"Walking in the footsteps of heroes"

Portion of trail dedicated as OVTA trail

By Lesley Hughes
star staff

  A piece of history is now preserved at Roan Mountain Community Park. Approximately 1,200 feet of trail at the park was dedicated on Monday morning as an official section of the original trail that the Overmountain Men traveled in 1780 to the Battle of King's Mountain.
  Representatives from the National Parks Service and the Overmountain Victory Trail Association gathered on Monday, exactly 224 years later, to recognize the trail and "walk in the footsteps of these heroes."
  Paul Carson, of the National Parks Service, said the public will be able to walk the same path that over 1,000 men walked from Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga River to the Piedmont of North Carolina in pursuit of Major Patrick Ferguson and his army. Close to 40 miles of the 330 miles is protected, including more than 2 miles also dedicated on Monday near Hampton Creek Cove.
  Carson told the story of the Overmountain Men as they traveled through the Roan Mountain area and into Hampton Creek Cove on Sept. 27, 1780. Captain Robert Sevier and fellow troops caught up with Ferguson at King's Mountain in early October. A battle ensued, and all British soldiers in the battle were either killed, wounded, or captured. Sevier was wounded by a buck shot to the kidney. He desperately tried to return home but passed away on Oct. 15 and was buried in Spruce Pine, N.C.
  King's Mountain is known as the beginning of a successful end to the Revolution, assuring independence for the United States of America. The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail covers hundreds of miles from Abingdon, Va. through East Tennessee, over the high mountains of North Carolina, across the Piedmont of North and South Carolina, to the King's Mountain National Military Park. Three routes are designated - the true historic route, now often inaccessible; the route used by the OVTA each year, and the public motor route over highways.
  H.C. Lewis Construction Company is completing the work on the community park, which is being built on land that was purchased by Carter County after the flood of 1998 destroyed many homes in the Roan Mountain area. Chris Schuettler, Carter County planning director, said that the construction company, correctional center prisoners, and many citizens have taken part in designing, building, and furnishing the community park with a grant received when the original area was flooded in 1998.
  Designating this portion of the trail was an effort of the Carter County Planning Commission, Carter County Parks and Recreation Board, Carter County Commission and several other organizations. Part of the National Trails System, the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail is a cooperative effort of the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, OVTA, local governments, local citizens' associations, local historical societies, and the states of VIrginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
  Carson and Alan Bowen, with the OVTA, hope to make the Overmountain Victory Trail as well known as the Lewis and Clark Trail. Carson said, "When you walk on this trail, you will be walking in the footsteps of these heroes."