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



Marker Text:

     In 1980, in connection with the bicentennial of the Battle of Kings Mountain, the National Park Service conducted a campaign to establish an Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. The OVNHT commemorates the route used by upcountry patriots in their march to Kings Mountain, South Carolina, where on October 7, 1780, they defeated Loyalist forces, marking a turning point in the Revolutionary War. The final report issued by the OVNHT committee concluded that “little authoritative information remains to establish the exact route of the patriots.” Key points along the route were identified, among them a small, round hill near the McDowell-Rutherford County line, known as Bedford Hill.

     In the fall of 1780 Col. Charles McDowell of Quaker Meadows assembled militia troops, about 160 men in all, with the intention of ambushing the Loyalist forces of Maj. James Dunlap and Maj. Patrick Ferguson. McDowell selected a strategic site for the ambush at Bedford Hill, commanding Cowan’s Ford on Cane Creek. In the clash between forces on September 12 (the date is recorded in Lt. Anthony Allaire’s diary), both sides suffered fatalities and Major Dunlap was wounded in the leg. According to Lyman Draper’s study of the events surrounding the Battle of Kings Mountain, “quite a number of human bones were brought to light” at Bedford Hill around 1840.

     News of the fight spread across the region and steeled the patriots’ determination to seek out Ferguson. The skirmish at Bedford Hill, though indecisive, roused the men of the overmountain expedition and inspired their fighting at Kings Mountain one month later.

National Park Service, “Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail: Comprehensive Management Plan” (September 1982)
Lyman C. Draper, King’s Mountain and Its Heroes (1881)
United States Geographic Survey Quadrangle map, Dysartsville (1962)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

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