The year was 1780. The tide of the Revolution had turned against the colonists. The British, forced out of New England, gained new allies in the divided South and won victory after victory in a bloody civil war. Charleston had fallen, and American forces had crumbled at the battle of Camden. But then the impossible occurred…The frontiersmen of the western 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, we now know as the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. Come celebrate with us as we re-live the muster of the Overmountain Men, which occurred here at Sycamore Shoals over two hundred years ago.
The first of several events scheduled to commemorate the historic gathering of the Overmountain Men will get underway at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 14 inside the reconstructed Fort Watauga at Sycamore Shoals. The Tennessee Society Sons of the American Revolution will celebrate the 239th “Gathering at Sycamore Shoals” with a memorial service and a wreath laying ceremony. The event is free and the public is invited to attend and participate in the wreath laying.
On Friday, September 20th Sycamore Shoals will present a unique after-hours, twilight program entitled “Lanterns & Legends of 1780”. Experience the sights, sounds, and emotions of the 18th century as you are guided through the historic encampment of the Overmountain Men by lantern light. Meet legendary figures such as Col. John Sevier, Mary Patton, Rev. Samuel Doak, and others as they tell the dramatic story of this historic gathering which led to one of the most decisive victories of the Revolution! The program begins at the park visitor center, and each tour lasts approximately 1 hour. Tour times are as follows; 7:00, 7:15, 7:30, 7:45, 8:00, 8:15, 8:30 PM. Pre-registration is required. You can make your reservations by visiting the following website www.tnstateparks.com/parks/events/sycamore-shoals. Fees for the lantern tours are Adults – $7.00; Ages 7 to 17 years – $5.00; 6 and under free. The Lanterns & Legends program kicks off an entire weekend of living history programing at the reconstructed Fort Watauga at Sycamore Shoals.
The Overmountain Victory Trail Celebration, On Saturday and Sunday, September 21-22 is a must for the whole family as the Washington County Militia living history organization presents 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. Hear the story of the Overmountain Men and their historic gathering at Sycamore Shoals.
While enjoying the activities of the weekend, be sure 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. It will be a fun filled and action packed weekend sure to entertain and educate all ages. Admission is free so bring the entire family and relive some of the most crucial days of the American Revolution.
On September 25th, 1780 Col. William Campbell and 400 mounted militiamen from present day Abingdon, VA crossed the Watauga River at Sycamore Shoals and joined Colonels Isaac Shelby and John Sevier in response to a threat from British Major Patrick Ferguson. At 2:00 pm On Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 the Overmountain Victory Trail Association will recreate the historic river crossing. For the past 44 years Members of the OVTA have recreated this historic occurrence since 1975, following the same route and timetable as their legendary forebears from Abingdon, VA to Kings Mountain, SC. This event is also free of charge and is open for all to enjoy this memorable experience.