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Cover to Moores Creek National Battlefield - An Administrative History
Cover Page


Table of Contents



Chapter One,
The Battle of Moores Creek Bridge

Chapter Two,
Preservation and Development of the Moores Creek Battleground Prior to NPS Control

Chapter Three,
Planning and Development at Moores Creek

Chapter Four,
Interpretation and Visitor Services

Chapter Five,
Resources Management and Protection at Moores Creek


Appendix One,
A Chronology for Moores Creek NMP/NB

Appendix Two,
Moores Creek MNP/NB Superintendents

Appendix Three,
Moores Creek NMP/NB Annual

Appendix Four,
Acts and Resolutions of the North Carolina General Assembly

Appendix Five,
Federal Legislation

Chapter 1 Notes

Chapter 2 Notes

Chapter 3 Notes

Chapter 4 Notes

Chapter 5 Notes

List of Figures


Moores Creek National Battlefield:
An Administrative History
Appendix 1
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1776 On February 27, a force of eleven hundred Patriots defeated a force of sixteen hundred Highlander Loyalists in the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge.

1791 The land encompassing the Moores Creek battleground was granted by patent to John Jones, the first private owner of the site.

1856 The Fayetteville Observer printed an article deploring the Moores Creek battleground's neglect. Inspired by the article, a group of local citizens resolved to hold an anniversary observance at the battleground on February 27.

1857 On January 10, committees were appointed for New Hanover, Duplin, Lenoir, Wayne, Cumberland, Bladen, Columbus, and Brunswick Counties to solicit funds for a monument to the Patriots who fought in the battle. By the time of the second anniversary celebration on February 27, enough money had been raised to lay the Patriot Monument's cornerstone.

1897 The North Carolina General Assembly authorized the purchase of no more than twenty acres to be set aside as a public park in commemoration of the battle.

1899 The General Assembly incorporated the MCMA on March 7 to administer the park at the battleground.

At its first meeting on July 4, the MCMA made plans for a picnic and celebration on August 17 and elected James F. Moore as its first president. A board of directors was empowered to clear the grounds and build a pavilion.

1904 Use of the historic Negro Head Point Road and Moores Creek Bridge was discontinued when the road was straightened and a new bridge was built upstream.

1905 The General Assembly approved an appropriation to keep the grounds cleared and erect a lodge to protect visitors from the weather.

1907 The General Assembly granted the MCMA the power to preserve order and protect persons and property. The General Assembly also appropriated funds to preserve, improve, protect, and enlarge the battleground.

The Heroic Women of the Lower Cape Fear Monument, or Slocumb Monument, was erected.

1909 The Loyalist Monument was erected.

1911 The Stage Road Monument was erected.

1913 A monument was erected to the memory of the association's first president, James F. Moore, who had died in 1912.

1925 The General Assembly authorized the donation of the battleground to the federal government for use as a national military park.

1926 On June 2, President Calvin Coolidge signed into law a bill establishing Moores Creek NMP. The deed to the property was conveyed to the United States on July 8; the War Department officially accepted responsibility for operating the park on August 23. George J. Moore, the second president of the MCMA, was appointed the first federal superintendent.

1928 Charles P. Moore was hired as caretaker for an annual salary and lodging.

1929 At the urging of the DAR, the bodies of Mary and Ezekiel Slocumb were moved from Mount Olive, North Carolina, to a new grave site at the base of the Heroic Women Monument. The reburial took place on September 20.

1931 The Battle of Moores Creek Bridge Monument was erected with a text prepared by the Historical Section of the Army War College. In addition, a reconstructed bridge was built at the historic creek crossing.

1932 The War Department installed new entrance gates.

1933 Moores Creek NMP was transferred from the War Department to the NPS within the Department of the Interior.

1935 Superintendent Moore retired. Charles P. Moore continued as caretaker and the park's only staff member.

1936 On December 1 Clyde B. King was appointed park superintendent.

1937 The park undertook its first extensive education program. King personally took charge of the program and gave 167 lectures to 15,825 grade school and high school students and teachers.

A wildlife study was conducted.

1938 King completed the park's first master plan. He conducted a survey to identify those lands adjacent to the park that were desirable for inclusion; thirty-five acres were specified as being the minimum necessary for full development of the park.

The park staff began compiling a bird checklist; fifty varieties of birds were identified.

1939 On December 13, King began repair of disturbed sections of the earthworks. He removed soil which had accumulated in the ditch and placed it in depressions in the earthworks caused by a park road.

The park submitted a museum plan to the regional office in May. It featured exhibits about the Moores Creek campaign, the Revolutionary War in the South, the natural features of the park, and other national park areas.

King enclosed the old dance pavilion and used the structure as a temporary museum. In May, the first exhibit, a map of the battle campaign, was placed on display.

1940 In June, the park prepared and printed its first information folder.

On October 28, the park began receiving electric power from the Tide Water Power Company of Wilmington.

The park staff prepared a checklist for flowering plants in the park.

1941 The superintendent reported that 275 species of flora other than trees and over fifty varieties of trees had been identified.

1942 King transferred to the Natchez Trace Parkway. He was replaced by Oswald E. Camp, who came from Kings Mountain NMP.

1943 On June 19, the park was made available to soldiers from nearby Camp Davis for a day-long outing; 650 people attended. In August, the 225 th Searchlight Battalion visited the park, 550 people attended.

The MCBA sponsored the first Easter service at the park in April.

On September 27, Congress passed legislation that authorized the acceptance of donated property to enlarge the park.

1945 The NPS removed the reconstructed bridge built by the War Department in 1931 because it was in danger of collapse.

The State of North Carolina agreed to buy land to enlarge the park.

In September, flooding forced Camp to move out of the superintendent's residence.

1946 The state began paving Highway 602.

1947 The General Assembly appropriated the funds necessary for land acquisition.

1948 The state purchased over twelve acres of land for donation to the park.

1949 Harry D. Goodson succeeded Camp as superintendent.

1950 On November 1, the paving of Highway 602 was completed, and it was dedicated as the Moores Creek Battleground Highway on November 9.

1951 The transfer of the twelve acres from the State of North Carolina to the NPS took place during the 175th anniversary observance of the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge.

1952 Highway 602 was renamed Highway 210 in January.

1954 News that Moores Creek NMP was under consideration for possible removal from the national park system brought strong protests. Because of this opposition, the proposal was not pursued further by the NPS.

In April, the self-guiding tour trail was laid out.

1956 George C. Blake was appointed superintendent following Goodson's death.

Telephone service was extended to the park.

1957 One thousand southern pine seedlings were planted to mark the park boundary in the vicinity of the old picnic grounds.

1958 The Mission 66 program at Moores Creek NMP was inaugurated on March 9 when groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the building program at the park.

In August, archeologist, John W. Griffin used a metal detector within the earthworks and on the causeway in an attempt to locate artifacts for use in museum exhibits. Six bags of objects were recovered from the earthworks, including two iron fragments, a small brass or bronze buckle, and a lead fragment. Griffin recommended that the earthworks be excavated and that the creek be dredged.

1959 By January, the visitor center, an equipment storage building, and two employee residences had been completed as part of the Mission 66 building program at the park.

James M. Ford became superintendent in February after Blake transferred to Hot Springs National Park.

On July 1, Moores Creek NMP became an independent unit; the park superintendent no longer reported to the coordinating superintendent at Colonial National Historical Park.

1961 The first permanent exhibits were installed in the new visitor center. The displays featured artifacts representing the ethnic groups in North Carolina in 1776 and hand weapons of the period. The museum displays were supplemented by new wayside exhibits on the battleground and an audio station at the historic bridge site.

1962 The diorama was installed in the visitor center on August 7.

1964 Russell A. Gibbs succeeded Ford as superintendent.

1966 Patriots Hall was completed on March 30; it was dedicated on October 23.

1967 Visitor center hours and the number of interpretive programs offered were limited due to a lack of staff. The picnic area was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

1969 The Moores Creek NMP Master Plan was approved in January.

John R. DeWeese succeeded Gibbs as superintendent.

1972 The DCP for the park was completed. It proposed the relocation of Highway 210 from the center of the park, a new entrance road, and a substantial reorientation of the park's layout.

The park began its first living history program. An interpreter, with replica uniform and equipment, was stationed in a simulated camp that was set up on summer weekends. The park also initiated an environmental education program and worked with the Pender County school system and other interested organizations.

A law enforcement incident reporting system was put into place for the first time. Raymond Ives succeeded DeWeese as superintendent.

1973 The living history program was expanded with the addition of the Loyalist Highlanders. Interpreters, dressed in period costume, walked the grounds playing bagpipes and demonstrating Scottish arms.

1974 The Loyalist and Patriot Monuments were relocated as part of the implementation of the DCP, which called for a new interpretive trail.

On October 26, President Richard Nixon signed Public Law 93-4771, which authorized boundary changes. This made possible the acquisition of twelve acres west of the creek and twenty-one acres east of the visitor center for the relocation of Highway 210.

The visitor center was renovated with a thirteen-panel display and an audiovisual slide program added.

The first "military arts camp of instruction" was held to train the park's living history interpreters.

The NPS contracted with Timothy Thompson, of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, to conduct extensive excavations of the earthworks.

1975 The Colonial Nature Trail was constructed. It was 0.28 miles long, hardsurfaced with soil cement, and looped through the wooded area in the southeast corner of the park.

1976 The law enforcement position was staffed through the entire year for the first time. On September 24, the ranger assisted members of the U. S. Customs Service, local narcotics officers, and two county sheriff departments with a marijuana arrest in the park.

1978 The U. S. Department of Agriculture's district conservationist investigated the causes of erosion of the causeway leading to the historic bridge site and made recommendations for correction. Most of the alternatives were expensive and carried some risk that additional damage would be done during implementation. The park ultimately decided to use rip-rap and additional ground cover to try to slow the erosion.

John W. Stockert succeeded Ives as superintendent.

1980 T. D. Eure Construction Company completed a contract for causeway stabilization on November 21.

The official name of the park was changed from Moores Creek National Military Park to Moores Creek National Battlefield on September 8.

1981 Park Historian Terry Maze prepared a conceptual plan for the Tarheel Trail based on King's idea that the trail should be used to tell the story of the naval stores industry in the region.

An alarm system was installed in the visitor center.

A total of 307 feet of the History Trail was raised by an average of one foot and soil cementing was done by Carolina Contractors of Wilmington. The section raised began at the base of the Heroic Women Monument and continued across the Savannah ditch to the Moore Monument.

1982 In condemnation proceedings between March 15 and 18, a court set the amount of money due to the owner of the land west of the creek.

Interpretive exhibits were installed along the Tarheel Trail.

Dr. David Sieren of the Botany Department of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington completed the first comprehensive floristic study of the vascular plants at Moores Creek NB. Dr. Sieren identified 108 families, 297 genera, and 539 species.

1983 SEAC conducted an underwater archeological survey and testing of the creekbed in order to locate and identify remains of the historic bridge. Remains of the 1931 reconstructed bridge were found, but no traces of the historic bridge were located.

1984 On July 27, concurrent jurisdiction with state and local law enforcement agencies became effective. On August 24, Patriots Hall was burglarized. This was only one of an increasing number of law enforcement incidents.

1985 The park staff planned and developed a program to restore the historic landscape by planting long leaf pines; one thousand seedlings were planted in accordance with a historic grounds study. Fred Boyles succeeded Stockert as superintendent; Stockert transferred to Fort Donelson NB.

1986 The North Carolina Department of Transportation awarded a contract for the relocation of Highway 210 to a newly acquired tract of land east of the visitor center.

The park received funding from the Eastern National Park and Monument Association to conduct a study of the historic bridge in conjunction with the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Officer. This study resulted in information that was later translated into plans for a reconstructed bridge based on a "minimum of conjecture."

The park's interpretive staff produced a historical handbook as a sales item.

1987 Archeological consultant Tom Hargrove was hired to search, once again, for evidence of the historic bridge; he found no evidence.

1988 The park began a prescribed burn program in an effort to maintain the Savannah. As part of the program, the Savannah was burned annually in an attempt to reduce blackberry and tree growth.

1989 A 315-foot boardwalk and eighty-foot bridge were constructed to provide access to the west side of the creek.

A volunteer intern from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington completed a research report on the monuments at Moores Creek NB. This study documented the history of each monument and any alterations.

1990 Dusty Shultz succeeded Boyles as superintendent; Boyles transferred to Andersonville and Jimmy Carter National Historic Sites.

1992 A preservation crew from Cape Hatteras National Seashore began work on the reconstructed bridge on October 26 and completed it on November 2.

A television and VCR were purchased so that video programs could be shown in the visitor center.

1993 The park began showing the new video, The Battle of Moores Creek.

In October, Bob Davidson succeeded Shultz as superintendent; Shultz transferred to Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial.

1994 The park's resource management plan was approved.

In June and July, SEAC archeologists conducted an archeological survey of all park property and made several important findings.

In August, a new water treatment building was constructed. Davidson retired as superintendent on December 10. Moores Creek was subsequently placed under the administration of Fort Sumter National Monument Superintendent John Tucker.

1995 The ornamental iron fencing around the Patriot Monument was reconstructed.

The picnic shelter was removed and replaced by a new one.

1997 The NPS Water Resources Division completed a water quality analysis for the park and released the findings in July In addition, the North Carolina Division of Natural Resources determined that no threatened or endangered mussels were in Moores Creek.

The park finalized its strategic plan for the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.

1998 Construction of a new restroom just east of the visitor center was completed. Work was carried out by staff members from the park, Fort Sumter National Monument, and the Southeast Region.

A long-range interpretive plan was finalized.

Programs for large groups, especially school and military groups, were moved to Patriots Hall.

Ann Childress became superintendent in January, reporting to Fort Sumter Superintendent John Tucker.

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Last Modified: April 3, 2001 10:00:00 pm PST