Polk asks state for historical marker at Alexander’s Ford 

Published 11:08 pm Sunday, March 10, 2019

Commissioner adds to letter to describe significance of the site 


COLUMBUS—Polk County received a history lesson on its Alexander’s Ford property this week in agreeing to send a letter to the state asking for an historical marker there.  

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Polk County Commissioners met Monday and heard from county manager Marche Pittman about sending a letter to the North Carolina Office of Archives and History requesting an historical marker.  

Pittman prepared a letter requesting the North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program to reconsider a 2004 decision concerning the placement of a state historical marker for Alexander’s Ford.  

Polk County Commissioner Ray Gasperson asked that some language be added to the letter to let the state know why Alexander’s Ford is such an important site.  

“If that rider had not come in that night on Oct. 5, 1780 and told them that Ferguson had turned and was going to Charlotte, who knows if the Battle of Kings Mountain would have happened,” Gasperson said. “And it happened because that rider came in to Polk County.”  

Pittman’s letter says that in 2011, the United States Department of Interior, National Parks Service, designated the Alexander’s Ford site as a certified protected segment of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail.  

The new language of the letter says that it was on Oct. 5, 1780 while encamped on the Green River bottomlands at Alexander’s Ford, that the Overmountain men were alerted that Major Ferguson and his loyalists had changed direction, and were headed to Charlotte, not Ninety-Six, S.C. as previously informed.  

“At Alexander’s Ford, prior to breaking camp, the Overmountain men made the decision to turn course, heading east towards Charlotte,” states the letter. “On Oct. 7, 1780, the Battle of Kings Mountain occurred, and 900 of the best riflemen of the patriots, commanded by Virginia’s Colonel William Campbell, met the loyalists at Kings Mountain, defeating them, and forcing a retreat of the main army to South Carolina. Among the dead after the battle was Ferguson. Ponder for a moment how history might have been different but for the decision made that night at Alexander’s Ford.”  

Pittman’s letter goes on to say Polk County’s goal is to promote access to and generate awareness of one of our state’s most significant historical sites.  

“We believe the placement of a state historic marker will draw attention to a site that was a pivotal point for the remainder of the patriots’ campaign, and was key to our country’s independence,” the letter states.