Thunder Over Carolina

The Lincoln County Historical Association's first official board of directors meeting took place with the organization's incorporators and additional members in 1955. The main item of business on the agenda at this meeting was the Association's involvement with the production of the drama Thunder Over Carolina. The production would commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ramsour's Mill. The drama was based on a decisive Revolutionary War battle at Ramsour's Mill that took place on June 20, 1780, between local Patriots and Tories.

The Association's board of directors began discussing the specifics of the Thunder Over Carolina production as early as May 1955. On May 11, the Association's board of directors decided to provide special complimentary tickets to Mesdames Neal and Forney Roseman, and Mary Deaton, for their cooperation in allowing the Association to use their land for the production. The board decided that the admission costs would be one dollar for adults and fifty cents for children. In additino, the board voted to provide a flexible section for "colored," at the same prices. At this meeting, the board decided unanimously to designate Charles Loveland of Shelby, North Carolina, as the general manager of the drama. For his services, Loveland received one hundred dollars plus ten percent of the profits. The board met throughout the remaining portion of of 1955 to discuss performance dates, script edits, and sponsors for 1956. During this time, Gladys Childs became part of the production, and received much praise from the Association' board of directors, members of the cast, and the community.

After its initial performance during June and July of 1955, Gladys Childs encouraged the Association to work towards supporting other historical efforts in Lincolnton and Lincoln County. She suggested that the Association provide funds to the Lincolnton Garden Club for their support of Thunder Over Carolina. The Garden Club would use the funds towards the Memorial Garden Wall at Lincolnton's Memorial Hall, the former Pleasant Retreat Academy.

In January of 1956, the Association expanded its performance of Thunder Over Carolina from the previous year, and involved the Lincolnton Little Theatre, men from the National Guard, the Pilot Club, Jaycees, and Lions Club. The Lincolnton Little Theatre requeted, with their participation, that the Association provide them thirty percent of the profits, set aside funds for costumes, and appoint committees to manage the necessary stages, props, prop houses,ticket booth space, concession stands, parking lot, and spotlight facilities to make the setting more comfortable and attractive. In addition, the groups agreed to appoint a caretaker to clean the battleground before and after each performance; appoint Boyce Kendrick and Everette Avery to appropriately paint scenes for the drama, such as the Tavern Scene; appoint Don Frazier to secure ads for a new program; and, include Clyde "Baby Ray" Cornwell to assist Don Frazier with photographing the drama. They finalized their plans, with the Association covering the costs associated with recording the production's music, mimeographing and typing scripts, and securing the services of Bradford Arrington of Hickory, and his assistant, Dick Tyndall.

Upon completion of Thunder Over Carolina, the Association took a few years to reorganize and evaluate the organization's mission, objectives, membership, and position in the county. On June 7, 1960, the Association met in the council room of Lincolnton's City hall for the purpose of "formulating plans for the reorganization" of the organization.

During 1960, as Lincoln County began the construction of a new grammar school on the Ramsour's Mill Battleground site, the county and building contractors began contacting members of the Association to investigate a potential graveyard they unearthed while digging the school's basement. Today, the site is designated as the Ramsour's Mill Battleground mass gravesite. The Lincoln County Historic Properties Commission and Lincoln County Historical Association have a long-range plan for the development of this site and surrounding land as a local historic park to commemorate the battle.

Battle of Ramsour's Mill - Lincolnton, NC
Battle of Ramsour's Mill - Lincolnton, NC
Battle of Ramsour's Mill - Lincolnton, NC
Battle of Ramsour's Mill - Lincolnton, NC
Battle of Ramsour's Mill - Lincolnton, NC
Battle of Ramsour's Mill - Lincolnton, NC
Battle of Ramsour's Mill - Lincolnton, NC
Battle of Ramsour's Mill - Lincolnton, NC

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