Graphic Enterprises - Home of the Pioneer Times - A Web Site for Living History



 The Pioneer Times   October - December 2006

Take a Trip with Us To

Visit Fort Harrod,
Kentucky’s First Settlement

Harrodsburg, Kentucky

By Kathy Cummings

Although we have often written about other 18th century forts including Fort Boonesborough in Kentucky and Fort Randolph in Point Pleasant, WV it has been years since we visited the first fort in Kentucky – Fort Harrod or simply Harrodstown.

From “History of Kentucky” by Temple Bodley – “1774 was a year of outstanding importance in the history of Kentucky for it was then that the first attempt was made to found a settlement there. Among the men who had been members of Bullitt’s party surveying land along the Ohio two years before was James Harrod. He then learned of the rich Bluegrass Region of central Kentucky and determined to settle there. On his return to the Monongahela region he gathered a party of about 50 frontiersmen and in the spring of 1774 went down the Ohio and up the Kentucky to a point afterward called Harrod’s Landing, and thence a short distance overland to the head of Dick’s River. There they laid out lots and began building log cabins for a town, which they called Harrodstown….”

So step through the gates with us and visit the present reconstructed fort. Although we had not visited in recent years, there were a few pleasant surprises on the inside.

The Spring

Early Kentucky was covered with trees. We read numerous accounts of the lush green countryside. It was a pleasant surprise to find some well established trees within the fort walls. This shady area above shows the spring within the fort’s enclosure. Although it was often contaminated by human and animal waste the spring played an important role at Fort Harrod. Under times of attack the spring kept the settlers from having to venture outside the fort walls as was recorded in other places like Bryans Station.

“When the town was laid out the town lots were of one half acre and the outlots five acres. There corn was first raised…”From W. H. Bogart “Daniel Boone and the Hunters of Kentucky”.

The one room school

Harrodsburg is said to have had the first school in Kentucky. It was started by Mrs. Jane Coomes, a Catholic from Maryland.

Inside the school house.

Interiors in the fort show a great attention to detail.

Lower level of the George Rogers Clark Blockhouse

A sign explains to visitors how Clark conceived his plan of attack for the Illinois territory while living at Fort Harrod. Upstairs in the blockhouse are books and maps - replicas of journals and books of George Rogers Clark.

The powder magazine.

Above the fireplace in the James Harrod blockhouse is a distress horn. It is said that during Indian attacks such a horn was used to call settlers from the fields back to the fort.

The cabins at Fort Harrod have a lived in feel.

A mattress on the bed rustled as if it really contains corn shucks.

Standing in the top of the blockhouse you can imagine looking out on an Indian attack.

Looking down the row of cabins.

“In the season of 1774 other parties of surveyors and hunters followed and during this year James Harrod erected a log cabin upon the spot where Harrodsburg now stands which rapidly grew into a station, doubtless the oldest in Kentucky…”

From Lewis Collins “History of Kentucky”


Photography Exhibit at Early KY Market Fair

The new location for this years Early Ky Market Fair hosted by the Salt River Long Rifles will have an added feature. The Pioneer Times will exhibit over 100 17 x 22” photo prints by Jim and Kathy Cummings. Many will be from photos taken in the 2006 season and previously only seen on this website. Others will be from photos taken over the last 8 years at varouis re-enacting events.

In addition other prints will be shown on the large plasma screen near the dining area. Larry Wilcher of the Salt River Long Rifles contacted the Cummings’ shortly after finding the new location hall at Eagle Creek. “As I looked at the wide expanse of bright white walls - your photos were the first thing I thought of.” said Wilcher. “What a way to set the mood for the Early Ky Market Fair than by covering the walls with photos of the events that many of us have participated in.”

In addition to the still photos on the wall - there will be DVD’s running in the hall of the almost 20 DVD’s and video productions that Cummings has produced over the last 8 years. Other vendors according to Wilcher will be Dale Payne, author; Ky Leather and Hides; Hamilton Dry Goods, with lots of fabric; Nathan and Andrea Logston with Taylor-Rose Historical Clothing; Heart Felt Creations, wool products; Charlie Wallingford, bladesmith and gunmaker; Bill Smith, bags and horns
Duane Heim, bags, blankets, books; Steve White art gallery; J Henderson Stoneware, pottery; Tommy Barnett, horns; Laura Corum, knives and quillwork; Ron Robinson, copperware; Wayne and Barbra Zurl-horns, guns, misc.; Black Heart Traders-Bob and Carolyn Hill, clothes and misc.;Rolling Fork Trade Co. - Axes, misc.; Lee Larkin, horner ; Steve Whipker, beads; Shari Ward, sashes; Carl King, blacksmith; Strode Station Trade Co.-misc.; Heritage Products-Jack Droesch-misc.; Lally and Frank House; The Fort Boonesborough Foundation; Gary Tucker, guns; Mike Miller, guns; Poppen Mocassins, and many more.

There will be over 115 tables. So whether you are already needing supplies for next spring or a Christmas present for a fellow re-enactor or history buff The Early Kentucky Market Fair is the place to be.


Dale Payne Releases
New Book

The Pioneers - Their Lives and Adventures

Reviewed by Jim Cummings

Fayetteville, WV For all of you that are avid readers of Dale Payne’s books - you’re in for a treat and just in time for the holiday season.

Dale Payne’s The Pioneers is based on the Lyman C. Draper Manuscripts but incorporates other historical documents as well. Payne does all of his own work in researching and believe me reading the Draper Manuscripts is no easy task, for I have tried. The work is massive and extensive and takes the patience of a saint. What makes Dale Payne so priceless to those of us that research history is that he knows what is of value and of interest to us. Many writers, researchers and journalists begin projects that they may have no direct links to. But Payne has experienced the type of life that he researches. As a woodsman and hunter, he knows the woods and terrain of which our forgotton pioneers speak. It is what makes his work so valuable. It is with this background that he brings the Draper Manuscripts to life in all of his books. In this latest book The Pioneers he brings 16 individuals to life. 

Payne has walked with a longrifle in his hand and he has carried the tomahawk. When he chooses a subject to research it is with this in mind. In this latest book - Payne has chosen men that were equals to the more famous pioneers but maybe not as well know. The names of the 16 men he has chosen are names like Robert Patterson, Joseph Bishop and William Linn. The names of men that you have passed in your research when reading about their more famous counterparts.

You might remember that Patterson was connected with Dayton, Ohio or that Linn was with George Rogers Clark’s expedition to Kaskaskia in 1778. Joseph Bishop’s name might be more familiar to those that research Tennessee than those that read mainly of Kentucky. But here Payne has given them their own spotlight. A chapter devoted to each man. Meticulously researched to bring them to life.

Payne gives us a deeper glimpse into these men and in Dale’s own words - “they were not men who set out to make the history books. They were your average 18th century individual who was simply trying to establish a homestead or make a living for them and their families on the frontier. There were many others who played important roles also. These are but a few.”

The 16 men included in The Pioneers are: Henry Skaggs, Edmund Jennings, Thomas Sharpe Spencer, Issac Crabtree, Hugh F. Bell, James Galloway, Bland Ballard, William Linn, Michael Cassiday, The Harmans, Col. Robert Patterson, James Ray, Joseph Bishop, Charles Poke, David Morgan, and William Haymond, Jr.

You may not have heard of all of these men for they did not all have a John Filson to make them famous. But if their stories are not familar to you, their quest for a different life might be.

 This is a must read so order directly from Dale Payne 
(Dale Payne
Rt. 3 Box 75
Fayettville, West Virginia 25840
 $16.00 plus $2.50 Shipping) 

or stop and visit with him at the Early KY Market Fair at Eagle Lake Convention Center hosted by The Salt River Long Rifles on December 8th and 9th . Click here for more information.

The Photo Gallery of Events

18th Century Living History Events

Fort Boonesborough Events

19th Century Living History Events

Civil War Living History Events

Timeline Events

Indoor Trade Events

Museums, Workshops, Schools and Other Events