Locust Grove has links
to Lewis & Clark
east Louisville home
will play host to several key events
Helen E. McKinney
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 2003) Locust Grove was a centerpiece
for Revolutionary War-era activity, as well as a strong foothold in
the founding of Louisville. The 55-acre example of living history will
host many events throughout the year, in conjunction with the Lewis
& Clark Bicentennial Expedition.
The circa 1790 Georgian mansion was originally home to William and Lucy
Clark Croghan (pronounced Crawn). Lucy was the sister of
Louisville founder and Revolutionary War hero, Gen. George Rogers Clark,
and William Clark, exploring partner of Meriwether Lewis. Upon returning
from their famous 1803 expedition to the Pacific Northwest, Lewis and
Clark were honored with a banquet ball at Locust Grove.
Major Croghan was an Irish immigrant who came to Kentucky as the surveying
partner of his future brother-in-law, Gen. George Rogers Clark. The
couple reared eight children on their 694.5-acre farm, six miles up
river from present downtown Louisville.
On April 12-13, Locust Grove played host to a Revolutionary War encampment.
It was representative of the 18th-century military camp life that would
have been experienced by Gen. Clark and his troops during the Northwest
Members of the Illinois Regiment of Virginia (IRofV) were present to
bring to life the sights, sounds and smells of military camp life. Shelley
E. Adams, program director for Locust Grove, said members of the IRofV
live and participate in events all across the United States, including
events at Williamsburg and Mount Vernon.
We host them at Locust Grove because Gen.George Rogers Clark was
the commander of the IRofV. The weekend events included a battalion
drill, tactical exercises, recruitment, inspection and a memorial for
Gen. George Rogers Clark.
Re-enactors Kevin and Samantha Hickle of Rising Sun, Ind., both referred
to participating in this encampment as the only thing that really
happened in this area during the Revolutionary War period.
Dogwood trees line
the paths at Locust Grove
Because of Major Croghans social standing and Gen.
Clarks presence, Locust Grove gained a reputation as a gathering
place for political and social figures of the time period. The home
was visited by a number of national figures, which included James Monroe,
Gen. Andrew Jackson, Aaron Burr, Zachary Taylor and John James Audubon.
The home is now listed as a National Historic Landmark and it was here
that Gen. Clark took up residence for the last nine years of his life
In 1878, the Croghan family sold their property to a riverboat captain,
James Paul. From 1883-1961, it remained in possession of the Richard
Waters family. Jefferson County and the Commonwealth of Kentucky then
purchased Locust Grove.
The Hickles are part of a Living History unit, under command of Capt.
Abraham Kellars company of the IRofVir. The re-enactors of this
unit belong to the Northwest Territory Alliance, which strives to promote
interest in the American Revolution of 1775-1783 by honoring those who
Kevin is an Assistant Commander having gained the rank of 1st Sgt. in
Capt. Kellars Company, while his wife portrays a camp follower.
She described her role as the support for the army. Other
women of the unit portray the wives of soldiers and French women of
the town of Vincennes.
Visitors to a military encampment such as this one might be surprised
to learn that women and children actually accompanied troops during
the war. It is estimated that 20,000 women fell into the role of camp
One would not ordinarily think of Martha Washington as a camp follower,
but she and other women joined Gen. Washington at Valley Forge from
time to time.
These women performed many tasks: cooking meals, washing and mending
clothing, caring for the sick and wounded, and constantly constructing
and tearing down camp. They marched behind the troops when the troops
It was not uncommon for them to take up arms and assist the cannon crews.
The women were given rations provided for soldiers, said Samantha. Their
children got a full ration.
The role the Hickles portray carries over into real life, as well.
They own their own sutlery business, specializing in 18th century childrens
clothing and related items. Samantha sews clothing, and they will have
their store set up at Manskers Station Historic Site in Goodlettsville,
Tenn., May 3-4 for a trade fair. Kevin will have 18th century childrens
learning aides on hand.
Both have been re-enacting for over 20 years. Samantha especially takes
her role seriously, as she is a descendant of an aunt of Meriwether
Lewis presumably committed suicide, leaving behind no children of his
The couple usually participates in any event relating to Gen. George
Rogers Clark, such as the upcoming reenactment of Gen. Clarks
taking of the Fort at Vincennes from Hamilton on May 24-25 in Vincennes,
Ind., and the September 22, 2003 Corps of Discovery II landing in Rising
To learn more about the Illinois Regiment of Virginia, visit
their website at: www.illinoisregiment.org.
To learn more about Locust Grove call (502) 897-9845 or visit their
website at www.locustgrove.org.
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