Posted on March 2, 2004
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander today presented President George W. Bush with a hand-carved wooden bust of Jonathan (James) Weir, the president's seventh-generation grandfather, who was a soldier in the decisive Revolutionary War Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780. "The Battle of Kings Mountain was the turning point in the Revolutionary War in the South," Alexander said. The gathering of 1,000 volunteers at Sycamore Shoals in Carter County, who then crossed the mountain and surprised and defeated the British at Kings Mountain, is one of the great stories of American history." Alexander's seventh-generation grandfather, John Alexander, also fought in the historic battle. The senator accepted the bust for the president in September during a production of "The Wataugans" by the Overmountain Victory Trail Association. According to his pension application, James Weir served under Capts. Robert Edmondson and William Lowry in Col. William Campbell's Washington County Virginia Militia in September and October of 1780. Wear's Valley, Tenn., which borders the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, carries the namesake of President Bush's ancestry. Over 1,000 volunteers, including James Weir, gathered on September 25, 1780 for the "Muster of the Overmountain Men," which marked the beginning of the two week campaign that led to the victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780. The battle has become recognized as the "turning point" of the Revolutionary War. The bust was carved by Larry Nowell of Knoxville in September 2003. The base of the carving is slab cut from a branch of the Pemberton Oak, a 500-year old white oak tree which stood near the Virginia-Tennessee border and was the muster site of Capt. John Pemberton's Sullivan County militia company. The Pemberton Oak fell on August 2, 2002 and was the last living artifact of the Campaign of the Overmountain Men.