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The 229th Anniversary of the Gathering at Sycamore Shoals


The 229th Anniversary of the Gathering at Sycamore Shoals

Elizabethton, TN – September 18 & 19, 2009



The states of Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina are inextricably linked together by a common heritage because of the Revolutionary War battles they fought side-by-side with militia forces gathered together from their neighboring states.  Such a battle was the Battle at Kings Mountain in South Carolina.  But before that battle even occurred came the prelude to that conflict – the Gathering at Sycamore Shoals.

There is a sure-fire way to rile up a bunch of Tennesseans:   tell them you're going to march your army across the mountains, hang their leaders and lay waste to their lands with fire and sword.  Major Patrick Ferguson, serving under Lord Cornwallis with the British Army made that mistake, but only once.  A group of Patriots gathered at Sycamore Shoals in eastern Tennessee in September of 1780 with the express purpose of shoving Major Ferguson's words down his throat.  Under the leadership of four colonels, Charles McDowell, John Sevier, Isaac Shelby, and William Campbell, the Overmountain Men gathered at Sycamore Shoals and marched southeast to confront Major Ferguson and his band of Loyalists at Kings Mountain.  Ferguson once boasted “Only God Himself can take me off this mountain!”, and it turned out to be a prophetic statement:  during the fight, he was mortally wounded and was later buried under a rock cairn where he still occupies space on Kings Mountain today.

Two hundred and twenty nine years later, another group of Patriots met at Fort Watauga at the Sycamore Shoals to honor the men who departed from that vicinity to march down to Kings Mountain and give Ferguson and his Loyalist allies their come-uppance.  John Echerd, Past President, TNSSAR and founder of the Ramsour’s Mill Historic Event in Lincolnton, NC, agreed to help publicize the celebration at Sycamore Shoals.  He enlisted the inestimable talents of Ronnie Lail, President of the Watauga Chapter, TNSSAR, to organize the event and to shepherd it through to completion. President General Ed Butler attended the celebration and presented Compatriot Echerd the SAR National Meritorious Service Award for his continued efforts in behalf of the Historic Sites and Celebrations Committee of the National Society.     

A complete Photo Gallery that chronicles this event can be viewed at :

Photographs were taken by LCDR Bob Yankle, Webmaster and Principal Photographer, NCSSAR  2009 - 2010 and member of the NSSAR Historic Sites and Celebrations Committee.  You can view a select few images from the event in the gallery below.  Click on an image to enlarge it in your viewer.

For a good synopsis of this battle, visit the Sycamore Shoals, Where Liberty Began web site at : Liberty Began.htm for more information.