The Gathering of the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail on March 24 and 25 will bring about 300 additional people to Elkin and the surrounding area. Some of those will be sharing some of the rich local history.
Members of the North Carolina Historical Reenactment Society Revolutionary War Unit 6th NC Regiment of the Continental Line (the Sixth), the Yadkin Valley Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Surry-Wilkes Chapter of the Overmountain Victory Trail Association in conjunction with the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail will present Overmountain Victory Trail Revolutionary War Days during the gathering.
Located across the corner from the Elkin Public Library in a private field near the river and before the train trellis, the encampment will be tucked away but easy to find for those who know where to look.
According to Taylor Osborne of the Sixth and one of the primary organizers of the event, the purpose of the reenactment is to educate the public about the Revolutionary culture specifically those events that took place locally. “The Sixth is based off an original Revolutionary War Unit,” said Osborne. “[The Revolutionary War is] the story of a group of farmers deciding, ‘We want to govern ourselves,’ and taking on the most powerful nation in the world.”
A portion of the tales of the people and events that took place in and around Elkin will be available to attendees of the Gathering as well as the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 24 and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 25. On Friday, students from Elkin High and Middle schools will visit with their history classes.
Twice each day guests will be able to hear a short lecture on the Battle of Kings Mountain. At the Elkin Municipal Park, there is a historical marker noting the muster field where soldiers gathered locally before marching to that significant battle in the war for American independence.
These lectures will be given by Alan Nywening and James Daniel, both of whom have had extensive experience presenting these histories. Daniel had been a contractor as a reenactor for Colonial Williamsburg until recently when that feature was discontinued due to the expense.
Guests also will hear a short talk offered by Osborne on the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, which will host a commemorative event the weekend preceding the Gathering. This location, about an hour east of Elkin, was the first Revolutionary Battlefield to become a national park.
Because the Overmountain Victory Trail is also a national park, Ranger Ben Richardson is expected to be present to talk about “The Southern Campaign of the American Revolution Project” as well as provide the passport stamps for those participating in the National Park Service’s Passport Program. Because most parks have a more permanent location and the OVT does not, this will be an unusual opportunity to get an uncommon stamp.
Immediately following each lecture will be period munitions fire which is expected to be loud. For this reason, dogs, with the exception of service dogs, are not permitted in the encampment. For the animal’s peace of mind, Osborne discouraged using the nearby areas for dog walking on those mornings, “one or two might not be bad, but when you get four or five of them together it can be pretty loud. We want to make sure people in the area know it’ll get loud for a couple minutes. We don’t want to scare anyone.”
Although the encampment will be set up during the Gathering, the general public is encouraged to attend. “Learning the stories of these people no one heard of was inspiring,” enthused Osborne.
To find out more about the Sixth, go to www.6nc.org. At www.ovta.org, maps and other information about the Overmountain Victory Trail can be found. To register for the Gathering or to learn more about the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, check out mountainstoseatrail.org/mst40th.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.