2016-08-03 / Letters

LETTER

Would you rather see a historic fort or another house?

Editor’s Note: With Dr. Gray’s permission, CHAPS was provided a copy of this letter prior to publication. They submitted an article on their Fort Thicketty project and a picture of the structure. It can be found on Page 2 in today’s edition.

Dear Editor:

The 200-member Cherokee County Historical and Preservation Society (CHAPS) modestly states that Fort Thicketty is currently undergoing rehabilitation.

I say modestly because Fort Thicketty is an American Revolutionary treasure. It is one of the very few wooden forts to survive the Revolutionary War. Although over time, it had other uses, its ‘true’ historical value in addition to being a fort was the action that took place there.

Some 93 Tories were being recruited and trained to serve in Cornwallis’ army at Fort Thicketty. They were all captured by colonial militia forces along with some 200-250 badly needed muskets. This event severely blunted, if not ended, all hope of any Upstate loyalists joining Cornwallis’ army. Few forts in American history have played such a pivotal role for freedom.

It is simply a miracle that Fort Thicketty has survived all these years and it is a credit to CHAPS for purchasing it to be rehabilitated. However, CHAPS rehabilitation is a tragic mistake of the first order. This is easy to prove. Simply take your child there and ask: “Is this a fort or a house?” A Child will prove to be a better student of history and preservation than CHAPS in this case!

I could go on, but in short, I have failed in my efforts to keep Fort Thicketty a fort. Look at any picture of Fort Twicketty prior to rehabilitation and you will see no windows. To make matters worse, no house prior to the Revolution in all of the Upstate remotely looked like the structure that now exists. It is heartbreaking to think about CHAPS cutting into 250-year-old massive timbers that had survived so long to make windows for a house of little or no historic value.

Perhaps, CHAPS members and/or others in our community can succeed in correcting this terrible mistake. Cherokee County should be proud of Fort Thicketty and its significance. Besides what do you think people want to see: another house or a fort that made a real difference in making us a free nation.

The Rev. Dr. George Naff Gray, Jr.
Gaffney, SC

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