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Cathey's Fort

by Steve Suther, 2006

Concrete monument near Cathey's Fort, McDowell County. Image from the North Carolina Digital Collections.Cathey's Fort was built in McDowell County by William Cathey in 1776. Cathey had purchased land near Turkey Cove at the foot of the mountains and there, where Cove Creek joined the North Fork of the Catawba River, he made his home. The fort was raised to protect Cathey's family and his neighbors from the Cherokee Indians. Until Davidson's Fort was built soon afterward in what is now Old Fort, Cathey's Fort was the farthest western military outpost in North Carolina during the Revolutionary War. Both forts played a part in the western campaigns of the war, including events leading up to the Battle of King's Mountain on 7 Oct. 1780.


Pat Alderman, The Overmountain Men (1986).

Lyman C. Draper, King's Mountain and Its Heroes: History of the Battle of King's Mountain, October 7th 1780 and the Events Which Led to It (repr., 1967).

Additional Resources:

"Cathey's Fort." North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program.  (accessed August 31, 2012).

North Carolina Office of Archives and History. "Cathey's Fort: Consideration of potential development as a state historic site." 2004.,647277 (accessed October 19, 2012).

"McDowell County: The Cathey-Wofford-Greenlee House." Instructional Technology Section, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.  (accessed August 31, 2012).

Brook, David L. S. "Division Of Historical Resources: Research Branch." Biennial report of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History. 2002-2004. p.7-12.,25794 (accessed August 31, 2012).

Image Credits:

North Carolina Office of Archives and History. "Cathey's Fort: Consideration of potential development as a state historic site." 2004. p.5.,647277 (accessed October 19, 2012).

Origin - location: 



I'm looking for information for Thomas Downs who fought with General McDowell during the revolution. Is there a list of the men who fought under General McDowell? In the early 1900's a letter was sent to the veterans department requesting the record for Thomas Downs in Rowan/Burke County and received information on a different Thomas Downs who lived in Mecklenburg County. We have not been able to find a record for our Thomas Downs, who lived in Rowan County until it was split and then in Burke County.



I looked in a few books in our library for soldiers in the Revolutionary War. There was only 1 Thomas Downs and he was in Mecklenburg County. What is your source that he was under General McDowell? 

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library


correction on date jesse was wounded that was 1782 jesse,s brother my great gradfather james was at kings mountain with standing army of col roebuck 1780 thanks again


Dear Mr. Hulsey,

I believe the following links can help you locate Cathey's Fort. This first link simply shows the location of McDowell County (to provide you with a larger context):

Here is additional information, provided by the North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program:

Finally, here is a link to the location described on the page describing the marker ("US 221/NC 226 north of Woodlawn"):

Note: Cathey's Fort was located in what we today call McDowell County: this county did not exist as a formal entity in the 1780s.

I hope this was helpful.

Mike Millner, Government & Heritage Library


i have been trying to find turkey cove all i knew it was on the north carolina frontier, my great uncle jesse hulsey was shot in the left arm by the indians when they attacked the turkey cove in 1780 , he was one of sixty to receive a pension from north carolina any further info would be appreciated

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