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Battle observance includes new events

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

The Lincoln County community is invited to watch history unfold and ghost stories come to life this weekend in and around Lincolnton High School, on the ground where one a significant but not well-known battle of the American Revolution once occurred.
Since the 1990s, historical re-enactors have united to re-create the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill for local residents.
According to the battle commemoration’s website, sponsored by the Lincoln County Historical Association (LCHA), nearly 2,000 Whigs and Tories fought on June 20, 1780, in an area 400 yards west of North Aspen Street.
During the battle, Col. Francis Locke led American Patriot (Whig) militia in a victory over British Loyalists (Tories), led by Lt. Colonel John Moore and Major Nicholas Welch.
People come from all over the region to witness the re-enactment. Among them is Jay Garrison, of North Augusta, S.C., who told the Times-News Tuesday that he plans to bring his oldest child, 8, to the event.
“Re-enactments are a great way of bringing history to life,” he said, “and gain some interest in learning more about the real reason for the Revolutionary War and what happened during it.”
Garrison and his wife homeschool their five children, and over the years, have gone to numerous Revolutionary War battlefield sites, including Cowpens and Kings Mountain.
“I enjoy the hands-on learning and spending time with my children in a positive environment,” he said. “I so appreciate the effort the re-enactors go through to help educate us.”
Local historian, author and former legislator Daniel W. Barefoot further explained why the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill holds such significance to the community and beyond.
“It’s part of Lincoln County we can be very proud of,” he said. “Lincoln County soldiers’ fighting ultimately paved the way for the United States becoming free of British colonial rule.”
This year, for the first time, Barefoot will escort the attendees on a one-mile Ghost Walk through historic burial grounds and other resources along the battle site starting 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the main log building.
Another addition to this year’s event is free battle site tours. “Living history demonstrations” of 18th century life, including cooking, hornsmithing and brick making, will also take place throughout the weekend in the building, where re-enactors will be stationed.
One re-enactor, English-born Howard Burnham, of Columbia, S.C., is set to play both British General Lord Cornwallis on Saturday and British Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton on Sunday.
Tarleton is known for his alleged cruelty treatment of prisoners and was known in the South as “Bloody Tarleton.”
“I love history and sharing my love of it with people,” Burnham said. He was born in England, but his paternal grandpa was American.
Even though neither British general wasn’t actually present at the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill, Burnham said they were an important part of the Revolution in the South. Each year, he suits up in the generals’ red coats to educate the Lincolnton community.
“I’m telling his life story,” he said, “particularly (Cornwallis’) campaign in the southern provinces.”
According to LCHA’s Executive Director Jason Harpe, this will be the fourth year that LCHA has teamed up with Lincoln County Historic Properties Commission to sponsor the event.
In addition to the battle re-enactment, the community will also get to witness the unveiling of an additional Lincoln County Carolina Thread Trail marker, erected along the battle site near a newly-built kayak access on Clark’s Creek, Harpe said.
According to Randi Gates, Carolina Thread Trail’s Community & Grants Coordinator, 92 miles of the planned 1,300-mile trail is currently open to the public. She said the trail will one-day span 15 counties, including 70 miles in Lincoln County alone.
Nearly 4.5 miles has so far been completed across the county, including but not limited to parts of the Marcia H. Cloninger Rail Trail, which is currently under construction for extension, as well as South Fork Rail Trail, Ramsour’s Mill/Park Trail and the trail at Sally’s YMCA, Gates said.
A time frame for the Carolina Thread Trail’s completion has yet to be determined.
For a complete schedule of Saturday and Sunday events for The Battle of Ramsour’s Mill 2012 or to purchase tickets for the Ghost Walk, contact the LCHA office at (704) 748-9090 or email lcmh@bellsouth.net.

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