POINT PLEASANT — With Point Pleasant being a local hub of historical events, it should come as no surprise that when plans to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Chief Cornstalk’s campaign were made, Tu-Endie-Wei State Park and the local area was included.
“The Roots of Un-Civil War” series of events will be presented beginning May 4 and continue throughout the summer, in conjunction with the West Virginia Humanities Council, The New River Gorge National River, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia State Parks, and Trails, Inc.
When comparing the number of enemy’s taken captive and killed and the number of enemy settlements abandoned, Cornstalk’s campaign has been stated to have been one of the most successful of all American Indian operations in western Virginia. His experience from this campaign reportedly sharpened his war and alliance buildings skills, which later made him a formidable opponent in Dunmore’s War, an excellent peacemaker following that war, and an American ally during the beginning of the American Revolution.
Kicking off the series from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on May 4 will be an event at Kanawha State Forest near Charleston, featuring a tour led by an interpreter who will discuss the Shawnee knowledge of native plant uses, highlighting medicinal uses, edible plants, or other uses. The tour will also highlight the treatment of prisoners on the campaign trail, as well as long-distance traveling, since the campaign circuit was between 300 and 500 miles long. Interpreters will also discuss the various Civil War strategies and practices as they were passed on from Shawnee to Virginians.
Next up on the agenda will be the event at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park in Point Pleasant, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on June 1. Here, re-enactors will highlight Shawnee women’s and men’s social roles, with a special focus on Cornstalk’s sister, Nonhelema, and her role following the 1763 campaign. There will also be a PowerPoint presentation at Fort Randolph Terrace, which will include information on Shawnee culture and history, and interpreters will also lead a walk along the Point Pleasant Riverfront Park floodwall, and discuss the historical events depicted in the frescoes.
It was also reported that on June 1 at Fort Randolph there will be the Eastern Woodland Indian Gathering, where there will be demonstrations of East Woodland Indian skills, which is open to the public all day.
The final part the “Un-Civil War” series will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 7, at Hawks Nest State Park, near Ansted in Fayette County. Finishing off the series, this event will also feature interpreters focusing on the different Shawnee social roles, as well as agriculture, gathering practices, and a walk discussing various plant uses. Prisoner treatment will also be highlighted, as well as inherited war tactics.
According to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, this series will be an “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn of the cultural differences leading to conflict between the Shawnees and Trans-Allegheny Virginians in 1763. The opportunity to interpret Cornstalk’s Raid in an audience-interactive, multi-faceted manner, with an unbiased treatment of all sides in the conflict, will never be better.”
For more on this series of events, visit www.wvstateparks.com.
Events are also set for 7-9 p.m. on June 19, at Lake Sherwood Recreation Area, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sandstone Visitor Center of the New River Gorge National River. For more on these events, contact Lake Sherwood at 304-536-2144 or the National Park Service at 304-466-0417.
In addition to these events, other annual events featuring Cornstalk and other local history are also set throughout the summer. For more information and a schedule of events, visit www.masoncountytourism.org.