History comes to town


Special to Civitas Media



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History will come alive during America’s Frontier History Expedition. Through May 30, a reenactment of settlers braving the wilderness, seeking new opportunity west of the Allegheny Mountains is taking place as men and women recreate a 280 mile 18th century horseback ride from Sycamore Shoals, Tennessee to Fort Boonesborough, Kentucky following the path of Daniel Boone.

As the Bell County Tourism Commission readies to host the Boone Society and their reenactors at Lincoln Park, the Bell County Historical Society will house the work of artist David Wright through May 15. Wright, a frontier artist has developed an exhibit of his frontier art to preserve America’s frontier history through his gallery. This exhibit will be a long-term promotion which will go through three phases of development.

“We are very happy to be apart of this project,” said Bell County Historical Society Museum Director William Tribell. “It is an absolute delight to host these magnificent works of art by Mr. Wright at the museum for everyone to come and see.These images and the reenactments and story telling should leave the audience with a deeper understanding of the history this area and its people witnessed and participated in.”

David’s work gives us a view of life on the first frontier. His paintings capture the daily activities of both the Pioneer and the Indian culture. This exhibit is presented in a broad view to represent the late 1700s during which 200-300 thousand settlers poured through the Cumberland Gap moving westward. These were exciting and dangerous times for all cultures and through his art, the exhibit gives insight into that era.

The first phase contains 15 paintings selected by him to travel with America’s Frontier Art Exhibit through May 19, and will be placed in state parks, museums and county tourism centers along the way. These are what visitors to the Bell County Historical Society’s Museum will see.

The second phase will become a traveling exhibit touring Kentucky at museums and Kentucky state park visitor’s centers.

The third phase will require funding and will be built by a professional exhibit company. At that point, it presents America’s Frontier History through art, history and music. It is a walk through traveling exhibit with interactive panels for push button historical videos and frontier music selections. This one will tour some of the U.S. and hopefully Europe to promote Kentucky tourism from here and abroad.

America’s Frontier History Expedition will travel from Martin’s Station at Wilderness Road State Park in Virginia Friday through Saturday, and cross into Kentucky at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park at noon on Sunday. Hosted by the Bell County Tourism Commission, the group will enter Middlesboro in the afternoon on Sunday and will set up camp at Lincoln Park.

“We are very pleased to host the Boone Society and America’s Frontier History Expedition as they visit Bell County,” said Bell County Tourism Commission President Judy Barton. “This is a monumental undertaking the society has accomplished and we will continue to promote the Boone Trace as they promote history and tourism to our area. Everyone in our community should come out and see this wondrous display of local history.”

Representing a cross section of people and cultures, frontier men and women and a Shawnee Indian make up the group. At this encampment stop the participants will deliver public educational presentations. The public is invited to come and be a part of this event from from 3-8 p.m. on Sunday. Visitors may even bring folding chairs and stay for the reenactments, music and story telling, and perhaps a campfire. The group will move on to Pine Mountain State Resort May 16-17.

Notable among these frontiersmen are Mark Sage, writer for frontier and muzzle loading magazines, leader of the group. David Wright is assisting Sage with the formation of the event and will ride over the Cumberland Gap on Sunday with his grandson, Jeremiah, and Brittney Ryan.

The purpose of this journey is to preserve America’s frontier history and the participants serve as educators, each teaching of the history of the westward movement, its impact on the Euro-American and native peoples, and the skills necessary to survive on the frontier.

Parents are encouraged to bring the children to this exciting event. School groups and scouts are welcome to attend. There will be campfire presentations, live fire demonstrations of long rifles and the music of frontier fiddling. Each stop on the trail will be a bit different and the public can plan to see this expedition several times for a different venue. This is an opportunity to witness history emerge live from the past.

The remaining expedition schedule includes: May 18-19, Knox County Tourism Visitors Center in Barbourville; May 21-22, Levi Jackson State Park in London; May 24-25, Trail Head Museum in Livingston; May 26-27, Berea; May 28-29, Fort Boonesborough State Park; and May 30, Lexington.

Follow the Boone Society at boonesociety.com or on Facebook. You may also view their “Facebook live” broadcast each day at 5 p.m. or watch later; and visit You Tube for the fun and excitement on the trail at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_CB93hMTmo.

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Special to Civitas Media

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