A Legends & Lore Marker will soon commemorate the historic Moccasin War that was fought in 1885 on Main Street in Highlands. The Highlands Historical Society is inviting the public to a short dedication on Monday, June 10, at 8:30 a.m. The marker will stand at the corner of 4th and Main streets between the Highlands Inn and Old Edwards Inn, where the war was actually fought.
Briefly stated, the Moccasin War legend tells of a revenuer who arrested two moonshiners from the Moccasin Township just across the border in Georgia. He confined them in the Highlands Inn to await trial. An army of 18 Moccasin volunteers declared war on Highlands. During the battle a Moccasin youth was killed. The Georgians returned home but shut off the only road to Highlands, which passed through their Township, and threatened to kill anyone who tested the blockade.
When a Confederate veteran volunteered to make the run, he faced four Georgian brothers marching toward him with Winchester rifles. The veteran offered three prayers for his own protection. To this day it remains a mystery why the two adversaries passed each other without firing a shot, which promptly ended the war. The veteran never knew what saved him: the prayers or the threat.
Historically this notorious war made the front page of the New York Times on March 16, 1885, and was reported in newspapers across North Carolina and as far away as Pennsylvania, Kansas, Alabama, and California.
The assembly and fabrication of the Marker were funded by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation® of New York, which provides generous grants to help people celebrate their community’s history through historic signage. This Legends and Lore Marker for Highlands is one of the first to be confirmed and authorized in the State by the North Carolina Folklore Institute.