historic event in Shelby County
Stone Settlers to re-enact 1781 battle
Helen E. McKinney
SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (September 2006) Shelby County,
Ky., has a 225-year-old history that not many people know about. An
event that took place in 1781 sparked the interest of a group of living
history re-enactors and led them to undertake a large event at their
provided by Graphic Enterprises
slaughter pioneers in the annual
re-enactment of the Long Run Massacre
in Shelbyville, Ky.
The Painted Stone Settlers are in their eighth year of
holding the Long Run Massacre and Floyds Defeat. This year, the
event takes on special meaning, since it is the 225th anniversary of
this historical incident.
There are many historical 225th anniversaries popping up
all over, such as a large one at Yorktown, Va., on Oct. 18-22. One reason
for this is to mark the end of the Revolutionary War, a historic moment
in itself. But what makes this one so special is that it is literally
in many residents backyard. This unique history is right under
their noses and has been waiting 225 years to be retold.
The story of Squire Boones Painted Stone Station is not just another
retelling of a vanished fort that was attacked by Native Americans;
not just another vague mention of something that once existed somewhere
in the county or was home briefly to a group of nameless people now
It is a story of real people, many of whom have descendants still living
in and around Shelby County. Their story has lain dormant for some time
but comes alive for one unforgettable weekend every September.
On Friday, Sept. 15, a special School Day Program will be presented
for local students. The Kentucky Historymobile, a sort of museum on
wheels, will be on hand as a teaching tool. The current exhibit is on
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 16-17, the Long Run Massacre and Floyds
Defeat will be presented. Re-enactors travel from many states to take
part in this event.
Scheduled throughout the day are activities such as an 18th century
wedding, a roving colonial magician, cannon demonstrations, and a prisoner
exchange with the main battle re-enactment at 2 p.m. both days. A special
night ambush will be presented at dusk on Saturday.
Danny Hinton will provide a special Kentucky Humanities Council Chautauqua
performance of Dr. Thomas Walker at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. At 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, Mike Rumping will portray Squire Boone, founder of Painted Stone
Squire Boone, in many ways, might have been Daniels better,
said Rumping of Daniel Boones younger brother. Squire Boone was
a farmer, explorer, carpenter, accomplished gun maker, a preacher credited
with performing the first wedding in Kentucky, builder of the first
gristmill in Indiana and the first Baptist Church in Indiana.
The year of the massacre, Boone was in the House of Delegates from Jefferson
County, Va., appealing for aid for the frontier families. As a member
of the Virginia State Legislature he was honored and accepted in Virginia.
Squires life during that time was centered around the welfare
of the settlers on the frontier, said Rumping.
Squire was more than a sidekick to his famous brother. He had been in
almost every major battle in Kentucky and was wounded an astonishing
11 times. He was with Daniel during the early exploration of Kentucky,
the forging of the Wilderness Road, the building of Fort Boonesborough
and the Siege of the Fort in 1778.
Yet, while researching Squire, Rumping found mention of Squire
many times in my research on Daniel, but little is actually written
on Squire alone. But Squires signature rests on many courthouse
documents in Shelby County and on land deeds where he sold land to the
Low Dutch Colony in nearby Henry County.
Rumping is assisted in his performance by his wife Nancy, who portrays
Squires wife Jane VanCleave Boone. I think our presentation
encompasses the abilities of many of the early settlers who came to
the western frontier called Kentucky, said Rumping. The lives
of such men and women are unknown, because they didnt have
someone writing down their stories. We hope our presentation helps in
bringing some notoriety to a true frontiersman.
The retelling of the story of Squire Boone and his Painted Stone Station
gives spectators goose bumps as they witness the recreation of the actual
event. Guns fire and smoke, children scream, animals run, and men and
women fall dead as Eastern Woodland Indians descend upon them in an
The crowd can feel the panic and pandemonium that must have been in
the air as settlers faced their adversary and triumphed, or fought till
the end. It would have been hard for a mother to decide upon saving
herself, or succumbing to the enemy to save her children.
This is the sort of history that re-enactors take seriously. The goal
of the Painted Stone Settlers is to educate and preserve their knowledge
about the Revolutionary War period. Through documented dress, manners
and speech they portray life in the 18th century as authentically as
Many Kentucky authors will be on hand to sell and sign their books.
The list includes Lynwood Montell, Neal O. Hamon, Richard Taylor, Ellen
Eslinger, Robert Pelton, Dale Payne and members of the Shelby County
The Painted Stone Settlers are a non-profit group that presents this
outdoor drama with the aid of grants and contributions from the City
of Shelbyville and the Shelby County Fiscal Court. And even though they
foot the rest of the bill with out-of-pocket expenses, the end result
is worth the sacrifice.
The best comment I ever received came at a holiday parade a few years
ago, said member Kathy Cummings. A little boy came up to her, pointed
and said, "I know you! I read about you in my history book in school.
"It doesnt get any better than that," said Cummings.
For more information, visit: www.paintedstonesettlers.org
For more information on the School Day Program call (502) 738-9435 or
email: firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com.
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