prepare for battle
in annual Shelbyville event
native to play
pioneer doctor at this years battle
Helen E. McKinney
SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (September 2010) When Albert
Roberts toured a local historical site in Henderson, Tenn., he was literally
drawn into another world. The history of the 18th century became real
to him, something he wanted to explore further and share with others.
Stone Settlers Long
Run Massacre provides an exciting
re-enactment show for visitors
each September in Shelbyville, Ky.
The sites tour guide was a first-person interpreter
who drew him in and shared the excitement of the 18th century. I
was not even interested in history until I was an adult, said
As a result of his experience, this Nashville, Tenn., native has been
an historical interpreter for the last decade. He has portrayed an 18th
century doctor for seven years, and before that a schoolmaster.
I do a medical and surgical demonstration typical to the late
18th century, said Roberts. The Doctor is an amalgamation
of doctors and surgeons typical of the era. Its the medical and
surgical knowledge that I want to get across.
Because the Doctor is not a specific person, theres a lot of elbow
room to improvise his character, Roberts said. Roberts has used a lot
of reproduction medical texts from the period that have been published
about medicine and surgery to research 18th century doctors. Theres
been a bevy of things written.
In the 21st century, Roberts is a Visual Communications teacher at Beech
High School in Henderson. He has traveled to Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky,
Indiana and Illinois to portray The Doctor. A special highlight for
him was attending the 250th Siege of Fort Niagara in New York where
he portrayed the chief surgeon of the British army.
He will bring his unique medical demonstration to this years Long
Run Massacre and Floyds Defeat, held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on
Sept. 11-12 at Red Orchard Park in Shelbyville. He will also participate
in a special School Day Program on Friday, Sept. 11.
Red Orchard, or Whitaker Station, was established in 1782 by John Whitaker
and attacked several times by Indians. This land has since been donated
to the Shelby County Parks Department and transformed into a beautiful
park where the event will take place.
The Long Run Massacre is sponsored by the Painted Stone Settlers Inc.,
a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving history. Each day at
2 p.m., the 1781 evacuation of Squire Boones Painted Stone Station
will be re-enacted. There are various events before and after the re-enactment
that portray life in the 18th century along the Kentucky frontier.
portrays an 18th
doctor and will appear
at the Painted Stone
Settlers Long Run
Massacre in September.
Although we portray the Long Run Massacre each year
we try to fill the event each year with different aspects of the 18th
century, said Kathy Cummings, the groups president. In the
12 years of its existence, the group has invited different guest speakers
to participate such as those that do first person portrayals of
famous historic figures, authors, historians, musicians and more,
By featuring Roberts as part of this years event, we can
give people some insight into just how far medicine has come in the
last 230 years, said Cummings.
Spectators can not only enjoy the battle re-enactment but spend
some time beforehand speaking to an 18th century doctor, Native American,
blacksmith or even a ratcatcher. Its all interesting, fun and
a great learning experience for adults and children alike.
Roberts generally portrays a frontier doctor, one who would have apprenticed
under another doctor to learn his trade. An 18th century doctors
education depended on where he was from and what economic class
he was from, he said. A well-to-do doctor of the period from the
East would have been trained at a hospital or university, unlike the
The Doctor carries with him a standard surgical kit of the time period
which contains all the modern instruments of the period: amputation
saws and knives, bleeding apparatus, dentistry tools, and instruments
to remove lead balls.
In school Roberts said he was turned off by history. In
the re-enacting world, Ive learned more about history by
Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under, and free for
children 3 and under. A two-day pass is $10.
For more information on Albert Roberts,
For more information on the Long Run Massacre and Floyds Defeat,
call (502) 228-3746, (502) 738-9435 or visit: www.PaintedStoneSettlers.org.
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