Saturday, October 12, 2013

King's Mountain

Pardon the lousy graphic -- image ripped from Amazon and it's none too good.

But -- the book itself is wonderful! This is my second 'ballad' novel by Sharyn McCrumb, and while it wasn't quite as entertaining as The Ballad of Tom Dooley, which I read a year or two ago, it's a good story.

The author specializes in well-researched historical novels set in North Carolina and Tennessee. She uses facts -- real people and documented events -- and builds good reads around them. Tom Dooley was a real person -- real name, Thomas Dula, and his story was true.

This book chronicles a two-week interval in 1780 where a bunch of mountain men banded together, militias from various states (Virginia, North and South Carolina, North Georgia) with one common goal: to find and battle the British Army Major Patrick Ferguson who was roaming the mountains. The main players in the story are real people -- from historical records, genealogical records and such. The victory at King's Mountain was considered by Thomas Jefferson and others as the turning point in the American Revolution. I'm afraid I kept my eyes on Google maps to follow their path from "overmountain" on the northwest side of Roan Mountain in what is now Tennessee, right on the border of North Carolina, to the battlefield.

As the author states, King's Mountain was a veritable "Who's Who" of the frontier south. Although not all mentioned in the book, the roster of men  included the first governor of Tennessee, the first governor of Kentucky, the brother-in-law of Virginia governor Patrick Henry, Davy Crockett's father, Robert E. Lee's father, and the grandfather of North Carolina's Civil War governor, Zebulon Vance.

It also included a much-less-exalted ancestor of mine: Pendleton Isbell, who served with Benjamin Cleveland from Wilkes County, NC. This wasn't Pendleton's first Revolutionary War battle, either. He also served with George Washington at Valley Forge and Brandywine, but this time he was defending his home territory. McCrumb mentions some Isbell's in The Ballad of Tom Dooley, but not Pendleton. That story takes place in and around Wilkes County, so her Isbells are also bound to be relatives of mine, one way or another.

I'm definitely planning to read more of her work. If you like history or just good fiction, maybe you should give her a try.

No comments:

Post a Comment