Attractive Statesville

Local History Notes

Notes about the history of Iredell County by Joel Reese, Local History Librarian.

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Dec 30

Fort Dobbs and Scott Douglass

Posted on December 30, 2019 at 9:10 AM by Jenny Levins

It was 254 years ago on February 27, 1760 that a battle took place just a few miles outside of what is now Statesville at the walls of Fort Dobbs. This land was then part of Rowan County and Fort Dobbs was on the outermost edge of the western frontier. In fact it was the only frontier fort between Virginia and South Carolina. The battle was between Native Americans seeking to protect their homeland and provincial soldiers protecting the Carolina colony under King George II. The battle at Fort Dobbs was part of the global Seven Years War between the British and French empires. Representing King George II in the Carolina colony was Governor Dobbs for whom the fort was named. Our ancestors referred to the conflict as the French and Indian War (1754-1763) as most of the Native American tribes had aligned themselves with the French against the English colonies. While the two empires fought for world dominance, for the soldiers occupying Fort Dobbs the battle was about protecting English settlers, while for the Cherokees it was an attempt to drive back foreign invaders who were taking away their homeland.  

What happened in the battle at Fort Dobbs and what Fort Dobbs means today and in the future of Iredell County will be the subject of a special free program called, “Fort Dobbs: Past and Present” at the Iredell County Public Library on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. Presenting the program will be Scott Douglas, the Site Manager at Fort Dobbs, and a longtime historical interpreter. Mr. Douglas will lecture on the history of the Fort and discuss current activities taking place there as well as plans for the Fort’s future.  Scott studied history at UNC-Greensboro and has worked in the museum field for 17 years. As an historical interpreter he brings history alive with his demonstrations and knowledge of historical weapons, shoemaking, tailoring, farming, food preparation, and 18th century business practices. He has assisted in interpretations of both Revolutionary and Civil War history, having worked at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, Bennett Place State Historic Site, Bentonville Battleground State Historic Site, Pamplin Historic Park, and Old Salem. 

On Monday, September 29, at 7 p.m. the Library and the Friends of the Iredell County Public Library will be hosting celebrated American short story writer, novelist, and journalist Michael Parker at the library in Statesville. Parker is the author of six novels, including Hello Down There, Towns Without RiversIf You Want Me To StayThe Watery Part of the World and All I Have In This World. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various journals including Five Points, the Georgia Review, The Southwest Review, Epoch, the Washington Post, the New York Times Magazine, Oxford American, Shenandoah, The Black Warrior Review, Trail Runner, Runner’s World and Men's Journal. Parker who lives in Greensboro, N.C. and Austin, Texas has received fellowships in fiction from the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Hobson Award for Arts and Letters, and the North Carolina Award for Literature.

Mr. Parker’s work has been anthologized in the Pushcart, New Stories from the South and O. Henry Prize Stories anthologies. He is a Professor in the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and since 2009 has been on the faculty of the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.  Parker was born in Siler City and grew up in Clinton, N.C. and many of the characters in his works are either in or from N.C.  In his novel, The Watery Part of the World published in 2011, Parker begins his story in 1813 in N.C. when Theodosia Burr, daughter of former United States Vice-President Aaron Burr, disappears off the N.C. coast. The novel ends 150 years later on a small island again off the North Carolina coast. In between the novel introduces us to pirates, slaves, treason, treasures, madness, and devotion. Parker says, “The fact that no one knows what happened to Theodosia intrigued me because writers love mysteries, even if they are not technically writing "mystery" novels.  All good novels are about the mysteries of human behavior.  That is the real subject of that novel--the relationships forged on that island, and the varying ways the characters deal with longing and loss.  But Theodosia's story is attractive because it is open-ended, and writers traffic in ambiguity, not closure.” For more information on these programs contact the library at 704-878-3098 or


Joel Reese, Local History Librarian

Iredell County Public Library

This article was published in the Statesville Record and Landmark as “Hear about Fort Dobbs’ past” on Sept. 28, 2014