North Carolina-McDowell County-July 9


North Carolina People, Places, and Things-July 9

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

In 1842 parts of Burke and Rutherford County were merged to form McDowell County. A map below outlined in red shows McDowell County.


McDowell remains a predominately rural county with forest land covering most of the region. Named in honor of Colonel Joseph McDowell who served in the Revolutionary War and led a company during the Battle of King’s Mountain, the county seat is Marion. It gets its name from another revolutionary war hero Francis Marion (The Swamp Fox).

Joseph McDowell who the county is named after actually was born in North Carolina which runs contrary to a number of other counties I have profiled.

In 1894 there was a great fire in Marion. That fire destroyed much of downtown Marion, including the county courthouse in the town. At the time there was no fire department in the town so many citizens had to gather together in bucket lines, saving several historic homes in McDowell County. Many of the houses still stand in Marion and some of the structures are listed as historical significant structures in the McDowell County cultural institution, Main Street Historic District.

An important historical figure from the 19th Century hailed from Marion NC

Daniel Kanipe (1853-1926) was born in Marion, and he experienced the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.

Kanipe served in the 7th U.S. cavalry, and he was part of the war between U.S. soldiers and hostile Sioux Indians in the present-day Montana. Ordered by Captain Thomas Custer (George’s brother) to carry a message to a reserve battalion, Kanipe escaped the bloodshed, and he witnessed the decimation of Lieutenant Colonel George Custer’s regiment.

During his years after Bighorn, historians and other Old West aficionados sought Daniel Kanipe’s account of the famed “Custer’s Last Stand.”


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