Resources on Cornstalk

THE ROOTS OF UN-CIVIL WAR: 

THE 250TH ANNIVERSARY OF CORNSTALK’S CAMPAIGN

 

                In West Virginia, the year 2013 will be marked by numerous historical commemorative events highlighting the year 1863.   This special commemoration is fitting, for the American Civil War brought about great changes to our Nation, not the least of which was the federal recognition and creation of West Virginia as the 35th state.  Subsumed in the 150th birth year celebration is another anniversary of no less importance and perhaps with even greater impact on the future course of history in the region that one hundred years later became “The Mountain State”.  That is the 250th anniversary of Shawnee Warrior Cornstalk’s Raid on the western Virginia Euro-American settlements in the Trans-Allegheny region.  Cornstalk burst onto the scene of recorded history in 1763 when, against the British colony of Virginia, he conducted a military campaign that was arguably one of the most successful campaigns of Pontiac’s War. 

                There is little question that Cornstalk’s leadership of the Shawnee led to the most successful campaign of all American Indian operations in western Virginia.  In terms of the number of enemy settlements abandoned, the number of captives taken, and the number of enemy killed, no other field commanders’ campaigns in the region came close to Cornstalk’s success in 1763.  This campaign honed Cornstalk’s skills at war and alliance-building.  His experiences in 1763 made him a formidable foe during Dunmore’s War eleven years later, an effective peace-maker after that war, as well as an astute ally of the American cause during the beginning years of the American Revolution.  His 1763 military campaign changed the attitudes of succeeding generations of western Virginians towards their American Indian neighbors.  His murder in 1777, while he was on a peace mission to Fort Randolph, was a revenge-slaying committed by family members of western Virginians killed in 1763 by Cornstalk’s warriors.

 

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Warriors swim a river while keeping their powder dry.

Ed Lowe photo.

 

 

 

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A War Woman assists with a purging ritual to prepare men for war.

Mary Toy photo.

 

Cornstalk’s 1763 campaign took place through the Kanawha/New River valley to colonial settlements in the Greenbrier country, upper New River valley, Roanoke River, and Jackson’s River.  Throughout the year 2013, the living history educators of Trails, Inc. will be commemorating this history-changing event in West Virginia’s past.  All of these events are held at state and national facilities that are school bus friendly.  We encourage public, private, and home school administrators, teachers, students, and parents, as well as the general public to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn of the cultural differences that led to conflict between the Shawnees and Trans-Allegheny Virginians in 1763.  Cultural life-ways, such as warrior camps, Virginia settler forts, prisoner treatment, food gathering/growing, gender roles, children’s activities, and language, will be explored through lecture, living history demonstration, and hands-on activities.  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.  The scheduled public events are in Mason, Kanawha, Fayette, Summers, and Greenbrier Counties.  Bordering counties’ schools are welcome to participate as well.  Please contact the facility which you are interested in visiting during its scheduled event to make arrangements.  You may also visit www.trailsinclivinghistory.com/page2.html for more history interpretation information.

 

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A soldier of America’s modern armed forces demonstrates an 18th century American Indian prisoner stock.

Dianne Anestis photo.

 

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Douglas McClure Wood

Trails, Inc.  304-550-1006  chingwe1755@yahoo.com

Thanks to the following institutions for their financial & technical support:

 New River Gorge National River, Monongahela National Forest, & Trails Inc.

 

THE ROOTS OF UN-CIVIL WAR: 

THE 250TH ANNIVERSARY OF CORNSTALK’S CAMPAIGN

2013 SCHEDULE

 

At each of the following locations except Lake Sherwood, the setting for interpretation will be an 18th century warrior camp outdoors, with indoor facilities for inclement weather.  Living history interpreters will highlight Shawnee women’s and men’s social roles. Other demonstrations will be tailored to each site. Some of the events will take place before school lets out for summer.  We encourage teachers to plan field trips to join us then.  Some events will take place after school lets out.  Please make your students aware of these summer programs so they can visit during their summer break.  The WV State Parks website highlights this summer program at www.wvstateparks.com/summerperf.html andwww.wvstateparks.com/CornstalkRaid.pdf  .

May 4, 10AM-3PM –Kanawha State Forest.  There will be a special focus on Nonhelema, Cornstalk’s sister, and her historical role as peacemaker after the 1763 campaign.  One interpreter will lead a medicinal, edible, useful plant fiber walk to highlight Shawnee knowledge of native plant uses.  Other interpreters will demonstrate warrior/hunter skills, including communication signs and symbols, trail food preparation, as well as tracking prowess.  Since numerous captives were taken on the campaign, prisoner treatment will be demonstrated as well.  The campaign circuit was between 300 and 500 miles long, so long-distance travel considerations will be demonstrated and discussed.  Interpreters (one dressed and accoutered as a partisan fighter and another dressed and accoutered as a mid-19thcentury Virginian farmer) will highlight the cultural inheritance of Civil War era war tactics, agricultural practices, etc. from Shawnee to western Virginian.  Contact Kanawha State Forest, www.kanawhastateforest.com/,kanawhasf@wv.gov304-558-3500.

 –June 1, 10AM-3PM –Tu-Endie-Wei State Park.  There will be a special focus on Nonhelema, Cornstalk’s sister, and her historical role as peacemaker after the 1763 campaign.  Fort Randolph Terrace will host a powerpoint presentation on 18th century Shawnee culture and history.  Interpreters will lead an interpretive walk along the adjacent floodwall to explain the Shawnee-Virginian history highlighted on the beautiful frescoes.  They will also demonstrate warrior/hunter skills, including communication signs and symbols, trail food preparation, tracking prowess, and long-distance travel techniques.  On this same day, the Brigade of the American Revolution will be at Fort Randolph nearby.  The reconstructed fort will be the scene of Revolutionary War era demonstrations open to the public all day.  By the time of the Revolution, Cornstalk had become a principal chief of the Shawnee, when he visited Fort Randolph.  The two events are complementary and will provide plenty of history education opportunity.  Contact Tu-Endie-Wei State Park,www.tu-endie-weistatepark.com/tuendieweisp@wv.gov304-675-0869.

June 19, 7PM-9PM –Lake Sherwood Recreation Area.  At the campground amphitheater (or a picnic shelter in inclement weather) an interpreter will make a living history presentation with question and answer session while dressed & accoutered as a Shawnee warrior on the 1763 campaign.  Bring your own chair & bug repellant.  Contactwww.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mnf/recreation/wateractivities/recarea/?recid=7008&actid=78304-536-2144.

July 6, 10AM-3PM –Sandstone Visitor Center of New River Gorge National River.  The center’s theater will house a powerpoint presentation on 18th century Shawnee culture and history.  Some interpreters will focus on regional agricultural and wild gathering cultural practices inherited from the 18th century Shawnee, as well as lead a medicinal, edible, useful plant fiber walk to highlight Shawnee knowledge of native plant uses.  Other interpreters will demonstrate warrior/hunter skills, including communication signs and symbols, trail food preparation, tracking prowess, and long-distance travel techniques, with a focus on regional trails, including the one that crossed New River in the viewshed of the visitor center.  Contact www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/sandstone.htm304-466-0417.

September 7, 10AM-3PM –Hawks Nest State Park.  Some interpreters will focus on regional agricultural and wild gathering cultural practices inherited from the 18th century Shawnee, as well as lead a medicinal, edible, useful plant fiber walk to highlight Shawnee knowledge of native plant uses.  Other interpreters will demonstrate warrior/hunter skills, including communication signs and symbols, trail food preparation, tracking prowess, and long-distance travel techniques.  Prisoner treatment will be demonstrated as well.  Interpreters (one dressed and accoutered as a partisan fighter and another dressed and accoutered as a mid-19th century Virginian farmer) will highlight the cultural inheritance of Civil War era war tactics, agricultural practices, etc. from Shawnee to western Virginian.  Contactwww.hawksnestsp.com/hawksnestinfo@wv.gov304-658-5212.

   

COURTESY

Robert “Joey” Wiseman Jr.

Social Studies Coordinator

Office of Instruction