Word had not yet reached the Forks of the Yadkin that North Carolina and the other twelve American colonies had declared their independence from England two hundred and thirty-nine years ago. After they won, though, July 4th became the day to celebrate that hard-fought battle as well as the liberties and freedoms that independence bestowed upon us.
Since the 1990s, Independence Day is honored by a Lawnmower Parade that begins at Cooleemee School. Anyone can participate by lining up a patriotically decorated lawnmower, float, car, bicycle or pet by 9:30 AM on Saturday, July 4th. Judges will be in the crowd and there will be prizes to win at the parade’s end on the Zachary House grounds. Bring your lawn chair and view the parade along Marginal Street.
As always there will be free watermelon for all under the arbor. Hot dogs and cold drinks will be for sale at the Cook Shack and historic displays about the American Revolution in the Forks of the Yadkin will be on view on the patio. The July 4th activities are sponsored by the Town of Cooleemee.
Patriot militia Captain Richmond Pearson is buried just a little over a mile from Cooleemee. His final resting place, with impressive stone quarried walls, was restored by Del McCullough and Terry Dedmon in 2000. It is maintained by the Cooleemee Historical Association. Pearson’s militia unit trained at Veach’s muster ground near where Liberty United Methodist Church now stands. From behind trees, they harassed Gen. Cornwallis’s army through the local woods on their way to battle American General Nathanial Greene’s forces at Guildford Courthouse.