Monday, December 2, 2013

King's Mountain

Sharyn McCrumb's Ballad NovelsThrough the Ballad Novels, McCrumb celebrates her ancestors and the land of the mountain South, crafting a story rich with tradition and the true character and spirit of that breathtaking region. The novels are listed in order most recently published.

King's Mountain is a subject of great interest to me.  Every year I think that I might go on the reenactment that is done between Fort Wautauga and King's Mountain.  So when I saw Sharyn's newest ballad Novel was about these events I bought it to listen to via

The first section of the book tells the story of a French family living in the Pyrannees between France and Spain.  The family was Huguenot.  John Sevier

Wikipedia says of Huguenots:

The Huguenots (/ˈhjuːɡənɒt/ or /hɡəˈn/French: [yɡno][yɡəno]) were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. French Protestants were inspired by the writings of John Calvin in the 1530s, and they were called Huguenots by the 1560s. By the end of the 17th century and into the 18th century, roughly 500,000 Huguenots had fled France during a series of religious persecutions. They relocated to Protestant nations, such as England, Wales, ScotlandDenmarkSwedenSwitzerland, the Dutch Republic, the Electorate of Brandenburg,Electorate of the Palatinate (both in the Holy Roman Empire), the Duchy of Prussia, and also to Cape Colony in South Africa and several of the English colonies of North America which were willing to accept them (colonies such as Maryland and Massachusetts denied settlement except to members of certain religions).

Don Juan De Xavier was born in Navarre, France in 1652, he married Marie Maris, who was born in 1654. They had one son, who was named Valentine Xavier, he was born in 1678 in Navarre, France. 

This couple's son Valentine was born in this region, but left as France was too dangerous for Huguenots in his lifetime.  He moved to England, married an English wife, changed his name to Sevier.  I is in England that William Sevier was born to Valentine and his English wife.  William Sevier moved to the Shenanadoah Valley where he was a farmer and also kept a small store.  

John Sevier was the oldest of William's children. Sharon says in the book that the combination of being the oldest of a large brood of children with a father who liked to drink and gamble along with a chance meeting with an old priest who told him that he had the bloodline to a saint and thus was blessed gave John Sevier the feeling that he would succeed and a great deal of confidence along with a feeling of duty towards those around him.

The Sevier family lived along the Great Wagon Road according to Sharon.  One day they became tired of seeing everyone moving south on the road and they decided to move.  The entire family moved to an area that was very near Ft Lee  (see map below):  

Fort Watauga, more properly Fort Caswell, was an American Revolutionary War fort that once stood at the Sycamore Shoals of the Watauga River in what is now Elizabethton, Tennessee. The fort was originally built in 1775–1776 by the area's frontier government, the Watauga Association, to help defend Watauga settlers from Native American (primarilyCherokee) attacks, which were in part instigated by the British.

The Watauga settlers, meanwhile, had been anticipating a Cherokee invasion. Arms and ammunition were purchased through the Fincastle County, Virginia Committee of Safety, food and medicine were gathered, and various forts were constructed or strengthened, among them Fort Caswell (now called Fort Watauga). In early July, Cherokee Beloved Woman Nancy Ward tipped off the Cherokee invasion plans to trader Isaac Thomas, and Thomas proceeded to deliver the news to John Sevier, who was at the Nolichucky settlement (near modern Limestone) overseeing the construction of Fort Lee. The news alarmed the settlers, and most of them fled to Fort Caswell, forcing Sevier to flee likewise and abandon Fort Lee's completion.[5]   This information is from Wikipedia 

The statement that Sharyn makes helped me understand the early years when the Revolution was mainly about fighting Indians in the areas that I look at historically.  She says that the people in the Eastern part were fighting for ideals....unfair taxes etc....but the people in the backwoods were fighting for their land.  The English were furnishing arms to the Indians to help them run the white settlers off their lands.  My own interpretation is that the English thought that they were giving allies arms to fight their battles on the frontier, but what really happened is that men who might never have entered the battles of the Revolutionary War became incensed at what the British were doing.  On the above map according to Wikipedia, John Sevier and his family were living near Ft. Lee.  It was Ft. Lee that they were building and it was burned during this summer of 1776.  

The settlers in the back country of Virginia and NC decided to fight the British BEFORE they moved north to fight on these settler's own turf....marching south to fight instead of waiting until the British moved into their home lands.

This part of the story that I have described above of King's Mountain is augmented by the story of Patrick Ferguson.  This part is told from the voice of Virginia Sal who is a camp follower who is maid and female companion to Ferguson.  I read this book via audible.