Group works to preserve land around Alamance Battleground State Historic Site

ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. -- Some things, once lost, can never be brought back.

A seemingly ordinary plot of land in Alamance County is a good example.

It’s not that land itself that is so important. It’s what happened in the space next to it. That site, along N.C. 62, is where Gov. William Tryon and a thousand of his Royal Militia met 2,000 “Regulators” – mostly farmers – and, when the day was over, 200 of them were dead or wounded.

So, how did things get out of hand on that May morning in 1771?

“I believe that Tryon's men shot first,” said Jeremiah DeGennaro, the manager of the Alamance Battleground State Historic Site. “But I have to take the story with a grain of salt that Gov. Tryon shot -- though, at the time, of people writing open letters to Gov. Tryon talking about this rumor that he killed a person in cold blood.”

The battlefield has been a state historic site for 52 years. But now, land surrounding it is up for sale. The Friends of Alamance Battleground and North Carolina Literary and Historical Association are trying to buy the land that’s for sale before it’s too late. They have a deadline of September 2018.

“It's best to learn about these stories within a proper, historical context,” DeGennaro said. “When you can go visit the site and get a sense of that place. And that sense-of-place is damaged when you have development immediately next door that takes you out of the 18th century landscape and pulls you back into the 21st century.”

“We're looking to raise a half a million dollars in order to buy all the land that is historically valuable as well as take down some derelict buildings and then do some landscape restoration,” said Kimberly Kandros, who is with the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “We are trying to make this look as historically accurate as possible so that when visiting school groups come or members of the public come, it looks as true to the site as it did back in 1771.”

See the complete story, in this edition of the Buckley Report.