Old Fort, NC

Old Fort, NC

In the North Carolina Town of Old Fort there's a small creek called Mill Creek that babbles through the center of town. That creek stood as a natural border between the Scotch-Irish (or Scots-Irish) settlers on the East and the native Cherokee and Catawba tribes living on this land for thousands of years on the West.

In the 1700s there were frequent skirmishes between these factions and the fort from my previous blog post was built by the military on Davidson land. The original fort location is said to be where the Mountain Gateway Museum now sits.

Anyone traveling to the Western-most outpost of Old Fort must, by law, notify the constable of their intended arrival date so a search party could be dispatched if the trip took longer than expected. This law may remain on the books but we certainly weren't aware at the time of our visit and I probably wouldn't comply anyway. Lol

The native tribes were so alarmed by the incursion of pioneers into their lands that they allied themselves with British forces in 1776. Attacks on the fort had escalated that year and General Griffith Rutherford led 2400 men to battle over native lands. Troops from SC and VA sent soldiers to assist. Rutherford and his men burned every settlement from Old Fort to Murphy destroying 32 native towns and villages. This drive broke the spirit of the Cherokee warriors and forced them to call for peace in the region. The Arrowhead statue in the picture was a symbol of peace.

By the 1800s North Carolina was seen as the Rip Van Winkle state. This nickname was given to the home state of my ancestors because it was considered a backward state with a sluggish economy and little interest in change. The NC gold rush changed all of that.