The American Revolution is often thought of as a war fought in the large port cities of the original 13 colonies located along the Atlantic Ocean. While those battles did indeed take place and held a vital role in the outcome that helped form our nation, other important pieces of history from the American Revolution often go unmentioned, such as the revolution on the frontier.
In these battles, patriots, often farmers desperate to defend their new homeland, were pitted against well-equipped British-sympathetic Native American tribes.
These smaller battles proved to hold the key to the United States’ expansion west, with one significant crusade being the siege of Boonesborough.
In 1775, Daniel Boone blazed the Wilderness Trail from Chiswell, Virginia, through the Cumberland Gap and into central Kentucky.
He built Fort Boone in the central part of the future state of Kentucky. Soon after, Boone was captured by the Shawnee while he was on a hunting expedition.
Once Boone escaped, he began an epic race to Boonesborough to warn the settlers of the impending Shawnee attack.
On Sept. 7, 1778, Boonesborough came under siege by 444 Shawnee Native Americans and 10 French Canadians confronting 135 settlers, only about 40 of which were trained with firearms. The siege lasted until Sept. 17, with the Shawnees, after losing 37 of their people, lifting the siege and retreating.
This weekend, we have the opportunity to revisit this pivotal time as early settlers fought to establish America, through the Siege of Boonesborough Reenactment.
The battle reenactment will take place on Saturday and Sunday and will include a special night battle on Saturday at dusk.
Prior to the reenactment on both days, visitors will have the opportunity to spend the day learning how Kentuckians lived in the 18th century, which includes militia and settlers camps, cannon-firing demonstrations, Native American village, merchants, traders, food and more. You can also make a stop at the Museum Store and 18th century Transylvania Store. For those outdoor enthusiasts, while visiting for this weekend’s festivities, you can enjoy the park’s campground, hiking trails, mini-golf and picnic shelters.
While the Siege of Boonesborough Reenactment provides us with the chance to look back on the war campaign the early settlers of this community were faced with, this time also serves as a catalyst for economic opportunities for our community. This prolonged financial downturn has affected every county across our commonwealth, and Madison and Clark Counties are no exception.
Businesses, both large and small, are struggling, and the viability of these businesses fuel the soul of the economy.
But, the prospect of numerous first-time visitors, history buffs and interested parties coming to our community is not only good news for the longevity of the reconstructed settlement, but is also positive for the restaurants, hotels, novelty shops and various other businesses throughout Central Kentucky.
I encourage you to attend this weekend’s festivities in support of both the historical importance of this battle and our communities’ economic viability.
It has often been said that looking to the past can predict one’s future. In this case, taking part in remembering our past may help sustain our future.