EWING, Va. — As part of their summer schedule of events, Wilderness Road State Park will present “Forging a Frontier” on Sept. 13-14.
During the 18th century, blacksmithing was one of the most important occupations in the colonies. The men and women of Martin’s Station will present special blacksmithing programs at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. detailing basic skills needed to survive on the frontier.
Those in attendance will be able to watch Captain Martin as he forges the tools needed to settle a new frontier. Daily activities begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m., and will consist of tours of Martin’s Station, musket and artillery demonstrations, open hearth cooking, and gunsmithing.
Any item made from iron or steel was heated, hammered and shaped by the community blacksmith. Armed with his hammer and anvil, the “Smithy” provided an invaluable service to those living in far removed frontier settlements.
To complement the day program, the park will also present Suzanne Dennis as Mad Anne Bailey at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 13. Following her first husband’s death in the Battle of Point Pleasant in October 1774, Anne donned buckskin leggings under her petticoat, put on her husband’s hunting shirt and volunteered as a scout, hunter and messenger.
Mad Anne became a familiar sight in the Kanawha Valley carrying dispatches from Fort Lee, Fort Randolph and Fort Savannah. With her rifle at hand and hatchet in her belt, she came to be known as “Mad Anne” to some and “The White Squaw of the Kanawha Valley” to others. Join Suzanne as she presents a 45-minute first-person characterization of the true story of Mad Anne Bailey; an American heroine.
In addition to these activities, the Powder Horn Gift Shop will be open and the 20-minute high definition film “Wilderness Road, Spirit of a Nation” will be playing in the Visitors Center theatre.
Each year Wilderness Road State Park presents special historical interpretive programs which are thematic to events that took place at, or near Martin’s Station during the third quarter of the 18th century.
Historic Martin’s Station is the re-creation of Captain Joseph Martin’s Fort originally built in 1775. The fort was located near present day Rose Hill, Virginia and played a key role in the settlement of the American frontier and Westward expansion during the Revolutionary War.
Wilderness Road State Park is located in Ewing, Virginia which is less than 2 hours drive from Knoxville, Tenn., Bristol, Va. and Lexington, Ky. For more information contact Wilderness Road at 276-445-3065, 8051 Wilderness Road, Ewing, VA 24248 or on the web at http://www.historicmartinsstation.com and www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/wil.shtml
Wilderness Road State Park is open 8 a.m. to dusk each day. The park office and visitor center is open daily 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Historic Martin’s Station is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but closed on Tuesdays.
For more information on all 36 of Virginia’s award-winning state parks call toll-free 1-800-933-PARK (7275) or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov. The award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.