KINGS MOUNTAIN NATIONAL MILITARY PARK
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® Center for State of the Parks ® More than a century ago, Congress established Yellowstone as the world’s first national park. That single act was the beginning of a CONTENTS remarkable and ongoing effort to protect this nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage. Today, Americans are learning that national park designation INTRODUCTION 1 alone cannot provide full resource protection. Many parks are compromised by development of adjacent lands, air and water pollu- PARK STATISTICS 5 tion, invasive plants and animals, and rapid increases in motorized KINGS MOUNTAIN NATIONAL recreation. Park officials often lack adequate information on the MILITARY PARK AT A GLANCE 5 status of and trends in conditions of critical resources. The National Parks Conservation Association initiated the State of RATINGS 6 the Parks program in 2000 to assess the condition of natural and cultural resources in the parks, and determine how well equipped the RESOURCE MANAGEMENT National Park Service is to protect the parks—its stewardship capac- HIGHLIGHTS 9 ity. The goal is to provide information that will help policymakers, the public, and the National Park Service improve conditions in KEY FINDINGS 10 national parks, celebrate successes as models for other parks, and THE KINGS MOUNTAIN NATIONAL ensure a lasting legacy for future generations. For more information about the methodology and research used MILITARY PARK ASSESSMENT in preparing this report and to learn more about the Center for State CULTURAL RESOURCES 12 of the Parks, visit www.npca.org/stateoftheparks or contact: NPCA, NATURAL RESOURCES 23 Center for State of the Parks, P.O. Box 737, Fort Collins, CO 80522; phone: 970.493.2545; email: email@example.com. STEWARDSHIP CAPACITY 31 Since 1919, the National Parks Conservation Association has been WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP 35 the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhanc- ing our National Park System. NPCA, its members, and partners work APPENDIX: METHODOLOGY 36 together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for generations to come. * More than 325,000 members * Twenty-three regional and field offices * More than 120,000 activists A special note of appreciation goes to those whose generous grants and donations made this report possible: G.D.S. Legacy Foundation, Ben and Ruth Hammett, Alec Rhodes, Lee and Marty Talbot, Ray Cover photo: Detail of the United States Bingham, and anonymous donors. Monument, courtesy of Kat Byerly.
INTRODUCTION KAT BYERLY 1 Kings Mountain National Military Park The Battle of Kings Mountain, which took British Major Patrick Ferguson was sent to rally Patriot forces place on October 7, 1780, is often referred to as the men of the Carolina backcountry to the approached Kings Mountain on an old the turning point of the American Revolution. Loyalist cause. He attempted to use aggression Cherokee trail, now Victory at this battle in the colony of South and fear to acquire support and quell the called Colonial Road. Carolina raised Patriot morale and inspired the growing unrest of the largely neutral This is the only Americans to continue the struggle against the Carolinians. His threats caught the attention of historic structure in British, even after previously suffering disheart- several North Carolina and Virginia militias the park remaining from the time of the ening defeats at Charleston in May 1780 and and angered many militiamen, who mustered battle. Camden in August 1780. Following these along the Watauga River in Tennessee on British victories in Charleston and Camden, September 25, 1780, and began a grueling
This map shows NATIONAL PARK SERVICE troop movements during the Battle of Kings Mountain, as well as the location of contemporary park features. 2 Kings Mountain National Military Park march across the Appalachian Mountains in his horse while attempting to retreat, and the pursuit of Ferguson and his Loyalist troops. Loyalists surrendered soon after that. At the Over the course of two weeks they covered battle’s end, 225 Loyalists were dead, while more than 200 miles. These militiamen only 26 Patriots, including Major William became known as the Overmountain Men. Chronicle, had been killed. Major Ferguson They were led by Colonels Isaac Shelby, John (promoted posthumously to Lieutenant Sevier, Charles McDowell, William Campbell, Colonel) and Major Chronicle were both Benjamin Cleveland, and James Williams and buried on the battlegrounds. Other soldiers Majors Joseph Winston and William Chronicle. were also buried on the battlegrounds, but the The opponents met in South Carolina at locations of those graves are unknown. Kings Mountain, a 60-foot-high ridge at the This American victory had devastating southern end of the Kings Mountain Range. effects on the British. General Charles Ferguson had chosen to rest his troops on top Cornwallis, the British commander in charge of the ridge, allowing the pursuing Patriots to of the Southern Campaign of the war, was easily take aim at the Loyalist soldiers’ silhou- forced to retreat and hold a defensive position ettes. The Patriots approached the ridge on an in Winnsboro, South Carolina, to await rein- old Cherokee trail that is now called Colonial forcements. This allowed Patriot forces to reor- Road. Using the cover of the hardwood trees ganize and develop a new offensive in the that grew around the ridge, the Patriot forces south, leading to a decisive win at the Battle of surrounded Ferguson’s troops and quickly Cowpens in January 1781, and, eventually, the ascended the hill. The battle lasted only an final triumph of General George Washington’s hour. Major Ferguson, the only non-American forces over Cornwallis at Yorktown in October who fought at Kings Mountain, was shot from of that year.
BATTLE COMMEMORATION AND PARK being acquired by the Kings Mountain ESTABLISHMENT Centennial Association (KMCA), which was After the battle, the battlefield itself, owned by created in 1880 by delegates from South the State of South Carolina, lay largely Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia to dormant, except perhaps for some grazing. The commemorate the 100th anniversary of the surrounding countryside was used as pasture battle. This group raised funds from both and agricultural land. The battlefield was under private sources and state governments for a 29- the ownership of the State of South Carolina foot-high Centennial Monument that was until 1797, when Governor Charles Pinckney unveiled at the celebration and still stands granted the land to local resident John today. The KMCA disbanded shortly after the Alexander, who then sold it to Kings Mountain celebration, and the land was donated to the 4 veteran Colonel Frederick Hambright that Kings Mountain Chapter of the Daughters of same year. The first commemorative celebra- the American Revolution (DAR) in York, South Kings Mountain National Military Park tion for the Battle of Kings Mountain was held Carolina. in 1815, privately funded by Dr. William In 1906, the DAR secured $30,000 from the McLean, a senator from South Carolina. He U.S. Congress to erect another monument, also paid for the Chronicle Marker, which was with the stipulation that after the monument placed at the (supposed) burial site of was placed, responsibility for the site would Chronicle and three other Patriot soldiers who transfer to the Kings Mountain Battle Ground died during the battle. This is the second-oldest Association, of which the DAR was the primary battlefield marker in the United States. member. The funds appropriated from The battlefield and surrounding acreage Congress went toward the construction of an passed through several more hands before 83-foot obelisk known as the United States These markers, the NATIONAL PARK SERVICE one on the left placed in 1815 and the one on the right in 1915, denote the supposed burial site of Major William Chronicle. More archaeological inves- tigations are needed to determine if Chronicle was actu- ally buried in this location.
Monument. It is a quintessential example of KINGS MOUNTAIN NATIONAL MILITARY PARK early 20th-century war commemoration. A highlight in recognition for the battle and AT A GLANCE its importance occurred in 1930 when • Cultural resources: The park’s museum collection and archives President Herbert Hoover attended the battle’s contain items such as buttons, fired and unfired shot, weaponry, sesquicentennial celebration. The president clothing, and records relating to the battle. One of the highest emphasized the importance of the battle in profile items held by the park is an original Ferguson Rifle, the both American and British history and the synthesis of a traditional 18th-century rifle and a British musket need to preserve the historic site. Ironically, the that was developed by Major Ferguson. While there is no site was cleared of trees to accommodate the evidence that such a weapon was used during the Battle of 74,000 people who gathered to hear the presi- Kings Mountain, this extremely rare weapon exemplifies a dent’s speech, which greatly altered its histori- historic development in 18th-century weaponry. 5 cal appearance. In a show of friendship toward Kings Mountain National Military Park • Natural resources: Kings Mountain National Military Park is Great Britain, he dedicated a new stone marker located in northwestern South Carolina in what is traditionally at the gravesite of Major Ferguson (an older called the Piedmont, a semi-open prairie with sections of mixed marker and cairn likely date to sometime hardwood forest stretching from the Atlantic Coastal Plain to before 1909), and Ronald Campbell from the the Appalachian Mountains. The park is home to a number of British Embassy delivered the acceptance plant species that are considered to be “species of concern” in speech. It was at this time that President South Carolina due to their rarity. Examples include creeping Hoover announced his intention to create a spike rush, joe-pye weed, Georgia aster, smooth sunflower, and park to preserve the history of the battle. eastern turkeybeard. Congress established the 40-acre Kings Mountain National Military Park on March 3, • Recreational activities: Visitors to the park can learn about the 1931. The park was administered by the secre- Battle of Kings Mountain and the role of the Carolina backcoun- tary of war, who was authorized to acquire any try in the American Revolutionary War through wayside exhibits necessary lands through donations or along the shaded, 1.5-mile interpretive trail, living history purchase in order to ensure the preservation of demonstrations conducted by volunteers, interactive museum the entire battlefield site. Control of the park exhibits, and a new visitor center film. In addition, there are was transferred to the National Park Service in miles of hiking and horseback riding trails that pass through the 1933. Between 1936 and 1940, Congress adjacent Kings Mountain State Park. The park’s hiking trail authorized the purchase of up to 4,000 addi- system is also now linked to Crowders Mountain State Park in tional acres to augment the park and further North Carolina via the Ridgeline Trail. protect its natural and cultural resources. As part of the New Deal during the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps Kings Mountain National Military Park built several buildings and roads with money allocated to the park. In addition, a 6,000-acre Park location Northwestern South Carolina, near recreation demonstration area was created Blacksburg adjacent to Kings Mountain National Military Park in order to provide ample recreation Park size (acres) 3,945 opportunities for visitors and aid in the preser- vation of the historic nature of the military Park 1931 park. This recreation demonstration area establishment became Kings Mountain State Park in 1941. Recreational 277,576 visits (2009)
Note: When interpreting the scores for resource conditions, recognize that critical information upon which the ratings are based is not always available. This limits data interpretation to some extent. For Kings Mountain National Military Park, 90 percent of the cultural resources infor- mation was available, and 61 percent of the natural resources information was available. Ethnography was not rated because the park does not have an active ethnography program and has not completed baseline research such as an ethnographic overview and assessment. RESOURCE CATEGORY CURRENT CULTURAL RESOURCES Overall conditions 81 GOOD Archaeology 78 6 Cultural Landscapes 81 Ethnography (Peoples and Cultures) N/A Kings Mountain National Military Park Historic Structures 72 History 85 Museum Collection and Archives 90 R AT I N G S S C A L E 0–35 36– 60 61– 80 81–90 91–100 CRITICAL POOR FA I R GOOD EXCELLENT NATURAL RESOURCES Overall conditions 78 FAIR Environmental and Biotic Measures 83 Biotic Impacts and Stressors 78 Air 75 Water 90 Soils 83 Ecosystems Measures 72 Species Composition and Condition 67 Ecosystem Extent and Function 74 R AT I N G S S C A L E 0–35 36– 60 61– 80 81–90 91–100 CRITICAL POOR FA I R GOOD EXCELLENT The findings in this report do not necessarily reflect past or current park management. Many factors that affect resource conditions are a result of both human and natural influences over long periods of time, in many cases before a park was established. In addition, some park resources (e.g., air quality and water quality) can be affected by factors that are outside the park and beyond the Park Service’s control. The intent of the Center for State of the Parks is not to evaluate Park Service staff performance, but to document the present status of park resources and deter- mine which actions can be taken to protect them into the future.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Living history programs presented by volunteers are favorite ways for visi- tors to gain a better understanding of park history. 7 Kings Mountain National Military Park RATINGS adequate storage space to protect and preserve In recognition of the important historical and museum and archival collections, and the natural resources protected within Kings need for additional staff, such as a museum Mountain National Military Park, the National technician and possibly a historian to be Parks Conservation Association’s Center for shared with other nearby Revolutionary War State of the Parks conducted an assessment to park units. But perhaps the greatest need is for determine current conditions of the park’s updated plans to guide park management resources. According to this assessment, the strategies and resource interpretation. The park park’s known cultural resources rated a is in the process of developing a new general “good” overall score of 81 out of a possible management plan, which is scheduled to be 100. The scores for cultural resources are based completed in early 2011. Also in the works is a on the results of indicator questions that long-range interpretive plan, which should be reflect the National Park Service’s own Cultural completed by September 2011, depending on Resource Management Guideline and other poli- funding. These plans will address topics such cies related to cultural and historical resources as management and preservation of the (see “Appendix” on page 36 for more informa- Howser House (a 19th-century historic struc- tion on the assessment methodology). ture), management of invasive species, restora- Challenges facing cultural resource tion of the cultural landscape, and develop- managers include the lack of baseline archaeo- ment of prospective interpretive themes. logical research and historic structure docu- Despite the above challenges, the park’s staff mentation, the lack of inventories for two of is doing a good job managing the park with the the park’s cultural landscapes, the lack of resources available. For example, Kings
Ranger Justin Skewes NATIONAL PARK SERVICE teaches children about the park’s fire management program. 8 Kings Mountain National Military Park Mountain National Military Park received the restoring the landscape to its Revolutionary third-highest Museum Collection and Archives War-era appearance and battling invasive non- score (90 out of 100) of any park assessed by native species that are encroaching on native the Center for State of the Parks to date (Fort plants. The Park Service is making headway in Donelson and Stones River National both arenas. Prescribed burns help restore Battlefields scored slightly higher at 93 and 91, forests to their 18th-century species composi- respectively). Partnering with the University of tion, and the park’s staff has been eliminating South Carolina in 1999 to conduct a massive heavy concentrations of various invasive non- archival assessment contributed to this high native species since the 1990s and is now focus- score. The project included organizing and ing on maintenance treatments and elimina- preserving the entire archive and cataloging it. tion of other invasive plants, especially in criti- In addition, the park renovated its museum in cal habitats. Additionally, park staff are 2005 in order to better interpret and preserve attempting to create a geographic information artifacts. systems (GIS) database of all known popula- Current overall conditions of the known tions of invasive plants. natural resources at Kings Mountain National See the “Key Findings” on pages 10 and 11 Military Park rated a “fair” score of 78 out of a for more information on resource conditions possible 100. Ratings were assigned through an and challenges. evaluation of park research and monitoring data using NPCA’s Center for State of the Parks comprehensive assessment methodology. Challenges facing the Park Service include
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT HIGHLIGHTS • Prescribed burns restore natural and and unfired shot. The locations of some of historical landscape. In 2000, the park these sites confirmed what historians, implemented a prescribed burn program archaeologists, and park staff already to alleviate wildfire pressures caused by believed about troop movements and increased vegetation density in the forest events during the battle, while the loca- and understory and to re-create the tions of other sites indicated that the historic views, lines of sight, and general outlines of the battlefield were much landscape that made the Patriot victory larger than park staff originally thought possible. The burns also improve park and that troop positions may have been habitats for birds. The landscape at the different than what has been previously 9 time of the battle was largely the area’s recorded. Additional information is Kings Mountain National Military Park natural setting of large hardwood trees needed to contribute to the understand- and Piedmont prairie. Assistance with ing of events, including the location of the burning operations comes from a wild- hitching ground where Patriot forces tied land fire module based out of Great their horses prior to the battle and the Smoky Mountains National Park. A fire location of mass burials. ecologist and fire effects crew, also based • Historic house used to teach visitors out of that park, provide monitoring data about 19th-century life in the Carolina that ensure the health and safety of backcountry. Though built in 1803, 23 resources. Close cooperation among all years after the Battle of Kings Mountain, disciplines is necessary to ensure both the historic Howser House is used to natural and cultural resources objectives educate visitors about backcountry living. are met. For example, before each The Park Service completely restored the prescribed burn, surveys are conducted to exterior of the house in 1977 and now assure that artificial fire breaks (i.e., breaks uses it periodically to host living history in vegetation to limit the extent or control programs. Staff have requested Park the direction of prescribed burns) do not Service funds to complete a historic destroy archaeological sites. furnishings plan, which would inform work • Education program reaches teachers to be done on the interior of the structure, and their students. The park participates such as ensuring the colors of moldings in the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program, are historically accurate. which gives teachers an opportunity to • Museum renovations allow park to work in a park setting and learn about display valuable artifacts. In 2005, the cultural and natural resources. The infor- park renovated its museum and installed mation they gain is taken back to their updated security, fire-suppression, and classrooms. climate-control systems to better protect • Archaeological surveys shed new light items on display. These improvements on battle events. The park’s most recent have made it possible for the park to battlefield archaeological surveys, showcase its Ferguson Rifle. The weapon conducted in 1999 and 2000 using metal was stolen from the park in 1964 and detectors and remote sensing, uncovered recovered in 1992, but security concerns five new clusters of artifacts, mainly fired prevented the park from displaying it until the 2005 renovations were completed.
KEY FINDINGS • Further research could explore possi- ble connections between park • Archaeological overview and assess- resources and American Indian ment would expand knowledge base. groups. An ethnographic overview and This work could locate other potentially assessment could determine to what significant historic sites as well as prehis- extent the area surrounding Kings toric sites that could inform park staff Mountain was used by or was important about possible American Indian use of to American Indians prior to the the area. Other archaeological work the Revolutionary War battle, and it could park would like to complete includes identify any potential traditionally asso- surveys of the Colonial Road. Both ciated people. The Colonial Road is 10 armies used this road to reach Kings thought to follow the route of an older Mountain prior to the battle, and it Cherokee trail, and research may be Kings Mountain National Military Park might be possible to identify the loca- able to clarify and expand on this story. tion of the hitching ground used by the • Museum and archival collections would Patriots. Continued surveys are also benefit from the addition of a museum needed to locate the mass burial site of technician. Currently, one of the park’s Loyalist soldiers as well as the graves of rangers cares for museum and archival Major Chronicle and those reburied with collections in addition to shouldering full- him during the commemoration cere- time interpretation duties. The park has mony in 1815. To date, there is no requested operational funds to hire a evidence that Chronicle was buried at museum technician to help catalog and the exact location where the burial manage the collections. marker was placed in 1815. • Additional work needed to address • Nineteenth-century historic structures some remaining museum deficiencies. need further documentation. The Although the park does a good job Howser House and Homestead, exam- managing its museum collections, addi- ples of early 19th-century Pennsylvanian- tional curatorial and storage space and German architecture not commonly updated security measures are needed found in the Carolinas, could be better for collection items not stored in the preserved and interpreted with the recently renovated museum. According completion of additional studies. These to the park’s collection storage plan, at might include a cultural landscape least 500 additional square feet of report, an updated historic structure storage space are needed and Park report, a historic furnishings report, or Service project funds have been other studies deemed appropriate by requested to address this need. Another park staff. In fact, park staff have already potential solution would be to construct requested Park Service funding for a a facility to store collections from Kings cultural landscape report and a historic Mountain and nearby parks pertaining furnishings report on the Howser House, to the American Revolutionary War and but no funds have yet been received. related themes. However, no plans are yet under way for such a facility.
• Park’s forests have changed since • Park waters appear healthy. Many of Revolutionary War times. Kings the surface waters flowing through Kings Mountain is primarily forested, but clear- Mountain National Military Park origi- ing of trees in 1930, fire suppression, nate within the park, which largely pests, and disease outbreaks have modi- protects them from pollution sources. A fied the forest community so that today preliminary survey of benthic inverte- it is only somewhat representative of the brates, small organisms that live at the forest present during the Battle of Kings bottom of water bodies and can be indi- Mountain. Fire suppression has led to cators of ecological health, confirms that the dominance of fire-intolerant species water resources have a high level of and a decline in shade-intolerant pine integrity. The park’s wetlands have been species. Some pine species have inventoried, but further study is neces- 11 succumbed to pine beetle outbreaks. sary to determine the role that these Kings Mountain National Military Park Furthermore, the formerly dominant areas play in supporting wildlife popula- canopy tree in this region, the American tions and maintaining natural hydrologic chestnut, has been essentially extirpated processes. by the chestnut blight. Some species • Park’s air quality could be at risk. No such as maple, sweet gum, and sour- direct air-quality monitoring occurs wood are now present in higher inside the park, but the park’s location numbers than they were at the time of between two major metropolitan areas Nepalese browntop the battle. is a non-native plant (Charlotte, North Carolina, and species that has • Invasive non-native plant species Greenville, South Carolina) may make it invaded riparian threaten native plants. More than 10 vulnerable to declining air conditions. areas within the park percent of the park’s 508 vascular plant Nearby power production also might and poses a severe species are not native to the area. The affect air quality at Kings Mountain threat to native ecosystems. Park park has identified 11 of these non-native National Military Park. Regional ozone staff work to eradi- species as being aggressive and capable measurements indicate levels of this cate non-native of invading areas. Forests, open areas, pollutant could be high enough at Kings species where possi- and riparian areas have all been affected Mountain to damage plant foliage. ble, and they have by invasive non-native species. Several Monitoring is needed to determine if requested Park Service funds to invasive non-native plant species are park plants are being affected by ozone; study the role of common in the power line right-of-way in a survey for foliar damage is scheduled prescribed burns in the park, one of the few remaining open for 2013. these control efforts. habitats in the park that supports species of concern such as the Georgia aster. CHUCK BARGERON/UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA/BUGWOOD.ORG Invasive non-native species are also the main threat to the riparian systems within the park. Already, these areas have been invaded by non-native Nepalese brown- top and Chinese privet.
THE KINGS MOUNTAIN NATIONAL MILITARY PARK ASSESSMENT MARK CLIFTON 12 Kings Mountain National Military Park The Centennial CULTURAL RESOURCES—LANDSCAPE Staff at Kings Mountain National Military Monument was RESTORATION IS A TOP PRIORITY Park are making great strides to protect the erected in 1880 to park’s cultural resources. Significant recent commemorate the 100th anniversary of Kings Mountain National Military Park scored projects, such as an archival assessment and the Battle of Kings an overall 81 out of 100 for the condition of its remote sensing archaeological surveys, have Mountain. cultural resources, which include archaeology, increased the ability of park staff to manage cultural landscapes, history, historic structures, and preserve important cultural landscapes, and the museum collection and archives. This historic structures, and museum and archival score indicates that the resources are in “good” collections. In addition, because of the signifi- condition. cance of the battle in the American
Revolutionary War, much of the history of the Mountain in 1974 and 1995. These also inform battle and those who fought in it has been resource management at the park. thoroughly researched and documented. Even with the broad body of research avail- However, gaps in research and the need for able to park staff, there are still several gaps in preservation projects do exist. The park would research that would aid in preservation and greatly benefit from baseline archaeological interpretation of the park’s resources. Notably, research and historic structure documentation, the Howser and Morris Homesteads—the inventories of two of the cultural landscapes in former built in 1803 and the latter built around the park, additional storage space and staff to 1902—cannot be fully used as resources, nor protect and preserve museum and archival can their significances be determined, without collections, and continued support to restore cultural landscape reports to guide manage- the cultural landscape, historic viewsheds, and ment. In addition, the park’s administrative 13 lines of sight present during the battle. history, written in 1985, is out-of-date; updating Kings Mountain National Military Park this history through the present would allow HISTORY—MUCH RESEARCH HAS BEEN park staff to better understand what resource DONE; ADDITIONAL WORK WOULD work has already been done and to focus on Wayside exhibits SUPPLEMENT KNOWLEDGE BASE contemporary issues, notably the restoration along the park’s 1.5- There is an extensive body of research that mile Battlefield Trail work taking place on the battlefield cultural teach visitors about provides a thorough record of the Battle of landscape. In addition, the park has requested the historic battle Kings Mountain, including troop positions and Park Service funding to study the oral histories that took place there movements, battle background, results, and of Civilian Conservation Corps participants, 230 years ago. detailed descriptions of the landscape that BRUCE JOHNSON helped make a Patriot victory possible, as well as explanations of the battle’s significance in American history. Recently, historians Bobby Moss and Michael Scoggins coauthored two accounts of African-American participation on both sides of the battle at Kings Mountain, as well as various other battles in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War. These books are titled African-American Patriots in the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution and African-American Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. Park staff use these and other available research materials in their efforts to interpret and preserve park resources. For example, Lyman C. Draper’s Kings Mountain and Its Heroes (first published in 1881), which discusses in great detail the Battle of Kings Mountain and its background and aftermath, is the primary resource for the park’s cultural landscape management and restoration plans. Historic resource studies, which provide historical overviews of a park and evaluations of its cultural resources, were completed at Kings
whose work during the 1930s added greatly to to Patriot forces who were able to take aim at the ability of the park and its managers to inter- the silhouettes of the Loyalists perched on top. pret the battle. These studies would enhance the The lay of the land and the forests that cloaked ability of the park to interpret the history of the the slopes of the ridge upon which Loyalist battle’s commemoration. forces were camped were also key factors that The park does not employ a historian, so contributed to the Patriots’ victory in the battle. necessary historical research is conducted A cultural landscape report completed in through the Park Service’s Southeast Regional 2003 documents the three eras of significance Office or in conjunction with outside historians for the battlefield—the battle events, the as funds allow. Having a historian available to commemorative period, and the Park Service the park on a more regular basis would be development period—and provides treatment 14 helpful to maintain public interest in the battle, and management recommendations. Included the battlefield, and the historic structures within the landscape are the battlefield ridge, Kings Mountain National Military Park located in the park. A historian would conduct the surrounding historic roads, the archaeologi- ongoing research, providing new information cal sites, and the historic markers and monu- for interpretation and public programs, and be ments erected later to commemorate the battle. able to answer visitors’ questions in greater Park staff consider the re-establishment of the detail and on a wider array of historical topics battlefield’s historical landscape—a mature, than can be provided by interpretive signage or hardwood forest with interspersed Piedmont scripted programs. One way to provide this type prairie—as a top priority. The historical land- of expertise would be to hire a historian to serve scape was basically destroyed in 1930 when Kings Mountain and nearby parks with similar much of the area was cleared of trees to accom- interpretive themes (e.g., Cowpens National modate the 74,000 people who attended Battlefield). President Herbert Hoover’s speech at the sesqui- centennial battle commemoration. Subsequent CULTURAL LANDSCAPES— management strategies allowed the land to lay CONTROLLED BURNS HELP RESTORE fallow, and now much of the park is covered THE HISTORICAL LANDSCAPE with the thick undergrowth that is common in Cultural landscapes are places where people a successional landscape. have interacted with their surroundings, Cultural and natural resource managers work shaping them to meet their needs. They are also together to restore the natural setting that also places where the natural surroundings have represents the historic landscape present during influenced people’s lives and actions. There are the battle. Prescribed burns are among the three identified cultural landscapes at Kings primary tools resource managers are employing Mountain—the battlefield, the Howser to restore both the historic setting and views and Homestead, and the Morris Homestead. All the native plants and natural habitat that once three cultural landscapes are listed in the supported a diverse community of bird species. National Register of Historic Places as contribut- These burns also reduce the buildup of vegeta- ing features of the Kings Mountain National tion that could fuel wildfires. The park began Historic District. The battlefield cultural land- implementing prescribed burns in 2000. Recent scape—the land on which the battle was activities include two prescribed burns that were fought—is the most visible and most significant conducted in March 2008, covering a total of cultural resource at Kings Mountain. The battle- 429 acres on and around Battlefield Ridge. These field sits on a ridge above the surrounding controlled burns resulted in a more open under- countryside, which allowed a distinct advantage story similar to that which existed in the area
during the late 18th century. Later that year, the Through the Park Service’s Southeast treated landscape helped protect the park’s other Regional Office, the park has access to a histori- cultural resources by preventing the spread of a cal architect who advises the park to ensure the fire that originated on a neighboring property. historic integrity of the structures on the cultural The park conducted four prescribed burns in landscape is maintained. The historical architect 2009 and has completed four in 2010 so far. visits the park as needed and was last at Kings Continued use of prescribed burns is key to Mountain in 2001, when the roof on the restoring the battlefield and removing excessive Howser House needed to be restored. vegetation. If funds for these activities decline, Urban encroachment along the park’s north the park will be forced to conduct fewer or and west borders threatens to destroy historic smaller burns each year. viewsheds. The views from the top of the ridge The park’s other identified landscapes are the are important resources that the park’s staff 15 Howser Homestead and the Morris Homestead. actively manage. They are critical to the visitor’s Kings Mountain National Military Park The former is a tract of land that was owned by understanding of how the surrounding forest stonemason Henry Howser, who built the main and landscape helped the Patriots surround and home on the property in 1803. The stone house attack Ferguson’s troops, who thought they had and its associated buildings are unusual exam- the advantage because of their position on ples of Pennsylvanian-German architecture in higher ground. For more information on adja- the Carolina backcountry. The Morris cent land concerns, see “Historical and Homestead was built around 1902. Neither Contemporary Land Use” on page 24. landscape has been comprehensively docu- mented in a cultural landscape report and the structures have no up-to-date historic structure reports, both of which would provide preserva- tion and treatment options and management strategies for these sites. At this time, there is little guidance for their preservation or maintenance. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE The park has been conducting prescribed burns since 2000 to help restore both the historical and the natural landscape.
HISTORIC STRUCTURES—FUNDS Patrick Ferguson were thought to have fallen NEEDED FOR REPORTS ON HISTORIC during battle; a marker commemorating STRUCTURES AND MAINTENANCE President Hoover’s visit to the battlefield; a PROJECTS marker commemorating Colonel Asbury There are 29 historic structures listed on the Coward, who established the Kings Mountain National Park Service’s List of Classified Centennial Association; and markers commem- Structures for Kings Mountain National Military orating Colonel Frederick Hambright and Park. This database includes all the prehistoric Lieutenant Colonel James Hawthorne, both and historic structures managed as cultural Patriot commanders during the battle. Such resources in each park unit. Most of the 29 structures are significant because they typify the structures relate to the battle, its commemora- war commemorative architecture and style of 16 tion, or early park development. The only the late 19th and early 20th centuries; they are historic structure in the park remaining from used to interpret the significance of the Battle of Kings Mountain National Military Park the time of the battle is the Colonial Road, Kings Mountain in the commemorative period. which was the road the armies used to reach Additional historic structures relate to the Kings Mountain prior to the battle. National Park Service development of the park Historic structures commemorating the and Civilian Conservation Corps work in the battle and its participants include the park in the 1930s: the historic Yorkville- Centennial Monument erected to commemo- Shelbyville Road, redeveloped in 1938 as a fire The Park Service rate the 100th anniversary of the battle and the road; the Main Park Road; stone rubble swales Headquarters building U.S. Monument erected in 1909. Additional along the road; the superintendent’s residence, at Kings Mountain commemorative structures include but are not now used as offices; the administration build- was built in 1940–41 in the Colonial Revival limited to markers indicating the locations ing; the parking lot at the park’s headquarters; architectural style. where Major William Chronicle and Major the stone headwalls along the Main Park Road; and the administration building flagstaff. The structures are prime examples of the Colonial NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Revival style of architecture the National Park Service used for buildings in the East because the rustic style, preferred in the West, did not blend well into the cultural landscapes of Eastern parks. Kings Mountain’s remaining historic struc- tures are not directly related to the battle, its commemoration, or the development of the park. These include those structures within the Howser Homestead: the Howser House, the Howser Cemetery headstones, the Howser Road, and the Howser Terraces; as well as those structures that are part of the Morris Homestead: the Morris House, the Morris Shed, and the Gordon Cemetery headstones. As previ- ously mentioned, Henry Howser constructed the Howser House in 1803, employing a unique Pennsylvanian-German style that is distinctly different from the typical Carolina backcountry
architecture of the 19th century. The Howser KAT BYERLY House is an exceptional example of this type of architecture. In 1977 the Park Service restored the house to its appearance as recorded in 1900 in order to protect its historic significance and integrity. Park staff use the site periodically to host interpretive programs and living history demonstrations. The Morris House was built around 1902 by the Morris family, who were tenant farmers on the Howser property. It was constructed from the chimney remains of a house that burned 17 there in 1900. Little else is currently known Kings Mountain National Military Park about the history of the property, but according to the park’s 1995 historic resource study, the architecture represents the typical postbellum Carolina style and the transition from antebel- lum subsistence farming to “postwar cash crop and absentee land ownership.” It is the only example of such a style and transition inside Kings Mountain National Park. This historic structure is not interpreted; it is used as a resi- dence for park staff. Historic structure reports provide guidance for the treatment and use of historic structures. Though the park includes 29 historic structures, just one historic structure report—for the Howser House—has been completed at Kings Mountain. It was done in 1974 and is now outdated due to restoration of the house in 1977. Due to this lack of baseline research, there is no formal guidance for the preservation and interpretation of historic structures. Park est in the site, which is currently low. Without a This stone marks the staff and volunteers provide occasional tours of historic furnishings report, up-to-date historic gravesite of Major Patrick Ferguson the Howser House and use it during periodic structure report, or cultural landscape report, (promoted posthu- living history demonstrations, but there is little the staff at Kings Mountain cannot take full mously to Lieutenant guidance to extend these activities, and the advantage of this unique historic resource. Colonel). house remains an underutilized resource. Park Staff from the Park Service’s Southeast staff have sought funding for a historic furnish- Regional Office inspect historic structures about ings report with no success. Such a report would every other year, taking note of preventative and establish a framework for furnishing the repair needs, and they conduct cyclical cleaning Howser House as authentically as possible, and maintenance of historic structures. The which would greatly improve the park staff’s park’s on-site maintenance staff manages day- ability to interpret the house. More accurate to-day preservation of historic structures and is representation could also increase visitor inter- trained to conduct a majority of maintenance
Patriot and Loyalist NATIONAL PARK SERVICE forces clashed at the Battle of Kings Mountain, fighting along this 60-foot- high ridge at the southern end of the Kings Mountain Range. Two large monuments, the Centennial Monument (lower left) and the United 18 States Monument (upper right), Kings Mountain National Military Park commemorate the battle. projects, which often consist of repair work. In ARCHAEOLOGY—ARCHAEOLOGICAL addition, several staff members have training in OVERVIEW AND ASSESSMENT NEEDED historic preservation, and the park’s facility In addition to cultural landscapes and historic manager has training in historic masonry. structures, Kings Mountain also includes signif- While Kings Mountain does not have a icant archaeological sites. The park’s largest, historical architect on staff to conduct major most visible, and most visited archaeological historic preservation projects, one from the site is the battlefield. The site is 600 yards long, regional office travels to the park as needed. ranges from 60 to 120 yards wide, and marks Historic preservation specialists are also some- the location of a majority of the fighting during times hired on a contract basis. Though the park the Battle of Kings Mountain. Park staff use has access to a historical architect and other archaeological surveys to help re-create the historic preservation staff through the regional battlefield scene and interpret it for visitors. In office, structures still suffer from more than $2.7 the most recent surveys of this area in 1999 and million in deferred maintenance costs. These 2000, archaeologists found five clusters of arti- projects include re-pointing stone CCC struc- facts, such as fired and unfired shot, indicating tures, installing fire suppression systems, repair- that while many of the historical accounts of the ing the floor in the Morris House, and repairing battle accurately portray troop positions and the headstones in the Howser Cemetery. Each movements, the fighting actually extended project requires a maintenance crew with differ- beyond what park staff and historians previ- ent specialized skills in order to preserve the ously thought. An extensive report on these historic integrity of these sites, and funds are excavations was published in 2006. This new needed to support such experts and projects. information has been incorporated into ranger-
led talks, but funds are needed to update potentially significant historic sites as well as brochures and wayside exhibits. prehistoric sites that could inform park staff Twenty other archaeological sites have been about possible American Indian use of the area. located in the park, one of which is the Howser The need for such research was formally identi- House. Including agricultural land and fied in the Southeast Archeological Center’s outbuildings, the Howser House grounds have Regionwide Archeological Survey Plan, which was been excavated numerous times, largely for published in 1996 and outlines several future compliance projects in the 1970s. While only 20 plans for archaeological investigations at Kings percent of the park has been systematically Mountain. Although Park Service funds for an surveyed for archaeological sites, park staff archaeological overview and assessment for adhere to compliance regulations and take all Kings Mountain were requested in 1996, the precautions to ensure that significant archaeo- project has not yet been funded. In addition to 19 logical resources are not damaged during park an archaeological overview and assessment, the Kings Mountain National Military Park projects. For example, archaeological staff from Regionwide Archeological Survey Plan calls for a the Park Service’s Southeast Archeological comprehensive historic archaeology survey, Center conduct surface surveys and shovel tests including a survey of any possible prehistoric to determine if activities related to the park’s fire sites as identified by surface collections, and a management program (e.g., creation of fire total survey of archaeological sites. breaks before prescribed burns) will affect To best serve archaeological sites that have archaeological resources. Many of the park’s already been identified, the park needs to docu- other archaeological sites, including homesites, ment them. At this time, just seven sites have stills, and dumps dating to the 19th and early treatment recommendations and only nine 20th centuries, were discovered during these have been located using Global Positioning compliance activities. Several prehistoric arti- System coordinates. Most sites are only known facts were also found. through the location of visible site features and Despite previous surveys and ongoing have little documentation. Even the Howser compliance work, there are still large gaps in the House, which has been extensively excavated, archaeological record of Kings Mountain. For lacks a detailed site map and good survey example, the graves of Major Chronicle and records. those men reburied with him during commem- Kings Mountain does not employ any oration activities in 1815 have never been archaeological staff; instead, the park relies on located, despite several attempts in the 1970s partnerships with the Park Service’s Southeast and again in 1999. The Colonial Road has never Archeological Center based in Tallahassee, been systematically surveyed or studied and Florida, or the University of South Carolina at might contain sites such as the hitching posts Columbia for their archaeological needs. used by the Patriots en route to the battle. It is Archaeologists from the Southeast also important to determine the location of a Archeological Center have traveled to the park mass burial site of Loyalist soldiers. Numerous about once each year since the park imple- archaeological sites not related to the battle or mented a fire-management program in 2000. colonial life (e.g., moonshine stills and 19th- Though they are readily available to complete century home sites) could also be interesting to compliance projects, none have been available survey and study. In addition, there is little to aid in interpreting the park’s archaeological information on the prehistoric use of the area. sites or to complete an archaeological overview An archaeological overview and assessment and assessment. could help fill these gaps and locate other
After renovations to MARK CLIFTON the visitor center and museum in 2005, park staff deemed it was safe to display its original Ferguson Rifle, which had previously been stolen and returned years later. 20 Kings Mountain National Military Park MUSEUM COLLECTION AND breech-loading rifle to be used by a regular army ARCHIVES—RENOVATED MUSEUM unit; it could be reloaded much faster than the PROVIDES SECURE PLACE TO DISPLAY then-standard muzzle-loading weapons, and a ARTIFACTS skilled user could fire it several times in a Buttons, fired and unfired shot, weaponry, minute. While there is no evidence that such a clothing, furnishings relating to the Howser weapon was used during the Battle of Kings House, prehistoric objects such as a chert point Mountain, this extremely rare weapon exempli- and various types of debitage (i.e., the reduction fies a historic development in 18th-century waste created during the manufacturing of stone weaponry. The story of the weapon and its place tools), and much more comprise Kings at the park is a remarkable one: In 1964, the Mountain National Military Park’s museum weapon was stolen from a park display. In 1992, collection of more than 5,300 objects. The the rifle was recovered and returned to the park. archives are even more extensive with an excess Because of inadequate security, park staff were of 37,700 items, including park records and unwilling to display it for fear of another theft. documents relating to the battle, such as an The weapon sat in storage until 2005, when original copy of Lyman Draper’s 1881 book renovations to the museum and visitor center, Kings Mountain and Its Heroes. including new climate-control, fire-suppression, One of the highest profile museum items and security systems, provided the necessary held by the park is an original Ferguson Rifle, protection to safely display this valuable artifact. the synthesis of a traditional 18th-century rifle Other historical items the park would like to and a British musket that was developed by acquire for its museum collection include Major Ferguson. The Ferguson Rifle was the first Ferguson’s personal military whistle—used at
the battle and since lost to collectors, micro- not currently on display. The park has requested films of Cornwallis’s papers, and the original but not yet received Park Service funds to film of President Hoover’s historic speech in address this need. Another way to meet this 1930. The Tennessee State Museum holds many need would be through a facility that would artifacts from the battle, though not the items store museum collection items from several just listed; the museum donated some artifacts parks. This facility could be dedicated to collec- to the park following the 2005 renovation, and tions pertaining to the American Revolutionary park staff would like to obtain more of their War and the surrounding period themes (such battle-related items. as 18th- and 19th-century backcountry Through a project in 1999 with the lifestyles). This idea is being discussed by the University of South Carolina, the park’s then staffs of Kings Mountain and other parks, entire archival collection held at that time was though there are no funding requests or formal 21 organized, properly preserved in an acid-free plans for such a facility at this time. Kings Mountain National Military Park environment, and cataloged. Today, just 5 An interpretive ranger acts as the park’s percent of the archives have not been cataloged. curator and is trained in the Park Service’s The uncataloged items were acquired after the collections cataloging database and in inte- 1999 project. The only items from the park’s grated pest management. The park has museum collection not yet cataloged are a requested operating funds to hire a museum number of archaeological artifacts. Each year, technician to help manage and catalog the the park makes progress cataloging the remain- collections. For some of its more extensive proj- ing archives and artifacts. ects the park contracts outside experts, such as Even though the park renovated its museum those at the University of South Carolina and and visitor center in 2005, there is still not other institutions. For example, experts from enough curatorial and storage space. According Texas A&M University are nearly finished treat- to the park’s collection storage plan, another ing and preserving 75 at-risk museum objects, 500 square feet or more of storage space are such as those that have in the past been inap- needed to better accommodate collection items propriately displayed or stored. JAMES D. NATIONS/NPCA Visitor center exhibits educate the public about the Battle of Kings Mountain and its historical context.
ETHNOGRAPHY—RESEARCH NEEDED people. Even though traditionally associated TO IDENTIFY GROUPS OF PEOPLE groups of people have not been formally identi- WITH TRADITIONAL ASSOCIATIONS TO fied, park staff invite members of the Catawba PARK RESOURCES Nation, whose reservation is located along the Kings Mountain does not maintain an active North Carolina-South Carolina border, to ethnography program nor has it completed an various educational and interpretive programs ethnographic overview and assessment, a base- (e.g., living history demonstrations conducted line report that analyzes information on known by volunteers). While members of the Catawba ethnographic resources and the groups of Nation do participate in these demonstrations, people with traditional connections to those indigenous people have not expressed any other resources. This lack of ethnographic research is interest in the park. 22 largely due to the fact that the land inside the In addition to examining relationships park was considered to be neutral territory between park resources and American Indians, Kings Mountain National Military Park between the Cherokee and the Catawba prior to Park Service guidelines encourage acknowledg- and at the time of the Battle of Kings Mountain. ment of African-American history and experi- While it is thought that neither tribe used the ence within national parks. Staff at Kings area regularly, the Colonial Road supposedly Mountain are aware that the park could followed the route of an older Cherokee trail. contain resources important to African Ethnographic research might help develop a Americans, and in 2004 and 2005, researchers greater understanding of the uses of “neutral from outside the Park Service conducted a territory” and the role of travel corridors in massive project to identify and study the American Indian life prior to and during the African-American participants in the battles of colonial era. the Southern Campaign of the American The only prehistoric artifacts found inside Revolutionary War. Revolutionary War scholar the park include a small handful of lithic Dr. Bobby Moss and local historian Michael debitage and a partial chert point that were Scoggins published two volumes on this topic. found during compliance projects. However, Although a number of African Americans according to staff from the Park Service’s participated in the battle, on both sides, park Southeast Regional Office, the lack of known staff do not know if there is any contemporary prehistoric and American Indian sites within African-American interest in the park. the boundaries of Kings Mountain does not Another possible area of study for an ethnog- indicate that there was no American Indian raphy program at Kings Mountain relates to presence, but rather that there has not been more recent cultural associations with the park. enough research and data to locate sites. In fact, Park staff have submitted Park Service funding one of the only areas lacking in formal research requests to conduct oral histories of Civilian or interpretation, as identified by park and Conservation Corps (CCC) participants who regional staff, is the pre-settlement history of the worked inside the park and the adjacent Kings area (the period prior to European and Euro- Mountain State Park. Collecting these inter- American settlement). Park staff have requested views is urgent as fewer and fewer CCC partici- project funding for such research. pants remain to share their experiences. Without baseline data on the possible American Indian or prehistoric significance of the park, staff cannot adequately address the preservation of sites or the cultivation of rela- tionships with potential traditionally associated
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