Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail - Online

By Randell Jones, www.danielboonefootsteps.com

This online tour takes you along the route of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. It commemorates the campaign of the Overmountain men and the backcountry patriot militia from today's Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia in their pursuit of British Major Patrick Ferguson to what became the Battle of Kings Mountain, October 7, 1780. Thomas Jefferson later called this battle "the turn of the tide" in the Revolutionary War.

This tour is part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the Overmountain Victory Trail Association, Inc. which started in 1975 to seek Congressional designation as a national historic trail. President Jimmy Carter signed the legislation in 1980.

Please visit www.OVTA.org to learn more about becoming a member. Visit www.nps.gov/ovvi to learn more about the National Park Service and its role in managing this historical trail resource.

Locations for Tour

1 The Muster Grounds

The Muster Grounds and the W. Blair Keller, Jr. Interpretive Center are located at 702 Colonial Road in Abingdon, Virginia. This site is the northernmost trailhead of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. This beautiful tract of land…

2 Grave of William Campbell

The grave of William Campbell is a certified site of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. It is on private property, but respectful visitors are welcome. The grave is about 25 miles northeast of Abingdon in Seven Mile Ford at the family…

3 Pemberton Oak

The Virginia militiamen, mustered under Colonel William Campbell, marched south from the Muster Grounds on Wolf Creek just west of Black's Fort toward the general muster at Sycamore Shoals. They followed their second in command, Major William…

4 Choate's Ford

On September 25, after camping the night before northeast of Fort Womack, the Washington County Militia crossed the South Fort of the Holston River at Choate's Ford, Today's Bluff City, Tennessee, surrounds that crossing and has embraced…

5 Rocky Mount State Historic Site Museum

Rocky Mount Museum was the home of William Cobb during the muster of Overmountain Men at Sycamore Shoals. William Cobb, Sr. and four sons joined in the campaign to Kings Mountain. Later, when William Blount, governor of the Southwest Territory lived…

6 Sycamore Shoals at Fort Watauga

Responding to the call for a muster, the militiamen from North Carolina's overmountain region and those from southwest Virginia gathered on September 25, 1780 in the flats adjacent to Sycamore Shoals and next to Fort Watauga. During the…

7 Grave of Mary Patton

Mary McKeehan Patton learned how to make gunpowder from her father and then operated a powder mill in Pennsylvania with her husband. They sold it and moved south when the prospect of a British invasion made living there dangerous. They built a new…

8 Shelving Rock

On the evening of September 26, after completing their first day's march, the Overmountain Men arrived at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains. They camped along the Doe River at a meadow known as "the Resting Place" and stored their…

9 Yellow Mountain Gap

The Overmountain Men marched over the mountain barrier following a narrow path known as "Bright's Trace." It followed a route used by Indians and created over centuries by migrations of deer, elk, and buffalo to cross the mountains.…

11 Hefner Gap

On September 28, 1780, when the Overmountain militia leaders at Gillepie Gap decided to split their forces to descend the eastern face of the Blue Ridge Mountains, colonels Shelby and Sevier took their men by the more northerly route toward North…

12 North Cove

The divided force of Overmountain militia men led by colonels Shelby and Sevier camped on the evening of September 29, 1780, in an area known as North Cove. It is in the valley of the North Fork of the Catawba River near the mouth of Hunnycut's…

13 Pisgah National Forest

The divided force of Overmountain Men riding under Shelby and Sevier departed their camp site at North Cove on September 30 and proceeded uphill and over a ridge through today's Pisgah National Forest toward a rendezvous with Campbell's men…

14 Paddy's Creek

The divided force of Overmountain militia under colonels Shelby and Sevier proceeded toward their rendezvous with Colonel Campbell's men along the Catawba River. The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail follows Paddy's Creek…

15 Lynn Gap Trail

The Overmountain men under Colonel William Campbell departed Gillespie Gap and proceeded along the ridge to descend the face of the Blue Ridge Mountains to Turkey Cove. A certified section of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail parallels…

16 Turkey Cove

The divided Overmountain militia led by Colonel William Campbell camped the night of September 29, 1780, at Turkey Cove along the bottomlands of Armstrong Creek. This site is not a marked site on the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. The…

17 The Orchard at Altapass

From The Orchard at Altapass, visitors can walk along a certified segment of the Overmoutain Victory National Historic Trail and view the North Cove valley and McKinney Gap. Storytelling hayrides that include an account of the Overmountain Men of…

18 McDowell House at Quaker Meadows

On September 30, 1780, about one thousand militiamen from the Overmountain region (today's East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia) marched into Quaker Meadows to gather with 350 militiamen from Surry and Wilkes counties, North Carolina. Quaker…

19 Quaker Meadows Cemetery

Quaker Meadows Cemetery is a gated cemetery and a certified site on the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. It includes the graves of brothers Charles McDowell and Joseph McDowell as well as many other persons of the 18th century.

20 Council Oak marker

On the evening of September 30, 1780, the militia officers met in a council of war to discuss plans for continuing their campaign in pursuit of British Major Patrick Ferguson. The officers met beneath the broad canopy of the Council Oak, which no…

21 Surry Muster Field

The Surry County militia mustered by Major Joseph Winston gathered along Elkin Creek near the Yadkin River. That field, the Surry Muster Field, is today a city park in Elkin, NC. As the Surry County militiamen marched upstream along the north side of…

22 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…

23 W. Kerr Scott Reservoir

W. Kerr Scott Reservoir is a flood control impoundment in the Upper Yadkin River Valley which now submerges the route of the Wilkes and Surry County militia in 1780. A certified section of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail runs along…

24 Fort Defiance

William Lenoir lived in the Yadkin River Valley and served in the Wilkes County Militia under Colonel Benjamin Cleveland. His home on the Upper Yadkin River was built in 1792 near the site of his fortified home of the same name which he occupied…

25 Greenlee Ford and the Catawba River

Greenlee Ford was the shallow crossing of the Catawba River used by travelers. The party of some 1400 backcountry militiamen crossed the river on the morning October 1, 1780 and marched up the valley of Silver Creek as they proceeded south toward…

26 Pilot Mountain

Pilot Mountain was a prominent landmark adjacent to the South Mountains. A broad gap to its southeast provided passage between the Catawba River basin and the Broad River basin. The backcountry militiamen marched toward this area on October 1 when…

27 Bedford Hill

Bedford Hill was the campsite of the backcountry militiamen on the nights of October 1 and 2. A heavy and persistent rain forced the men to stop their march toward Gilbert Town. These volunteers did not have a military discipline and they soon became…

28 Battle of Cane Creek

On September 12, 1780, Burke County militiamen under Colonel Charles McDowell and Rutherford County militiamen under Colonel Andrew Hampton were encamped near Pilot Mountain at White Oak Springs when they received word that Major Patrick Ferguson and…

29 Gilbert Town

Gilbert Town was a small frontier settlement occupied at different times by patriot and British forces. British Lt. Anthony Allaire wrote in his diary: "This town contains one dwelling house, one barn, a blacksmith's shop, and some…

30 Ford at Green River (Alexander's Ford)

On the evening of October 5, 1780, the patriot militiamen reached the Green River but had lost the trail for Patrick Ferguson's retreating army. Nevertheless, good fortune intervened. A large band of South Carolina militia had withdrawn into…

31 The Cowpens

On October 6, 1780, the mounted backcountry patriot militia rode hard from the ford at Green River for 22 miles, arriving at The Cowpens, a place for fattening cattle before taking them to market. It was owned by one Saunders, a loyalist. There, the…

32 Cherokee Ford

During the morning of October 7, 1780, the 900 mounted patriot militiamen who had left The Cowpens late at night, arrived at the Broad River. Believing that Ferguson might well have set an ambush for them across the river, they rode downstream to the…

33 Kings Mountain National Military Park

After crossing the Broad River at Cherokee Ford, the mounted patriot militiamen gathered information from locals about where Major Ferguson and his loyalist army might me. A young woman shared that she had just that morning taken eggs to the…

34 Grave of Colonel James Williams

Colonel James Williams was the highest ranking officer killed at the Battle of Kings Mountain. He was wounded in the last minutes of the battle on October 7, and tended by his son, Daniel. His men carried him carefully on their withdrawal on October…

35 Brittain Church Graveyard

The patriot militiamen passed through Gilbert Town on October 11, 1780, during their withdrawal from the battlefield, They had not only 800 prisoners to tend to, but their own wounded as well. The Presbyterian community around Brittain Church along…

36 Biggerstaff's Old Fields

On Friday, October 13, 1780, the patriot force and its loyalist prisoners marched six miles to descend upon the plantation of loyalist Captain Aaron Biggerstaff. He had been mortally wounded during the battle and left for dead. On the 14th, the…

37 Shelby's Fort

Isaac Shelby lived at his home Sapling Grove in today's Bristol, Tennessee. He was there when he received the message from, Sam Phillips, the released prisoner, about the British advance into North Carolina and the specific threat to come into…

38 Fort Crider

On the evening of September 29, 1780, the militiamen from Surry and Wilkes counties riding under Major Joseph Winston and Colonel Benjamin Cleveland camped at the site of Fort Crider (also Cryder and Grider.) They had ridden that day from their…

39 Burke County Courthouse Square

The historic Burke County Courthouse on the old courthouse square presents memorials to several eras including the Revolutionary War era and the Overmountain men.

40 History Museum of Burke County

At 201 Meeting Street, two blocks from Courthouse Square, the History Museum of Burke County presents the history of Burke County across several eras. One room is dedicated to the story of the Revolutionary War in the area.