Traveling the Overmountain Victory Trail

Anthony Gonzalez Staff Reporter

October 17, 2013

The Elkin Municipal Park hosted 370 students in Elkin on Friday, all learning about the history of the Revolutionary War and the effects in this area.

The reenactment march aligned with the return of the local militia bringing back British Loyalist prisoners in 1780.

The event was organized by: Ray and Donna Absher, Dr. William Blackley, Myra D. Cook, Dr. Randy Bledsoe, Joe Hicks, Teresa Knopps, Teresa and Mike Howell, Misty Matthews, Joyce Moore, Larry and Diane Stone, David Ray (in memory of Randall Ray), Dr. Debra Garing, Dr. Jim Harrell, Phillip Lyles and Mike Hall.

“It was an amazing day with great participation,” said volunteer Dr. Bill Blackley of the Elkin Valley Trails Association. “Twenty reenactors and lots of fun and learning for all participants, it was a huge success.”

“The Overmountain Victory Trail has been part of an annual event I have taken part in for almost 10 years. My eighth great-grandfather and uncles marched the trail to Kings Mountain, S.C., to defeat the British 233 years ago. It’s part of my history, present and future and I enjoy being part of the spirit,” said Myra D. Cook, president of the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“After hearing the story being told by Steve Ricker, the students understood what the day was about,” continued Cook. “They then started asking questions, being a part of the demonstrations and wanted to know when they can do it again. I feel the students participation helped them understand the story and the history this area played in the Revolutionary War.”

According to Overmountain Victory Trail organizers, Sept. 23 marked the beginning of the annual reenactment of the Revolutionary War, Campaign to Kings Mountain. The 233rd anniversary march consisted of a combination of walking, camping and, in recent years, an opportunity for school children, primarily fourth-graders, to learn of this early American story of victory by a determined group of men and women, united in spirit, to preserve their independence from British rule.

Organizers said that most of the roads the Overmountain Men followed in 1780 have become the roads of today. Over the years, a “reenactment route” has emerged that offers walkers a chance to get off highways and into the woods or on back roads.

As of 2013, there are 84 miles of off-road walking which includes some remnants of the original roadbeds.

Programs are given to schools and community groups along the trail to educate the students and the public about the significance of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail and the contribution the Overmountain Men made in winning America’s independence.

Sponsors providing support for the program’s success are: The Disney Corporation, Friends of W. Kerr Scott Lake, Elkin Recreation and Parks, Elkin Valley Trails Association, Johnson-Hubbard House, , Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse of Elkin, McDonald’s of Elkin, McDonald’s of Jonesville, National Park Foundation, National Park Service, Rendezvous State Forest, Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation, Surry County Genealogical Association, the town of Elkin, the town of Wilkesboro, Vulcan Materials, Walmart of Elkin, Brushy Mountain Winery, Yadkin Valley General Store, Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, Elkin City School District, Wilkes-Surry Chapter OVTA, Wilkes Heritage Museum and Speedy Chef of Elkin.

Once on the trail, the children moved between learning stations experiencing the focus, determination, and resolve early Americans demonstrated in their pursuit of independence.

In 2012, 8,649 children heard the story of the Campaign to Kings Mountain and walked about 14,000 miles.

Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 835-1513 or email at agonzalez@civitasmedia.com.