2017-11-16 / News

Over 100 eighth graders visit and learn history, natural history of Kettle Creek


A group of about 30 of more than 100 Wilkes County eighth-grade students stand near the site of the 1780-90s Liberty Church on the Kettle Creek Battlefield. A 1700s farmstead was established on the ridge to the west in the background. A group of about 30 of more than 100 Wilkes County eighth-grade students stand near the site of the 1780-90s Liberty Church on the Kettle Creek Battlefield. A 1700s farmstead was established on the ridge to the west in the background. Well over 100 eighth-grade students, organized by Georgia Studies Teacher Katy Meech, recently visited the Kettle Creek Battlefield area. Buses dropped them off for a description of both the history of the battle by Allen Burton and the natural history of the site by Joe Harris. Burton is on the faculty of Augusta University and Harris is a professional botanist, retired.

With the group divided, half met with Burton on War Hill and half took a hike west on Settlement Road to the 1780-90s site of Liberty Church, about one-quarter mile. The log structure was located on the middle of three ridges along which Loyalist troops moved, followed by Patriots, in February, 1779. Harris described the topography of the area and the succession of plant and animal life before and after the advent of human influences.

From the Liberty Church area, the 30 students moved south along a well-marked trail through the woods to the War Hill Loop Trail and War Hill. There Burton described the battle which started about 9 a.m., February 14, on the north side of Kettle Creek and ended on the south side more than an hour later with defeat of the Loyalists. The National Park Service has described the battle as the only significant patriot victory in Georgia.

Burton released his group of 30 boys after about 20 minutes to follow the Liberty Church Trail to meet with Harris. After the natural history session, they hiked along Settlement Road to War Hill Road, a total hike from War Hill of about a mile.

“This woodland hike is an exciting change for students,” Meech said.

“They obviously liked it,” said Harris, “about five boys arrived on Liberty Church Ridge well ahead of others. They said they just followed the green flags.”

Meech had divided the group of 60 into one of boys and one of girls. Each had several chaperones. “They were attentive and well behaved,” Harris said. Meech also had an afternoon group of less than 50 to go through the same routine.

“Such interest in education on this piece of history creates a generation of future visitors to the battlefield which has not existed before,” Harris said in appreciation of Meech’s interest and that of others. “Recently, two busloads of students came from Putnam County with their orientation coming only from brochures and interpretive signs provided through the office of Sam Moore,” Harris said.

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