Wolfpen

Carl Crooks plays a hammered dulcimer Thursday to teach the roots of Appalachian music to students touring the different stations representing colonial life in northeastern Kentucky at the Wolfpen Woods Pioneer Village

There’s nothing boring about the history lessons being taught this weekend at Wolfpen Woods Pioneer Village.

The sounds of battle, smells of campfires and rustic meals, as well as the details of daily life and survival, continue until 4 p.m. today at Wolfpen Woods as volunteers and organizers encouraged visitors, including about 2,000 area school children, to “look beyond history books” to gain a better understanding about the people who settled in the area.

“We want to give a feeling of identity with our local history because we try to tell our story, which is part of the bigger story of Kentucky,” said Roland Burns, who entertained groups of visitors at the end of each tour of the village with tales from the past. Dressed in clothing and gear to reflect an ancestor who was a Virginia militia captain, Burns explained the history of the cabins and other structures at the site, as well as sharing stories about the people who lived in them.

“All of these cabins were slated for destruction. They were going to be pushed over,” Burns said, evoking a reaction of shock among several in the group before him. Each structure was donated to the village and had to be dismantled, moved and rebuilt, he said.

Trish Wheeler, a retired teacher from Hager Elementary, said the demonstrations, information and exhibitions provide plenty for young minds to consider.

“There’s just so much. I have been so impressed,” Wheeler said, citing the impact of the costumes and the interest generated by volunteers who re-enacted aspects of daily life of the first families to settle in the region. “It is like the Williamsburg of northeastern Kentucky.”

Volunteer Mike Little, who was part of a well-executed dramatic interpretation of people who settled and traded with native Americans, said he hopes people will leave the annual Indian Summer event with an understanding that “eastern Kentucky has a history” which isn’t often taught in school.

“This area was vibrant with history,” Little said during a brief pause between performances. “This was a wild place until 1795.”

Little said he also hopes to nurture a better understanding of the interaction of people in this area and “the hardships of our ancestors and the native folk as they got pushed west.”

“I hope they will see the complexity — that it was not all warfare and that there were relationships between these peoples,” he said, adding they try to portray the complaints and compliments of those who lived here.

Bond said visitors who aren’t familiar with the location can find Wolfpen Woods Pioneer Village by following Rt. 60 through Cannonsburg (Exit 185 from I-64) past Flying J to KY 180, over the hill and straight through the traffic signal to KY 3 South, then continue approximately nine miles to KY 773 (Bolts Fork Road) and turn right. Wolfpen Woods, marked with a sign, is less than a mile away from the turn onto KY 773.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2651.

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