During the anniversary weekend at Kings Mountain, you could see many people wearing historic clothing. On Friday, October 7, we had almost as many people in 18th century clothing as we did in 21st century clothing. I overheard one little boy tell his parents, “Folks sure do dress funny here!”
But dressing in historical clothing is part of the fun of being involved as a volunteer in the national parks. We have seen people in colonial, civil war, and fur trade costumes. We had several groups that came to Kings Mountain during the anniversary celebration. Normally there are close to 100 people who dress funny, but the rain kept the numbers down this year.
There were people who were part of the Overmountain Victory Trail. Some of them traveled the entire trail for the two weeks previous to arriving at Kings Mountain for the “battle.” These folks attended the anniversary celebration and headed back to their homes on Friday afternoon.
Another group is the “Backcountry Militia”: volunteers from the area who help out with encampments at Kings Mountain specifically. They might come just during the day or stay overnight in some of the canvas tents. They pretend they are a local militia group who has gathered for militia drill. We get to know these people because they are here monthly to help with special events.
A third group that was new to Tom and me was the “New Jersey Light Infantry.” These are people who portray volunteers in the Continental Army. They come every year for the anniversary and are usually a pretty large group from all over: Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, and Virginia.
The living historians who participate in the anniversary weekend take great care with their costumes. They try to be as historically accurate as possible. For instance, one of the people who comes is Ricky Roberts, who portrays a soldier in Patrick Ferguson’s dragoons. He has a Ferguson rifle and gives various talks through the weekend. Overall, the people who dress funny take great care that they live – as much as possible during the weekend – the same way people would have lived in 1780. No screens or electricity but plenty of conversations around the campfires.
It was fun to see so many people dressed up in historical costumes during the anniversary weekend. Most days at Kings Mountain you will see a couple of people who dress funny, but on the anniversary weekend those numbers swell.