiersmen for the challenges they would face in their relentless pursuit of Major Patrick Ferguson--and before they were heroes at King's Mountain. Available at www.danielboonefootsteps.com [View Additional File Details]

Cite this Page

Randell Jones with The Forget-Me-Nots, “The Story - Gillespie Gap,” Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, accessed November 24, 2017, http:/​/​bythewaywebf.​webfactional.​com/​omvt/​items/​show/​46.​
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