Experience 1774 Like Never Before . . .

Will you be a Patriot or a Loyalist???

More than 60 re-enactors will transport visitors to the Wilderness Road Blockhouse back to 1774 on the weekend of April 20 and 21. This Colonial Experience is an official Scott County VA250 event, and is sponsored by the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association (DBWTA), Eastman Credit Union and Delegate Terry Kilgore.

Visitors to the event can expect to meet Samuel Adams, Blacksmith Simeon England, William Capps, owner of the Capps and Company Warehouse, and his associate, Conner McGeorge, Maggie Delaney, an indentured servant, Lady Susannah Randolph of Williamsburg, who fears for her sons, plus a cast of assorted interesting characters. 

Bob McConnell as Samuel Adams

These experienced re-enactors assume the persona of the characters they are depicting. Bob McConnell, a Scott County native and long-time member of the DBWTA, forcefully portrays Samuel Adams, who firmly stood behind the thinking that produced the American revolution. John Adams once said, “Without the character of Samuel Adams, the true history of the American Revolution can never be written.” Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson made this observation about Sam Adams. “I doubt whether there is a greater incendiary in the King’s dominions.” When Royal Governor General Thomas Gage attempted to cool Adams with an elegantly packaged bribe, Adams response was, “Tell Governor Gage that it is the advice of Samuel Adams to no longer insult the feelings of an exasperated people.” A trip to the tavern and meeting with Samuel Adams and his compatriots is sure to stir patriotic feelings amongst the crowd.

Maggie Delaney, indentured servant from Ireland

At the tavern, visitors will also meet Maggie Delaney, who came from Ireland with her family seeking a better life. Instead, she has become an indentured servant to the tavern owner. She now spends her days laundering the linens and clothing of people who never acknowledge her existence.

Lady Susannah Randolph, Williamsburg (Sally Kelley)

Meet Lady Susannah Randolph of Williamsburg, who is distraught, full of fear. Visitors will learn it’s because her sons stand divided. John is a Tory, and loves the King. Peyton, meanwhile is a fierce Patriot. In her hand, Lady Randolph holds a newspaper describing the events surrounding the King’s tax man in Boston. He was tarred and feathered and ridden through town on a pole. With this knowledge, Lady Susannah wonders, “how can John be safe?” 

Peyton is Chairman of the Virginia governing body, the House of Burgesses. When the assembly was dissolved by Royal Governor Lord Dunmore, Peyton led them to continue to meet and plan how to support the Bostonians. Like Samuel Adams and John Hancock in Massachusetts, Peyton is on a list of men who will be tried and hanged if caught. Oh the horror. John will join Lord Dunmore when he flees to England, and Peyton will be President of the First Continental Congress. Poor Lady Susannah is beside herself.

Mr. Capps and Mr. McGeorge, Capps and Company Warehouse

Meanwhile enter Mr. Capps, owner of the Capps and Company Warehouse, and his associate Mr. McGeorge. With heavy taxation and threats of a blockade, merchants along the coast are nervous because their livelihoods and fortunes are untold. Visitors are beckoned to enter the Capps’ Warehouse and examine fine goods, acquired not only from Virginia, but also from colonies throughout the New World. At this warehouse, introductions will be necessary, but precautions should be taken – for though the cargo is manifested – only William Capps and his associates know the entire story. Visitor beware.

Blacksmith Simeon England has decisions to make. Will he let the crown rule and let oppression stifle his business? Or will he move further away from the King’s reach? Meet Simeon and learn his story.

Additional re-enactors will aid in story of 1774. A stop at the Tea Room is a must. Here, participants will learn about the “Boston Tea Party,” and enjoy authentic “Boston Tea Party” tea, along with a sampling of sweets. Participants will discover how the Boston Tea Party brought the Colonies together for the First Continental Congress in September 1774.

All these re-enactors have a story to tell. Meet them on April 20 and 21. Learn their woes and see why they fought to make America free.

There will also be several frontier demonstrations, including candle making, salt production, and tool crafting. Patriot cooks will be preparing a feast over an open fire for the re-enactors. Visitors can observe the foods common to the time, and watch how it was prepared over an open fire.

The re-enactment will take place Sat., April 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sun., April 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wilderness Road Blockhouse, Natural Tunnel State Park, 1420 Natural Tunnel Parkway, Duffield, VA. The event and parking for the day are free.

For additional information, contact Keith Wilson, president, DBWTA, 423-429-0005, Pam Eddy, retired Cumberland Gap National Park lead interpreter and Colonial Experience event coordinator, 276-861-9059, or Austin Penley, conference and events manager, Natural Tunnel State Park, 276-248-8070.


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