The chance of rain resulted in the venue of the memorial services honoring the 239th anniversary of the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill to the cafeteria of Battleground Elementary School. Services being held inside in the cafeteria of an elementary school, despite the patriotic-inspired window coverings, may not have been as solemn as they might have been at the mass gravesite. Even though it wasn’t held at the actual gravesite, the entire battleground site, even the land that the school stands on, was ground that, centuries ago, men gave their lives fighting for the cause that they believed in.
The guest speaker for the services was local historian Ann Dellinger, who is a member of the Jacob Forney Chapter NC-DAR.
“The published accounts of the battle weren’t written until years after 1780,” she said. “The first account I’ve seen is documented down about 1804, the next one comes in the early 1820s. The last published account dates to 1900.”
Some of the accounts have military information, some are pure speculation, especially the later accounts, Dellinger said. Most of the accounts identify the people who died by their surnames.
Also a genealogist, Dellinger is fascinated with the stories of those who lived before us. During her talk on Saturday, Dellinger chose several of the names of people who died in the battle to share details that she’s discovered throughout her extensive research over the years.
For example, John Sloane died in the war. He left a will asking that his children be taught to read and cipher, to be educated. The will also mentions several items in his possession including books, lots of books, to be divided between his wife and five children. There is also mention of books to be given to two of the sons, which are described as being “my lot of books in Fork Creek New Library.”
“This is 1779 and this is the Carolina Piedmont, the Carolina back country,” Dellinger said. “We are not talking about New York, Philadelphia or Boston. We’ve got a will that tells us there is a library across the Catawba River on Fork Creek in Rowan County and some of John Sloane’s books are in this library.”
Dellinger closed her talk by saying that during these memorial services, which are held year after year at the Ramsour’s Mill battle site, those that died during the battle are honored.
“I have given the names of only eight,” she said, “If you have an interest in the history surrounding this place, I encourage you to learn as much as you can. Not only about the details of Ramsour’s Mill but of the men who came here that June morning so long ago. They deserve to be remembered. They deserve to be so much more than just a name. You might be surprised. You might find that he had a library somewhere.”