June 25, 2024 at 1:05 a.m.
Guest Columnist

Rev. War Battle Fought Near Here

The Battle of Ramsour’s Mill took place on the north side of Lincolnton


TAMMY WILSON | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment
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This past weekend, I was part of a commemoration of a Revolutionary War battle. It’s not the first time, I’ve donned my “18th century” garments, braved the heat and humidity to pay tribute to area patriots who answered the call 244 years ago this past week. As a member of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, the wreath laying ceremony has become a tradition for my chapter and many others in the area.

The Battle of Ramsour’s Mill took place on the north side of Lincolnton, on acreage that’s now part of the Battleground School complex. The commemoration has inspired a history-centered weekend featuring Revolutionary era re-enactments, demonstrations, ghost walks, battlefield tours, storytelling, a colonial church service and more.

It was warm on Saturday, just as it would have been that morning in 1780, when some 400 Carolina farmers, tradesmen and the like defeated 1,300 Loyalist on a rise not far from Ramsour’s grist mill. Between 50 to 70 men died on each side—Whig and Tory—with another 200 wounded. The fallen whose families did not claim their bodies or chose not to remove them to a church or family cemetery, left them to be interred in a mass grave. The site was marked by the Jacob Forney Chapter of DAR back in 1930.

My colonial straw hat did its job keeping the sun off me while speakers representing several state societies of Sons of the American Revolution brought greetings and tributes to patriots. Other participants included Lynne Hill from my own John Hoyle Chapter of DAR, and representatives from other DAR chapters and a few Children of the American Revolution members. We all gathered near the mass gravesite where patriots were laid to rest in the gruesome aftermath of the battle.

Some of Saturday’s speakers mentioned their direct descent from patriots who fought at Ramsour’s Mill—and gave their life—in the cause of independence and self-governance. They would have sweated beneath the same sun, and fought over the same soil we stood on. Indeed, all who presented wreaths—SAR, DAR and CAR members—were documented descendants of individuals who supported the American Cause between 1775 and 1782.

On June 20, 1780, four hundred non-professional soldiers including Carolina farmers, tradesmen and the like, defeated 1,300 loyalists near a grist mill on Clark’s Creek, the same waterway that runs south from Newton.

Lt. Col. Francis Locke led patriot militiamen at Mountain Creek, near present-day Sherrills Ford southwest to Lincolnton. At the end of the day, the Loyalists were defeated. They would never again rally much sympathy in this part of North Carolina.

The Battle of Ramsour’s Mill, combined with later engagements, helped set the stage for the crucial Battle of Kings Mountain in October 1780, and the eventual defeat of the world’s largest and most fearsome military power in October 1781. The result was the launch of one of the greatest experiments the world has ever known:  the United States of America.

As we approach July 4, it’s important to remember such engagements as this one, that our freedom came at a high price—the lives and fortunes of colonists saying yes, taking risk, even stepping out in faith one sultry morning near a small grist mill in Lincoln County.

Tammy Wilson is a writer who lives near Newton. Contact her at  [email protected]



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