Abingdon Muster Grounds to get educational center

Overmountain Men

ABINGDON, Va. - The results of the Revolutionary War may have been much different had it not been for a volunteer group of frontiersmen, some from our region, marching all the way to South Carolina to take on the British army.

The Battle of King's Mountain has been called the turning point of the war. Those traveling the longest distance gathered in an open field in Abingdon in 1780.

They've been gathering at the place called 'The Muster Grounds' since the fall of 1780. Today it's not frontier patriots, but students learning about a significant piece of our country's history.

A British officer had threatened the lives and property of those living in the southern Appalachians. The frontiersmen and others began to muster their forces on this very ground in 1780 to march to South Carolina to a fight known as the Battle of King's Mountain. 

Since 2007, Abingdon has owned this piece of history as a permanent reminder for visitors. "We actually developed this site into a place that people can come to, they can learn about the trail and the history," said Paul Carson. "They can really begin their journey here and then go on down into Tennessee, over the mountains into North Carolina and South Carolina."

Saturday afternoon the town will celebrate with a special dedication at 3 p.m. of a new interpretive center for visitors to learn their story. "People who come view the exhibits will get a really well-rounded story of not only what life was like on the frontier in 1780," Muster Grounds superintendent Leigh Anne Hunter said, "but also the Battle of King's Mountain, the campaign and the people that were involved."

The center is named for long-time local historian and member of the Overmountain Men Blair Keller. "I've been camping right here on this piece of property or at least being here every time we've camped here from 1978," he said.

And now he and what happened here will forever be preserved.

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