Abingdon Muster Grounds

Abingdon Muster Grounds The Abingdon Muster Grounds, northern trail head of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, is a picturesque park with an Interpretive Center.

In the summer of 1780, the Southern American colonies - and hopes of independence - seemed at the mercy of an invading British army. A militia was formed on the western frontier, today know as the Overmountain Men. A brave group of some 400 volunteers came to the Abingdon Muster Grounds to begin their journey. The Virginians joined militia from modern day Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and the Overmountain Men gave chase to British Major Patrick Ferguson, surrounding his army on Kings Mountain, SC. In little over an hour, they killed or captured his entire command. Kings Mountain was the beginning of the successful end to the Revolution, assuring independence for the United States of America. The Keller Interpretive Center is located within the 9-acre Muster Grounds, and is the premier center for Colonial Backcountry history from the American Revolutionary period in Southwest Virginia. Exhibits help visitors discover what life was like for the Overmountain Men, Backcountry Women, African-Americans and Native Americans, as well as British Loyalists, and a history of Washington County - the Overmountain region of Southwest Virginia. Artifacts used at the Battle of Kings Mountain and others from the late 18th-century Overmountain region are on display. The Keller Interpretive Center is open from 9-5 daily. The Grounds and the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail are open from dawn-dusk.

Thank you Michael Henningsen for the wonderful story of the “Fighting Parson” and his contribution to the “Overmou...
06/07/2019

Thank you Michael Henningsen for the wonderful story of the “Fighting Parson” and his contribution to the “Overmountain Men” and the battle of Kings Mountain.

British Major Patrick Ferguson gave his take on the Battle of King’s Mountain today. Thank you Tom Vaughan. Great stor...
06/07/2019

British Major Patrick Ferguson gave his take on the Battle of King’s Mountain today. Thank you Tom Vaughan. Great story!

Interesting sky today! Open the photo for full panoramic effect.
05/31/2019

Interesting sky today! Open the photo for full panoramic effect.

Thank you Auburn Middle School for spending part of your day at the Abingdon Muster Grounds. Huzzah!!!
05/24/2019

Thank you Auburn Middle School for spending part of your day at the Abingdon Muster Grounds. Huzzah!!!

Kings Mountain National Military Park
03/20/2019

Kings Mountain National Military Park

Women's History Month: This time, we'll look at the women who came to Kings Mountain immediately after the battle.

These women, many of whom were local and heard the gunfire, came to search for their relatives and nurse the wounded. Ellen McDowell and her daughter Jane, whose husband/father William had fought in the battle, lived nearby and served as nurses after the battle. They stayed on the ridge for several days, along with other local women. Family lore also states that Jane had molded musket and rifle balls for Colonel McDowell's men before the battle, and she later married one of the Patriots who fought in the battle, Robert Wilson.

Another Patriot woman, Elizabeth Moore, undertook an incredible journey to nurse her husband, William. When she found out that William had been severely wounded in the battle, she got on horseback and rode by herself over the mountains from Virginia, nearly 300 miles, to find him, nurse him back to health, and bring him home.

Some women weren't able to serve as nurses for the men dear to them. Upon learning of her husband's death in the battle, Preston Goforth's wife hitched their horse to a sled and rode to Kings Mountain to retrieve his body. Mrs. Goforth buried him in the family cemetery on the Shelby Road (modern Business 74, west of the town of Kings Mountain).

#WomensHistoryMonth #RevolutionaryWomen

Kings Mountain National Military Park
03/01/2019

Kings Mountain National Military Park

In this last post for Black History Month, it is only fitting that we honor those African Americans, known and unknown who fought at the battle of Kings Mountain.

Lyman Draper, author of the seminal work Kings Mountain and Its Heroes, claimed that at least twelve African Americans fought at Kings Mountain. Pension records identify five men on the Patriot side: Essius (Esaias) Bowman, John Broddy (Broady), Andrew Ferguson, Primes (Primus), and Ishmael Titus. Of those five men, three--Bowman, Broddy, and Ferguson--had their pensions executed. Three fought as free men beside their neighbors, one began his service as a slave and ended it as a free man, and one journeyed as the personal servant of the overall Patriot commander, William Campbell (he later received his freedom for his service). Their journeys from the distant shores of Africa or the backwoods of the New World brought them together on a small ridge on October 7, 1780, where, alongside their Patriot brethren, they turned the tide of the war and changed the course of American history.

These are their stories.

Essius (Esaius) Bowman - a free man, served in Captain Joel Lewis’ company from Virginia. He is said to have been one of the men who shot Patrick Ferguson, commander of the Loyalist force.

John Broddy (Broady) - a slave, was with Colonel William Campbell of Virginia. Although he did not bear arms, he was near enough to the battle to observe the action, and while riding horseback nearby, he was fired upon by Loyalists mistaking him for Colonel Campbell.

Andrew Ferguson - a freeman of Virginia stated that both his father and mother were free persons. He was drafted early in January 1780 at the age of fifteen. Two weeks prior to being drafted, while with his father, Andrew Peeley, he was taken prisoner by a British pressgang. After escaping, he and his father were under the command of Captain William Harris and Colonel William McCormick. The first engagement in which Ferguson took part was the battle at Allegheny. He recalled that Colonel Morgan, Colonel McCormick, Captain Harris, and the
two British officers who had captured him were in the battle. Ferguson was in the battles of Maumie, Brandywine (as was Major Patrick Ferguson who was the Loyalist Commander killed at Kings Mountain), a battle in Rowan County, North Carolina, Camden (not in the main action, but nonetheless was shot in the leg), Musgrove’s Mill, Kings Mountain, Cowpens, and Guilford Courthouse. He was wounded in the head at Guilford Courthouse (which was treated by insertion of a plate made of hammered
silver coins) but went on to fight in the battle of Ninety Six and Eutaw Springs. He was granted a pension on his application executed on August 16, 1838 while residing in Monroe County, Indiana. In 1851 he stated he was aged about ninety-six years. A well-known and widely respected citizen of the state, Ferguson was granted 160 acres of bounty land on an application filed in 1855.

Primes (Primus) - a free man, applied for pension December 16, 1846 while residing in Roan County, Tennessee, and aged eighty-six years. He said that he enlisted during 1777. Part of the time he was under Captains Garter, Abbot, Locke, and Colonel Williams. He was taken prisoner at Charleston, was paroled, violated his parole, and rejoined the army. Primus was again taken prisoner, this time at Gum Swamp, and was again released. He was in the battle at Camden (where he was wounded in the head), Kings Mountain, Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse, Eutaw Springs, and the siege of Yorktown. Primes left no widow at his death, but one son, Primes, Jr., survived him.

Ishmael Titus - was born a slave and when aged about thirteen years was sold to John and Richard Marr who lived on the Dan River in North Carolina and owned an interest in Troublesome Iron Works. He lived with them a long time and was then sold to Lawrence Ross. While residing with Ross in Rowan County, North Carolina, Titus substituted for Ross who had been drafted for a one year tour. Titus was promised his freedom in exchange. During this service Titus was stationed at Fort Independence and was in several encounters against Indians and Loyalists. Thereafter, he enlisted, and arrived at Gates’ defeat just as the American force began to withdraw. Titus was under Captain John Cleveland and Colonel Cleveland in the battles of Deep River and Kings Mountain. Later he enlisted under General Greene and was in the battle of Guilford Courthouse. Titus filed a pension application on October 10, 1832 while residing in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and aged eighty-nine years.

Whoa, Wolf Creek!
02/24/2019

Whoa, Wolf Creek!

What a sight! Thomas Jefferson (Bill Barker) walked into the Interpretive Center and was standing right under his famous...
02/08/2019

What a sight! Thomas Jefferson (Bill Barker) walked into the Interpretive Center and was standing right under his famous quote about Kings Mountain!

Show your support for all of your favorite places (and historic sites!) by casting your vote!
01/15/2019
Best of Virginia 2019

Show your support for all of your favorite places (and historic sites!) by casting your vote!

Take a walk on the wild side and vote now for your favorite restaurants, shops, museums, hotels, schools, and more around the Commonwealth.

Abingdon Muster Grounds's cover photo
01/08/2019

Abingdon Muster Grounds's cover photo

This master plan is focusing on Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail from the Abingdon Muster Grounds to Sycamor...
01/08/2019
Overmountain Trail plan includes park, section at future Sullivan East Middle

This master plan is focusing on Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail from the Abingdon Muster Grounds to Sycamore Shoals. This article has a lot of great information. Make sure to check out the video!

A finalized master plan to establish walking paths along the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, connecting it from Abingdon to Elizabethton, includes creation of a park and a section of

Photos from Abingdon Muster Grounds's post
12/11/2018

Photos from Abingdon Muster Grounds's post

We love to tell people about the Overmountain Victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain! On this rainy morning, we have a ...
10/16/2018

We love to tell people about the Overmountain Victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain! On this rainy morning, we have a group visiting from Georgia.

Scout troops from Hilham TN on their way to Washington DC stopped in for a visit and picnic.
10/07/2018

Scout troops from Hilham TN on their way to Washington DC stopped in for a visit and picnic.

10/02/2018
Abingdon Muster Grounds

Love our Ms. Bettie

Betty Lucille McCall Johnson

Ma Betty was a dedicated volunteer at the Abingdon Muster Grounds. She was always happy to help out with programs, had a great sense of humor, and was a loving warm friend with a big heart. Ma Betty-you're in our hearts and we'll miss you so much.

10/02/2018
Abingdon Muster Grounds

Betty Lucille McCall Johnson

Ma Betty was a dedicated volunteer at the Abingdon Muster Grounds. She was always happy to help out with programs, had a great sense of humor, and was a loving warm friend with a big heart. Ma Betty-you're in our hearts and we'll miss you so much.

Betty Lucille McCall Johnson

Ma Betty was a dedicated volunteer at the Abingdon Muster Grounds. She was always happy to help out with programs, had a great sense of humor, and was a loving warm friend with a big heart. Ma Betty-you're in our hearts and we'll miss you so much.

10/02/2018

Betty Lucille McCall Johnson

Ma Betty was a dedicated volunteer at the Abingdon Muster Grounds. She was always happy to help out with programs, had a great sense of humor, and was a loving warm friend with a big heart. Ma Betty-you're in our hearts and we'll miss you so much.

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
10/02/2018

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

Happy 50th Birthday, National Trails System!

On this day 50 years ago, the National Trails System was born. The National Trails System Act created this series of National trails “to promote the preservation of, public access to, travel within, and enjoyment and appreciation of the open-air, outdoor areas and historic resources of the Nation." The 1968 Act also created two national scenic trails: the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail; and requested that an additional fourteen trail routes be studied for possible inclusion.

Each trail that has become a part of this system is managed by one of three agencies (sometimes jointly administered): Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and the National Park Service. But we can't do it alone. All of the National Trails are supported by private non-profit organizations that work with the various federal agencies under the Partnership for the National Trails System.

Be sure to visit the National Park Service's National Trails System website to find a National Trail closest to you! https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nationaltrailssystem/index.htm

You can also visit the the Trails50 website to learn more about 50th anniversary events! https://www.trails50.org/

#FindYourWay #FindYourTrail #FindYourPark

Kings Mountain National Military Park
09/24/2018

Kings Mountain National Military Park

Welcome back to "The Road to Kings Mountain," where we turn now to the Kings Mountain campaign itself. On this day, September 24, 1780, 238 years ago, responding to Patrick Ferguson's threat to bring "fire and sword" to their settlements and working in concert with North Carolina (and modern-day Tennessee) Patriot militia leaders Colonels John Sevier and Isaac Shelby, 400 Virginia militiamen under Colonel William Campbell muster at Abingdon, Virginia to begin their march into history.

The\ Abingdon Muster Grounds preserves their gathering spot and the northern branch of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail.

#RoadtoKingsMountain #SouthernCampaignoftheAmericanRevolution

2018 Wreath Laying Ceremonies.
09/24/2018

2018 Wreath Laying Ceremonies.

09/20/2018

500 students attended “A Call to Arms” today, focusing on life in the backcountry during the colonial era. At the heart of every we do is the story of the Overmountain Men and the victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain. Huzzah for Liberty! We look forward to 1000 more 4th graders over the next few days.

09/03/2018

In observation of Labor Day, the Keller Interpretive Center will be closed. The Muster Grounds and Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail will remain open, dawn to dusk.

Photos from Abingdon Muster Grounds's post
08/06/2018

Photos from Abingdon Muster Grounds's post

7th annual Abingdon Civil War Weekend
08/06/2018

7th annual Abingdon Civil War Weekend

Day two of the Civil War reenactment will Be from 10-3 tomorrow with the battle at 2:00.  Abingdon Muster Grounds.
07/29/2018

Day two of the Civil War reenactment will Be from 10-3 tomorrow with the battle at 2:00. Abingdon Muster Grounds.

Civil War weekend under way. Please join us today and tomorrow. Battle reenactments will begin at 2:00 PM each day.
07/28/2018

Civil War weekend under way. Please join us today and tomorrow. Battle reenactments will begin at 2:00 PM each day.

Sign him up! Thanks for your visit.
07/06/2018

Sign him up! Thanks for your visit.

The Overmountain Men: America’s Humble Heroes
07/04/2018
The Overmountain Men: America’s Humble Heroes

The Overmountain Men: America’s Humble Heroes

For the average American, early October passes without much notice. Many consider it the height of football season, while some begin their arduous preparations for Halloween. Only a small percentag…

Rain or shine...the Overmountain men and women prevailed.
06/26/2018

Rain or shine...the Overmountain men and women prevailed.

06/26/2018
We have fun during Backcountry Colonial Day Camp, even in the rain!
06/26/2018

We have fun during Backcountry Colonial Day Camp, even in the rain!

Visiting from California, these little ladies had the most contagious laugh. Thanks for picnicking at the Abingdon Muste...
06/25/2018

Visiting from California, these little ladies had the most contagious laugh. Thanks for picnicking at the Abingdon Muster Grounds.

Raising the Flag to kick off Backcountry Colonial Day Camp. Huzzah for Liberty! #OvermountainVictory
06/25/2018

Raising the Flag to kick off Backcountry Colonial Day Camp. Huzzah for Liberty! #OvermountainVictory

06/25/2018

Muster Camp 2018 under way!

WCYB
06/24/2018
WCYB

WCYB

Reenactors at the Abingdon Muster Grounds today showed visitors what life was like when people from our region went to fight in the Revolutionary War.

A lot of young trout were given a new home in Wolf Creek, thanks to EB Stanley’s Afro-science class who raised them in...
05/18/2018

A lot of young trout were given a new home in Wolf Creek, thanks to EB Stanley’s Afro-science class who raised them in the classroom!

04/27/2018
Abingdon Muster Grounds

Abingdon Muster Grounds

The Abingdon Muster Grounds will host a free day camp, June 25-29, 2018 from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm, for children ages 9-11. Come learn about life in the Backcountry of Virginia in 1780 from interpreters in period dress! Activities will include educational presentations, fun and games, and hands-on crafts. Only 25 spots are available so sign-up today! Snacks and lunches will be provided.

Registration forms can be picked up at the Keller Interpretive Center at the Abingdon Muster Grounds. They can also be found online at www.abingdonmustergrounds.com.

04/27/2018

The Abingdon Muster Grounds will host a free day camp, June 25-29, 2018 from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm, for children ages 9-11. Come learn about life in the Backcountry of Virginia in 1780 from interpreters in period dress! Activities will include educational presentations, fun and games, and hands-on crafts. Only 25 spots are available so sign-up today! Snacks and lunches will be provided.

Registration forms can be picked up at the Keller Interpretive Center at the Abingdon Muster Grounds. They can also be found online at www.abingdonmustergrounds.com.

Abingdon Muster Grounds's cover photo
04/27/2018

Abingdon Muster Grounds's cover photo

Huzzah!
03/30/2018

Huzzah!

Washington Co.: On March 15, DHR listed Retirement and Muster Grounds on the Virginia Landmarks Register. DHR will forward the nomination for the site to National Park Service for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Located on about nine acres in the town of Abingdon, the site Retirement and the Muster Grounds consists of a Federal period brick dwelling (Retirement) and the meadow where a Washington County militia mustered before marching south to fight in the Kings Mountain Campaign during the Revolutionary War. Also known as “Dunn’s Meadow,” the Muster Grounds served the same purpose for local militia during the War of 1812, the American Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I.

Today the property is the official starting point of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, which highlights the route of an American Patriot Army under the command of Colonel William Campbell that decisively defeated an American Loyalist force at the battle of Kings Mountain in the fall of 1780. That Patriot army began with 400 militiamen gathering at the Muster Grounds in Abingdon and later grew as the Virginians joined with militias from Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina to become known as the “Overmountain Men.” The battle of Kings Mountain is considered a turning point in the war.

Retirement, constructed ca. 1808 and expanded in 1858, in the 1880s, and again between1910-1920, is important for its architectural character and quality of workmanship.

Virginia Department of Historic Resources
03/09/2018

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

DHR will hold its quarterly Board Meeting on Thursday, March 15th at 10:00 a.m., March 15, 2018, at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture (formerly the Virginia Historical Society), Harry M. Bluford Classroom, located at 428 N. Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220

One of the featured nominations up for consideration is Retirement and the Muster Grounds in Abingdon. The nomination was written by staff members Gray O’Dwyer, Michael Pulice, and Lena Sweeten McDonald. Here are some highlights:

"Retirement and the Muster Grounds is significant at the statewide level under Criterion A in the area of Military. On September 23, 1780, approximately 400 militiamen under the command of Colonel William Campbell gathered at the Muster Grounds in Abingdon and departed for Sycamore Shoals, near present-day Elizabethton, Tennessee. By September 25, the Virginia militia had joined with forces from modern Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina, and were known as the “Overmountain Men”. They marched south, and with others from the colonies of South Carolina and Georgia, defeated British forces under Major Patrick Ferguson at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780. This battle is considered to be a turning point in the war because it forced British General Charles Cornwallis to retreat into South Carolina and abandon the British plan to attack George Washington’s American army on two fronts. In succeeding decades, the Muster Grounds again functioned as a place for local militia to gather, most notably during the Civil War, and the site was used during World War I and World War II for local troops to gather, for which the site is locally significant under Criterion A in the area of Military. The property also is locally significant under Criterion C in the area of Architecture. The dwelling known as Retirement, constructed ca. 1808 and expanded in 1858, the 1880s and ca. 1909-1931, is significant for its architectural character and quality of workmanship. The property’s period of significance begins in 1780 when the Mustering Grounds first served as a gathering place for local militiamen and extends through the last use of the Muster Grounds for military purposes in 1945. Significant dates are September 23, 1780, when the militiamen first gathered, ca. 1808 when the dwelling now known as Retirement was first built, 1858, when Retirement was expanded, and April-May 1861, when Retirement’s owner permitted local Confederate soldiers to gather and train at the Muster Grounds."

Read the complete draft nomination here: http://dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Washington/140-0006_Retirement_2018_NRHP_Nomination.pdf

Want to see what else is on the agenda? Check out the Board Activities page: http://dhr.virginia.gov/registers/boardPage.html

Address

1780 Muster Place
Abingdon, VA
24210

Opening Hours

Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00
Sunday 09:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(276) 525-1050

Alerts

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