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  1. The Old Oak Tree

From the recording Songs From Burke County

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The Old Oak Tree
(Milan Miller)

The Battle of King’s Mountain went down in history as a pivotal moment in the fight for American independence. In addition to mortally wounding British Major Patrick Ferguson and defeating the Redcoats, the victory provided a generous boost in morale for the Patriots and their cause.

In the days and hours that led up to this great battle, Burke County played host to the masterminds of the Patriot assault. On October 1, 1780, Colonel Charles McDowell convened at his Quaker Meadows estate with Colonel John Sevier of Tennessee and Colonel Isaac Shelby of the Watauga settlement. It was here in the shade of a giant oak tree that they decided to storm King’s Mountain with their force of 900 men. The history books tell us that their decision was the right one.

In the years that followed the war, people would often reflect upon the history that was made under the giant tree, and soon began referring to it as the Council Oak. Unfortunately, the Council Oak was splintered by a lightning strike sometime around 1900. Even so, it is necessary to remember the bravery and sacrifice of the men who gathered beneath the old oak tree on that fateful day, and how the plans they made in her shadow forever changed the course of our great nation.