Why the Cowpens Book was Written
Article published January 12, 2007 in the Spartanburg Herald Journal
Written by JANET S. SPENCER, Cherokee County Bureau
GAFFNEY -- Gerald Teaster of Summerville knows how it might have been to walk with Gen. Daniel Morgan to the Battle of Cowpens. But his understanding did not develop overnight. In his newly published book, Teaster takes a group of characters on a four-day trip to the battle site. Morgan went from Grindal Shoals in rural Cherokee County at the Pacolet River to the site near Chesnee of that major battle of the Revolutionary War.
Teaster says it's only natural that his fascination has developed, and his characters should follow part of the path. Morgan's trail passed right through Teaster's bedroom in the house his family built years after Cherokee County was formed. The general and his army walked along what was known as Green River Road that crisscrosses parts of today's Asbury Road and extends northward through the county.
Teaster will return to the area on Saturday morning with a different perspective of what took place more than 200 years ago. He plans to participate in a two-day re-encatment of Morgan’s March by fellow history lovers from Grindal Shoals to the Cowpens National Battlefield. Elaine Harris, mayor of Pacolet, a co-sponsor of the march, said those joining the march should meet at the Wagstop Plantation on Asbury Road at 7:30 a.m. "We have to allow time to register and leave by 8 a.m. to remain on schedule," she said.
As a child, Teaster questioned his family, teachers and anyone who would listen about what life would have been like during the war. "I read everything I could get my hands on. In school, we heard about those places, about the Battle of Cowpens, but there were no details," he said. As an adult, he read The Old Iron District by retired Limestone College professor Bobby Moss that answered many questions about the area.
Using facts and a little creativity, Teaster developed an idea for a book for young readers, putting his thoughts and knowledge together. Spirit Up the People -- Four Days to the Cowpens was recently released. On Sunday at the Cowpens Battlefield, he will join the book illustrator, Doug Sanders of Spartanburg, to sign copies in a 4 p.m. ceremony.
His characters may only give glimpses of what could have taken place. But anyone who is interested enough to double-check the geography and history will readily recognize places along the way that still bear the names that have remained for centuries. In addition to Grindal Shoals, although little remains to mark the place where much of the river's bustling activity was centered, he mentions Thicketty Station. A little girl lives at what is now Glendale where a relative is a worker at Wofford's Ironworks and helps shoe the cavalry horses of Colonel William Washington's troops. Another character is a young Tory boy whose family lived at Ninety-Six and supported Tarleton's troops.
The story uses real locations from the area. There is a chapter where a grandfather and his grandson stop to eat lunch under a huge holly tree on the way to Grindal Shoals, Teaster said. In real life, the tree was near where his grandfather, Ransom Teaster, lived on the Green River Road, for many years, beginning about 1940. "You can see Kings Mountain from that spot on what is now Asbury Road. That holly tree is still there, too," he said.
Teaster is also interested in the Civil War and has written books about the H.L. Hunley submarine and the Confederate torpedo boat CSS David. More information on his books and work as a licensed professional engineer is available at http://www.juniorhistory.com.
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