DAR Celebrates Anniversary

“Prelude to Kings Mountain” was the presentation given by Betty Stevens, Tennessee Society Daughters of the American Revolution (TSDAR) Treasurer and Speaker Staff member, at the Third Anniversary Luncheon for the Martha Dandridge Washington (MDW) Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), February 9, at the First United Methodist Church in Dandridge.

Regent Jane Chambers welcomed the guest speaker and representatives from the Samuel Doak, Spencer Clack, and John Carter chapters, along with MDW members and other guests.

While most folks whose genealogical roots are sunk deep into East Tennessee soil are proud of the participation of their forebears in the Battle of Kings Mountain, some do not know the events that led up to the confrontation that is often called the turning point of the Revolutionary War.

Ms. Stevens noted that well before the Revolutionary War, the stage for the confrontation on that site was set when the rugged pioneers shrugged off the restraints of King George who had promised the Native American tribes that the colonists would not cross the Appalachian Mountains and encroach further upon Indian land. Thousands of hardy pioneers ignored the limits and crossed the mountains in search of fertile land and freedom from British control.

Once the Revolutionary War began, the settlers in Virginia and the Carolinas, part of which eventually became Tennessee, mostly stayed out of the fray until British General Lord Charles Cornwallis began a southern campaign beginning at Charleston. He put Major Patrick Ferguson in charge of leading the Loyalists and taming the Patriots. Ferguson ordered the patriot militias to surrender or he would kill their families and burn their homes. Ferguson’s forces and the patriot militias met in the Battle of Kings Mountain, a hill just south of the border between North and South Carolina.

Speaker Stevens pointed out that in this battle, the Patriots and the Loyalists were all Americans. The only British regular present was Major Ferguson. In little more than one hour, 900 Patriots defeated 1105 Loyalists. The Patriots who had marched over the mountains from Sycamore Shoals to Kings Mountain suffered 28 killed and 62 wounded, while the British losses tallied 290 killed, 163 wounded, and 668 captured or missing. Among those killed was Major Ferguson.

Ms. Stevens asked her audience if any of those present had an ancestor credited with shooting Major Ferguson. When one person raised her hand, the speaker smiled and said she was not surprised as many Patriots were credited with killing him. However, his body was riddled by seven bullets, so it was not possible to determine who was the first fighter to bring him down. The entire Patriot militia was eager to cut down the man who had threatened their homes and the families.

Following Speaker Stevens’ presentation, the group enjoyed a meal of tasty dishes prepared by the chapter members.

The MDW chapter has begun a Service to America project to collect themed pillowcases (Spiderman, Frozen, My Little Pony) to be presented to the Vanderbilt Medical Center Children’s Oncology Unit in Nashville for pediatric cancer patients. The children will each be given a pillowcase to take home. When they return to the hospital for treatment, they can bring the pillowcases back to give them comfort and encouragement. At this meeting, Registrar and Service to America Committee Chairman Karen McFarland received 80 pillowcases donated by chapter members.

Source: Jane Busdeker