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Local residents recognize Overmountain Men in ceremony
Bristol Herald Courier - 9/24/2017
SALTVILLE, Va. - Local residents recognized the service of two Revolutionary War veterans from Southwest Virginia on Saturday as Overmountain Victory Trail festivities continue in the region.
The two men, Gen. William Campbell and John Broddy, were honored during wreath-laying ceremonies. A large group of citizens gathered first at the Broddy Cemetery in Saltville for a ceremony and then at Aspenvale Cemetery in Seven Mile Ford.
In 1780, Campbell was colonel of the Washington County Virginia Militia, and Broddy was his manservant. When a call was issued for local militia to respond to British Maj. Patrick Ferguson's threat that "he would march his army over the mountains, hang their leaders and lay their country waste with fire and sword," men from all over the region moved into action.
Under the leadership of Col. Campbell, 400 Virginians set out to join patriot militia from modern-day Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. After a two-week campaign, the Overmountain Men fought the Battle of Kings Mountain with overwhelming success.
Thomas Jefferson said it was "the turn of the tide of success which terminated the Revolutionary War, with the seal of our independence."
Ben Richardson, of the National Park Service, provided the keynote address Saturday.
Richardson said he was proud to recognize the two Revolutionary War veterans and speak about current efforts to further expand the Overmountain Victory Trail.
Current efforts are underway to develop a 35- to 40-mile trail from the Abingdon Muster Grounds in Virginia to Fort Watauga at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park in Elizabethton, Tennessee.
The National Park Service will only complete the project if local organizations and citizens participate in the development. He said the first planning meetings for the project will begin in October, after the Battle of Kings Mountain anniversary on Oct. 7.
"It's part of our heritage, America's history," Richardson said.
Planning for the project is expected to last about one year.
Events leading up to the battle anniversary are planned through Oct. 7. Re-enactors held festivities at the Abingdon Muster Grounds on Saturday, as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of the Wolf Creek Stream Bank Restoration project. The restoration focused on the stretch of Wolf Creek that runs through the Muster Grounds, a site certified by the National Park Service as the northern terminus of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail.
The restoration project helped stabilize the stream bank, improve the hydrology, create habitat and reintroduce native species of plants.
Following Saturday's festivities, the Overmountain Victory Trail Association will begin their annual trek across the mountains to Kings Mountain. The organization will perform the story of the Overmountain Men to over 10,000 people.