As the region readies for a number of Overmountain Victory Trail events marking the historic 1780 muster of the Overmountain Men to Kings Mountain, New York Times best-selling author Sharyn McCrumb will make several local appearances to promote “King’s Mountain,” her first “Ballad” novel about the American Revolution.
McCrumb is an award-winning Southern writer best known for her “Appalachian Ballad” novels, including “The Ballad of Tom Dooley,” “The Devil Amongst the Lawyers” and “The Ballad of Frankie Silver.” Her newest “Ballad” book, “King’s Mountain,” focuses on the Overmountain militia men and the Battle of Kings Mountain, considered by many to have been the turning point of the war.
Told from the points of view of Patriot leader John Sevier and Tory camp follower Virginia Sal, the novel brings to life the people and events in the southern front of the Revolution — a story largely ignored by the history books.
Sevier had not taken much interest in the American Revolution. Homesteading in the Carolina mountains, Sevier was too busy fighting Indians and taming the wilderness to worry much about a far-off war, but when an arrogant British officer sent a message over the mountains, threatening to burn the settlers’ farms and kill their families, then the war became personal.
In response to that challenge, Sevier (who would become the first governor of Tennessee), Isaac Shelby (first governor of Kentucky), William Campbell (brother-in-law of Virginia governor Patrick Henry), Davy Crockett’s father, Robert E. Lee’s father and others raised an unpaid volunteer militia of 1,000 men.
Bringing their own guns and their own horses, and wearing their civilian clothes, the Overmountain Men defeated the Tories in 1780 at Kings Mountain, west of Charlotte, in what Thomas Jefferson later called “the turning point of the American Revolution.”
The Overmountain Men with their civilian militia proved that the British forces could be stopped, and their victory at King’s Mountain inspired the colonies to fight on, ending the war exactly one year later at Yorktown.
McCrumb will speak at 3 p.m., Sept. 21 in the Visitor Center of Elizabethton’s Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area as part of the park’s weekend-long Overmountain Victory Trail Celebration. McCrumb also will be available to autograph copies of her book, which can be purchased in the Sycamore Shoals bookstore and gift shop.
The following day, on Sept. 22, McCrumb will read excerpts from “King’s Mountain” from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at the Abingdon Muster Grounds in Abingdon, Va. While at the northern trailhead of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, attendees will have the opportunity to meet McCrumb, purchase her new novel and have it autographed. Artists, musicians and re-enactors also will be part of the event.
McCrumb will read from and sign copies of “King’s Mountain” again at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 23 at Barter Stage II in Abingdon, Va., an appearance sponsored by the Friends of the Washington County Public Library. Admission is free.
McCrumb was named a “Virginia Woman of History” in 2008 for Achievement in Literature, was a guest author at the National Festival of the Book in Washington, D.C., in 2006 and was a finalist for the Weatherford Award for Appalachian fiction. In 2006, she won a Library of Virginia Award. She is also a winner of the Wilma Dykeman Award for Literature, given by the East Tennessee Historical Society.
McCrumb was honored as the Writer of the Year at Emory & Henry College in 2005. She is a winner of the Audie Award for Best Recorded Book and a recipient of the AWA Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature Award, the Chaffin Award for Southern Literature, the Plattner Award for Short Story and the AWA’s Best Appalachian Novel.
She recently was named “Best Mountain Writer 2013” by Blue Ridge Country Magazine.
For more information about McCrumb, visit her website at www.sharynmccrumb.com.