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 The Pioneer Times   July - September 2006

Dave Phipps - A Man and His Fort

By Kathy Cummings

If you build it, they will come...

Dave Phipps in the early spring (the beard comes off for campaign season) in front of his fort, with members of the 71st regiment in the background.

Not everyone carries re-enacting to the same level. But Dave Phipps of the 71st Highland Regiment has taken it to new heights. About the height of the blockhouse that now sits on his property. Phipps and friends have fashioned an entire fort. Says Lynn Phipps of her husband “I always know where he is!” Actually says Dave, “She got tired of me drawing plans for it on the church bulletin, and told me to go ahead and build it.” The block house was started in August of 2001. By September 5th it was up to the rafters. With the happenings of September 11th 2001 the project came to a halt. Phipps (like most of his 71st re-enacting unit is former military) and now is a civilian employee of the army. Priorities changed and work took precedence. It wasn’t until about 14 months later that he actually found the time to get back to building his fort.

This part of his hobby helps relieve stress, he joked. “You have a tough day at work, and you go home and pound a few nails. It works great.” When we spoke, the only remaining tasks were to hang the gate and finish the shed. The fort measures about 24 by 32’ and has been patterned after several different forts. Although he has always had a name in mind he wouldn't let that out until the Fort was Christened which happened on June 16th 2006.

The official name is Fort Ananias. He chose that name because there were several of those in history. Just as it is not a recreation of one single fort but uses features from French, Spanish, British and American forts from about 1720 - 1815, Phipps feels that the name allows some leeway too. He didn't want to name it after a fort that only had one historic battle or event. This way whoever the invited guests are or whatever military tactical or gathering is planned - the name encompasses them all. To date the Boy Scouts have used the fort twice, the Illinois Regiment were in-

The name was added last.

vited to a private tactical there and the Butler's Rangers have done cannon training at the fort. Phipps credits many of his friends and his son Greg with the labor. Gene Hunt, Jim Forrester, Butch Roe, Scott Romine and Ron Koontz were all among those that helped on the blockhouse. Rudy McKinney helped with the gate, while Paul Peterson, Mike Nagy and Julie Phipps worked on the foundations for the cabin and the blockhouse The 71st Regiment has a continually changing roster at events because of their real life military commitments. Currently three are deployed out of the country and another one in transit.

The Phipps purchased the property about 15 years ago. At one time it was a farm where fruit trees and hard woods were grown. It was also planted with watermelons and cantelopes. But farming ceased there about 1965. Locals tell Phipps that the ridge behind the property was known as “Bloody Ridge.” It received the name not from a Revolutionary or Civil War battle but from battles with 1920’s revenue agents. The only thing he knows for sure is that there was a revenue agent that worked for the government named “Big Six” Henderson. Whether “Big Six” really had his arm shot off on “Bloody Ridge” or not, has never been proven.

Defending the fort.

A close up view.

No one in the Phipps family thinks it odd having their own fort. Dave has been re-enacting since 1972. His mother actually got him started when she saw Civil War re-enactors at an art fair she was attending. She called him up and told him to come by and see it. And the rest as they say "is history." His wife Lynn can be seen with the 71st at events as can son Greg and youngest daughter Julie. His daughter Leslie has tapered off re-enacting since getting married. But says Dave, "they've all done unique things with it. Leslie used to play the violin in camp, Greg is a fifer and has done some things with field music and the American Revolution at Colonial Williamsburg and even ended up in 2 Macy's Parades because of it. My Godson is now a Lieutenant in the US Army overseas and I think we are the cause of that. And no one was surprises when the youngest member of the 71st, Daniel Carey signed the papers to enlist as an MP after his high school graduation in June.

The last question for Dave was "Why British?" Basically he said - "I'm a government man. I'm here to help and I guess it has something to do with working for the government. Also I like discipline and order I think that is part of it too. Or maybe it's my mother's family", he joked - "They were Prussian."  Besides when you pick this side - it matters less whether or not you do a good or bad impression - they always want you.

 He started with Civil War and when he was ready to make the jump to American Revolution it was almost Kings 8. But Mike Nagy came by and said he had a coat for the 71st Regiment and buttons for several more. Besides said Nagy "I can make most of the stuff. And he did." But like all re-enactors their early research was not all correct - and over the years they have perfected it. One fun thing about the 71st, says Phipps, is that they were the largest British Regiment and rarely missed a battle (except Lexington and Concord). So no matter where we go we are usually correct.

And although the 71st Regiment can be seen throughout the area at various events they, unlike many re-enactors have their own fort. A Fort called Fort Ananias on the Kentucky property of Dave and Lynn Phipps.

To see more photos go to the guest gallery and see the Phipps own photos of the party.

KET Shoot at Fort Harrod


By Kathy Cummings

Harrodsburg, KY - In June, The Kentucky Educational Network was working on an ongoing school project. According to Larry Moore, education consultant for the North Central Region of Kentucky the project consisits of 23 videos. Others have been to natural science sites, arts, career related, and community helpers sites such as the post office. “Our hope is not to replace field trips that teachers can take but to reinforce the trips they can take by giving "behind the scenes looks" or putting them in a larger context which we feel we are doing with the Forts field trips. “

Re-Enactors from The Salt River Long Rifles shot scenes at Fort Harrod on Thursday morning. The KET Crews had been at Fort Boonesborough on Tuesday. On Thursday afternoon KET needed children re-enactors for a scene at Fort Harrod where the first school in Kentucky was located.

Seasoned re-enactors John and Ben McKinney and Aaron Stinson from The Painted Stone Settlers were there along with Helen McKinney who was cast as school teacher Jane Coomes. To fill in the scene, visiting tourists from Missouri were recruited and dressed in period clothing. Although I did not have a chance to get all the “extras” names, I did talk for a while to their grandmother who said -”This will be a vacation they will never forget!”

Meeting with the director and staff.

The scene in the schoolhouse

Teachers interested in the field trip series can go to

(Above ) A look behind the scenes at the modern equipment KET brought to film Kentcky’s oldest settlement - Fort Harrod.

In addition to the schoolhouse scene two young boys, Aaron Stinson and a friend, Jonathan Hanlin, both from Jeffersonville, Indiana were filmed getting water at the spring. The spring that ran inside the Fort at Harrodstown also played a pivotal role in the early location and development of that station.

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