Thursday, I visited the WNC Historical Association, otherwise known as the Smith-McDowell House. Friday, I went to Kings Mountain National Military Park. It’s all connected.
The Smith-McDowell House sits on the A-B Tech campus in Asheville. The antebellum house had been decorated in period pieces. Each room shows off a different decade.
“But how did the family get the land in the first place?” I asked the volunteer showing me around.
After a long of to-ing and fro-ing, the volunteer came up with William Stewart who received a large piece of land as a reward for fighting in the Battle of Kings Mountain during the Revolutionary War. Stewart sold the land to Daniel Smith, also in the Battle of Kings Mountain, whose rifle is displayed above.
“Kings Mountain?” I said. “That’s where I’m going tomorrow”.
I had been to Kings Mountain National Military Park, just below the North Carolina border before, on my project to visit all the national parks in the Southeast. The park interprets the one-hour battle that occurred on 10/07/1780 But today I was concentrating on memorials. I met J. Hambright, a park employee, whose seventh great grandfather, Frederick Hambright, was a Lieutenant Colonel at the battle. Amazing! This fellow still lives in the area. These genealogies blow my mind. He can work his family tree back to 1780, at least.
A sea of students had been bussed in to watch a rifle demonstration.
But I was on a mission to rewalk the 1.5 mile Colonial Road and make a note of every memorial and when they were erected.
The oldest one dates back from 1815.
J. Hamrick said that it was the second oldest memorial of the Rev. War. The stone on the left is the original, the right a modern version was put up in 1910 or so.
Most of the modest monuments were erected by the local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The largest monument, an 83-foot obelisk, was a national effort but no national figure came to the commemoration, 1909.
A little different at the bicentennial in 1980 when Secretary of the Interior Cecil Andrews gave the keynote address.
When I visited the Kings Mountain site, I had a theory that Revolutionary War only got attention after the major Civil war sites had been protected, some even before the Civil War was over. I tried this theory on the ranger and she agreed. She pointed out a book that studied the difference in commemoration between the two wars.
I grabbed it. That’s exactly what I was looking for. Stay tuned for the details.