Pioneer Times Banner

Graphic Enterprises - Home of the Pioneer Times USA - A Web Site for Living History


 The Pioneer Times   Fall 2003

Resupplying the Corps
of Discovery

More Supply Photos

The story on resupplying the Corps of Discovery that we did last month (see below) resulted in more hits to this web site in a given week than any other event.

Jim Jacobs, of Blue Heron Mercantile and his band of Re-enactor Friends did a great job on the resupply mission. Because of the popularity we are going to post more photos from that event.

Hope you enjoy the new photos and thanks for all the interest shown in The Corps of Discovery and this resupply mission.

See links after next article


The Corps of Discovery

by Jim Cummings

Re-Enactors from Indiana and Kentucky took part in taking fresh supplies to the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery on the Ohio River this past weekend.

Jim Jacobs of Blue Heron Mercantile headed the expedition of 8 hardy re-enactors that paddled down river from Rome, Indiana to Stephensport, KY.

The group of 9 men and 5 boats carried over 600 pounds of supplies to the keelboat of the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

Although the trip was originally planned as a thirty mile trip weather and the changing schedules of the Corps of Discovery shortened it. Capt. Jacob’s and the supply flotilla had to set in at the mouth of Poison Creek on Friday afternoon, October the 31st. Poison Creek is located between the Mano boat ramp and Rome, Indiana.

The crew traveled about one mile up Poison Creek on Friday before setting up camp for the night.

As boats were readied for launch and supplies loaded an amazing transformation began to take place. These good old boys out for adventure suddenly stepped back into 1803, and for at least this weekend they became a part of history. Becoming part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was a once in a lifetime opportunity at time travel.

Down at Stephensport, Kentucky the Corp of Discovery was anxiously waiting for word of the Jacobs Supply Crew and their safety.

The weather on Saturday was very warm for November and the winds that had changed the launch site on Friday were now amazingly calm on Saturday. The river at Stephensport looked like a sheet of glass. The trees on both the Indiana and Kentucky sides of the river still held 90% of their fall leaves. Down stream there was still mist on the water but upstream it was clear and bright - a perfect autumn day.

It was around 10:30 Saturday morning that word came from Corps of Discovery officials that their departure time from Stephensport had been changed. Just as in 1803 Captain Merriweather Lewis took the initiative and headed upstream on the Ohio. He had word that Captain Jacobs and crew had spent the night on Poison Creek and he started out to meet up with the much needed supplies.

Link to more photos of the expedition.

About two hours later Capt. Lewis met up with Captain Jacobs and the transfer of supplies took place with the aid of both crews.

Afterwards both crews headed back down to Stephensport, where a local couple hosted dinner for the men. The conversation centered on history and re-enacting as both crews had time to visit and share stories. Citizens of the small town of Stephensport continually dropped in to take photos and greet the Corps of Discovery and its supply party.

Link to Blue Heron Mercantile

Link to Lewis & Clark

Thousands Attend Mississinewa 1812 Event

by Kathy Cummings

Re-enactors and spectators crowded to Marion Indiana over the weekend of October 10-12. In what is billed as the largest 1812 Re-enactmert Event in the country military units, pirates, militia and natives took visitors back in time to the era of The War of 1812.

The Mississinewa event features re-enactors from all over the US and Canada. The campsites are divided between military units - both British and American, Indians and a section called Rivertown that is made up of sutlers offering period goods of all kinds. Camping was also available in the Longhunters Camp, the Voyager Camp and the Wilderness Camp all along the river.

The Re-Enactments portrayed at various times throughout the 3 day event were compilation scenes of what warfare would have been like in 1812 rather that the actual Battle of Mississinewa which took place in the snowy winter of 1812.

The re-enactment ended with a memorial to both those that died in The War of 1812 and to the re-enactors who have died in this past year. At the conclusion troops filed out in military parade formation to the applause of the crowds.

Mississinewa 1812 Re-Enactment

by Jim Cummings

If you have never attanded an 1812 Re-Enactment that mark your calendar for next October at Mississinewa. Re-Enactors numbering in the hundreds came to Indiana from Canada and as far as California and Florida.

After attending this weekend I can understand why it is billed as the largest 1812 event. It was big, it was loud and it was great.

It was also a good place for re-enactors to purchase goods and equipment. If you couldn’t find it among the 147 registered sutlers you probably didn’t need it anyway.

The Mississinewa River runs through central Indiana and in 1812 Indian towns lined the banks. In late September 1812 the war was not going well for the Americans. The British had taken Fort Mackinac, Fort Dearborn (Chicago) and Fort Detroit and Indians had massacred the southern Indiana settlement at Pigeon Roost. William Henry Harrison blamed the Indians in the towns along the Mississinewa and sent Lt. Col. John B. Campbell from Ohio with 600 mounted troops to destroy the Indian towns. The battle on Dec 17 and the counterattack by the Indians on Dec 18 are commemorated here each year. 

On Friday over 6,000 students attended. On Saturday and Sunday crowds were estimated at 16 to 18,000 people.

The only drawback to attending this event is the large numbers of people. Getting from the parking area to the re-enactment area was a long trek. Shuttles ran from town out to the site - but from the lines waiting to get the busses after the event - that didn’t seem to be your best option either. The shuttle option may have been fine for the locals of Marion, Indiana but wasn’t much of an option for out of towners.

After a ride of several hours from Kentucky (fighting construction along I-65 and again in Indianapolis ) I wasn’t much in the mood for the 3/4 mile downhill hike from the parking area. So you can imagine after the event what kind of mood I was in for the uphill climb. As we passed through the handicapped parking area on our way out I spoke to a few people who were parked there and had had some trouble maneuvering the site.

Mississinewa has been going on for 18 years now and is a wonderful event. The organizers are doing a fine job. But I would have gladly paid a few extra bucks for a horse drawn wagon, or tractor drawn shuttle of some sort to get to and from the parking area with our camera gear. Over all I would highly recommend this living history event. I can only see it getting larger over the next few years. It is also worth going to see the military uniforms on parade and the vast number of traders with wares to sell and of course to see the re-enactors.

More on Lewis and
Clark on the Ohio!

Rediscovering Lewis and Clark

by Jim Cummings

Rediscovering The Lewis and Clark Expedition of 2003 -2006 is a step back in time - like looking back in a time capsule from 2003 to 1803. The opening of the west was launched from nearby Clarksville, Indiana near The Falls of the Ohio.

The incredible journey of Lewis and Clark was the brain child of our 3rd President Thomas Jefferson who was also the author of TheDeclaration of Independence and the architect of the Louisiana Purchase.

President Jefferson was criticized by some in both the house and senate and several of his friends for planning this undertaking. They felt it was too soon after the Revolution for this young nation to spend money on such an expedition while there were other more pressing issues.

 But lucky for us Jefferson was a visionary with the tenacity of three men. He did not let the nay sayers stop his dream of finding a waterway to the Pacific Ocean. And not only did he strive for a route to the Pacific but the forward thinking Jefferson had the Corps of Discovery explore, examine and catalog their way across the country. He realized there would be new and different rivers to chart, mountains to explore and plants and wildlife to log in their journals. And most of all their would be new people to meet in the west.


Captain Merriweather Lewis and his dog Seaman

Jefferson also knew that the biggest obstacle of all would be the unknown. And so for this incredible journey he picked his young secretary, Merriweather Lewis who in turn picked his friend William Clark and together they selected the men for The Corps of Discovery.

Many think the choice of William Clark was a prophetic one. The younger brother of George Rogers Clark might never have made the trip, nor would any of the others, if George Rogers Clark had not been instrumental in saving Kentucky and the Northwest territory from the hands of the British in the Revolutionary War.

Clark along with the gallant men of the Illinois Regiment wrested Vincennes, Caskaskia and Cahokia from the hands of the British and their Indian allies.

As we commemorate the 200 th anniversary there is much to read - both on the internet and in books at your local libraries and book stores - but the best thing to do is bring your families to the living history events scheduled for your area. The Corps of Discovery will be in the Louisville/Clarksville area for two weeks before heading on to Missouri. 

There are also some great web sites for the expedition. The Corps of Discovery featured on our site has their own web site from The Clayton Missouri School District. It also features a live sattelite link up (sponsored by Apple) that broadcasts on the internet and is geared toward school children.

Lewis and Clark Links

“William Calk his Jurnal”

On Monday, March 13, 1775, William Calk’s party set out from Prince William County, Virginia, on a great land speculation in the frontier of “Caintuck.” Perhaps they were attracted by Richard Henderson’s advertisements for a new colony in Kentucky (though his Transylvania Company did not gain title to the land until March 17, 1775, when the treaty with the Cherokee was signed at Sycamore Shoals). Whatever their motives, Calk and his companions – Abraham Hanks (Abraham Lincoln’s grandfather), Philip Drake, Enoch Smith, Robert Whitledge, and a number of slaves (whose names were not given) – set out &om the valley of the Potomac, across the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the Powell River Valley, where they joined Richard Henderson’s company near the Cumberland Gap on April 4, 1775.

Henderson had sent Daniel Boone and a party of ax-men ahead on March 10 to widen a trail and begin drawing off lots for the community that would become Boonesborough. Boone’s party arrived at the site on April 1 and soon met resistance from Indians in the area. News of the skirmishes struck fear in the travelers, and many, including Hanks and Drake, turned back to Virginia. William Calk, however, completed the journey and arrived at ”Boons foart” on Thursday, April 20. As soon as he drew for his lot, he and his two remaining companions began to solidify their land claim by building a house and planting a crop of corn.

William Calk’s account of his difficult journey has been called the most colorful account to survive from the period. It is filled with human-interest stories and personal commentary. This transcription preserves the spelling, grammar, and punctuation as he wrote it in 1775. The journal is part of the remarkable Calk Collection, which includes manuscripts documenting the land speculation, business transactions, and daily lives of several generations of the Calk family, as well as objects used on his journey and on the Kentucky frontier. We are deeply indebted to Carolyn Niblett, representing William Calk’s descendants, who has donated this collection for all Kentuckians to share.

Coming to Cincinnati This Week!


by Jim Cummings

See one of the world’s best collections of steam boats, paddle wheelers, river boats, show boats and various tall stacked boats no matter what they have been called over the years. They will all be in Cincinnati from Wednesday to Sunday October 15- 19th , and the event is called Tallstacks 2003. This great collection of boats from the past will intrique and fascinate both the young and the old.

And for those of us who regualrly like to step back in time, this will be another chance to remember days gone by. A time when the highways of our young nation were the Ohio, the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers. A chance to travel the south, the west and beyond. 

There will be re-enactors in period dress from the early 1800’s when the first steamboat came down the Ohio through the Civil War and into the late 1880’s when river traveled slowed down.

Like all re-enactors they will love to talk. So step back with them into a bygone era. Enter the past, ask questions, get your photo taken with them and enjoy the sights and sounds of the river.

When travel by steamboat started the country was still rough, dangerous and a bit lawless. Immigrants came down river to land in towns along the way.

 From Pittsburgh to New Orleans river towns grew along the route. Some grew to big cities some faded away with the steamboats. Some were washed away with floods the ever changing currents of the rivers never to be rebuilt. The first steamboat came into the Port of Cincinnati in 1811.

Re-enactors at Tall Stacks will portray the early river travelers. From soldiers to business men, western settlers to gamblers, show girls to Union and Confederate troops, and Southern belles to pirates.

Let your imaginagtion roam with the river. Do you think of Mark Twain or Huck Finn, Mike Fink or Scarlet O’Hara, Jim Bowie or Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant or Robert E. Lee or Rhett Butler or Big Jim Porter or just yourself in days gone by.

Think about the big oak trees and giant sycamores covered with long flowing moss.

Think about gentle river breezes. Or maybe you will think of snakes and alligators, gamblers and scoundrels.- large plantations with tobacco and cotton bales waiting to be shipped. Or close your eyes and picture Huck Finn and his friends, smoking a pipe and dreaming of an endless future. And if you are real quiet you can hear the paddle of the steam boatdown river and the first mate holler “Mark Twain”.And don’t forget the sounds of the calliopes as the big boats head up river and the music of the showboats as the stop in your town.

So if that stirred your imagination visit Tall Stacks 2003 in Cincinnati this week. It only happens every four years and is an event you won’t want to miss. See you there!

The Painted Stone Settlers Portray
Fifth Long Run Massacre

by Jim Cummings

The Fifth Annual Long Run Massacre performed by the Painted Stone Settlers was a great success. With a good crowd and over 120 re-enactors and sutlers it was a great weekend.

The Painted Stone Settlers worked hard all year for this event. They have attended over 20 other events to promote The Long Run Massacre and the rich history of Shelbyville and Shelby County. They also performed two other club sponsored events - The Pigeon Roost Massacre at Lexington Indiana in June and The Attack at Salt River and Kincheloe’s Station in July at Taylorsville Lake in Spencer County, Kentucky.

It’s like the old saying “If you have it, they will come...” And that is exactly what happened September 13 and 14th. In spite of the failure of the sound system on Saturday and a slight rain delay on Sunday the event went off as planned.

The hardy re-enactors and the dedicated people of Shelby County were there to support this event. The Long Run Massacre is fast becoming one of Kentucky’s largest living history outdoor dramas. The event is juried for it’s authenticity in correct clothing of the men, women, children and Woodland Indians. Correct firearms and weaponry for the 1780’s are also checked. Campsites are also period correct with food and cooking utensils.

The Painted Stone Settlers were joined by re-enactors from all over the eastern United States. Over 10 different scenarios were performed over the two day event. These included a Colonial Magician and and 18th century fashion show.

In trying to match Sunday’s performance with the rainy conditions a few modifications were made to the script. And the re-enactors loved it. While simply trying to keep the advancing forces from running and possibly slipping on the wet field more dialog and a whole scene of a prisoner exchange was added in. This allowed the re-enactors more improvised dialog and more actual time in front of the audience. One comment received was “George Lucas couldn’t have done better. I hope you all remember the improvised dialog - it was great and should be included next year.” 

Long Run Massacre Attracts the Best of the Best

Opening Remarks by Gary Foreman

by Jim Cummings

The Long Run Massacre brought in some of the best known re-enactors in a six state area along with top sutlers (vendors) too.

Gary Foreman of Native Sun Productions gave a moving opening address. Foreman is a producer and director of historical productions for The History Channel. He was accompanied by producer Caroline Raine. As re-enactors themselves Foreman gave a unique address to the crowd.

He talked not only about the re-enactors that were present and the dedication that brings them to events but of the freedoms that we have as Americans and how much we take them for granted. The citizens of the US he charged don’t even know what our forefathers went through so that we might enjoy the rights and freedoms we have today. “How many of you’” he asked the crowd “carry around a copy of the Declaration of Independence or The Bill of Rights in your wallet. How many even have a copy of them at home?”

Link to Native Sun Productions

A hush came over the crowd. Only a very few raised their hands to his query. Well don’t feel bad, Foreman thundered, only about 3 to 4% of Americans do. That is what we are here to change. Learn your history, teach your children and know your rights as Americans. After these remarks Foreman stared into the crowd in silence. And the crowd stared back in total silence. Then a light clap was heard. Then another, until the whole audience burst into spontaneous applause.

At that moment I think if Gary Foreman were running for political office he would have had my vote regardless of his party or platform. Gary Foreman is a gifted producer, director and film maker. But most of all as the crowd this weekend realized Gary Foreman is a great American Patriot.

Review in “On the Trail”
Magazine Boosts Sales
of Video Tape

A review of “The Warrior’s Path” video set in the current issue of On The Trail Magazine has boosted sales of the 2 set video. This  “How To” tape for native re-enactors was produced by Graphic Enterprise and Woodland Frontier Productions. Although first released in 2003 it was not widely publicized to a national market. The review by Jason Gatliff of “On the Trail” has boosted sales according to Jack Lutrell one of the producers and a narrator of the video.

Woodland Frontier Productions is currently working on an additional tape to be released in late spring of 2004.

For ordering information click here. To link to “On the Trail “ Click Here.

From The Halls of Montezuma
To the Shores of Tripoli

by Jim Cummings

While doing research work on one subject you often come across a jewel of another story. One that makes you stop and think - one that happened not 30 miles from where you live.

As we were doing research for an event in Henry County, Kentucky to be held this spring, I came across this remarkable story

The story is about a young 20 year old Marine Lt. in 1805 along the Barbary Coast in Northern Africa. After the turn of the century the Barbary Coast was a lawless and pirate infested part of the world. If you have seen the Russell Crow movie “Master and Commander” you get a sense of what that era was like - the years before and during the War of 1812.

Not only the pirates but heads of state in this part of the world were stealing and pillaging everything that wasn’t nailed down. And our young American nation was not immune to the events of the time. We like everyone else paid the cost of doing business in the Mediterranean Sea and along the North African Coast.

In 1805 the bribes and demands got too costly and Americans launched the first military campaign on foreign soil. The following story of Presley Neville O’Bannon was taken from the Henry County Historical Society Quarterly of March 1980. It has also been reprinted in the new History of Henry County which can be purchased from The Henry County Historical Society or the Chamber of Commerce.

From the Shores of Tripoli

Presley Neville O’Bannon was one of those unique American heroes who helped write the heritage of this country. Although a native of Virginia, O’Bannon, the “Hero of Derne’” later represented Logan County in the Kentucky Legislature and chose to spend the last years of his life in Henry County. Thus Henry County has a footnote in one of the stirring and memorable events in American history.

It began with the actions of the rulers of the Barbary States in Northern Africa in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when they preyed upon commercial shipping, including that of the young American nation, in the Mediterranean. When their demands for tribute and bribes became too onerous, America launched its first military campaign.

William Eaton, the former United States Consul to Algiers, devised a plan to overthrow the Bey of Tripoli, replacing him with his deposed brother and freeing American prisoners at Tripoli. One of the young Marine officers accompanying Eaton was 20 year old Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon.

Eaton led a polyglot army, composed largely of Arabs, along with some mercenaries and nine American Marines and sailors led by O’Bannon, in a march across the Libyan desert in March and April, 1805.

The 45 day march was very difficult and contentious, marked by demands for more money, murders and fights between the two factions - Christian and Moslem. In his report Eaton said” The firm and decided conduct of Lt. O’Bannon, as on all occasions, did much to deter the views of savages.”

The group reached the strongly defended town of Derne on April 25. Two days later, as three Navy ships bombarded the town from the sea, Eaton and O’Bannon land forces attacked. Eaton was wounded and O’Bannon took the lead with the flag. Again quoting Eaton, “Mr. O’Bannon urged forward his Marines, Greeks and cannoneers through a shower of musketry from the walls of houses, took possession of the battery, lowered the African standard, planted the American flag upon the ramparts, turned its guns upon the enemy, and soon had complete possession of the town, thereby liberating 180 officers and seamen at the time in the dungeons at Derne. 

Admiral Preblel McMasters and Cooper, historians of the war, say that was the first American flag planted upon a fortress in the Old World. The event also inspired part of the first stanza of the Marine Hymn - “from the shores of Tripoli...

Although there was not the mass media of today during that time, O’Bannon was still an instant hero and returned to America later that year to tumultuous welcomes in several cities.

O’Bannon resigned from the Marines in 1807 and later served in the 1st Artillery and cavalry. He married Matilda Heard of Virginia, a granddaughter of Gen. Daniel Morgan, who defeated Tarleton at Cowpens.

O’Bannon moved to Kentucky in 1809 to help a relative make whiskey in Lexington. He was later given a large tract of land in Logan County in honor of his achievements and represented that western Kentucky county in the Kentucky legislature from 1812 to 1820. After the death of his wife, O’Bannon moved to Henry County, where he died in 1850 at the age of 74. Some historians speculate that O’Bannon, as was the custom in that time when there were no nursing homes, gave his pension to relatives in Henry County to take care of him.

O’Bannon was buried near Defoe in the eastern part of the county. In 1919, the Susanna Hart Shelby Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution had his remains moved to the State Cemetery at Frankfort. Patriotic ceremonies were held on Flag Day, June 14, 1820 to mark the move.

The Frankfort State Journal of the next day reported that more than 100 people attended the activities, which included the unveiling of a monument to O’Bannon. The monument draped with a large American flag, was unveiled by Mrs. Carolyn O’Bannon Culp of Louisville and Mrs. Anna Morgan of Eminence, described as relatives of the hero.

A large highway historic marker was dedicated at the site of O’Bannon’s grave in 1973. The marker includes the Marines globe and anchor emblem in gold on a red background.

One mystery still surrounds O’Bannon. It concerns a jeweled sword with a Damascus blade and a Mameluke hilt reportedly given him in Tripoli by Hamet Karamali, who was restored as Bey of Tripoli by the American expedition. If such a sword ever existed, no one knows what has become of it. A sword in the Marine Corps museum at Quantico, VA was one presented to O’Bannon by the state of Virginia.

In addition to the Frankfort State Journal, information in this article in the 1920 Kentucky Historical Society Register by Mrs. William F. Barrett and from a speech given at the 1973 Highway marker dedication by Brig. General Edwin H. Simms (ret.) director of the Marine Corp. History and Museums.

Documentary Filmed at
Martin’s Station

by Jim Cummings

Over 50 Re-enactors could be found the first weekend in October with a film crew at Martin’s Station. Filming by Native Sun Productions was underway for a documentary to be used in the visitor’s center at the Virginia State Park.

Native Sun Productions is well known for it’s historical productions for the History Channel.

Re-enactors present from The Painted Stone Settlers were Harold, Sean and Kevin Raleigh, Gordon Garrett, Dean Phillips, Jack Luttrell and White Turtle.

Martin’s Station was one of the last stopping points for settlers before starting through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. Today’s rebuilt fort is located in Ewing, Va about 15 miles from the Gap. The fort was built with the help of volunteers - most of them re-enactors from states in the surrounding regions.The fort and cabins are among the most realistic of any rebuilt stations that exist today.

The visitor’s center is projected to be opened in October of 2004. For a pleasant drive through the Kentucky and Virgina countryside I highly recommend a visit to Martin’s Station. Not only is the scenery breathtaking but it is a chance to get a very realistic look at the living conditions of the early settlers.

While in the area check out the Cumberland Gap, along with it’s visitor’s center and gift shop. Also playing at Cumberland is another highly acclaimed Native Sun Production filmed especially for the visitor’s center. 

The Photo Gallery of Events

18th Century Living History Events

Fort Boonesborough Events

19th Century Living History Events

Civil War Living History Events

Timeline Events

Indoor Trade Events

Museums, Workshops, Schools and Other Events