Wednesday was a perfect day for the 211 children and adults from local schools to muster at the Elkin Municipal Park to learn about local involvement in the fight for King’s Mountain in 1780. The overcast sky kept it from being too hot while reminding the children of the conditions faced by those local soldiers who not only trained on the grounds which later became a park but gathered for their march to become part of the decisive Revolutionary War victory.
Formed in 1975, the Overmountain Victory Trail Association is one of 19 National Trails celebrating the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. “In the fall of every year, we commemorate the men who gathered here at the trailhead,” said organizer Mary Bohlen.
Wednesday and Friday fourth- and eighth-grade students from local schools will join the OVTA where they will “connect history with the every day,” agreed Greg Jones, who has participated in this event for more than five years.
Jones went on to describe the benefits of this program where history comes alive, “We have this war going on a half a world away. There is an insurrection put down by some guy named George.”
According to Jones, the students learn more than just dates; they learn about “the human component” by interacting with such individuals as Joseph Winston played by Doug Mitchell member of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Hearing the first-person perspective seemed to make almost as much of an impact on the students as trying out some of the activities the Revolutionary people would have undertaken. From using a quill pen to rolling musket cartridges, Camron Lamm thought it was, “cool to learn what they did back then,” while Vicki Blevins’ fourth-grade class was impressed with learning about the various ways they used animal carcasses from Bob Meyers, particularly the use of oil from the skins for dressing their hair.
Many local people can trace their family history to individuals who fought at King’s Mountain such as Danny Kraus, member of the Yadkin Valley SAR, whose ancestor Samuel Johnson was among the first to walk what became the Overmountain trial in 1780. “It’s easy to forget,” said Kraus, and by participating Kraus hopes to keep alive the memory of these men and the part they played in the Revolutionary War.
From Sept. 16 through Oct. 9, the Overmountain Victory Trail Association will hold several events in four states covering 330 miles reenacting the march to King’s Mountain and the battle that helped win the American Revolutionary War. For more information, go to www.OVTA.org or www.facebook.com/Overmountain-Victory-Trail-Association.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.