A Frontier Tale
For early explorers and long hunters, Southwest Virginia is a peaceful and verdant land, rich with game and ripe for settlement.
For Shawnee and Cherokee native American tribes, it is a hunting ground.
For France and Great Britain, it is the front line in a continuing struggle for control of American lands.
Treaties bar settlements, but settlers come anyway, many of Scots Irish and German descent, longing to own land and taste freedom. They come with the clothes on their back and few other possessions — seed for planting, weapons and ammunition. They build primitive shelters and make what they need themselves, until they can buy from craftspeople who follow swiftly on the heels of settlement.
Contact between settlers and Native Americans is fierce and bloody, and settlers take refuge at forts and blockhouses, stations and towns. They rely on traditions of community, forming militias and volunteering their service to protect neighbors and friends.
Their fierce self-sufficiency finds voice in the Fincastle Resolutions of 1775, signed near Wytheville and echoed the next year in the Declaration of Independence.
When British and Loyalist forces threaten to destroy their homes and farms, militias meet at Abingdon's muster grounds and march south to Kings Mountain, South Carolina. There these “Overmountain Men” surround and defeat Loyalist forces in just over an hour. Their victory turns the tide of the American Revolution, weakening British control of the south and raising the morale of Patriot forces.
Gain a new appreciation of America's beginnings here on our first frontier. Glimpse the past along roadsides and byways. See costumed interpreters, craftspeople and musicians bring recreated forts, farms, settlements and blockhouses to life. And trace the struggles that defined a nation.