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]
- 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
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
Note: From the description, the Edmonson place must have been in the vicinity of modern Lake Tahoma. -JR.
*MS. Correspondence of Colonel Silas McDowell.
- "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 Not found.
Cane Creek, Kings Mountain