The Transylvania Times -

SAR Chapter Explores Battles From Opponents Viewpoint


August 26, 2019

Author Joe Epley and Chapter President John Boyd. (Courtesy photo)

Military history is normally written from the viewpoint of the victor, not by those defeated in battle.

Over the past three months, the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution conducted a series on the American Revolution in the Carolinas through the eyes of pro-British Tories and the Native-American Cherokee who inhabited what is now the Western Carolinas, eastern Tennessee and Kentucky, and northern Georgia.

Author Joe Epley of Tryon presented a June lecture that culminated with the battles of King's Mountain (1780) and Cowpens (1781) and led to the Patriot victory at Yorktown (1781).

In vivid detail, Epley described the civil war that existed in the Carolinas and Georgia from 1775 to 1783.

Like the American Civil War occurring 80 years later, the battle for independence in the South pitted brother against brother, father against son and neighbor against neighbor. Many loyalists (Tories) were as dedicated to remaining British subjects as were rebels (Patriots) committed to being free from Royal dominance, taxation and trade restrictions. Atrocities were ample from both sides.

Many of the experiences of the Tory loyalists are documented in Epley's latest book, "A Passel of Hate."

At the just-completed August meeting, Yvonne McCall-Dickson, a fifth generation descendent of Transylvania County, described the circumstances that led most of the Cherokee nation to side with the British forces during the American Revolution.

Her presentation began with the origination of the Cherokee people and their history in what is today the Blue Ridge Mountain area in a five-state area.

At first, the French trappers and traders supplied innovative tools and fabric that were much in demand by the Cherokee. With the loss of the mountain region to the British in the French and Indian War, the Cherokee residents were eventually dragged into conflict that came with the American Revolution. For the Cherokee, it was a fight to maintain their ancestral grounds, their independence and their very existence.

For the Patriot cause, the conflict was part of a larger war that spanned three continents and involved more than six world powers.

McCall-Dickson has researched and studied the Cherokee Nation for more than three decades. She teaches a course on Cherokee history and the history of Transylvania County at Blue Ridge Community College.


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