Old Fort NC

Other names: Davidson's Fort, Rutherford's Fort

Colonial fort, point of departure for "Rutherford's Trace" Aug-Sep 1776. On Ferguson's route 17 Sep 1780 before Kings Mountain battle.

Where: 35.627618 -82.1804771 Old Fort NC

Maps: [map notes]

  • 35.627618,-82.1804771 Old Fort NC (JAR)
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Note: This is where, several years ago, a museum employee told me that the fort was believed to be.
  • Confidence: 3

  • 35.63407,-82.167342 Old Fort NC Site of replica fort
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Site location provided by Richard Acrivos.
  • Confidence: 5 (of replica site)

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  • Michael Beadle, "Rutherford Trace, Smoky Mountain News, week of 8/23/06.
    In August of 1776, about 2,700 men between the ages of 16 and 60 gathered at Davidsonís Fort (what is now Old Fort in McDowell County). They were put under the command of Griffith Rutherford, an Irish-born, middle-aged, newly appointed brigadier general who had served in the Colonial legislature and the Council of Safety, a newly formed military government that issued orders in lieu of a Department of Defense.

    Rutherford left about 300 of his militia to guard Davidsonís Fort and set out for Western North Carolina on Sept. 1, 1776, with 2,400 men, pack horses, a herd of beef cattle, and weaponry that included long rifles, hatchets and small cannons. Lacking official uniforms, militia members took along their own clothing and weapons. Also included in the regiments were Catawba Indians, foes of the Cherokee who allied with the Colonials.

    William Lenoir (later a general whose last name would grace the North Carolina county and city) kept a diary along the Rutherford Trace that charts mileage, locations and noteworthy details of the expedition. This diary serves as a key first-hand account of the Rutherford Trace.

  • James M. Mac Donald, Politics Of The Personal In The Old North State: Griffith Rutherford In Revolutionary North Carolina, A Dissertation Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy In The Department of History, May, 2006. See pages 75, 85 and 92.

  • "Extract of a letter from North-Carolina, dated October 25, 1776", Peter Force, American Archives, Fifth Series, Vol.II, p.1235. [Note: p.621 in pdf version].

  • Allaire, Anthony, "Diary of Lieut. Anthony Allaire of Ferguson's Corp", Lyman Coleman Draper, Kings Mountain and Its Heroes, 1881, P.G. Thomson, p.508
    [Friday 15 Sep 1780] At three o'clock got in motion ; marched to Pleasant Garden Ford, Catawba river; forded it, and continued our march to one George Cathy's plantation, about a mile and a half from Devore's. Pleasant Garden is a very handsome place. I was surprised to see so beautiful a tract of land in the mountains. This settlement is composed of the most violent Rebels I ever saw, particularly the young ladies.
    Sunday, 17th. Got in motion and marched two miles to Buck's creek, forded it, and continued our march two miles farther to a Rebel Maj. Davidson's plantation, and halted.
    Monday, 18th. Got in motion, countermarched to Buck creek, forded it, and proceeded on five miles to Richey's Ford, on Catawba river, forded it, and marched to a Rebel Alexander Thompson's plantation, six miles farther, and halted.
    Tuesday, 19th. Got in motion at five o'clock in the morning, and marched about eleven miles to a Rebel Mr. Hemphill's plantation, and halted. At seven o'clock in the evening, I went about a mile and joined Capt. Ryerson and the militia under his command.
    Wednesday, 20th. Got in motion at six o'clock in the morning, and marched a mile and a half to one White's plantation
    [Whitehouse?], where we joined Maj. Ferguson again.

  • Lyman Coleman Draper, Kings Mountain and Its Heroes, 1881, P.G. Thomson, p.151
    As had been anticipated by the patriots, Ferguson, either in full force, or with a strong detachment, penetrated into the very heart of Burke County ó as far as Davidson's "Old Fort," in the extreme western part of then Burke, now McDowell county;* and a few miles farther north, up the Catawba Valley, as far as the old Edmondson place, since McEntyre's, on Buck creek at the foot of the Blue Ridge.

    *MS. Correspondence of Colonel Silas McDowell.

    Note: From the description, the Edmonson place must have been in the vicinity of modern Lake Tahoma. -JR.

  • "Davidson's Fort". Modern effort to build replica of fort. Submitted by Richard Acrivos.

  • "Davidson's Fort's Role in History" by Joe Sam Queen. Submitted by Richard Acrivos.

  • RevWar75 RevWar75 Not found.

Related locations:
Cane Creek, Kings Mountain