north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
 

 
 
 

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      Snow Camp is a small historic village on the banks of Cane Creek in Alamance County. Simon Dixon, a Quaker from Pennsylvania, first visited the area in the 1740s while on a hunting expedition. In 1751, along with his wife Elizabeth Allen and several friends, he returned to North Carolina and founded the first Quaker meeting in Alamance County, the Cane Creek Meeting. Two years later, Dixon constructed a gristmill and large stone dwelling, the remains of which still stand. In 1771, Dixon aided the Regulator movement, and may have taken part in the Battle of Alamance. Governor William Tryon’s forces raided Dixon’s mill as a consequence, capturing grain shipments meant to support the insurrection.

      During the American Revolution, Lord Cornwallis’s army camped on the Dixon property in the aftermath of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in March 1781. The British “requisitioned” the community’s fence rails as firewood and slaughtered most of the village’s cattle. Cornwallis even commandeered Dixon’s house as his headquarters for nearly a week. His army departed on March 25, leaving the community of Cane Creek relatively destitute. Dixon died three weeks after Cornwallis’s departure and is buried in the cemetery of the meeting house beneath a millstone brought from Pennsylvania.

      Exactly how Cane Creek became to be known as Snow Camp is a matter of contention. According to local tradition, during Cornwallis’s stay at the community, a snowstorm blanketed the area, prompting the British general to call the area Snow Camp. However, other research has indicated the use of Snow Camp as early as the 1740s by hunters. In 1748, a group of hunters from Pennsylvania, perhaps Simon Dixon’s band, were caught in a snowstorm in the region. The next spring they returned, and located the stumps of trees they had cut for firewood, recalling it as their “snow camp,” a name that the local settlers began using freely.

      Snow Camp is a restored community, and visitors will find the remains of Simon Dixon’s mill and house, as well as the Cane Creek Meeting House, in addition to other attractions and historic sites. Two outdoor historical dramas, Sword of Peace and Pathway to Freedom, documenting the community’s role in both the American Revolution and Underground Railroad, are produced at Snow Camp during the summer months.


References:
Bobby T. Teague, Cane Creek: Mother of Meetings (1995)
Walter Whitaker, “Snow Camp Today Guards Many Historical Secrets,” (Burlington) Daily Times-News, Centennial Edition (May, 1959)
Walter Whitaker, Centennial History of Alamance County, 1849-1949 (1949)
William S. Powell, The War of the Regulation and the Battle of Alamance, May 16, 1771 (1975)
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