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



Marker Text:

     During the Revolutionary War, Colonel William Graham lived in a large log-hewn home that was fortified at least to the extent that it was among the safest places to which local people could retreat from enemies. His home was of the type of fort that was scattered about the frontier, offering protection to the pioneers. Graham’s Fort, as it has come to be known, provided shelter from Tory marauders in September 1780. Graham, David Dickey, and Graham’s step-son William Twitty were the only men therein prepared to fight off the attackers. Surviving accounts of the incident vary in details, but there were about two dozen Tories firing shots and demanding the surrender of the fort.

     At one point, according to the stories, a Tory named John Burke approached the structure, placed the muzzle of his gun into a crack and discharged the weapon. Seeing this, William Twitty’s seventeen year old sister Susan is said to have pushed her brother down to save him from the bullet. Susan then encouraged William to immediately return the volley out of the aperture as Burke reloaded. Burke was shot through the head. Next, according to legend, Susan Twitty unbolted the door and ran out to retrieve Burke’s gun and ammunition for the use of the men in the fort. With Burke dead and others wounded, the Tories withdrew. Colonel William Graham was born in Virginia in 1742, the son of a Scottish immigrant. He moved to North Carolina prior to the Revolution, settling in Tryon County.

Lyman C. Draper, King’s Mountain and Its Heroes: History of the Battle of King’s Mountain (1881)
Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, XXII (1907)
Clarence W. Griffin, History of Old Tryon and Rutherford Counties, North Carolina, 1730-1936 (1937)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

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