Rev. Samuel Doak's
Famous Sermon To
BY O.J. EARLY
Reenactors in 18th-century attire helped ring in Greene County's 230th anniversary here Friday, kicking off a weekend of festivities to commemorate the county's more than two centuries of existence.
What is today Greene County was part of what was Washington County in the early 1780s. The State of Tennessee did not exist then, and this entire area was part of the State of North Carolina.
In 1783, however, over some resistance, Greene County was created out of Washington County, and this became Greene County, N.C.
Then, after going through at least two other governmental structures, it became Greene County, Tenn., when Tennessee became a state in 1796.
The weekend's activities are especially focused on the important period 1780-1783 in the county's history, and are part of the community's 2013 Heritage Month events.
'GEN. GREENE, ' 'REV. DOAK' SPEAK
Friday evening kicked off the weekend schedule, with several local citizens joining the reenactors at the Nathanael Greene Museum for an historical presentation.
The presentation was followed by a reception honoring Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene, said to be George Washington's favorite general, for whom the town and the county are named.
The evening's festivities featured the attendance of Gen. Greene himself, portrayed by Georgia resident Dan McMichael, along with the Rev. Samuel Doak, portrayed by the Rev. George Cobb, of Alabama.
Tim Massey, of Greeneville, chairman of the Tennessee Sons of the American Revolution Patriotic Education Committee and past chapter president, portrayed Daniel Kennedy, who is considered the "Father of Greene County."
Rev. Cobb, as Samuel Doak, reenacted Doak's thundering send-off sermon to the Overmountain Men at Sycamore Shoals in the fall of 1780 as they prepared to depart to fight the British and Loyalist forces at Kings Mountain, S.C., near Charlotte, N.C.
THE SERMON AND THE BATTLE
Reenactors emphasized Friday evening that that Patriot victory in October 1780 changed the course of the American Revolution in the South -- and ultimately the Revolution itself -- helping lead America to independence in 1783.
"The enemy is marching hither to destroy your families," Doak warned the Overmountain fighters who had mustered at Sycamore Shoals. "Go forth now in the strength of your manhood."
Doak's sermon, Massey told the audience, helped supercharge local patriots as they trekked across the mountain in rain and snow. Other Patriot forces joined them along the way or near Kings Mountain.
Massey and others described the battle, and the three attempts it took to overcome British Major Patrick Ferguson and his Loyalist troops, who held the top of Kings Mountain.
"Every man that was fighting for Ferguson that day either died or was captured," said one of the reenactors. Major Ferguson himself was killed, and is buried there.
Twenty-six future Greene Countians fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain. When the fighting ended, 28 American Patriots had died there.
Friday's event concluded with brief remarks from McMichael, portraying Greene, who told the audience that they have much to be proud of when considering their heritage.
The complete story of the Overmountain Men and the crucial Battle of Kings Mountain will be told at 11:30 a.m. today at Fox Park, located at the intersection of South Main and McKee streets in Greeneville.
Then, at 1:30 p.m., in front of the Babb Cabin at Fox Park, the story of the founding of Greene County itself will be presented.
That story will include how Daniel Kennedy, along with the county's "Foster Father," Waightstill Avery, hatched the plan to carve the new county out of Washington County, N.C.
Throughout the day, there will be firearms demonstrations by McMichael, who, besides portraying Nathanael Greene, is a rifleman and period firearms expert.
Roy Collier will portray Dr. James McHenry as he relates and demonstrates medical practices of the period.
McHenry served as a military surgeon during the Revolutionary War.
'STAY FOR THE DAY'
Guests at the festivities are being invited to bring a lawn chair and stay all day for a full 1783 experience.
Indian tacos and dessert items will be available for purchase starting at noon. There is no charge for the activities themselves.
Living history camps set up by reenactors at Fox Park will continue until 3 p.m.
A Brush Arbor Service will take place from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, in "the hole" just up South Main Street from Christ United Methodist Church.
Early settlers constructed brush arbors to provide rudimentary shelter during extended revivals and church services.
A dedication of the Heritage Garden at Fox Park will follow the service on Sunday.
The following is a complete schedule of the weekend's activities:
SATURDAY AT FOX PARK
* 9:45 a.m.: Firing of the cannon, posting of the colors.
* 10 a.m.: Formal program with greetings from historical organizations; Sons Of The American Revolution color guard. (Nathanael Greene Museum as inclement weather location.)
* 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Living history campus.
* 11:30 a.m.: "Turning of the Tide -- The Story of the Overmountain Men."
* Noon: Rifle demonstration, food available.
* 1:30 p.m.: The story of the birth of Greene County. Event at the Babb Cabin.
* 2 p.m.: Rifle demonstration.
* 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Brush Arbor Service in "the hole" up the street from Christ United Methodist Church.
* Following the service: Heritage Garden Dedication in Fox Park.