Administrative History
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Appendix One:
1781 On the morning of January 17, a Patriot force under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan defeated a British army under Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton at the Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina. This Patriot victory was a major link in the chain of events that led to the British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, the following October.
1803 Daniel McClaren became the first private owner of the Cowpens battleground when he acquired the property from the State of South Carolina.
1856 In April the Washington Light Infantry of Charleston, South Carolina, visited Spartanburg District and erected a monument at the Cowpens battleground. Three months later, a group of Spartanburg ladies raised funds and purchased the one-acre tract with the monument on behalf of the Washington Light Infantry.
1861 On the battle's anniversary, a crowd of two thousand gathered to hear speeches by local leaders to show support for South Carolina's secession from the Union the previous month.
1881 On May 11 the Daniel Morgan Monument was unveiled in Spartanburg during a centennial celebration sponsored by the Washington Light Infantry and the citizens of Spartanburg County. The statue of Morgan was partially funded through an 1880 federal appropriation, one of eight monument appropriations during the centennial of the American Revolution.
1928 In April the Washington Light Infantry deeded its one-acre monument tract to the Cowpens Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), which had agreed to act as custodian of the property.
1929 President Herbert C. Hoover signed House Resolution 12106 into law on March 4, creating a national battlefield site at Cowpens under the administration of the War Department.
1930 The Daniel Morgan Chapter, NSDAR, raised funds and purchased a one-acre tract of land on July 10. The chapter donated the property to the federal government for the national battlefield site on November 18.
1932 Designed and erected by the War Department, the U.S. Monument at Cowpens was dedicated during a NSDAR-sponsored ceremony on June 14.
1933 In June President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6166, which transferred all national military parks and national battlefield sites from the War Department to the National Park Service.
1936 General V. Price, a local farmer, was appointed the first custodian of Cowpens in August.

The first master plan for Cowpens was prepared by the National Park Service.

Oswald E. Camp became the first superintendent of Kings Mountain National Military Park and Cowpens in December. Cowpens was administered by the Kings Mountain superintendent until 1981.

1938 The Cowpens Chapter, NSDAR, completed repairs on the Washington Light Infantry Monument and placed a new marker with a bronze plaque nearby.
1940 Harry R. Wilkins called a meeting of Cherokee and Spartanburg County leaders with the purpose of forming a committee to lobby the federal government for an expanded Cowpens site.
1947 A committee of prominent Gaffney residents created a prospectus for a proposed national military park at Cowpens. Harry R. Wilkins wrote a song about the battle in order to publicize the battleground.
1951 During March, the Fiske-Carter Construction Company cleaned and repointed the U.S. Monument.
1952 Between May and September, the Sossamon Construction Company graded the Cowpens site to reduce steep banks on the property.
1954 The Cowpens Chapter, NSDAR, cleaned and repaired the Washington Light Infantry Monument.
1955 The first free interpretive folder for Cowpens was produced.
1958 On July 18 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law a bill increasing the site's authorized size from one to two acres. The Daniel Morgan Chapter, NSDAR, purchased a one-fourth-acre tract in 1956 and donated it to the site in 1961.
1959 Mission 66 improvements at Cowpens were completed, including a parking lot, a paved walk, a flagpole, interpretative display cases, an audio interpretive device, signage, removal of the iron fence around the U.S. Monument, and landscaping.
1966 An August article in The Gaffney Ledger increased support for an expanded Cowpens and led to action by South Carolina's congressional delegation.
1967 General V. Price's son Henry Lee Price took over the custodian position at Cowpens in October.
1968 An initial assessment of Cowpens by the National Park Service presented two options for expansion. The park's acreage could be increased to 785 or 510 acres. Both options would preserve the battlefield core, but only the larger acreage would allow for the development of recreational facilities.
1970 Field studies and a preliminary development plan for the proposed enlargement of Cowpens were completed and approved by the National Park Service.
1971 Congressman Tom S. Gettys introduced House Resolution 2160 to create a full-scale national battlefield at Cowpens. Senator Ernest F. Hollings introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
1972 Authorization of an enlarged Cowpens was included in an omnibus bill that passed the Congress and was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on April 11. Cowpens became a national battlefield instead of a national battlefield site. Over five million dollars was authorized to acquire approximately 845 acres and develop the park.
1974 A historic grounds and resource study for Cowpens and an historic structure report for the Robert Scruggs House were completed by National Park Service Historian Edwin C. Bearss.
1975 The Denver Service Center of the National Park Service completed a master plan and development concept plan for Cowpens.

The first full-time National Park Service personnel at Cowpens came on duty in January. Development of the park began.

Cowpens initiated its first Youth Conservation Corps program.

The U.S. Monument was relocated to the new visitor center as part of the development of the national battlefield.

1979 Stabilization work was undertaken on the Richard Scruggs House Ruin.

The restoration of the Robert Scruggs House was completed by Moretti Construction, Inc., of Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Washington Light Infantry Monument was restored.


The park's new facilities were dedicated during the annual battle anniversary observance in January. This year's observance was the most elaborate yet and marked the beginning of weekend-long celebrations of the anniversary.

Cowpens became a free-standing unit of the national park system in March. The Kings Mountain superintendent no longer administered the site. Pat Stanek was the first superintendent of an independent Cowpens.

1983 The park began showing Daybreak at the Cowpens. This audiovisual presentation was a cooperative venture between the park and Arthur Magill.

The park implemented its first equal opportunity program with outreach efforts aimed at African-Americans.

n May the "Rebels and Redcoats of Cowpens" interpretive program was held for the first time.


The National Park Service clustered Cowpens and Ninety Six National Historic Site under the administration of one superintendent.

The park completed its first resource management plan.

1986 The park held its first road race, an event that developed into the "Race for the Grasshopper."

A historic structure assessment report was produced for the Robert Scruggs House by the Center for Architectural Conservation at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The park signed a cooperative agreement with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department, the Macedonia Volunteer Fire Department, and the Cherokee County EMS.

1992 Masonry Stabilization Services Corporation prepared a conditions assessment for the park's two monuments.

The Robert Scruggs House was stabilized with the installation of a new roof, the re-chinking of the walls, and the replacement of certain log features with nonhistoric fabric.

The first annual Fourth of July celebration was held at the park.

The park offered living history demonstrations at the Scruggs House.

A teacher guide for Cowpens was completed by Dr. Anita P. Davis of Converse College.

1994 The park initiated a junior ranger program.

The administrative office was relocated from the visitor center to one of the park's three houses. The park had rented out these three houses until the federal rates proved too high for the local market.

After the Daniel Morgan Water District announced its plans to place a mobile home office on its tract within the park, Superintendent Farrell Saunders worked out a compromise that provided office space for the district in the park's administrative office.

1996 An audio tape tour of the battlefield was produced as a sales item for visitors touring the site via the automobile tour road.

A project to rehabilitate the park's trails was completed.

The park began using information on African-American participation during the battle in its interpretive exhibits and programs.


The park installed exhibit cases to house its USS Cowpens exhibits.

Restrooms at the visitor center and the picnic area were rehabilitated by Sossamon Construction Company.

1999 The visitor center rehabilitation project was finished.

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Last Updated: 10-Dec-2002