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The Siege of Fort Randolph

May 16 & 17, 2015

Photos by Jim & Kathy Cummings

Randolph 15 Oopen

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The Siege of Fort Randolph, in Point Pleasant WV tells the story of the fort, the visit and death of Shawnee Chief Cornstalk and the ensuing Indian attack.

It had been 3 years since we last visited Fort Randolph. But the folks at Fort Randolph continue to put on an excellent event. Some of the faces change over the years but many remain the same. They come back year after year to bring history to the forefront. And always from our seats among the visitors we hear children and adults alike in awe of a story they may have never heard. When the colorfully dressed Chief Cornstalk comes to the fort, he is detained there for his own safety. Cornstalk was a native interested in obtaining peace with the white men. When he does not return to his people his son visits the fort too, looking for his father.

But not everyone was interested in peace. A group of longhunters heard that Indians were in the fort and arrived with vengeance in their hearts. Cornstalk and his party are killed. Cornstalk’s death occurred in 1777 just two years after the fort was built. In May of 1778 the Shawnee Indians came seeking retaliation. It is while several women and children are outside the fort walls planting a corn crop that the Natives arrive. The militia men guarding the settlers outside can only rush them back inside the fort walls before taking action.

Women and children working in the fields outside the fort walls.


From it’s beginnings during the Battle of Point Pleasent in 1775 to the killing of Cornstalk in 1777, the staff at Fort Randolph does an excellent job of pacing the drama along the timeline of the fort’s short lived history. It was six months after the murder of Cornstalk, in May of 1778 that the Shawnee Indians gathered together, some 300 strong, outside the fort in retaliation. This is the battle scenario that draws the public to return year after year. But they are also given a good dose of history in the process. The narration explains how Cornstalk’s sister Nonhelema and other natives tried to keep the fragile peace in the area. It shows the occupants of the fort going about their daily lives - mustering the troops, sending a group outside the fort walls to plant , all the while being guarded by settlers with rifles.


The Siege of Fort Randolph

The Many Faces of The Siege
of Fort Randolph


Escape of a Prisoner


The Children at Fort Randolph

If education is the ultimate goal of re-enactors at historic sites - then the ultimate learning tool for a child is participating in the re-enactment. Here’s a look at the children at The Siege of Fort Randolph.

When Natives attacked a frontier fort there were often individuals with them that had been captured in a previous scuffle. It was a chance for the white men to escape back to their own people.


Fort Randolph is located at Krodel Park and campground , a city park of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The fort and it’s historical interpretations (including the Siege) is run completely by volunteers. The reconstructed fort is over 30 years old and has continually been updated. From the first time we visited Fort Randolph in 2005 it has continued to change. Early on it was simply a fort with four walls. Now there are buildings inside the fort, with interpretive areas throughout. A blacksmith shop, the blockhouses and tavern areas including a beehive oven, a powder magazine and more.

Honoring a Volunteer

The 2015 event included a special presentation to local photographer Ed Lowe. Lowe has attended every event (except one) and credits the volunteers with building in him a new love of history. When he attended the first re-enactment he knew little about it it was just another photo assignment in a long career. But coming back year after year he learned the history and has captured it in photos that have also been used in the promotional pieces for the event.


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Past Years

See the special feature on the fort from 2010.

Link to the Fort Randolph web site.

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